Saturday, March 31, 2012

Shopping Challenge

After a particularly frustrating day at the daily grind, sometimes you just get the irresistible urge to mindlessly splurge. Just buy something - spend money on something silly, small and inconsequential. Mini retail therapy as it were.

Otherwise I'd probably run amok with a bloodied cleaver through the dingy back alleys.

So yes, it's much better - both for my tenuous sanity and the well-being of the cityfolks - that I release my pent-up stress and frustration on my overworked credit card instead. Despite the abundance of dubious working girls readily available for every virile red-blooded straight men in town, there seems to be a sad paucity of cute money boys for me to spend on instead.

So it's straight back to the mall instead.

Choi Siwon
Time for some serious shopping!

Trust me when I say the choices are limited. What about clothes you say? Since I have no intention to take a leisurely stroll down the beach like a bum in a ragged tank top and flip flops nor do I want to appear as a flashy Chinese pop entertainer in shockingly garish outré fashion, the men's stores here are definitely not for me. The stores catering for the younger crowd terrify me while the older ones are seriously bland, boring and blah.

Already have CDs and DVDs packed high to the rafters at home - with at least half a dozen television series I have yet to catch up with - so those purchases are gonna have to stop for a while till I actually get around to finishing them.

Books then? Only a handful of bookstores in town and regrettably even their latest bestsellers just coming in stock can't really keep up with my monthly online purchases on Amazon and Book Depository. And till now, there's nary a decent graphic novel sold in town. Sigh.

So what else is there left for me to spend on? Happily though this town has several el cheapo stores filled to the brim with silly bric-a-bracs from the factories of China. Lopsided kitchenware, plastic toys and massage rollers in abundance at bargain-basement prices. Since almost everything on the shelves is around five dollars, you can imagine how wild I get - Supermarket Sweep is the best description I can give.

And yet after carting everything to the cashier counter, I stop and pause. What the fuck do I need all this trash? Nose-hair trimmer? Skull massager?

Which is why the entire shopping basket is usually left at the counter as I slap myself silly to wake up from the retail insanity. Whereupon I head for my consolation ice-cream cone at the local Mcdonalds.

Yes, it's almost impossible to go on a shopping spree here. Each time I begin the journey with high hopes, setting aside a stash of money just for the trip only to return several hours later with a measly expenditure of less than five dollars. Talk about the best place for a recovering shopaholic. Damn.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Vagina Dialogues

Get yourself shut in with an entirely female crew and you'll get your listener's share of traumatizing periods and monstrous bazongas. Since shutting my ears muttering la-la-la repeatedly is simply out of the question, I simply ignore their astonishingly frank female chatter as much as I can.

Though sometimes they still make me blush! As if their shockingly blunt speech - and totally unreserved, utterly inappropriate choice of subject matter - wasn't mentally scarring enough for me, my nurses had to take it one step further.

Nurse #1 : Wow, look at that! How did it get so dark?
Nurse #2 : Yeah, mine's definitely not that dark.
Nurse #1 : Certainly not that pigmented. But mine's a bit more curved.
Nurse #2 : Less hair certainly.
Nurse #1 : Obviously they have something against shaving.
Nurse #2 : Maybe I should take a look at mine again.
Nurse #1 : With a mirror? You can borrow my compact.
Paul : If I had a vagina, I'd be depressed.

Obviously with their overwhelming numbers, the nurses sometimes forget I'm just standing there. Me. A man. Without a vagina.

And yes, that was a brief dialogue about their respective vaginas. Or should I say the labial region. Always so surprising to see how women bond over their physical similarities and differences without even a fearful hint of homophobia.

David Gandy
If you talk about my balls, I'm gonna have to hit you!

Obviously blithely unconcerned with the entire female genital area, gay boys with little recollection of secondary school biology would have zero inkling about what I'm talking about. To put that into perspective, the near direct equivalent would be having two strapping fellows in the showers talking about the colouring of their scrotums.

