web counter The Madness of MokcikNab: April 2006
The Madness of MokcikNab
Motives, movements and melodrama in the life of a thirty something mum.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006
My Hot Friend

Tell me what you think of these pictures of my hot friend, who obviously had a successful makeover. The wonder of fake eyelashes, I tell you. Aiyah, how to do that smouldering look, ah? I so jealous one.

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Monday, April 17, 2006
Welcome to the World, Izani

My sister Elisa now has four children. Four!

Congratulations to a brave mommy. I salute you for wanting more children than the statistically standard three, and I have no doubt the new addition will get as much love and fun as the rest of his siblings.


Sorry Murrow, We're Burrowed in Too Deep

Where'd all the good people go?
I've been changin' channels
I don't see them on the tv shows
Where'd all the good people go?
We got heaps and heaps of what we sow
Jack Johnson, Good People

I was drawn to watch Good Night, Good Luck mainly for two things. First, instead of Edward R. Murrow, Good Night, Good Luck reminds me of a substitute newsreader who used the same phrase to end his newscast, but because he didn't have quite the same standing or panache, it ended up sounding like he was hoping the viewer would get laid afterwards. The second thing is George Clooney. I'm miserably jaundiced when it comes to pretty faces. I didn't think he could write or direct and wanted the film to prove me wrong.

So what did I think? I thought the film was a little patchy, and that a lot of reel time was perhaps wasted on incidental plots and a fat lady singing jazz, although Dianne Reeves did sing beautifully and I am now going to look for the soundtrack. However, Clooney's in-your-face message more than made up for his slight lack of craft. I wish he had made this film a little bit further up in his auteur career, when the direction and storyline could have been tighter, and he could have better conveyed the sense of persecution and stifle of the McCarthy era. But I realise he must have wanted to do this film now, at this time, when the moral of the story couldn't have had a greater significance.

The story started out with Murrow giving a speech at the Radio Television News Directors Association Convention in Chicago, in the autumn of 1958.

It is my desire, if not my duty, to try to talk to you journeymen
with some candor about what is happening to radio and television.
And if what I say is irresponsible, I alone am responsible
for the saying of it
Our history will be what we make of it.
And if there are any historians about fifty or a hundred years from now
and there should be preserved the kinescopes of one week
of all three networks
they will there find recorded in black and white, and in color
evidence of decadence,escapism
and insulation from the realities of the world in which we live
We are currently wealthy, fat,comfortable, and complacent
We have a built-in allergy to unpleasant or disturbing information
Our mass media reflect this

The speech in the film is a distillation of the actual keynote address, which you can read in full here, and which has even more quotes to justify the current disenchantment my friends and I feel about television in general. Like for example :

I am frightened by the imbalance, the constant striving to reach the largest possible audience for everything; by the absence of a sustained study of the state of the nation. Heywood Broun once said, "No body politic is healthy until it begins to itch." I would like television to produce some itching pills rather than this endless outpouring of tranquilizers. It can be done. Maybe it won't be, but it could. Let us not shoot the wrong piano player. Do not be deluded into believing that the titular heads of the networks control what appears on their networks. They all have better taste.

Or this :

To those who say people wouldn't look; they wouldn't be interested; they're too complacent, indifferent and insulated, I can only reply: There is, in one reporter's opinion, considerable evidence against that contention. But even if they are right, what have they got to lose? Because if they are right, and this instrument is good for nothing but to entertain, amuse and insulate, then the tube is flickering now and we will soon see that the whole struggle is lost.

This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise it is merely wires and lights in a box. There is a great and perhaps decisive battle to be fought against ignorance, intolerance and indifference. This weapon of television could be useful.

Stonewall Jackson, who knew something about the use of weapons, is reported to have said, "When war comes, you must draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." The trouble with television is that it is rusting in the scabbard during a battle for survival.

Unfortunately, we can only take comfort in knowing that we're not unreasonable to think something is not right.

I'm afraid things have gone so much worse since 1958, that the damage is perhaps irreversible. In the very same speech, Murrow lamented that television and radio have "grown up as an incompatible combination of showbusiness, advertising and news". Here and now, there is political patronage and personal ambition thrown into the molotov cocktail. The media has world domination; and all of us born after Baird cannot escape it.

George Clooney, whose father Nick was a TV anchor and radio host, must have wanted Good Night, Good Luck to be a kind of roadsign to steer us back in the right direction. Unfortunately, I think the people who wanted viewers to go on this trippy detour knew exactly what they were doing. To them, there was no mistake.

Here's a test. Do you like the above piece or do you like my next question :

Of all these TV doctors and interns, who would you rather sleep with :

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A. Dr Gregory House

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B. Dr Derek Shepherd

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C. J.D

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D. Warrick Brown (okay, he's in forensics, not medicine, but hey, he can play doctor with me)

and for a bit of irony,

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E. Dr Douglas Ross

You were actually considering the answers, weren't you? See? I rest my case.


