Friday, March 30, 2007

Mati Puncak.

It was a rainy Saturday morning last week. We were too lazy to make our way for our Bangsar breakfast routine. So we settled for any outlet in TTDI instead.

As usual, there're always a few posh wheels parked outside East n West. I ordered my normal roti bakar and Nescafe Tarik while husband piggishly happily plonk a mixture of nasi lemak and fried kuey teow.

My side view, across the road from the restaurant parked the latest S350. A slim shouldered guy in his late 30's walked through the rain to take an umbrella in the boot.

I was staring blankly towards my front view. But I can't help noticing a menacing big black pick up truck fully covered with 4 extra spotlights.

Another slim shouldered man in his early 40's with an umbrella in his hand and a ciggy in another, smiling to himself.

In my head, hmmmmm..... ini mesti ada masterplan ni. Park kereta kat sini pastu pegi main golf. Perfume semerbak satu restoran.... must be Chinese golf...

Later, both guys stood together continuing their smoke.

Another man in his late 40's walked out from the restaurant, in light blue shirt and white pants and a cigar. His son of younger than 11 was by his side.

I thought, hmm.... good alibi to bring.

Then the two men with the umbrellas came towards him and umbrella-ed both the man and his kid towards the S350!

One man, started the engine. Another walked towards the pick up truck.

"Ooohhh, ingatkan tiga mamat tua nak pegi Chinese Golf. Silap!"

I thought, he must be some kind of royalty then.

Poncho: My God, he thinks he's a bloody Cuban ke? You know who that is?

Me: Donno. Raja mana? Satu driver, satu body guard.

Poncho: That's the xxxxx in Puncak Niaga.

Me: ???????? Who's is he trying to protect himself from? Got money falling out of his nose ke that people might want to kidnap him? Or is he such a bloody asshole that so many ppl want to shoot him? Millionaire Mat Salleh pun takde escort macam tu. Hidup segan mati tak mau. Kena hujan sikit pun tak boleh ke?

Fuck... apa ke jadah.. I don't care if I sound like Amir Hafizi or Wan Kamaruddin Edisi Siasat. I like them both. They should investigate this ugly Melayu and tell him tak payah nak mengada-ngada and buat malu bangsa berlagak bila bangsa sendiri tak kenal jasa dia, inikan lagi muka Jawa dia and muka Jawa and gemuk anak dia yang dah besar sah sah keje dia beli kereta sports and duduk main game kat rumah and tengok porn 24 jam and perabih bogheh negara.

I don't care, I know I'm judgmental, I can smell a filthy rat from afar. I hate this kind of Malays.


Sunday, March 25, 2007

The End of Her Purring.


The house is never without cats since we moved in in 1982. We looked after the same feline generation since. To me, a house without somekind of domestic pet is lack of a certain kind of emotional ecosystem. Or, should I say, in Feng Shui's term - 'To Keep the Qi (energy) Circulating, Rare a Pet'. Homes will look happier don't you think?

Over time, we also picked up stray cats back home. Among hundreds of them, there are a few which really stole our hearts with their queer querks. The most adored was named, Joy. He was picked up infront of a mamak shop.

Everyone who walked out of the shop would pet him before they go off, can't stop smiling seeing it rolling and stretching alone, either trying to catch its own tail or scratching its body against the sandy roadside.

Maybe it is its carefreeness that reminds us how simple life should be and how much love can go around in utter fuzzy silence.

I brought him back and the whole house of family of four workaholics seemed extra brighter. We have an indoor playful spirit. He's like a little child who'd wait for a catching game and sleep together by wrapping itself on our neck with purr as a loud as a sewing machine.

When we have guests, he's actually one of our PR, going around letting others stroke its stomach and even climb and sniff their faces. Joy is 'functionally' really part of the family in the way he gave back, I remember, there was a period of time I got too busy with work, hardly saw him during the month and then had to be away for 3 days. It looked rather thin suddenly and less active. I thought, after my outstation trip, I was going to buy Joy some extra luxury food and toys he can damage to pieces.

I guess a month was too much for it... I don't know.. to wait for a catching game and have us sitting by his side while he gobble down his dinner. I came back and it just disappeared.

