Saturday, June 23, 2018

Penang Undercover will be released in November 2018

Title              :  Penang Undercover: Includes Bangkok, Hatyai and KL
Release date :  December 2018
Publisher      :  Monsoon Books, Leceister, UK

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Gong Xi Fa Cai greetings from Jessica

“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!”


Predictions for different businesses for year of Earth Dog 2018, according to Sifu Sabrina

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!” 

My jaw drops. Sifu Sabrina [pix below] is dressed to kill.

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 cafĂ© 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.”     

My gaze fuses with hers. “Why you say that?”

“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

Christmas greetings from Jessica

“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

PR consultant Paulina Phuar advises bakery-owner Ranjit Singh how to boost profits

“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

Cowgirl and doggy styles are the most dangerous sex positions, says Jessica

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!”

“Didn’t you know?” Wati picks up a  popcorn shrimp and blows on it. “He’s in hospital.” She pops it into her mouth.“You know what happened to him?”

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.