Big Bad Book Sale

I went to the Big Bad Book Sale yesterday (thank you Syada dearest!). One word : madness! I went there with my sister, whom I dragged because I seriously thought she needed a break from her intense revision of Biology.

Amcorp Mall was expectedly crowded, even from the outside. Cars were parked on both sides of the road which caused the traffic to be slow. I was beginning to fret when we couldn't find any parking spot after countless detours. As I saw more and more people coming out carrying with them handful of Big Bad Wolf plastic bags, I was anxious. I wanted to jump out of the car! Alhamdulillah, after half-an-hour of searching, we secured ourselves a spot and later hurried to our destination.

When we reached Level 3, we were panting but all of that was forgotten once we stepped foot into the threshold of the hall. Ahhh, books everywhere!! We wasted no time and started book hunting. Throughout the time I was there, I began to accept the fact that foot-stepping, bums knocking and shoulders brushing are common during book sales (is it?). I guess everyone was just too blinded by books to even notice/feel any of those.

While many carried with them a box full of books, I only had 4 of my choice. Each of them costs RM8 each.

They are :

1. Jhumpa Lahiri - Unaccustomed Earth
2. O.Z. Livaneli - Bliss
3. Chris Cleave - The Other Hand
4. Jacquelyn Mitchard - Cage of Stars

I can say that they were totally a good buy, what with Lahiri's hardcover for only RM 8! It's a good thing I didnt get that the last time I was in MPH. I was hoping I could find more, but after 2 rounds I decided that that was it. These will be sufficient to feed me for another month or two.

We left the place immediately after I have paid as I was beginning to suffocate in the sea of people and unpleasant body odors haha!

4 in 2

In the course of 2 months, I am very proud to announce that I managed to read (and finished) 4 novels. This is a proud achievement as compared to what would normally be a novel in 3 months. I have never felt so whole and satisfied, really.

I started off with Preeta Samarasan's Evening Is The Whole Day (EITWD). To be honest, I stopped after a few turnings due to its dense contents and unlikeable font (at least to me).

When I stopped, I couldn't get myself to pick it up and read it again -- probably my mood wasn't into it already. Feeling guilty, I moved on to the next novel which I have bought and was glued to it until the very last page while EITWD was left untouched. The novel was Anita Shreve's Testimony.
I have heard so much about this particular writer but I have never read any of her writings. Testimony was my first and I kinda like it. It is about how a scandal in an Ivy boarding school, being uncovered and let out in the public can affect so many lives, and also took one under the unbearable circumstance. The novel is written in the point of views of the people involved, hence the title testimony. It managed to build up the suspense in me, unwanting to know the truth of what really happened but at the same time, I cannot wait for the novel to unveil everything.

Close friends would know how much I love and adore Jodi Picoult's work so when I finally got my hands on her latest novel, Handle With Care I went straight into it and finished it in no time!
Like her previous novels, Handle With Care, too centres on the themes of family and choices. Although I didn't cry at this one, it certainly opened my eyes on the Brittle Bone Disease which is what the main character Willow was suffering. This story is about how a mother out of her helplessness and years of tiredness (I'd like to think of it that way) taking care of her child with BBD ended up filing a wrongful birth to the person who is supposed to be held responsible for her and her daughter's suffering. That person is her personal doctor, who also happens to be her best friend.

I like how Picoult managed to let her readers feel the misery of how a family can get so affected with a disease which a member is suffering from that the truth sometimes needs to be spoken out loud. She lets us weigh the arguments of the wrongful birth, and makes us realise that if this ever happened to us, we might do what we initially disapprove of. This story speaks for itself, that an action can bring a family together or tear them apart. Handle With Care, too reminds us that no matter how hard we try to mend things, they sometimes can't be saved; they break just like the many bones in Willow.

After reading this, I decided I was ready to dive into EITWD for the second time, which I successfully finished. I have so much fondness for this novel because it is something that I can truly relate to as a Malaysian. The setting and backdrop of the Post-Independence Malaya was painted quite vividly and the characters are among whom we can find in our daily lives in Malaysia. It also highlights the issue of class and caste which whether we realise it or not, is still prevalent if not among the Indians but also the Malaysian society in general. It speaks out what we wouldn't dare to admit about unity among the races and that we are very much shaped by our past that it could be a mistake all along. It was a good read although at times I kinda lost it.

