Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Name Your Illusion part 2

I blogged about my friend "H" a while back.
She's the woman who swans around in a fantasy that she's living the life of the rich and famous. The one who hasn't accepted that she hasn't got her daddy's money to spend anymore.

Both she and her boyfriend made me very cross and disappointed recently.

They've started badmouthing "S", a common friend who, despite having an average job, is still living in relative luxury because she is still supported by her tycoon daddy. "S" is a really nice girl. She works hard at her job, she has never been the type to show off, unlike "H".

What do they say?

  • "She'll never make it in her job because she's never had to go through any hardship in her life!"

Not true. She's slowly been given more and more responsibilities probably because she's a really hard worker, despite being paid an average salary.

  • "She's 30 and doesn't have a boyfriend because there isn't a man out there who isn't intimidated by her being such a high maintainence girl."

Not true. She's recently found herself a banker boyfriend (A first tier bank, not just any second or third tier bank.) of the same caliber as my husband. Well done, girl!!!

  • "She looks so plain she could pass for a lesbian."

ROFLMAO... well, yeah she does a bit.....but a cute short haired lipstick lesbian, not a butch dyke type. But she wears Prada type of plain clothes, mmmm-kay?

This isn't the only person whom "H" and her boyfriend spend their time criticising, but I think that this is the person who least deserves their vitriol, because this person has never said a mean thing in return.
My bitchy friend "H" sounds like someone who's gorgeous, tall and has a killer bod, huh?
Nup. She and her boyfriend are both what you and I would consider tubby rotund bodies.

They're unhappy with their own lives so they put other people down to make themselves feel better. He is still overworked and underpaid in his back-office job, hating it but not quitting because they have a lifestyle to upkeep. She still hasn't found a job yet, she still spends her days being Martha Stewart, having dinner parties and doing lunch.

Instead of putting that negative energy into bettering themselves, they do nothing and sit back, watch and wait for other people's failures so that they feel better.
I think I told them so, in not so many words.

I haven't heard from "H" since. I value her friendship.
I want to call her and explain why I said what I said... I think I'll let things cool off for a bit.

Monday, March 28, 2005

At last- finally

My bubbly big-haired mother took time out from her busy travel & social calendar to visit me over the holiday long weekend. We get friday and monday off for Easter holidays over here.
(I don't give a rats' ass the holidays are for, I'm just glad to have a holiday.)

My mum kindly brought a particular DVD over for me. Finally!
Sepet reminds me of every relationship I ever had with someone of another race.
Most of all, it reminds me of the days we spent in KL just before we left to further our studies overseas.

My friends in KL back then were/ are just like me, offspring of VIPs, they went to CBN, TKC, VI, SJI, MCKK, RMC, ISKL etc. (Having fun going nuts on the abbreviations here. It's one of those cheap thrills I live for.) They lived in the 50490 vicinity or in the neighbouring suburbs. Amongst the people in that group was/is a good friend of my ex, that friend is a fellow SJIer who was in a boy band in the late 80's and is now married to a successful local jazz songstress. Another person in that group is a socialite grand daughter of a previous agong, whose brother was........ OKlah, so it's a tangled web we weave.

Now that I've actually seen the movie, I can't say any of them are anything like the characters in Sepet.

Some of us ended the relationship with the person from a different race. Three of my friends claimed that the person was the one big love of their life with whom they had the most amazing sex. They lost their best friend and ended up marrying/ settling for someone of their own race.
And some stories do have a happy ending.
Some of us married that person from a different race.

I resolve to organise a get-together with my old friends (no spouses allowed) when I get time off on my upcoming trip next month and I want to ask the friends in question why they did that. My husband's friends in Malaysia are very different from mine. None of them have ever been with anyone outside their race.

My friends love a good long meaningful discussion session that lasts late into the night. Some guys in the group will usually leave early. (They know who they are.)
Methinks it's a toss up between takut intimacy and takut bini. Heh.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

It ain't the size of your axe, it's how you play your riff, baby.

Don't we all love a man with a guitar?

