Friday, January 28, 2011

Escape from Spring

The Spring Festival - or more widely known here as the Chinese New Year - is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. Marked as the time family gatherings and the all important reunion dinner. In fact during this time of year, the largest annual human migration occurs in China when workers return to their far-flung ancestral villages by planes, trains and automobiles.

Over here it seems some have also started their own tradition of the Spring Break.

Paul : So when are you going home for Chinese New Year?
Wu : Oh please, I never go back during that time of year.
Paul : What?!
Wu : Such a horrible time.
Paul : Did something bad happen last year?
Wu : Not really. But I just have to escape. Can't stand the New Year. All the relatives. All the neverending questions!
Paul : You're avoiding the family reunion all because of a handful of questions?
Wu : Yes, maybe I'll go to Bali.
Paul : Turning your back on a millenia of tradition just to avoid the marriage question. Seriously.

Or should I call it the break out.

One step and then I'll make my quick escape!

Turns out she's not the only one who makes an annual escape to gentler climes. Quite a few of my own colleagues, especially the singletons, have made plans to avoid the reunion dinner. One even concocted a work project to run on indefinitely through the entire fifteen days.

All because of the questions. 'When are you getting married?' I've heard of insufferable excuses but this surely takes the cake. With my far-from-eligible seniority, I'm certainly no stranger to such impertinent questions - think the annual interrogation with straps and heated spotlight - but I haven't booked that runaway ticket to Bali as yet.

Steel yourself for the inevitable dammit.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Chasing Mormons

Gotta admit I've always had a thing for Mormons.

Probably a little legacy of my life-long fetish for priests. Or maybe more because I swooned over that seminal gay movie Latter Days. Now who could possibly forget the unforgettable scene where the modestly shy yet adorably hunky Mormon ripped off his sheer white underwear with aplomb?

So it was to my utmost delight that I rabidly noted that the conscientious Mormon boys actually do their holy circuits in Miri. Healthy corn-fed young missionaries. White shirts. Black pants. On their ten-speeds. Knocking on the doors of the non-believers with Bible in hand.

In their proselytizing bid to spread the word to the unholy heathens in the area, they have somehow cleverly managed to circumvent the depraved den of iniquity that is Netherfield! Eventhough I have planted quite obvious signs of my vile ungodliness along the path to my cave! Don't they know that I'm quite, quite ready and willing to repent with the right missionary?

Repent repeatedly if we both have to in all manner of unnatural back-breaking positions!

The Mormons are coming!

But I digress. No doubt the naive rosy-cheeked fellows have been zealously warned by the elders to steer clear - preferably a safe five-miles radius - of the unhallowed grounds of Netherfield.

So I have taken to stalking them around town. Haven't actually found the best way to send an engraved invitation to redeem my soul as yet so it's still quite rough-and-ready methods. Mostly consisting of impulsively yelling out wicked propositions at them as they zip by in their bicycles.

Mormon : Gosh, that car is coming awfully close!
Paul : Hey sexy, care for a ride?
Mormon : Oh my heck!

Glad to say quite a few have wobbled from their seats.

Bordering on sexual / religious / racial harassment, I know. I'm sure there would be pitchforks heading down Netherfield's way soon.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Moon Over Libra

I like being a Scorpio.

Like the infamous scorpion and the frog story, it partly excuses all sorts of inappropriate misbehaviour without much explanation.

Victim : OMG Why did you stab me?
Paul : Umm. I could not help myself. It is my nature.

Yeah blame that ever-ready stinger.

Scorpio are we?

Turns out with the controversial new horoscope squeezing its way into the line-up, I might not even have that as an excuse. Seems like the planet earth wobbling out of alignment seems to have turned the heavens upside down resulting in the appearance of Ophiuchus.

Which would toss me clear across the astrological charts into the realms of Virgo. The cold, analytical fellow. The anal-retentive perfectionist. The meticulous neat-freak dresser.

See that gentle, attractive man over there in the corner, with the thesaurus under his arm? The one with the tick-tock mind, clicking away the hours neatly and methodical­ly noticing the smallest details? If you look closely, you can almost see him measuring each minute for what it's worth. He's a Virgo.

