Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Bench & Bar Games between Malaysia & Singapore :
Langkawi 28 April - 1 May 2006: My Tamil Movie Debut

How did I end up going to the Bench & Bar Games ("the Games") this year?? It was all my fault. That fateful day I decided to send Dev A. an email set off the chain of events. After about 3 emails from each side, sparring with each other over 'single professional women', I challenged him, in jest, to a game of darts at the upcoming Games to settle the issue. Little did I realise that DARTS is one of the games played at the Games and there were members of the Bar Council Sports Committee following my battle of emails in the Malaysian Lawyers Yahoo Group with great interest. Shortly thereafter, I received an sms from a member of the Sports Committee:
"The Sports Committee has taken note that you are keen on playing darts at the Games, what is your Tshirt size...?"
What!! Are they crazy?? I said in my email to Dev that I had no clue how to play DARTS and now they want me to play for the Malaysian team??
Yes, it turns out that they were serious and my name is on the Malaysian Darts team! None of the other players, except Majid (last year's darts champion), knew that there is now a woman in their darts team.

Unfortunately the Games clashed with the FEI Showjumping World Cup held in Kuala Lumpur. I was sooooo....soooooo....torn...I would have preferred to stay in KL to catch the World Cup but after all that hoohah over me playing darts, proclaiming to all & sundry (via the Malaysian Lawyers Yahoo Group) that I'm going to the Langkawi Games, booking my plane tickets etc and promising my dear friend that I would accompany her to the Games ....I couldn't back out.

The Day Before (this bit will be boring for non-horsey people so you can skip it & go on to Day One)
I managed to catch the Opening Ceremony of the World Cup on Thursday. Met up with my old equestrian friends & was thrown into the heydays when I was sooo... immersed in this different universe where the world revolved around horses and horse shows. I was one of the 1st batch of National Dressage Judges and also a committee member of the Equestrian Association of Malaysia. I was told that I was the first woman and youngest committee member of EAM but I have never verified this. I was also responsible for drafting EAM's Constitution under the guidance of the then President of EAM, Tan Sri Musa Hitam. As I was the only lawyer (albeit a VERY junior lawyer at that time) in the committee, I ended up with the task. It was a very heady experience being thrown back into that exclusive world again where people don't bother to say hello to you unless you are one of them. They eat, sleep, talk horse only. They won't even date and RARELY marry someone out of this circle.... and they hardly have any friends outside of this circle... I should know, I was one of them.

Aah, the Germans are such great riders. Their warmbloods (horses) are so...beautiful. Both horse and rider are well composed, disciplined, precise - simply perfect. The Americans were a different story altogether - they were all over the place. Calm, composed and disciplined are not adjectives one would use to describe them. Hasty, aggressive, ill-disciplined are more apt words to depict the American riders and horses. Its not the horses' fault, its always the riders & trainers. They should do more flat work. But then again, I am a dressage judge so I do believe in the importance of proper flat work to build up a horse. Yes I am boring all you non-horsey people ...so I'll get back to the Bar Games.

Day One: Friday 28 April 2006
Allow me to introduce you to my travelling companion and roommate - my formidable friend whom I met that fateful day (it was either New Year's Eve or New Year's Day) after the Tsunami struck our Northern States. We were helping out My Cousin (whom I shall introduce later on in my future postings), who is a chairperson of a charitable foundation, to sort out all the donations, items, contributions to be sent to the Northern region that day. I saw her, my roommate whom I shall refer to as "Roomie" (as in 'roommate' and not 'Rumi' the Sufi Poet), standing in the middle of My Cousin's KL residence's compound, barking orders to a group of men to load all the stuff into the lorries which she had organised to send the things up to the Northern region. 'She Who Must Be Obeyed' (an expression which I borrow from John Mortimer's Rumpole of the Bailey) is a hot shot, high flying, corporate finance lawyer extraordinaire who sits on several prominent public listed companies' and financial institution's board of directors as well as various government bodies/committees and charitable foundations. Yes, She Who Must Be Obeyed alright. Who can say NO to her?? You try. Well, ofcourse, My Cousin is the exception.

As our flight was at 5pm and I had taken the day off, I had 5 hours to pack. Even then, I couldn't decide WHAT to bring so I bunged in A LOT of clothes into my suitcase. My father spotted me tugging my suitcase along and asked "Are you going to Langkawi for the weekend or going to Mekah for your Hajj?" Surely I would not need such an extensive wardrobe for the Hajj ... how silly of him. Its very difficult to decide what one should bring to wear at the beach, for breakfast, for the football game, the darts game, the welcoming Barbeque, the Dinner, night out clubbing, tug-of-war ... and whatever other activities planned or unplanned. These are dilemmas men can't seem to fathom. Anyway, the essential Roberto Cavalli jeans was in the suitcase. I was very strict with myself - I only packed ONE Cavalli jeans...

When Roomie and I reached KLIA (the airport, for those of you who are not familiar with our landmarks), I realised that I had not packed my essential MILO and biscuits. I explained to Roomie that due to my gastritis, I had to have Milo & biscuits in the middle of the night. Sigh, no Milo 3 in 1 packets or biscuits at the airport shops. Then I also realised that I had forgotten to bring any Dettol (crucial for traveling). She said "Oh dear, I forgot about your obsession with Dettol...". We walked into the nearest Pharmacy and Roomie enquired of the salesgirl "Ada Dettol tak?" (Do you have any Dettol?). The salesgirl looked startled "Apa? DETTOL??"(What? DETTOL??) she asked in an incredulous manner as though we had just ordered a cheeseburger from her...Shouldn't one be asking for Dettol in a pharmacy? Then she continued "Nak Dettol untuk buat apa?" (What do you want Dettol for?) she asked us sharply, eyeing us with great suspicion. Is it normal for salesgirls to ask you why you want to purchase a bar of soap? I should have ordered a packet of condoms just so that she could ask me what I wanted to use them for... and KY Jelly...hmmm...Darn! I missed that opportunity to be rude!

Back to the Dettol. Has Dettol become an illegal substance or does one need a prescription for it? Is it now under the same category as morphine? Does one get intoxicated when dabbing a spot of Dettol on one's person? By now both Roomie & I were standing in the middle of the pharmacy thoroughly confused, waiting for airport security to rush in and arrest us for asking for an illegal substance. The salesgirl tried to be more helpful "Untuk antiseptik ke?" (Do you want to use it as an antiseptic?) she enquired skeptically. I nodded in bewilderment. What other uses does Dettol have, I wondered...Have sexual deviants discovered a different use for Dettol that I don't know of? Is that why we are subjected to this interrogation at the pharmacy? I'm going to Langkawi for a dirty weekend and I plan to indulge in a spot of anal sex with the entire hockey team - that's why I need the Dettol - I felt like saying to this twit of a salesgirl. But then that may entail us being dragged by airport security for a session of nude squats in the interrogation room and as all the lawyers and judges were either in Langkawi for the Games or attending the Tun Suffian Foundation dinner that evening, there will be no one we could turn to for help!

Anyway, the salesgirl proceeded to a shelf and gave me a tiny bottle of Dettol. She was afraid I would have an orgy with a bigger bottle, I'm sure.

Off we trundled to the MAS Golden Lounge. Let me just describe what we were wearing. Roomie, as usual, was in her corporate travelling attire - matching linen outfit, serious handbag and shoes. I was in my usual "I'm on holiday" ensemble .... my favourite pink bleached jeans with a picture of a single red rose plastered on one thigh, denim jacket with an embroidered eagle on the back and a sargeant's stripes on the left arm. I was also wearing a "Hokkie" pouch to carry my boarding pass and plane ticket. This is a scary looking voodoo doll-like thing with a long metal chain attached to it which I sling across my shoulder like a handbag. It has a big denim jeans pocket at the front which acts as a pouch and dangly striped legs with loads of safety pins stuck to its ears. Needless to say, I couldn't pass through security check without setting off the alarm.

