“Wishing all Chinese readers of The Wordslinger blog Gong Xi Fa Cai!” says Jessica. “May joy, wealth and health be with you today and always. Huat ah!”
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Walking along a pathway in Desa Park City, I fish out my mobile phone and jab Sifu Sabrina’s number. “Hello? Sabrina? Where’re you? I’m near the pavilion.”
“I’m with my dogs!” A pause. “Ah! I see you now!”
I saunter towards her and stop a few feet away. “So, can you give your predictions for the twelve animal signs?”
“Sorry, not this year.” She starts to walk towards Three Little Birds Coffee and I stride along. “I’m giving too many freebies for your blog. For this year, I’ll just predict how the different businesses will fare.”
We sit at a table in the café and order cakes and coffee. Sabrina puts her doggies on the empty chair next to her and, soon, our orders arrive.
I sit upright and cross my legs at the knees. “Can we start with the good?”
“Wood-element industries will perform well. That sector includes publishing, plantations, furniture stores, fabric factories, fashion designers, bookstores, healthcare professionals such as doctors and sinseh, and private colleges.” She lifts her cup of latte and takes a sip. “The metal-element businesses will also be strong. Examples are banks, loan sharks" -- the corners of her lips upturn in a grin -- "goldsmiths, mechanical engineering firms, hardware stores and motor repair workshops. The fire-element businesses will be smooth but there will not be big gains. They include electronics, IT, entertainment, lighting stores, oil companies, and restaurants.”
“In the Hsia calendar, the year of the dog is symbolized by Yang earth atop a Dog.
So the Earth element is prominent this year.” She arches her eyebrows. “Wood destroys earth, so the earth element symbolizes money to wood-element industries.”
I take a piece of cake from a plate between us and start to eat. “Which kind of businesses will fare badly?”
“Water-element businesses will be in the doldrums.” Sabrina tosses her gaze at her dogs for a moment and strokes their back. “Money to the earth element is symbolized by water which is absent. So, challenging times are faced by ice cream factories, beauty and health spas, casinos, fisheries, cleaning services, bubble tea stores, shipping companies and suppliers of refrigerated products such as fruits and fishes. However, among the five elements, the earth-element business will be the worst. Examples are real estate, property developers, architects, pet stores, and pottery.”
I tear my gaze away from her eyes with great difficulty. “What are some of the important things to take note of for year of the Dog?”
“The lucky hours for Dog year are 3 am – 5 am, known as Tiger hours; 5 am – 7 am, called the Rabbit hours; 11 am – 1 pm, referred to as Horse hours; and 7 pm to 9 pm, regarded as the Dog hours.” Sabrina brushes stray strands of hair from her forehead. “Lucky numbers are 3, 4 and 9. Lucky colours are green, purple and red.” Her expression becomes serious. “There will be earth-related natural disasters like earthquakes and underground mining mishaps. Also, avoid travelling in underground subways. Several foreign cities like Hong Kong have them." She leans back on the chair. ”Finally, I’ve said before that one should be careful of the North direction which will be a trouble spot. So…if your front door faces north, here’s what you can do – hang a wind chime with six metal tubes under the door. Another feng shui object you can display is a five-element pagoda.”
Monday, December 18, 2017
“Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,” says Jessica, “to all Christian readers of The Wordslinger blog. I say, I just stole Santa’s naughty list! Whoa… the Gang of Four’s names – Chow Kah, Hussein, Wati and mine – are there!”
Thursday, November 30, 2017
“How can I help you, Mr Ranjit?” asks Paulina (pix below), her tone sticky-sweet.
“I run a Bengali bread bakery and profits are down.” A sigh rolls from Ranjit’s lips.“And I don’t know what to do, so can you help me?”
Paulina leans back in her chair, rests her elbows on its arms and steeples her hands. “Have you tried cutting costs?”
“I use dirt-cheap Bangla labour, so there’s not much I can do in that area. I don’t want to compromise on quality by using low-cost inferior ingredients. I want to maintain quality.”
Paulina squints in thought for a moment. “Hmmm…So, that leaves you with two options -- either increase price or pump up sales volume.”