Good grief! That's the wordy description of a typical Virgo. God help us. Does that mean I need to invest in copious hair gel now? Maybe an electronic calculator or two?

Better the dark, brooding and unflaggingly loyal Scorpio with their wry, acerbic humour.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Tickle Shake

A handshake is a short social ritual in which two people grasp one of each other's opposite hands, and most cases accompanied by a brief up and down movement of the grasped hands.

Now commonly seen as an agreeable mode of greeting between relative strangers, the act supposedly originated as a simple gesture of peace demonstrating that there is no weapon at hand.

Between two men however, it can rapidly turn into a tussle of physical strength. A non-too-subtle gauge of one's apparent machismo if you may. The firm, masterly handshake is a fundamental skill taught to all boys in their budding adolescent years. Despite the fact that too strong a handshake, veering towards broken fingers, is considered sadly poor form, that's still far preferable to offering a limp, clammy handshake instead.

Even after being crushed by an iron fist, no man - if he doesn't wish to be tagged as a wimp - complains that a proper handshake is too forceful.

Felix : See! That's the weird handshake guy!
Paul : Whoa, dude.

So when we met a straight fellow in town the other day, we found ourselves feeling a bit... unnerved. Not only did this new fellow Elton Engineer begin the conversation with talk of man-whores offering free sexual services, he then brazenly continued with a suggestive proposition to examine him for STDs. Together with a cheeky, wholly inappropriate wink.

Shrugged it off though. Figured it was his usual manner since otherwise Elton Engineer seemed like a genial enough fellow.

Then came the farewells. The initial handshake during the meet-and-greet was common enough - but the handshake at goodbye was a bit bewildering to say the least.

Paul : I had the weirdest handshake earlier.
Felix : Same here.
Paul : He did that tickle shake thingy?
Felix : Yeah. What was that all about?
Paul : Weird.

A handshake with a sly palm tickle with the middle finger?

Seriously. What was that all about? Swear I almost - as a schooled reflex - threw my other fist into Elton's face. Barely restrained myself. Couldn't decide if there was a trace of subtle homophobia in his manner or he was trying his best, if inexpertly, to drop some lures. Perhaps a wind up?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

It's Not Enough

Ever since they emigrated to set foot on distant shores, the overseas Chinese have been typecast as conniving, cut-throat merchants with wicked slit eyes who'd just as soon sell their mothers to make a quick buck. Incredibly diligent workers as well with their eye firmly on their target of reaping their first million.

Though I don't fit into that particular stereotype, even I used to think the same. How else to explain the fact the Chinaman-run store is usually the first to open and the last to close with rarely a coffee break in between. And that would include weekends and public holiday - all except for the infamous Spring Festival when everyone, even the most itinerant workaholic, shuts down for the week.

The wait

Even then most Chinese businesses enthusiastically fling their doors wide by the second or the fourth day to take advantage of the holiday crowds. Nothing like having even more prosperity!

Turns out that particular work ethic isn't true for all.

Paul : Two bowls of laksa.
Waitress : Aiya! Finish already lo. Two hours ago.
Paul : It's barely 11 in the morning.
Waitress : Popular liddat lo.
Paul : How about some chicken rice?
Waitress : Also finish lo.
Paul : So what exactly are you selling? Shouldn't you just close up and go home?

Like most popular adages, there are the odd exceptions.

For instance the bizarre coffeeshops in Miri. For some odd inexplicable reason, most shops here have their lunch offerings finished way before noon. Which belies the name. And the shopkeepers don't seem at all eager for more paying customers. Once the proverbial pot is finished, they are done for the day.

Really strange. Rather than the logical which would be to increase the amount made to cater for more the next day, they are far happier to just close up to dash home.

Unusual work ethic for the Chinese. Lazy contentment? Influenced by this promised land of lethargic afternoon siestas?

Rather than risk having intense competition amongst the stores, I am starting to believe there might be a secret quota placed on the number of bowls sold. Sell just one bowl too many and there's a likelihood of being hacked up by the friendly neighbourhood mafia.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Cut

What's the one thing in the world that would reduce even Attila the Hun to a snivelling wimp?

