Monthly Archives: December 2011

2011: Al fine

It was the year…

… that I put very serious thought into leaving my first job.

… that I lost two friends at said job, which gave me the real kick in the pants I needed to just up and look for a new one (job, not friends).

… that I realized what I needed was not a new job at a new company, but a new career altogether.

… that I made it nine.

… that I finally got the balls to do what I’ve always wanted: write for a magazine.

… that I  could say, “It wasn’t my fault.”

… that I was able to reunite with a very dear friend from my old life.

… that I grew out of my childhood home, and moved into my own place, at the great generosity of my parents (it may seem tacky to put it out there, but I never forget how I actually got this house to begin with).

… that I reached a new milestone in my relationship.

… that I decided which friends were worth keeping in my life, and which I needed to stop making an effort for because they just weren’t worth it.

… that I started learning to let go.

… that I became a cat person.

… that I received — and declined — the highest number of wedding invitations to date.

… that I was asked the dreaded and hated “When are you getting married?” the most number of times in my life.

… that I was made more aware than ever of the realities of my age.

… that I got robbed in broad daylight.

All in all, it was probably one of the rockiest years I’ve ever had. So much loss, so much gain, and so much left up in the air.

Here’s hoping 2012 will bring some of it back down to the ground.


Daylight robbery, literally

My poor, poor Zeus. Taken with BlackBerry Bold 9780

It happens all the time, they like to say. Especially in Bangsar, where women and their Birkins and Chanel flaps are unleashed upon society to roam wild in their most natural habitat: a niche-market shopping mall. And those who make it happen will stop at nothing to get that Birkin or Chanel.

So I suppose it shouldn’t really be too much of a surprise that it happened to me. That two men on a motorcycle rode up to my car while I was stopped at a red light, smashed the passenger window, and grabbed my handbag (fortunately not my Birkin or Chanel, but a Louis Vuitton) from the passenger seat. That on Tuesday, December 29, 2011, I joined the ranks of the unfortunate women as someone who had been robbed for the very first time in her life.

The irony is that half a second before it happened, I had actually reached over to lift my bag from the passenger seat onto my lap, to rummage for my wallet. If I had been half a second quicker, or if the thieves had been half a second later, I would have ended up with a broken window, a bleeding hand and thigh, and deep gouges in the interior of my car, but with my bag probably squashed between my right leg and the driver’s side door, where it could have been safe.

But of course, as luck and timing have always been amongst the driving factors of my failures in life, all the thieves needed to do was grab the bag out of my hand and speed off. So I was left on the side of the road, bleeding and screaming hysterically down the phone to my mother and Afham, and hoping the drivers of the cars at the intersection weren’t gaping too long or too hard. Fortunately my window had been tinted, and it was the tint film that held most of the glass together and prevented it from shattering into my face.

I lost my handbag, my wallet, my business card case, and my keyholder. Everything necessary for maybe one of the thieves’ wives or girlfriends to live my life. And so begins the tedium of having to replace everything — everything except my New York State driver’s license, the loss of which was probably nearly the most devastating of all. Not only have I lost a significant part of my memories of my life in the U.S., but it will now be that much more difficult to run a police blockade unscathed.

What I also found a bit alarming — but not in the least disturbing — was that none of the drivers in the many cars behind me who witnessed this stopped to ask if I was all right. While I would not fault them for staying away during the attack itself, for fear of getting hurt, I always thought it was the principle of the thing, or at least common courtesy, to ask a victim if they were all right, or to see if the victim is even alive. Then again, this is Malaysia, the people are nothing if not neanderthals, and in the Asian spirit of ‘every man for himself’, I suppose it just was what it was: daylight robbery.

But I won’t be wearing shorts for a little while.

Expansion plans

Offa has been in our lives for a little over four months now, and I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that his presence has made us happier than we’ve been in a while. It could be the fact that we now have this other person (yes, I think of and speak to Offa as if he were human) to look after and keep alive, or the fact that we get a huge kick out of watching him play with bubbles, prop himself up on the balcony to look outside, or fall asleep on his back with all four legs in the air. Whatever it is, I love having him around, and even though his morning squalling outside the bedroom door drives me insane, it’s a very sweet feeling when he climbs into my lap to be cuddled first even before he has his breakfast, and when I can hear him running to sit by the front door when he hears me coming home.

Occasionally, we’ve thought about getting another cat, so that Offa won’t be lonely when we’re both out all day at work (or all night at a club). I still want a Scottish Fold someday, but we knew that if we really do want a second cat, we would have to get one soon, before Offa gets older and ends up being jealous or territorial. However, Scottish Folds, being rarer than British Shorthairs, are that much more difficult to come by.

Then some weeks ago, we saw another Blue Brit — the exact same breed and color as Offa, but obviously older — outside the house, and as he came onto the balcony, Offa arched and stared at him. This other cat was very tame, and rubbed against Afham’s legs and sat at his feet. And the entire time, Offa just sat inside the house, on the other side of the glass doors and looked at him silently. We didn’t know who he belonged to, or if he even belonged to anyone, because the security guards said he had been roaming the neighborhood for the past couple of days.

We didn’t see the cat again until a few days ago, when he reappeared on our balcony — this time without a collar, making us think that he might have been left behind by his owners if they had moved. He rubbed against my legs and allowed me to pet him, and I seriously considered taking him in if he really had been abandoned. Again, Offa sat in the house and gaped at him, peering through the curtains to get a better look whenever the other cat walked around the balcony.

After seeing that seemingly docile scene, I thought that it really would be nice if we took the cat in as our own, and he and Offa could become friends. I was further encouraged when the girl at the Pet Safari, where we bought him, told me that when Offa was staying there before we bought him, he was very sweet-tempered and ‘nurturing’ towards the younger kittens, and I figured that since he’s been neutered, he’s probably lost the urge to fight with other cats. So I decided that if we ever saw the older Blue Brit again, I would take him to the guards and ask if he belonged to anyone, and if not, I would take him to the vet and groomers to be checked and scrubbed up.

Then yesterday, we saw him coming towards our house, and walking right up to our office window. Offa, being the nosy-parker, jumped up onto the office desk to look out the window as well. We opened the window in the hopes that the cat would actually jump in, but when he reached up and put his paws on the ledge, Offa did something we had never seen him do before: he hissed.

Now I have never heard a cat hiss before, but even I was a little taken aback by it. It wasn’t a very loud hiss, but it was definitely there, a soft, slow hiss. And all my dreams of having another cat in the house went out the window with that other cat.

So now we’re wondering how to ease Offa into a possible life with another cat. I told him that he is my first baby and that we would never love him any less or differently, but I still gave him a little pep talk about how he should be grateful that he has a roof over his head and that if we do take in a less fortunate cat then he must be kind.