Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Market Girls

As we are rushing headlong towards our almost third market, it has been an amazingly fun ride. Not only because it was wonderful seeing so many artists and crafters creeping out of their hidey hole to come share their talents at the market, it was also all due to the other three of my market compatriots; Tenacious Tiny, Terrific Trish and Trusting Toni.

Wonderful ladies all though it's amazing we even came together in the first place.

Seriously though, all of us have pretty much nothing in common apart from the artsy crafting that basically brought us together - so that gives rise to the occasional difference of opinion since we all have intensely contrasting personalities and generally hail from dissimilar backgrounds. And yet since we are a fledgling non-profit group, there are no specific set tasks and roles for any of us so we generally cover for each other when the other is busy. With such overlapping duties and functions, you can bet it's not all hunky dory all the time.

For instance I'm always alright with a little bit of bending the rules here and there, as are Trish and Toni occasionally, but Tiny is an impossible stickler for her rules. Tiny Rules. Something I'm starting to believe is traditionally cross stitched in large capital-sized fonts on a wooden sampler framed in her living room.

Bet Tiny would so be the fierce black girl.

You know those dangerously tiny lil mean girls back in school that you just know will get their way no matter what? That's definitely her.

So yes, we do go on into the weekly dispute over the nitty gritty of running the market.

Number one on her exhaustive list of rules about the market would be the authenticity of the artisanal product - something which I'm fine with. Unfortunately that's followed closely by the fact that she wants the creator to be personally there since Tenacious Tiny has an undeniable grudge against intermediary vendors who bring in marketable items from the interior villages without crediting the makers individually.

Alright let's not argue over the impossible logistics of bringing every talented basket maker from their longhouse for a weekend leaving their family behind. Add that to the fact that if the sole basket maker opened a stall, she'd probably only have a meagre amount of items on sale since it takes quite a while to finish even one!

So those were my points. Took some convincing and several hundred messages to finally get Tiny to agree - while Trish looked on in growing amusement and Toni scampered off for fear of being dragged into the tiff. Right there you have a small illustration of how things work around here. Whatever personality type Tiny may be, I'm definitely the direct opposite which drives her quite insane at times. But I guess we do need conflicting points of views to make the market work as well as it does.



Sunday, April 15, 2018

All About Lube

Just when you think you've heard all you possibly could about Diffident David and his ever fascinating idiosyncrasies, he never fails to surprise us all over again by peeling away yet another thought-provoking layer of high neurosis. By now I should have enough scribbled notes for a little observational thesis on gay hysteria.

It should come as no surprise that he masturbates. Really, I think almost every grown adult male with a healthy sexual appetite breaks out the lube and plays with himself every once in a while. Yes, girls, that's all regardless of sexual leanings and committed affiliations. Think of it as a way of clearing the pipes on a bi-weekly basis, or even on a daily for the more virile amongst us.



And hey, sometimes you just ... got to when the urge suddenly strikes.
Seriously if you're a dedicated purveyor of hot male specimens such as the above, it's hard to resist!

So yes, David beats off as well. Though he obviously doesn't resort to the cheap tried-and-true methods of a hasty handjob since he has the fully functional Tenga ever available at home! Unfortunately for him, diddling with such complex gadgets and gizmos comes with its very own predicaments since silicone sheaths and such needs the occasional grease.

Which is where the lube comes in.

David : I've run out of lube. 
Paul : Just go buy some. 
David : I can't. 
Paul : Eh? 
David : I can't just head to the pharmacy to buy lube. 
Paul : Eh? 
David : I just can't. 

After such an unequivocal statement, how could any of us resist prying?

And there we get another fascinating amalgam of angst, anxiety and apprehension all rolled up into one flat categorical refusal. Interesting how internal homophobia crops up in such sticky situations since there's the inexplicable bone-shaking terror that some strange someone somewhere out there would catch him in the ignominious act of purchasing lube and somehow manage to shame him.

Yes, even that disinterested acne-ridden cashier at the convenience store.

Like wut.

Of course it gets worse as David starts hysterically spinning off into the inevitable What If situations from judgemental colleagues to heinous enemies conveniently dropping by the store just to point their fingers and laugh uproariously at his scandalous predicament. All over buying lube. And here I thought most boys get over their initial jitters from buying condoms and lube a long while ago in high school.

Waiting for the lube to arrive? 

For me, I'd have only one answer for them all. 'I'm using lube because I'm getting off. What about you?' Really, isn't that reason enough to be utterly envious?

If you ask me, to save him the aggravation it would be so much easier to use the spit on hand instead.





Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The Art Market & Me

Back during my schooldays though I was generally adequate when it came to my academics, few of my classmates would have come to me seeking pointers on mathematical sums or even physics conundrums. Simply put science & math simply wasn't something I was all that interested in and any questions posed to me, apart from those in my homework, would have earned a disinterested shrug from me.

Imagine my animosity towards a particular math tutor who insisted on handing out apparently 'fun' quizzes during our breaks.

