Sunday, October 31, 2004

Is this a joke?

2.28 PM - I just came out from a lengthy third meeting since morning. Seems alright this meeting considering no voice raising and threatenings of locking us up here. I did some new materials on the fly in super speed as the meeting progresses and I'm glad we came to some agreement after all. It's time for some lunch now and I'll have to eat mine in this isolated room in closed doors. I noticed that I have been able to tolerate hunger to a greater extent now. It's quite close to the duration of a muslim's fasting of the day. Considering the situation and scenario I've been thrown into, I guess I had not much choice not to. My body just adapts.

What amazes me today is when I realised the position I am in currently. Not so much reflected in my business card but more towards again, the situation I'm in. The people that I've been meeting, having discussions with and making major decisions together comprises from top management level both in company aspects as well as high ranking positions within the government we are dealing with. What got me flabbergasted really was when I found out that one of them is actually only 24 years old and this Musab dude is actually in charge of a whole area and is in position to make major decisions involving a project of a national scale. Isn't it mind boggling that a national project that is going to affect basically the whole population of the country as well as the expatriates is run by a few young fellows. That aside, this scenario I believe, actually also came across in my own country as well few years back.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

A flat in Plaza 1, Al Mahooz

Top Left: Living Room with Orbit aka Bahrain's Astro and DVD player on top which I don't use

Top Right: Apartment's Entrance at ground floor

Lower Left: Kitchen
note: This pic is taken on the very first day I set foot here. The washing machine has been installed in that empty space now.

Lower Right: Walk way to rooms

Top Left, Top Right: My room. The bigass green luggage is still sitting there. Hehe.

Lower Left, Lower Right: The loo

Brain with chips

My first laundry here was a success. Just to clarify, it's not my first laundry in my life but rather here in Bahrain. It's a success which I need to declare because the washing machine does not have labels on the switches and knobs. There are only uncognizable faded icons which were not very helpful. Hence, I bet on the pot of luck and picked number 8 on the knob. And voila! I see the washing machine doing it's business alright. The second major tussle was to open the glass sliding door in order to hang my clothes out to dry. The lock is so hard that I reckon a bruise will form on my thumb sooner or later for pressing it with force beyond my means.

While waiting for our takeaway dinner from Century Restaurant, I browsed the menu and to my horror and dismay to find out this item, 'Brain with chips'. There's a corresponding photo of that item on the menu which amplifies my horror. It first strucked my mind, "Nah..probably they make out something like minced meat to look like a real brain". After clarifying with the waiters there, indeed the brain is an actual sheep's brain and this is a very common arab food itenary. Goddamn. I chose fried noodles instead.

In the muslim countries, their weekends that is to me, Saturdays and Sundays falls on Thursdays and Fridays. That means, given a 5 working day job, one would need to work from Saturday till Wednesday. It's Thursday today and I have to come work and finish up the materials for today is the deadline.

I was watching an episode of TVB's "Ha Yat Zham Choi Hung" series last night and suddenly felt sleepy. I paused the movie and took a nap. And as usual, sleep swarmed in and I'm out. I woke up 7 AM today to find my the lights still on and the laptop with a flat battery. Haha.

Shajan helped us to negotiate the rental dispute we are facing with Ashraf, the caretaker of the apartment. Both of them originated from India and when I enquire what language did they use in their conversation then, was it Hindi or Tamil?

"It's malearab. Everybody from Kerala speaks malearab" said Shajan.

For your information, it's pronounced as Mah Leh Arab.

The problem now with the lease agreement is that we need to pay upfront 3 months of BD 500 and if we were to leave anytime before a six month stay, we still need to pay a full six month's rental. This clause is to bring down the rental to BD 500 a month rather than BD 600.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004


Left: Kuala Lumpur International Airport

Right: Bahrain International Airport

I did not intentionally make the Bahrain's airport looked run down and stained. It's just that the quality of both of the pictures taken with my phone were abysmal. So what I did was to knock the pictures around with Photoshop and with my missing design eye, I came out with such equally abysmal edited pictures.

shitass moment

An update for Shazan. I finally got hold of his name spelt out, written on a note. It's Shajan, officially. I'm writing this post from the office. The time is close to 9 PM and which means I've been here for almost 12 hours. I had my dinner in the office too. Shajan went and bought us takeaways of Briyanis. I had chicken briyani which comes with extremely sour yogurt and puke inducing sour mango chutney which I did not fancy at all. I'm extremely tired and worn out right now and I'm so looking forward for my shower, taking a dump and the bed, oh the bed! I've been told, we need to be here again earlier tomorrow to strategise on something. Oh well. "Ting Ngang Siong Ar". Now where's Shajan. He needs to drive us back.