A knee to the groin. Think almost every guy in the world would involuntarily wince at the thought. Even the sheer anticipation would be killing. Most fellas wouldn't even dream of having anything remotely emasculating come even close to their precious bits.

So you can imagine the cut.

Whether for cultural or religious reasons, about a third of the male population have undergone the excruciating cut. The more fortunate ones in their relative infancy and for some, when they are very much older in their budding adolescent years. These days however we've progressed far beyond the traditional ritual of circumcision by the banana tree log!

Eh you wouldn't come anywhere close with that thing, would ya?

But for men in their prime, it's not a common procedure. Which is why it came as a surprise to me when one of my acquaintances came in with a question.

Friend : Would you recommend a circumcision?
Paul : For religious reasons? Are you converting to Islam?
Friend : Hmm. No?
Paul : Unless you have a really valid reason, I don't think I would recommend anything.
Friend : Hmm. Not even for hygiene reasons?
Paul : Surely you have heard of regular spring cleaning?
Friend : Hmm.
Paul : Is this for a new boyfriend?
Friend : Umm.

Which would be the worst reason ever.

Medically speaking, few of us would recommend routine non-therapeutic circumcision except those performed for ritualistic or religious purposes. Certainly no need for such procedures unless required.

Me, I certainly would mind going through the procedure - unless it could be guaranteed painless afterward. Though judging by the way the newly circumcised boys moan beneath their sarongs, I think that's not really possible. Think morning erection. Ouch.

A surprising thing I found online though. Think we have always associated ritual circumcision with Islamic males but recently I've read that the act is not an absolute requirement in the religion but only a recommendation. Seems circumcision is not specifically mentioned in the Qur'an but it is highlighted in the Sunnah (the Prophet Muhammad's recorded words and actions). Wonder if that's true!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sleeping Beauty

Well not exactly.

Quite the opposite actually. Rather than drop heedlessly into a near-coma at the veriest pin-prick, it seems my niece Chatty Carmen has been enchanted with an even worse malady.

Something this strapping fellow obviously doesn't have!

Insomnia. Gifted by her fairy godfather with an overactive imagination, poor Carmen finds herself having the occasional conversation with passing angels disguised as plaster cherubs. And that's during the daylight hours - so you can easily imagine the sort of dreadful creatures that creep out once darkness descends. Enough to keep even the most foolhardy child awake at night.

Keeping poor Carmen up for hours as she treads the wooden floors.

A fact which puzzles my brother and sister-in-law - both shockingly prone to falling into deep non-REM sleep the second their weary heads hit their respective pillows.

Sister-in-law : Our daughter simply cannot sleep at night.
Brother : Perplexing. Is there a pea under her bed?
Sister-in-law : No peas. No wolves. No witches.
Brother : Yet she can't sleep?
Sister-in-law : Curious.
Brother : Getting curiouser and curiouser.

Of course it didn't take long for my brother to recall that I suffered the same unfortunate sort of symptoms as a child. I actually spent veritable hours making similar night rounds around a darkened house. No doubt offering portents of my future profession.

All I could tell offer as a panacea was patience. Not much you can do but be patient after all. A cure for that particular insomnia? God knows I haven't found one myself! Ironically I found myself dating a sleeping prince who falls comfortably into slumber at all hours!

Even without the pin-prick.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Teenage Dream

Back during my angsty adolescent days, the only homosexual icons I had were screen idols tragically stricken with AIDs and the wandering pervert who peeked into sleazy men's rooms hoping to score. Hardly reassuring for an impressionable kid like me then.

Nowadays we don't even need videos to show that It Gets Better because we can see incredibly visible, real-life out gay men who have actually proven that seemingly impossible adage. Not to mention carelessly confident gay teenagers like Blaine ( of Glee fame ) and Griffin ( from the Secret Life ) on our television screens.

We are here, we are queer and yes, we are doing pretty good.

Still I wasn't at all angsty emo. Hopefully my classmates can attest to that. Never threatened to end my life with a fatal leap off a bridge nor did I ever tie a ill-fated knot on a fan.

Of course as we moved into the upper forms, inevitably a couple of them pinged my gaydar. In an all boys school with a population of easily over a thousand, surely there'd be more than a handful according to Kinsey!