I spent a month driving around, walking around, combing all streets and drains and walked back crying like a little kid.

There's a vacuum suddenly.

I told myself, 'no more getting too close to cats'. It's just going to be about feeding and looking after, that's it!

Now that I lost Kathy, I finally understood what exactly made me so upset. It's not just literally that there's a death.

Kathy was born in a siblings of 4, her mother disappeared when all of them were big enough to look after themselves, but one was still very manja. It was weird but she didn't kick back when it was trying to snuggle on her stomach for a pacifier. Dah la jantan pulak tu, his name was Ginger.

All her siblings gave birth and sometimes just left theirs kittens starving. She would again feed them and groom one by one of them so dedicatedly. There are times food almost run out and only very little was on the plate. She would let all the kittens eat first, most of the time, she just gets the last little bits that spilled out on the floor.

I thought, she would only look after her blood line.

But no, dad brought back a dirty skinny kitten one day and she quickly groomed it and treated it like one of hers. Guess she's just a neat freak.

She has her way of keeping herself part of the family. In the evenings, she would make sure she's inside the house just listening to our conversation. As if.... that's her way of taking a break from babysitting.

She wouldn't ask for attention unlike Joy, but rather, she'd sit quietly in the middle of the crowd and keep her ears up.

I remember when the Wedding Planner was in the house showing all the samples to mother, she would have nose in them too. And when he handed stuff over to mother, she would raise her paws as if she wanted to see if the notes are valid...... things you even hardly see in human beings! Really kepo!

Yeah, she'd wait for me without fail every day and sat beside me while I wait for my date to arrive outside the gate.

Every morning when father goes out for Subuh prayers, she'll sneak in and wait for me outside the bathroom and sit in bed while I get ready to go to work. I was too used to it that I didn't noticed the fondness then.

She's a great mother and friend to all the little cats, I wonder if she was trying to mother me too.
It is when they are gone, I fell really hard thinking if I have done enough for them. If I have felt for them the way they felt for me so unconditionally. And the saddest thing is, the world is less of another love emitting creature which embraces selflessness without even receiving any preaching that they should do it.

Thank you Kathy for the experience you gave to everyone around me and .. the unconditional love. Syukur pada Tuhan for borrowing me such wonderful angels.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


We always had this theory that a cat will never die at the Master’s home but would just disappear before going to kitty heaven.

But that theory prove to be wrong with the case of Khaty (short for Khatijah). Khaty had been with Maine for the past five years. During her lifetime not only had she had given birth to numerous kittens but also selfishly treated all stray kittens that ended up at the doorstep like her own. This would include feeding and grooming each kitten self.

Her loyalty was uncomparable. When we were dating, everynight without fail, I would see her sitting on top of the car in the garage, just waiting for Maine. When we got married, we boarded her in our apartment to see if she could adapt to new surroundings. However, she got depressed after a month and we felt that she misses sitting in the porch at Maine’s family house, just contented looking at the birds and the cars go by.

With a heavy heart, we returned her back home and we could really see that she was happy to be back in her natural surroundings, mucking about in the grass and flirting her bushy tail with all the male cats that drop by trying to get lucky. We decided that she would be happier spending her twilight days in bliss.

Nevertheless, she would still, without fail greet us at the gate even before us getting out of the car, when we come visiting. I guess to some extent, she is happy to be back in her natural surroundings but at the same time misses Maine and me.

But when I stroked her, I would notice that she was slowly losing weight and that age was slowly catching up with her. Hence, it would just be matter of time.

Last weekend, she disappeared from home for three days – something she had not done before. After two days, we had resigned to the fact that maybe her time had really come and she had gone to kitty heaven.

It was on Sunday evening, that we got a call from Maine’s sister saying that Khaty was found under a tree near the house. When we rush there, we found her slumped, too weak to even utter her familiar meow. We bathed her and then only realized that she had lost so much weight when her fur was wet, showing her frail body. But we really thought that she would get better soon with some TLC again.

Maine’s mummy even put her cat basket in the house at her favourite place (under the dinning table). However, she just spent the next day refusing to eat but just looking at the morning sun and sleeping.

