Sunday, July 18, 2010

My Painful Introduction To Wasps

A lot of things, which could be turned into interesting blog pieces, happened since my last posting but I was not in the mood to write. It wasn't easy to recharge and psych myself back into writing mode after  two weeks. Hopefully this one gets posted today.

Of the many things that happened during the short break I took from blogging, this particular one which I am about to relate eclipsed all the rest. It catapulted me back to an incident which happened some 53 years ago when I was stung by wasps at a tender age of about 5.  I was sniffing at some flowers  Mum planted outside the house when  I felt a sudden intense pain, both sharp and piercing  in my nose and ran screaming back into the house.  I didn't know what happened but told Mum that something went inside my nose while sniffing those flowers. It was not just the pain that made me howl and scream. I had been forewarned many times NOT to go round sniffing at flowers. Mum explained that insects might find their way up my nose and that doctors would have to remove my entire nose to get at the insects. It was the fear of losing my nose plus the intense pain that made me scream my heart out.  Mum acted the doctor, inspecting my nose, torchlight and all.  When both the pain and howling subsided, Mum went outside to investigate. She came back and told me I had nothing to be scared of for I was ONLY stung by wasps.

Needless to say, I exercised a lot of  caution every time a beautiful flower came into sight ever since that traumatic experience. But, fate has a way of knocking at one's door without prior notice.

Fifty three wasp-free years have passed before I came face to face with yet another encounter of the same kind...........well, with a slight twist.  I have this habit, which I picked up from Mum, of plucking out yellow leaves off  shrubs, trees, whatever, as far as my hands could reach before they fall to the ground. The logic behind this seemingly ridiculous act is to avoid a much more gruelling, back-breaking task of having to pick  them off the ground. So, when I saw all the yellow leaves sticking out of this rambutan tree, I stretched and lunged at them like a woman possessed. (If I may offer an analogy,  the feeling is very similar at the sight of  grey hair sticking out  of your head!!!) Even though I was  engrossed  with this addiction to yellow leaves, I did notice this particular leaf. It was already a dark brown but still firmly attached in between the branches and it was nicely rolled up like a fat cigar. Thinking that the branches must have prevented it from falling, I tugged at it and......... you guessed  it.......All Hell Broke Loose!!!!  The hand which tried to dislodge their home was their prime target. The  moment I felt that unmistakeably familiar pain of 53 years ago, sharp and piercing, I knew it was them.

The rambutan tree beside my house

The whole sequence of events which followed were remarkably similar to those of 53 years ago. I ran back into the house as fast as I could and told Mum all about it, but this time around, minus all the screaming and howling, of course! Mum is still overly protective of her daughter. She insisted on burning the hive immediately herself. I had to plead with her to let my other half  undertake that manly job. Well, they are still up there in between the branches, nice and comfortable, even though I poured out my painful story to my better half. As always, the answer was  "OK, OK I'll do it  afterwards". It's been almost 2 weeks now since he made the promise.  May be the job is not manly enough for him. Hmmmmm......may be I should try and get that leaf, wasps, hive and all and shove it inside his golf bag. On second thought, this would not be a good idea. I would stand to lose not only the branch but the whole tree!!! I don't want to lose the tree, even though it  has stopped bearing sweet and crispy fruits of the  lekang nyok ( in Kedah lingo) variety. Why it has stopped bearing fruits is an entirely different story altogether . Suffice to say that golf man and his theory were the reasons the tree has stopped bearing fruits, temporarily I hope.

The deceivingly harmless dried leaf . I braved all odds to get this shot 

Profile of the wasp

The hive

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Magic Of Numbers

This piece of news here about Datuk Siti Nurhaliza has prompted me to write this article. They say everything starts with a dream. Well. I started nurturing a dream of becoming rich and famous ever since I was in my teens but to date there's not the slightest of hint that I am heading in that direction. It doesn't matter anymore now but I do keep abreast of what our local who's who are up to flaunting their wealth like there's no tomorrow. It is fascinating to note how the rich and famous splash and splurge their enormous wealth with such nonchalance leaving people like me gaping in awe and disbelief . Apparently, having expensive cars is not quite enough for this exclusive lot. They  have to take it a step further by having personalised registration numbers and in the case of the country's top singer, RM60k is mere chickenfeed. Well, I suppose when you do something, do it all the way. It suddenly dawned on me that I had made the biggest mistake of my life; I should have pursued singing as a career 40 years ago!!! Who knows, I might be chauffeur driven in a Rolls by now. Fat hopes.

I'm not against the Datuk. I would have done the same had I been in her position. If there's anything that fascinates me, car registration numbers is one of them. It pleases me to see cars with a nice registration number. They need not be single digits; four digits would be fine if they are nicely arranged. It is annoying to see numbers which are haphazardly arranged, even more so if the cars are worth hundreds and hundreds of thousands or millions, may be. I just don't understand how some people are willing to fork out so much and yet skip the finer points which stick out like a sore thumb.

It was this craze for car numbers that had me trying my luck to obtain one some twenty years ago. I was realistic enough not to try the single digits. They were well out of my reach even twenty years ago. Two digits seemed a bit scanty on the length of the plate. I was not really keen on three digits  so the only choice left was to go for the four digits. I had to sweet talk my better half to make the necessary enquiries from JPJ. He obliged but not without first retorting that nobody would ever notice a Proton Wira Aeroback with a nice registration number. That was the new car I planned to buy then.I was neither disheartened nor disillusioned. He was entitled to his opinions. I had my own reasons. If I can't have a Merc or a BMW, then at least, give me the pleasure of  getting a nice number plate. Is that asking too much?

I didn't know what the running alphabets were for Selangor at that time. There was nothing I could do to rearrange them even if I wanted to. So, I had to accept them as they were. It was indeed a double joy when I not only got the number that I wanted "6789" but it also came with an impressive "BEB" and all for RM200. Well, babe, that was one good catch.

Now, twenty years and two cars later, I still retain my "BEB 6789". And I must add this bit....remember the guy who passed the caustic remarks about nobody taking any notice of 6789 on a Proton Wira Aeroback? Well, soon after that, he decided to register his car with the same number and like me, two cars later, he still keeps his 6789.  Incidentally we both share the same model but his is gold and mine is silver.