Now how could you possibly not swoon over a fellow like Blaine?

Pretty much had to wing it though. No cool cat like Blaine to play my mentor though. One turned to religion bemoaning the fact that he'd be spit-roasted in the fires of hell for his sins while the other stealthily sneaked back into the closet and tripled-padlocked the iron doors. Though the former has untangled the strangling ties of orthodoxy, till now the latter remains firmly closeted.

Hardly the sort you could bare your soul too at the time - so obviously I had to resolve my own issues on sexuality all by my lonesome. Akin to a Penis Monologue, I formulated my own questions and formed my own answers - whether wrong or right. The number of books I read on homosexuality could have filled up a mini Smithsonian.

Only at the twilight of my school years did I find someone to talk to about my forbidden urges. Despite our clandestine outings, never been so glad to have found my ISO. Though I'll admit we never did all that much talking! :) Blame it on the pent-up hormones.

Wonder if things would have been different if I had someone to look up to. Perhaps a teenage dream like Blaine back then would have stirred things up.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Boys Over Flowers

Make a mistake, miss a date, show up with roses.

Isn't that the usual cliche for guys?

At least that's what I - old-fashioned me - used to think. Apparently these days the irresponsible fellas don't even bother sending a text when they stage a disappearance to go MIA. Definitely no flowers of apology after either.

Patty : Fucking idiot disappeared!
Paul : After asking you out? WTF. Maybe he has a really good reason.
Patty : For staging an MIA?
Paul : Dog died. House collapsed. Some sort of domestic calamity.
Patty : He had better hope so.
Paul : Perhaps he'll come later with flowers to apologize.
Patty : Eeeew!
Kat : Eeeee! So girly!
Patty : I'd smack him over the head with the bouquet.

Seems even roses don't do the trick these days.

Though I found it curious... when I mentioned a bouquet of flowers, the disdainful expression on Patty's face would have withered the fresh blooms. Even Kool Kat looked like she'd hurl if roses were presented. Let's say there were feminine sneers all around.

Umm... you don't like flowers!

Is it wrong to moon over flowers anymore? Is being girly girl all buttons-and-bows so very wrong? Have we glorified rough, tough masculine qualities so much that even our girls are starting to eschew their gentler aspects?

I'll admit I would have loved to have gotten flowers. Perhaps I wouldn't swoon at the sight of a dozen long-stems initially - oh please! - but just give it a day or two... and I'll unwittingly glance over at the roses in bloom. The soft petals. The deep reds. The delicate scent. And yes, I will sigh.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Hot and Cold

Seriously are boys turning into girls these days?

After a six months of abstinence, our Piratin Patty has resurfaced to put herself back on the market and I gotta say I haven't been impressed with the choice around these parts. Slim pickings I gotta say. From Slim Shaggy to Sour Sweaty, a bigger gaggle of whiny, weepy emo boys I've never seen. Overly sensitive fellows so very in touch with their feelings that I'm beginning to believe they actually do have PMS.

Hard to find a real prince these days!

Certainly would explain their wildly hormonal mood swings. Desperately ardent in the morning and then coldly disdainful by evening.

Guy : Oh I want you. You're hot. You're sexy.
Girl : Oh you do? I'm free tonight so let's have dinner.
Guy : Nah, I can't. I'm busy.
Girl : Okay then. See you tomorrow.
Guy : I so wanna do you now. You're so cute.
Girl : How about tomorrow then?
Guy : Nah, just lazy. Don't want to.

WTF. I would have clobbered him with a frying pan. If not worse.

Talk about blowing hot and cold. Seriously? Given the same impossible situation, I would have kneed the indecisive bastard in the groin. After all, he doesn't even have the balls to stick to a fucking decision.

Used to be simple enough. Romeo likes Juliet. Romeo waxes lyrical at Juliet's balcony. These days however, our dashing Romeos ( even the gay ones ) seem to be turning into whiny Juliets just twiddling their thumbs waiting to be wooed. O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou bollocks?

With boys like these around, maybe it's better to stay locked up in a tower.

Friday, January 07, 2011

The Last Condom


Just why are straight guys just so afraid of them?

