Bee Mine
July 21, 2008

I had the privilege of giving a few words at my friends, Fadhli and Farah's wedding last weekend. Unbeknownst (that's Belarusian for 'unknown') to them, my public speaking ability is only comparable to that of a door stopper's.

But I was honored indeed and took some time (27 minutes) to write the following text; before realizing that reading it out would only garner as much attention as actually putting a door stopper on stage. So I had it folded to drench in my pocket as I went up and delivered my words, loosely based on it.

Mr. B, Farah, hope I did alright and thanks again, it was an honor. You guys looked beautiful that night. You too Badol.

Assalamu'alaikum w.b.t. and a very good evening,

Ladies and gentlemen, we're all gathered here on this beautiful day to celebrate the blissful marriage of my good friends, Fadhli and Farah.

My buddies at the table near that corner over there, on the other hand, are here to get to know girls.

You wish, my friends.

It wouldn't be too much to say that I grew up together with the couple. I've known them for a good ten years now. We went to high school together.

Fadhli was this kid from Bangi whom I believe hated me as much as the other students during the first few weeks as I could never stop talking about wrestling. In my defense, at the tender age of 16, it wasn't easy for me to resist from wanting to be The Rock. After a few games of basketball and outings to Kota Bharu however, we became good friends and left our differences behind; despite the fact that I still couldn't stop talking about wrestling.

Farah was one of the Damansara girls at our school. Unlike the stereotypical 'city girl' who would usually look at me and my friends as dirty, smelly boys, Farah was never short of a smile. She was always ever so friendly with us guys. And I suppose it was her warmth that fascinated Fadhli, before they started a relationship towards the end of our senior year.

We went to the States to further our studies in 2002 and I didn't get to see the couple much; maybe once a year at the Malaysian Games. Now the cool thing about these two people is the way they allow each other to spend time with their own friends.

So during these Malaysian Games thing, Fadhli gets to hang out with his guy friends and laugh at horrible, horrible jokes (none of which ever came from me) while Farah gets to enjoy the company of her girl friends and talk about, I don't know, potpourris.

But at the football matches, Farah is always there to cheer for Fadhli as he paves the field with grace. A heartwarming scene indeed as I too got my fair share of cheers, from fans of the opposite team.

And therein lies the beauty of this relationship between these two wonderful people. Their chemistry as well as the understanding that they have to each other fuels the happiness, for them to share together.

Fadhli, Farah, my prayers for many more blessed years to you guys. Amin.

Thank you. Wassalam.

Give it up for Mr. B!

An Open Letter
July 09, 2008

Dear Marks & Spencer,

There's a scene from the movie 'Dan in Real Life' in which Dan (Steve Carell, of 'The 40 Year Old Virgin' fame), was browsing in a bookshop before Marie (Juliette Binoche, of 'Chocolat' fame) walked in.

Seeing that the shopkeeper was on the phone, she approached Dan, mistaking him for a shop employee. Mesmerized by her beauty, Dan played along and assisted her in selecting books; grabbing 'Everyone Poops' as she cited Hemingway, Tolstoy and Austen.

Despite learning that Dan lied about working there, Marie was moved by his warmth. And she opted to accept his offer for coffee; a sitting which later bloomed into a tale like no other.

Though the serendipity of it all seems too good to be true, to say I would mind something similar would be a total lie. Dan had provided guys the world throughout, the perfect approach should an attractive woman mistakes them for a store employee. Something with a 384,394,172:1 chance of actually happening in real life.

Last week, I (myself, of no fame) was at your KLCC outlet. In my effort to find some office attires, subsequently shutting those who'd likened my pants to that of M.C. Hammer's, I browsed through your clothing racks.

As I raked away more pants that would only further encourage my friends to wail 'Hammertime!' everytime they see me, a voice headed my way,

"Excuse me, do you have this in other sizes?"

Heads down, I held my eyes shut as I asked myself,

"Is this it? Is this it? Am I Dan, in real life? Here here my damsel in distress, I shall get you the size that you want; even if it means prowling the store room at the back. Don't worry, I won't get caught. You already are, living proof that I look like a guy who works here, somehow."

Before I turned my head and realized that, it was a rather unhappy looking lady with hangers in her hands; one attached to the dress and the other, whipping at the two kids running around her legs.

Jaws down, and in fear of enduring the wrath of her mighty hangers myself, all I could mutter was,

"Sorry ma'am, I don't work here."

To which she apologized, naturally... as she lashed another hanger-whip at her kid, naturally.

