As mentioned at some point, the only refreshment-related item in my new office, is a water cooler. That was, until the vending machine arrived.
Here it is, in all its shining glory:
[ding, first blog photo!]
Note the very Malaysian selection of beverage - cold nescafe, milo, soya bean, mango with nata de coco, ice lemon tea and 100 plus. Literally not one of these items would be found in a UK vending machine. How exciting.
Previously, if anyone left the staffroom, it was for class or to use the toilet. Both rather standard and unexciting activities. But now. People leave the staffroom with a bounce and a glint in the eyes...and we all know, instantly…
"Going to the machine..?"
A question asked with knowing, and a raised eyebrow.
For the most part, I consider myself to be quite forward thinking, creative and generally, down with the kids. So with trends such as the baggy pant, sitting just below the butt, undies sticking out…I say go ahead. I think it looks ok.
At work today, upon seeing a student sporting aforementioned look, my female colleague posed a very pertinent question; "How do they stay up?"
And I thought, "…huh."
That really is a very good question and I don't know why I haven't considered it before. Because if I tried to re-create this look (and maybe I have…?), once the jeans are below the butt…they just slide right off! There's nothing for them to rest on. Everything else gets narrower. Unless you're wearing a belt, but then either a) it's so tight that it squashes all your fat into ugly muffin tops and/or b) it's so tight that you can't move your legs anymore.
So literally, how?
Enter male colleague. Who demonstrated again, that's it is possible, but couldn't provide a logical reason whyyyy.
At this point of closer observation it occurred to me, "Maybe it works cos it's higher at the front?"
And then we hit the jackpot. Guys, this may not be news to you, but for me, this was a major revelation to my innocent mind.
Reply: "No. Well, maybe…guys have a little extra for it to rest on."
Thiiiiink abouuuuuuut iiiiiit…..?
Who would have thought. Baggy pants - only functional for guys.
I suppose it's the white coat and all the years of studying. Which gives them a distinct superiority over the rest of us, granted. But at the end of the day they're just people. And this is very concerning, don't you think?
My sister just graduated from medical school (well done you!!). And for the most part I would trust my life to her - she's really smart. But then I remember the time she got locked in a hospital corridor for like…an hour? Or the countless times I've seen her walk down the street and trip over nothing. Or the time she threw a slug at me [this one possibly less relevant].
But you get the point.
I spoke to another recently qualified doctor today, who nonchalantly told me the following;
Doctor: "The first baby I delivered, I dropped it."
Doctor: "Yeah, really."
Me: "On the floor?"
Doctor: "Yeah. it wasn't' far, like, from that chair to the floor." [distance of approx. 1 foot]
Me: "That's quite far…for a baby."
Doctor: "Naaaah, not really. [Justification…] They're really slippery when they come out. They're like eels. I'm serious!"
Not only am I racially white, I am literally, very white. When I stay in England for long enough, especially during winter, I could accurately be described as grey.
Which is partly why I enjoy being here - the sun-induced, healthy-looking skin. In my case this is rarely (ok wait…never) mistaken for an actual tan, but nonetheless, I am happy in the knowledge that for me, it is.
And then every so often I am reminded: no. I am still the whitest person most people have ever met.
Today for example:
Friend: You have transparent skin.
[Is there a more clever way to respond to statements that are so strange they need repeating…]
Friend: Yah, like a lizard.
Me: A transparent lizard? But you can't see my insides...
Friend: Wait, not transparent…translucent. Your skin is translucent. Like a lizard.
Me: You mean cicak? Are you calling me a cicak?
Friend: Haha, no, it's a good thing. I like white skin. I wish I had white skin. No, I mean, I wish I was fair.
[I'm sure I could write a whole other blog post about that]
Me: Really? But I'm not really sure if translucent is a good thing..?!
Although it kinda sounds like a glowy, shining word, I still think translucent is not really a compliment… :S
Really, this is a very effective tactic. For your average, middle class, working 20-something, being inconvenienced during your daily routine is one of the MOST frustrating things in the world. An example - in the morning you go to brush your teeth. No toothpaste. "GAAAAAAAAH, why mEE? No time for this LAH?!?!"
So we all know what happened this weekend…Bersih 2.0.
Previous to this, little yellow banners had been popping up on Facebook for a few weeks, Bersih mentioned here and there…but I for one, never really cared why or what for. It made me wonder…but only a bit. There was gonna be a demonstration in KL…ok cool. Whatever.
When I was inconvenienced.
My drive home is a well documented 1 hour, which is already too long. Now imagine that it's Friday evening, your tired after a week of working...and your journey takes THREE TIMES as long as normal. That's right, THREE HOURS TO GET HOME.
I knew within the first 10 minutes that I would be stuck for a while, given all the news reports about police roadblocks and the fact that the traffic NEVER starts this far back...And the first hour was quite fun! Chillin' in the car…calling people…reading...fix my hair...(which is all ok, as I was basically not moving…). And it was exciting. Something was happening…this wasn't normal…ooOOooh..?
Second hour, however, significantly less fun. My phone battery was dying so no more calls, and the sun had set, so no more reading. The radio was boring as the stations were clearly banned from talking about anything political and I'd reached the messy part of the jam.
Summit Mall? It is famous for it's traffic. Especially at rush hour, especially on a Friday. So much so, they have traffic police there everyday to override the lights and keep the traffic flowing.