Seriously I have a peculiar preference for spectacularly low-hanging balls but that hasn't led me to effusively compliment another gentleman on his swinging good fortune. Or whether he enjoys a bit of tea-bagging. Though I can be pretty ballsy, I still have some sense of self-preservation after all! No doubt before I've finished my unrestrained words of praise, I'd have gotten an uncomplimentary fist in my eye.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Rumour Has It

Free from the shackles of monogamy for the longest time, Fabulous Felix has been busy ... sowing his wild oats so to speak. Though we have denied him free access to Netherfield for his unbridled hoeing, that certainly hasn't stopped the boy from seeking every opportunity to spread some sweet loving.

In the most unlikely places with the most likely strangers.

But therein lies the problem. Furtive one-night-stands remain covertly anonymous in bigger cosmopolitan cities since the chances of a random bump in the streets during the day remain happily low! But in such a small well-connected gay community - even less than two degrees of separation over here, most of these randy fellows are not destined to remain perfect strangers for very long.

David Gandy
Felix : Turn around and look behind.
Paul : Yeah, what?
Felix : Not all the way!! Turn back turn back!

In fact it didn't take that long at all before one of Felix's past indiscretions returned to bite him on his perky ass.

Felix : Oh shit.
Paul : Why is that couple staring at us? They do look familiar.
Felix : That's Ben and Jerry.
Paul : No wonder they look familiar. Let's go say hello.
Felix : Don't! I just found out that I might have fooled around with Jerry.
Paul : Might have?
Felix : It was dark.
Paul : And obviously Ben doesn't know?
Felix : God I hope not.
Paul : That's no problem then!
Felix : I'm not finished. There's also a rumour going around lately. Jerry somehow thinks we're together and I cheated on you with him.
Paul : Love the drama. So I'm playing the wronged lover? Can I slap you for a cheating slut and cause a humiliating scene by tossing champagne in your face?
Felix : Don't you dare!
Paul : Or maybe go weep on Ben's broad shoulders and commiserate over our shared betrayal?
Felix : Funny but don't.

Ooh la la. I just love a good dramatic scene.

Surprised though! Do I appear that blissfully zen these days? I am somewhat astonished that rumour would have it that I'm the sort of shockingly permissive lover who would allow my supposed boyfriend to go tom-catting around while I sit at home darning socks! Such benign forbearance! Don't they know that the last time I had a boyfriend who cheated, I practically set fire to the rain, along with all his other worldly goods?

Simply going up to poor deluded Jerry and telling him the plain, unvarnished truth would be the responsible adult thing to do of course. After all there's no reason to let him continue thinking that Felix and I are an item.

So why do I have a little devil inside me wanting to play up the role of the tortured cuckold wailing of cheating and cruel abandonment?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Gay Rehab Centre

If you need proof that our education is going down the drain, you need look no further than our dim-witted elected representatives. Sometimes the bilge that spouts from their mouths can be so mind-numbingly idiotic that I wonder if they all suffered a collective lobotomy during their childhood. One thing I gotta say for our half-witted politicians, who often speak without much thought, is that they are always ready to provide the silliest observations for our long-suffering columnists.

David Gandy
Life in the gay rehab camp!

Lots of palm to the head moments, I'm sure.

Since the GLBT event Seksualiti Merdeka has turned homosexuality into the latest scapegoat for our headline-hungry honchos, it didn't take too long before one of them came up with a foolish plan for a gay rehabilitation centre.

The government needs to create a “homosexual rehabilitation centre” to combat the phenomenon in Malaysia, according to Barisan Nasional MP who today claimed 30 per cent of Malaysian men were gay.

Obviously unsatisfied with bullying vulnerable schoolchildren into some dubious moral reformatory camp, now the lawmakers have decided to rope in the adults as well. Into a homosexual rehabilitation centre with terrifying shades of the Nazi's concentration camps.

