c*devotchka

having my Cake, eating it – and not counting every last calorie

for Alex November 1, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — c*devotchka @ 11:02 pm
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i must break my (unannounced) hiatus from blogging to write about this.

the short. a 15 year old French boy was gang-raped by local Emiratis, one of whom was HIV +ve and was not given proper medical attention. he was, however, attacked by the very people who should have protected him.

of course, when you’re the one saying “no, please, no”, it is your fault when you get raped.

the long.

just cos they are not of Emirati blood does not mean they are lesser than you.

just cos they are not Muslims does not mean they are lesser than you.

just cos they are building the next tallest building in the world for next to nothing wages, does not mean they are lesser than you.

just cos they are in transit in your country and not born with a spoonful of crude oil in their mouths does not mean they are lesser than you.

Boycott Dubai.

i am ashamed that you claim to subscribe to the same God i believe in.

 

when i’m packed, whisk me away June 22, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — c*devotchka @ 5:50 am
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we’re moving. there are boxes in the house.

there are cartons everywhere. bubblewrapped stuff everywhere. it’s a warzone, it’s a minefield. everywhere we step is a potential disaster. except we don’t get blown up into a million pieces – we just trip, fall over and land on, if we’re lucky, another bubblewrapped item, or if we’re not so lucky, the not-so-blunt edge of another open carton.

it’s a good look for the house, a good accompaniment to the two large mounts of laundry i have yet to touch since we got back from Abu Dhabi in january. 6 months isn’t too long, the concept of time is overrated, especially when talking about bad housewifery.

laundry

this isn’t even half of it. i’m ashamed i’m proud of it.

i hate packing. i’ll procrastinate packing by sitting on the sofa. then i’ll procrastinate contemplating packing on the sofa by surfing the Internet or washing the dishes.

we’re going on a 3 week holiday to Jordan, Israel and Egypt in a week.

consulates and embassies. humph.

i tried finding out about the Israeli stamp stigma for Ravi. some people think that having an Israeli stamp in your passport will complicate entering countries that do not recognise Israel as a nation. i’d rather know for sure than listen to aunties back home, cautioning me about being left high and dry at the Singapore-Malaysia Causeway, unable to visit Angsana mall in Johore Bahru (like it’s better than Orchard Road) because lil tourist me visited Jerusalem.

like as though Malaysian customs officials will flip through every single page. and then recognise Hebrew.

like as though Israeli businessmen have not travelled to these countries for trade. although, i’d imagine, they’d travel on the quiet. though not to Syria.

some people forget that Muslims live in Israel too and that Al-Aqsa mosque is where Islamic tradition places Prophet Muhd s.a.w. on his “night journey”, where he ascended to heaven from. also, many Malaysian Christians are allowed to visit Israel on pilgrimage.

calling the Malaysian consulate here in Dubai is a lose-lose-lose-lose situation. you get to a machine with only 2 options and none of those 2 actually lead to a human being manning the phones. we emailed them, and nothing, nada. boy, would i hate to be a Malaysian in trouble overseas.

after 30 minutes of trying the Egyptian embassy line, the lady manning the phone was short-tempered, loud and rude (Zeren gave me the heads-up about Middle-Eastern consulates) although the security guard at the embassy was real friendly. inside, the queue at the information counter was long enough to circle the Earth, and then some. we decided we’d be better off getting our visas on arrival.

in the 40°C heat, we then crossed the road to the Jordanian embassy although i had already checked out their website and found out Singapore and Malaysia are not on their list of countries where tourists need pre-issued visas.

everyone at the Jordanian embassy was friendly except for the guys manning the information counter cum queue ticket machine. when asked where we could enquire/confirm about whether we’d need visas, visa forms were shoved in our faces without so much as a HELLO or any interest whatsoever. we had to fill em up, wait our turn, then we could ask the guy at the visa counter. we were 50 numbers away and the number didn’t move after 30 minutes. after 40 minutes, Ravi went up to the visa counter and confirmed we didn’t need any. the lady on the Jordanian embassy line was far friendlier and informative.

how hard was that?

i love how the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs website practically shouts, EVERYBODY IS WELCOME. now, if only we all could learn from that kind of clever lovin’.

i thought public service = service to the public/citizens. but most of us concur that we are mostly at their mercy.

we can’t wait to get our asses over.

  • Jordan – Amman + Jerash + Ajloun + Madaba + Mt Nebo (where Moses first caught sight of the Promised Land) + Machaerus + Umm ar-Rasas + Bethany + Karak + Dead Sea + Petra (i’ve dreamt of this for years since Indiana Jones)
  • Israel – Jerusalem + Bethlehem
  • Egypt – Alexandria + Cairo + Luxor

and if we’ve got some time left, and are lucky, perhaps Morocco, where we’d originally wanted to spend our honeymoon. technically, this is our honeymoon although we’d honeyed many moons ago. this is our first holiday in a really long time and even Ravi, Mr Marble Slab is visibly excited about it.

i’d love a Camelbak for this trip. i’d take any excuse to get one.

