Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Banana leaf lunch Redux

Here you are, at 2.30pm in the afternoon, right after your long lunch. You are staring at the PC monitor and the keyboard while typing, sluggishly, and as the minutes progressed like a three-legged cockroach, whatever you are typing do not make sense like this:

The attached proposal would also contain information pertaining to the mango and the fish curry with a little touch of mnsflzzzbljzz…

And WHACK! When you come around, your right eye has been severely injured by the Enter key of the numerical pad in your keyboard.

Yes, it’s the terrifying post lunch sleepiness. How many of you out there have often been terrorised by this phenomenon? I bet all of you, and naturally, yours truly has been subjected to this horror ever since he started working at the age of 20.

Now, here’s the real issue. We Malaysians generally could not live without having rice for lunch. And worst, the wonderful and fantastically filling banana leaf Indian meal.

Having a banana leaf lunch and going back to work itself is an impressive and impossible feat, considering that most of us could not last more than half an hour when we parked our butt on the office seat after that.

It’s not the same as having rice on plate. Eating it off the banana leaf is different. Did you notice that? I mean, I smell controversy here. Why banana leaf? Let me tell you what I think, I_

What? What do you mean you don't care what I think? I have a theory, okay?

My theory is this: Banana leaf contains stuff that makes you sleepy. It is not the meal itself but the banana leaf. Get it?

As usual, lets me take you a ride back in time.

The Indians were mostly credited for inventing banana leaf meal. They have also been credited for other invention, like chewing betel leaf, spitting betel leaf juice, creation of language spoken while holding the betel leaf juice, and of course the favourite fable of crabs.

Here’s a little theory I have been working on based on the history of the India. Let’s go a few hundred years back and imagine the India of that time, especially the 15th century southern region. Here’s how I see it:

The working community were workaholics at that time, to the point of risking their lives working their butts off. So, the King summoned the chief scientist cum doctor cum lingual professor Cum.

"Professor Cum, my workers are working too damned hard. I fear that their lives may be threatened."

"Great to hear that your majesty O’King."

"Not that, idiot, if they die who are going to work in my kingdom? The Bangladeshis?"

Aside. This could possibily be first incident concerning the subject of the immigrant workers. Except Bangladesh was not formed until last century. End of aside.

"Quite right, your highness. I shall work on a remedy," saying which the professor took nap right in the middle of the king's court.

"What nonsense!" said King in southern Indian accent, though he recently mastered the Northern Indian accent. "Sleeping in my own court, when I have not even dismissed you. Wake up you son of a bitch."

The professor woke up and apologised. But something struck the king.

After rubbing the swollen part, the king said, "You just took a quick rest. What did you have? Did you eat or drink anything that made you sleep?"

"Oh, I was experimenting with Zopiclone, your worshipfulness. Supposed to be sleep-inducing stuff. Good for rest, you know," said the professor raising his eyebrows approximately three and a half time.

The King couldn't believe it. “You liar! Apart from the fact we are talking in some Indian language and some idiot writer translating it in some colloquial English, the word Zopiclone probably never existed in our time.”

“Take it easy, your holy spiritualness! Here have some of these zop_ err, sleep inducing pills,” said the professor and proceeded to give a few tablets to the king.

“ “Where did you get this particular chemical, prof?” asked the King.

“That’s easy, your mighty mouse-ness. The banana leaf.”

“The humble banana leaf? Ah, this could help with my workers. They can sleep like a baby with this, err, babies,” said the King proudly. The professor knew who’s going to take the credit for that new innovation.

“That’s right, your incredible hulk-ness. You will be known as the king who put his workers to sleep,” the professor said.

In deep thought the king narrowed his eyes, pressed his lips, wiggled his nose and weighed the tablet on his palms. Before you can say Edward G. Robinson, a lighted candle popped above his head. “Eureka (Arogara in southern Indian language)! Lets manufacture it and sell it in US dollars."

"But the workers?" asked the professor.

"To hell with them!"

And so the king sold zopiclone to the whites and then went bankrupt because all the US dollars he received were useless, simply because US was not formed until few hundred years later.