Monday, October 25, 2004

day two

It might be the jet lag or it could be just the fact that I'm full after hovering a doughnut and two cheese burgers for dinner. I slept early at 8:30 PM and woke up naturally at 6 AM without any help of any alarm clock whatsoever. It might be the bright daylight shinning through my curtain blinds. And when I open my eyes, the environment (my room in this apartment) looked familiar but not so much so, I realised I'm here in Bahrain. Probably it's just the second day and my mind hasn't registered that yet. I'll bring water and food to office for lunch today. I did not have my lunch yesterday. So in a way, I was fasting along with the fellow muslims here although not voluntarily. It didn't help much when practically all the food shops are closed throughout the day.

Just some of things I'd noticed since I came here. The road bumps here are way huge. They are like fucking mountains. I would say they are maybe around 2-3 times the size of those you find in Bangsar. I'm not kidding and it's really uncomfortable when your driver speeds. What I heard or read from is kinda true about honking. The people here really honk a lot while driving.

The most generic designs that I notice out of the buildings here are castle like style designs. Most of them have square pointed spikes and mostly a flat top. Pardon my description. And I guess they only have white, yellow and brown paint here. All the buildings here are practically painted in those very few hues. No wonder my colleague said that the view is colourless, which I sort of agree in a way. There are plenty of constructions going on around the city. Most of them are 10 storeys commercial buildings. I've been using this road daily to work. Ahmed Ali Kannoo Avenue and then to Exhibitions Avenue. I have yet to recognise the whole route to work though. But I reckon, I'll need to speed up for I'll be the navigator for my manager soon when we get our rented vehicle.

Oh and apparently, the driver, Hassan's name is actually Shazan. But I kinda like the idea of him being Hassan though.

Sunday, October 24, 2004


I depart for my flight from KLIA at 4 PM which will be stopping at Bangkok for a short moment. My seat is 29B and while loading my hand luggage and the laptop into the overhead area, there is this 6" tall and slim black guy waiting patiently behind me and was staring at me all the time. Apparently he sits next to me for this entire flight.

I then got to know more about him. He originates from Somalia but he's a Saudi citizen. His dad is a doctor and he went to Malaysia, concisely KDU college to study Multimedia IT. He told me lots of stories ranging from how he got conned for renting a Kancil for RM 1000 per month and how he ended up in the Malaysian's Immigration Department's cell for three days and that was his worst 3 days in Malaysia. Needless to say, he kept me entertained throughout the flight. Some of his rather humourous quotes

"KL police is really fucked up"

"One thing I don't understand about, is KL's jam"

"Bahrain is such so small country, I swear. I don't mind getting lost here..hehe"

I think Gulf Air really sucks. It's worse than British Airways, Air France, heck even KLM. The first meal I had was a spicy fried rice with curry chicken, some dried maggi noodles and a yellowish jelly cake for dessert. It just taste weird. Period. I practically hand them back most of it unconsumed. I only managed to finish my orange juice drink. The second meal was relatively better. I had steamed fish with onion sauce and fried mixed vegetable chinese style, "chau chap". Oh and also some tasteless green noodles. I'm not a big fan of desserts so what I can best desribe the dessert given is super hard banana cake on some white sauce. The only consistent taste were the water, the bun and butter and the Heineken beer.

Upon landing at Bahrain International Airport at about 9.30 PM of the local time, the next thing I need is to get a visa. I was asked to pay BD 3 which roughly translates to about RM 30. I didn't have any Bahraini Dinars with me so I was asked to pay USD 15 instead. I gave him a USD 100 note and he gave me USD 70 and BD 5 in change. Now this is some complicated maths because the actual exchange rates stands at around 0.375 but the immediate exchange rate over the immigration counter seems to be 0.33. So I don't actually know how many dinars or usd I spent for the visa. The most logical sum for it still stands to me at USD 30 - BD 5.

