Wednesday, November 28

2000 Miles Apart

We were in Tokyo for just over a week; it was both our first time there, so there was much to explore and see.

We spent much time going back to the same places that we liked; the little back-alley sushi bars & curry eateries, browsing through novelty shops, exploring different neighbourhood public onsen bathhouses, and we even bought a picnic mat so we could celebrate his birthday under the golden yellow-leaved ginkgo trees. It was wonderful.

One of the toughest pre-holiday booking was deciding between Disneyland and DisneySea; in the end we opted for the latter since it was exclusive to Japan. It was his first time at a Disney theme park. It was utterly magical, at least for me. I hope that he felt the same way. I should ask.

The Mori Digital Art Museum by TeamLab was also one of the highlights of our trip. I think we spent close to 4 hours in there. Pretty!

We got on a day tour to catch a stunning view of Mount Fuji from Lake Kawaguchiko. Despite the heavy traffic getting there and back (it was a public holiday in Japan), we found out later that we were very lucky, as she's known to be shy, hiding behind clouds and fog. She was very kind to us that day.

Our last day was the most difficult. We navigated the streets of Tokyo aimlessly, both pretending that we were okay, that it was almost forgotten that at the end of our charming week together, we would be heading our separate ways.

No, we weren't breaking up.

His flight back to KL was scheduled at 11:45PM, while mine was to Taipei; 5 hours later at 4:50AM. I've decided to temporarily relocate myself there for the next 10 weeks or so. Yes, we're doing the long distance thing. Looking back, it may have been the dumbest decision I've made.

During dinner, his eyes suddenly welled-up and he cried a little. Seeing him break down like that, my heart paced and a lump formed in my throat. For the first time, I was afraid of leaving without him. Our ride to the airport was a quiet one. We took some pictures in the train and held each others' hands. He told me that he secretly wished that his flight would be delayed so that we could spend a little more time together. I smiled at his silliness.

When we reached the airport terminal, we laughed when they displayed a "delayed" status for his flight. That bought us 45 more minutes together. 45 precious minutes that I'm so grateful for.

Then came the dreaded moment. My flight was too early to be checked-in, so we had to say our goodbyes at the departure gate. I can't remember how many times we hugged while walking there. But when I knew that it would soon be our last, it hit my heart like a hammer and I started crying like a man. He hugged me till the tears stopped, then he walked on and disappeared past the sliding doors.

Today's only our third day apart. It hasn't been easy. Exploring a city alone isn't quite the same when you know that there's someone who you wish could be there with you. No joke, but I see him everywhere and in everything I do. I know that we only need to endure the next 10 weeks. Some would even laugh at us. "What's 10 weeks?"..  But hey, we've never done anything even remotely close to this.

He's due to visit February next year. He'll be bringing me home. But until then, I've made a promise that I'll make the most of my time here in Taipei.

I'll be counting down the days, and counting up the moments till we meet again. I miss you.

Monday, November 12

Trouble

The past two and a half years have been a roller coaster ride. I’ve had the pleasure of reaching for the skies as I lived my dream. But unfortunately this year, I’ve plunged.

Sometime mid of the year, after a bout of constant negativity at my former workplace, I left my position without having a new place to go (I know, I’m such a millennial!). I then dumped a big chunk of my savings into a long-term investment plan to avoid burning all of it while I sorted my own shit out. There's been a few significant lifestyle changes to ensure that I was spending within my means, which really wasn't much. It’s been tough, but bearable.

Thankfully, I got a really awesome gift from the rents many years back when I returned from my studies in Perth. I haven't touched it and it's been my saving grace this year! Thanks Mawmz & Daddykins!

Still, the rest of 2018 is gonna be hella challenging, and I don’t even dare to think how I’m gonna start the coming new year. For now, I’m just going back to taking one baby step at a time. This time, I need to make it different. This time, I need to make it work.

Saturday, September 8

The Black Rainbow

Tonight's probably the last of my awful jet-lag. Oooh, I really hope so. I've been waking up at ungodly hours for the past 3 nights and it's been messing with my morning plans.

So we've been in the limelight lately and it's depressing at how the new government is bullying a strongly productive and contributing minority group. And by "we", I refer to the Queer community in Malaysia.

I mean, come on. First it was the removal of two friendly portraits of Queer individuals from an exhibition promoting patriotism. This caused an uproar throughout the country, and I was pleasantly surprised at the number of Queer allies who stood their ground and spoke up for us. It was a refreshing take of the usually quiet and conservative Malaysia that I'm used to. Perhaps it was a good thing, because by censoring the 2 portraits, the images hit headlines and people were interested to know what was happening in that little island-state. Speaking and acting regarding that matter, we also knew who were against us, and the many who were with us.