On this day, traffic police are absent.
There is much mess in the "no cars please" yellow box area.
Stuck some more.
Stuck, stuck, stuck.
Time out for an awkward moment - a bus full of young boys pulls up alongside, excited to see the mat salleh, driving.
So now I'm stuck in my car trying to act normal despite the knowledge that they're watching me. Aihhh.
Why does that happen?? It has to be the weirdos next you for 10 minutes, while the cute guy is driving in the opposite direction, gone in 20 seconds…
And then I meet the cause of my 2 hour delay. Police roadblock.
Which I guess I expected? But when I saw it, I LAUGHED!! Out loud, threw my head back like a crazy woman, all alone in her car, and laughed.
You're expecting a demonstration in KL, which you want to prevent people attending. So you set up a roadblock in SUBANG JAYA, miles from the city, in the busiest spot you know, at the busiest time of day, turning 4 lanes of traffic into 1, and don't stop anyone. Just slowly wave them all past.
After the block, no problem, the traffic flows like water.
You know what that achieved?
I sat in my car thinking…"Do I have anything yellow in my wardrobe? Because I'm going to wear it tomorrow..."
I saw yellows cars and thought, "Dang, I wish I'd bought a yellow car…"
I drove past a yellow house and thought, "Wow, I wish my house was yellow..."
What is the purpose of your roadblock? I'm just trying to get home, nowhere near KL.
You wanna cause disruption and shout to everyone that it's because of the inconsiderate protestors? The inconsiderate protestors who are organising a peaceful street march to ask for free and fair elections? What could possibly be the harm in that? But it looks like you have a problem with it. And now I know it.
Here comes another milo post. One more and you will discover the depth of my obsession.
For those in parts of the world who don't know, Milo is like a cross between hot chocolate and horlicks. And when I first arrived here, I hated Milo. Yukky, un-chocolatey milo.
But now I love it.
So to indulge my love-affair, I decided to buy a multi-pack of milo sachets for work, to get me through the long, air-conditioned days. Browsing the shelves of Carrefour was a slight trial, as there are many variations. Far more than necessary. Like, "milo with added nutrients" or "milo with extra malt". Whatever. I just want the normal one, thanks.
Then I saw a NEW version of milo - so new that it comes with FREE gift!
Instantly sucked in, despite the fact that Milo Sejuk, although a miracle of science, is not what I want to drink inside the fridge that is my office.
But it comes with a free mug!
And I thought it rather fitting to start my new routine with a correctly branded mug. And they're pretty cool too - I've seen them before and the little picture on the box confirmed it - it's like a glass tankard with the milo logo on. Naise.
I happily trotted to the counter to pay.
The cashier took my money and reached into the cardboard box where the magical mugs were sitting, waiting...
Me: "Wow, my new mug is gonna be SO amazing."
Cashier raises her hand, presenting the mug.
What is that?
A miniature milo mug. Literally half the size I was expecting. A child-sized mug. The picture lied. I have been tricked into buying Milo Sejuk to gain a milo-tankard that is actually a thimble.
When staying in a foreign country, you should expect strange and dangerous things to happen at fairly regular intervals. Why? Because all of ones assumptions about how the world works are learned as a child in another country. And guess what? Non-transferrable.
So although one is always expecting something odd to happen, the nature of each incident is so…unexpected, it's actually impossible to prepare for. Therefore much of life is spent in a state of wide-eyed confusion.
For example, the ice cream-man pulls up on his motorbike and wants to sell you ice cream. Yay! It's a hot day (and who says no to ice cream, even on a cold day?!), so you buy. On this occasion, a kind of Malaysian-style Neopolitan - purple for yam, yellow for corn, orange for mangOH NO!! JACKfruit!?! The mango flavour is jackfruit?! <<THROW UP>> Who eats that??
Although I suppose the lesson here is ASK before you eat.
So anyway, I've just had a fairly major "strange incident".
Involving hair dye.
I'm sure you have a good idea where this is going, but indulge me...and in defence of what follows, I would like to point out, that in all my years of hair dying, even in this country, I have never before had a hair dying "incident".
I dye my hair fairly often and the majority of the time I do it myself, from a box. Last time I chose a very dark brown, but even with permanent dye the colour fades pretty fast and after a few weeks I'm left with a funny, light, reddish brown. Not nice.
So it was dying time again and I thought, I like the dark brown but I don't want the red tint. I spent some browsing the options and found a similar colour but with a "golden" highlight, instead of a red one. Nice. Purchased.
I got home, excited, and began my preparations - old clothes, plastic gloves, dye mixing. All good. Then I squeezed it onto my head and went to read a book.
20 minutes later.
I went to the bathroom to check progress. I slowly stepped closer to the mirror…huh…my roots, my…most of my hair looks brown but…that's orange at the roots? Literally. Bright orange. I have a bright orange scalp.
Grab the box.
Check the pictures on the side.
So on hair dye boxes they have little panels on the side to show you, if your hair is this colour, it will become, this colour. If your hair is this colour, it will become this colour.
And normally, the pictures go from light to dark. You start with light coloured hair, it becomes dark coloured hair.
My pictures went from dark to light.
Asian Hair Dye.
For Asians. With black hair.
Not Mat Salleh. With light brown hair.
I was bleaching it.
I washed it off to assess the damage.
You know the "golden highlight" I wanted in my dark brown hair? Well, now my whole head is the golden highlight.