Almost impossible for me to even say a word without pitching a fit so let me paraphrase from one of the brilliant comments I read from the article.

Brilliant plan. You see, you take all the gay men and put them in a camp. We get them to live together in enclosed quarters where they have to sleep together and bathe together. They must undergo rigorous, sweaty activities in pressed uniforms and learn useful, masculine life skills like pitching tents.

That'll knock the gay right out of them!

Dripping with sarcasm much?

But I have to admit the comments on the various news media actually gives me hope. Judging from the dozens of encouraging comments on the matter above, quite a lot of Malaysians - at least those who bother going online to read the news - are surprisingly liberal. The rest would rather care about more pressing matters like corruption in our government than someone else's burgeoning sexuality. Certainly not a perfect representation of the general public ...but isn't it nice to know?

So they tried to make us go to rehab but we said no ... no... no...

And honestly, 3 out of 10 men are gay?

Wherever did they manage to find such misleading statistics? Much as I would love for it to be true, it's seriously not. With such numbers, that would probably make Malaysia the gay mecca of the world. If the figures were actually that high, that would represent quite a significant percentage of the population eligible to vote! Add in the lesbians and that's quite enough of a power bloc to knock the ruling party of their lofty perch if need be.

Guess the Gay Action Party doesn't sound too bad right now.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Damsel in Distress

I've never been a fan of the damsel in distress.

Even worse when the imperiled princess in question lounges around on embroidered silk cushions with sweetmeats and appletinis in hand while the sands of her fate drain cruelly away. Rather than act swiftly to change her miserable destiny, the witless twit prefers to sigh wistfully in her luxurious palace chambers placing all her confidence in an ill-fated suitor who finds himself tossed into the dungeons.

Yes, I'm talking about the Prince of Persia - the quintessential arcade game played by almost every pimpled teenage adolescent for the past two decades. Ostensibly the game revolves around the thrilling adventures of an unnamed Prince who navigates fearlessly through spiked pits, death traps and monstrous guards to rescue the princess from the wicked machinations of the Grand Vizier.

When I saw the classic version available again on the iPad, how could I possibly resist?

Though after an hour of hair-tugging frustration trying to master the controls, I can clearly recall why it took me days to weeks just to finish the game. Obviously my sad lack of motor coordination translates entirely into the virtual world since the hapless prince, under my direction, constantly tumbles over precarious balconies down endless chasms to meet his untimely end. And that's when the foolish prince doesn't blunder unerringly onto the callous arms of the heartless guillotine.

David Gandy
Umm... you think I should leave her?

And all for the sake of the idiotic princess in her bedchamber, who is presumably sipping mint tea while stroking the strings of her mandolin - or whatever it is that entrapped princesses get up to! Couldn't she at least summon up the teensiest effort to attempt an escape? Isn't her precious time slowly slipping away, both literally and figuratively?

And yet you do nothing but weep, wail and wring your manicured hands?

Seriously, Prince of Persia? You could do better.

Paul : Seriously, you still want to marry this princess?
Prince : Oh yes, her beauty is like moonrise in a clear heaven.
Paul : You do know she's probably dining on roast lamb and appletinis now, right? While her handmaidens draw her a scented bath of roses and milk?
Prince : As is her right.
Paul : While you're down in the dirty, dank dungeons getting beaten, bruised and bloody just to ascend a few levels?
Prince : Umm... yeah.
Paul : The princess can't even save herself and her kingdom - and this is the woman you want to marry?
Prince : Umm... yeah?
Paul : Full of self-pity, hardly self-sufficient and barely resourceful! Can't she do anything? Bribe a guard! Choke a handmaiden! Lay a trap! Hell, she couldn't even send a key down?
Prince : The Grand Vizier might hurt her!
Paul : Like that evil monster isn't already intending to do so?
Prince : You might have something there.
Paul : I see an open window right there. Easy enough for us to escape so forget about that pampered bimbo and come with me.

