"Mum, I have a girlfriend. She's from Venus"
"I was just checking if you're actually listening', grinned Adam.
I don't blame him for thinking that I'm totally spaced out. We have been in Jakarta for the past three days, which means it has been three days since we left my maid, Ti, at Sukarno Hatta, where she boarded a domestic flight home to Solo. I heard her mother shed tears upon her return.
There's tears in my family, too.
"Nak Kak Ti!!", you can hear the nightly cry."Nak Kak Tiiiiiiiiii!"
My kids are doing fine without Kak Ti, actually. They're too busy having a great time : splashing in the pool, eating lots of chocolate eclairs and open faced sandwiches, meandering through the hotel lobby in their Power Puff Girls wooly robes, wrecking the room, taking baths every two hours while leaving a debris of wet clothes, toilet paper and empty shampoo bottles, punctuating evening gamelan performances with embarrasingly loud guffaws, scrawling out oil pastel pictures on every piece of paper in sight, quarelling with each other in public, gorging themselves at the breakfast buffet, and monopolising the TV's remote, to care about Kak Ti's absence.
It's me who's doing the bawling.
It's just been three days, and I'm ready to eat my own children.
Yesterday, I brought my children for tea at one of the hotel's eating places, where business people meet to have small pastries and finger sandwiches, a nice place with large windows overlooking verdant gardens.
We sat down, and one guest promptly collapsed and had a heart attack.
A waiter tried to revive him, a doctor gave him CPR, but he remained erm, dead.
"When you die", said Adam, "it's your feet that would die first. They'll go cold".
We saw the unfortunate guest as they wheeled him out. His feet had turned blue.
My children were solemn for about five minutes."We can't order yet", Aiysha whispered."His spirit is still hanging around this place".
Then a waitress came and smiled brightly. Among the three, they had about seven sandwiches, five eclairs, six brownies and two chocolate muffins, two pots of tea and three hot chocolates. So much for respecting the dead.
Ladies and gentlemen, you have the privilege of ruthlessly dissecting my first attempt at vlogging/PIBcasting : click here.
Please bear in mind we're still beta-testing. We want you to tell us all about the bugs. But please spare me comments like : "Elida, this is vapid" or "Mokciknab, you so fat". I already know all that.
My kids are mortified to be portrayed in the vlog, and the fact that it might be viewed by others is doubly upsetting.
"Brownie!", Aiysha cried to her teddy bear, "Murder me! Murder me, right now!".
Good news for her : when I tried to open the link at home, I found the downloading and buffering tedious, so I'm thinking there might be only two of you who would manage to see this thing. (We need bigger pipes, people! Bigger pipes!)
Adam is horrified that I called our executive secetary cum event specialist cum all-round feel good guy, Shazwan, my second husband.
"You betrayed us, Mummy!", he declared, "You're having an affair with Uncle Shazwan!".
"I didn't mean it literally, Adam", I explained.
He wasn't convinced.
"Well, it was nice knowing you, Mummy", he said gravely. "Wait till I tell Daddy when we get to Jakarta. You won't be our mother for long".
That means I'll still be his mother for another couple of days. We're touching down at Sukarno-Hatta on Thursday.
Listen, we're serious about you sending us your own PIBcast. Evan Williams, the guy who created Blogger, and then sold the company to Google, is now experimenting with podcasting, hoping to spark off personal broadcasting, the same way he jumpstarted personal publishing. I'm emboldened to find that even the great minds are thinking along the same path. With PIBcasting, we hope to give you your own TV show, so start recording now.
Your Royal Highness Mizz Muzie,
Thank you for visiting my blog. I really want to drop you an email, tapi makcik, I donch have your email address. Link kepada homepage, homepage orang lain pulak tu. (But it is a great website! Divers and Underwater Enthusiasts should visit) So now, please, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Kita pun rindu kat awak dan Miss Adibah. Maybe we can all gather in Jakarta and go shopping together-gether. Maybe Miss Adibah can introduce me to Harvey Malaiholo. By the way, susahnya nak beli Adibah's CD. Suhaimi and I have searched for it every where. Must have been sold out. Ngetop!
Here's something you ought to think about : that Celebrity CEO you're working for, might well be a corporate Jeffrey Dahmer. Tell me something I don't know, you say? Today, the cheapo me bought some back issues of Fast Company for 9.90, and their July edition was particularly arresting. Next to a very yellow C. Montgomery Burns in his best portrait shot, is this question : IS YOUR BOSS A PSYCHOPATH? Take Our Quiz to Find Out.
The premise of the cover story started with Robert Hare, a prof emeritus in criminal psychology, who in August 2002, gave a talk to about 150 Canadian policemen at a convention in Newfoundland. Here's an excerpt from the article, which you can also read at the Fast Company website.
According to the Canadian Press and Toronto Sun reporters who rescued the moment from obscurity, Hare began by talking about Mafia hit men and sex offenders, whose photos were projected on a large screen behind him. But then those images were replaced by pictures of top executives from WorldCom, which had just declared bankruptcy, and Enron, which imploded only months earlier. The securities frauds would eventually lead to long prison sentences for WorldCom CEO Bernard Ebbers and Enron CFO Andrew Fastow.
