Saturday, July 28, 2007

Crossing Borders


Ok fine, I exaggerated. Singapore actually looked more like this:


The picket sign and the line indicating dry land would've been considered graffiti in Singapore. Seriously, those guys down there sure know how to keep a city clean. It was my 2nd time crossing the straits, 1st time being when I was only 13 and the only thing I could remember about the city was... absolutely nothing.

How was it? It was like stepping into a time machine and landing back in Malaysia, 100 years after. Everything you wished our country could be, Singapore already IS. At one point while walking around Clarke Quay (Imagine The Curve. Now multiply it by 100.), I was praying someone would just rob me of my passport. Sigh.

When we first arrived at Singapore, I was told to buy an ezlink card. It's kinda like the Touch-N-Go card we have here except it's only used for buses and trains (and definitely a lot easier to reload). Now this was my first transaction using Sing dollars so it was rather awkward:

(At the ezlink counter)

Counter girl: How may I help you?

Ben: I'd like to buy an ezlink card please.

Counter girl: Which one would you like?

Ben: Give me the 15 ringgit one please.

Counter girl: The what?

Ben: I mean, give me the 15 sing dollar one please. [Thinks to self: I sound like a foreigner. I must blend in.] Eh no, what I really mean is I would like the 15 sing one. [15 sing? That doesn't even make sense.] Ah, nonono! I mean, give me the 15...

Counter girl: You want 15 ezlink cards?

Ben: No.. I.. wait.. WANYEAN HELP!

My ego still hurts when I think about that conversation. Aside from that, I'm definitely going over again soon. Anyway, MOS rocked!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Don't Generalise Us

The bald one is Adrian and the guy on the computer is me :D


My Microsoft Paint skills need a lot of work.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Campus Life Rant

When you ask the undergrads here about how life is in campus, most of them would give you the same answer; "I wanna move out." Now truth be told, it isn't that bad in there. They have water, electricity and wireless internet connection. They have more than enough tennis, badminton, basketball and futsal courts in every college and even cafeterias with a variety of stalls to choose from.

So what makes more than 90% of the student population wanna rip their eyes out with each passing day of their campus lives? The silly rules, all 25 of them which include the ever popular:

- Undergrads are required to be back in their own rooms by 12am.

And if you do comply to all 25 of the rules, they might even change your diapers for you, buy you a big pacifier to suck on and read you a bedtime story. University, where undergrads are treated like adults. BAH! And there's no use protesting or being pissed because all the hostel staff is going to do is shake your wee-wee after you're done pissing and say things like, "It's protocol."

Do they even know what that means?! Next time a staff member says "It's protocol", I'm just gonna say to them, "It's unguchaka." and show them my pinky. They'll be so horribly confused that they'll start slapping themselves with their tongue. Yeah, they will be THAT confused.

Another thing that gets on my nerves is our security guards AKA, police-wannabes. Real policemen carry guns and batons. These guys carry a pen and a 555 book. Yet, they still want to act like they're the keepers of justice.

And they nab us for the most mediocre of offenses like "Oi, rambut panjang! Saman! Saman!" I mean seriously, does the sight of my long hair somehow give you cancer? Is contact of my hair on my collar contributing to global warming? Go use your saman-writing power to stop more dangerous criminals la like.. I don't know.. oxygen-stealing undergrads?

But I don't think they will be much of a use in a real emergency either. Imagine a robber kicking the down doors of our treasury office and yelling, "Give me all your money!" Then a security officer who happens to walk by would scream, "EH BUDAK!" then he reaches for his pocket and writes a saman for "vandalism" for the robber and skips merrily away.

Real policemen talk about the guns they are packing and criminal arrests they have under their belt. This brings up another question; What do the university security officers talk about?:

(In a kopitiam)

Officer 1: Check out my new pen.

Officer 2: Nice! What brand is it?

Officer 1: Kilometrico.

Officer 2: Aaaw! You badass!

I mean, what else?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Dieting Is A Bitch

I have lost about 1.5kg ever since I got back here in Skudai two weeks ago. I am trying very hard to shed the 5kg I gained from 2 months worth of slugging back in KL. Sure I go to the gym but apparently, I was consuming calories a lot faster than I could burn them. So what I'm doing now is eating less and hitting the gym and basketball courts more often.