“People only eat bread in the morning. So, how to grow the sales volume? Very difficult, some more I’m in retail sales.”
“Then you’ve to increase price.”
“How to justify the price hike?”
“Have you heard of the word ‘artisanal’ “?
Ranjit shrugs his shoulders. “Nope, Maam.”
“Artisanal food means food made by an artisan and by skilled hands. It’s priced higher than regular food. There’re now artisanal pizza, artisanal ice cream and even artisanal soap -- they're damn expensive! So, re-brand your product and call it ‘artisanal Bengali bread’!”
Ranjit gapes as epiphany strikes him. “Well, I’ll be…”
“What’s the name of your bakery?” Paulina’s spectacles slide down her nose and she pushes them up again (pix below).
“Ranjit Bengali Bread, Sentul.”
Turning sideways, Paulina taps a few buttons on the keyboard of her computer. “I see that your bakery doesn’t have a Facebook page as yet.” She flicks her gaze from the computer screen to Ranjit. “Never mind, I can create one for you, call it Ranjit Artisanal Bengali Bread.”
Ranjit scrunches his nose. “What if customers post bad reviews?”
Paulina gives a wave of her right hand. “No problem! I can create dozens of fakey Facebook accounts to post good reviews!” She raises two manicured fingers. ”You know, for every bad review, I can post two good ones. In that way, we can maintain a healthy ratio of 2 to 1 in your favour.” She leans forward on her desk, her eyes gleaming with hope. “So, can we discuss a social-media-based PR program for your bakery? It can be drawn up to suit your budget.” She pauses for a reply but there is none. “But if you want to go traditional, I can get a two-page write-up on your bakery in next year’s edition of the Holy Book of Sikhism.”
Ranjit’s eyes narrowed. “Er, I’d like to consider your suggestion.” He sits upright suddenly, causing the cushion’s springs to creak. “Can you give me your bill, please.”
Paulina’s fingers dances on the computer keyboard and a printer on her desk spits out a sheet of paper. “Here you are, sir, my consultancy charges.”
Ranjit’s eyes flare wider when he sees the bottom figure on the bill.“What? So expensive? This is ridiculous!”
“Mr Ranjit….” Paulina clamps her cherry-red lips to stave off a grin. “I offered you artisanal PR consultancy advice, not regular advice.”
Saturday, November 25, 2017
I pull my car over to the visitor’s parking lot, yank the handbrake up and get out. As I walk to the security booth at the entrance of Jessica's condominium, I lock my car with the remote control. Beep!
A Nepali security guard pops his head out of the window of the booth. “Yes, sir? Which unit?”
“Jessica’s unit, number eighty-eight -- she’s having a poolside BBQ.”
He gestures with an open palm. “Please enter, sir.”
When I reach the swimming pool, I see that Jessica’s party is in full swing -- some of the guests are scarfing down grilled food, ohers are dipping in the pool. Sporting a pair of shades, Mummy Lulu (pix below) is chatting with Johnny Yap, the owner of Hot Legs Niteclub & Karaoke.
The smell of cooked food wafts in the air and starts the engine of my appetite. A mini compo is blasting out foot-stomping music which almost makes my stomach vibrate and a singer's hoarse voice is shouting, “Put your fucking hands up!” I almost cringe at the vulgarity.
I spot Jessica and Chow Kah (pix below), half-submerged in the pool and wave at them. Chow Kah waves back at me and I go to the BBQ grill and pile some grilled squid rings and prawns on a plate. After getting a drink, I settle my butt at a poolside table and start to eat.
Within moments, Jessica joins me and slaps a high-five with me (pix below). “Glad you can come!” She drags out an empty chair beside her for Chow Kah who’s holding a plateful of satay in one hand and another plateful of popcorn shrimp in the other hand.
"Great party!" I flash a smile at Chow Kah and pop a squid ring into my mouth. “Where’s Wati?” Talk of the devil! I mean, Wati. At that moment, bikini-clad Wati (pix below) emerges from a changing room near the pool, rounds our table with a wiggle of her butt and joins us.