Lastly, I stumbled upon this book one day while I was book-hunting in Popular. It's Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones.

If a book is about a tragedy, a family, and the aftermath/in the course of its happening, I am one who would be hovering over it. Now a major motion picture (I am yet to read the reviews), I can't help but think that The Lovely Bones is slightly Picoult-ish in comparison. This novel was neither brilliant nor bad. I wish the antagonist would suffer more from his murderous acts. It didn't leave me with a bang (as what I had hoped for) and I wasn't satisfied with how it ended. But again, it depicts a family's struggle to cope with their loss of a family member who was brutally raped and murdered at 14 and how each one of them tried to cope differently. Their grievances somehow drifted some of them apart while some remained tight than ever. This story is written from the eyes of Susie (the dead child) hovering, watching from up above, everything that's been happening in the lives of her loved ones, even after a decade of her death and her (still) untraceable body parts and bones.

So, time to bury myself in another book since it's the holidays. I don't plan to purchase any because I am just starting my brother's Harper Lee's To Kill a Mocking Bird. I know, I know (sangat ketinggalan) but better late than never right? I know that this will not let me down. Happy Reading people!

twilight la bagai

I was so ecstatic at first when my sister told me that Star Movies will be showing Twilight. It premiered yesterday night, but much to my expectation, I actually went to bed and missed it. I guess I am not meant to watch it. Ever since it first came out, I never get myself to watch it. After awhile, I lost interest and I don't have that enthuse anymore. What with the never ending coverage to the extent that it got totally overrated, the movie kinda annoys me. Suddenly I hate RB and his co-stars.

I don't even read the book but I just want to see it for myself and affirm others' comments and reviews. Maybe it is a jiwang vampire movie, after all. And a friend actually said that New Moon is sedih, as in pathetic sedih. Haha is it that bad? Or maybe she's just not into it. I get her. No offense, but why drool over a 'sejuk' vampire, with a sejuk badan and all?

Thai temptations

We had a pre-birthday celebration for Ayah yesterday at one of his favourite restaurant Sri Ayutthaya in Section 13 Subang Jaya. One would never expect such a restaurant to be operating in a 2-row of shop houses in a housing vicinity. I have always loved this particular restaurant because of it's fine dining and it offers you the best taste of Thai you can ever imagine (by my standard, at least). Not to mention the mouth-watery Thai desserts. Plus, it's affordable too.

The decor is nice. Well, nice would be an understatement. As an authentic Thai restaurant, it has this genuine Thai style setup, as authentic as the waiters and waitress were in Thai traditional garment, with their hands put together in a praying manner greeting you with the most alluring "Sawadikaaaap...". The ambiance is topped with endless Thai songs being played which brings out the best of Thai Culture.

Well, let the pictures speak for themselves :

(too bad I didn't snap pictures of the waiters and waitresses)

The dishes :

(from l-r) : beancurd with *insert thai name here* sauce, vege tomyam, asparagus with scallops, sizzling prawn with honey sauce (yummy!!), butter soft shell crab (double yummy!)

And the desserts that we ordered were :

Mango with sweet rice

Sort of Kiwi and Mango ABC with sago (I forgot the name)

It was indeed a good feast. Happy Birthday Ayah!

cluttered mind, an aching heart

Today turned out to be frustrating. I came to school with a good vibe, with a mission to print my class marksheet and individual slips and wrap everything only to discover that quite a number of subject teachers haven't filled in the marks for my class. My mood changed abruptly and I couldn't contain my fury. To me, this is just unacceptable.

I wasn't in school for 2 days, a duration long enough for each one of them to key-in the marks. I had done so before I left for each class that I am teaching to save the hassle for the class teachers. I remember rushing to the IT lab everyday to ensure it's not occupied so that I can get my task done. But no, apparently, they aren't that thoughtful. In the end, I had to key-in those marks myself -- a task which took double the time I estimated that I had to cancel the plan I had with my mum, which is double the frustration.