Camelbak Trinity

 

into the furnace May 25, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — c*devotchka @ 5:57 pm
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you don’t need Gummi Berry Juice to bounce off the walls, no, no, no, all you need is 2 weeks at home with little more than an embroidery book (without needle and thread), a slow broadband connection and Martha Stewart.

o cystitis, how i despise thee.

i am just glad that’s now over and i can leave the house! paint the town red! horrify nice ladies at the cafés with fake cleavage! get fleeced at Deira Old Souq! anything! everything! yahoooo!

it isn’t as hot as it was last year, noooo, it’s only about 43°C, only yay lower *gestures hand* than last year’s blistering 48°C.

every ° makes a difference.

i am this close to carrying a box of dry ice connected to a rubber hose which will run into my skirt, so i can skip around town. but this, i suspect, would be worse than staying at home, watching Martha savour a grilled cheese with pulled beef short ribs sandwich and pickled red onions put together by the sinewy, olive arms of Govind Armstrong, when there’s nothing but whipped cream and butter in the fridge, and Ravi still at work so i have nobody to molest.

with my newly acquired freedom from the chains of cystitis, the possibilities seem endless! a stroll on Umm Suqeim beach, a walk around Deira to buy useless trinkets, a karaoke session, take in the wonderful world of organised food products at the supermarket, a session of people watching at a bar, or, or, or!

a large slice of stinkless mutton lasagna might help narrow the possibilities.

mutton lasagna

 

Singapura, here i come. April 24, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — c*devotchka @ 1:01 pm
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am pretty sure i got fleeced at the Deira Spice Souq when i bought dates, frankincense, myrrh and Madagascar vanilla pods. we hate bargaining so both of us are plump victims at markets like these where others enjoy the very experience of haggling.

i prefer giant Sale! signboards where i just go in, grab what i like, pay at the cashier and leave. all without saying a word.

does hating bargaining have something to do with wanting to be liked? i think it’s also got something to do with knowing what the price really is, i don’t have imagination, i feel like i can’t demand the reduction of the price of something when i don’t know how much it costs. some people can go into a shop and right off the top of their heads, demand for 50-70% lopped off the offered price.

this is a disease. i should shamelessly lop 50-70% off everything.

alright, am off to Singapore now. cowabungaaaaaaa!

 

november rain April 22, 2007

Filed under: life — c*devotchka @ 4:23 pm
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i’ve been tagged by bigmista! 10 gotta-get-goals, originated here. *crumbles under pressure* somehow, this feels like a chain-letter adapted for web logs. except no one’s gonna die if you don’t do it it, and you ain’t gonna win $1,000,000 if you do.

10. jam in a bar. no, really. i love singing. this terrifies me the most, so it’s number 10.

9. play the violin before i lose more functions in my right hand.

8. visit at least 15 places on my To Visit Before I Die list.

7. have 3 kids, although Ravi only wants 2. i’ll just have 2 with him and the 3rd with Eric Bana. put a cap on dysfunction when Ravi and i have these kids. i promise i’ll try not to emotionally blackmail my kids or overwhelm them with The 10 Shades of Guilt. teach them that most of what “they” say doesn’t matter, as Goethe had said, “Let everyone sweep in front of his own door, and the whole world will be clean.” that it’s not about negotiating, it’s about convincing why you’re worth that much. that you can’t keep taking, you gotta give back. that you are what you eat. that some animals have the propensity to feel, no matter what people claim. that animals are put on Earth to feed humans and i’ll smack ’em if they don’t eat/doggie bag every morsel on the plate. that no matter how much it hurts, you cannot stop believing in love. that humanity extends beyond humans (don’t turn this into a vegan issue). that being a loyal friend is important no matter how much you get on each other’s nerves. that if you bite, it will bite you back someday. that after you’ve retched, screamed, scratched, yelled and spat on your parents, you’d be embarrassed 10 years later and realise your parents were right, so try not to scream too loudly so you won’t have to dig a deeper hole to stuff your head into.

6. open that shop. that we wanna open. you know, that shop. everyone has a shop, cafe or restaurant they wanna open. we have ours.

5. finish something i’ve started, like embroidering and Women in Love by DH Lawrence. and be impeccably fluent in a 3rd and 4th language. like French and Arabic. and while i’m at that, find out what “verb”, “adverb”, “infinitive” etc. mean, cos 20 years after my official education started, i only know what “noun” and “adjective” mean.