At this point, you may be asking yourself,

"Where is this guy going with this?"

A question which I can't even answer myself.

I wanted to write about how I longed to be Dan in the bookstore scene. But I ran out of formats so I guess doing it as an open letter to you guys would be alright.

Nevertheless, I felt sorry for the lady. She must've felt bad thinking that she had ruined my day; which wasn't case. It was simply not the first time I was mistaken for a shop employee. You name it... from Secret Recipe, to Victoria's Secret; I'd worked for them all.

The difference was all too obvious anyway that day, as displayed by the following artist impression (who ran out of ink so we had to use advanced CGI to render a human-like image of me):

She might've forgotten to put on her lenses, who knows.

Asrif Yusoff
Treasurer, Malaysian Chapter
The Association of Denzel Washington as Frank Lucas in American Gangster Lookalikes (TADWFLAGL)

The Last (and Final) Impression
July 01, 2008

It doesn't matter that the cumulative cost of fuel and two tolls to your place accounts for 43.2% of my monthly savings. It doesn't matter that I actually live in the 'food capital' of the country, where the number of McDonald's per acreage land is more than the number of sheep in New Zealand. And it certainly doesn't matter that the fried rice at your place tastes like sand paper, marinated in trisodium phosphate.

For every bite of it tastes like little drops from heaven when it's you who's serving. While most would deem anything made by your chef as the ultimate culinary disaster, when it's you who's sliding the plate onto the table, I see an exquisite delicacy from the palace's kitchen, prepared with utmost intricacy. You could be serving a bowl of chicken feet broth and it would still look like coq au vin, whatever that means in French.

We used to drive around your area with our heads jotting out of the car window, me and my friends, to see if you're at work. No amount of permanent scars on our faces, thanks to the branches of that tree in front of your place, could ever deter us from taking a peek. For all you know, it could make a good, laughable story as we share a drink under that tree one day.

('We' as in me and you of course... not me and my friends. Not that I'm discounting the fact that I have a higher probability of sharing a drink under that tree with them instead.)

In the effort to become future 'thinkers' of the modern world, I'd engaged in numerous discussions with my friends; most of which would usually lead to heated arguments. Our debates cover a host of topics, from the impact of the subprime mortgage crisis on the Asian economy, to the impact of placing a compressed soda cans in between the tires of a mountain bike (which are: 1) the generation of a really neat 'motor-sound' to simulate the experience of riding a motorcycle and 2) very angry neighbors).

But nothing -- and I mean not even a disagreement on whether did Tara Reid or did Tara Reid not perform augmentation on her body -- could even come close to the squabble that we get ourselves into upon answering the question 'who you were looking at when you walked pass our table earlier'. A question that could only be settled upon a round of Pro Evolution Soccer on the PlayStation, to avoid bloodbath.

So it was only natural for me to grab the bill before the other losers could even touch it when we were at your place the other day.

I rose as I held the bill up, and heralded to my friends,

"Citizens of this table, you're about to bear witness, the beginning of a love fairytale like no other... with the completion of my payment for our dinner tonight. As I embark upon this journey, may you losers continue to only be able to pleasure yourself with women ending in .AVI and .JPG for the rest of your lives. Behold..."

And I walked straight to the counter where you seemed to be quite busy with the cash register; remotely disturbed by the number of guys throwing glances at you while they pretend to listen to their wives and girlfriends.

"I'd like to pay." I said to you.

"How do you sleep at night, leaving us all sleepless with your smile?" I said to myself.

"And that would be RM 28.00"

"Here you go... lotsa customers this time around eh?"

"Yeah, most of them have been here since a few hours ago."

"I could spend a lifetime here with you around..."

"What's that?"

"Oh nothing, I said I used to work near this town."

"Really, where do you work now?"

"Ah, I work for an oil company now."

"Alright and here's your change... oil company eh? Which pump station?"


To say your last question squashed my heart into tiny blobs of frozen blood would be an understatement. And I left the counter grasping the change, leaving no space for its molecules to move. I can hear the sound of the guys in the restaurant holding their laughter in; some of them spilling water out of their noses in the process.

From a distance, I can see my friends slowly standing up from their chairs and waving their hands my way putting the biggest of smiles on their faces. And I walked, the walk of shame, leaving you wondering... which, pump, station.

Inspired by: Paul Simms' Four Short Crushes

My other Simms essays: 1) Basic Instinct III 2) Splash Splash

Photography by Azalia Suhaimi

  • Asrif, b. 1983
  • Subang Jaya, Malaysia
  • asrifomar[@]gmail[.]com
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