Saturday, 29 October 2011

Bra Shopping

The most satisfying shopping trips, for me, involve buying make up or underwear.  

Neither of these items are purchased with much frequency, but they're the kind of things which are both necessary and fun. 

So you don't feel bad when you buy them. 


After a break up, one of my friends went on a pick-me-up shopping spree - RM400 on make up. 

I almost passed out with jealousy. 


But this post is about underwear. 

And I just got totally manhandled in a shopping mall.


I thought Malaysia was a modest country. 

Apparently not so in the bra department. 

Embarrassing item number one - they measure you on the shop floor. 

Fair enough you have your clothes on but still…there's people? Walking around?!

A bit personal.

[what if this guy is walking around??]

Anyway. After this, I gathered a collection of bras to try. 

But they're completely the wrong size (ineffective shop floor measuring).

The attendant went to go change the sizes for me, and when she came back…she didn't leave...

…as if she didn't really believe that the other bras were the wrong size and this time she needed to check that I actually knew how put it on properly. 


This is bordering on normal practice. 

I began to put on the next bra, attempting to maintain some degree of modesty…but she jumped in;

Attendant: Eh, front way. I do for you. 
Me: Well, I…Ok? 

Fine. All modesty gone. 

Or so I thought. 


Bra's aren't instantly in the right place. 

They need minor adjustments - normally a sideways shake will do. 

But what happened next?

She put her hand into the bra and manually adjusted me!


Is this normal???

It was done with such army-efficient precision and speed I had no chance to object. 


...Is that normal?!


I should have bought make up. 

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Mr Socialist

Failed on my Monday blog post…did you miss me??

I spent the weekend in Jakarta being called "Hey Mister", getting mobbed by small children and aunties wanting to take pictures with the Mat Salleh and eating Nasi Gila Spesial. 

[nasi goreng gila, also can?]

Fun times. 

Although a weekend of fun has thrown a spanner in the works of my…works. 

Lots to do, not much time to do it. 

So my friend called and wanted to hang out this week.

Friend: What are you doing tonight?

Me: Deepavali fair. 

(Well…yah, maybe it's not the work that's keeping me busy…)

Friend: Oh, ok. 

Me: But Thursday can?

Friend: Ok

Me: Let me check though.

[I check calendar]

Me: Oh no…oh no!

Friend: You said it twice. That means you're double booked. And neither of them is me.

Me: Haha. Ya. But…huh…I don't know what happened to my week?

Friend: I do!  [with defiance] You're a socialist!

Not sure that's what you really meant, is it?

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Phone vs. Internet

I love the internet. 

I know a lot of old[er] folk are afraid of buying things online or filling out forms n stuff…but I tell you what, it sure beats buying stuff over the phone. 

That is an awkward and best forgotten piece of history. 

I say this because I just made one of those awkward phone calls to an airline call centre […apparently not quite history].

The call started with an automated message.

Machine: Skywards members, please press 1. For passengers flying business class, please press 2…etc, etc. 

Clearly not me.

I get to an operator.

Operator: Is this a man or a woman?


Is that really a question? 

Me: …Woman.

Operator: Err, who am I speaking to, please?

Was that not the question..? Awkward. 

Me: Um…Claire…but I didn't make the booking. 

Still awkward.

Operator: Ok, can you confirm the phone number and email address given?

Ah…no?! I didn't make the booking, it was my Dad…I don't know what information he gave you…time to test my guessing skills…

Me: Um…[searching through email…], ahh…ok - [give Dad's email address]

Operator: Ok, thank you. 

Yesss, 1 point to me.

Operator: And the contact number?

Following logic, it'll be my Dad's number. But I am a modern girl. I don't remember phone numbers anymore…my phone does that for me!

Me: Um…+44…ahh…798…I can't remember. It's on my phone. …  And I'm using my phone. 

Yes, I actually said that. I am one of those idiot customers who call up and say stupid things on the phone.


Operator: Right, never mind, can you confirm the date you're flying. 

See. He thinks I'm stupid. 

But I can confirm dates. 


[What is she saying? // I have no idea.]

Operator: Ok. So how can I help you?

Me: I booked a flight with air miles and I need to pay the tax. 

Operator: …right, let me put you through to the Skywards department. 

That was one of the options from the main phone menu.


Hey, I use Air Asia, I don't know about the special clubs that "real" airlines provide…


I'm transferred and go through another very similar conversation. 

Only this time, evidently a man unfamiliar with European names, the operator refers to me as "Miss Clairey". 

He also adds a heavy scattering of;

Operator: Was that "p" for purple or "t" for train?


If I was typing, this would be much quicker and less embarrassing for both of us. 



Operator: Miss Clairey, would you like me to read out your flight details?

Hmm. This would not happen on the internet. 

Yes, why not... 

