Nightmare Neighbours Vol.1

Ever since I can remember, my family and I have been dogged by neighbour problems. It doesn’t matter where we move to, there will always be one (either on the left or the right, since most Malaysian homes are terrace houses) that drives us up the wall. Since we live for tea, here are my tales of nightmare neighbours: there’s actually so much to tell I’m splitting this up into several parts lol.

Enjoy!

HOUSE A (1994- 1997, 2000 – 2003)

My neighbours on the right were hawkers.

Nothing against hawkers, but these were just nasty, uncivilised people. They sold noodles at a food court in SS2, and would come back late at night with huge pots of soup and leftovers in their car. To clean up, they used newspapers – but guess where they threw their rubbish? Yes, instead of throwing it into their own bin, they’d chuck it over to our side. And they didn’t even bother throwing it inside the bin; we’d just wake up to a pile of greasy, oily newspapers on our patch of grass.

Course, if it was once or twice, we wouldn’t have made a fuss, but they did this REPEATEDLY. My parents caught them in the act once and confronted them, and they were unremorseful and defiant. I guess you really can’t argue with stupid: they’ll drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

We had no problems with our other neighbour, until they moved out and a new family came in.

These new neighbours had huge parties at least twice a year; erecting canopies outside their home that spilled over to adjacent houses, blocking off the entire road, and playing loud disco music that could be heard from the opposite end of the street – imagine living right next to them. And they’d often blast away past midnight! (I think this one is relatable to many Malaysians – there seems to be at least one such hooligan in every neighbourhood).

wanna party go to a club lah. seriously

The nuisance extended beyond festivals and celebrations: there were a couple of kids in the family and they’d throw stuff onto our roof for the heck of it. One time, they played with glass bottles and broke them, scattering glass shards all over the common area outside our homes. They also had a dog, and since their house was dirty af, the dog had lots of fleas and ticks, which would crawl over to our house. They were everywhere: once we found a whole bunch clustered on the wall outside. I’ve had trypophobia ever since.

So there we were sandwiched between two unpleasant neighbours. But if we were hoping for a reprieve, there was none : even the neighbour behind our house was problematic! They often threw garbage into the five-foot alleyway and would burn the pile in the evening. When confronted, the reply was a loud, “You scared I burn down your house ah?”

By 2003, my parents saved up enough to buy a new house in another neighbourhood. We were overjoyed to finally be rid of these crazy neighbours.

Or so we thought…

Stay tuned for Vol.2 !

PS: What are your nightmare neighbour tales? Share them with me in the comments!

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How I Spent July – Freelancing, Cooking, Keeping House and Being a Caretaker

Hey guys! Sorry for the lack of updates – I think it’s been a week since I last posted anything. I’ve been quite busy with things… which is ironic, since I’m ‘unemployed’ right now.

I left my old company about a month ago. Believe me, I’d have stayed if I could. I liked the job, it allowed me a lot of flexibility, and I had awesome colleagues. But as with everything else, there’s no perfect 10 – and in this case, I saw no reason to continue if the situation there remained unchanged. I took a big risk by leaving without securing a job first, but I thought of taking a short break to let me relax a little from the stresses of corporate life. Turns out the ‘break’ isn’t so relaxing after all lol 

So far, I’ve been to a couple of interviews, but they either didn’t find my skills to be the right match, or vice versa. And believe me – after five interviews with no matches, you start to question yourself. Like, ‘am I really cut out for this?’ ‘Am I a good writer?’ ‘Do I see myself doing this for the next 20,30 years?’

My parents have been supportive, but I can tell they are worried and disappointed that I don’t have a clear direction in life. Some of my friends are earning five figure salaries, buying homes and cars for their parents.. and here I am at 26, jobless and going through a quarter-life crisis. I see myself writing, but I can’t see myself working in a news organisation anymore (too much pressure and no social life.