"These are callous, cold-blooded individuals," Hare said.
"They don't care that you have thoughts and feelings. They have no sense of guilt or remorse." He talked about the pain and suffering the corporate rogues had inflicted on thousands of people who had lost their jobs, or their life's savings. Some of those victims would succumb to heart attacks or commit suicide, he said.
Then Hare came out with a startling proposal. He said that the recent corporate scandals could have been prevented if CEOs were screened for psychopathic behavior. "Why wouldn't we want to screen them?" he asked. "We screen police officers, teachers. Why not people who are going to handle billions of dollars?"
Makes sense ? Take this quiz and shudder. Don't you think that Prof. Hare is merely giving you an empirical and scientific back-up to what you already know : that your boss is a bona-fide wacko? The thing is, ruthless and opportunistic wackos somehow always end up at the top of the corporate ladder, because of the number of heads they'd gleefully step on. This is why Suhaimi, Che' kam and I had to quit our jobs : we just had to reclaim our sanity. Mr Burns was quoted as saying, "What good is money if it can't inspire terror in your fellow man?". You have to be Homer Simpson to continue working for a guy like that.
Happy Birthday Webmaster, New Mother, Sister.
Saiffuddin and I are debating how old you are. He thinks you're 31. I think you're 28. No matter, here's wishing your husband gave you jewellery.
Today marks 15 years of my marriage to Saiffuddin. I would have forgotten that it has been 15 years, had my husband not counted. He's coming home today, bearing gifts.
This blog has been abandoned for far too long, don't you think?
Did I hear anyone cough "understatement"? It would be amazing if there are people at all who would be reading this post; it would be cast into cyberspace like the philosophical tree that falls in the forest, not making a sound if there's no one to hear.
Serves me right for not updating.
So I'll make up for lost time, in the vain hope that someone (my sisters at least, heh) would leave some thing in the comment box. (Make it Not Nasty)
Let's see, let's see, let's see. The biggest thing that's happening to me right now, and which everyone is probably sick of hearing about, is my Big Move to Jakarta. Ya dong, gue pindahan ke seberang. My husband is now permanent fixture at PT Peremba Nusantara, just like its furniture. (And just as useful. Furniture is useful, no?)
Initially, we thought that we'd endure a trans-strait relationship, with the kids and I staying put in Malaysian suburban heaven, while Saiffuddin can camp out in Jakarta, work like mad, and come home every fortnight. Curiously, every woman, no matter the age, would vehemently advise me against this.
"Eeeeeh, nanti Cik Abang awak tu pasang Ibu lagi sorang kat Jakarta tuuuu..! Have you any idea what Indonesian girls look like?".
Yes, yes, if they all look like Dian Sastro, there is no hope. Frankly I found it rather unsettling that they thought gorgeous Indonesian girls would be that easy, (of course, they are not) or my boring husband would be that attractive (or disloyal). It all depends on who you're married to, lor. I know of friends who pasang Ibu lagi sorang, while they're on a short trip to Sabah.
Nevertheless, several factors made us rethink our inter-strait plan. First, I got spooked that one of my friends, whose husband was working in Jakarta, and who had a marriage subsisting on said fortnightly rotation, came to a wedding with a debonair boyfriend in tow.
"I'm getting a divorce", she whispered, smiling. "If Saiffuddin is moving to Jakarta, my advice to you, Elida, is to move with him". Like most divorces, it is less about infidelity, than about a breakdown in the relationship. One day, you realise that your in absentia spouse is just not part of your life any more. Even after just two months, I have to admit that I am beginning to get used to Saiffuddin not being around. Not that I like it much. Not yet.
The whole upheaval of coming and going was also taking a toll : I'd go over to visit or he'd come home for while, and the tearful goodbyes and the frenzied sex is just too much drama to bear. I'm getting old, I want some kind of constant. (I can't expect to get that at the place I work) Besides, Saiffuddin is one of those old, dear husbands who can't survive on their own for long. He gets sick, he gets bored, he moans about going home.
Also, I actually love Jakarta. Despite its clogged roads and arbitrary urban planning, I can see myself living in this wondrously huge city. Jakarta people are polite and civilised (unless they're driving) and they have a deep appreciation of life and art. You can have a meaningful conversation with a random youth in Jakarta, or you can discuss democracy with a cab driver. I love the Indonesian language, I love their inventiveness with words, like pede, for confidence, which I guess is short for Percaya Diri.
On top of that, and this is important, in Jakarta there is Mangga Dua and places like Mangga Dua, where you can buy a very, very good fake Hermes in aubergine for much less than a real MNG. Or you can buy a real Armani suit for three hundred ringgit, at a factory outlet in Bandung. Or you can buy a gracious six bedroom mansion with a curving staircase and a pool in the backyard for less than a million bucks. Jakarta, and the greater Indonesia, is shopping heaven -- and I'm the patron saint of belanja.