Crouching Tiger Lady
August 21, 2008

Last month, I wrote a letter to Marks & Spencer regarding a customer of theirs who had perceivably gone through emotional distress, from guilt after mistaking me for an employee of the store. It seemed like the thing to do; judging from the look of shock and regret the minute I told her that I didn’t work there.

While I’m as used to being mistaken for a store employee as to say, Dennis Rodman for a Christmas tree, the worst that I got from the incident was just my friends (who weren’t there when it happened) asking me about employee discounts; thanks to Reza’s big mouth (who were there, both him and the mouth). In his defense though, I am guilty for telling everyone about his GOLD COLORED TIE and BLUE SNEAKERS, not to mention the fact that he DOESN’T HAVE A NECK and used to wear shorts that make him look like A MEMBER OF THE VILLAGE PEOPLE.

Anyway, I was at good old M&S again the other day; looking for a pair of khaki pants due to the unavailability of my one and only jeans to serve its master this weekend. One touch on that piece of denim and prepare to have rashes itchy enough, only Wolverine could scratch it off. All in a day’s work for a garment which had last encountered any form of detergent only a few millenniums back. Furthermore, the demanding nature of my schedule would only allow me to do laundry a fortnight from now. Setting up my Yahoo! Fantasy Football team for the week takes precedence, naturally.

So I was flipping through the trousers rack before one of the M&S lady employees, all clad in black was seen crouching and sneaking from underneath a nearby rack. Not far from her was another lady, also in all black (which tells me that she may work there as well), going through some items on the baby clothing rack.

"Ah..." I said to myself.

"So our Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon lady right here is trying to scare the hell out of her co-worker friend it seems. Ha ha... should be pretty funny." I said to a baby in a stroller close by, who responded with a saliva bubble.

And I stood there, as attentive as a National Geographic camera; awaiting a moment that would produce comedy with humor of epic proportions.

"GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" screamed the Crouching Tiger Lady as she makes the scariest face possible while grasping on the other lady’s arms.

"AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!" shrieked the other lady as she throws away all of that were in her possession.

I held my head down, squinting my eyes and biting my knuckle in the effort to suppress myself from bursting into laughter that could possibly impair the hearing of that baby with the spit bubble. After skipping a few heartbeats and finally managing to breathe, I threw another glance at the ladies; only to realize that they were both at a standstill.

From an audible distance, the following conversation took place.

"Er... er... I’m s..s...sorry... I g...got the wrong person. I thought you were my friend over there, who works here." said Crouching Tiger lady who had evidently turned into Slouching Kitty lady.

"................................." said the other lady whose pulse seemed to be non-existent after what just happened.

And I stood there in awe, of a blunder that could’ve just burned my funny fuse. It’s been a good 47 hours now since I last found anything funny. This is only the second time that this has happened.

The first time was when I watched Borat.



Sudin
August 10, 2008

"That's it!" shouted Sudin at the top of his lungs, as the skin of his fingers slowly peels off while being smoldered by teh tarik, still at its boiling temperature.

Only seconds earlier, his sudden outburst of anger led him to thumping the glass onto the table; to the stall owner's dismay.

"Dey, mau marah kalu sana gusti punya tempat pigi la... apa pasal sini juga lu mau bikin kacau. Tarak sekolah punya orang..."

Realizing that he was already standing on his chair with every bit of attention from the other customers directed at him, Sudin slowly got down and wiped off the teh tarik (and bits of skin) from his hand.

"Ane, sorry ha... saya punya kawan ini hari, hati dalam ada sikit susah. Ini gelas nanti saya ganti sama you. Sudin my friend, care to tell me what the hell is going on..?"

"Lina."

"Oh boy, here we go again..."

"No matter what I do, no matter where I go, she's all I could think of man. Day and night, dusk 'til dawn. I see her everywhere. Even in this teh tarik."

"Calm down buddy, you're in a pretty bad shape already; a textbook case of infatuation. Happens to the best of us man."

"And the worst part is that, for all you know, I'm just a no one in her life dude. I'm just another bugger at the office. Just another bugger, at the office."

"Well, the only solution is for you to go out there, and get it all straightened out with her. And just accept whatever outcome. If it's a yes, then it's all good. If it's a no, move on. She's not the only girl out there. You can smash all the glasses in this stall and it would still do nothing if you don't go talk to her."

"Dey, jangan ajar sama dia kasi hancur sama saya punya gelas la..."

"Sial dia ni pasang telinga. Saya cakap saja la Ane..."

"Easier said than done man. I saw her from a few miles away the other day and even that gave me shivers. It was brilliant though. I could've just won a Nobel earlier that day and seeing her from that far would still be the highlight of my day man. It would. Ah, she's just perfect dude, and I know that I can give her all that she needs."

"You ain't helping yourself man. Grow some balls, go out there and just ask her out or something. What's the worst that could happen? She says no? It's 2008, so what if a girl says no?"

"I don't know dude. You know how we tend to put the girls we like way, way up there... and put ourselves way, way down here. Look at her, she's this smart and attractive girl and me, I'm just, well, a very average guy. I can't help it man. I know I'll stutter when I'm in front of her. I know I'll turn into this awfully boring guy; unlike when I'm with our girl friends. You know..."