Then there is this guy, Hassan, a personal servant of the boss of our local business partner, sent to take us from the airport. Goddamn he should use a larger car. We had a hard time cramping all our luggage into his Hyundai Accent. He then drove us to Aswaq Al Awafi to shop for groceries. I just bought instant noodles and eggs for the time being. My eyes literally pop out from their sockets when the abaya clad cashier said Nine Hundred and Seventy Five. After a 2 second delay, I then realised it's FILS. 1 Dinar = 1000 Fils.

We then hopped back into the car and soon after we reached at our second destination. Al Mahooz. This is where our service apartment is located. It's quite posh and nice really. My only complaints for this apartment is that there isn't any internet connection, the tap water is salty and there is no washing machine. However, it's a high end pad with full kitchen utensils, fully furnished, hotel style bathrooms, nice living room, fully airconditioned and it's clean. And of course, it comes with a hefty price tag. The rental is BD 550 per month and that would be RM 5500 per month mind you. Argh!!!

After taking a cold shower because I couldn't find the main water heater switch until I finished my shower, I crashed out on a dented bed. Well you see, it's not really dented but it has this big semi hemisphere shape created on it. Now I gotta be up tomorrow and the Hassan guy is going to pick us up at 10 AM to work. Sigh. Bye.

Monday, October 18, 2004

surrender yer junkie

I was told to handover my office desktop computer that I've been using throughout a period of 12 months today.

"After you're done with it (refering to me copying the files I needed, not smashing it up), surrender your pc to him" said my boss.

Well, it didn't seem that easy. With a mixed emotions of both glee and sadness, I went and carry out that task. Gleeful for getting rid of that low RAM pc. Now tell me, how can anybody survive with a pc of a mere 128 MB of RAM? I did but am not too happy about it. Sadness for well, change, as I normally do not welcome change that casually and probably because I lost something and losing something just did not feel right. Hmm contradicting to the glee factor, isn't it?

Anyway, in the few last hours of using it, I browsed around the files that I have and also to try to decide which files I need to copy. Decisions, decisions. I skipped that part and proceed with other necessary task.

1. Clear Office Email Account - Launched Outlook Express and look at the shitload of emails residing in my inbox and sent folder. Most of it are work related emails, around 95% and god knows why I kept so many and felt so reluctant to delete them then. Damnit, couldn't be too bothered about it all now. I simply select all and whack the delete button. And goddamn, yeah, that bloody thing hang on me.

2. Delete files - Went on a massive spree of deleting files. Woohoo. I've never deleted so many files in a day. I did feel reluctant again to delete most of the files but unfortunately I couldn't backup and copy all of them to my notebook because this damn thing, the whole capacity is only 15 GB and the capacity left? Go figure. So I would have to choose carefully the most crucial files to copy over. The keyword here is being ruthless. I dumped every document, picture files, applet files, source codes, etc that I no longer consider them to be of some usefulness to me. However though, I reckon I might come across a day where I'll be damned for that "Why didn't I copy that file/folder? I need that now!" moment. After trashing all the local files, I dumped the favourites, History and Temp Internet Cache.

3. Rename pc - Renamed the pc and reset the password.

4. Uninstall software - Again, a massive software uninstallation took place. Being a good samaritan though, I kept certain softwares for the new dude so that he won't have to go through the hassle of installing them again.

Friday, October 15, 2004

composition invalid

Sarcasm is what you and I are made of with a hint of insult and a dash of evilness

This coming from a guy who calls me "damn fucker la you" three times today. I refuse to acknowledge that.

That aside, I've signed the travel authorisation form today and my departure date should be 23th October 2004. Take note of the word should. The way this company does things, nothing is confirmed.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

UK > KL > Bahrain

Many of the cubicles here within the cluster of cubicles in my section of the department are left empty. Strange enough, there is this presence of an uncanny calm mood around here. Gone were the loud annoying discussions that often took place at the middle of some walk ways. Gone were the obnoxious phone calls that came in because they dialled the wrong extension numbers and refused to remember the new one even after being told so many months ago. Gone were the random visits from colleagues and mandarin chatters surrounding my privacy. All I can hear now is the rustling sound of the aircond ventilation panels, some faint keyboard tapping sounds and the sound of a tupperware opening.

I was pondering the fact that I'll not see some of the faces here soon and probably never if some of them has left before I return. I don't know if this is a good thing or otherwise. But it is to me, a good news if one of the person is auntie and I'll have lesser chance to frown.

I might miss the daily battle of getting a carpark space before 8 am.

I might miss the winding down moments and a rather clear mind when I'm driving back home while consistently changing the radio channels using the same route every weekday.