I flick my gaze at Wati, sitting across me. “Hi, Wati, where’s your best friend, Hussein?” I point at Jason, Mummy Lulu’s toyboy (pix below) -- togged up in swimming trunks and a bowtie -- gyrating under a marquee. “You know, two’s a couple, three’s a party!”
I shake my head and from the corner of my eye, I see Jason coming to our table. He pulls out a chair, nods and sits down. “Don’t let me interrupt your conversation,” he says.
Wati takes a swallow. “Penile fracture.”
My jaw sags a full inch. “Sweet thunderation! How did it happen?”
Wati’s eyes twinkle with amusement. “He was making boom-boom with his fourth wife when it happened!” She picks up a six-inch bamboo skewer. “An accident happened which broke his manhood." She snaps the bamboo skewer into two. “Like this!”
Jessica picks up a skewer of satay. “Do you know that certain sex positions are dangerous?” She brings the skewer to Chow Kah’s mouth. “As proven by research.”
“Wow!” I sit upright. “You just read another interesting scholarly article?”
Chow Kah bites off two morsels of meat from the skewer. “Yes, Jessica loves to read!” He takes the skewer away from Jessica's hand.
Jessica picks up her glass of fruit punch and sucks at the straw (pix below). “The University of Campinas -– that’s in Brazil -- compiled statistics of penile fracture treated at three hospitals from 2000 to 2013. Most of the victims revealed that they were engaged in either the doggy or cowgirl style when the mishaps happened. The risk of the man accidentally hitting the woman's pelvic bone is very high in these two positions.” She winks.
“Journal of Sexual Medicine article?”
“No, a journal called Advances in Urology." Jessica puts the glass of fruit punch down. "Year 2014 issue.”
Wati flits her gaze to Chow and then to me. “Not only that -- according to an article in International Journal of Impotence Research, the doggy position causes the most severe injury.” She pauses. “I think it appeared in the February, 2017 issue. The authors of that research paper were Dr. Barros, Dr. Schulze, and one or two other doctors.” Her face becomes taut with seriousness. “Men who suffer penile fracture can be left with permanent erectile dysfunction. It depends on how serious the injury is. So this is no laughing matter.”
"Holy cow!" My eyes jolt wider. "I didn't know you also read medical journals!" From the corner of my eye, I see Jason widening his eyes in fear (pix below). “What’s wrong, buddy? I ask, tossing my gaze at him. “You look terrified.”
“Mummy Lulu’s favourites are doggy and cowgirl!” Jason's voice is a croak.
Saturday, November 18, 2017
“Where’s Jessica?” I ask Chow Kah, leaning back on the settee.
Cathy (pix below), seated beside Chow Kah, tosses her gaze at me. “Gone on leave for a few days. She took Botox treatment and the cosmetic doctor advised her to avoid alcohol for at least three days.” Turning her head sideways, she half-whispers to Chow Kah: “Darling, come, let’s sing a duet, a love song.”
My buddies and I arrived at Hot Legs Niteclub & Karaoke late and, earlier, Chow Kah did not book any GRO with Mummy Lulu. As a result, he ended up with Cathy, the only girl unbooked.
Chow Kah makes a face. “Jessica's a silly girl, she doesn’t need Botox!”
Wati (pix below), wearing a spaghetti strap prom dress, squirms on her seat. “You men can take Botox injections soon for ED. It's injected into the man-part."
Chow Kah jerks upright in his seat. “Where did you learn of this?”
“Journal of Sexual Medicine, this year’s issue, February, if I’ve not mistaken – I read it online.” Wati leans towards the coffee table, grabs a bottle of Bir Bintang by the neck and fills up Hussein’s mug.” For men who can’t consume Viagra because of heart problems or diabetes, this is a God-send.”
The door of the karaoke room swings open and Mummy Lulu sashays in. “What’s this I hear about Botox treating erectile dysfunction? Any scientific proof?”
“Yes, according to the Journal of Sexual Medicine, Dr. Gerald Brock, a Canadian urologist of St. Joseph Hospital and Dr. Sidney Radomski -- he's a professor of surgery at Toronto Western Hospital -- have developed a botox injection that can cure ED.” She flits her gaze to Mummy Lulu. “One injection can last six months.”
