Thursday, October 24, 2013

No news is good news. Maybe.


So I crawled out of the hole of obscurity (well in the blogosphere anyway). There are no real excuses except for plain ol' "I got busy with life." Seriously, it has been a madhouse with the film festival I was working on and now that I've laid it to rest, here I am. Back on the blog. With my thoughts. Well, my words really. As I age, I find that I keep my thoughts bottled up in a nice little jar, labeled 'Open At Your Own Risk'.

See, I've never been super opinionated. I'm the queen of diplomacy. If there was fence to sit on, you'd find me right on it, in my pink shoes, going "Damn this fence is a pain in the ass." Literally. You probably wouldn't come to me for a heated opinion on something. More likely, I'd be more concerned about not pissing anyone off. Over the years, I know this is both good and bad. But I'm at peace with who I am so it's all good.

I'm all for social media. Twitter. Facebook. Instagram (though I can't quite see the point of Keek). And if there ever was a place to listen to people rant, rave, celebrate, humiliate or just be plain nasty, social media would be it. I used to put plenty of my thoughts and opinions on Facebook (and yes, sometimes I still do the occasional bitch about clients from hell or bad service - i have to release it SOMEwhere) but these days, I try to reel it all it before my fingers start molesting the keyboard. There are so many statuses that get my knickers in a crazy lambada twist but when temptation arrives, just keep scrolling. Until you reach a picture of a puppy rolling in the grass. Aww. *click LIKE*.

I am not holier than thou. Nor do I think my opinion outranks the rest of the world. My plain and simple reason for just watching from the sidelines of this crazy-ass social media circus is to avoid the drama. I am 34 years old. The only drama I want at this point are crazy dance moms and an overzealous dance teacher making little girls cry on cable TV. (In my opinion, Abby Lee needs Xanax. Like lots of it).

I know people like me are considered so lame. The by-standers who just shrug their shoulders, who want no blood on their hands and have a 'it wasn't me' neon sign flashing above their heads. How can the world EVER change from its shitty disposition with people like you, you ask? This is how I see it. I'm not one to fuel the fires of negativity. If it's something positive, great, I'm all for it. I'll be parading with bells on my tits, going, "SOKONG SOKONG!" (which means 'I support'). 

But If I have nothing nice to say, I won't say anything at all. I may not be one to start a revolution anytime soon - but I'm definitely a peacekeeper. And I think that's better than being a shit-stirrer. But things often get ugly when people read this as, 'Melissa is a doormat.' 

That's another blog post all together.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Johnny Depp at midnight.

I fear this blog is dying a slow but steady death. Maybe it's not necessarily a bad thing. I've been tinkering with the idea of starting a new one for ages now but I just can't seem to let go of this one.

Also, the busy-ness of life, work and everything around it has consumed me. It's good and it's bad at the same time.

So many thoughts, so little time. If i could, I'd blog all day long. Just random brainfarts. About idiot drivers. Travel. Why bacon is delicious. Why Johnny Depp is delicious. Why Johnny Depp wrapped in bacon is delicious.

Johnny. Yum.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

'Bully' bah kalau kau...

Just when I thought I'd left high school behind, here come the haters. It's been a while since I've been a target of malicious intent (the most significant one was a hate letter posted to my office six years ago, vowing that Allah would chop off my hands for plagiarising someone else's work as it was akin to stealing. Whatev.) but this week started with a concerned text from a colleague telling to log onto Facebook pronto. It was 7:15am and I was still gulping down breakfast, asking, "How bad can it be?"