As we walked into the Golden Lounge, I surveyed the food section. It was already 4pm and I haven't had lunch yet. As I settled down on one of their sofas, Roomie went off to the other side to get some food. She came back with a plate full of packet biscuits and at least 5 packets of Milo.."We should put them in your hand luggage discreetly" she whispered. That was such a sweet gesture...concerned over my gastritis. We couldn't be discreet even if we tried. Most people in the lounge recognised her and they were looking at us curiously. I guess the contrast between us piqued their curiousity. Then she said "You go to that other drinks counter and check if there is any Milo there." So I went over and took more Milo and biscuits. By now our little table was full of stuff. We were being observed intensely by at least 2 persons seated nearby. There were mostly businessmen in the lounge. We tried our best to put all these items in my hand luggage without being detected by the others. Then I went to get some rice & curry and she brought back some toast & kaya. After we consumed all that, I saw some muffins & croissants & thought I could also stuff that into my hand luggage (my fear of having a gastric attack in the middle of the night is quite great and I usually need Milo & plain bread to settle it). So I brought back a plate of these and the man observing us looked so stunned that we were consuming so much food! Roomie tried to explain "We didn't have lunch..." By now, I was too embarrassed to stuff them into my bag as we were being observed so intensely. So I had to force myself to eat a least one muffin.

Clearly from our conduct, we were expecting Bar Council to put us up in some dodgy hotel where there is no room service and the possibility of us starving to death out there is quite high ...Someone should remind us that we were going to Langkawi, not the Sahara desert. A man in a bright pink shirt walks by and Roomie said without much discretion "Whoa, he's rather cute.." I was rather taken aback. This is the first time I've seen her checking out a man. A man wearing such a shirt is either very brave or from the Royal family. I wouldn't say "gay" because its not that sort of shirt. Its rich & expensive & very bold. He looked like a Kelantan Royal to me but Roomie thinks he's a foreigner. He obviously heard her because he turned around from the drinks counter to give us this amused look. My face must have gone as fuschia as his shirt. Hopefully he wasn't looking for any Milo. I'm sure he didn't expect to be subjected to loud appraisals by Malaysian women in the Golden Lounge. He kept looking over in amusement and I was so... glad when we were called to board our plane.

As we were boarding the plane, Roomie says hello to this chap in front of us "What are you playing?". "Tennis" was his answer - which was rather obvious from the 2 tennis rackets sticking out of his backpack. He was also carrying this snazzy spaceage little white sports bag. As we settled down comfortably for take off, Roomie was rather surprised that I was paying close attention to the flight attendant going through the compulsory emergency briefing. "I watched LOST ( a TV series on a group of plane crash survivors stranded on an island - sigh, Naveen whats-his-name is so...cute...He was cuter in Mira Nair's Kama Sutra though...)" I explained. Anyway, we have enough MAS biscuits to sustain us for a whole week should we find ourselves stranded on some remote island. Roomie assumed that there were no members of the judiciary on board the plane as the judges had left a day earlier for a conference in Langkawi. There she was rambling on about some seminar she gave to a group of professional women on how to get ahead in the corporate world and up the corporate ladder. Then she explained her theory on "strategic positioning" and said "well, some people may call it scheming but I prefer to call it strategic positioning..." So I retorted in jest "Does that include strategically positioning oneself on top of one's boss?" I was so sure she would dismiss the idea & would not condone such acts but instead, she said in a matter of fact, business-like manner "By all means, if that's what it takes but make sure you have something (brains) upstairs to justify being in that position. There's only so far you can go by using that tactic..." Wow, cool cat our Roomie - more power to her! She has absolutely no reason to 'strategically position' herself in such a manner. She has a powerhouse upstairs and her PR is par excellance. I've yet to meet a man who could match her dynamism & tenacity. She can manipulate anyone (this is an accolade not a criticism) to do anything whilst making them feel that she is doing them a major favour.

For some reason she has taken me under her wing, to impart her great wisdom to the most unlikely character... who can't even strategically position herself to get the attentions of a man she has a crush on. If she's hoping to change this ugly duckling into a powerhouse corporate swan - its more than an uphill battle.

So all you men out there, please take note. Beware and be aware so that you are able to distinguish between the office floosie and this new breed of strategic positioning women. The office floosie is sleeping with you because she just enjoys sleeping around but the strategic positioner is on top of you because she wants to get to the top. Why am I wasting my time giving men this advice? We all know men don't care why women are sleeping with them as long as they are sleeping with them. Its only us women who are concerned with the raison d'etre, thinking its an important distinction to make. The result is the same. Both parties are satisfied, ideally..that is, best case scenario. Worst case scenario is that your boss has a big tummy and you have huge boobs of Everest proportions and .... never the twain shall meet...

Whilst I'm on this topic of sleeping with your bosses, let me then give some advice to the girls. For those of you actively sleeping with your bosses, please bear this in mind at all times:-

(a) Deep Throat is not part of your scope of work in your Employment Contract. So please shred that copy of Monica Lewinsky's autobiography which you carry around in your handbag;

(b) He is not in love with you;

(c) He will never be in love with you;

(d) It is not love;

(e) So make a quick exeunt when you realise you are falling in love with him;

(f) There are richer, more successful, more powerful men out there who are not your bosses and who are not married so go out there and fry these bigger fish before you end up looking like a fried ikan bilis.

At some point in the midst of our conversation, she made reference to the Singaporeans without mentioning 'Singapore'. So I remarked "You mean Them Lot Who Wouldn't Let Us Build Our Bridge to Their Sorry Little Island" rather loudly. Then she replied "Yes, Them Lot Who Wouldn't...blah ..blah....You know, Tun (Mahathir) was right in what he said...blah ...blah..." Then I mentioned things like "What, do they think we are so stupid to give them our airspace and sand...we should have dragged their sorry little derrieres to the International Court of Justice...How dare they try to arm twist us into giving them more sand...what do they need all that sand for?? Their land reclamation works no doubt. Why don't they just bloody reclaim their island all the way to Papua New Guinea and extend their territorial waters to Australia whilst they are at it..." There were other comments like "They are puppets of the Americans...", "Airforce trained by the Israelis..." , "Intelligence secret service trained by the Mossads... They have spies everywhere..."

After about 15 minutes of running them down (bear in mind that Business Class is rather small, so any conversation could be heard by the other passengers in Business Class), the man who was sitting across the aisle (who turns out to be a Malaysian Court of Appeal judge) leans over to Roomie (I had the window seat, so I couldn't see anyone else on the plane) and whispered "You do realise that the Chief Justice of Singapore is sitting directly in front of me". Mmm, did I mention earlier that the Bench & Bar Games between Malaysia & Singapore is a friendly event to bridge the gap and promote camaraderie between the Bench & Bar of Malaysia & Singapore? I think we have destroyed any hope of that within the first 30 minutes in the plane. The battle is now for real at the Games.

A few minutes before the plane landed, Roomie says to me "We must be nice to R.Singh".

"Who is R.Singh?"

"That tennis player I was talking to earlier."

" He is a Singh? He looks Chinese to me"

"He is a Singh."

"But he looks Chinese."

"Must be some mixture somewhere..."

"Why do we have to be nice to him?"

"Because we don't have any transport to get to our hotel."

"But its Langkawi Airport - I'm sure they have taxis there. I've taken taxis from the airport before.."

