Wednesday, March 28, 2007

De Motu Animalium

One of the things we may have taken for granted in our day-to-day lives is the way we move. The way we utilize our bodily functions for specific tasks. The way we use our hands and feet – the way we make gestures, the way we walk. To certain extent, we may be able to recognize someone of whom is dearly to us walking in the distance or moving in the silhouette. It is somehow a signature of each person through the way he or she moves.

If we were to go a little scientific over the fact, it is very much due to our motor skills, a skill that requires us to utilize our skeletal muscles effectively. Motor skills and motor control depend upon the proper functioning of the brain, skeleton, joints, and nervous system. We may have perfected the skills for the biomechanics of it ever since we first learned in our early childhood. The biomechanics of it was first explained in Aristotle’s book of De Motu Animalium, written some yonks ago, of which he detailed out in the application and derivation of engineering principles to and from biological systems. It further explains the pursuance of physiological difference between imagining performing an action and actually doing it.

In our layman understanding, anything less than perfect in the communique and coordination between the brain, skeletal, joints and nervous system, it will result a clownish and blunderous moves in a person – clumsy that is. And, clumsy persons can sometimes be a subject of ridicule as much as hilarity.

If there is an award for clumsy people, I would nominate my 28-year old nephew, the first-born of my eldest sister, to be a contender. He has got all what it takes to be the clumsiest person on earth. His day is not complete if he did not spill any drinks at the eatery, breaking cups and glasses, twitching forks and spoons sprung across the table, even hurdled to the next customers’ tables, bumping into things or fumbling around, to say the least.

As much annoying as it is hilarious, in many occasions we became the center of attraction at the restaurant when the sound of glass breaks or sudden moves of our chairs avoiding the spilled drinks cascading onto our thighs.

When it happens, I would have hard time to either remain in my straight face or to be round the bend or to laugh. It is not a laughing matter but knowing him, it has been much anticipated thing to occur and even to the point the way he fashions the look on his face the time it happens, it would tickle you. I can bet, even you couldn’t hold your laugh if you were in my place.

At one time, after much struggling for him to keep the glass on the table after spilling his Teh-O-Ais, the glass unfortunately, shattered on the floor. He looked unnerved in his panic to keep the glass from falling off. That alone was enough to tickle you. I wanted to keep straight face. And I did. But, on impulse, he stood right up and in his loud voice perhaps camouflaging his embarrassment, he addressed the owner, “Berapa kena bayar gelas pecah ni?” (How much do I have to pay for the glass?”) It was so timely that it snickered, tickled your funny bones. Lucky I was not gulping the drink at that time, if not, I would have spurted the drinks through the nose. And so then I joined the patrons in another 4, 5 tables to burst in chorus.

He and his epicure wife are very enterprising. During the fasting month, he would lease out a stall selling gourmets and delicacies for buka puasa at Bazaar Ramadhan. It was more of moral support than actually a customer when I visited their stall on that evening. More often than not I’d get it free anyway. Well, it befuddled me when the stall was closed on that evening. I called his mobile when his wife answered and told me the whole freight for a day selling was tipped-off down the tarmac the time when they were setting up for business earlier. Walla wei! No wonder some traces of the mess were still there. It didn’t surprise me but it left me in stitches.

There was one time we were the guests in the house of a respected lady over in Seremban, together with a few others in a group. He was already displaying his true self upon entering the house. Taking off his shoes, he kicked the shoe off his right foot much too vigorous that the shoe flew at random. It was just a matter of inches off-target for the shoe to actually fly into the living room when it hit the wall. That was fine still, since the house owner did not realize it.

We were then ushered for a drink to a table with the glass top in her dining area close to the living room from where we were seated. Orange juice was on the menu that day and they were served in the glasses that placed on the saucers. You know, you had better be careful when picking up the glass with cold drink from the saucer because the saucer may stick to the glass.

