Fast food VIPs – RIP

I know the whole world is going to hell in a basket when I see 2 cars in a row sporting VIP stickers for McDonald’s and Burger King respectively. What exactly do these VIP programs give you? The red carpet to a premature coronary I am sure!

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Owen Wilson in suicide attempt

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Whats wrong with fame and fortune? Most of us who do not have it crave it and yet those who swim in it has a high propensity to want to check out permanently. The latest case of celebrity burnout is none other than funny man Owen Wilson whose star can be seen as on the rise after a few box office hits. The actor was taken to a hospital to have a slit wrist stitched up after a botched attempt. It is so common now to have celebrities falling off the wagon that its almost boring.

The liberated Sri Lankan Tigers

Enlarged map of Sri Lanka.

Ok now I am really shitting in my pants. I am seriously reconsidering my initial decision to take on this trip to the ‘Teardrop of India’……..10 hours before flight time. Exotic, they told me which usually means backward and having only a leave to clean up after answering nature’s call. Been there done that in my halcyon days but at my age now? The world wide web is no help with its warning of blood thirsty warring factions and suicide bombers. Read this excerpt from the New Zealand goverment and weep.

There is an extreme risk to your security in the northern and eastern areas of Sri Lanka due to the fighting between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Sri Lankan authorities. The northern area encompasses all areas north of the A12 road that runs from Puttalam in the west to Trincomalee in the east, including the Jaffna peninsula. The eastern area comprises the Batticaloa and Trincomalee districts as well as the coastal areas of the Ampara district north of Panama and east of the A25 and A27 roads. That includes the town of Ampara and Arugam Bay.

Elsewhere in Sri Lanka, there is high risk to your security as the situation is unpredictable. We advise against tourist and non-essential travel. In the capital, Colombo, bomb attacks caused deaths and injuries on 8 and 14 August 2006. In early January 2007, there were bombs on buses between Colombo and Kandy and Colombo and Galle. You should avoid areas where there are Sri Lankan military bases and where the military are operating, eg convoys, patrols. Be security conscious. Keep yourself updated on the situation by monitoring local media and follow any instructions issued by local authorities and security forces. The state of emergency declared by the government on 13 August 2005 remains in effect.

Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo was closed briefly on 26 March 2007 following an attack on the military base next to the airport.

Here’s hoping that I survive and see you guys and gals on the other side if I don’t!

Malaysian author makes it into the Booker Prize list

What wonderful news on a Sunday morning (which I had to spend in a nondescript hotel room)! One of our own has made it into the long‘ list of the prestigious Man Booker Prize (to give it its full and cumbersome title).

After Aw Tash’s nomination in 2005 for ‘The Harmony Silk Factory’, its incredible that another of our native son have been given the seal of approval by the venerable judges. More importantly they have chosen to preserve the name of the author as it should be in Chinese and not rearranging it to suit Western standards. Twan Eng Tan just sounds wrong to these oriental ears.

Tan Twan Eng’s (a big thank you to the white man) novel ‘The Gift of Rain’ was selected from a list of 110 entries in total. Though I have not read it, its now on my grocery list.

Reunited – Man and Beast

What a heart warming video! The guys must have total faith in their friendship with the beast. If I saw a fully grown cat running towards me I would scream like a little girl and hightail it out of there. Instead they just stand there and let the guy ‘pounce’ on them.

Anti-Bush heatsink

Here is a repository of blog posts on wordpress.com which in one way or another lambast the Bush administration for the sham that it is. There is no quality control. I just threw stuff on the wall to see what sticks.

1.  Dandelion Salad

2.  Groves Media

3.  The Jonzeblog

4.  Hamlett Post

5.  Hope2012

6.  Absolutely Alex’s Adventures, Life and Times……

7.  Don’t Trust The Media

8.  Disinter

9.  Carson’s Post

10. Bob’s Blog

Good to be bad

It was just idle chit-chat, insubstantial pleasantries to make up for those uncomfortable silences between mere acquaintances. We were talking about male hair-dressers and how you can spot one a mile away with their limp-wristed gestures, slinky bodies and multi-hued hairdo’s.

