Saturday, January 29, 2011

Till further notice

When you once again come here, the paradise had been closed (until further notice)
I have made myself home,
on a sunny day

This is always the ending that I drafted in my mind, since few months ago. I am back home. The day arrived in KL was sunny, within half and hour time, the windscreen started to fill with rain drops. But lasted for just a minute or so, as a ceremony.

I am back in Penang few hours ago. Past few days in KL were great, the country changes a bit during my absence, however, the whoever that tore his party card while jumping to the other party proved that those people remain stupid. First time in my life time asked a straight of 10 people at Plaza Rakyat platform for the use of mobile to call my friend but get rejected with the same answer - no credit from all of them. The price of Wantan noodle is RM5, I almost have problem digest it. And the price of books in the bookshop, definitely discouraging, I wonder only the rich can afford a luxury habit call reading in Malaysia. Watched NTV7 for a while in the afternoon, listening to the mandarin spoke in heavy Malaysian accent, the non professional gesture, I wonder if the media still remember their role, unbearable and finally switched to Malay channel, at least they are speaking proper bahasa. Recognized that Singaporean-slanged English is the ugliest that I have heard, I am sad to tell myself, Malaysian-slanged Mandarin is not presentable at all (worse than our neighboring country), if we continue to localized the language thinking that it is a forming of local culture. Shouldn't have talk so much on the negative phenomenon, but when it concerns you and you can't run away, and need time to learn to be indifference, that is the only way you can do.

Wasn't able to sleep for the past few days, too much nervous on the last day in India, but everything shall be back to shape, I am just scaring myself as usual. Will spend a lot of time to read, have a full box of books from India. And celebrating Chinese New Year, of course. Shall prepare myself to tell (repeat) a lot of stories.

Thus till then. For those who read Truman before, it will be resumed. Those who will be back home during CNY, let's meet up. Thank you for being together here. I shall miss the days.

Good luck. and Good Day.

tham (that once On the Road)

Monday, January 24, 2011

For India

The heavy box almost drag me to death.

Finally I am in Trichy, the final time taking Indian train, standing and watching out for any Indian man hand reaching out to me if any, or their body purposely lean by when they passed-by. You always cannot differentiate careful to over paranoid, and it is hard to gauge how much careful you need to have.

3 months in the country, a country that I have dream of since young, since the day I started to draft my travel map (I could have still kept those hand drawing in my drawer). I have heard too many people talked about her, how beautiful and how dirty, how different and how diverse, how the smell the color and the taste differ from the rest. For all the years, I built up my imagination of India, the India that full of mystery, exotic, hospitable, rough, dangerous etc etc. It must be the most exciting country ever, and I have to keep it the last as it will be the last one to surprise me. The India in my expectation is somewhat different from what I experienced. It is a modern world, a developing country with a lot of festivals and traditions and beliefs. The country is a bit confused because people wants to move on but there are a lot of old tradition which not allowed it to, and they are not sure what to keep and what to throw, some throw all and some keep all. It is not as rough as Pakistan or Afghanistan. Just as dirty as certain part of Pakistan, far less hospitable than the Middle East/ muslims countries, exotic and mystery are elements that over exaggerated by the foreigners, and finally, JB in Malaysia is more dangerous than any part of India. But it is diverse as promised, though becoming more rigid in time due to the politics and interest of small part of people. Surprise that it is so much out of expectation, but it is still good to break all imagination by visiting the country yourself.

So that is the conclusion of my 3 months in India. Tomorrow I am going back home, to Malaysia. I have plenty of time to spend in Trichy before heading to the airport for the night. Have 300Rp (RM24) left for the dinner and tomorrow's breakfast. One thing noticed after 2 years, I am almost writing in English now, wondering if I still remember how to write in Chinese. It was coincident that the computer I am using capable to read mandarin, and I found my article in SinChew sometime ago, 三等火車座. While reading, the day when I was on the train appeared in my mind so clearly, almost visual. A bit pity that I did not keep writing.

Phew. And this is it. Hopefully tomorrow will be a good day (I don't mind it to be sunny), not too much traffic on the LRT, better if I can get a seat inside the train ;)

Bon Voyage!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

All my time

For the past few days, I was wrapping half my books (I have may be 20 books by now) in a green longgi and tied them like ancient people used to travel, hanged it over my shoulder. But soon I realized that my new longgi is going to torn apart if I continue doing this. So last night, I finally collect a carton box from a supermarket keep most of my books in. Aha, what a satisfaction.