Being him, he just picked the glass up without realizing the saucer clinging at the bottom. At the height of slightly more than a foot off the table, the saucer then gave way. It smashed on the glass table top. Of course the glass table top was not easily broken but the saucer was somewhat smashed into pieces. Man! The rest of us had a share of embarrassment but we detracted it off while passing some light jokes for cover.

He was then shifting to another corner of the table while the lady started sponging and cleaning the muddle. He squeezed himself between the chair and the wall and without proper admonition, he screamed out, “Aduhhh…Aduhhh…”

Everyone was astounded, afraid that he could have had stepped on the piece of the broken glass.

He was then leaping with a single leg to a stool close to the kitchen area. He sat on the stool, put his foot up and an object could be seen stuck in it. At closer look, it happened to be a Y-Shape structure of an upper torso of a fish bone. It must have belonged to a big fish considering the size of the bone itself. This time around, we couldn’t hold our laugh anymore. It was actually an accident more than clumsiness and it was not funny for stepping on the fish bone for it could've had happened to anyone since it was lying there on the floor.

What tickled us? It tickled when it was not anyone else but him, that lived up well to his attribute if not to his idiosyncrasy.

The question is, why him? Why? I could’ve had stepped on it and so could others. It only served as the reassurance on his clumsiness even God has played a practical joke on him with the twist of fate not to be in his favor. Or perhaps his bad vibes has invited and intensified the negative forces around him.

GAB: Are you as clumsy as my nephew? Bet you’re not.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Yes, He Crossed the Finish Line First

Courtesy: Berlingo

It was past midnight. Sam and Edrin were deep asleep in their bed. It was a double bed they were sharing. Months ago we decided to remove their single beds and replaced it with one queen-sized bed to share. Hence, it has been for the reason Edrin refused to sleep alone and left his bed disused all those while. I did try to get him to sleep in his own bed but later found, he kept tossing and turning with the eyes wide open in the dim of the light as to suggest his insecurity to slumber off by himself – he needs his big brother Sam to tag with.

With then a single-sized bed to be shared by the two, it looked jam-packed due to not enough space to support their boisterous moves while sleeping. I witnessed many times they would pitch, topple and tumble each other in their sleep. Every so often Edrin’s foot would be right on Sam’s nose or Sam’s heavy arm would overlay Edrin’s face. At times I’d hear their latent yet strident bawls in the middle of the night skirmishing for space. Occasionally Edrin would curl at the perimeter of the bed, cornered by Sam, confined to a little space while the rest of the bed was left wide and ample. And they might drool on each other.

I was standing at their bedroom door with lights from the family hall bright enough to see them sleeping with the bolster in the middle separated them. At that very moment, the medals hanging next to the bed brought me to the Sports Day in school a few weeks back. It had been a whimsical event for Edrin when he collected gold medals for his 100-meter and 200-meter runs and silver medal for his 4 x 100-meter in Std-4 category.

He was then whining over poor run by the comrade in second leg that made them resorted to silver medal in the 4 x 100m-relay. I remember, I quickly told him it was okay and better off not to reprimand or rather censure on others. I told him, as far as I was concerned he was indisputably a lucid champ for his age group. I teased him; he could even beat the hell out of the guys in Std 6. Consoled, with all smiles, he swiftly told me how he acted after crossing the finish line. He said he was like an athlete seen on TV with a single knee on the turf bowing down catching his breathes while the crowd especially Blue House kids were still in frenzy. And I remember I was perhaps happier than him seeing his pride soars due to his feat.

At another bedroom door in a different house long ago when Edrin was only a year-and-a-half or two, also standing, and just came back from overseas – luggage still in hand. First look at the cute little baby next to his mom sleeping had brought mixed feelings in me. Without precedent, my fatherly instinct was shrouded with some guilty conscious when I thought he grew up so fast in my absence. If I really had to be away for too long and not seeing him for months or a year, it perhaps provide good reason for spotting the difference but it was only a week before.

But then I realized. I was busy going places, complying with my work schedule. I didn’t really spend quality time with him unlike with Fara and Sam when they were babies.