Grandmother-story in a nutshell, some loser was having fun pointing out all the mistakes in the recent issue of the magazine I edit -- spelling errors, typos, the use of a badly photoshopped image (Note: This, i admit, was a huge error on my part but I didn't realise it till 10,000 copies went into print). So this guy - let's call him Bubba for fun - goes online and instigates a name-calling session. He gets plenty of responses from fellow Bubbas and Bubbettes and it just goes on into a full-blown insult session which includes them questioning the credibility of my editing skills, how I'm an embarrassment to my state and I should be replaced and, my favourite, that I am truly cow-brained (I shall have Otak Lembu tattooed on my left nipple from now on as a reminder). And the best part is, here you have a bunch of true-blue Sabahans who cry foul at the tainting of their beloved State for being misrepresented through a photoshopped photo, saying I am a DISGRACE to Sabah and my editing skills are horrible. Pardon moi, but this coming from a bunch of people who can't construct a proper English sentence and are hurling insults in their native slang. The disgrace is having Sabahans who claim they care about their state's well-being by ganging up on a fellow Sabahan for one mistake in my 10 years of working with the publication. Constructive criticism anyone? oh wait, those are very big words, sorry. "Kalau mau kasi bagus kita punya negeri, jangan la pi tulis macam macam di Fesbook. Tulis la ba emel baik baik dan bagi komen. Konpom kita buli maju sama sama kio?"
Several things baffle me about the keyboard warriors. No one mentioned me by name throughout the session. And when I was finally tagged by a friend asking me to check out the comments, Bubba blocked me! Cruel AND cowardly. Only when he was confronted by my colleague who happens to be an-colleague of his did he write an e-mail to me, apologizing and saying he would remove the post. What a dick.So quick to instigate a hate rant, so easy to ask for an apology?

Part of me wants to let it slide. But a huge part of me feels these people should not be let off the hook so easily.

You may have deleted the post and said your sorries. But the damage is done and I do believe you might have picked the wrong 'Cow Brain' to mess with. But the lesson for the day, still remains...

Saturday, May 18, 2013


On my desktop. To remind me everyday that I am one step closer to Santorini.

Friday, May 03, 2013

The yin to my yang.

If you know me well enough, you would know that I am that person who could never resist a palm-reading session, a Tarot card reading or even a chance to have a photo of my aura taken (this one, i'm still skeptical about). What is it about fortune-telling that draws me? Perhaps I am deluded by the thought that if somehow I know my future, I am in control of it. 

Which of course leads me to the idea of fate and kismet. 

As I grow older, I know that as romantic the idea of 'fate' is, the power of my destiny somewhat lies in my hands. I CAN control what I do in my life. I am the indeed the master of ship - but I also know we have no say on what 'vessel' we are given. We can only steer it so much and the rest...Well the rest I leave to the universe.

In the past few months, I've been dabbling in the science of Chinese metaphysics. Or to put it plainly, Bazi, Feng Shui, Ming Xiang and the works (Google it, there's just too much information to share here). And while religious fundamentalists are quick to remind me, "Oh my, but as Catholics, the Church forbids is!", I cannot deny that plenty of what I am learning is making more sense than Sunday school.

Oh don't get your panties in a twist, I didn't say I was straying from my faith and rejecting Jesus. But while I've always tried to be a good Catholic, I have to admit that sometimes I am at a limbo with what my religion teaches me. The truth is, with any religion, no faithful follower questions God. More apt, questions what God has decreed. But what we may often forget is that RELIGION is man-made. And if religion is so good, why does it judge, persecute and tear people apart more than it brings people together? 

I have my own conclusion. For years, I have been distinguishing between RELIGION and FAITH. While they are often intertwined, to me, they are often two very different things. I believe that my faith as a Christian gives me the strength and the hope to face each day, with a Supreme power that we cannot put a face or name to. To me, if the church burns to the ground and every Bible torn to shreds, it doesn't weaken my faith. If i cannot recite the rosary or know the Ten Commandments by heart - does that make me a lesser Christian? I say this because I know so many people who are deemed 'good Christian families' - but in truth, they lead such un-Christian lives. I do not want to live in such hypocrisy. I go to church when I feel like the time is right - my soul dictates my connection with God, not the busy, gossiping lips of my ungodly relatives or neighbours. My relationship with God is between me and Him. The Church is where we meet - but it does not tell me how to connect with Him. 

I digress. I find my spirituality in a turmoil - and that is probably the reason why everything on the outside sometimes feels like an odd fit. My anxiety problems, the way I can't keep my food down most of the time, my panic attacks... Perhaps I've lost my center. With my new interest in Chinese metaphysics and reading more about other religions and faiths, I'm allowing my mind to open up and accept other possibilities. I find that this new revelation grounds me in a way I cannot explain.While I value my Catholic upbringing, I know there's more to fulfilling my spirituality than attending mass every Sunday or memorising every parable.