Roomie gives me this tolerant look and said "Why take taxis when you can get a lift from people? Anyway, we need help with our luggage. I bet you that little bag he was carrying is his only luggage." The plane lands. We stand up & all pairs of eyes in Business Class turn around to look at us...R.Singh - who was sitting across the aisle at the row behind, dashes forward to take my hand luggage from the above compartment - obviously he overheard Roomie's comments including ofcourse, me disputing his parentage. I wonder what the rest of the weekend would be like if our few hours at the airport and in the plane was such a fiasco. I hope we don't trigger a war between Malaysia and Singapore. My hopes of being appointed as an Ambassador of Peace for the United Nations were somehow dashed in those few hours. As we disembarked, we saw a whole contingent from the Bar Council including the President out there on the tarmac to greet the Chief Justice of Singapore and all the other judges. They saw Roomie & I and greeted us too and ushered us along with them. To my utter horror, we ended up in the VIP room being introduced to the Chief Justice & other members of the judiciary. I clutched my hand luggage close to me to cover the Hokkie pouch. Thank god, Roomie made excuses to leave the room in search of our luggage. We found our luggage. Mr R.Singh dutifully lugged them into his transportation - a member of the Bar Council's hired car. If he injures his arm before his match, its our fault, I thought. "What on earth did you all bring in your luggage?" he complained. Roomie was right, he only had his little white case. That little case isn't even big enough to fit all the underwear I brought! I just tend to bring a lot of underwear (as well as other clothes...). In no way am I implying that I wear a size triple D undergarment. I have no such assets to fall back on for strategic positioning purposes....

After looking at our drab hotel room & dismal bathroom, I contemplated making a quick getaway & checking into the Andaman. Then I thought I should grin & bear it until the next morning & catch the 1st flight back to KL to watch the rest of the FEI Jumping World Cup. After all, my Darts game was that evening. Thereafter my obligation to be there is over. I came, I saw, I left. Forget conquering anything. Because I was with Roomie, I found myself seated with the judges (Federal Court, Court of Appeal & High Court) at the welcoming barbeque. It was quite pleasant actually despite the humidity. There was a strong smell of kerosene in our water & the judges accused the lawyers of trying to poison them.

When the darts game started, Majid told me to stand at the side "Ok, you just stand here as our reserve player & mascot". People who use me as a 'mascot' need therapy. Ravi tried to give me some darts "You want to throw these?" He too needs therapy. I'm not going to be responsible for us losing our first game! After a while, I couldn't see much, being vertically challenged, and thus blocked by the crowd gathering around the players and the smoky haze caused by all the burning cigarettes dangling from their mouths. I was smoked out. I went back to my table to send off the judges including both the Malaysian & Singaporean Chief Justices.

Roomie & friends went to the hotel pub & I tagged along. I shall call one of them "ML" (Malaysian Lawyer). Yes, they were all Malaysian lawyers but as I don't want to reveal his identity (for his sake), I won't even give anything away by referring to him by his initials. I will not even reveal which sport he was in - lets just say its a vigorous & aggressive sport - very macho. After a few minutes in the Pub, I realised that the band was the same one performing at our BBQ (and I thought those were our lawyers singing!). The girl was in this white mini tube dress. She was more concerned about the bottom bit riding up her bum & the top bit falling down ... If she was so self conscious about her dress, she should have worn something less precarious. I was thoroughly bored. I didn't know any of the songs she was belting out. Our football team seemed to know all the lyrics though. They were singing along enthusiastically. These are our Premier Football Team. What a cool bunch. Same hairstyle, crew cut at the sides with a short turf of hair on top. They even wore the same black rimmed rectangular spectacles - what a menacing look. I would certainly get out of their way if I saw them running towards me!

Next thing I know, I saw Roomie & friends LEAVING the pub without me! I stood up to follow suit, wondering why she didn't tell me she was leaving. ML reached over to stop me from leaving "She said you can stay.." This is even more odd. She usually wants me to follow her everywhere. "But she didn't say anything to me!" I was perturbed. He reassured me "She told me. I'll take care of you." Oo..that's so sweet of him, I thought. So I stayed on - the music can only get better...After all Roomie must trust him to leave me with him. Despite all the noise (I'm referring to the band), we managed to have a conversation. After a while, the music wasn't improving & I was worried that Roomie might fall asleep and I wouldn't be able to get back into the room (there was only 1 key), so I excused myself and left even though ML asked me to stay for another drink. Anyway, I didn't want to cramp his style. He probably wanted to hang out with his chums instead of babysitting me.

As I went through the Pub door, this guy was trying to go in and we almost collided into each other. We introduced ourselves, he explained that he had just arrived from Singapore and missed the BBQ. So I remembered that as a Malaysian lawyer, we were the hosts, so I did my bit by saying "Welcome to Langkawi" or something corny like that. Was not sure what was the appropriate thing to say at 3am at the entrance of a pub. I said "Well enjoy yourself.." as I turned to leave. He looked surprised "Are you not joining me?". So I explained "Oh, I was leaving the pub, my roommate will be concerned where I am... " Then he said something about how could I leave him behind when he didn't know anyone in there or something like that making me feel like a bad host. "You could at least accompany me for one drink." Oh alright, I relented. I will introduce Singapore Lawyer (SL) to ML who knows everyone in there and let ML take care of SL. Playing host should be his (ML's) thing. So I went back in & surveyed the pub for ML. ML looked rather puzzled as I introduced them. I was about to walk off when SL said to me "Where are you going? I thought you were going to have a drink with me?" "Well you said you didn't know anyone, so I introduced you to him, he'll take care of you..." Then he protested "But you promised!" He's very good at making me feel rotten. Suddenly I'm a person who makes promises I don't keep. Ok, one drink. I ordered a coke (coca cola not the drug). ML said to me "How many coca colas can you drink? Its bad for you." "And beer is good for you?" I enquired. SL bought a round of drinks. Turns out he knew some people there. He's very proper and has excellent manners. ML too showed good manners. Sigh, I've always had a soft spot for guys with impeccable manners. After an exchange of info on where we worked, what area of law we practise in etc, SL asked me what "race" I am. I'm quite used to this question. Telling him I'm Malay would further confuse him as nobody believes me anyway so I explained that my ancestors were Arabs. "Oh, that explains it. You look mixed...you're very pretty."

I'm not sure if that direct compliment is 'normal pub talk' or just a very Singaporean thing to do as I don't go out much & I certainly don't frequent pubs or clubs due to my general distaste for noise, cigarette smoke & the smell of alcohol. Yes, I sound like someone's granny. I should have the words "Boring Old Fart" printed on my forehead. Then a very strange thing happened. The very polite, well behaved ML started behaving oddly. I sensed that he was blocking SL from talking to me. Oh yes, before that, SL also asked for some confirmation "Excuse me, but I need to ask you this, just to clarify... are you married or do you have a boyfriend?" This is a surprise! No one else has asked me that all night - must be a Singaporean thing to do. "No" I answered. "Oh ok.. I just need to check that first you see..." he explains politely. So I felt the need to ask him the same questions in case he thought it impolite of me not to take any interest in him "So what race are you? And are you married or have a girlfriend?" These are not questions I usually ask people.