Well I did say I hate damsels in distress. Didn't say I don't like handsome knights in shining armour.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Father of the Bride

Or groom as the case may be.

Before I get to the fathers, I gotta say I love weddings. Though I might be the exception.

Rather than being the wonderfully ecstatic affair we're all used to, the very thought of weddings these days brings the chills to my otherwise happily affianced peers. Quite a few have even briefly entertained the notion of a surreptitious elopement. Supposedly infinitely preferable to facing what comes with a traditional wedding; unruly congregation of drunken relatives, endlessly bickering in-laws and worst of all, the shockingly exorbitant bill that comes at the end of the entire painful ruckus.

Which put a pained crease on my usually smooth brow.

Okay, there's nothing much you can do about boorish relations and quarrelling families. Play the ever-smiling politically-correct diplomat if you wish but resolving such prickly issues is gonna take a long, long time.

But what about the bill? After all, relatively few young couples can actually scrape together enough funds to cover the costs of an extravagant wedding celebrations. Frankly I'm used to the doting parents footing the whole bill for the wedding. That's practically an ingrained tradition in my family. Or at least the more cash-strapped parents would offer to offset the entirety with a little financial subsidy.

David Gandy
Bride : Dammit, how do we pay for all these guests!
Groom : Isn't your father paying?
Bride : I thought your father agreed to pay!
Groom : Oh shit.

Turns out I'm the only one who thinks that way.

Seems like parents offering to pay has become an outmoded, anachronistic custom for most of my independent-minded peers. But really, isn't it logical since most of the invited guests would be friends of the parents anyway? Or have the stingy parents never thought of this appropriately chilling scenario?

Father : Oh, we're not paying for the wedding dinner.
Child : No problem, dad.
Father : We'll give you a list of the people we want to invite next week.
Child : List? What list? You're not inviting anyone.
Father : Why not?
Child : Because you're not footing the bill. Sorry, dad, but your friends aren't invited.

Oh, imagine the outrage.

Are the duties of the father of the bride / groom changing?

When did the parents get away from having to foot the bill? Was there an internal memo passed around the Parental Units Convention when I wasn't looking? Or perhaps they adhere to the more modern notion of thinking that grown-up children are impossibly selfish if they expect their aging parents to foot the bill at the expense of depleting their retirement funds!

Seriously. It's quite simple actually. Our grandparents managed it for our parents. As they will then offer to do for us. And yes, by God, I shall cobble enough cash for my kids when it's their turn. So why are people trying to escape such familial responsibilities?

Friday, March 16, 2012


As doctors, it's inevitable that we get probing questions about medicine.

Yes, even from relative strangers at the very first meeting seconds after that introductory handshake. Since general medicine basically governs everything that happens to your physical body, it's a subject that's reasonably close to everyone's heart.

And everyone's all too willing to share confidential information. Reasonably circumspect fellows would suddenly have zero qualms about baring their innermost secrets, not only about that dark secret ( possibly venereal ) wart they have hidden up in their inner thigh, but also about every other medical professional they have ever met in their lives.

Patient : I don't know if you know him but...
Paul : Not really, I mean we don't have a secret clubhouse, but why? Do you have a complaint about that doctor?
Patient : Yeah, there are rumours that he usually comes up with the wrong diagnosis.
Paul : Well that actually does happen.
Patient : How can la liddat!
Paul : Hmm... how do I explain? It's almost like throwing a dart at a board. Blindfolded.
Patient : Aiyoh!

Actually I've got a simpler answer.

Doctors are not God.

David Gandy
Hmm.. what in the world does this patient have?

No matter how much some of us ( looking at ya, cardiac surgeons ) wish we are. Although we might be pretty sure about our provisional diagnosis, that doesn't mean it's a 100% absolute. There's always some margin of error. Even more so when the signs and symptoms are oddly non-specific.