Spent the whole time watching TV (I have a 200Rp room with TV) and reading Nehru's Glimpses of World History, not a perfect history guide but good for a rough development of the world, especially he was writing for his daughter when she was 13, so it is easy to digest, but a pity that the history written ended before WW2. Eat only when I feel hungry. And last night, I even done a face mask using the Himalaya Neem Pack! What a luxury ;)

Waiting for tomorrow and the day after.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The future.

What will you do when you are back home? Will you stay for good? Will you write?

This is another formal question that some like to ask. And so I have a formal answer which doesn't anymore fit my feeling. I would say, well, I will study, or teach. Yes I will try to stay. No I don't think I will write.

This question is to certain extend, a trap. What if I finally decided to bow my head and go back to the corporate working 9-5 again? What if I ended studying, but overseas? What if I decided to travel again after 3 months back home? What if I teach, but giving tuition, just to make sure I have the essential for living? What if I decided to follow others path and write? What if there is nothing I said I will I want do happen? I think it is a little bit embarrassing, as if a promise not kept, although there is no promise in the first place.

As all of us personally experienced that the mind and desire and heart and thoughts and decisions and conditions change all the time, the certainty is lying only in the past but not the next unpredicted minute, how can I possibly tell what am I going to be when I get back home? The reason that formal answer is repeated is because I do feel that the most wonderful thing in life is learning and sharing, that is how teaching and studying come about. But who knows?

There is a real feeling though, which cannot be described by words, crouches in my heart, and that is certain, safe and secure, that I know something is waiting for me back home, although I am not able to tell what. So start from today, if anyone were to ask me what is my next plan, I guess it is better to answer,.. well, I don't know, I will wait and see. Sounds passive, but closer to the reality.

4 more days to be back in my Tanah Air.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The reason.

Certain questions have become a formality that the answer given are no longer true and close to the heart, yet I repeated it again and again feeling a mild sense of betrayal. For example, what is the aim of your travel.

There are definitely some reason in the beginning, you want to learn, to observe, to experience, to taste, to feel, to see by yourself, to discover, to explore (a part of the fact that I didn't reveal, at certain stage, to travel include to be hate, be humiliated and to be tortured). As time passed by, these are still my answer, yes what I am trying to tell is, although I no longer felt these the real and true answers, they are repeated again and again for the words just hang beside my lips.

This morning I repeated the same answer when the father of a friend asked. And he said, don't you know what is soul? Argh, the kind of discussion that didn't interest me. Some people think you must be so lost to waste so much time and energy traveling, and they are the only one on Earth to see truth, who know which is more worthwhile than other. It could be true, of course, but to my personal opinion, it is barely one person's truth. The Reality is beyond human understanding, and what came to our understanding is merely a veiled truth, which each of us perceived it individually, and can end up differently.

So I decided to change the answer. Anytime in the future if anyone ask again the reason of me traveling, the answer will be, I guess it is just part of my life. I think this answer is closer to what I really feel, and there is no sense of embarrassment or betrayal of heart. Really, it is just part of the journey, like you go to primary school, then secondary, then university. Just like you learn to crawl, then walk, then run. You don't stop learning, do you? And you don't stop exploring and pushing yourself to the next level, do you? For sure you can do it in other way, but all great philosophers, painters, writers travel, Buddha, Jesus, Mohammad, Zhuang Tzu, Gurjieff travel, I wonder if they know what is soul.

To us, family is very important, I don't think to see the world is anything special, everywhere is the same, we will spend the time to see our relatives, to stay together, the father said.

Here, privacy is not valued, silence is not appreciated, a new life is cultivated according to the old mold. In a small house, there is always somebody chat until the middle of the night, and there is always someone who make noise before the sun rises over the horizon. There are always 3,4,5,6 people in a room, someone push your leg, slam the door, switch on the TV, you always need to wait for somebody else to make your next move. This is yet another situation, met in travel.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Non-reserved overnight Indian train

If you wonder how crowded can a non-reserved overnight Indian train be, below is the proved. For the both photos, I was sitting on top of the luggage shelf.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Nothing is so matter for God

Went to Meenashi temple early in the morning and found that there is free Dashan queue. Thousands of people had already queue up for going into the temple to meet the God. The loud speakers chanting Om Siva Om. It is such a beautiful morning, I walked in front of the queue and realized that the worshipers are from all background. If you are rich or poor, if you are healthy or cripple or suffer from terminal disease, if you are educated or illiterate, if you dress elegantly or bare shoulder, if you are young, old, man, lady, pretty, ugly, if you are from the north or south, if you are American or African, Indian or Malaysian, Gandhi or Mohammad, if you carry her a present or not. Nothing is so matter for God.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


A photo of mine. Haha.