I can deal with the increased frequency of physical activities BUT the biggest gripe I have with this new 'program' of mine is well.. the diet. Before this, ALL my orders were accompanied by the words, "more rice" or "more noodles". What I do now is I walk up to a stall, order a plain portion of anything, consume my plain portion of anything and go back home feeling like one of them poor underfed African kids. Except of course instead of the droughts, civil war and despotism, I myself am responsible for my own starvation. It doesn't help either that the hawkers ALWAYS asks me if I want an extra order. That is why I have devised a plan:

(Ordering at a hawker stall)

Ben: [I'm just going to quickly order and then dash back to my table. Anything else she says, just ignore.]

Hawker: Order?

Ben: One plate of chicken rice. [Now run! RUN!]

Hawker: Wait!

Ben: [No! Cover your ears, resist her offerings!]

Hawker: Hey boy, I need you to get back here!

Ben: [Damn she's persistent.]

Hawker: If you walk away now, you might not get your order!


Hawker: I need your table number.

Ben: ...

Hawker: So is that your new order?

Ben: No.. Yes.. I don't know. -sobs-

It's going to take some getting use to.

Finally, someone is doing it. Yes, I like Norah Jones. Shut Up.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Blood Scares Me

Here's an idea on how to encourage people to give some blood to the hospitals:

(Drives past a banner)

Normie: Oh look, a blood donation drive.

Adrian: So?

Normie: Donating blood is good for health you know. I've donated twice. How about you?

Adrian: I can't. I have.. er.. anemia.

Normie: You chicken.

Adrian: I am not. Besides, why donate blood when you can sell it? Hospitals will pay good money for our blood.

Normie: So if they gave you money in exchange for your blood, would you do it?

Adrian: Hell yeah.

Normie: What about your anemia?

Adrian: What about it?

Well, at least it encouraged Adrian.

[Start dream sequence]

Nurse: Sir, I don't think it is possible.

Adrian: Why not?

Nurse: Sir, you already have 4 cannulas inserted into both your arms and your legs. There are no other areas left for us to extract your blood.

Adrian: Heart pumps lots of blood right? Stab one right into it.

Nurse: But... you might die.

Adrian: Will I still get my money?

[End dream sequence]

I myself have never donated blood before for obvious reasons (look at the title). I guess I couldn't even if I wanted to because the last time I had blood extracted from my body, it took the nurse 10 minutes to get one drop of blood onto the sample sheet.

It wasn't fun for the nurse. She was actually grunting and sweating as she was getting stock out of my thumb. It came to a point where she stopped and just stared frustratingly at me. I wanted to tell her, "No sorry. That's my real thumb." but I figured that I shouldn't poke the bear.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Root For The Home Team

You'd think that 5 Chinese Malaysian undergrads who all got accepted into local university would not only be grateful to the government, but would also no doubt get behind their own country in every step of the way:

(At a mamak stall, the Malaysia - China football game kicks off)

Ben: Malaysia's going down!

Kim: They are playing at Bukit Jalil.
Ben: So?

Kim: So they have home advantage. Look at the number of Malaysian supporters out there tonight.

Ben: China has supporters too AND do you wanna know a secret?

Kim: Yeah?

Ben: Most of them are our own people.

(2 minutes later, China's Wang Dong tested the keeper. The shot was saved.)

In unison: NOOOOOO!!

Adrian: Bah, the Malaysian keeper got lucky.

CK: Don't worry, we'll get the next shot.


Whole mamak: *staring at our table*

As one of the most ethnocentric race in the world, boy do we suck.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Surf's Up

(During a class)

Lecturer: So that's all for today. If you all want more information on this chapter, you can go surf with goggles.

Class: ...

You can find anything by surfing with goggles these days.

Ben (to Kim):
What is he talking about?!

Kim: I don't know but right now, I'm really hoping that he mispronounced a search engine or else we might have to grab our swimming gear and head to Cherating this weekend.

Yay, the weekends is here!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I Wanna Be An Action Hero

Yesterday, the guys and I drove down to the city to watch Die Hard 4.0. The movie kicked ass! I caught myself uuuh-ing and aaah-ing to every crash and explosion on screen. There were A LOT of them and they were all just so friggin' GORGEOUS! I especially enjoyed the tunnel scene when the cars were flying all over the place.

On my way home to the movies, I seriously contemplated quitting engineering and enrolling myself into the Academy of Action Heroes, if ever there was such a thing. Bruce Willis just looked so cool killing them baddies with the most unconventional of ways and then casually blurting out smart one-liners:

(After McClane rammed an enemy helicopter with a car)

Matt: Dude, you killed a helicopter with a car!