Yes, mistakes can and will be made.

But look, even the renowned physician Gregory House gets it wrong. Even with an entire highly specialized team of medical experts, a plethora of diagnostic scan machines and a reasonably intelligent patient with surprisingly specific symptoms. And obviously it doesn't actually take only half an hour to come to the correct conclusion.

Even then, they usually get it all wrong. Test the wrong drugs, try the wrong treatments, experiment with the wrong trials - usually ending with the terribly unfortunate patient almost at the brink of certain extinction.

So yes, doctors do make the wrong provisional diagnosis. Fortunately most of us also have an exhaustive list of differential diagnosis to follow.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Moans & Groans

Cain : Oh yeah you can do it.
Abel : It's too hard. I can't take it anymore.
Cain : Almost all in! Push it, push it.
Abel : Oh God, this is painful!
Cain : You're near the end! Oh yeah. Harder!

Liberally interspersed with lusty moans and groans that wouldn't be out of place in a surprisingly spirited scene straight out of illicit pornography.

Let's be honest, I'll admit I'm a sucker for little deep-throated moan and groan. Having a reticent partner lying dead in bed like an unresponsive cold fish can be highly uninspiring. There's nothing quite like an involuntary moan from a frustrated lover ( tied up? ) brought temptingly close to the edge to arouse the senses.

But that's in the relative privacy of the bedroom.

Certainly not in the wide-open, shared space of the gymnasium.

David Gandy
Fellow : You mean you'd prefer me to keep quiet?
Paul : Unless you'd prefer to be bound and gagged at my mercy?
Fellow : Umm...

Yet you'll find quite a few of these burly fellows reenacting exhaustive scenes from gay porn right beside the machines and the bench press. Yes, I mean the hardcore weight lifters. If I keep my eyes well shut, the hearty sounds I hear wouldn't be out of place on the soundtrack of red-blooded Japanese gay porn sans the words iku and kimochi sprinkled into the gratifyingly vocal conversation.

Look, I know lifting heavy weights can be an awful pain but surely it can't be as agonizing as a pregnant mother wailing in the tormented throes of labour. Because honestly that's what the moans and groans sound like!

And I doubt anything can be quite as painful as heaving nine pounds of healthy baby out of your spasm-wracked body.

Alright, it's a free space, and certainly not a library, so some leeway should be expected. Express yourself if you must. Handling a deadlift and the variations thereof with a little bit of huff and puff is quite acceptable - but screeching high enough to wake the neighbours isn't. Unless you're actually reenacting gay porn whereupon I shall drop everything to be an accomodating observer.

And voluntary fluffer if need be.

Just my gripe of the week. Might as well get headphones.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Sartorial Suspects

Dressing up for work has been the norm for me since I started work. Even as fledgling students in medical school, we were strongly encouraged to dress the part. Long-sleeved shirts, ties and slacks, that makes up the usual sartorial suspects when it comes to our wardrobe essentials in the professional workplace.

Definitely no casual Fridays of sneakers and jeans for us doctors - lest our doubting patients start glancing sideways at us. Yes, we do have a semi-formal dress code of sorts.

So you can imagine what a relief it was for me to finally be free of such formal restrictions. With no keen-eyed superiors perpetually watching over your shoulder to see whether you've knotted that stuffy Windsor perfectly with the obligatory dimple, the standards of dressing tends to slip unforgivably.

David Gandy
Wait, am I a bit overdressed?

Till one day you catch yourself almost leaving for work in a scrubby graphic tee and frayed stonewashed jeans. Cue the hysterical screams. Horrors! Thank God for ever-present hallway mirrors!

So it's back to the shirt and tie combo again with a sterner resolve not to be mistaken as a dirty bedraggled hobo scrounging in the grimy backalleys. Much to the ongoing bewilderment of the locals here - such as Lanky Larry.