"Me, I'm Indian. I'm not married nor do I have a girlfriend." Now that we have settled all that, I fail to see how this is at all relevant. He lives in Singapore and we are just here for the weekend. As I was saying, ML started behaving oddly. He kept standing very close to me and would put his hand on my shoulder, arm, waist...you name it...in a rather proprietary manner.... I felt that he became rather territorial. Like my male cats marking their territory. He didn't behave like that at all before SL appeared. I can only assume that within the 2 minutes I left him to go out the pub door and come back in again to introduce him to SL, he had consumed large quantities of alcohol to make him behave like that. Yet he didn't behave inappropriately so he still had control of his faculties. It was all a show to confuse SL. When he had a chance, SL whispered in my ear "Are you sure you Don't have a boyfriend? Especially in here..." "No," I answered. How do I explain that I hardly even know ML, I don't want to embarrass ML. After all, Roomie left him to take care of me & maybe this was his way of doing it - a bit too seriously. I'm sure SL posed no harm or threat to my safety. After a few more minutes of being caught in this awkward situation, I gulped down my coke & went up to SL, telling him that I had finished my drink & was leaving. ML told me he would walk me back to the hotel lobby. It was 4am. SL said to me that its not fair, I had promised to have a drink with him and I didn't. I told him that I had finished the drink he got me & it was him who didn't join us for the drink. He complained that he couldn't talk to me with ML blocking him. Personally, I felt that ML was behaving like that because SL is Singaporean & he was being territorial. Basically its a case of 'don't mess with our Malaysian women..'. So he said "You can't leave unless you have a drink with me as you promised - alone!" Ayo, what lah these people, in the pub also they want to compete. I had to tell ML I was staying for another drink. ML was confused as I indicated I wanted to leave so many times. Anyway ML had shown me an sms from Roomie to him to tell me that there's no hurry for me to get back & to enjoy myself. SL told me that I have to drink something other than coke so I ordered orange juice. He looked exasperated "Don't you trust me or something?" he asked. I was rather puzzled by that remark. "I don't drink alcohol" I explained. Then he asked me, yet again "Are you sure you don't have a boyfriend?" My answer remained the same "Yes I'm sure". He continued "If I ask you out for coffee tomorrow will you come out with me? Is there anyone who is going to be jealous if you do?" I can only think that Roomie will find this inconvenient as she would want me to accompany her on her activities...Anyway, I'm really out of touch with social niceties and nuances these days - does "will you have coffee with me" mean something else - that one has to be free from encumbrances in order to have coffee with someone. Did SL come here to play [*game*] for Singapore or was he planning to get married during the weekend? Looks like there is a shortage of more than sand & airspace in Singapore. I didn't realise the Bar Games was a setting to look for potential life partners. I must tell all my single friends this. And such good looking, well mannered potential life partners too...

He asked me how many times I have attended the Bench & Bar Games so I said this is my first time. Then he said "Its your first time & already you have so many admirers!" So I said "Please don't exaggerate..." He then gave me this 'please don't act dumb' look and I said "Oh ok, maybe I have one admirer.." my eyes averted to ML sitting on the other side. SL then said "You have more than one admirer - I'm telling you that... unless ofcourse you have made your choice already - tell me, have you made your choice?" he indicates towards ML & looks at me intensely. I felt impaled by his piercing stare, I almost forgot to breathe for a few seconds (what is this? Mills & Boons?). And I thought my most difficult choice to make that night was whether to have a coke or orange juice. How can I explain through all this noise that I don't know anything about him or ML to make an informed choice & anyway, I don't know what ML's intentions were - he did not ask me to make any choices. So I said "No I haven't made a choice." I was thoroughly confused by then. Choice for what. Surely he or either of them don't think that I would have a weekend fling with them or am I being stupid... maybe its normal for people on holidays. My head's so immersed in my own world that I failed to see what's going on around me. He continues giving me that piercing stare "I can see you are a heartbreaker".

What?!! Here I am playing the role of Kofi Annan to their America-Iran nuclear disarmament dispute and I'm accused of being a heartbreaker. Meantime, ML was getting bored and started twirling my hair with his fingers. This somehow annoyed SL who complained into my ear "He keeps holding you & touching you... " SL looked rather tense so I hurriedly gulped down the rest of my orange juice, told SL I had to leave as the situation was getting very uncomfortable and told ML that I was leaving. ML got up to accompany me & SL gave me this accusing look "You are leaving with him? You are going back with him?" Oh my God! What a messy situation I was in. Why did Roomie leave me behind? I should never be allowed to go anywhere alone - I always get into trouble no matter what! The minute we left the pub, all that proprietary, territorial behaviour stopped. No more touching, holding, twirling of hair. It was all a show for the benefit of SL. As I suspected, it was because he is Singaporean. ML was the perfect gentleman when he walked me back. Enroute to our respective hotel rooms, ML asked who SL was. I explained to him what happened at the pub doorway. ML reacted to this "What? All along I thought you knew him, that he was your friend. You didn't know him AT ALL and you came in to have a drink with him (suddenly ML sounds like my grandfather). I asked you to have another drink and you said NO and you left me and then you came back in with a TOTAL STRANGER to have a drink with him. You really break my heart to pieces!".

There...again, this accusation of being a heartbreaker. 2 men from 2 different countries accusing me of being a heartbreaker in one night. I should move to Thailand under a new name and start afresh.

Day Two: Saturday 29 April 2006

The next morning, Roomie was woken up by the strong smell of Dettol warfting into the room "Are you cleaning the toilet again.." she mumbled into her pillow. Yes, I have this problem with using 'strange toilets' ie toilets which are not in my own house. My bowels refuse to function unless I am assured that the toilet seat is absolutely sterile - THAT's why I need the Dettol!! I also have a problem touching doorknobs, lifting dustbin lids etc. Its hereditary. My grandmother in her days refused to let people kiss her hand ( a customary form of greeting your elders). Then it passed down to my mother. My friends used to ask me from the outside gate of our house "Why does your house smell like a hospital?" I swear that I have never used the school toilet in all my school days in Malaysia. In England it was different - I was in boarding school so I had to use the toilet there! My mother never gave me any money for school because she didn't want me to eat any canteen food. So I have never been to the school canteen either. Its only after I came back to Malaysia and started working that I did the things I never did as a child - such as eat at stalls, drinking teh tarik from a plastic bag, enjoying an ice cream potong - yes, all my life till that time, I have watched other kids eating this red ice cream with the kacang (red beans) on top and wondered what it tasted like - I only found out when I started working. I was down with food poisoning every week when I first started working...

Roomie started mumbling into her pillow again "You know... this is considered an illness and it can be cured... I can give you Dr Fauzi's phone number - my friend who is a psychiatrist." I was too busy with the Dettol to pay any attention. Then she enquired "By the way, who were you with all night last night??". I explained what transpired the night before. She said she tried to call me but couldn't get through my phone, so she sent a message to ML saying "Is S.. with you? Tell her I'm looking for her." Apparently he replied with a curt "Yes". She said she had met up with another group of friends who wanted to go for supper & one of them she particularly wanted to introduce to me. She was trying to do a spot of matchmaking. There she was extolling this person's virtues namely, he is single and wanted to meet me. I will refer to him as MLC. I was beginning to wonder if Roomie was also working for Kementrian Penerangan on a mission to promote the muhibbah spirit & racial harmony amongst the lawyers at the Games. First she leaves me behind in the care of ML (who is Indian by the way), then she's trying to get me to have supper with MLC (who is Chinese). I am now beginning to realise that the Games is actually a facade for what in reality is a fishing expedition amongst lawyers. I asked her why she left abruptly without telling me. She said ML gave her the impression, from his body language, that he didn't want her around and that he wanted to be left alone with me. So she thought she would give him that opportunity. Then when she sent him the message and he gave her that curt answer, she realised he didn't want to be disturbed as she says he has never been curt to her before. So that's when she sent her second message in response "Tell her there is no need to hurry back & to enjoy herself." Which was the message he conveniently showed me. Huh! Got outsmarted by a cunning litigation lawyer. Damn! Well, I suppose it was an easy feat to do since I was in my Kofi Annan cum 'Welcome to Malaysia' mode.

I heard Roomie on the phone with a Sports Committee member "Blah, blah... golf tomorrow... who should I speak to...who? What's her name again...Yang Yang..? Are you sure?....Sounds like a panda...". Roomie insisted we watch the football matches (yes plural) that afternoon. I insisted that we pop into the room where the [*SL's game*] match was being held before we go to the football stadium. So she obliged - we trudged up the stairs to where chess was being held. Roomie burst into the room with me following closely behind. We had to stop in our tracks as there was complete and utter silence in the room as all the [*game*] players were concentrating intensely. I spotted SL and at that moment he looked up to see who these noisy intruders were, when he realised it was me, he smiled and I indicated via sign language that we were going to watch football. You see, last night, I asked him which games he was watching the next day & he said "Well, that depends on you - which games are you watching ..." Aah, real smoothie our Singaporean lawyer is...