Not everything is doom and gloom, though. By some strange stroke of luck, I managed to book a good client on a freelancing platform, so I’ve been working on some write-ups for the past month. Sure, it’s not a steady income and it won’t last forever, but for now, it’s enough for me to pay my bills and cover my basic expenses. No more drinks at Starbucks , that’s for sure…

I find that I enjoy freelancing, and working at my own pace. It takes a lot of discipline, because there are no bosses to tell you to do this and that, and you are sort of your own boss. You deal with the client, you understand what they want, and succeed or fail, it’s all on you. It’s a whole different level of pressure, but I find that I can handle that so far.

Another silver lining (?) is that my ‘break’ is coinciding with my mum doing her cataract surgery. She did surgery on her left eye about three weeks ago, and on her right eye two weeks ago. During the healing period, her vision will be blurry so she was told to rest a lot and not do any housework. So guess who gets to do everything? 😀

So aside from working on my freelancing project, I have to keep house and cook. This has always been a point of contention because I’m clumsy af and in the early days, my mum wouldn’t let me anywhere near the kitchen from fear I’d blow it up or slice a finger.. or something. Also, she is kind of OCD and must have things done in a certain way. If I cut vegetables ‘wrongly’, she gets annoyed and tells me I’m doing it wrong, before proceeding to show me the ‘right’ way. Most of the time I take her advice, but sometimes that’s just not how I want things done. I don’t want to hold the knife the way she does because it feels awkward in my hand.. and I always believe that things should feel natural to you, the user, instead of trying to imitate someone else’s technique and end up master of none.

Cooking these past few weeks has actually been a relaxing affair, because she can’t be in the kitchen due to the smoke getting in her eyes, and I’m allowed free reign to experiment with things. Granted the food doesn’t always turn out good but I’m learning and perfecting my dishes. Some of them turn out pretty decent!

It’s also good to be home because I think my mum is suffering from some sort of anxiety/depression. There are some complications with her recovery ie vision is still blurry, so she’s been freaking out about going blind. I’ve been ferrying her to the hospital multiple times (at least five or six over the last few weeks, for the surgeries + checkups) and all the doctor can say is ‘give it time’. My mum is a constant worrier, so that didn’t help much. She already has health problems, so this just exacerbated her worries. She told me it was good that at least I was in the house, because otherwise she might have gone crazy from being alone with nothing to do, since she can’t watch TV or play with her phone. I help her with the medicine application every three hours coz it’s hard for her to do it herself.

We’re already in August, and I’ve kind of stopped going on job sites. I’m still wondering what I can do next. I’m sick of corporate life and the drama that comes with it… but leaving that behind would mean I have to do something on my own in order to survive. And I’m not sure what that’s gonna be. I strongly admire entrepreneurs who have set out on their own to chase their dreams and I wonder if I have the guts and the strength to do that. It’s easy to fall back into a ‘job’, where you never have to worry about where your next paycheck is coming from. I’ve been wondering if this is my only alternative.

I know my parents want me to go back to a corporate job. They are old-school Asian parents who have spent their lives working 9-to-5 jobs, and they want that same security for their kids. Go to work, clock in the hours, go back, get a salary. Live for the weekends.

I toyed with the idea of doing freelancing full-time, and dropped some hints to my mum. She didn’t say anything, but she did ask me ‘How long can you do this for’? and ‘what about your EPF ? (Malaysian version of social security – employers pay a sum into your account each month)’ – which is basically a big fat ‘NOPE’ to the idea.

I don’t want to let them down. It’s the curse of being the eldest child in an Asian family – they look to you so much to carry on the family legacy, and take care of them when they are older. You’re always under pressure to do the right thing according to what they want, and not what you want – held back by a constant fear of disapproval. Of course I want them to be proud of me, but everything I do seems to be wrong.

Sometimes I envy American kids. I’d rather my parents threw me out so I could fund my own college by working, rather than spending their life savings to fund me and then expecting me to do great things. I fear failure. I fear rejection and disappointment. But I want to do what’s right. And it always tears me apart.

Sorry, this has turned into some ranty shit. I feel better after putting this down though.

The next post will be a happier one, I promise.

Cheers,

Eris

Friend ?

