Just where the buses stop in Alangudi

DEC 30 — My uncle talks about forks on the road of his life — and how he taken more than a few wrong turns.

My brother brings back the stories. He’s not an uncle as much as a cousin to my mom, but since she grew up in the home his father, her uncle built, talking about Alangudi in the Sivaganga District would be wrong if not taking in local ways. Continue reading “Just where the buses stop in Alangudi”


A doubtful case, yes, its unoriginal

DEC 23 – It had to happen.

Standing beside the an electronics store staring at rows of television set showing Thor destroying a bridge to his world. Somehow, in an empty mall, it was me and this other dude, with sponge and glass cleaner in hand.

I don’t know where he’ll be tonight, both the cleaner and Thor, but I wager all of us fictional and otherwise will be thinking about the worlds we belong to and want to belong to tonight.

It’s that old chestnut. Year end.

Met two old friends these past days.

My old debate team mate was in town. Teh Tariks and roti canais set the scene as we chatted about the old — us getting wet in Ireland daily as Christmas weather can be trying — and the new, on her settling her children at school and uni, while selling the family home in Seremban, the theme resurfaced. Continue reading “A doubtful case, yes, its unoriginal”

No meal calls these days

APRIL 22 — It is always a pleasure. To write.

A week past the Tamil New Year, and I have only Mittens to talk to at this hour (It is half past one in the morning).

I had what they refer to as an evening of personal reminiscing. These things just happen, they do not announce themselves. And it was unsurprisingly bittersweet. Continue reading “No meal calls these days”

Watch your wallets, I’m Tamil

This column first appeared in The Malay Mail Online on March 12, 2015.

The funeral march for the five lads, all Indian, killed by police in Penang allegedly when they were in bed in August 2013.
The funeral march for the five lads, all Indian, killed by police in Penang allegedly when they were in bed in August 2013.

MARCH 12 — “Please don’t run, I won’t rob you.” The thought flashed through my mind.

I could not stop myself from thinking that two days ago.

In a swanky city café I felt all so urban and in — I would not go as far as calling myself chic, urbane or fabulous but my shirt was ironed and pants were involved — until the lady at the table next to me got up abruptly and took her drink, cigarette and shopping bags with her as soon as I was seated; and relocated to a table much further away. With only a sprinkling of patrons inside and on the sidewalk where I was, it did appear like she was trying to distance herself. The lemongrass tea lost its fragrance after that.

Perhaps I was just being paranoid.

Perhaps I was just being Malaysian. Continue reading “Watch your wallets, I’m Tamil”

Anwar in prison

This column first appeared in The Malay Mail Online, on February 12, 2015.It is reproduced here.

I was the media go to guy at PKR between 2012-2013, working out of Anwar Ibrahim’s office and managing both social media and traditional media for the party for the duration leading to the 13th General Election.


He enjoys the limelight, but shutting the lights out so viciously tarnishes this government .
He enjoys the limelight, but shutting the lights out so viciously tarnishes this government .

FEBRUARY 12 — “Life had already given him sufficient reasons for knowing that no defeat was the final one.” (Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez, from The General in His Labyrinth)

Have you seen Anwar Ibrahim walk into a room? It’s quite foreign in these parts — in Putrajaya certainly no less — to see a consummate public figure soak up the room and make it an occasion whether it is a large coalition meeting or just a small group of out of towners seeking his time.

It’s not aura exactly, it’s the immersion he has to his role. No one believes in Anwar Ibrahim more than Anwar Ibrahim.

It explains why all discussions about the Opposition leader assume a different feel than other politicians past and present. At the same time, his detractors will say verily that that is why he is always entangled in one surreal political subterfuge to the next. Continue reading “Anwar in prison”

This column first appeared in The Malay Mail Online. It is reproduced here.


Be careful, there are worst things than being a heart donor
Be careful, there are worst things than being a heart donor

FEBRUARY 5 — Have a look at the date again — the fifth day of the second month in 2015.

Nine days to Valentine’s Day and the naysayers have not started with their tirade over the dual — real or imagined — threat of fornication and layered proselytisation through the reference of a till lately, obscure Christian saint. Phew!

They are starting late this year, but don’t doubt them, they will start even if they sound like broken records — to sympathisers and supporters alike.

(Talking about Valentine’s, I really don’t want to know how ISIS will be observing it this year in order to warn Muslims worldwide away from performing unsanctioned love acts. I can suggest some nasty “ideas” as a joke, but I fear — through the mysterious powers of the Internet— somehow they’d hear about it, and actually carry them out. Those ISIS dudes, they raise “doing” to a whole new stratosphere.)

Over here in Malaysia, it has become an annual ritual — I know, it’s cute, a ritual to fight a ritual — to demonise those who are inclined to dating on the day. Continue reading

What you realise if you’ve taken the 62

AUG 26, 2014 — I can’t recollect what happened on October 26, 2012, but according to the fare reload machine, I took a train. A MRT train in Singapore, actually. I’m not sure what it meant on August 22, of this year, as I stood by the machine, knowing this information.

It just means a series of details from the past and present, with no emphasise of how to find advice from them. Sort of how the weekend went for me, with a number of bus and train rides, that the fare card will remind me the next time I get into the republic.

It was that kind of weekend. Where I was insistent on repeating things when they have been the same for some time, same without a chance of being something else. And missing out on new things, because I can. Continue reading “What you realise if you’ve taken the 62”