Operator: Miss Clairey, are you aware of your baggage allowance and check in procedure?


But again, go ahead and tell me…


Maybe the phone isn't so bad. 

I did rather enjoy hearing…"your baggage allowance is 30 kgs"...

Monday, 17 October 2011

Continentally Correct

Man: You're German, isn'it?

No. It isn't. 

I mean, I'm not. 

Last week, I received this comment from I gentleman I don't know. Who I'd never even spoken to before. And two things instantly struck me:
1. Why does he think I'm German?

2. Why is he so confident that I'm German?

Then I remembered that this is not an isolated example. I think people around the world like to play, "Guess the Nationality". But in Malaysia, never have the guesses been so confidently incorrect. 

Take for example, the time I was at the Curve. Shopping at the outdoor market.

Man at Stall: Where are you from? Ahh…you're Dutch.

Me: …No…I'm English

Man at Stall: Really? Oh. You look Dutch. 

I do?

Well, no problem, I greatly appreciate that you both managed to put me on the correct continent. 

As a European, that means a lot to me.


Then there was the time I'd been having a fairly lengthy conversation with someone. And finally he said to me:

Talking Person: You're from Australia, right. 

Me: >.<


How did you get that??? 

I don't sound anything like an Aussie.

Me: No.


And then yesterday, I saw that same gentleman from conversation number one. 

He was talking to someone else at the time, but as I walked past he looked me in the eye, smiled and nodded…in that knowing kind of way...and addressed me with confidence…

Man: Diane.
[Imagine him saying it like Sean Connery would, and pointing a finger at me. It was a bit like that.]



This is not my name! 

Who or what is the source of your information?!


But now I have an rather well formed alter-ego: Diane from Germany. 

She may prove useful…

Thursday, 13 October 2011


This story has been sitting in the wings for a little while. 

My parents sometimes read my blog so I had to make sure they knew about this…before they read it. 

I'm classy like that. 

Here's why: My friend and I got tattoos.


They really hurt. 

When I get nervous or afraid, I get really quiet. I block out whatever's coming until it's too late, then I only have to deal with the trauma once. It looks like I'm calm, but really, I'm just in denial.

My friend is very vocal about her fear. 

In a situation like this, it's obviously me who's forced into the chair first. 

[well...the chair/table. yes, this is the actual one.]

We go for a test run, no ink, in case of pain-induced wriggling leading to messed up tattoo forever.

It's not so bad. I'm happily surprised. 

On with the real deal. 

And for real, the pain is minimal. It's like a scratch that stings quite a lot. 

My friend is hovering over me, watching nervously.

Friend: Does it hurt?

Me: Umm…?

Friend: Honestly.

Me: It's not that bad. 

Friend: Honestly? Honestly chap. Tell me. 

Me: No really! It's not that bad. It does hurt. But not that much. 

5 minutes pass. 

Friend: How about now?

Me: Still ok.

Friend: Really?

Me: Really.

Friend: Out of 10?

Me: Um…a 4?

Friend: A 4?!? Is that it?

Ya, that's it. 

A four.

Tattoo is on my arm, by the way. She started at my wrist, and is working down, towards my elbow. About 10 minutes in, we're already halfway through. But as my skin is getting softer, the pain has been increasing…gradually. I hadn't realised, but by now I had completely stopped taking part in the the jovial conversation.

Friend: Chap, how is it?

Me: 0.o

Friend: You're looking a bit green.

Me: 0.0 …really?

Friend: Yeah. Does it hurt? [whispering] Is it a 10?

At this point, the answer is, "HOLY @!$%^*()%@, YYYYYEEESSS!!!!!!!!!" 

And I know if I open my mouth to say anything, this is what will come out. 

But if I say that, my friend won't sit down and get her tattoo done!

I have to make her believe that it doesn't hurt. 

Especially because I know hers will hurt more than mine - on the inside of her upper arm. 

I manage to squeeze out a strained:

Me: Creeping to a 6...

I spend the final 10 minutes in silence, trying to look normal, repeating a calming mantra to myself:


Then finally, it was over. 

Breathe out. Happy, bright, shiny tattoo :D

My friend lies down in the chair/table. 

Still nervous, but foolishly calmed by my lies. 

The tattooing begins. 

In an instant, my friends' face contorts into a silent scream - mouth as wide as I've ever seen, eyes as big as I've ever seen. But she's so terrified to move or breathe in case of messing it up...

...til all of a sudden:

Friend: IT'S A TEN!!!! @!$^*()% CHAP YOU LIED, IT'S A TEN, IT'S A TEN!!!!


Monday, 10 October 2011

Sin Binned

I watched my first complete rugby match yesterday. 

Not a live one.  Just on TV.

I know, that's a bit of shocker given my nationality. But what can I say? 

No defence. 

But after watching for 80 minutes I can confirm that I am a fan. Although I have no idea what the rules are. 