Larry : Such fine threads, are you going somewhere?
Paul : I'm heading to work.
Larry : So dressed up. Is there a special meeting?
Paul : No.
Larry : Maybe an important lunch? An interview?
Paul : No.
Larry : Why?
Paul : Just because? It's a dressy Monday.
Larry : And you're going to work?
Paul : Would you prefer I wear ragged shorts and a dirty singlet instead?

That wasn't the only flabbergasted reaction I'd be getting.

Of course I still got google-eyed stares of amazement from the local yokels since dressing down seems to be the prevailing fashion mode here. So in vogue, that nonchalant, unstudied look rummaged straight from the messy laundry basket with a strong emphasis on comfort and personal expression over presentation and uniformity.

Obviously a casual sartorial style that doesn't jive too well with my fussy tie and jacket, not to mention the occasional vest. Seriously for those who have a hopeless tendency to slouch, there can be no better cure than a well-cut vest.

Didn't their mama ever teach them it's always better to be overdressed?

Friday, March 09, 2012


Hard not to get just a bit paranoid these days.

Seems the infamous Kinsey scale might be getting it all wrong since everywhere I turn around these days, every guy seems to be coming out of the closet with a big jazzy flourish. Only less than 10 percent exclusively homosexual? With the homosexuals creeping out of the repressive shadows - even here in the lil town of Homosexoil, I am starting to think the numbers are woefully underrepresented.

Apparently I'm not the only one who thinks so. Accidentally outed before he was ready for the big reveal, Jager Johnson found himself dealing with a full week's worth of rage, resentment and recrimination.

David Gandy
Mother : Surely the one on the right?
Johnson : No, mother, he's not gay.
Mother : The one on his left?

And then his overwrought mother turned to paranoia as a way of dealing with the wholly unwelcome revelation.

Mother : OMG Your friend is single.
Johnson : So?
Mother : Well, he must be gay!
Johnson : Not everyone's gay.
Mother : But he's rich, good-looking, eligible.. and yet still single! He must be gay.
Johnson : Mother!
Mother : Wait, I think I saw him with a woman. Twice.
Johnson : That doesn't make him straight either.
Mother : Aiyo! Why so difficult la!
Johnson : What is difficult!
Mother : Now I think everyone's gay!

Can't say I'd blame Johnson's mother. Even with a semi-functioning gay-dar, sometimes it can be almost impossible to pick out the flaming fags from amongst the bland heterosexual crowd since most of us have been repeatedly indoctrinated since childhood to blend in as much as possible.

And let's not even add in the confusing metrosexuals!

Like the scary night-time bogeymen, homosexuals seek to be cropping up everywhere. With the numbers allegedly on the rise, perhaps the fanatical religious conservatives are right to get wildly hysterical - and homosexuality really is an infectious viral disease! Hell, even the religious mullahs have been afflicted with a similarly treacherous strain as a couple has recently been caught molesting a nubile teenage scholar.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Gay Action Party

Mind the GAP.

Yes, ongoing disillusionment with our political system has had us dreaming up a party of our own. Although I do want to participate in the electoral process, I simply cannot identify with any of the parties involved. Too corrupt, too untried, too religiously orthodox etc.

And ye Gods, just too much mud-slinging. Even our favourite backbiting Gossip Girl would be horrified at their sadly wretched attempts to discredit each other. Seriously bitchy high school divettes could do better. I know politics can get downright dirty but surely we don't have to resort to such slimy low-down practices!

Which is how Lanky Lex and I mused about creating a Gay Action Party to rise above it all. After all, if our shrewd Kinsey had it right, there should be a significant 10% of the population throwing their pink votes our way. Let's not forget our trusty crew of fag hags and PFLAG buddies all ready to lend a hand - or even a vote.

So why the GAP? Thought of other names of course but they never seemed quite right.

