Wednesday, November 30, 2011

ombak rindu

Ombak Rindu

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

It is very hypocrite of me to say that I love this book tremendously. Yes, I like books. Yes, I read this book. But I can't say I read this book and I like it. Sorry. I hate cliches.

I have finished this book long time ago when I was still a student. I remember borrowing it from a friend who mentioned, "Idah nak percintaan Idah nanti macam Izzah!"

Well, I'm sorry but that might be the reason why I thought that the book was not having a good influence. We loved Nur Kasih when it was in TV3 because it appeared sweet with definite happy ending. But most of us (and I was not one of them) were disappointed to know the ending of the story when it was converted from a drama to a film?

When I surfed the net early this evening, I read huge expectations. I read about how most people cried when they read this book; how much the girls were admiring Izzah because of her "toughness". Hariz, in most of the girls point of view, might be the most perfect man in the whole world. And Mila, might be the most hated character even though she was not the real villain of the story?

Oklah. Let me be fair about all this. Let's be objective. It was a nice book. It made a young girl like me dreamed about sweet things in love. But...back then, even when I was a young girl I knew that this was just another love story. I was still disturbed with the fact that Fauziah Ashari made a very disturbing comparison between cauliflower and brocoli. That part had turned me off.

And...the most important part was when she made everything evolved around Johor...Johor...and Johor only. I knew she was from Johor but I personally felt that she was not really thinking outside the box at that time. I would say that her artwork AFTER Ombak Rindu showed more maturity compared to Ombak Rindu itself.

Maybe...just maybe...I wanted the book to be a bit more constructive and realistic in certain ways. But then again, based on experience, even as reader, we would love to be carried away by dreams, love, and lots...and lots of romance.

Besides, that's the purpose of reading a book, isn't it?

To be in the world where nothing is impossible:)

In that way, with due respect, I applaud Fauziah Ashari for her creativity in swaying the moods into the girls' hearts. Judith McNaught did the same. Why can't we just be more supportive?

Having said all this, I would have to admit one thing: Fauziah Ashari definitely swiveled my attention. Brocolli and cauliflower were my favourite vegetables.

Bring in some justice for the veges.

I can't wait to watch Aaron Aziz as my least favourite character. I loved the driver for slapping his own son! Ooopsss...sorry. I can't help spoilers.

But...we have expected happy endings, aren't we?

Monday, November 28, 2011

labour pain to money

" Due to over-population concerns, 'living time' has replaced money as the standard currency and people must acquire more time through labor and commercial means after turning 25 years of age, or die within a year..."
- synopsis of In Time starring Justin Timberlake

Last fortnight, I had a hugely satisfying day. After 2 years of working here, I have finally received the ING Medical Card with good coverage! It was even better compared to the ones that I've used at the companies that I worked with before. Well, they used ING too, but it was not as good as this one.

I mean, being single made it indifferent. But, who knows? With the policy that I held few days ago, I could foresee myself receiving benefits out of the medical and insurance implementation. I was happy enough to prepare the announcement of our medical benefits; my smile was getting wider when my superiors signed it and it was at its best when the team came out with the policy and guidelines for it.

It was all hard work but it was worth it. The moment I met the insurance people, I knew I looked ridiculously radiant. When they gave me the package which consisted of the medical cards, I nearly cried. We have been waiting for this in such a long time! At least I did. At least the team did. Nobody knew how much tears, sweat and blood we shed for those facilities.

I knew the staff in the office were ecstatic. After the insurance people went back, they called and yelped and screamed hysterically through the phone. Okay, that didn't sound nice wasn't it? They shrieked. They giggled like small girls. Especially those ladies who have kept the money beneath their pillow before they delivered their babies. Or the ones who have been waiting in long que for monthly check ups. And especially the ones who have been patiently waiting for the medical practitioners to attend to them when their children were sick at the general hospital. Some could not afford to have medical insurance on their own or for the family. Some was just being unlucky.