Sunday, April 16, 2006

At different, different times of the day, but mostly at night, I would imagine what you might be doing, at this precise moment when I am here, far away.

I imagine you cross-legged on the floor, your back against the edge of bed, hunched over the Quran. If I close my eyes, I can hear your voice as you recite the Words and meanings, I can hear your voice, the gentle timbre.

Or you would be sitting with the guitar across your lap, plucking not out of sheer talent but fierce determination, slowly, tentatively, each note squeezed out one by one. It would sound jarring, but I would only be looking at your fingers, gliding across the strings.

It is sad to think of you eating lonely meals, in an empty house, in a foreign land. I wonder if at the end of another solitary evening, you would sigh and think of us as you turn off the lights, or if you'd turn off the lights at all. You've always been resolute, but now when you call I can hear desolation chipping away at determination, like drips of water upon a rock. I've always been the one weak-spirited, hysterical and expecting the worst, but this time even I can't afford not to keep my chin up, put my faith in optimism. It's the only way to get through.


Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Update on Updates

Hello, how you've been?

Been sick for the past week, been to Jakarta and back.

Not too good at all. Forgive me for the prolonged absence.

I spent six days with Saiffuddin, six precious days agonizing whether the rest of the family would be joining him in Jakarta at all. His HR Manager says he doesn't know. My husband's furious. They haven't sent him money, can't tell when they will. We parted tearful, ambivalent about what we should do next.

Aiysha is mad at me because I told her we'd be going by the middle of the month and the whole class made her a farewell card. Including her class teacher. Now she's mortified to go to school.

Adam on the other hand, couldn't be happier.

Because I had chicken pox on my wedding day, I am forever cursed to ensure other people's receptions are perfect. Last Friday, Papa Khalid and I were the emcees at one such affair -- it featured about thirty thousand ringgit worth of flowers and high-end royalty. We pulled it off through pantuns and cough medicine, and then had nasi lemak at Kak Limah's.

I had a massive sore throat throughout the weekend, while my two girls plied me with get well cards and cups of cold water in which they dunked tea bags. They were good nurses. Every half hour they'd peer into my face to see if I'm awake. "Are you well now, mummy?", they kept asking, because a sick mummy means no outings for little nurses.

We went out eventually, on Tuesday -- and you can see the pictures here.

So that's about it. Hope you had a better time than me!


Eaves Drops

Drops of Skype :

[1:04:25 PM] Elida says:
what did you have for dinner last nite?
i'm not stopping you from having lunch, am i?

[1:05:19 PM] Saiffuddin says:
I had Papa Ron's Pizza.
You are and I am hungry
Very hungry
but because I just love you it's ok

[1:06:20 PM] Elida says:
i love you, too darling
you want to go makan or not

[1:06:47 PM] Saiffuddin says:
I go eat first ok

[1:07:00 PM] Elida says:
sue just called me from the airport. he just arrived from ho chi minh.
i'll talk to you later.

[A little later]
[1:44:34 PM] Saiffuddin says:
Are you still there

[1:46:14 PM] Elida says:

[1:48:07 PM] Saiffuddin says:
Well what did Che Mi say about Vietnam

[1:48:32 PM] Elida says:
tak sampai lagi. tadi masa call i tu baru je landing

[1:49:10 PM] Saiffuddin says:
I have a bit of a kembung. May be Papa Ron's Pizza doesn't quite agree with me.
Been swallowing carbon pills
Hello are you watching Oprah again.
If you are I am going away

[1:51:34 PM] Elida says :
i'm not going away.
i was going to tell you about the documentary i watched last night [Muhamad, Legacy of a Prophet] and wanted to find a website about it

[1:52:04 PM] Saiffuddin says:
Well didn't you say it was a rabbi show

[1:52:05 PM] Elida says:
jangan lah lari

[1:52:30 PM] Saiffuddin says:
Tunggu lama sangat

[1:52:38 PM] Elida says:
it wasn't a rabbi show. well, they did have rabbis in it. one or two and one professor from the hebrew union college
[Actually the fact that it did feature Jewish respondents and touched on the relationship between Jews and Muslims during the Prophet's time, made it very interesting. But that's another post]

[1:53:40 PM] Elida says:
by the way, r**** wants me to go with suhaimi to tronoh next week
r**** kata kat suhaimi, "bawak bini katak"
sounds terrible when it's written down
i'm no longer a person. i'm always "bini katak"
[katak is my husband's nickname in school]

[1:55:04 PM] Saiffuddin says:
Pasal dia tak nak orang gossip dia dengan Suhaimi

[2:01:17 PM] Saiffuddin says:
Kost not too bad, private
[Due to some cash-flow bungling, my husband was forced to move out of the apartment. Despite his company's assurances that in the interim he could stay at The Hilton, he apparently decided to sulk and slum it out, to prove a point. Men are weird]

[2:01:49 PM] Elida says:
private ka. the units are cramped together mah

[2:03:34 PM] Saiffuddin says:
Kitchen is ok too. There is a small back way completely walled up

[2:04:04 PM] Elida says:
backway completely walled up? yes um!
very nice! does it has access to a hose?