There don't appear to be any. 

It's like wrestling with a ball. 

If you switched on halfway through, you'd be forgiven for thinking you had just tuned in to a period drama - seriously, if anyone's ever casting for a "pub brawl" scene in Medieval times, start scouting on the rugby field!


I was particularly proud of this majestic fellow:

[a fantastic head of hair and taking a head-butt to the groin: Welsh]

I was actually watching the All Blacks vs. Argentina. But after that match, they had highlights from the Ireland vs. Wales game. 

The contrast between the two games was night and day. If I thought the first had no rules…I was in for a shocker!

These guys were ALL OVER THE PLACE! 

[even in the back, staggering in for more...]

It was like a constant, rolling mass of gargoyles. With the occasional ball-sighting. 

And to make it even more enjoyable, presiding over these brutes as a referee, they'd sent in the Alan Partridge of the Rugby world:

[note the nervous Englishman in white: "ah, excuse me please, actually, ah, I don't think you're supposed to pull his ah, oh...nevermind..."]

I imagine it was him who came up with all the terminology. 

A few happy examples:

Sin Binned - literally, a player sent to the naughty chair for 10 minutes.
Illegal Wheeling - moving incorrectly during a scrum. So there are rules...?
Handling Error - some idiot dropped the ball.

Then I remembered the time I met a Malaysian rugby player. 

Well, I don't know if it really counts as a "meeting". 

He ignored me as I stood next to my friend, who he was talking to. 


Anyway, this inspired me to google some Malaysian rugby facts. Here's what I found:

1. There are more than 300 rugby clubs in Malaysia

2. Malaysia have been trying (and failing) to qualify for the Rugby World Cup since 1995 (yes, that's 16 years).

3. The national team's worst defeat was against South Korea in 1996 - 112 to 5. Take a second to look at those numbers. That's incredible. Who knew South Korea even played rugby??  

Sorry. Those really were the most interesting facts.

If it makes you feel better, here's a picture of my team being destroyed by the French. 

[i vill kill you]


Thursday, 6 October 2011

A Very Sad Day

Today is a very sad day. 

No, not for the reason you're thinking, God rest his soul. 

There's another reason. 

Yesterday I stayed late at work. 

As I left, I signed out as usual, but when I walked past the vending machine, I had a glowing blue vision of despair…

[look closely...through the blinding light]

Do you see that?

Refer back to "Vending Machine" if necessary.

Yes - my delicious, most favourite drink, the Mango Juice, has been replaced with Coca Cola!!!

Why would that happen?


So today I had no mango juice. 

Clearly the re-filling people haven't done any market research, that was a popular drink. 

Also observe, nowadays the rm5 note is "unacceptable". 

Not only does the machine not have what I want, it also has an attitude problem. 

You may also have noticed, if you have very sharp eyes,  that the Soya Bean has been replaced by Chrysanthemum tea. 

But I'm not so upset about that. I hate them both. 


Monday, 3 October 2011

Muff Jets

It's time to talk about muff jets.  

You know the hose pipe things that you have next to the toilet? 


Well, I don't know the proper name but I've always found "muff jets" to be a rather obvious description.

Anyway, I'd never seen them before I came to Malaysia. 

At first I thought…what is that? What on earth do you use it for, and...why?


[standard muff jet, not the one from the story.]

Two years later, even though I actually don't use them so much, I like them. Especially at home, they're a good remedy for hot, dirty feet!


They can be rather hazardous. 

I've had a number of watery incidents with unpredictable muff jets, but I had the strangest one a few days ago.

I was in a restaurant and went to use the bathroom. It was a really small room, narrower than your standard cubicle. 

I used the toilet.


Then as I stood up, suddenly there was the sound of rushing water. 

I panicked a bit, like, that was something to do with me?! What was it?? Where's the water?? What's happening? Because I couldn't see anything unusual...

And then I noticed my foot was wet. Really wet. 


Look to the floor.

Confirmed: water!

But from where?!

I looked up. 

And I saw...

Because of the tiny, tiny room, I'd knocked the muff jet handle onto full power! 

Normally the muff jet is loose on the floor (so when you turn it on it flies wildly, like a snake. Yes, this has happened before =.= ), but this time it was still sitting securely in its holder...

…pointing upwards. And so the full-power jet of water was shooting up the wall, to the ceiling! Like a fountain!

I was locked inside a tiny room with a fountain of my own creation!!

It was very strange.

By this time however, the laws of gravity had kicked in and as the fountain reached its full height, it was now raining down upon me…cue frantic little hops, back and forth, trying simultaneously to stay out of the fountain and also to reach in and turn it off. 

I succeeded.

Breathe out. 

And remarkably, I managed to stay rather dry, aside from my feet and a few splashes on my t-shirt…no one said anything, I think I got away with it…