“Only one for six months?” Mummy Lulu raises her forefinger. “That’s worth it!”
Eyes gleaming with excitement, Hussein whips out his mobile phone. “I must call my travel agent, ask him to book an air ticket and a hotel room in Toronto. He can get the best rates for me. Toronto Western Hospital here I come!" He starts to jab a few buttons on his handphone
Mummy Lulu shifts her gaze to Hussein. “Can you ask your agent to book two air tickets and two hotel rooms.” She raises two fingers (pix below). “You don’t mind a travelling companion to Toronto, do you?”
“Who’s he, Mummy? You’re sending your husband (pix below) with me for the botox injection?”
“Nay, my toyboy, Jason (pix below)! He's good in performance but there's still room for improvement.”
Friday, November 10, 2017
How to prepare for Tai Sui, Three-Killing Star and Five-Yellow Star in 2018, according to Sifu Sabrina
I push open the door inward and step into Sifu Sabrina’s office, tucked in an auspicious corner in Low Yat Plaza in Bukit Bintang, KL. A moment ago, I jabbed the door bell and a voice laced with honey gushed from the wall intercom: "Please come on in."
Sabrina looks up from a sheaf of papers lying in front of her on the desk (pix below).
I pull out the visitor’s chair at her desk and plunk my butt on it.
“My gawd, you’ve haven’t come here for months! But I’ve been near to your thoughts.”
“Oh? How?” I catch a whiff of perfume.
Sabrina sits upright and places a finger to her lips (pix below).
I scratch my head. “Silence? Er, what do you mean?”
“Your book! I’ve been reading your book Kuala Lumpur Undercover II.” She crosses her legs and fuses her gaze with mine. “That’s what I mean.” Her eyelashes flutter. “Why do the front covers of the Undercover series always depict a girl with a finger to her lips?”
I shrug my shoulders. “Hope you enjoyed it.” I flick my gaze away from her eyes.
Sabrina rests her elbows on her desk. “So, what advice you want to put on your blog this time?”
“To start with, which animals clash with Tai Sui in 2018?”
“Grand Duke Jupiter for 2018 is Jiang Wu who resides in the North-West 1 direction. Dragon, Dog, Sheep and Ox offend him.”
“Precautions to take?”
Sabrina creases her brows. “Come on, check your blog postings. I told you those two years ago.”
“Yes, no renovation in that sector, put pi yao facing Tai Sui, blah, blah, blah. But what about the Three-Killing Star?”
“Oh! You know about the Three-Killing Star. In 2018, it resides in the North and affects Pig, Rat and Ox. Again, no renovation in that direction for those affected animal signs. The bad things that can happen if you disturb that sector are different from that of Tai Sui. They include betrayal, getting stabbed in the back and lawsuits. For example, a husband may get cuckolded!” She releases a little-girl giggle. “I’m serious! Or a businessman may be cheated by his business partner. Or a girl may discover that her best friend has stolen her boyfriend.” She pauses and chews on her little finger in thought (pix below). “The last time did I mention about sitting with one’s back facing Tai Sui?”
I give my head a gentle shake. “I don’t recall.”
Sabrina rises to her feet, patters to a corner and turns in a certain direction (pix below). “To handle Tai Sui, sit with your back facing him. If a business competitor challenges you, he will be confronting Tai Sui. So, you are using the negative chi of Tai Sui to fight your competitor.” Her hips sway as she moves to another spot in the room. “On the other hand, sit facing the Three-Killing Star. Another remedy is to put a pair of chi lin in the affected sector. It should be placed in the living room, dining room or kitchen."
“This animal has a dragon’s head on a horse’s body and is covered with scales.” Sabrina takes dainty steps back to her chair, leans back and runs her hand through her hair (pix below). “Finally, there’s the Five-Yellow Star which affects the Rat. Again, it is in the north and can cause accidents that are life-threatening. You can use the Five-Elements Pagoda to reduce the effects of this evil chi which comes from Heaven. So, be very careful of the North direction in 2018.” She pulls open a drawer and takes out a pair of chi lin (bottom pix). “Want to buy these from me? Consider it a token of appreciation for my free advice.”