Lex : How about United Gay National Organization.
Paul : UGNO. Ugh, no.
Lex : Malaysian Gay Association?
Paul : MGA? Maybe.
LEx : FOund the best! Gay Action Party.
Paul : Gap is perfect. Fill the Gap would be our motto.
Lex : With an ironic phallic symbol as our logo.
Paul : Or perhaps a rooster.

At least with the appallingly obvious name of the party, you'll know exactly the kind of sordid buggery acts the upstanding members are all interested in so there shouldn't be too much dirt to dig up on. After all, every filthy cum-stained rag is already displayed right there out in the open!

And in the eyes of the ultra-religious conservatives, surely it can't get worse than two homos committing butt-fucking sodomy on a semi-regular basis. Murder, corruption and money laundering is alright but domestic cockfighting is a definite no-no.

David Gandy
Sometimes the sheer stupidity of their inane comments can be an insult to my pained ears.

Which of course brings us to our main aim which would be to repeal the execrable Section 377a of the Penal Code that criminalises sex between mutually consenting adult men. Apart from that, we'll have our noble motives of fighting for a mutual and just society, more equity between rich and poor etc.

Honestly do ordinary laypeople actually listen to our political platforms anymore? Or do they just vote blindly according to whichever beneficent party flings out more goodies at the expense of competent governance?


So to avoid getting permanently embittered wrinkles from our collective frustration with the politics in the country, our Gay Action Party members will usually adjourn to our weekly meetings with dainty cupcakes, tasty sweetmeats and free-flow long island tea. Not to mention regular spa sessions. And if that all fails, we have our sexy nubile PAs, mostly chosen based on their extraordinary physiques rather than their typing skills, gyrate sensually on the meeting tables in their colourful undies showcasing our party slogans while the rest of us members slip their significant paycheques in between the straps of their briefs.

At least we're honest about our proclivities, our deficiencies and what we stand for. Rather than hide behind a thin mask of multiculturalism only to promote wildly racist, discriminatory policies that continually saps the nation of its wealth. Now doesn't this seem like a party you can vote for?

Obviously - unless we manage to find shockingly wealthy sponsors - all of the above is purely conjecture and mostly tongue-in-cheek.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Odd Job Week

Seriously, what happened to odd job week?

Since I know many of you - and that includes many of my friends here - have never even heard of it, odd job week simply means offering to do simple chores or odd jobs for a small donation for whichever charity or cause. Wash cars, mend fences, mow the lawn etc. Back in my school days, it was practically the norm whenever one of the extracurricular clubs, usually the scouts movement, was in need of an infusion of cash.

David Gandy
We soon learned that Odd Job week can be really hard work.

Many were the days me and my scouting compatriots trudged down neighbourhood lanes during lazy afternoons knocking on doors in search of the odd job.

Teacher : The choir needs some money.
Paul : Maybe you should try odd job week.
Teacher : What?
Paul : Go around doing chores and odd jobs for a donation. It's better than begging.
Teacher : Of course they don't do that! It's unheard of!
Paul : Unheard of? Mission schools do it all the time.
Teacher : The students won't want to do that!
Paul : It's just a car wash.
Teacher : A car wash?!

Never having heard of it, the austere teacher looked horrified when I mentioned the odd job week. From the look on his astonished face, I might as well have asked for a lascivious lapdance from one of his nubile high school students.

And I'm only talking about a car wash.

While the idea of having a hot prep school boy wash my car in his skimpy briefs is highly titillating, that's not exactly what I mean.

Isn't it good to have the students learn the value of a dollar? Rather than just give simple handouts, isn't it easier to teach them how to make money on their own? Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime. Isn't that one of the main tenets of education? At the same time, the students get to contribute to the community with the simple act of volunteering, albeit with a bit of donation in return.

Whatever the reason, the odd job week suddenly disappeared from our streets. Whether it was the growing fear of hard labour and honest sweat on the part of our pampered students. Or perhaps the mollycoddling parents. Or perhaps something more sinister like a spate of unexplained kidnappings? Innocent girl guides peddling chocolate chip cookies getting snatched off the dark back alleys.