Look at how sexy this looks. How could you not?
OK, so it's John Taylor from Duran Duran.
Axe or no axe, I'll take him any day.

I used to errr.... date a guy (when I was in university) who was soooOOooo good with his fender stratocaster.

He played in a rock band at night and was an engineering student by day.
He was no white boy and he could goreng until the cows came home.
He could play any guitar riff that I asked just to get some. Heh.
"Sweet Child O' Mine" by Guns n Roses would work every single time.
(Hey, this was the early 90's. Gimmie a break, OK?)

There's nothing like the sight of a hot looking man and his hot looking guitar playing a er, hot guitar riff.

When I asked him to play any song on U2's Achtung Baby, he said "Pfffthppth... no challenge." Then he proceeded to show me the finger maneuver that The Edge created for U2's sound. Not the guitar god I thought he was.

Phew, damn- is it getting hot in here?
*Implosions fans herself*

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Cityscapes part 1

"A city is a congregation of animals whose biological history is enclosed within its boundaries; and yet every conscious and rational act on the part of these creatures helps to shape the city’s eventual character." Claude Lévi-Strauss in Tristes Tropiques.
I like to think that I shape cities in my masterplans. They get built and become reality.
That's just the megalomaniac I am. Armistad Maupin wrote Tales of The City as if San Francisco could be embodied in the personalities of his whacked out characters.

There are pockets of urban spaces I call home within my city.

An apocalyptic sky over Darling Harbour.
Taken on the Western Distributor flyover heading towards the Harbour Bridge.

Clovelly Beach on a Sunday morning. People here are a mix of bohemians and the bourgeoisie. Everyone leaves their things on the concrete and forgets about it for an hour or so while they have a swim'n'bake. When they come back, it's always there. There's a good sense of community here.

Neil Gaiman spun a wonderful urban tale in his one of his Sandman graphic novels, World's End.

In it, a generic unamed city dweller finds himself lost in an unamed generic city.
He bumps into a generic old man on a generic street who says this:
"Each city is a collection of lives and buildings and it has its own personality.
So, if a city has a personality, maybe it also has a soul. Maybe it dreams."

End of intellectual wankery.
Back to the intellectual MBA books sans wankery. (i.e: not very much fun at all)

Friday, March 11, 2005

Australia, the highest taxing country in the world

As I was having my morning coffee this friday morning with my husband- we watched Sunrise on TV. The usual light morning banter of the hosts and the regular politicians Kevin Rudd and Joe Hockey is standard breakfast TV fare, but this morning the subject was taxes.

OooooooOOOOoooooo. We choked on our coffee and put down the paper and listened and yelled profanity at the politician who looks like a used car salesman, Joe Hockey for saying that "We have to collect taxes if you want free healthcare, education....."

"FREE????? Free??????? Don't tell me he said FREEEE??" Hubby had to restrain me.

FREE healthcare? Noooo. I don't think so. The amount of money you can claim back from an average doctor's visit is set at AUD$20. That will cover half of the bill. You're not allowed to claim for medicine unless ONE item exceeds AUD$25. And on top of that, if your income exceeds a certain threshold, you are slugged with a levy when tax time comes.

FREE education? Nooooo. I don't think so. These days, the average Australian university student has to shell out more and more to pay for their education. I have said my piece on this piece in my last blog entry.

Everyone I know votes Labor. I vote Labor.
Why the hell is that little snivelling lying rat John Howard and his Liberal cronies still in power?

My theory is that there is no Labor leader charismatic enough for the job.
Bob Hawke was the most popular PM of all time.
He held a record in his old university for drinking the most beer in the shortest amount of time. When Australia won the America's Cup, he was absolutely pissed off his face when he announced on national TV, "Anyone who sacks a bloke because he doesn't turn up for work today is a bum".
Interest rates went up as high as 17% while he was PM. Believe it!