Yesterday evening on March 20th, while Maine’s mum was trying to feed her some milk with a syringe, Khaty died peacefully….at her favourite place, in the house and under the dinning table.

The house where she had lived for five years. So cats do come home to die with their Master.

Maine was too distressed to see her sister bury Khaty and when we reached there at dusk, all that was left was a fresh patch of soil in the garden. The windy night felt like it was also mourning.

We all then proceeded to Porto Romano, ironically to celebrate my belated birthday in the weekend but clearly, despite the good food and ambience, no one was actually in the mood to be merry.

It’s really ironic that sometimes we learn better things from animals than humans. Khaty had thaught us the true meaning of selflessness and loyalty which is increasingly becoming scarce in us especially in today’s rat race.

We’re gonna miss you Khaty and thank you for teaching us humans a valuable lesson.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

One, Two Buckle My Shoes.

I was teaching the kids about the differences among mammals, reptiles, amphibians and insects.

"Insects do not bleed like mammals and reptiles. Give me a few examples of insects."

"Teacher! Ants teacher!"

"Teacher! Bees!"

"Teacher! How about mosquitoes? Got blood what!"


"In order to promote burning or to start fire, the environment you are in must contain oxygen. Without oxygen, you can't start the fire. There is no oxygen in the outerspace and many other planets, so you can't start any fire. But then again, there's no living creatures there that need to do so anyway."

"Teacher, how about the sun?"


They are only in Year 3 so I can't start telling them other complicated knowledge.


Do you know what's the meaning of 'evacuation'?

So I went on explaining the differences of evacuation for flood victims, fire victims and so on and went to the subject of emergency landing for airflights.

"I'm sure you have been on an airplane right?"

"No teacher."


"Thamu, what does your parents do?"

"Father, lorry driver. Mmmmmother cook at home."

"Kanesh and Thievi?"

"Father, toll. Mother kedai runcit."

"Ali? How about your parents?"

"Father with TNB, mother housewife."

...... I was so humbled, yet their parents pay the tuition centre RM70 per month just on Public Speaking and another RM90 per month for 3 other subjects.

so damn pressured to make sure they can finally speak simple conversational English in 4 months' time. These are Form 1 students who still can't differentiate singular verbs against plural.

Owwhh.... 40-50 students in a govt school classroom just cannot work!

ABM Part 2?

Saya sudah lama berkarya.

... dan saya dah bertahun-tahun naik turun mahkamah pasal kes 'intellectual property' ni, sampai duit saya semua habis, sampai tinggal sehelai sepinggang.

... sampai satu hari saya sedar 'intellectual property' ni sebenarnya tak membawa apa-apa nilai langsung.

... saya cuma nak melukis kartun dan menulis novel, sebab itu anugerah yang Tuhan bagi pada saya.

... siapa nak ambik karya saya, AMBIKLAH! ASALKAN IA SAMPAI KEPADA MASYARAKAT.. saya dah cukup bersyukur.

- Kartunis & Karyawan Ujang 3hb Mac, 2007

Whether Jibam The Movie will make it or not is clear to me to be an unimportant issue. I shall close my chapter on him now.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Memang Budak Minang


Thank you for your inputs and thoughts.. yes we are all on the same train wanting to give Ujang the due recognition that he deserves. I'm sure we all wholeheartedly agree that there has been no cartoonist before that has touched our hearts like Ujang.

Although Ujang still seems perplexed as to what the whole fuss is all about, Ujang does not realise that he has touched the hearts of many of his readers worldwide. Getting mails from Malaysian as far as Minnesota for example shows how far his comics and writings are missed.

Contrary to public perception, Me and Maine are not exactly Ujang’s old time friends. We only met him the first time at Pesta Buku Malaysia in April 2006 and that was when the ball started rolling.

But vividly I remember the green centrefold pullout from Ujang’s Aku Budak Minang’s compilation published in 1987. That was the only book that I bought at Pesta Buku Malaysia 1987 with the limited money that I had as a form 3 student. The poster was proudly stuck in my wardrobe and I use to look at it everyday when I combed my hair before going to school.