Then Roomie & I left the room. Roomie grumbled "That was very embarrassing - like a couple of school kids the both of you. Why am I subjected to doing these foolish things with you - barging into a room full of [*game*] players just so that you could have a look at that Singaporean lawyer playing [*game*]!" Well, its nice to behave like a teenager again. Ofcourse ML was not impressed when he found out what game SL came to play -[*SL's game*] is not a sport - I can hear him thinking.

Aaaarrrggh! It was so HOT at the football stadium. First game was the girls' football. Next was the veteran men's team. By the 2nd half of the 2nd game, I felt rigor mortis setting in .... football isn't my thing. I saw ML there. He saw me & he didn't say hello to me. He pretended not to see me there. Then when I caught his eye, he looked awkward or uncomfortable. Was he embarrassed by his behaviour the night before? Was he drunk and he couldn't remember what he did the night before & was therefore unsure how to handle the situation? Why can't women ever decipher what is going on inside men's heads? Yes, and vice versa. Ok then, don't talk to me. Ignore me. See if I care. After a while, I realised what he was doing. Aah.. I remember this game... I thought to myself. We used to play this at school...Boy meets Girl, Boy likes Girl...Boy then ignores Girl...Boy walks past Girl ten times pretending not to see Girl, greeting other people loudly, slapping them on the back in front of Girl BUT still not noticing Girl...Ok lah, suit yourself. I have no patience to play these medieval games. We are both senior lawyers for God's sake.

I saw SL at the football pitch ( he came over after chess) & he asked me if I would go out with him later that night so I said ok. After all, that other person was busy not talking to me.

Tug-of-war was great fun. Our Chief Justice, Federal Court, Court of Appeal & High Court Judges were there cheering on. Our lawyers could not afford to lose the Tug-of-war. These judges were standing next to them yelling "One- Two- Pull" into their ears. Then came the Premier football team. My goodness, our premier football team were amazing players. Ah, before I rave on about our football team (and I don't even like football, mind you), let me describe the Singapore team's supporters....These bevy of girls appeared, dressed in skimpy clothing with full make up plastered on in the heat of the afternoon. They sat with the other Singaporeans, giggling loudly. This is a football game - played by LAWYERS, I thought....I only see such a spectacle at international polo tournaments when all the polo princes including the Brunei Royals are playing polo. This event usually attracts a bevy of skimpily clad actresses, models, TV3 presenters...BUT a football game played by lawyers?? And these girls are LAWYERS?? A friend from the Bar Council was sitting next to me "Who are those girls?" I muttered "Singapore supporters" She is perplexed " Why are they dressed like that? In full make up some more..." If we thought it couldn't get any worse, it did - one little starlet stood up and tottered down the stadium steps in flimsy little sandals, carrying 2 small bottles of cold mineral water, giggling away, her flimsy little skirt was barely hanging on to her very tiny hips, showing her turquoise snake print bikini bottom. Her matching halter neck bikini top was also visible under her sheer flimsy top. She saunters up to the Singaporean football players and gives the 2 bottles of mineral water to one particular player. Then she totters back up the stairs, giggling back to her friends and before she sits down, she pulls down her skirt lower as if in answer to a query from the man sitting behind her to reveal some kind of tattoo above the crack of her bum. It was precisely at that moment when, for the first time in my life, I was ashamed to be a woman...My poor friend from the Bar Council was aghast "What on earth is she doing?? Isn't that DISGUSTING? I think you should write one of your blistering emails to the Malaysian Lawyers Yahoo Group to tell them about this!". "You read my emails?" I was surprised. "Yes, I thought it was very well written.. so make sure you write about these disgusting girls..".

Our poor Malaysian footballers, their supporters were so frumpy in their baggy Tshirts & shorts, having to witness this spectacle which I'm sure demoralised them. The Singaporean team had such a colourful bevy of pretty young sex kittens (that's if you like stick insects) for supporters. Poor Mohan came over to me and asked in confusion "Who are those girls over there?" "Singapore supporters" I muttered. He is still puzzled "Why are they dressed like they are going to a party? It's a football match & it's in the afternoon..." I think Mohan doesn't have any teenage daughters or else he would understand. There are strapping young lads on the football field (I'm not talking about our Malaysian players...) I wanted to tell him. Even though our players did not look like they just stepped out of GQ magazine (like the Singaporean players) they more than made up for it in the game - they were AMAZING. They scored a goal within the first 3 minutes of the game. Within 30 minutes they already scored 4 goals! (Well, you better check the Malaysian Bar official website for more accurate reporting. I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the timing... ).

When the judges left, the bevy of girls decided to come forward & sit in front of me. So I overheard everything they said. Miss Snake Print Bikini said to her friends "The players look so small - I thought they were bigger..." she sighs...Her friend reassures her "That's because the field is very big, that's why they look smaller.." Miss Snake Print Bikini cheers up instantly "Oh I see...heehee.." she giggles in delight. Groan...are they lawyers?? I thought to myself. As though they heard me, the girl in front of me asked the same question of our footballers "Are they lawyers aa? I don't think those players are lawyers. They are so good. I don't recognise any of them from last year. Maybe 1 or 2 of them but the rest... they can't be lawyers. They are cheating - planted these professional footballers..." Then another one said "They must practise like crazy - look at their ball control - amazing.." Even I was amazed at our footballers. Then one of the girls said condescendingly "Ya lah, I suppose they got time to play football all day, they don't have much work to do over here like we do.." If I had a lorry load of sand with me I would have dumped it onto their heads at that moment. It would at least fill up the empty space between their ears!

We ate our dinner at the football stadium. They catered from an Indian restaurant. As I was queuing up for the food, this lawyer in front of me said loudly "Where were you last night? Your friend was looking for you & you switched off your phone... I told her maybe you didn't want to be disturbed..." Aah, this must be MLC. Actually I only discovered that afternoon that I didn't have any network range whatever you call it on my phone from the time I arrived in Langkawi until that afternoon. ML was further up in the queue & he overheard. He turned around and said "But she knew what, that you were with ME..." Yes,... everyone in the queue heard this. Don't talk to me all afternoon, now you announce loudly to everyone that I had "spent the night" with you. Nice one....yet again, thrashed & trashed by this litigation lawyer. What is going on here? V for Vendetta? Revenge for something which I don't know what I did or didn't do? Is he suffering from sunstroke or overexposure to sports?

Later, I was walking past the restaurant guy who was serving us food earlier when I heard someone say something in Tamil to him. I turned to look at the person. It was ML. He was leaning against the railing looking at me all macho-like whilst saying something to that chap in Tamil. I suddenly felt as though I was transported into a Tamil movie set and I am the lead actress minus the gold midriff baring saree and he the hero of the movie. Soon his long lost unknown twin brother who is a drug dealing underworld warlord who was washed away during the floods when they were babies will be making an appearance at the football field to be followed shortly by his Auntie Meena who happens to be a police inspector in hot pursuit of the evil twin. She proceeds to gun down the evil twin brother and they only discover his true identity as he lay sprawled on the tracks in his pool of blood and takes 20 minutes to die from his 35 gunshot wounds and within that 20 minutes the twins discover they have the same birthmark on their left shoulder and identical pendants around their necks which their grandmother gave them when they were babies. Never mind the fact that they are identical twins is a dead giveaway of the identity of this evil twin. Within minutes Amma + Appa & Uncle Veloo & the entire village will be running towards them from nowhere. There will be this heart-wrenching reunion "Amma! Appa!" amidst a flood of tears...Amma is coincidentally carrying the family photo album & showing the evil twin his baby pictures before he finally expires from his fatal wounds. Thirty minutes later the back up police force arrives - complete with helicopter, floodlights on the tragic scene & loudspeakers...oops, low budget movie, so scrap the helicopter. Meanwhile the heroine in midriff baring gold saree (c'est moi) is standing there observing this tragedy with this all important question in her head..."Should I have coke or orange juice?"

