Runs on food and music, will sing for chips and pasta.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Letter one hundred and six - Day three hundred and forty-seven of your vacation

Dearest J,

Felt particularly aimless last night and tonight, right after my gigs while driving home.  The feeling was like I felt like going somewhere, meeting someone, doing something - but I didn't go anywhere else other than home, didn't go meet anyone because I didn't feel like meeting anyone other than you, and didn't feel like doing anything if I wasn't going to meet you.

The aimlessness came from, I don't know if the feeling is loneliness?  It seems odd that I would feel that because I thought that going around, in and out of shows, and going home alone have been something most natural to me... I always have something to look forward to the next day - after a show.   I always have yet another something to do the next day, the next week, the next hour, when I get home, etc.

Just that in between that something coming up next, my next appointment, that next show, next rehearsal, etc, I don't have you in between - to distract me like you used to.  Remember how I used to complained that I had to go to bed late because with you around, I couldn't just sit there at my desk and finish a piece of work and hit the bed....

Thats'w what you used to complain too, you didn't get to sleep early when you come round.  You would watch TV while while waiting for me to get off my PC, or you'd finish your book and am still not done - or we would stay up late just talking so much before you look at the clock and screamed the time.

These days I have Thursday around to stop me from my track at home, sometimes I just stop whatever I'm doing, to play with her, pat her or comb her hair, mostly I just stop to watch her.  She still doesn't purr, or meow.

A few months ago Michelle emailed to tell me that she would like to dedicate a new soap she was making to you and I, named Songbird, a soap to represent freedom, childlike hope and optimism for the future..and the joy of noticing the relishing the present.  I finally met with her at a weekend market and got a whole bunch of soaps for myself and some friends.  Here you go, it's our soap and it's square, the way you like it.

In her words...

For scent, I'm thinking of blending the sharp, fresh and outdoorsy scents of pine, eucalyptus, cypress, and perhaps bergamot for a light citrusy-floral note. For colouring, I'm thinking sunrise over a field or forest - so the bottom will be a muted green, while the top of the soap will have swirls of orange and yellow clays.

It's a very busy time for me here.  I haven't been allowed the time or leisure to sit there and count the days to your anniversary.  Though a week ago I made a FB page for you.  Many people have since then left many stories on the page.

Ok, I have sat here long enough, the feeling of loneliness has long been drained out.  Now it's just tiredness and anxiety for tomorrow.  I need to work all my dance numbers - much work is needed.  I need to sit dow and work on all my talking notes for my NBT show.  I need to...many many things.  See, am that busy.  Given that, you don't have to worry if I would stay lonely for long ok, there are always things to do, places to go, people to see, songs to sing.

And maybe, I do enjoy feeling lonely and missing you every now and then, my little pockets of indulgence in my sweet misery.

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Thursday, September 08, 2011

Our soup kitchen in 2003

Was updating the FB page with details of Justin's soup kitchen outing for Oct 3, meant to give some little background information about our involvement in soup kitchen work - got carried away and wrote too much.  So I post the entry here, full length, rid of guilt of being too long-winded.

Back in 2003 (if am not wrong), Justin and I spent close to every single Sunday of the year volunteering for the KL chapter of Food Not Bombs soup kitchen, at Bukit Nanas.

In the mornings Justin would drive us down to a few wet markets in KL to collect unwanted/discarded/leftover vegetables and fruits from the vendors there.  Then it's off to the Food Not Bombs kitchen in Bangsar Utama (Hishamuddin Rais' flat) to drop off the food collection for the cooks.

Then we head home to Justin's place to have lunch, etc.  By then his maid back  then (Cina from Indonesia, she is very very much missed and loved) would have started cooking huge batch of white rice in his kitchen.  Cina then load the rice into two huge ice boxes.

By 5pm we load Justin's family car with the rice, all the recycled utensils.  We head back to Bangsar Utama to collect the rest of the food - menu usually consists of vegetarian lentil soup with the vegetables we collected in the morning, cut fruits, and sometimes sandwiches.

(at some point we started a fundraiser for our expenses, to buy cooking oil, finance other things, medication for the homeless, etc - we would drive around town to collect unwanted clothes from donors and sell them nice and cheap outside the Bukit Nanas church after Sunday morning mass.  Our sale was always a hit)

By 545pm we would arrive at the Bukit Nanas serving place, behind of Museum Telekom and outside of the big Cathedral Church.  Volunteers set up tables and lay table cloth.  The bee line for food is very long, all the way to the main road.  Cina and I would serve the food, along with other volunteers.  Justin would mingle, and catch up with his regular addicts.

Most of the people showed up for food are/were drug addicts, homeless people on substance.  Some were just some lonely souls who wanted some company to eat and talk to on a Sunday evening.

We would then take turns to clean the plastic plates by the side of the walkway where there was a public tap with running water.  Cina would always pack a few plastic stools for us to sit on while washing up. By the time we pack up everything into the car and watch everyone slowly dispersed, it's close to 8pm.  Sometimes Justin and I would go for a quick meal with some of the volunteers in a mamak nearby before we head home to his parents.

We got very burnt out after one whole year, we dropped out of the volunteer group.  Justin didn't want to go back because he was really more interested in helping the addicts rehab.  He had a few major efforts that didn't really work out in the end but he changed the condition of a few person's lives for a good few months.  Some of those he helped eventually passed away due to illness and exposure.  Anyway, his chapter in his rehab work with these few addicts deserve a much detailed entry and I'm not even sure if I would do the stories' justice with whatever memories I have of them.

Those Sundays in the year of 2003 will always have a special place in my heart.  We poured our sweat, tears and blood into the simple work of providing a meal to some people in town...I doubt the changes we made were anything significant and am sure many of those friends I met back then are still out on the streets.  Maybe many have died out, I hope some of them found better place.

(Justin with one of the friends we met back then at Batu Arang, a rehab centre)

I will find time in the future, to scan more old photos (when I find them) from those days of serving to share here.

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