[2:04:40 PM] Saiffuddin says:
and what do u want with a hose

[2:04:50 PM] Elida says:
whatever YOU want

[2:05:11 PM] Saiffuddin says:
What can I do with it? Pray tell

[2:05:12 PM] Elida says:
oh, i can think a lot of things you can do with a hose

[2:05:26 PM] Saiffuddin says:
Do tell
[so i did tell, and he did agree]

[2:06:37 PM] Saiffuddin says:
I'll see to the logistics

[2:06:43 PM] Elida says:
there you go. practical things you can do with garden equipment
and we can do this at middday
while other people are hanging up their washing
now i miss you terribly

[2:26:00 PM] Saiffuddin says:
I miss you, too. You and the kids.
Yesterday it rained heavily. Some cars got pinned under trees.
3 people died
It's raining still
Not as heavy as yesterday

[2:28:07 PM] Elida says:
life is cheap ain't it in jakarta

[2:28:18 PM] Saiffuddin says:
I have meeting till late tonight
[His bosses are arriving from KL later in the evening. Apart from some heavy duty discussions, my husband's intending to raise the delicate issue of the cash-flow bungling]
So I don't think I can call u till late.

[2:29:26 PM] Elida says:
no worries. call after 11. want to watch grey's anatomy

[2:29:45 PM] Saiffuddin says:
Yeah, yeah you got cable
Me no got
I need my TV, I need my TV
It's driving me up the wall watching TV with bad signal

[2:32:11 PM] Elida says:
okay. read a book. pick up a culinary skill. write a blog
call it the i miss my wife and kids blog
[we then talk about when i should visit him next, and we calculate my ovulation cycle]

[3:21:09 PM] Saiffuddin says:
I'll wait for you.

[3:26:56 PM]Elida says:
by the way, bury your dreams about queen -- i knew mark burnett productions won't have the guts (or folly) to be that ambitious : check out http://rockstar.msn.com/
and do you know that american idol is doing queeeeeeen today?
oh i cringe to think what they would sound like
massacre i tell you, how dare they
[As it turned out, not a single contestant did justice to the memory of Freddie Mercury]

[3:36:07 PM] Saiffuddin says:
I can't seem to get to MSN. Pray tell who it is.
Never mind, who is Supernova?
Isn't Supernova what happens to stars when they die

[3:36:27 PM] Elida says:
hahahahahahahaha so apt!!!

[3:36:59 PM] Saiffuddin says:
Which one is Supernova

[3:37:25 PM] Elida says:
it is a new group formed by tommy lee from motley crue, jason newsted from metallica and gilby clarke from guns and roses. so you see, the biggest star is tommy lee. so now they need a lead singer

[3:38:08 PM] Saiffuddin says:
Oh. So it's got no songs la
Nobody knows them la

[3:38:28 PM] Elida says:
no it'll just feature a naked pammie twiddling her nipples at dave navarro i think

[3:38:57 PM] Saiffuddin says:
A bunch of good for nothing drunks la

[3:38:59 PM] Elida says:
that's it lah. boring

[3:39:24 PM] Saiffuddin says:
Well it's a try. maybe it'd be good too.

[3:39:43 PM] Elida says:
if pamela lee actually does appear topless

[3:39:57 PM] Saiffuddin says:
And do what

[3:40:05 PM] Elida says:
i dont know. just stand there
what would you like pamela lee to do?
(that's a trick question, by the way)

[3:43:27 PM] Saiffuddin says:
Any Asians through the try out's?

[3:43:53 PM] Elida says:
i dont know. they havent finished auditioning yet. i think the audition's in hong kong next

[3:44:31 PM] Saiffuddin says:
There has to be a token Asian
Malaysia you can forget it

[3:45:13 PM] Elida :
who knows. i can always hope
actually armand maulana did get into the semis for inxs, what?

[3:46:06 PM] Saiffuddin says:
His Jawa looks got him kicked out

[3:47:07 PM] Saiffuddin says:
Maybe Indonesian version nanti Rockstar D'Lloyd pulak
Hari tu dah jumpa kombo kat supermarket yang main lagu D'Lloyd

[5:18:38 PM] Elida says:
oh you just love little pokey stuff like that

anyways got the rundown from suhaimi about vietnam
looks good -- they're signing us on, insya Allah end of may
but the malaysian company may have trouble with capital (what's new?)
***** is interested in putting in money for the venture though.
so suhaimi has seduced *****'s rep.
ada scene pakai towel terbelah

[don't ask. seriously]