Me not knowing how to speak Tamil will not be an impediment as my role would not require a lot of dialogue. Just prancing around executing various dance sequences (ala Michael Jackson's Thriller video), whilst miming to 20 songs and changing clothes 50 times (this shouldn't be too difficult for me, I do this every morning - that's why I'm always late for work) into colourful sarees baring my protruding 2 spare tyres, the obligatory heaving bosom & don't forget the sweaty armpit wet patch under the tight saree blouse....

Please excuse me, I had to endure 3 football matches - 2 of which were held in the searing heat. I became delusional by night time. This woman must be watching a LOT of Tamil movies, you must be thinking. I don't need to. Real life Tamil movie dramas are happening at The Firm on a weekly basis - mainly upstairs in our litigation department.

After the premier football match (we thrashed them 5 - 1), Roomie & I went back to our hotel with the official coach (I mean the bus not the football coach). As we were walking towards the hotel lobby, Roomie was on the phone with someone, promising to meet them later "We will meet you... blah blah..." Then she said to me "Okay, we'll have a shower, then we will go out with MLC since we did not go out with him last night..." I replied "What's with the we? Please don't make plans with other people on my behalf, I already have plans for tonight...I'm going out with the Singapore Lawyer..." Oh my God, I had to stop in mid sentence. ML was sitting at the lobby, glowering at me as though I've just killed his mother. I think he heard me say I was going out with SL. Kudos to Roomie for taking things into her stride as she steers me towards reception to collect our room key, she mutters under her breath "Err... are you double dating? Did you make arrangements to meet him here? Is he waiting for you? And you also agreed to meet the Singapore lawyer? And now your 2 dates have clashed in your schedule...?" So I added "And thanks to you, I'm also supposed to be having supper with MLC tonight." I told her ML didn't speak to me all day & I made no arrangements to meet him that night. So she said "So why are we sulking then at the hotel lobby? What have you done to him?"

What?!! I haven't done anything. He was the one playing medieval games all day of which I didn't know the rules to in order to participate in the game. Now he doesn't like the outcome of it. You want me, then just come up to me & say so. I don't understand how to play these games. The only "sport" I know is Dressage - that is between rider & horse. I don't know any team sports etc. I can only understand the direct approach. Subtle hints are lost on me. I tried to smile at him but was met with his stony stare. Ouch, that hurts. This brings to mind my favourite Rabindranath Tagore verse: "Constant thrusts from your eyes keep my pain fresh for ever." Mmmm, on second thoughts, Rabindranath Tagore is too deep for this situation. My Sufi guide always said "Do not throw pearls before a swine". He was quoting Jesus. So I shall not abuse Tagore's beautiful verse to describe this situation. Roomie attempted to say hello to ML as we walked past him. He ignores her. We went back to our room to shower. Roomie said to me "What have you done to my poor friend? He doesn't even want to look at ME! I thought you were with him last night...?" she asked in consternation. "Yes.." I didn't want to go through the whole episode again - I was not alone with him other than the walk back. "Then, what about tonight? Have you made no plans with him?" So I replied "Tonight I'm going out with the Singapore lawyer". Roomie was by now distressed "But you were with ML last night!" I further exacerbated the situation by replying with "That was last night...tonight I'm seeing SL". Roomie then responded with a tinge of sarcasm "Oh! I'm so sorry.. we are taking one day at a time are we? Does this Singapore lawyer have a name?" My reply was "Yes, its in the programme book under [*SL's game*], it starts with [*]" I remembered the first initial - its not a common name so its difficult to recall especially when I heard it in a noisy pub. "No wonder he doesn't want to talk to me. He must be very upset, getting dumped after the first date...didn't even get to first base.... especially since he just lost the ..blah..blah.. recently now he gets dumped. Dah lah jatuh, di timpa tangga pulak...Now when he sees me, he's going to say 'I'm not going to talk to that woman and that minx she calls her friend'...sigh...poor ML.." Roomie is genuinely feeling sorry for ML. Hullo! I didn't have a date with him last night & I definitely did not dump him! Its his fault for not talking to me that day. I'm not going to sit around & wonder what happened, what's up etc. I really don't know how to handle this Asian men 'merajuk tak tentu pasal' syndrome. I'm not one of those typical Malay women who are so adept at the art of 'pujuk-merajuk'. Anyone sulks with me & I'll just walk out the door saying "Call me when you are in a better mood". I saw Roomie flicking through the programme book "Is that my programme book? Please don't take it by mistake, I have SL's phone number written in there." Roomie asked "Why don't you key it into your phone?" I answered "I don't see the point - he lives in Singapore." She was silent for a few seconds trying to digest this explanation but didn't quite grasp it "So? You can sms each other, telephone each other .. why can't you register his number in your phone?" Then I elaborated "I had a relationship with an Italian man for 7 years. After flying in & out of the country for 7 years trying to see each other, I've had enough of long distance relationships. Now even PJ (Petaling Jaya which is about 20 minutes drive from KL) is too far away for me!" Then I was grumbling about ML's odd behaviour. Roomie said "He's probably angry that he wasted his time with you yesterday. ML is probably married & came out here to have fun for the weekend, away from his wife, then he finds that he has wasted his time with you & didn't get anywhere when he could have spent his time working on someone else... You made him lose his precious time as he knows he can't pursue you when he gets back to KL because he is married - so this is his only chance."

There I was lying on my bed staring at the ceiling absorbing what Roomie was saying to me. Ping.... the pin drops. Everything makes sense now. "What do you mean he is MARRIED?" I asked appalled. Roomie enlightens me "Surely he must be.. Indian man, at his age.." she says nonchalantly. "Why didn't he tell me?" I wondered stupidly. " He probably assumed you knew? Anyway, if he's after you, this is not a topic he would bring up... " she says matter of factly. "Is there no sense of ethics amongst lawyers towards their fellow members of the Bar? Here we are out here for the Games, supposed to look out for each other not take advantage of the situation..." I was simmering to a boil. Roomie became concerned "I think you are over reacting. Men are men. You should be flattered. In fact, I am impressed, within a few hours of landing in Langkawi you have these men clamouring for your attention. Just enjoy it and when you get back to KL, forget about them." Now she makes me sound like a Super Callous Bitch... my Kofi Annan hat is flushed down the Dettoled toilet... What was wrong with me? By now I was fuming over this "married" business. I am more angry with myself than with ML. Why didn't I see it coming? I assumed he wasn't married that's why he came after me. How did I let my guard down? There I was muttering angrily on my bed about deceitful married men - he deliberately omitted to tell me he is married ... but then to be fair, Roomie is only assuming he is married based on his race and age. So I texted my friends in KL (it was midnight by then) to find out. Litigation lawyers should know his background. The answer that came back is "He is most probably married." What's with this 'most probably'??? What's happening to my intelligence network? Can't they be more precise? They too came to this conclusion based on his age and race. This reply came from my litigation friend Shree (yes, She Who Should Be Blonde from my previous posting on the Annual Bar Dinner) "Indian man his age sure married one... I've spoken to him many times, he always gave me the impression he is married. He is the Goody-Two-Shoes type...".