McClane: I ran out of bullets.

Then I try to imagine myself as John McClane, the hero who's trying to protect a geeky but highly intelligent hacker named Matt Farrell:

(Scene: A car chase. Benjamin Sew Ben McSew and Matt are being chased down by a black SUV with two gunmen constantly firing at them)

Matt: Oh my god! They're shooting at us!

McSew: Should we surrender?

Matt: NO! We gotta shake them off our tail! Take a left now, there's a tunnel there.

McSew: But the car might topple over if I turn immediately.


McSew: Ok fine. Uh oh.. The signals aren't working.

Matt: You've got to be kidding.

McSew: I'm afraid not. Looks like we're not turning.


McSew: Hey! You may be our only hope to end this terrorist threat but I'm a cop and I say NO ONE is above the law.


McSew: That's it. *pulls out a gun and shoots Matt*

(Roll credits)

Maybe I'll just stick to engineering for a while.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

A Business Lesson Learnt

At the start of this semester, 3 of our friends wanted to stay off campus with us. That of course meant that we have to start looking for a bigger house to move in to. It didn't take long to find us a renter:

Adrian: Hello. Is this Mr. Lo?

Mr Lo: Yes.

Adrian: I'm calling to ask about the house you're renting out at Taman Pulai.

Mr Lo: Ah yes.

Adrian: What is the asking price?

Mr Lo: RM800.

Adrian: Can't we go any lower? We really need a cheap house by next week.

Mr Lo: Nope. Take it or leave it.

Adrian: We'll have to think about it first.

A week later, three of our friends decided to stay in campus again due to financial reasons. Adrian then called up Mr. Lo again to call off the house hunt by telling him that we wanted to look elsewhere. Unfortunately, he wouldn't take no for an answer:

Mr Lo: So how about it?

Adrian: We've decided to look somewhere else. Sorry.

Mr Lo: Ok fine. I'll make it RM750.

Adrian: It's still too expensive.

Mr Lo: RM700.

Adrian: Nah, it's ok.

Mr Lo: RM650.

Adrian: No, really.

Mr Lo: RM625.

Adrian: But...

Mr Lo: RM615.

Adrian: Listen here!

Mr Lo: FINE! RM600!

Adrian: WE DON'T WANT THE HOUSE! *click*


Mr Lo: SMS: RM550.

Damn. If only they still wanted to move in with us. I've seen my mom use this 'trick' at pasar malams before. She got a comb of banana that was initially worth RM5 down to RM1. I just find it ironic that to really want something for less, you gotta not want it more.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Back In Uni

The 2 month holiday has turned us all into mature adults:

(While all of us were waiting at the faculty walkway)

Ben: So how was your holiday?

York: I just ate, slept and..


(Poses and checks them out as they walk by)

Ben: (Girls walk away) Anyway, what were you saying?

York: Yeah I ate, slept and played a little bit of basketball.

It has gotten us refreshed and all ready to continue with our pursuit for academic excellence:

(Lecture hall)

Ben: I haven't watched Transformers yet.

Wanyean: Oh man you gotta watch it!

Ben: I'm thinking of watching it this Wednesday.

Wanyean: Let's go together!

Ben: But.. you watched it already.

Wanyean: Well, it is THAT good!

Ben: At least you've been to the cinemas. I was stuck at home for the entire 2 months.

Wanyean: Wanna go to Melaka?

Ben: Sure.

Wanyean: Ok, next week then!

Ben: But we have classes.

Wanyean: Let's skip them all.

And more importantly, it has made us all ever that smarter:

(Lecture hall)

Ben: Can't believe it's been 2 months since I last used a pen.

Adrian: Really? Try writing something.

Ben: Ok. *writes*

Adrian: DUDE.

Ben: What's wrong? It says "My pen is black".

Adrian: Absolutely nothing. Now write "My pen is short" and sign your name below it.

Ben: Okie dokie.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Bye Bye KL

Can't believe by tomorrow, my 2 month semester break will be all over. I have slept, pigged and lazed long enough to get myself fully prepared for yet another FOUR nerve wrecking months at UTM. Though I can't help but look back and think of how I could have spent my holidays differently; go out for a movie, get a job, meet up with long lost friends or maybe attend a blog meet. Oh well.