I intend to open my mind and keep searching.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Missing: Voice. If found, please return to owner.

I've lost my voice. Literally. The last two days, I've been dogged down by a base of laryngitis and pharyngitis (don't ask me the difference. The doctor said I have both and to me that reads I'm doubly screwed). It feels as though someone lodged a ping pong ball down my throat and it's coated with some sort of putty and wax. Not nice at all. So I've been told to:

1. Stay off oily foods - which is fine because I can still enjoy my porky meatballs soup so life is worth living.
2. Drink plenty of water - 'plenty' meaning I have to run to the toilet every 20 minutes like I'm 9 months pregnant.

and the clincher:

3. Rest my vocal chords - which means try not to talk, sing or sing-talk (you know, like in musicals).

And it's only when the power of speech is taken from you do you realise how much you REALLY really want it. It's like my Papaya Theory (a very old blog entry - basically, you don't really eat Papaya but if the doctor suddenly tells you you're never ever to eat the forbidden fruit again, all you can think about is  - you guessed it - Papaya). 

Back to my predicament. So I didn't go into the office today (PS: I'm also highly contagious so that's really sexy) and spent the afternoon at home, surfing the net, reading travel blogs, planning fake-cations and trying my darndest not to speak. Everytime I strike a conversation beyond 20 seconds with the H, he shushes me and reminds me I need to rest my vocal chords. 

Deep down, even though he loves me dearly, I know the H has been waiting for the day he has a valid reason to tell me in the most 'loving' way: Shut. Up.

I hate it when he's right.

So I'm shutting up. And it's amazing how much more you are forced to listen when you stop talking. It's taking all the restraint in the world (especially if you know me) but it's also refreshing. I finally have a reason NOT to answer any phone calls too.  But it also got me thinking about people who are voiceless - and not in the literal sense. People who have no right to opinions or expression. Those who live with laws, beliefs and regulations shoved down their throat. Life is based on what someone else tells you - and that's that. And here I am complaining about not being able to comment on how the air-conditioning isn't cold enough in my living room. 

Boo to me.

However, it also makes me think: Sometimes the problem is that even when people are given a voice, it falls upon deaf ears.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

The Gap Trap

“Life has a gap in it. It just does. You don’t try to fill it like a lunatic.”
- Sarah Silverman as Jeri in 'Take This Waltz'

The words resonated so deeply that I rushed to my beaten up laptop to pound my thoughts away before they escaped me. I had just spent a Saturday afternoon watching 'Take This Waltz' (spoilers ahead), a 2011 Canadian film about a married woman, Margot, and her internal struggle to stay or stray - so brilliantly portrayed by Michelle Williams, no less. Throughout the film, I found myself both drawn and turned off by Margot and her situation. I empathized, sympathized and loathed her all at once. Sometimes what seems so black and white in our daily lives is actually far more gray then we imagine.

In the film, we constantly see Margot see-sawing from virtuous, loving wife to a woman on the verge of adultery - but never quite going there. It doesn't help of course that both her husband,Lou (played by Seth Rogen) and the 'other guy' who happens to be their neighbour, Daniel, are both endearing in their own ways. I so wanted Daniel to be a complete jerk and play the stereotypical wife-stealing Rico Suave character, with no hesitations or regard for the unassuming husband - alas, he showed such restraint and the perfect amount of charm and wit that you just could not help but feel HIS side of the struggle too. It's very seldom in any narrative does the audience empathize with more than one character, with the lines of protagonist and antagonist so brilliantly blurred. Kudos to Sarah Polley for creating such organic characters.