Goody Two Shoes My Fractured Right Foot! What is wrong with my friends? What is wrong with me? Incapable of reading people well..? There I was, still muttering angrily that I'm going to plot some kind of revenge against married men who hit on other women. Roomie looked concerned "You know, I can give you Dr Fauzi's phone number. Perhaps this is something you should discuss with Dr Fauzi..." Roomie now thinks my mental state of mind is more serious than my initial preoccupation with Dettol. "I think its an INSULT that he targeted me for his weekend dalliance!!" Roomie was about to step into the shower "Ok...let me know when you have formulated your revenge plot... perhaps we can discuss your strategy...". Due to my many years and many hours spent in meditation, I am incapable of holding an angry thought for more than 5 minutes. So I dozed off in the midst of my plotting. Only to be woken up by SL asking me to go out with him somewhere - it was way past midnight and I was in no mood to trust any man at that moment. I told him I would rather meet him the next day ...over coffee. Any meeting from now on has to be in broad daylight without the presence of alcoholic beverages. Roomie came out from her shower "Well, have we come up with a plan yet? Why are we in bed? I thought you were going out with that SL?" I told her its not wise to go out alone at this time of night. Roomie said "I think your SL is a twerp. Why can't he arrange a proper date at a decent hour. I would rather you go out with the married ML than that SL" She still has a soft spot for ML "Poor ML... getting dumped like this.." she carries on. What about poor me!!? Why is everyone so blase about a married man out to 'berpoya-poya' (messing around)? Is it so acceptable in our society? I'm no prude & I don't want to sound like a sanctimonious git but I still believe that marriage is sacred and one shouldn't willy nilly destroy that trust between husband & wife. That's why I've never been brave enough to get married. I didn't want to shatter my illusions after witnessing all these shenanigans by married people - both men & women. This union is no longer held sacred except by a handful of people. Now both married men & women are having sex outside their marriage saying its just sex - it means nothing. Just another bodily function like taking a crap. Justify it however much you want to. Its still an act of betrayal and your marriage is grounded on a bed of lies. My married friends tell me "You don't understand. You need a reprieve sometimes, to have some fun outside, in the end it saves the marriage..." What a load of crap. I won't judge them but I hope I never do this to someone one day. The person you betray most is your own soul. You demean your very existence. What you should hold sacred, you discard with callous abandon. So what is it that binds you together? Your legal bondage to each other? Most people say it is the children that glues the marriage together. Why do we need this glue? Why do we hurt the people we love? Don't keep saying "It is human to err". Then we keep making these excuses everytime we lapse. We don't think much of ourselves, making these excuses each time. Why do we need to use our will power to remain faithful? Can we not use our hearts? Why do we need reward & threats of punishment to be faithful to God? Can we not just love Him? Then there will be no question on whether we are faithful or not. How can you be unfaithful if you are consumed by intense love?

Ok... I know I'm going way off tangent here and you are all reaching for your phones to call Dr Fauzi. I would really, really rather be alone than spend time with shallow people who are incapable of sincere thought and common courtesy. I am not judging those who dabble in the odd infidelity. I'm just saying that ML should have informed me so that I could make an informed choice. At the very least I could have told him within the first 2 minutes that he should cast his net elsewhere so that he doesn't waste his precious weekend away from home. But I would still have remained his friend. I wouldn't judge him at all. Now I see the wisdom in SL asking me directly whether I'm married or have a boyfriend. He must have been in the same predicament before.

The next morning I was on the phone with my concerned friends who called from Bukit Jalil Stadium, attending the World Cup - beneficiaries of my VIP invitation, enjoying the lavish buffet spread at the VIP section, hobnobbing with the international equestrian jet set whilst I languish here, narrowly escaping the clutches of a married man.

Hrmmph! Should have gone for the evil twin brother.... let me change the script a bit here....Letchumy (she of the gold midriff baring saree) foregoes her coke and/or orange juice and opts for a bottle of Dettol, gulping it down, collapsing gracefully onto the already dead decomposing body of the evil twin brother, to join him in the next life whilst our hero cries out in vain "Letchumy...Letchumy..." More relatives and villagers come running out from nowhere....

If you are reading this you lout and/or louse, I demand an explanation. Excuses such as "I was protecting you from being kidnapped by the Singaporean who planned to ransom you in exchange for 50 tonnes of sand" is acceptable. I will also forgive the Singaporean - he is doing it out of patriotism. King & country must always come first. Oh I forgot, they don't have a King - only a Senior Minister who thinks he is King....

Roomie who hears me talking on the phone to my friends ( I am on the balcony looking out to the breathtaking sea - there is an island across us...) yells from inside the room " She is double dating 2 men & just dumped one last night!" So I yelled back "Louder please, I don't think those people on that island over there heard you!" My friend Terrie has this theory that ML had already set his target before flying to Langkawi. Flashback to that night we were at the Pub, when ML asked me to dance, I said I didn't know how to dance or that I don't dance and he said "You are such a liar. I have seen you dance before." I know I don't go out anywhere... so there could only be ONE occasion..."No way! Where did you see me dance?" He gleefully replied "At the Annual Dinner!" Oh no!! No! That bloody polka dot outfit gets me into trouble again... Why couldn't I have worn formal attire like everyone else? So Terrie says "You see, he has taken an interest in you since then or maybe even before that time and knowing you are going to Langkawi to play darts...."

Aaah, the plot thickens. My Tamil movie now takes on a sinister twist...premeditated misdemeanour... the director of the movie is now revealed....M.Night Shyamalan... who will shortly be making his cameo appearance as the hotel janitor. All the ingredients of an M.Night Shyamalan movie is present. We are surrounded by water... I see a little boy running along the pier... I am waiting for him to stop in front of me and say those famous words..."I see dead people."

Well, what I'd like to see is one very dead married man! Skewered to death like Mahsuri (the legend of Langkawi) but you can bet the blood flowing from him will be red not white like Mahsuri's. Ok, Ok...I am now over reacting. He just paid some mild attention on me. Let's not get all worked up over this. Roomie dashed off to fit in Beach Volleyball, Beach Soccer & Golf into her itinerary. I stayed in the hotel to meditate at the balcony & drink in the intoxicating beauty of Langkawi island. Before she left, Roomie spotted me on the balcony in my lotus position with incense burning "You've got the wrong weekend lah - Vesak Day is next weekend!" I cannot be in Langkawi and not spend some quiet time in contemplation. The energy there is just ideal for deep meditation especially when it rains. Every year I try to go out to Langkawi to spend a few days alone in contemplation. I usually choose to stay at the Andaman as I know I would be safe there and no one would disturb me... especially married men...grrr...I really needed to rebalance my energy & centre myself that day.

Roomie returns later that afternoon "So many people were asking where you were. They kept saying 'where's your friend - the one who looks like Mat Salleh one...' After a while I was thinking : hello, I am here, what about me? I made the effort to come to these games why are you asking about my friend!" She told me how she feasted her eyes on the Singaporean team - the guys (with no shirts on) - all well buffed up solid bodies etc whilst the Malaysian team were in different shapes & sizes. Then during the beach soccer, the Singaporeans lined up all their girls in bikinis, they had towels covering their bikini bottoms but during the match, they kept flicking their towels open & flashing at our boys... we didn't stand a chance. Our boys were so... distracted especially the goalie. Our poor Malaysian team, their supporters were in their usual frumpy Tshirt & baggy shorts & some were even wearing the tudung! How to compete like this?? Darn, I missed all this action. Needless to say, we LOST beach soccer! What lah! Our football coach should send his boys for a different kind of training! It was after all the beach, so I'm not going to say anything unkind about the Singaporean girls. Bikinis should be worn at the beach so they have every right to wear as little as they wanted to there. They could go topless for all I care...

Then our conversation steered back to Dr Fauzi. I referred to Dr Fauzi as 'he' and Roomie corrected me "Dr Fauzi is a woman". Later that evening Roomie was on the phone with a 'Puspa'. So when she hung up she repeated her conversation to me, referring to Puspa as 'he'. So I said "I thought Puspa is a woman". "No, Puspa is a man." "Sigh, what is the world coming to? Puspa is a man, Fauzi is a woman..... and.... Yang Yang is not a panda...." I muttered listlessly into my pillow...Roomie looked as though she wanted to dial 911 for the ambulance to cart me away to Ward 11 of the psychiatric hospital.