I just got back from a huge relative get-together. My dad comes from a family of 12 siblings. Try adding that number with their number of children and the number of their children's children and.. well suffice to say that there were a lot of Sews under one roof that night. But instead of mingling around, the anti-social in me chose to sit in a quiet corner and observe the different antics on display that night:

1. My aunt wanted to change the ASTRO channel so she grabbed the remote and started flipping through channels. She was surprised because all the other channels were blank. Being persistent as she was, she continued flipping from channel 1 up till channel 90. Apparently the other ten relatives who were present at the scene, enjoyed watching numbers run on the screen as NONE of them wanted to tell her that she took the wrong remote.

2. When presented with some cake, my 13 year old cousin refused to have any because she claims that cake has 'calories' and is very fattening. She then proceeds to play tag with the other cousins.

3. The party was for one of my uncle's birthday. In the sea of 40 over uncles, aunties, cousins, nieces, and nephews, it wasn't surprising that more than half of the people present didn't know who the birthday boy was. It wasn't until the cutting of the cake when the birthday boy took his place that everyone went, "Oooooh. This one." My mom then panicked because she gave the birthday present to the wrong uncle.

I also liked their choice of packet drinks. Why go with the conventional Yeos and F&N when you have:

Amoy Canning. Since 1908.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Flirty Me

There are a lot of benefits to being a sexily dressed girl. Ok, an explanation is in order. I went to an immigration centre to renew my passport yesterday. Now I sorta expected a frustratingly slow service but as it turned out, the whole renewal process was actually pretty fast.

'Fast' being the operative word here because while it's great being efficiently directed from one counter to next like a fast food drive-thru, it all lacked one thing; rapport. Every counter it was like, "1218!!! Form please. Picture please. IC please. Thumprint please. Next counter. 1219!!!"

It didn't seem like such a big deal to me. That is until this skimpily dressed girl got up to the counter right after me and practically spent 10 minutes getting her form evaluated (it usually takes a minute). Hearing giggles and laughters coming from her side, it was apparent that the counter guy was flirting with her.

Now my gripe here is, why can't the 'normal' people receive the same warm smile and friendly treatment? Does it all have to be about sex? Well if it is, then I might as well join in:

(At an immigration counter)

Ben: Heloooooo~

Counter Girl: Form please.

Ben: Sure~

Counter Girl: Picture please.

Ben: Here. ... It's getting hot, isn't it?

Counter Girl: Sir, I need you to button up your shirt.

Ben: Oops. It came undone on its own.

Counter Girl: Right. IC please.

Ben: Here you go. ... I can't wait for the next process.

Counter Girl: What might that be, sir?

Ben: You grabbing my hands.

Counter Girl: ... why?

Ben: For thumbprints.

Counter Girl: *smile* Sir, here's a special form for you to sign.

Ben: Oh? What for?

Counter Girl: It will reduce your waiting time and get you done with all this immediately.

Ben: I knew you had a thing for me. *signs the paper*

(Ben is immediately dragged out by the authorities for legally admitting to sexual harassment)

It never works the other way.

I updated the About Me section.

Sunday, July 01, 2007


Today, the family and I sent my younger sister to uni. Now, Universiti Malaya is a very well known learning institution in Malaysia and I was admittedly jealous when I heard that my sister got a place in accounting over there. Yeah I'm in a public university too but what's UTM compared to UM right?:

(Meeting.. anyone)

Ben: Hi. I'm Ben.

Mark: Oh hello. I'm Mark.

Ben: Where are you studying?

Mark: I study at (insert private college). How about you?

Ben: UTM.

Mark: Where?

Ben: Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.

Mark: Where?

Ben: Skudai, Johor.

Mark: Oh.

Ben: It's a public university.

Mark: Oh. *mentally pins an 'idiot' badge on Ben's forehead*

My sister (Jo), on the other hand, gets a much better response:

Jo: Hi, I'm Jo.

Mark: Where are you studying?

Jo: UM.

Mark: OMFG! UM?! You're like a crazy genius person!

Jo: Thanks.

Mark: Unlike your brother.

But as I said before, I was jealous. Because after driving into her better university, passing by her better faculties, parking in her better parking lot and checking into her better hostel, we finally arrived at her room.

6 undergrads. 1 really tiny room.

If only I could take a picture of all six of the family's horrified faces. There were already 3 families in the room when we got there. All of them were just gloomily sitting around as if waiting for Ashton Kutcher to rush into the room with his camera crew. Unfortunately, that almost never happens when you want it to.

I will never complain about having to share a room in UTM with one other person only, ever.

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