At least some of the ones that I know. Until now I still have nervous ninnies who get themselves admitted for a mind-boggling variety of wildly invasive procedures for birth control - eschewing the simplest method of contraception known to man.

The humble condom.

Certainly not a hundred percent effective but then again, none of the methods actually are. Why else would the barrier method have been in use for hundreds of years? Simple. Easy. Convenient.

So why are these ladies getting themselves laid up to be sliced and diced? Just blame their latex-fearing hubbies.

Nurse : But my husband says the condom doesn't provide as much feeling leh.
Paul : Unless he's paralyzed neck down, believe me, he can feel something.
Nurse : Hee hee. You naughty.
Paul : Sometimes even a fucking road bump can be pleasurable. A little piece of rubber isn't going to stop that.
Nurse : Wah, you not married woh! How you know la?
Paul : And I have to be married to have sex?

Back to that age-old question again.

Get a condom first!

My poor prudish nurses! Horrified by what little sexual experience I've had. No doubt they expect me to remain a good little virgin till my gay wedding night. Which judging by the mindless vitriol heaped on the poor fellow who bravely came out online would be never.

And I refuse to be the 40-year old virgin. Even when I was 20.

Of course my disbelieving nurses needed tangible proof of my sexual misbehaviour. With patients claiming impossible symptoms on a daily basis, I didn't blame them.

Fortunately I had something ready for show-and-tell that day. One unused condom in my wallet. Though one so tragically unused - and insanely expired - that I doubt it would act as a barrier to anything much at all. Didn't even realize I still had it!

Still it was effective enough to earn horrified shrieks from the cheap seats in the audience.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Commission of a Painting

Guess it is about time I became a patron of the arts.

Ever since I was a little kid, I have always spent my time admiring paintings in the hushed galleries, in the posh shops - and even amongst the travelling streetvendors. Didn't need a Monet or a Rembrandt to impress me. Even the most casual, nondescript brushstroke was deemed worthy of a quick glance from me.

After all beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. Which vaunted expert would dare commit himself to saying that a much lauded Van Gogh carries more shades of meaning than the inane scrawl of a five-year-old protege?

The painting gains value from us. The beholders.

Care to look at my etchings?

Unfortunately I've always placed them on much too high a pedestal for my reach. As it was, I generally assumed the masterpieces to be far too expensive to mount on my far from adequate walls.

That is until I recently steeled myself to ask for the price. Downtown street fair where a local artist peddled his wares. Expected a heart-stopping disappointment but found myself pleasantly surprised after a few minutes of deft bargaining. Turns out that beautifully rendered piece of batik fits easily within my budget. Vivid shades of scarlet and saffron splashed on sheer silk at a price I could only call a steal.

So I commissioned a painting.

Talk about an adult moment. Even specified the colours - to match the horrid maroon salon in Netherfield - and the size I wanted though I left the subject matter to the beleaguered artist.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Naked & Sacred


Even the word sends a thrill down the spine.

At least it does for me. After all I've never passed for much of a prude. I'll admit there are some guys I'd prefer in their birthday suit all the time. Quite a few patients. Even some friends I've always been curious to see in their altogether. And a couple - let's face it - we'd much prefer fully clothed, in a shapeless black purdah no less. Moi amongst the latter lot of course.

Very few of us get a chance however. To catch friends ( at least those who aren't exhbitionists ) en déshabillé, we'd have to be perverted voyeurs, chic photographers or ... oh yeah, curious doctors.

And quelle surprise I am one.

See me naked? Oh no...!

So yes, I've seen my fair share of nudity. Of either sex. Though I gotta admit when opportunity presents itself, I certainly wouldn't say no, would I? Hell, some surprisingly immodest patients start stripping the minute the door is closed!

Which is why when a cute friend of mine - who I've always been curious about nekkid-wise - came knocking on my door, I opened it.

Cutie : Uhh. I'm coming in to the hospital?
Paul : WTF. Good God, are you okay?
Cutie : Yes, it's just a short, simple procedure.
Paul : On my table.
Cutie : I assume it would be.
Paul : So I finally get you naked on my bed?
Cutie : Uhh.
Paul : Oh baby, I'll be gentle.
Cutie : You better be, it's my first time.