He’d still be sleeping the time I left home before I had to catch my flight departing somewhere. And most of the times when I came back he’d already be asleep. In a hectic season, as good as early in the morning the next day after my arrival, I had to drag my feet back to the airport or hit the highway heading somewhere, north, south, all directions. If not, the work demands in office were just as heavy. I never had driven back home with the sun still in the sky.

Dropped my luggage, I went kneeling down on the floor close to the edge of the bed. I stroked Edrin’s face, hair, arms, hands, fingers and what not. Caressed and cuddled! Kissed! And kissed! Again! And again! And shoo-shoo when he showed sign of waking up. And Anak-ku pacifier came for the rescue.

I shouldn’t have had shed tears and I never wanted to, but that tiny little feeling in me kept developing and multiplying until it finally besieged – overwhelmed. I choked! I couldn’t help but weeping – tears were coming out fast, running down my cheeks. I had missed some beautiful moments seeing him growing up before my eyes. I felt like I was busy for nothing. Yeah, very true, it was all for the betterment of life as a whole that arithmetically would in turn provide happiness I was yearning for. And yet the readily happy thing right under my nose seemed to be overlooked and not well appreciated.

I let my feeling loose while I had all the time with myself – sobbing. It was an emotional moment – very personal – me and my own feeling – in the still of the night.

Up till this day I don’t know whether my wife was awake or not when I was entertaining my thoughts, feelings and emotions that night. Perhaps she wanted me to let it all out without any intrusion. I only woke her up after wiping out my tears. And I was contented to just ask about Edrin’s latest development.

GAB: Your children are babies only once in their lifetime.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

It Is A Precarious Life, But He Showed Me Otherwise

In this precarious livelihood we have, one has to be certain on the next move as not to jeopardize the main objective one is eyeing on, be it in personal or professional life. It becomes especially perceptible when it deals with business as concerned.

Recently we have to revise back our exertions on the prototype of an educational portal. We had on mind the portal would be revolutionary in our education environment in Malaysia and the Ministry of Education was the right place to bump into. We did our homework. We traveled every nook and corner of the precincts. We met all the geeks and nerds. We endured vehement speeches by the smart ones. And not short of being cuffed by the upper hands. We even know which parking lot would provide better shades for our cars at certain hours of the day. Even which building holds cafeteria with a good food for our breaks. And I personally know which receptionists and secretaries are the sexiest.

But, it’s a jungle out there over in Putrajaya.

Initially we thought it would be worthwhile reconnoitering through with the Ministry of Education since we were dealing with the prototype meant for education. But then, there we had it, too thick a wall of a fortress for a credulous to break into. On my bad day, it almost made me think that merit comes last in this part of the hemisphere. Some people may jump right off but I am not that type. I prefer to look hard on our inadequacy and shortcoming rather than fingers do the pointing first. We may have all the ingredients but the way it’s been mixed, may not be to their taste.

It is precarious indeed.

And due to this precarious life, it exemplifies a good move when a faraway Malaysian friend,
Idham, has made an unprecedented decision to come back to Kuala Lumpur on last Thursday. He was here for purpose. Lest he wants to make it private, I choose not to write it down specifically on his “investment” thing here but I can see this gentleman has clear objectives in his action. He knows what’s down the road in 10, 20 years to come when he left the country last 2 nights leaving all the documents signed.

I was so pleased he called me when he was on his way to KLIA and at the same time made me feel bad for I had to be in Cyberjaya the whole day attending meetings with
MDeC officers and Academia-Industry Dialogue with the Minister of Higher Education at Cyberview Lodge Resort. In fact I had just reached home when Idham called to say goodbye.

Well I don’t feel that bad either. On the day he touched down, arrived, I made a point to see him slightly an hour after he took the train from the airport and spent my time with him in the afternoon (together with Shirley).