As Roomie was in charge of the VIPs for that evening's function, she was concerned that I didn't get my invitation card yet so she calls someone from the Sports Committee "Where is my friend's invitation card? How is she going to get in?...blah..blah...yes, make sure you put her at a table with some single men.." She's afraid of me getting angry with any more married men that night & she will lose more friends...When she hung up she said "So & so said to me when I asked for your invitation card : 'Ayo...an attractive woman like that.... who is going to turn her away whether she has an invitation card or not...why single men? your friend does not seem like she would be perturbed by married men..."

NOT PERTURBED BY MARRIED MEN! What's that supposed to mean? It must be that Bloody ML again. Aaaarggghhhh! Labelled as Heartbreaker yesterday, now Homewrecker...tomorrow Harlot!!!! I should have stayed in KL.........boohooo...where's the ambulance.......

Found myself sitting next to MLC & friends during the dinner function. He pointedly announced several times that he is single. Was he planted there by Roomie? Roomie was busy greeting Menteri Besar (Chief Minister), Chief Justices & Judges. Saw ML approaching our table... still playing his medieval games, greeting another person in front of me & as he turns to walk away he catches my eye & looks as though he had just that instant spotted me "Eh hello, how was your day? What did you do?" "It was restful" I replied. "Yes, your friend told me you were sleeping all day.." Then he went off. Shortly thereafter, enter SL...who comes over to my table, looking around suspiciously (now I feel like I'm in the middle of a plot in Hamlet or Othello) "Hello," he says whilst surveying the area "where is He? Is HE here?" Is there no ENDING to this Movie?? "No" I replied. So SL sits down for a while "I'm sorry I asked you out so late last night, will you come out with me tonight after this dinner?" "I'm going out with my friends to SUNBA, why don't you meet us there?" Then he says "Ok, why don't you join me & we go there together?" I looked at the rowdy Singaporean bunch at the next table and said "I'll meet you there ok." Then he was suspicious "Is HE coming along?" Groan...I wanted to immerse my head into my bowl of soup "No!!!" Unconvinced he continues "So what is it between you two? I mean, do you meet each other when you are in KL, do you hang out, chat with each other or what?" I think he is uncertain of what my definition of "He is not my boyfriend" means. "No, we don't. I only see him during AGMs. Only on a hello basis..." He still looks unconvinced. I couldn't even tell him that I suspected ML is married. To be fair to ML, no one has confirmed this yet. He went back to his table. The Singaporeans were so...rowdy, especially the girls. There were these girls wearing low slung jeans (midriff baring) standing there (so that people could have a good look at them) talking & laughing loudly when someone was giving a speech. I've never seen our female lawyers behaving in such a manner. This is a dinner party after all. One of them comes over to our table & grabs a spoon without even looking at us or asking us if its ok, could she please take the spoon etc. Where are their manners? Shudder...Their Law Society President was very witty. He said something like "You wanted a bridge, we came to here to build a bridge..." Unfortunately, his rowdy lawyers were not cooperating with this bridge building exercise.

They wanted to start the Boat Race but couldn't until the MB (Chief Minister) leaves. So just as the MB was relaxing on his chair & was about to tuck into the fifth course ( a fish dish), the Master of Ceremonies ( a Malaysian lawyer) announced without much ado "MB mau pulang!" (Chief Minister wants to go home). The poor MB had to put down his cutlery and leave! We actually LOST the Boat Race. The girl on our team choked. Even then the Singaporeans said we cheated & lost purposely just to give them face because we thrashed them so soundly at the Games especially Netball & Premier Football. Apparently they also complained when they were told to leave at 1am as the coaches were there to take them back to their hotel. They said it wasn't fair, when they hosted the event, there was free flowing champagne until 2am and they were really lavish. The Malaysians who went there last year told me they never saw any champagne. Anyway, this is all irrelevant to me as I don't drink. What do I care if its free flowing champagne or 7up? I went with Roomie & friends to SUNBA. Its a really nice place. Outside it looks arty farty & inside its a Bar. They play music from the 60s, 70s & 80s. The really cool thing is that the DJ played Terence Trent Darby for me. NOBODY has Terence Trent Darby here. He was amazed I asked for it. I didn't get to see SL that night. He was still stuck at our hotel & ended up at the pub there. By the time I got back I didn't feel like going there to join him. They would be thoroughly inebriated by then & I didn't want to be caught up in that. I have had it for the weekend, trying to blend in when I can't. I don't like pub scenes so I shouldn't pretend that I do. So much for attempting to mingle with people - I was exhausted.

Day 4: Monday 1st May

Roomie had to do some major damage control the next morning with the Chief Minister's office & judges. Apparently the judges were appalled at the lack of decorum & manner in which the Chief Minister was despatched out of the function in the midst of his dinner. To be fair to the organisers, the Chief Minister's aides had informed them that the Chief Minister had to leave at a certain time. But they could do better than "MB mau pulang".

SL sent a message from the airport. He said he would be in KL for some work in a few weeks & would like to meet up. I didn't tell Roomie - she is already unimpressed with him. She asked me whether there was any chance I would consider MLC so I replied "He smokes." Then she says "That can be cured...Dr Fauzi.." Yes, here we go again, Dr Fauzi the miracle worker... So I replied "I'd rather go out with a married man than a smoker." She said "That's an odd comparison.." So I explained my point of view "There's more likelihood of a man getting a divorce than giving up smoking..." Urrrgh, not a smoker! Their breath smells & your hair will smell, your clothes... yuks. Yes, we live in a germ-free sterile environment... I remember trying to meditate on the balcony that morning & this very young couple next door came out to smoke at their balcony. I was so irritated, I went back to the room & said very loudly to Roomie when she asked why I was back in the room "There's this young couple out there smoking. Why can't they stay in their room & have sex like other young couples!!" They obviously heard me and scurried back into their room.

At the airport Golden Lounge, I was using this pen with the words Bar Malaysia engraved on it. Roomie asked "Where did you get that from?" "Annual Dinner - consolation prize for Best Dressed". Roomie said "Oh the polka dot outfit!"

Serene Ong who has been with us the whole day since breakfast in the morning looked startled "You mean THAT was YOU aa??" See, she didn't recognise me! How did ML recognise me from that night?

Back to the sanctity of The Firm, I briefed my friends on what transpired out there. Christina (She Who Is Already Blonde) remarked "What's up with you and these Indian guys suddenly. Must be the influence of those Hindi movies you've been watching!" Still no conclusive confirmation on ML's marital status other than assumptions based on his age & race. My male lawyer friend known as "Bespectacled" said to me that its normal for married men not to reveal that they are married. He feels ML has already pre-planned all this before he went to Langkawi. Then he started alarming me "I'm sure he has printed that photo of yours from the Malaysian Bar website in your polka dot outfit & he's staring at it everyday plotting how to get you in Langkawi.."

Poor ML's ratings have really plunged. From : Poor guy who lost the [*] - to: Deceitful Married Man - to: Stalker...

Well that's the male point of view anyway. My female friends on the otherhand had other advice to impart: "Well, even if he is not married, you don't want to get involved with him. He seems the traditional type, possessive & all that, you will be locked up in the house, not allowed to go out...and when he finds out that you have no chapati-making skills..." I am now feeling very sorry for ML being run down so much in this manner. First, my whole episode with the Tamil movie, now my friends' analysis of his character. I apologise, I apologise, I apologise for getting worked up over nothing. Who cares if you're married or not. Its all my fault for making assumptions! I should either go out more to be more streetwise or just stay at home in blissful oblivion. Safer to stay at home & watch Naveen what's his name on telly....sigh, is he married? Paranoid now to even watch married men on telly!