These days, we're not so easily convinced.
We need an articulate, intelligent, rational man to lead this very naive country.
I think Kevin Rudd is one of the best men for the job. He is compelling, he rarely makes excuses, he does never patronises voters or Australia's Asian neighbours . He spent many years working as a diplomat in Beijing, where he learned to speak mandarin.
Bob Carr, the Premier of New South Wales, is an amazing leader. He is very Asian in his approach to business. And how I'd best describe him is that he is a man after my own heart- pure capitalist scum. He is married to a Malaysian chindian woman.

WHY am I going on and on about the Australian economy and its relations with Asia these past few weeks?
It's to do with an International Trade assignment. My husband did the same unit when he was doing his undergraduate degree. Pfffah. Should be a breeze, but I'm really getting my teeth into the topic, so excuse my ranting ass.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

The Tall Poppy Syndrome and Australian Malaysians.

*Implosion gets on soapbox*
Parochial. That word has been used many times to describe Australians.
Australian society is very egalitarian by nature- very working class, perhaps due to its convict roots.
There is the very common and popular notion of “having a fair go”. Italians, Greeks, Chinese, Japanese, Indian etc. immigrants come to this country in the hope that they would all get an opportunity to get a slice of the pie.
And here, The Tall Poppy Syndrome is everywhere..... there is a prevalent attitude that "the goverment will take care of us": your pension, your healthcare, your unemployment benefits. Enter the immigrants, who are used to working hard for their money, who are quite er, more business savvy and better at saving money. Of course they're gonna get ahead.
And lots of people are unhappy.
So we asians know to tread carefully amidst their insecurity.
But business goes on as usual, Asians are also literally buying over Australia.

Your average Australian finance guy in a 2nd or 3rd tier bank like Westpac would not know this. Not unless he was Macquarie Bank or Deustche Bank material.
And I'm only mentioning a FEW companies and ONLY Sydney properties.

AND I'm only mentioning Malaysian and Singaporean companies, too.

How do you think Australians would react to a company that was asian run and obviously asian owned? If I were an asian investor looking to make $$$ here in Australia, I would set up my company structure in such a way that it has a local CEO and a local board of directors. That is the business model that would work over here.
Do things the Australian way, and make all the damned $$$ I can.
(damn I'm capitalist scum)

So you see, accepting Asian money is not hard for the Australian government.
They'll take in Asian money when this tiny cinderella economy needs it.
Did you know Australia's foreign debt is now AUD$422 billion?

However, accepting Asian immigrants is really really hard for them.

The Migration laws in Australia have toughened up a whole lot since the 80’s. You have to be in a profession that the Australian government considers useful to the economy. You have also had to have graduated from an Australian tertiary institution. In as much as there has been a brain drain in Malaysia, there is a brain drain in Australia, too. Young Aussies leave for the UK and the USA all the bloody time.

They do it all the time in their whore universities who accept asian students without an acceptable command of english, who therefore write essays in gibberish, as long as they pay the full fee, which is much higher than what the Australian students have to pay. Although, in all fairness I have to say that the Howard government has been closing that gap between Australian students’ and International students’ university fees. The evidence is in the annual riots mostly by Australian students, of course, that ensue after EVERY year’s announcement that the universities are raising the fees. So, they vent. They burn their papier-mache John Howards. They get on the 7 o’clock news. They get arrested.
Ho-hum. Life goes on. The fees get higher.
They pay their fees. They owe money.
BUT they still spend big to upkeep their precious lifestyle. Gotta have that beer, gotta have that V8, gotta have that Australian dream that they all have a right to......

Although, overall, this country has been good to me in terms of friends, my career, etc.
But that's because I have to walk the walk and talk the talk, you know what I mean?
(I can drink beer like a fish. I have a lewd sense of humour.)
You have to if you want to get ahead over here.
Am I a sell out? Am I a loser? I don't think so.
I am zooming far, far ahead in the career stakes compared to those who don't want to drink with the directors, those who don't share the slang or get the same types of jokes.

So what has this got to do with Malaysia?
Malaysians are always complaining about the system.
All I'm saying is that the system is there. Make it work for you.
*Implosion steps down from soapbox*

Ahem. Thank you.