But then, hey, that was over wasn't it? At least, now, that has been covered as long as they are under the employment. They are not going to be THAT worried when they are driving to the outlets or event sites. They knew for a fact now that things have changed.

Well, at least that was what I thought. At least, I thought about it in a positive manner.

Some of my colleagues cried when they received the cards. One of the ladies who was actually called herself as "Sha's #1 Enemy" was actually thanking me non-stop and even made an attempt to call me and talked about it like best friends. I even received hugs and pats on my shoulders for handing the cards away. If I wanted to be carried away by it, I supposed, I could. But it was a team's effort with great leadership skills which brought us where we were yesterday. So, I could not take the whole credit by myself.

"Thank you, Sha..." was the nicest gift I had ever received in my whole life. And for my small team to be looked upon was what I have been dreamed of. ( I'm crying)

BUT...the critics would never stopped. Of all the people who have been saying thank you and who have been really greatful, there must be a small group of people who were still condeming us for not being "efficient". Our effort to equalise the medical and insurance benefit, leave entitlement, rights and facilities under The Koperasi or Sports Club with the parent company was not actually classified as struggle. They said, "this was not enough" or "this is nothing" or "well, the other companies are providing us better."

The reason being was because they felt that the non-monetary benefit (from their point of view) are not giving them a cash money. "Mana increment aku, Sha?" was what they asked me even after few months of receiving the increment letter from the very same hand who gave them the medical cards.

One of them even asked me, "Tak guna bagi benefit kalau aku tak kahwin lagi. Mak ayah bukan korang cover, aku jugak cover." Well, my eyes were a bit blurry when I heard that. They would never know about the day when I was alone on 15th October 2010. That was the date when my beloved mother went for her surgery, hospitalized for weeks and off-work for several months. I didn't talk about it, I had never complained about it. My parents were my responsibility - with the medical benefit or without it. Why should I complained about the company's policy when it was my lifetime commitment?

In my head, I was just asking, "Dengan mak ayah sendiri pon berkira ke?

I wonder how does it feels like if our mothers starts to think like the movie In Time. But it is not the time that they are concern about; it's the pain that they had during labour. The hurtful delivery which brought them on the verge of losing their lives.

And a mother says this to a son,

"Due to economy hardship concerns, 'labour pain' has replaced money as the standard currency and people must acquire pay for labour pain that their mother went through once they get a job, or die within a year..."

I wonder the riot that most employers will have to face...


Sunday, November 27, 2011

every breath you take

Every Breath You TakeEvery Breath You Take by Judith McNaught

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have read few reviews on Every Breath You Take and I could not agree more: Judith McNaught was an auto-buy. Similar circumstances happened to me previously. When I was 15, I used to keep my pocket money just to buy Once and Always. I bought Perfect when I was 17 (also with my pocket money). I got Paradise as a gift when I was 18. To complete my Judith McNaught's collection, I bought the other books with my own salary when I was 23. That was just to complete the private collection. Realistically, I have read the whole collection by renting them way before I bought them:)

So, Judith McNaught's books, from my point of view, were what I have been getting throughout my entire life! There was no question whether the book was up to my expectation or a disappointment; because at the end of the day, it was the author that mattered to me. And she was Judith McNaught; an author whose books lived since I understood the word "romance".

However, I have to say that things were a bit compromised back then. There was no tool to actually give out your opinion about the books that you have read like Goodreads. So, my sentiments on Every Breath You Take were being bottled up and I could not mentioned it to anybody else who expected me to borrow the book before talking about the book itself!

I was a Perfect-maniac. Perfect was too good to be true; despite some of the unrealistic features in it. It was the Cinderella story for me, at least. I would read it before I go to sleep and I would re-read it the next day when I was stressed up about something. Frankly, Perfect's cover is no longer visible because of the amount of reading.

On contrary, Every Breath You Take was just Another Cinderella Story. It was a bit modernised, with few research on how the current things been done - like there was a mobile phone compared to letters in Perfect. But the intensity of this book was a bit less. If Matthew Farrell made me swoon (even though I was not interested in Cary Grant resemblance), I definitely felt indifferent towards Michelle Wyatt.