I will miss the dinner at home and the lazing around on the sofa watching Wah Lai Toi in the evenings while my mum will be constantly nagging everyone in the house.

I will miss hanging out with my friends.

I will miss her.

I pondered about, of my coming time in Bahrain. I anticipate that the work pressure will be enormously high, as much will be expected out of me and things are not helping when there will only be three of us working there and later on, only two. I'm slightly worried about the food there because the ramadhan is coming pretty soon and that's probably when I'll step my foot there for the first time. I admit I'm such a bummer but I will have to do some house chores, cooking and laundry. I used to do them every single day in UK and I hated it. I'm afraid of the boredom eventhough I'm one who can tolerate a heck lot of it. I know the provision of flight tickets to go back to KL every month by the company will not work out. That's such a big lie. But I hope I'll still get to fly back once every 2 months perhaps? Please? I hope I can manage my funds wisely there.

"Look at the brighter side" someone reminded me. Perhaps things will be alot more better than what I anticipate.

Hmm let's see what I missed about of my time in UK. I'll try to keep it short.

I miss the breeze and the chilling air. I miss looking for areas to stand where the sun shines at to keep warm from the cold winds. I miss walking around the streets aimlessly. I miss the fields. I miss hibernating during the winter time. I miss the market especially the butchers. That's weird I know. hehe. I miss checking out gorgeous China chicks and the bodies of the locals. I miss the double decker buses ride and the amazing driving skills of those bus drivers. I miss the pool club and the time spent there with the fag and the budweisers eventhough I'm such a lousy player. I miss hanging out in Huxters pub with Kevin and Ah Seng having a pint of lager or ocassionally a lasagne as well and then going back pissed off because Liverpool FC sucks real bad that season. I miss the camaraderie of the super large asian gang (Malaysia, China, Indonesia, Hong Kong) we have and the booze party at home till 2-3 dudes passed out from intoxication. I miss the tauntings of Liu Jian and the glorious battles of Warcraft III every night. My house was like a cybercafe back then. I miss seeing Welson's performance on the guitar and piano. He never fails to amaze me. Luckily I managed to learn a few tricks from him. I miss the silly trip we had, to Scotland.

Okay. I spent too much time writing this post and I've lost track and the point I want to make. Goddamn. Publish!

Tuesday, October 05, 2004


Day by day, i gradually feel more and more distant to you. Nearly lost for I cannot grasp any air or whatever that is wavering by. Forget about knowing, I can neither even guess nor predict now. All I have now with me are static memories casted in stone and a collection of images to keep me reminded. I do not know what to say anymore. In the end, all gets bottled up throughout the journey and all of this remains to be seen again after the ride. This mug of hope is something which I simply couldn't just put down no matter how strong the persuasions are coming in. It's something for me to look forward to. Regardless of the fact whether it will materializes or not.

I wonder if time changes everything or perhaps some things are just obstinate and wouldn't move an inch. I really hope for the latter though. Regardless of the intensity, I believe resistance to change resides in every single human being. In fact, a simple example of the high redundancy of exact files located in both my office computer and my personal notebook at home has reflected so and now I'm copying files and personalising this office notebook that I'm typing with to become one of such.

A week's time left and I still haven't started packing yet for my trip to Bahrain. Mentally I have listed what to bring over but I wonder what to do with my other belongings here. Should I pack them and tapau in boxes again like what I did before I left for UK? I hope my brothers won't screw up my car again. Anyway by the time I return home, I think that car will be theirs or maybe only belongs to one of them should they not practise sharing. However, I'm not handing over my personal notebook to them. With all their might, they will just thrash it with the bloody RO and Kazaa and I'll be left with a retarded and heavy notebook.

Signing off with lots of love as always.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

a foot step away

A hundred days had made me older
since the last time that I've saw your pretty face

A thousand lights had made me colder and I don't think I can look at this the same

But all the miles had separate
They disappear now when I'm dreaming of your face

I'm here without you baby
but your still on my lonely mind
I think about you baby
and I dream about you all the time
I'm here without you baby
but your still with me in my dreams
And tonight it's only you and me

The miles just keep rollin
as the people either way to say hello
I've heard this life is overrated
but I hope that it gets better as we go

Everything I know,
and anywhere I go
it gets hard but it won't take away my love
And when the last one falls,
when it's all said and done
it get hard but it won't take away my love