The holiday of Pongal lasted for 4 days. I guess today is the 3rd day, the Tamil Nadu Tourist Office done a good job to arrange a very touristy Pongal celebration, specially for tourists in Madurai. We were transported into the nearby village, free buses, free meals. Big lunch as you can see. Tourists are welcomed with bindi, flowers, and a scarf. Performances, dancing, some European (seems to be from the Mediterranean) enjoy their time dancing, shaking their boobz and butts with the dancer.

Ate too much. Woohaha.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Doing okie

It is strange that everytime I sit in front of the computer to write a blog entry, my mind appears to be a blank sheet, while when I don't, there are pieces of thing that I want to share and wish I have the access to the internet.

I am doing okie recently, had been reading since Nepal and currently spending a lot of time in the bookshops hopefully to stock up some books before going back home. Have 6 books in a friends house, and 10 books with me now. Also carried with me Indian coffee powder and some essential oil. Leaving to Kanyakumari today, the place where 3 oceans meet.

Two weeks exactly from returning. You might ask how does it feel.
Nothing much, if you believe. The only thing in my mind could be, I don't want to further gain weight during Chinese New Year, but a_hui just email me that Chiam will buy us good meal when I arrive in KL. Anyway, it will be before Chinese New Year.

Met a well traveled old couple from Netherland few days back. They traveled since the good old day, when the borders between countries were loosely controlled. They went through Khyber Pass into Pakistan. That time, many Europeans overland to India, they said. Remembered me a Penangite who overland from Malaysia to Europe at that time, he crossed Khyber Pass, too. Read The Caravan just a week before, a good book I get for 10Rp on the street in Bangalore, a story in Afghanistan, just before the Russian came. You read the Caravan? I asked the old couple. Yes. Wow, I felt a little bit proud, for no obvious reason, just by sharing a same book with someone who doubled my age. Sometimes I will think, if there is a second chance, I will give up taking flight in Afghanistan, it is later that I discovered that I really want to travel in the country.

In the mean time, a friend who is traveling around the world without returning date had been forced to go back home due to a diagnosed of brain tumor. Such a dramatic life, out of prediction. And 2010 had been a year of plenty separation.

Have to leave for the train station. Till then.

Weird Girl

Met a weird Israeli when I was at Kodaikanal. She doesn't want to cross the stream because it will wet her pant, although there is stones in between and you can hardly think of missing your step into the stream. So she crossed carefully and missed her step, wet her pant. We went into the forest, that kind of place that I like, full of trees and branches. She walked so carefully that came out with scratches everywhere on her arm. Her water bottle cap dropped on the ground, I told her to wash with the water but she told me she needed soap. The waiter brought her spoon but she disgust with the stain on it, yet think it is impolite to wash it with shampoo, and think the waiter must be unhappy with how she reacted, by keeping the spoon aside without using it. I bought sweet, she said she can only spend for survival, but she stayed in a place almost twice the price of my bed, and took a taxi to her place because it is 6km away from town. She has no choice. She said. We walked for hours to the Pillar Rock, she asked around for the transportation to go back. I told her I don't pay for non-public transportation. She is so nervous. I stopped a car, asked if they can drop us back in town. She cried, where are they going? I said, just come in. We went back to town safely, save the walking and spend no penny. I wonder if she is a typical Israeli, I really want to go to Israel to see these weird people.

Monday, January 3, 2011

If I have to say

It is already the 3rd day of the New year.
Happy New Year pal ;) To All.

No reflection for the past one year on the last day of 2010.
No new ambition for the year of 2011.

No ambition. The Singaporean I encountered briefly said to me on the last day of the year: Xiong1 Wu2 Da4 Zhi4.
How harsh.
He told me I shall earn more money, to travel comfortably.
I told him I will quit travel by then.

My host, another Singaporean ensured me a wonderful New Year. Ate too much for the past few days. One dinner was invited by a Cantonese chef from HongKong, working in a five stars hotel (pls no jealous ;)). Met some Taiwanese who ensured my accommodation when I visit Taiwan.

My host is a fashion design teacher, I asked her how to improve my look. She gave me three precious suggestion which I can hardly follow:
1. cut your hair. My hair hasn't been cut/ trim since 7/7/2008, and I still want to keep it, until I can mop the floor.
2. keep aside your glasses. My gandhi glasses is my icon, costs me 200 American Dollar bought when I was still rich and young. When you see my glasses, you see me.
3. Do something on your skin. This is may be something that I can do because I am now too tanned and dry.

First day of the year, bought 2 books. A poetry from Rumi and Karma Cola, from an Indian author. Planned to buy more books. Planned.

Was talking about writing the last entry last time. Wrote a long (but unfinished) one, couldn't continue as mood drifted. May be I shall just post to share the thought at that time.