Being a class teacher is not easy. Especially when it involves examination marks. Cooperation is the key but it is also a hard thing to get when everyone thinks they are the busiest in the school. But even if you are, what's the harm in making time? I can do it, why can't they? One person can really slow down your work and that's what I hate most.

Is it any wonder why I have become slightly calculative.

evening is the whole day

I can't believe I actually survived the past 2 days of invigilation. If you ask me, that 2 days were the perfect description of boredom in its truest sense. I had no option but to stare out in the open space, walked around the hall for God knows how many times, and well, just walked aimlessly to kill the longest hours in my life!

The school that I am invigilating is KISAS so I had no problems so far. These are really good students and no one actually went out after half-an-hour. Every one of them stayed until the end and wrote non-stop like their lives depended on that particular paper they were answering. They didn't leave any lines unwritten (seriously). In fact, the only thing that I looked forward to was attending their exuberant needs of more extra papers which, as you can guess my only form of exercise.

Looking at these students reminded me of the year when I sat for my SPM. Coming from a school which prioritizes both quality and quantity, I struggled. Oh yes, I was one struggling student alright. I was pressured because the rest of my comrades were high flyers; studying and grasping concepts seem like a natural thing to them, while I studied like a madwoman that it frustrated me sometimes. I had to go through a series of tumblings and unacceptable failures to get what I want while the rest seemed to ace through so very easily. So I get it that those students I invigilate took revenge and gushed every hope and frustrations into the papers. And hopefully what was being poured will grant them the A's that they aim for.

Being a student is tough these days. While I had only 2 papers of Biology, Chemistry, and Physics, they now had to endure three. And I discovered that even Pendidikan Islam has 2 papers now (like what?). I was not aware of such changes because English papers had not undergone any tremendous changes ever since.

I can only hope and pray that they will champion this hurdle, especially to my sister whom I had witnessed showing tremendous effort all year through. So this is it - it's the time to prove yourself. Although sitting for that 2 hour and thirty minutes paper seems like the whole day, it's nothing compared to how it can affect your life.

sunday night ramblings

These days, I can't seem to understand why I am being so sensitive of things, perhaps a little bit too much even I can't stand it. For all I know, it might be paranoia. Of what exactly, I am not too sure myself. I guess I am just thinking too much. Or, what I really need is to get out and meet people I haven't met in such a long time. Clear the head for once and forget the mess that's clogging my brain.

Suddenly all of these seems propitious. Hurmm.

And have you seen 2012? It is haunting me I can't even shake it off my head. I am still shaken by the whole 'end of the world' depiction which I thought was pretty daunting. I cried, yes, thinking that one day it will happen and when it does, nothing (I mean nothing, not even that fancy, state-of-the-art ship) could save us. It's just beyond our imagination, and what 2012 portrayed was just the tip of the iceberg kan. Or probably not even close. But it was a good watch despite it being a tad too long.

Oh, it's past my bedtime already. I better stop if I do not want to start my day languidly tomorrow.

sit tight and pay no attention

After today, I now know where I stand. And I was right by keeping my distance from certain colleagues.

There's a reason why people always say when you don't have anything to talk about, then just zip it. Sometimes, when your mouth just can't stop something will slip. And when that something something slips, you'd be lucky enough if it's not being circulated. Apparently, people can twist your words and even manipulate you. Not to mention, they eye you like a hawk. I wonder, is it just my school that these kind of people exist? And why is it so typical of a school to be associated with such kind.

I am still searching for people who makes me comfortable in my own skin. But I can't seem to find any yet. Apparently, searching for a friend is as difficult as making one.

buruk perangai

Just thinking about yesterday can make me go berserk. I can already feel the anger building and my breathing short and heavy.

