Saturday, November 24, 2007

The world is your oyster...

but most oysters are found in the sea.

"Hi sir, how're you doing?'

I looked up.

Two burly uniformed police officers stood before me. I was cornered. I had nowhere to run. Of course, I had no intention to do so. But the fact of the matter was, I had nowhere to run.

"Sir, we have the right to search you under Section 44(2) of the Terrorism Act."

Have you ever seen a duck in water before? As it moves along the surface of the water, it looks most serene. But just beneath, it's feet will be flapping wildly, trying to keep itself afloat... that's how I was.

I looked around, not sure what I was looking for. I had been in the quiet corner of the concourse, reading the fare guide intently, minding my own business. Most of the people who were coming from the direction of the train station, where I had come from, went down straight to the tube platform.

For the next few minutes, they searched my rucksack, and took down my details.

Hair : Short black

Clothing : Upper : Black Jacket; Lower : Black Jeans

Footwear : Brown Shoes

Build : Medium


Throughout, I remained calm, answering the questions they asked, trying my best not to look like a duck. Forgetting how to spell the name of the street I lived on didn't help.



"Here's your record. You're free to go."

I took the pink slip, and kept it in my pocket.


Well, at least I had an excuse for being late to meet my friend...


It wasn't too bad actually, they were polite, and had gone to great lengths to keep me comfortable.

Got to take it on the chin.

Was I insulted?

Nope. It happens.

Keep up the good work guys!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Courage is not the absence of fear...

it is acting in spite of it.

Imagine you are doing a safari in Kenya.

A lion starts running at your direction.

25 seconds.

Two paths...

What do you do?

20 seconds.


15 seconds.


10 seconds.


5 seconds.


An imperfect but fast decision-making process is better than a perfect but time consuming one.


Thank you, Dr. Laure Cabantous, you are brilliant.

L'espoir pour vous voir encore!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

If you weren't real...

I would make you up


I read it. I understood it perfectly well. She read it as well. She understood it perfectly well, as well. The only problem was, we understood it differently.

There were three ways to do this. One was to pour it into the left cup. The second, into the right cup. The third, and this was how I understood it, was to just splash detergent on top of my laundry.

"This is detergent actually, not bleach or softener... so shouldn't we pour it straight onto my clothes? That's what the instruction here says..."

The Greek sweety shook her head and asked me to wash the left cup she took out from my machine. "Trust me. Your first time doing laundry?"

Hmph... not that again.

She kindly offered to pour my detergent into that left cup, and then slammed the drum door shut. There was no turning back, and nothing left for me to do. Coins into the machine, and I just had to wait for 39 minutes...

But right now
Everything you want is wrong,
And right now
All your dreams are waking up,
And right now
I wish I could follow you
To the shores
Of freedom,
Where no one lives


The next time I was in that laundry room, I was all set to splash it into the centre, right on top of my clothes. There were three other people around, one doing her laundry, the other two, just hanging around.

Like wet laundry... :-)

Just to confirm, why not?

"So, you'd pour the detergent into the middle, right?"

The one doing her laundry turned to me, and began to walk towards me, and she got closer, and closer, whoa isn't that too close to answer a laundry question...

and she took the detergent bottle from my hand.

Dude, get a grip of your life!

And you can start by holding on to your detergent bottles like a man!

"This you must pour into the right cup."


I tried to diplomatically protest, but she was quite sure of herself. She looked like she'd been to the laundry room many more times than I'd been there, so, in a way, I guess she had the right to dictate how it operates...

I poured it this time, into what I was sure was another wrong cup, and she pressed the setting for me. Whites and colours. And an extra button, 'permanent press'. No idea what that does.

But right now
Everything is turning blue,
And right now
The sun is trying to kill the moon,
And right now
I wish I could follow you
To the shores
Of freedom,
Where no one lives


This time, I was determined. No one was going to stop me. That blue liquid, all 125 ml of it, was going into no cups. No way. It's gonna go straight on top of my clothes. No one could make me do otherwise.

And I executed my plan, successfully.

I smiled to myself. I was happy. I slammed the door shut.

A bit too hard.

Whites and colours. What the heck, permanent press too.

Too bad no one was around to see me do this...

We're made out of blood and rust
Looking for someone to trust
A fight
I think that you came too soon
You're the honey and the moon
That lights
Up my night


If we do something with the right intention, it doesn't really matter how we go about doing it - left cup, right cup or in the middle - we'll always come out smelling like fresh laundry :-)

Coz when we do things with the right intentions, the world somehow conspires to help us.


Saturday, November 3, 2007

love ~ the one game you lose...

if you refuse to play.

It was close to midnight, and I was furiously typing. I reached the end of the sentence and I gave the return key on my laptop a mighty tap, nearly a punch, with my muscular index finger...

And that set-off the fire alarm in my room!

I looked at the ceiling, and the alarm was blinking. And wailing...

I contemplated reaching up to see if I could shut it, but I guess the fire brigade was probably on it's way already, knowing how efficient they are in this country. I better evacuate.

Hmm... I must've been hallucinating... I couldn't possibly have caused the fire alarm to go off.

I headed for the door, and remembered that in this country, it would be freezing outside. So I put on more clothes. Headed for the door again, and remembered my mobile phone. Headed for the door again, and remembered my wallet in the drawer...

Oi, it's midnight and you're going to be gathering in a car park! What do you need your phone and wallet for??

I left my room, and saw the rest of my hall-mates slowly making their way down the fire escape. As we gathered in the carpark at that cold and windy and damp and dark hour, I realised that it was the first time I was seeing quite a number of my 150 hall-mates. This was certainly a good way to network! Most of us had nowhere to go for the next 15 minutes, we were in our sleeping gowns, pyjamas and other stuff I don't see often... and all generally pissed-off. When moods match, conversations flow.

And for a bunch of people who were preparing to go to bed or were already sleeping, we looked quite good actually...


The next morning, the following notice was pasted near the main staircase of the hall (name, I censored):

"Reason for false fire alarm:

Who did it?....... M****K

'The Uncensored Story'

1. M****k sets off the alarm.
2. Why?
3. Because he really likes this girl...
4. Who?
5. We don't know either :-) ... but...
6. Apparently his friends say that she doesn't look too good without make-up... so
7. To prove them wrong, he sets off the alarm by smashing the fire safety glass...
8. So that she comes out without make-up...
9.We all hope that M****k managed to prove his point and is happy.

n.b. M****k along with his friends were first to come down and stand near the door to check her out."


They should have just told me. I would have got Michael from the job-agency or Chantelle from Paris to sort it out...


An old saying, Spanish I think:

Occasionally, the train goes past and you must catch it because it will never come back, and that's true even when it is passing at an inopportune moment.