So nineteen years later, after buying CESB’s hardcopy reprint of Aku Budak Minang which I bought at the Pesta Buku Malaysia 2006 was indeed, a surreal case of Déjà vu.

Ujang needs to know that he still has a lot of fans from the days of yesteryears and that his work has transcended all class barriers. There are many 30 something professionals who, though are western educated, still have a soft spot for his works as we grew up with it.

It is therefore without a doubt that Ujang’s comeback is long anticipated and he is one Anak Bangsa whom we can truly be proud of sans all the hypocrisy, shallowness and hype of others who we are beginning to detest.

He is truly a Budak Minang.

Monday, March 05, 2007

JIBAM THE MOVIE- Issues and Concerns

We were invited for the JIBAM press conference last Friday in Petaling Jaya. Thank you Ujang for the invitation. These are my observation and concerns.

1. JIBAM is Malay-centric.
It does not appeal to the non-Malay segment and to some extent to the Urban Malays as well. Demographics would dicate that the malay segment would be most concentrated in the East Coast, South and Northern peninsula.

Take for example, the East Coast. In the event that JIBAM is to be effectively marketed there, the only form of viewing would be at the Cinemas. The question is: If there is a limited access to Cinemas in the East Coast, how effective would be the market penetration?

My concern is that it would be very unfortunate in the event that JIBAM does make the headlines, the only people who will be laughing all the way to the bank would be the VCD pirates. With demand, comes supply and any self-disrespecting VCD pirate would only be too happy to satiate the demand of these viewers. After all, what choice would the viewers have? Either to travel to travel xx kilometers just to watch a movie and incur a lot of cost (bear in mind that the folks in these area do not have the disposable income like those in the Klang Valley) or just pay RM8/10 dollars for a pirated VCD to watch it at home with the whole family.

Cost savings? It doesn’t need a genius to figure that one out.

The only other option that I can think of is to flood the market with original VCDs in that area. In this event, the distribution needs to be worked out well with the video distributors like Speedy, EZY video and the likes (that is if they have any or sufficient branches there in the first place).

2. The Targeted Market Segment
Many of the original readers of his works like Aku Budak Minang, Aca, Intelligent Blues Clubs are now within the late 20s to mid 30s group like myself. We grew up with his works and it reminds us of our childhood. The mid 20s group and below have not heard of Ujang and it is difficult for them to accept something which they cannot relate to.

As such, in the bigger scheme of things, this targeted market segment i.e. predominantly Malay late 20s to mid 30s group consist of those coming from low class to the middle upper class of the society. Lets look at them in turn.

In the event of those that fall within the low to the middle class level which the wife children in tow, paying RM50++ for at least 3 tickets and a night out (with the assumption of the missus and kid coming along) just for old time sake would nevertheless be a burden to them. I don’t see any other solution at the moment than a win-win situation between the VCD pirate and home entertainment for the whole family at just RM8 a pop like the argument above.

Now we come to the upper middle class Malay group. All of them are now urban bi-lingual professionals mostly living in Klang Valley. To these discerning group, with a life exposed to other cultures and other forms of art, comes high expectations. With, the movie in itself must have a good script and direction. It would follow that the last thing they would like is to see their intelligence being insulted especially when they expect that the movie would be at par or better with the original written works of Ujang. In this case, we would rather keep the fond memories of JIBAM off screen.

JIBAM is in itself a thinking novel and due respect and credit must be given to Ujang and this is the challenge of the producer not to taint it with the same brush like other brainless Malay movies like Cicakman for instance.

Therefore, this is the challenge to the Producer of JIBAM the movie. In the Q&A at the Media conference, we did not get a satisfactory answer from them but just a non-committal answer of ‘Oh, it’s a secret as if we disclose our A&P strategy now, our competitors would follow suit’. But, what does your competitors have anything to do with it?.

So the question is: What exactly is your targeted market segment and what is your strategy?

It would be a shame to see JIBAM suffer the same fate as other forgettable movies like Paloh, Embun, Mat Som and all the rest just because of bad and hasty planning.

I hope that I am wrong in December 2007.

The Ponchoman

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