Nervous when he came in to the operating theatre of course. A bit cold under the sheer patient's gown. But he certainly had nothing to be shy about.


Too bad I can't try a poke now that he's my patient. :) Eh, there's always the day of discharge.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Two Gay Boys, A Girl and A Pirate

There once was a sweet gal named Patty,
Who drove every man she knew batty,
Bought a pair of shades,
Turned manly in spades,
Completed a house with ala-crity.

Seriously. Did I only think that Pirating Patty was only good with automobiles and oil drills?

Certainly proven wrong yesterday. Turns out two homos and one hag in a house only gets you pretty interior decor with shabby electrical wiring. Though you certainly can't point the finger at us for the shoddy planning. Starting to think that our beleaguered landlady Mrs Elton was more concerned with speed than practicality when it came to house construction.

Kat : Hmm. Maybe a candle would have worked better!
Paul : We really need help in our time of darkness.

Hence the simply mind-boggling placement of electrical outlets. Tangled wires criss cross the living room, study and even the kitchen. A couple of electric plugs squeezed into tight spaces even Kool Kat's delicate hands are unable to worm in. Even one so high up you'd have to somersault from a distant beam just to reach it.

Amazed me to find that none of my landlady's numerous progeny - or even her tenants - had suffered an acute electric shock during their tenancy in Netherfield.

Lo and behold, we have Piratin Patty come to our rescue. Took one look at our tragic predicament, grabbed her huge testosteroney-shades and mumbled in a husky baritone.

Paul : Damned plugs.
Felix : Save us!
Patty : Move aside, fellas. This is clearly a job for Patty.
Paul : Wow!
Patty : Hand me the hammer and drill.
Paul : Hammer and drill? Wouldn't masking tape do?
Patty : *Growl*

Turns out no masking tape needed. Bang, hammer and chisel. And the work was done. Swear I even saw manly hair grow on the back of her sinewy arms.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Cheery New Year

Haven't had a club stamp on my arm since... well almost forever.

Yet there I was in a thumpa thumpa club waiting for the countdown while inebriated college kids swayed recklessly on the tables. Post-teenage skanks in frilly minis barely the size of handkerchiefs shook their moneymakers on the podiums while the boys drooled over their Jack Daniels.

Blame Pirating Patty.

Paul : Fucking hell. I can't believe you dragged me here.
Patty : But it's the new year countdown.
Paul : We almost counted down to a thumping by the bouncer when we got here.
Patty : Fuck that bouncher. Telling us to pay cover charge when we've opened a couple of bottles?
Paul : Preferable to paying a hospital bill, I should think.
Patty : Nah, he wouldn't hurt a teeny lil girl like me. It would hurt his rep.
Paul : Stop picking fights with tattooed bouncers. I don't run that fast.

And that was the extent of our speech for almost an hour as we screamed ourself hoarse over the din of the neverending thumpa thumpa. Didn't help that the club, not only packed to the rafters, was enshrouded in a choking haze of cigarette smoke. Getting down and dirty - oh yeah one of the teenage girls heaved her dinner two tables away - in one of the skankiest clubs in town.

A far cry from our earlier dinner of oysters and lobsters at a swanky hotel under a night sky lit up with fireworks. Also chockful of people! This little town that could certainly trebles its population for events such as this.

It's time for fireworks!

Though the night out did make me sorta curious. If the horny straight fellas head to the clubs to get laid but the male : female ratio's far from satisfactory, what the hell's the point?

And please don't tell me they are searching for love. You don't find that in clubs. Seriously. In an oil town like this, boys outnumber girls by a factor of 3. Fact made obvious by the woefully inept boppers worshipping at the stilettos of the few fillies on the dancefloor. Think Scarlett O'Hara with her bevy of fawning beaus - except with far less taste. Some of the girls don't even have as much class as Scarlett's hanky.

Really, if all they want is to get off, why not do it with each other instead? Better than blue balls. Even Patty's tripping colleagues, who struck out and decided to get pissed instead, were looking quite tasty as the night went on. Maybe I should lend a hand to that auld acquaintance.

So that was my New Year's. How was yours?