During the weeks that followed, several politicians and religious leaders started to speak up, condemning the Queer "behaviour" and "lifestyle". LOL! Seriously, there are bigger issues in the country that they should be focusing on, but no. I guess the gay agenda was an easier target to pick on because "god said so".

Don't even get me started on the public caning of the 2 Queer adult women for attempting to have consensual sex. Again, our country is buggered with huge problems like pedophilia, child marriage & pornography, kidnappings & murder, corruption, misappropriation of public funds, and money laundering. But we chose to act on an archaic "legacy of discrimination", as said by Theresa May.

2 days after the disgusting caning, as if to mock our government, India's Supreme Court decriminalised gay sex. Yay! Well done, India! Meanwhile in Malaysia, the country took a step forward during the recent 14th general elections, then started walking backwards. Smh.

It's disheartening to know that "Queer Rights" doesn't mean that we get an added advantage or any special privileges. It simply means that we get the right to exist.

Monday, August 7

The Last Hurrah

Marketplace, better known as MP. It used to be the gay venue in KL. I remember when I used to frequent this place, it was a weekly routine; Saturday nights at MP.

Then word got around that they were closing down, that there was a party, the last hurrah. I texted my closest friends about it and we planned to make one last visit, for old time's sake.

So the night came. We got there at one AM, there was queue. A really long one. I bumped into a few friends who were already leaving. Was surprised to see a few colleagues too (hey hey hey!). They said to not bother; they've been there since eleven, and it took them an hour to get in, and it was too crowded inside. They were heading elsewhere. I wish I had asked them to stay.

After waiting in line for 15 minutes, the bouncers relented and let everyone in. Saw a few more people whom I work with (oops!), and decided to head upstairs to find my usual camping spot. Every step was so nostalgic, I can't believe that they've decided to close this place. The upper floor had a few refurbishments, in a good way, but the beautiful view of the Petronas Twin Towers from the balcony was now obstructed by another development.

The place was crowded, but it wasn't much different during its days of glory. The crowd was nice and friendly. People were socializing, getting to know each other, some reminiscing about their years at MP, and I was pleasantly surprised at all my friends who turned up; The people whom I befriended up on that rooftop, where we'd spend every Saturday night chugging down jugs of long island iced tea, talking and laughing the night away. It was like we all came to bid farewell to this fine establishment.

I felt as though I had traveled back in time and everything was how it was several years ago. How recklessly happy and carefree I used to be. Momentarily free from the worries, stresses, and responsibilities of being an adult, it felt really good. Then when reality kicked in and I realised that it was only a matter of hours before this place was history, it kinda tore deep into my feelings.

I'd go as far as saying that it was probably one of the best nights that I've had in KL in a very long time.

Thank you, Marketplace. You were my social spot when I first came out as a gay man. You've given me so many memories and friendships. And now you've left with a bang. Goodbye.

Friday, October 21

A Few Of My Favourite Things

It's been a good 6 years since I've left Perth, and I'm missing it just a bit more today. Thought of the things I used to eat there. Mmm.. The memories come flooding back...


1. Sausage Sizzle
We used to have these almost every Thursdays at Bush Court at uni. Selling at 2 dollars a pop, these were probably seen as a staple for most students. We usually had actual hotdog buns, but sometimes they were served with slices of white bread. Those were good too. Being the kiasu Malaysian, I'd sometimes wait till the evening when they'd give 2 sausages for each bread! Mee-Wow!

2. "Chinese" Food
Another popular, everyday treat was the Chinese food stall at the campus food court. Apart from sounding and looking like Chinese food to the unsuspecting eye, they were anything but. They had things like "Satay Chicken" and "Mongolian Beef", the common fried noodles and/or fried rice, served with a spork. I'd have these when I was missing home, then miss mommy's cooking even more later.


3. Pizza Shapes
If you watched an Australian channel, you may have seen their commercial. They'd zoom in on one of the pizza-flavoured snack to find a mini cartoon operatic tenor character à la Pavarotti standing on the biscuit, singing his lungs out. These things were super tasty, and really addictive!

4. Tim Tams
Ahh. The World-renowned chocolate biscuits. Forget the flavoured or double-dipped ones. The originals always win. I used to bite off two corners, directly opposite from each other, then dip one end into cold milk, and suck on the other; using the cookie as a straw. Don't really know why I did it; the milk tastes the same, and the insides of the Tim Tam gets soggy. Hmm. I do like soggy things.


5. Cherry Ripe
Usually anything "cherry flavoured" tastes like bad cough syrup. But not these. The inside of these chocolate bars consist of the perfect blend of juicy cherries and coconut, covered with chocolate. I do believe they're an acquired taste, as not many of the people I've introduced them to likes it. Totally underrated.