Some of the most tense moments for me were thoe where Margot and Daniel were alone together in a seemingly innocent setting with not-so-innocent intentions but never really going there. Like the scene in the bar where they go for an afternoon cocktail and he non-chalantly begins to tell her in detail his sexual fantasy should he ever have her way with her. Or the night where they wordlessly decide to meet at a public pool and enjoy a midnight swim. Although 'enjoy' is too light a word. While there are a few gratuitous nude scenes in the movie, the most erotic is Margot and Daniel swimming alongside each other, as if in an aquatic trance, but without any physical contact. They reminded me of dolphins mating! The sexual tension is astounding and the magic is only interrupted when, ironically, Daniel grabs her ankle. Margot 'wakes up' from their 'flirting frenzy'  and decides this was all a mistake and goes home.

In the core of it all, Margot constantly reminds herself - and us, the audience - that she is married and goes to great lengths to work her relationship with Lou. But the forbidden stirrings of her heart is also hard to ignore. She figures she can compromise: She makes a date to share a kiss with Daniel, 30 years from now, at a lighthouse. She tells him. "After 35 years of being loyal to my husband, I think I deserve one kiss from you." A statement, which again, leaves me shifting uncomfortably in my seat and yet the romantic allure of it all is hard to deny.

At the end, Daniel decides to move away, knowing he cannot be in the middle of this uncertainty. Lou, who we thought was none the wiser, puts the pieces together and Margot decides to leave her marriage of five years.Fast forward, we see Margot with Daniel and we watch as the relationship go from sizzle to fizzle. But it's at one point towards the end of the story, where Margot is confronted by her alcoholic (ex) sister in law who tells her, "Don't act like I'm the embarrassment. We're the same but you're fucked up....Life has a gap in it. It just does. You don’t try to fill it like a lunatic.”

I found this so profound because it rang true. We all have gaps in our lives. A void that sometimes we can't even identify. Loneliness, boredom, guilt, loss. They come in many forms. Nobody has all their shit sorted. Nobody. Not even the happiest couples in the world with the 2.5 kids and Volvo parked in their double-spaced garage. Or the unmarried CEO who wears Prada, who spends weekends in Tokyo and Paris and never has to look twice at a price tag.

I know what my gap is but I seldom allow myself to give it a moment's thought.Because it's so easy to go there and lose yourself. And when you do, that's when you try to fill it like a lunatic. So instead, I choose to distract myself - with work, with writing, with working out, with buying more shoes, with scrubbing my tiles clean.The story of Margot is a good reminder that sometimes there are no right or wrong choices - just good or regretful ones.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013



The pounding of each step on the hard, grey surface. 

The ragged breath as the heart pumps faster and faster. 

The music blaring, silencing the chatter, filling the void. 

The sweat burning your eyes. You blink.

You run.

What are you running from?

Run from your bills. Run from your job. Run from the expectations of being a better version of you.

Run from your responsibilities. Run from the fear of failure. 

What are you running from, you ask?


What you fail to see is what I'm running towards. 

The possibilities. The promises. The positive.

I don't run because I need to catch up. 

I run to stay ahead.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

First of many, last of none.

They say what you do on the first day of the new year is an indication of the year to come. I panicked for a split second because I didn't have anything memorable planned today. I wasn't spring cleaning (I did that two days ago, but of course). I wasn't pounding away on my laptop writing something profound or inspiring. I hardly lifted a finger, never mind breaking sweat. I had a completely laid-back new year's day. I wasn't even nursing a hangover and that is something relatively new.

And so the first day of 2013 has flown by peacefully, quietly, non-chalantly and without drama. Sure, I could view it as another boring day, completely unproductive and uninspiring. But I prefer to view it as a day perfectly spent: the H and I rolled out of bed as we pleased, had leftovers for breakfast and settled on the sofa to watch Aliens (two down, three to go). That is an awesome movie, i might add, even better than the first one -honestly speaking. 

I digress. 

So we rolled around the sofa, put on some more dvds and exchanged movie trivia from IMDB (we married each other for a reason as you can see). Without a worry or care in the world. Today, we hardly spoke about work, meetings, upcoming gigs and projects or even which bills need to be settled. We just reveled in each other's company and the comfort of our humble home, reminding each other that despite our setbacks and come what may - we have each other. And we have much to be thankful for.

If today is an indication of what 2013 will bring, then I couldn't be more blessed. A year of peace, quiet, non-chalance and no drama could be just what I need.

Happy new year - May your year be what you make it.