“You have to accept the fact that while politically incorrect, stereotyping works,” I submitted to my colleague.

“I disagree. Looking at me would you guess that I have streak of bad-girl in me?” she asked with a twinkle in her eye and a knowing smile.

The way she said it, you could sense that she was actually proud to have a naughty side, no matter how self-deluded. Exactly when did bad become the new good?

Perhaps as with all things, it started at the movies. For a too long now, Hollywood’s dream  machine has been spewing out a long line of protagonists who are as far from being upstanding citizens as can be. Instead of characters steadfast in their quest to strengthen the moral fiber of society for the greater good, we have scoundrels, con artistes, hookers, bandits, murderesses, deserters, blood-sucking vampires, assassins and megalomaniacs with their always diabolical plans for world domination. Some get their due comeuppance in the end but more often then not, they are left to their own devices and lead long but not necessarily healthy lives.

Compare the demur housewife in a floral dress to the leather-booted harlot with big hair. The choice for cultural icon is obvious.

Good girls go to heaven

Bad girls go everywhere

Sweet bitterness

Came into contact with the human embodiment of bitterness today. This guy has a long history of personal tragedies dating to the time he was involved in a horrific road accident which left him paralyzed from the waist down. He was then diagnosed with HIV and since then relations with his wife has been strained to say the least. The wife has more or less washed her hands of him. He was admitted to a state-owned hospital for a urinary tract infection more than 3 months ago and it looks as if he may never leave.

Before going into the hospital, he has been shunted from one long term care facility to another. When asked, the caregivers in these centers said that he was a ‘trouble maker’. I often wondered what kind of trouble a man paralyzed as he is can cause. Lately I have come to realize why they said what they did.

In his opinion nothing is good enough for him. He never misses a chance to complain about things around him. Every small little thing will set him off on a pointless rant. He verbally abuses the staff and a day never goes by without him getting into an argument with them. He demands instant attention from the staff refusing to wait even when they are attending to other patients. He will complain about how difficult it is for him to get to toilet which is a valid point in his condition and how the government can buy this or that equipment for his use.

There are 2 types of healthcare in Malaysia. On one hand you have the government hospitals and on the other you get the private centers that will costs an arm, a leg and then some. The government hospitals run at a loss because the patients pay a small fee (as low as USD 1.50) for specialized consultation and medications. If they are admitted to the wards, a daily fee of USD 0.85 is charged and this is inclusive of meals. As far as treatment and procedures are concerned they amount to nothing much and for government servants even more fees are waived. I remember the case of my neighbor who was admitted for a medical procedure after which he gleefully showed me the hospital bill which came up to a grand sum of USD 0.85.

There is also something called the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act which amongst other things waives all hospitalization fees for persons afflicted with any condition which is considered of potential infectivity to others in society. Examples would be Tuberculosis and HIV to name but 2. Which brings us back to our malcontent. If he leaves the hospital he will have to pay nothing. Zilch. Nada. What does he do? Complain about the service provided and the lack of a potty with a big enough hole for his fat ass. Honestly that was his pet rant of the week.

All day he sits in his assigned bed and gets into one altercation after another with the staff who would as soon strangle him if permitted to. As such they have to keep their cool and bear the verbal barrage. Its as if the whole world owes him and he has come to collect. He never pauses to think about what the people around are trying to do for him. They are total strangers and I feel like asking him where his family is in all these. They are certainly not there to clean him and clear the scatological mess he makes everyday, sometimes more than once per day. All he does is lie there and complain.

A small part of me feels sorry for him for all that he has gone through, although I have to admit that its getting smaller by the day. In its place is an indignation that this guy deserves everything that has been dished out to him. I do not pretend to begin to understand the pain this man is harboring inside. All I know is that his attitude is not helping matters. He is digging himself into an ever deepening hole.