4. health and financial soundness. you know, the usual life goals that would be nice to have.

3. eradicate my ignorance and practise a little more temperance.

2. convince Ravi that cats are not the enemy, that we can live with one without acting like a moron. that fur in your curry doesn’t kill.

1. die with Ravi in the same exact moment. because i don’t think i could make it without him.

seeing how this goal is practically unattainable unless both Ravi and i fall off the same roof in the same instant, i’d relegate this to my Fantasies list and list another goal.

1. die before i’m old.

ok, also relegated to Fantasies list.

1. change the world. one heart at a time. because even if you’ve managed to win one heart over, you’ve already changed one world and that, inevitably, changes others.

stop throwing tomatoes at me. am tagging thegrouch cos i love torturing her.

am off to Mina Bazaar. i love Regina Spektor’s “On The Radio”, it moves me. these are my favourite bits.

You peer inside yourself
You take the things you like
And try to love the things you took
And then you take that love you made
And stick it into some
Someone else’s heart
Pumping someone else’s blood
And walking arm in arm
You hope it don’t get harmed
But even if it does
You’ll just do it all again

While we were on our knees
Praying that disease
Would leave the ones we love
And never come again

On the radio
We heard November Rain
That solo’s really long
But it’s a pretty song

yes, it’s a real pretty song.

 

don’t bring me down April 19, 2007

Filed under: life — c*devotchka @ 6:32 pm
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Electric Light Orchestra’s “Don’t Bring Me Down” (thanks, Eds) is on eternal repeat loop.

because i like bobbing my head and sniffing to its catchy tune. i also like lifting each shoulder alternately à la MJ’s Thriller to its happy hippity beat. what i like the most about this song is that it makes me wink flirtatiously to imaginary beings in my presence while lifting each shoulder alternately as i bob my head and wipe the snort from my nose.

i like tunes which match titles. ELO, “you got me runnin’, goin’ outta my mind”.

as the weather in Dubai takes an about-turn towards something not unlike a sauna that you cannot switch off, people here have been catching all kinds of bugs. out of 5 cabs i take, 3 cabbies are coughing miserably with snort dribbling down their noses without a single tissue in sight. this is what i call a hygiene violation, “keep the change, no, really, please, please keep the change.”

a week later, i caught a phantom bug and my throat starting hurting so bad, even my ears were screaming. that, and a shawarma sandwich with veggies that weren’t washed well enough and kebab meat exposed to roadside pollutants, i’d say i’ve been in a pretty miserable shape.

through the haze of disease, i thought, “hey, this might be God’s way of helping me lose 2kg magically before i hit the plane to Singapore.”

but hum. no chance of that. i’ve been stuffing myself with baby food, oats and chocolate spread. chocolate spread is God’s healing balm. today, i even feel good enough to wanna bake us some wholesome dark chocolate cookies. if i were brave enough, i’d bake me some furry eggs. Easter’s long gone, but i can’t help but stare at these in wonder. who’d have thought to bake in eggs like this! the eggs look so … furry. it appeals to the part of me which has been begging for a cat.

here are my to do lists for my 13 days in Singapore, 3 days in KL.

things to bring to Singapore

  • dates
  • Lebanese sweets
  • abaya + shela + silk for mom
  • gold nose jewellery for mom-in-law
  • various other gifts
  • lots of space in luggage for stuff to bring back

stuff to find and consume within a span 16 days

  • mom’s and nan’s cooking
  • anything and everything Eds stuffs down my throat except for babi guling
  • nasi padang
  • mee goreng pattaya
  • roti prata
  • mee siam mamak
  • rojak mamak
  • nasi lemak
  • laksa
  • satay
  • anything at Iniavan’s
  • bubur terigu
  • bubur pulut hitam
  • soyabean curd + fresh soy milk
  • Killiney’s kaya toast
  • putu piring 

people to meet other than family

  • Joy
  • Ina
  • Sum
  • Shana
  • Sheela
  • Priya
  • Shawn + Rebecca + Qalam + Cecilia, if she ever makes it
  • Silke
  • Lena
  • Eds + ‘Chap + George + Sir Striped Atticus

things to buy/bring back

  • Canon EOS 400D
  • a 120GB hard drive
  • books, books, books! yippeeeee!
  • 3 enlargements of wedding photographs for our families, so no one feels marginalised
  • dried chillies, dried anchovies, belacan, real vanilla extract, nan’s killer sambal
  • some clothes perhaps
  • and perhaps, if i bump into that fucken asshole who screwed up our wedding by the name of Kevin (i think his real name was actually Kalvinder Singh), i’d get back SGD500 for his lousy service and SGD700 worth of liquor that he somehow refuses to pass to my brother or Ravi’s best friend. he never appears for the appointments and avoids all their phonecalls. this is what i call a balls-less rat. i’d organised the entire wedding to the T, all he had to do was take over on the actual wedding day and host, and he managed to screw up everything, but let’s not go there because i’ve let it go. though i’d still like my SGD500 back and the liquor, so drunken people we love can enjoy them.