Why was that?

My reasons were simple: Every Breath You Take had a lesser part of playing hard to get. Like things were so simple an easy after they talked about the missing 2 years of not being together. The issue was not being properly addressed and the solution was too simple. It was as if the author lost the interest in writing the second part of the story.

We have been watching Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and etc. I believed that it was about time when some of the romance movies should turn into a movie too. But I won't recommend this book unless the film maker decides to edit the good part of the couple having a child together.

Bring some justice for Danny Boy in this book.

Other than that, JM will remain an auto-buy. I'm waiting for Can't Take My Eyes Off You and not seeing a copy here in Malaysia.

p/s: I re-read Every Breath You Take yesterday:)

View all my reviews

Monday, November 07, 2011

orkid's cafe: the man with a purple guitar

Well, life is not always about me. But since this is my blog and this is my private time, let's compromise about some details about me, first, will you? knew that I have been drooling over Jack Bass for years and years and have been dreaming about him for quite some time. Jack, in my opinion, was one of the cutest persons that I've ever fallen in love with; knowing that he was just a character in one of my favourite sequels.

After quite some time, work has taken most of my life and eventually I stopped writing about Jack. Similar to my real life relationship, I preferred to concentrate on the thing which was helping me to pay bills instead of someone who was giving me heartache or requires too much of my time.

Work vs. Boyfriend equivalent to Work on the winning side.
Boyfriend equals to Jack so Jack was at the losing side.

Jack was losing his grip since I signed my contract of employment with that company. He had the same fate like my real life boyfriend, who was gone with the wind after I went for my second interview. Well, some might say that I was over ambitious or not focus. Trust me, relationship came both ways so when all I needed was support so that things would work, I expected Jack to work it out. When he only appeared in only two or less series of Gossip Girl, it was easy to put him off my mind.

So now...I recovered from my sadness and moved on. Life was difficult but what the hell? I must move...and move on...

...and I discovered a new interest! At the age of 29! Woooohooo....guess who is he?

Okay. It happened accidentally actually. I was back from work, tired and depressed and sad and alone. I was gazing at the television with hope that I won't be having trouble to sleep. Sleeping was hard recently. My body was tired, my eyes were about to close but I couldn't sleep properly.

So, I watched Mary Santiago from the corner of my mum's sofa and thought of seeing cool things. Apparently all I could see was a set of musical drama which made my eyes wide open. Yes, I loved musical dramas. Otherwise I wouldn't watch Sound of Music hundred times in my life!

I gave it a go until I saw this character named Joey Parker danced in front of my eyes. Suddenly I was no longer 29. I was 9 - where my interest was New Kids on The Block. The time went Joey McIntyre was cute and funny. Then I was 13 when Kevin Richardson of Backstreet Boys was the macho hunk I fell in love with for the first time. I was 15 when we were mimicking AJ's moves.

...and I was 16 when I couldn't stop looking at Keanue Reeves. Or 20 when the late Heath Ledger was my funny hero in the Knight's Tale.

I was young again; smiling and grinning at the stupid television - regardless how old and tired I was.

I was in love with this man with the purple guitar:

All I wanted was someone who understood the meaning of exhaustion and the importance of securing a job. Someone who made me remember who I was.

Joey Parker made it real that night. Even though he was just a character in a movie.

I was melting like a butter:)

Thursday, November 03, 2011

orkid's cafe: the beggar from starbucks

day one hundred & fifty seven. by sen136
day one hundred & fifty seven., a photo by sen136 on Flickr.
Beggin'! Beggin you!
Put your lovin hands out baby.
- Beggin' from Madcon

A couple of years ago, when I was a barista, I used to keep the first paper cup which I used to make my first latte. It was a symbol of confidence; whereby every time I glanced at the tall size paper cup, I would think of the time when I was not as handy or as competent as I thought I was.