Turns out the odd job week has been abolished in the United Kingdom since 1992 as health and safety rules, the rise of compensation culture and fear of paedophiles made the door-knocking tradition impossible to sustain. And yet even they have recently brought it back with an entirely new roster of odd job weeks starting from 2012.

Hope the odd job week manages to return here as well. Better that than be doomed to suffer from endless donation requests to support tiresome jogathons!

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Selective Mess

Think I've said it before but toss three utterly disparate personalities together in a confined space for the length of a year and you'll expect some amount of... friction. And unlike Fabulous Felix's patented Shield of Obliviousness and his unwitting absentmindedness which helps him deal with any potential household dissension, I can't let it slide all the time.

I need my space to vent. And since direct confrontation, as is my usual wont, would probably make me seem awfully petty - not to mention forever destroy all semblance of household harmony in Netherfield, I have decided to release my pent-up frustration in the most civilized manner possible by writing about it.

Otherwise I'd probably slide remorselessly into a vengeful psychotic break again. Since it's been a while, I might be due.

Let's start by clarifying the prickly situation. Honestly I'm far from the neatest freak around - that dubious title probably belongs to my fastidious mother - but I do like having my things in the correct place / angle / lighting etc. Certainly borders on a fanatical obsession but I try my best not to draw any unfortunate victims into my maniacal web of methodical madness.

Three's COmpany
Paul : Don't mention what we talked about earlier.
Felix : Mention what?
Paul : Good God. You've forgotten it, haven't you!
Felix : Forgotten what?
Kat : Were you talking about me?

Ostensibly the living space in Netherfield is shared by all three of us - namely Felix, Kat and me - but since Felix frequently escapes into hibernation in his hedonistic den, the place is ordinarily shared by Kool Kat and me. Generally whatever messes made downstairs are cleared up by our friendly neighbourhood cleaning service, our madly misunderstood Maid Mumbles.

But when Maid Mumbles calls in sick, the salons and dining rooms of Netherfield immediately fall into a sad state of decrepitude - with Kat refusing to lend a dainty finger to help. Even worse Kat contributes to the littered chaos by leaving little messes all over the place in hidden alcoves for me to find.

Paul : WTF.
Felix : You found another pile of used tissues again?
Paul : It's like a treasure trail of trash!
Felix : Well, it's her way of communicating.
Paul : By leaving litter for me to pick up behind couches, doors and fridges?
Felix : She knows you like a challenge.
Paul : Why can't she keep the place as clean as her bedroom?
Felix : She's a selective mess.
Paul : You're not helping.

Look, no one's expected to live up to my anal-retentive obsessive compulsive kinda cleanliness! Charming Calvin will attest to the fact that I've never compelled him to reorganize his kitchen utensils according to colour and size, no matter how badly I'm dying to do so. Don't even expect Felix to fluff the sadly crushed ornamental pillows on the couch just the way I like 'em.

But here's the catch! Kool Kat's even more of a stickler for neatness than I am. In fact her personal boudoir is decidedly above reproach - all spick, span and spotless with nothing out of place, even her frightened sheets have been cowed into remaining wrinkle-free!

Yet Kat's terrifying tsunami of trash leaves the rest of the house in disordered smithereens. So why the preferential treatment? Is it possible that Kat holds some deep-seated prejudice against the living area due to the fact that she doesn't have an acute sense of belonging? Does she mistakenly presume that I've incorporated stray leaves, tossed notes and used tissues into the interior decor of Netherfield?

And my childish rant is over.

No, I'm not going to confront Kool Kat about her preferential treatment. Zen I will be, tolerate it I shall. No doubt I have my fair share of incomprehensible idiosyncrasies eating away at her nerves as well! Till then I shall hope my maid clears away the trash before I stumble over them.