6. Anzac Biscuits
One thing I regret is not actually being in Australia during Anzac Day, though I'd have some friends save me some of these biscuits upon my return. If I'm not mistaken, they're basically oatmeal cookies with a hint of sugar & desiccated coconut. I've tried making them on my own once.. Need more practice.

7. Fairy Bread
These are one of the weirdest, yet happiest foods I had there. My friends made these during our LGBT parties.. Wait. All our parties were LGBT parties. LOL. These were colourful and fun! All the better for the occasion. It's really just white bread with butter and hundreds & thousands.

8. Weet-Bix
It started with a half-box of leftovers my housemate had. She thought it was gross and wanted to throw them out. I asked to try some, and after my first bite, I was in love! I had a constant supply of these in my pantry. It has a whole-wheat bran kinda taste. Some people eat it with milk, honey, and fruits. I eat it on its own. Yes, it's really dry, flaky, crumbles easily, and if you talk while munching on them, it kinda sprays out in wheat-y puffs. I usually grab a few and chomp them while I walk to uni so I don't have to worry about the mess.

9. Golden Gaytime
Umm... They were good.

I want a Gaytime now.

10. Jesters Pies
Jesters make great pies. I used to swear by them. But at around 5 dollars each, they're a costly affair. Only when I felt like indulging, I'd get 3 or 4 of these, inhale them at one go, then feel bad about myself later.

11. Kailis
I used to go to Fremantle a lot, 'cuz I lived nearby. Fremantle is a port city, Southwest of Perth. There's a constant battle between two fish markets/restaurants there; Cicerello's and Kailis. Some of their customers are fiercely loyal *rolleyes. If you happen to drop by Fremantle, I'd suggest trying them both and rate them for yourself. But if you can only pick one, choose Kailis!

12. Little Creatures
Speaking of Fremantle, it's also home to one of the best microbreweries beer in Oz! Naturally, they're a bit pricier than the big manufacturers but it's worth it (every now and then). There's also a tavern at their microbrewery, which serves bar food & snacks. I can't remember much as I've only been there a few times, and it's always packed. You can find a variety of their bottled brews from most local bottle-O's. My favourite's the Pale Ale. Mmm...

13. Passion Pop
Since I'm already talking about alcohol.. Here's the cheapest way to get wasted down under. And by cheap, I mean affordable AND trashy. Haha. These 750mL bottles of fruit pop cost only 4 to 5 dollars each, and contain about 10% alcohol (I think?). But hey, it's bubbly, so you can pour it into a plastic champagne flute and look classy... And if you're in your mid-twenties onwards, say hello to Mr. Hangover.


14. Masters
You know what makes me really happy?
I love a nice tall glass of chocolate fucking milk.

Not just chocolate milk.
Chocolate fucking milk.

It's sex in a glass.




15. Dim Sims
There's this 'fish and chips' shop near where I live, and I used to go there for a fix of heavily-battered deep fried fish, squid, prawns, fries, onion rings, and... dim sims. I saw it on the menu, and I couldn't resist ordering them to find out what the hell they were.

Deep. Fried. Dim Sum.

Dim Sims.
It's kinda like deep fried shumai, but not exactly.
I'd always tell myself to never order that again, but whenever I'm back at that shop, it's what I'd do.

"One seafood platter. A side of onion rings. Yes, that's all. Fourteen-fifty? Can I have dim sims with that?"

Oof.

Tuesday, March 8

24 Hours

Someone asked me.
"If you had 24 hours left to live, what would you do?"

My answers were typical.
I'd spend my remaining time with the people I love.
Doing the things I love most.
Eating my favourite delicacy.
Sipping my favourite wine.
Singing my favourite songs.
There would be a lot of chatter, smiles, and laughter.
It would definitely be one of the happiest times of my life!

The notion of such a moment itself brought so much happiness.
It's nothing unusual.
I want to die happy.
Who wouldn't?

Then I thought to myself..
It would probably never happen.

Come on.
For real.

Few would ever know when's their last 24 hours alive.
So instead of dreaming about unrealistic answers of what I'd do;
I asked myself a simple question.
"Were you happy in the past 24 hours?"

I've started to dream less about being happy.
And really, just get down to actually do it.
Because happiness is not something that's gonna fall from the sky.
Unless you want to play in the rain (which is a really fun thing to do).
Happiness is something we can, and should, give ourselves every day.
We owe ourselves our own happiness.
And no one can take that away from you.

So, yes.
I am happy.
And it's my daily goal to ensure that that's always my answer at the end of every day.

Stop waiting for happiness to happen.
Create your own happiness.
It's your life.
Live it!

Then ask yourself.
"Were you happy in the past 24 hours?"

(source: pixabay.com)