Yeah. What I am trying to say is banana leaf contained Zopiclone, the sleep inducing properties. Other properties include dirt, some worm poo and possibly gazillions of microscopic spider eggs, but zopiclone!. Think of it! Smell it, Sleep with it. Am I right or wrong?

Ah, if only someone would grant me a…grant, say about US$1 billion, to do this research, I can have the world know what potential lethal killers banana leaves would be.

In a smaller portion, it can cure insomnia, lethargy and used by movie villains seeking to weaken the heroes or rape the heroines. It can work. Alas, if only I have that budget.

So, there you go. I have the theory and you have the means for the budget. You know my name and number (7777). Pick up that cheque book, please.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Getting acquainted with your MP.

Whether or not your member of parliament (MP) knows you, let alone gives two hoots about you, it is imperative that you know your MP. Getting to know a little bit is good, and getting to know a lot more is even better, especially when you are required to talk to the Anti-Corruption Agency.

For this week, we would be talking to Datuk Joh Hari, the MP for Ayer Bangar – one of the most colourful personalities you can ever meet in the Malaysian politics arena. Come to think of it, we can never have enough.

Hari is no stranger to controversy. Everyone remembers the time when, in responding an angry accusation from a female MP from the opposition party, he flashed his tongue and said, “Oh yeah? Well, your father’s butt stinks!”

This immediately set of sparks of protest, especially from many non-governmental organisations (NGOs), like the Society Against Flashing Tongue and its sister organisation, Sisterhood Society Against Flashing Tongue and other NGOs like Organisation That Blames Only Politicians and of course, Organisation for NGOs.

Joe, as he wanted us to call him (sharp implements are powerful persuaders), was also known for his brash outlook and straight to the face approach. The latter was proven when recently he was literally nose-to-nose in confrontation with another opposition MP. The impending brawl never took place when the opposition MP suggested Joe to consume Listerine on daily basis.

Joe is also a great philanthropist. Acknowledging his own mortality and the fragility of life, he contributes regularly to Association of Retired Datuks. Also, in a clear attempt to promote local fruit industry, he regularly gave out free Durian samples to European tourists at the airport.

Despite his own role as a hardworking MP, Joh is a normal person like you and me, except he owns more and bigger cars. At home, he is just a regular Joe. In fact, his pet name is Regular Joe.

When we were ushered by his private security to his humble four storeys, elevator-fitted abode, Joe, who had just apparently woke up from deep slumber, greeted us in the living room.

“Welcome, welcome, alamak! I misplaced your copy of tenderlah!” he said, growing very nervous by the seconds.

When we explained to him that we are from the media, not a contractor, he calmed down.
Here’s the excerpt of the interview:

Your family:
Father, mother, two elder brothers, one younger sister, two elder cats and one younger parrot.

Your hometown:
Herelah. I got no hometown.

Your favourite food:
Catfo_I mean, err…Indian food.

Your favourite colour:
Beige with a tinge of red and alligator blue.

Your favourite beverage.
Bran…. I mean, branded drinks, heh.

What car do you drive?
Proton Wira.

Not what your press secretary drives. What do you drive?
Are you wired? I cannot answer this one.

What is your favourite movie and why?
Jackass The Movie
, it gives hope to those who makes mistake.

What music do you listen to and why?
Slow jazz. They always play that in the hotel where I make deals with…next question.

Why are you not married? People say that you are_
Hey, don’t listen to what people say.

Then why are you holding hands with your PA who is obviously_
Are you sure you are not wired?

Aiyah. We don’t see anything wrong with that. Okay, next question. Who is your hero?
Spiderman. He inspires me with the way he kisses Mary Jane Watson upside down (looks at his PA passionately)

Your favourite place in this whole wide world?
Bilik Termenung.

You don’t watch old Malay movies much, do you?

Favourite tourism destination?
Swiss B_, I mean, Switzerland.

What is your hobby?
Oh, I read. I read a lot.

What books?
Oh, you know. Self-help books. Very motivating.

Aiyah, you knowlah. Books like How To Get Rich Without Working Too hard, Relax and Get Rich and my favourite, Why work, Squeeze The Jerk!, you get the idea.

Oh yeah, definitely. Okay, that would be all. Thanks for your time.
Thanks. Can I check you for wire?

Dude, this whole thing's on tape. Why do you think it's called interview?