I always love to be in the company of people who eloquently demonstrate their spatial-temporal reasoning as much as their excellent overall dexterity. This gentleman fits the bill. And it gave good reason why Idham is at the place where he is at now. When I sat there for our lunch at the cafeteria on the upper deck of the skyscraper overlooking the breathtaking view of the city of Kuala Lumpur, I could actually feel Idham’s spirit was as high as the building itself and beyond.

The energy that vibrates in him made me feel that, life is not that precarious after all. We have to be larger than life.

And it’s all in our minds.

GAB: If you mix around with successful people, it can be a catalyst for you to be on the road to success.

Mr Idham, Pn Azie and Shirley

Friday, March 09, 2007

Crab & Goldfish Tale: A Brawny Claw & A Protuberant Cutie

Having a birth date on July 15, it falls within the dates of constellation known as Cancer. What’s written in the book of horoscope, one of the traits in Cancerian people is that when they grab hold on something, they would clutch onto it unremittingly even to the extent of loosing their claws if they have to, as of for crabs – the sign used for Cancer zodiac. I may be am the least person to take what horoscope says earnestly, but it evokes some kind of fun when some characters come about to be dearly to what I am hauling.

Once the focal point is laid down over something, I have the ability to detach myself totally from almost anything. And I can be most loyal to my own thoughts and ideas. I can be most-disciplined to the rules I set for myself. That is what happened in the past few days when I had to focus on whacking the bugs in our operations with relentless meetings and discussions with my partners and associates.

In that past few days it exemplifies a fraction of the epitomic on what it says for the Cancerians. I was in fact not on the road living out of briefcase, neither I had no access to the internet nor would it has been too time consuming to at least open up my own blog or surf through the net. I had all the time to do that. But, I made it clear to myself to be single-track minded as not to touch the gratuitous things that’d probably win over my concentrations – not even checking my personal e-mails except the corporate e-mail that I have to deal with everyday. Perhaps by now you get the idea why I keep my working desk clean and empty all the time.

(Psstt… I actually missed you guys!)

Yeah, true, that doesn’t live up much to what loosing-the-claw dare is as mentioned above but what has transpired in the meeting room, Gosh, may be I choose not to elaborate it here but I can assure you, it lives up to that trait very, very well.

Not a familiar sight of me when I slouched on the sofa in my office with the lights dimmed out in the afternoon yesterday. It had been some grueling days with my partners and associates. Just like a sprinter crossing the finish line in his 100-meter dash amidst the deafening wild cheers of the spectators – he has a lot more stories to tell far off from his only 10 seconds of show. And my idea of collapsing myself in an awestruck expression motionless for 10 minutes or so was an illustration of relief when it was all over.

Hey, I even had my way of small celebration with myself to signify my relief and satisfaction with what we have achieved throughout. I went over to Jalan Pasar in Pudu, walked around. I spent hours at the pet shops looking at the fish in the aquariums – mind you that not necessarily made me a new member of Pet Shop Boys in any ways.

Love to see those goldfish wriggling and squirming in an awkward swimming style – so cute. They look glitzy and flamboyant with the accessories and embroideries they are sporting. And their teeny-weenie mouths – alluring. Tapped on the glass, they dodged in haste. For a second it reminded me of the local artiste Adibah Nor. And it as well reminded me of a bunch of chubby schoolchildren that overdosed with KFC in their morning jog for Physical Exercise in school. I smiled. Well, on personal basis, it has been very calming and relaxing to me. VoilĂ ! The fireworks for my little celebration was like having my teh halia for a change at the mamak shop close to Edinburg round-about before I came back to office.

Gantt Chart of some twenty A3-sized papers was waiting for me to see it through before wrapping up the 1st quarter of the year. The impelling cause in its mainspring is; I being made captain of the ship am looking forward to smooth sailing whilst the Godfather would later love to see the ledger as spotless as it is portly.

You go watch goldfish. They are nicer than majority of people that you know. Or you go break some claws of steamed crabs. Then you tell me.

Friday, March 02, 2007


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