As a (self-professed) INTJ, I’m very picky when it comes to friends (which is why I don’t have many!) But I’d like to think that the handful of close pals I have are those whom I can trust and share things with.

I’m not a person who’ll go out of the way to do things for you, unless you’re family or a very close friend. Sounds douchey, but that’s just the way it is. My buddies will tell you this though – once you have my friendship, you have it for life. If you have an emergency at 3am, I’ll be the first one there for you even if I have to drive at 120km/h in pouring rain. (Not that that’s been tested yet, but yeah.) 

Usually, it takes me a long time to open up to others, but sometimes I meet people whom I hit it off with right off the bat. In this case, it was with this girl called L. I haven’t known her for long, but since we share a lot in common, I felt that we could be good friends. It started off that way, but lately, L has been piling more and more of her responsibilities onto me while doing nothing herself. The worst part is, another friend pointed out that she should probably be helping me (helping! haha! when it was her job in the first place) and she ignored it. IG.NORED. IT.

That’s when I knew this woman was just taking advantage of my kindness and my willingness to help her as a friend.

The thing about INTJs and trust is that we are less trustful than all the other personality types, due to our penchant for ‘observing’ people before drawing logical conclusions on them. If this trust is given, you best believe that you should treasure it. In this case, I guess I judged wrongly.

Well, guess what? The next time she asks for my help, she can talk to the hand, because I’m not letting her play me for stupid again. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice..

I realized this was affecting me more than it should when I couldn’t sleep last night (as if I was still some high school kid! tsk.), so I decided to write it down to get it off my chest.

Anyway, I’m sure I’ll look back on this petty episode and laugh it off. In the meantime, I’m just going to have a Merry Christmas with my fam and friends. Ones who don’t take advantage of me lol.

A very Merry Christmas to you too, dear reader.

 

 

Days Where You Don’t Feel Like Doing Anything

“But it is not this day.” – Aragorn, Lord of the Rings

 

I beg to differ. It is exactly one of those days. It feels like I spent the whole day being extremely unproductive. I’m still in the office, supposedly ‘working’, but I ended up procrastinating and opening WordPress instead. I actually went home and took a half hour nap after lunch (because I was goddamned tired for some reason) and when I got back to the office, it took me five hours to write ONE story. And I still haven’t started on my video editing for this Saturday’s publication. I haven’t finished my Vietnam travel story, even after three weeks of return and the V.A people are getting a little impatient (I’m sorry…. D:)

To top things off, my colleague is going away for a holiday so she asked me to help her with a story.

I’d like to look at pictures of food to cheer myself up, but I ate some Indomie from the Indian-Muslim shop downstairs and I have a stomachache. 😡 Also, I’m coming down with a fever/flu. Bummer.

When Relying on People Screws Up Your Plans

It’s a public holiday today! In fact, most of my peeps are enjoying a long weekend off, seeing as how Hari Raya (or Eid-al-Fitr) falls on Thursday and stretches away til Sunday.

But meh. There are no such things as regular offdays for a journalist. The most one can hope for is to get off work earlier than usual. The office is pretty quiet compared to usual Fridays.

(Did I mention I hate Fridays? Coz we have our weekly editorial meetings and I always feel like someone brained me after)

Anyway.

It’s 6pm and I’m basically done with work. Except my editor asked me to do some last minute website stuff, which requires the help of the artist. Now I know they’re very busy people, but I handed it to him at 4.30pm. ;___; And I had plans for the night, so this really ruined it.

 

Even in college, I disliked working in a group, coz you always had to wait for people to finish up shit.

Andddd this is why I like working alone.

Meh.

Red

It was barely dawn when I woke up and was unable to fall back asleep. It was still dark outside. And quiet. Red was snoring gently next to me, his long lashes curling across his face.

I sat up in the dim light of the room, my legs under the blankets. It was cold. I wanted to snuggle back into the covers, rub myself against Red’s delicious warmth. But I sat there and looked at his face and then at the clothes strewn all over the place – that we had thrown off in a frenzy of love-making last night.