Those days were tough. Prepping the coffee was a privilege. The beginning of my career was filled with the days of sweeping and cleaning. There was no difference between me and the Bangladeshi who worked at the fast food restaurant nearby. Both of us had our degree and were not really stupid or useless.

We were just jobless and helpless.

Regardless, we tried hard to make ourselves reliable. I remember the days when I used to change clothes at the boutique where I used to shop. Before I fell into that situation, I used to buy some work attires from the boutique. I was a customer. Later on, I had to work really hard just to get a handkerchief for myself. Nothing was affordable in the boutique even though the boutique belongs to a friend.

Money, from my point of view at that time, was one of the most powerful tool to make someone weak at heart. If I was not strong enough during that period, I would have succumbed to the cruel facts of life.

But I was lucky. The time when I was working two jobs in a day had passed for 2 years now. Those days of getting up early in the morning, went through the hassle of teaching students in a secondary school where nobody wanted to learn were finally drew its final curtain. Those rushing days of getting to a coffee shop to perform the later-of-the-day-duty have finally taken its toll.

Alhamdulillah. I finally got a job and eventually managed to expand my career. But never...ever...I would forget the times when I was a teacher, a cleaner, and a daughter - all at once in a day.

Yes, I was lucky, folks. I was too lucky. Each time I remember the times when people spat on the floor that I swept, I would feel this huge lump in my throat. Those thoughts made me stronger and wiser: We're not always lucky in life and the biggest test would be given to the toughest people.

After 2 years of leaving those days behind, I was still having fears. Fears of living that kind of life again; thinking how difficult it was to be looked down upon each day. Being a barista was not that bad, but being a teacher was worst. Some teachers were not human. The term GSTT was too disgusting to them; they thought that what happened to me would never happened to their own children. Well, sorry teachers, not all of you were harmful. My parents were teachers too, but what happened back then - the jeers and leers and the proud exclamation were still at the back of my mind. Some people just thought that life would remain constant like a northern star. They were definitely wrong.

This evening, I saw a beggar sitting in front of the escalator at LRT station near Central Market. I have been seeing him for quite some time. He was an Indian man. I was unsure of his own religion and I never bothered to ask. What was so special about him was that he reminded me a lot about my life. The times when leftovers looked delicious. He reminded me about how lucky I was because the GSTT or barista were better than a profession called a beggar.

He was different. I knew I sounded so naive by saying this. There were several beggars in KL; we would never knew whether that person might be under a syndicate or just lived a hard life. But have you heard this: the eyes were the part of our body which would never lie?

Unless he was a good actor, his eyes were different. We could tell that some times beggars were not sincere but what he showed me was a plea - either he was begging me to help so that he could survive or he was begging because he would want to survive from those bad people who hurt him. I didn't know, folks. But I did know that he was one of those people whom I never hesitated to help even though it was just a coin of 20 in my pocket.

I was not trying to say that I was kind. I was just...drawn to give. For some reason.

Maybe it was his paper cup. Unlike my yellowish paper cup, his was torn and empty. Well, maybe people thought that he was just lying. But for me, he didn't have to be in the same race or religion with me. He was just another human who had worst paper cup than mine.

It has been months now since the first time I saw him at the same spot on the back from work. His paper cup was getting worst. I often wondered whether something could be done for him. He was sick! I knew he'll lose his eye sight - sooner or later. He lost his legs already. My assumption was that he might have diabetic. Things must be really difficult...

And there was a man, sitting beside me over dinner this evening; and complained about his job - non-stop! Over a plate of tasty nasi goreng kampung, I was hearing stupid...stupid confession.

"Saya malas betul nak buat kerja...buat apa, buang masa..." he said to me once.

He declined to do any tasks given, bad mouthing his colleagues, lepaking at any time he could, smoking during work, over utilised his leave and medical entitlements...well, what else could I say?

And he drank from a glass.

Didn't he realised that the glass could turned into a torn paper cup?