i can’t wait to pig out. you can lose weight, but you can’t put value on the pleasure of eating familiar foods with people you love.

i’d also like to announce publicly, THANK YOU, RAVI, FOR DOING THE DISHES FOR ME TODAY.

on random, unrelated things:

i’m amazed at this, the dedication, ingenuity and creativity that went behind the Steampunk Keyboard. easy, but not really. typing on old typewriters make me ache. but i’m just aching to have meself one of these.

Steamfunk keyboard

Ikea, you either hate it or you love it. BoKlok homes by Ikea.

micro compact homes, for the ant in you. i wonder if this is what the future will look like. grounds littered with little boxes.

 

mad, quite ravin’ mad April 16, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — c*devotchka @ 3:18 am
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“what kinda glass do you use with your frames?”

“glass?”

“yes, glass,” i repeat.

“yes, we use glass.”

let’s try this again. “ok, what kind of glass?” i cock my head to the side and smile.

he opens door to dodgy store at the back. “cheap glass … ”

is he supposed to tell me that?

“… and that glass,” he replies, pointing to the picture of the ruler of Dubai on his wall.

“what kind of glass is that?” i point to the picture of the ruler of Dubai on his wall.

“matte glass.”

“ok, does it have UV protection?”

“yes, it doesn’t reflect.”

? “does it have UV protection, against the sun? so my prints won’t fade?”

“yes, it doesn’t reflect.”

pretty good start to finding a reliable framer for all our future framing needs. i was too afraid hiccup “acrylic”.

we went to Elements Cafe & Restaurant at Wafi City last night and i was really excited to be there. there were paintings from wall-to-wall, it was quiet and the ambience was perfect for young, flourishing, bourgeoisie buds and the yuppies (or overprivileged, spoilt Peter Pan Poseurs) they’d eventually turn into, and the average nobody or somebodies like us.

service was prompt (with a handsome smile, a shy laughter and a sense of humour), the food wasn’t too bad and their desserts are to die for. personally, my chicken burgol was a disappointment and the stack of stir-fried vegetables accompaniment was a little salty but good.

my eyeballs found their way to the back of my head when the chocolate fondant found its way into my mouth. i was properly stuffed but i cleaned the plate.

there’s always room for dessert.

Elements - Chicken burgol

 Elements - Chocolate fondant

Elements - Iram, Anita, me

Ravi and i took a walk after having dinner at Singapore Deli and chanced upon a small (and rather dodgy) pedestrian Indonesian eatery called City Moon, CM Supermarket that stocks up on Thai and Filipino foodstuff (and pork at the back of the shop, like a shady mafia-run outfit), a promising Thai restaurant called Bai Tong, a corner Indonesian foodstuff shop that was half empty and barely stocked, and a video rental shop.

i love finding new places. especially when they sell kangkong at reasonable prices and pandanus leaves (CM Supermarket) which the larger supermarkets like Spinneys and Carrefour do not have.

a couple of weeks ago, i baked Mini Bolognese Meatloaves, a recipe i adapted from Meat Loaf Muffins. i think certain words just shouldn’t be associated with each other, like pineapples + pizza, meat + muffins or meat + cakes, it confuses my brain, and my brain mustn’t be confused when my napkin’s wet with drool at the dinner table. having said that though, these meat cakes look pretty darn good.

these breadsticks are aptly named bouquet breadsticks and are oh.so.beautiful, i don’t know if one should eat them or just stare in wonderment *stares in wonderment*

Lucy’s Kitchen Notebook - Bouquet breadsticks

looks like the motifs on my mom’s vintage china.

which i hope to inherit.

because i’ve been a very, very good girl.

although we had an argument these afternoon about my dressing like an apparent slut at my wedding or at my brother’s future wedding.

because long tube dresses are the attire of choice of those who like getting chafed by leather underwear and being beaten to a pulp before sex.

because exposing one’s armpit is worse than sticking one’s nipples into one’s auntie’s face.

looks like i have to steal her china.

gotta go now, join Ravi on the sofa watching the subtitles-less Tamil VCD because i am one of those people who digs being tortured before sleep.  but before that, i’d like to leave one more person in the world a little more equipped to handle the large world of Google and useless sites – 12 quick tips to search Google like a pro.

Eds – this is for you. or your mom rather. get her this Jesus Pan and she’s gonna looooooove you like you shot out of her with a bag of diamonds 28 years ago.