"I do, believe me I do. But it's now or never Sudin. You sure you'll find another girl as great as, if not better than her in the future? We aren't in high school no more. If you're too slow, BAM! some other guy will snap her up. You can't be too fast as well though; don't wanna freak her out. Bah, you'll just have to play your cards right. I'm clueless as well, it's a grey area."

"I suppose, and you know whaaaaaHOLY SMOKE, there she is. The love of my life."

"What the f... oh... shoot, she's alone man. Sudin dude, I'm telling you man... this is it; make or break. Just keep your cool, go there, say hi, and buy her a drink or something."

"Right, right... alright, here goes nothing, wish me luck man..."

"May the force be with you son."

Sudin stood up, squinting his eyes as the sun shines as bright as his hope, in finally finding true love. Anticipating a tough moment, tears of sweat falls down his temple right onto the ground, silhouetted by his shadow; slowly growing as he approaches closer to Lina's table.

"Err... excuse me... no I mean, hello there..."

"Oh ye, teh o ais limau satu ye dik..."

"Eh, no I don't work here. I'm Sudin... from work, remember? Lina right?"

"Ha... oh, urm... aha... Sudin! From Finance right?"

"No, not really... I'm from Planning. We take the same lift sometimes, thought I'd say hi..."

"Yeah right, right... I remember. How are you Kudin? Who are you with"

"It's Sudin. I'm alright... just chilling after work with my buddy Ajis, right there. How about yourself? Doing alright? Alone I see?"

"Not quite."

"Ah, Jay... found your parking spot hun? By the way, meet Budin, a friend of mine, from work. Budin, meet Jay."

"Oh... hey there, I'm Jay."

"Sudin."

"Quite a grip there eh, buddy."

"Heh..."

"I think you can let go now."

And he loosened his grip. Slowly, Sudin walked back towards his table. His shadow vanished; every bit of it surged right into his body filling the emptiness of his soul with nothing more than gloom and darkness.

Within sight, his good friend and long time right hand man Ajis is seen tapping his fingers on the table while resting his head on the other hand; probably figuring out ways to alleviate the pain his friend is going through. Ajis rubbed his eyes for a few seconds before the crashing sound of breaking glass and loud commotion brought him back.

"Ayoyo dey macha! Macha! Sini mari! You punya kawan kasi pecah sama saya gelas belakang dapur sana!"

"Ah sudah Sudin..."



Tool of the Year
August 05, 2008

TV characters... we're all influenced by them.

Thanks to the eloquence of Hannah Montana, my sisters are now using, on average, three 'likes' per sentence. Thus a regular conversation among their friends would go,

"I was like, at the mall the other day and there was like, this like, bag right, and it was like, totally hot you go gUrLz..! ^_~"

There's also my good friend Zul, who had considered the gym his second home after witnessing the number of buildings that The Hulk was capable of tearing down just by sneezing. You're getting there bro.

And then there's Judd. Aspired by the massive acreage of hair on David Hasselhoff's chest in Baywatch, he's been under the strict rules of an intensive 30-day 'body hair rejuvenation' program; which involves sunbathing, to the horror of his neighbors.

As for myself, I've never really been heavily influenced by any particular TV character. While I tend to believe that the fashion of my wit is in the mold of Dr. Gregory House, my intelligence has never been likened to anyone beyond Peter Griffin.

Yes, the same Peter Griffin who wrote the following letter,

"Dear MacGyver, Enclosed is a rubber band, a paper clip, and a drinking straw. Please save my dog."

If given the choice though, I've always wanted to be like Tim Allen in Home Improvement. That's right, Tim Taylor, the ultimate Mr. Fix-it and long time host of Tool Time. I want to be able to fix things.

(And of course, have my own TV show with initially, Lisa (Pamela Anderson) and later on, Heidi (Debbe Dunning) as the assistant. Guys my age we owe a lot to Lisa and Heidi as the show was at their peak in the mid-90s; an era during which most of us hit puberty. Sigh...)

As I was saying, I've always wanted to be good at fixing things. I suppose it's only natural for guys to be a bit restless whenever they see a leaking pipe or a loose door knob or punctured tires or Zuleyka Rivera Miss Universe 2006; you know. We would usually experience this sudden urge to screw and tighten some bolts and nuts; especially when it comes to Zuleyka Rivera Miss Universe 2006.

Sorry.

Men were born with the dire need to fix things that are broken, and break things that aren't broken. Sadly, I was blessed with more of the latter than the former. Twenty five years of living and I could safely say that the success rate of my fixing attempts is only comparable to the success rate of Ashlee Simpson's singing attempts.

Nevertheless, I do put some effort into developing my stuff-fixing ability. Every now and then I would look around the house for things to be fixed; in my carpenter pants and equipped with the best tools and gadgets in town. Stanley screwdrivers, Swiss Army knives and Bosch drills all packed in my Black and Decker Power Tools toolbox and ready to rock and roll.

Before I give a call to Tanggarajan, the family Mr. Fix-it to come over and 'assist' me, in 'operating' the toolbox.

At least I tried.



Photography by Azalia Suhaimi

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