It was towards the generally 'arts' subjects, as we would term it here, such as history, literature and art itself that I loved. Brief spells in between classes would have found me either carelessly doodling on the exercise book or sometimes pulling out my latest paperback for a quick read. And like in most any boys' school, there was always the incessant hushed request for the resident artist to draw female nudes.

I'm done with you. Get up and get dressed. 

Didn't take very much for horny teenage boys to get going at that impressionable age so anything slightly more voluptuous than their own childlike stick figure drawings would do. Turned out it wasn't all that difficult for me to sketch sexy sirens in all sorts of slutty situations. After all it was always the naked male figures that made me a tad more uneasy. Kept tweaking the nose of the handsome fellow, kept widening the broad shoulders, darkening the brows... just could never get them right.

And yes, they did make my heart go pitter patter a little. Yes, it made perfect sense in retrospect of course.

But that was all during my high school years. Though I still pulled out a sketchbook every once in a while after, I never did all that much till recently.

With the art market we organized, it was amazing to see so many creative minds under one roof! Don't think any of us walked out of the hall without feeling utterly energized by the crackling ingenuity and inventiveness shown by the many talented vendors who came to show their unique wares. That wasn't even counting the number of brainstorming sessions we had during our painting and crafting workshops which gave me so many budding ideas for creative collaboration from dollies to washi tapes.

Certainly sparked something in me which has me going through several pages of my sketchbook in a day, which is why I've been neglecting this blog for a little while!


Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Skinny-Dipping

Think the older you get, the less inhibitions you have?

At least I do think so since these days, I don't really care a fuck about what most people think, well apart from a select few of my friends and family. The rest I could easily say go hang since it's more likely they don't really care all that much about me anyhow.

Yes, kids. Sadly all those people out there don't really care about you.

But I digress.

The growing lack of self-consciousness extends to most other parts of my life as well. Honestly even stripping at the gym or the pool seems less fraught with stranger danger these days. Don't even really care if there's an entire jock crowd downing protein shakes in the locker room, I'd just strip all the way down to change. I'll admit to a bit more trepidation as a high school student way back when. Wouldn't know if that's a side effect of the physician's life seeing everyone naked every on in a while or perhaps growing older and caring less what others think. Maybe a bit of both.

So when I'm back at the hotel at a late hour of the night and I know the pool's perfectly empty... I really see no point in digging through the mess of my suitcase ( yes, yes I do toss everything in ) for my swimtrunks.

Unfortunately I don't look like this in speedos. 

Why bother when I can just slip into the remarkably cool waters of the pool after an entire day of tropical burn in my workwear? A though that comes to my mind each time I walk by an unoccupied pool in the later hours of the evening. Far from a dedicated nudist that's for sure - so I usually glance surreptitious around quickly to make sure no one else was around, then chuck my clothes to the side before just slipping in.

Fortunately, also thanks to my work, I'm super efficient at getting changed, whether in or out.

And hey, even if an inadvertent guest or worker happens to stumble by, they usually assume you're somehow dressed in trunks. Or perhaps skin coloured trunks.

Few would suspect otherwise.



Saturday, March 24, 2018

Ondel-Ondel

Prior to the rapacious colonialists sailing over to stake their claims by drawing pithy lines on a map, the borders between our South East Asian countries were astonishingly porous with ships and sampans making their way all over the local ports. After a visit to Jakarta, it has become even more obvious that we share more similarities than differences, from our shared language to the food we serve on a daily basis.

Really it's sheer ridiculousness to even claim a famous dish, a cultural practice or a folk song as your own when it was clear that none of the new nations should actually do so since it belongs to the people of the entire area, regardless of their current nationalities. 

But I digress. 



Since the sole complaint I actually had about Bali was the conspicuous lack of palatable food, I was initially worried that I'd have to subsist painfully on Indomie every other evening. I mean sure I'm a great fan of instant noodles but surely I didn't fly over to a foreign land just for that particular delight. 

Yet again, Jakarta clearly proved me wrong since the food here is... just amazing. Or perhaps just more agreeable to my specific tastes since Javanese food in Jakarta didn't really differ all that much from what we have back here in Malaysia. 

Spices yum. 

It didn't mean we weren't initially stumped by their extensive menus. Not only had the Dutch made their own peculiar stamp on the culinary practices here with their poffertjes and pannekoeken, they had also left behind certain words and phrases that made every little dish strangely alien to us. And we hadn't even taken account of the differences in our local Malay and their Indonesian Malay.

A thought to ponder upon with Billy Davidson!

Even for teatime when presented with an entire batik-covered tray of beautifully prepared kueh, I found myself perfectly stumped when the names were rattled off repeatedly by the kebaya clad servers. From ongol ongol to kueh kelepong, the words were all mystifying even though they all vaguely resembled the kueh I knew back home. Imposters I wanted to cry out! Think of it as our very own kueh but with their very own Indo-Dutch twist.

Absolutely scrumptious that's all I can say!

And the beautiful ambience of their restaurants certainly added to the experience. Say what you will but the Indonesians spared no cost in decorating their restaurants lavishly. Glam to the max. And more. Even the austere colonial buildings were clearly no match for the local razzle-dazzle that totally transformed each plain Dutch wife into an enchanting Javanese stunner.