Picture this :

The queue was already endless but you joined in because mom wanted KFC. It's the weekend, you should have known, but you didn't mind because you have all the time. The line seemed to take forever to budge an inch and you started to wonder what's taking so long. You looked to your right and you saw faces of exasperation and impatience on each queuing customer. After a while, you grew impatient too because it's been a ridiculously long wait. An aunty bravely voiced her dissatisfaction which was soon joined by a pakcik. The manager tried to calm them down, whom at that moment already bonded due to a shared concern. You, on the other hand, knew better. As it turned out, three young ladies were to be blamed. Poor KFC workers were wrongly accused. These three ladies, apparently (even after a long wait themselves), hadn't made up their minds on what to order. Yes, they should have mentally decided, but no, they chose to discuss that when ordering. That caused the long wait. After having to wait for another long dreadful one, they briskly walked away with their takeaways without any tinge of guilt displayed albeit the angry ferocious faces turned towards them

I slapped them hard - how I wish.

Sakit hati bukan?

let's watch them all

I can't seem to remember when was the last time I watched a movie and one which is so worthy of the amount I had to pay. I will not include Harry Potter movies because I will be biased -- they are among my favorites and no matter what people say I think they're worth the pay and nothing beats the satisfaction I gained. Again, I am biased.

These days, I seem to lag on the latest movies shown. It's quite frustrating that every other weekend has to be filled with 'activities' which are of utmost priority that watching movies has become somewhat demanding to fulfill. I made plans, but none actually happened.

I missed on quite a few which I promised to watch, but rest assured, I was less exasperated than I used to be on similar occasions. It's okaylah to miss some, can buy dvd what. But of course, there will be the issue of when to get them. Plus, I won't be a 'law abiding citizen' if I do so (hint : the movie that I want to watch so badly). And I wonder when will My Sister's Keeper be out because friends overseas have watched it and they cried real bad. I can't wait to cry too.

And perhaps give The Time Traveler's Wife a try. I've read raving reviews about it and I might as well drag Rizal along. Oh, and 2012 too just because the trailer gripped me and Adam Lambert sings the soundtrack :)

don't stop till you're at the finishing line

As the school semester is nearing to an end, I can't get myself to be happy about it. I should, but I can't because I know I won't be holidaying away as I wish.

First on the list, I was chosen to invigilate the SPM. I can't complain, allowance is provided, the school I am invigilating is just within the area - no hassle, no main roads and no traffics. It's kind of expected so I am not surprised. Just feeling a little bit burdened because this leads to many other, shall I say, tasks?

As I will be away from school earlier before it closes, I have to get so many things done way ahead than the rest of the teachers. Abundance of things need to checked off from the list which I doubt I will manage before I leave. A class teacher has so many in her hands, I wish not to become one next year (which is also very unlikely). Thank God that English papers are always scheduled earlier, so I will have quite some time before I finish all the marking - a task so challenging it requires a strong will on my part *tsk*

And then there's the intensive headcount training as a teacher will be transferred next year. You've guessed it right, she's handing over her (tedious) post to yours truly. Quite wearisome, I would say. Many things to learn, yet so little time.

I really hope I don't have to bring those worries with me down under. Let's have a work-free holiday! Yeay! And let's persevere! (Let it be my mantra for the next 3 weeks or so)

if only

If only the message didn't come in. I could have eased a little and urged a smile. But it did. And it made all the difference.

If only the issue could have been dropped. No more probing further, but you teased me on that, reminded me on things I want to forget. And you did just that.

I guess you asked for it. It might take awhile for me to accept you for whatever you are, but I don't think I could look at you and pretend that nothing ever happened because it did. It sure as hell did.

familiar fantasy

You have an image of driving, but simply driving away. To drive and then to stop. To a motel, to another city, another state probably. Anonymity. Freedom.

It is a fantasy, one so familiar because you've had such ever since you were twenty. It's just that you've never indulged in it, never once gotten into a car and driven just to see where the road would take you, stopping when you want to, no destination, no time constraints. There have been moments in your life when such a thing might have been arranged.

And yet you have never done it.

The Writer

The Writer
I am a wife, a mother, and a teacher by profession. At times a pessimist and one who is easily amused. I find comfort once entering the threshold of my bedroom. I write because I want to and it makes me feel good :)