He had been angry about the mosquitoes. They had flown in and got him all over the place, every single square inch that was uncovered.  Something in his blood, probably. Must be all that pent-up rage.

He had slammed things around yelling curses, as if the mozzies could understand what ‘fucking get out‘ meants. I think they got the vibrations in the air though.

When we had got the mozzies out and he had calmed down he pushed me on the bed and we had good, intense sex. We always did that – him getting mad, us screaming at each other and him smashing things up, then fucking right on the floor with our hands desperately clutching each other as if we were afraid the other would leave.

Sometimes I was afraid of him – he got pissed over the littlest things. Like I’d forget to heat the water up for his bath when he came home and he’d throw a hissy fit. He smashed our old alarm clock the last time around; we’ve had to set our phone alarms to ring since then.

I often wondered the reason why I stuck with him, or even fell for him in the first place. I guess he reminded me of my father : the one who was barely there, but would come home and beat us up when he felt like it.

I had ran away from home running from my father, to land into Red’s arms instead. He was exactly the same in his brash, egoistic demeanour – the swearing, the drinking, the chain-smoking – the only difference was that he never dared to lay a finger on me.

Red could also be unexpectedly tender at times…when he’s not being a neurotic psycho-bastard. Once he made little hearts out of pink paper slips and hung it all over our apartment to surprise me for my 22nd birthday. I had to take it all down later, but that gesture, coming from a man whose happiness was measured by how full of beer and cigarettes he was and how much sex he was getting, was touching. It proved that he was capable of loving, in his own harsh, crude way.

Unlike my father.

He stirred next to me, his eyes squinting to locate my silhoutte bent over in the dark, clutching my knees.

“You okay babe?” he murmured, his voice sexy and deep and throaty from just waking up. I could’ve made love to him again right then and there just listening to that voice. Red was a beautiful guy.

He had thick, arched brows and large eyes – but that also meant he looked permanently pissed off at everything. He had the sexiest lips a girl could wish for – soft, with a little stubble and moustache which he shaved every other day but kept growing back. Like his namesake, hair dyed a bright shade of red, as fiery as his temper. And that body. Muscled arms, flat stomach, rock hard abs. Part of the reason we had such good sex was coz I found him to be so goddamned sexy, he made me forget when I was mad at him.

“Nothing babe, just couldn’t get back to sleep.” I said, smiling. As if he could see.”Go back to sleep.”

Uninspiring

I’m feeling extremely lazy again. To write anything. Meh, so uninspired.

Just got back from a food review. Since Ramadhan’s just around the corner there’s been a spate of nomming at hotel buffets. I don’t even want to work out anymore since it’s not gonna be effective anyway.

Nah, I keed. I have to push myself to do it. Like how I’m pushing myself to blog right now.

I went for Body Combat class with Carmen. Now my thighs hurt and I’m waddling like a duck.

The trainer was really androgynous looking, with six packs. I thought she was a dude.

K time to knock myself out. Toodles!

Simulation for a Post Apocalyptic World

These past few days Malaysians have been experiencing a perpetual post-apocalyptic atmosphere of grey ash, dust and blotted-out sun. Visibility is limited to a few hundred metres in certain places. Buildings disappear and seem to suddenly loom in front of you when approached.

It’s like a barbecue party all over the country, minus the food.

It’s like Silent Hill with no kinky nurse monsters.

It’s like Genting Highlands except it’s not cold and it’s not enjoyable.

To those who are unaware, us and neighbouring Singapore are currently experiencing a shroud of haze and smoke blown from  Indonesia. They’re clearing land and there’s a fuckload of forest fires. Since the wind is blowing our way… Tada!

Schools were closed today. But the haze will probably go on for a few more weeks. Readings in Muar, Johor reached over 790 earlier. Healthy air levels are at 0-50. You do the math.

We get this every couple of years. Sure, it’s no problem. Just a couple of asthmatics wheezing in the hospital, some skin irritation, eye infections, coughs and whatnot.

Or maybe accidents coz we can’t fkin see where we’re going.

But yeah, I guess this is good training for when the world ends. This is how I imagine it to be. And, uh, zombies.