Tuesday, August 30, 2005


Akan Datang

In the month of September, I will be posting a kungfu story. This one will be longer and more serious than the Lantern Tales so I can’t do what I did before; post the entire story in one week. The number of episodes will be around ten, therefore what I will do is that, I will post about 2 or 3 episodes a week concurrently with my normal blog postings.

Wuxia fiction is usually full of strange coincidences, backbreaking trials, revenge, friendship, courage and powerful weapons. Although I will try to break away from standard wuxia fare, there will be a lot of wuxia elements that I will have to keep, so that it will be recognized as wuxia fiction. In other words, I cannot try to be a trailblazer, since this will be my first piece of wuxia work. And another thing; it cannot be as inane as the Lantern Tales.

Posting a story through a blog has its limitations. The story has to be short. Each episode has to be kept to a length of not more than 4 Word pages. Anything more would be difficult to read. In keeping with wuxia tradition, I have to call it by an anime name, like the “Twin Dragons of Li Daifu” to make it sound like a traditional kungfu story.

The storyline is about the unruly fifth son of an Imperial official. The boy was always getting into fights, so at last the exasperated father sent the boy to the western mountains to train under an herbal doctor, in order that he might learn a different perspective in life. But the boy was quite a character, and grew up somewhat different from what the parents had envisaged. First posting will be this Friday.

Although I want to do a Merdeka post tomorrow, there is a chance that I will not be anywhere near a computer for the next two days. Hot Babe has something lined up for me. So I will just say this now:



Monday, August 29, 2005


The Auntie snorkeller

Fed up. Expected Auntie Lilian to post up a decent pic of herself snorkelling in Redang.

Instead she posted a pic that is so covered up that whether that one is a man, woman or dugong, I also don't know. Some more dare to challenge me to give a better pic!

Okay, let's see my pic of Auntie Lilian, the fearless snorkeller!


If you are Lilian's fan, and you think my pic is better than her pic, please go to her site and paste in these comments:

"Auntie Lilian, Viewtru's pic is si beh better than your pic!"


Returning cars to Proton

This is a shocker: Dr Mahathir returns cars to Proton.

Of course, the press is speculating on all sorts of ridiculous reasons why Dr M is doing this, mentioning APs and boardroom politics. Now I don't buy that.

So I am now trying to figure out the real reasons why he would want to return the cars.

Is it because the door handles and other plastic parts break off frequently?

Or maybe the power windows don't work as well as they are supposed to?

Or could it be the cranky central locking system?

Look, what I am saying is that you can't go around returning free cars. Not unless you have a good enough reason.


Thursday, August 25, 2005


3 sentences on answering questions

Sometimes the answer is "Yes" and sometimes the answer is "No".

It does not matter what the question is.

It all depends on who's doing the asking.


Wednesday, August 24, 2005



I’m bored. But the fact that I’m bored is no reason why you should be too. Boredom hates company.

Tell you wut, I’m gonna solve today’s Star WORD PUZZLE for you.

_ ALM : “This can have a soothing effect.
I know that when I need soothing, a nice massage does wonders, especially when a pretty masseuse rubs her palm all over you. The answer is “PALM”. And by the way, I don’t want any wankers giving me lewd suggestions in the comment box. We all know what a palm is for.

_ _ARD : “Misers tend to ….. their money obsessively.”
This is a tough one. I know that when my little nephew say that I am a miser, I will take out some money to shut him up. The answer is “AWARD”.

Okay, we’re doing well so far. Let’s go with the roll a do yesterday’s Star WORD PUZZLE as well.

S _ E _ _ : “A motel is a place where travellers can ….. the night.
Another tough one. You have to know what you are doing in the motel in the first place. 90% sneak a woman into a motel to have steamy sex. The answer could be “SNEAK”, but hey brother, you are paying for the motel room with good money. You don’t have to sneak shit. The more appropriate answer is “STEAM”.

F _ R _ : “A speech full of …. can roust a crowds emotion.”
This one is easy; the answer is “FART”.


Tuesday, August 23, 2005


Another political show

After the "not much fireworks" MCA show, we now have the Gerakan show also. Not that I think it is a fantastic show, but there is nothing remotely entertaining on TV lately.

So, Kerk is going to challenge Old Man Lim head-on, is he?

Lim has once likened himself earlier this year to "a banyan tree".
A banyan tree? Sheeeeesh!

Now Kerk wants to chop down a tree. He should know that this is environmentally not feasible and can't be done. The most he can do is lop off a few branches.

I'm bored already.


Monday, August 22, 2005


Tanjung Sepat lunch trip.

On Saturday, I took Hot Babe to Tanjung Sepat(Malaysia's UFO capital) for some seafood. We went by the Elite Highway to KLIA, turn towards the F1 racetrack, then turn towards Sungei Pelek and passed by Bagan Lalang. The journey took slightly less than one and a half hours.

To get to the seafood restaurant, we have to get off the main trunk road and turn in a small road at the water tower. This road leads to a coastal road parallel to the trunk road. There were a number of seafood restaurants, and we went to the one near the jetty, a small restaurant called Ocen Seafood Restaurant. (Look for a road sign ‘Jalan Senangin’, go past the shophouses to the end where there is a tree. The jetty is hidden behind the tree.)

This was what lunch cost me:
Steamed Red Snapper – RM19
Crabs (kam heung style) - RM30
Vegetables - RM6

Alright, the price was not exactly cheap, and the crabs were small. The fish was okay though. Comparatively, the restaurants at Kuala Selangor would be the better deal for the same traveling time. Beats me why the aliens want to visit this place. Still, it was an interesting trip, and parking was easy. After the lunch, we walked on the jetty to look at the fishing boats moored alongside.

On the way back, we stopped at Bagan Lalang to look at people flying kites

Look at the number of people staring at one kite. As a beach, Bagan Lalang is pretty unhappening, because the sand is darkish and one has to walk really far out to swim. Unlike many years ago, I did not see anyone digging for clams this time, so I guess that most of the clams have already been hunted to extinction by tourists. Surprisingly enough, the beach was decently well kept, with little evidence of rubbish, unlike Port Dickson. I bought 8 fried cempedak at a stall for 1 ringgit and ate at the beach while Hot Babe took pics of me.

Coming back, we passed a farm growing dragon fruits, so I stopped to take this shot.

The leaves of the plant are funny, like long green triangular shaped ropes. The fruits grown here have red flesh. I was told that the farms sell the fruit for RM12 per kg. Which is about the same as the prices in the supermarkets. The only advantage is that it is freshly picked.

There was a slight haze in the air while we were travelling, but it was not too bad.

Travelling back on the Elite Highway, we stopped for teh tarik at the Dengkil Rest area. This must be one of the most ridiculous Rest areas around. It’s like every third stall is selling teh tarik. And every second stall is a nasi campur(mixed rice) stall. Totally boring! The gawdawful corporate dickhead who runs the place must have such a flat imagination, that it could probably be utilized as an extension of the KLIA runway.

I bought a cempedak for RM6 at the Tanjung Sepat market, and when I reached home and opened it, I found that it was really sweet. It was all in all, considered a worthwhile trip.


Friday, August 19, 2005


Viewtru’s Lantern Tales direction pointer

For those of you who are here to read the Lantern Tales because of a link from Minishorts, the story link is found here.

The Lantern Tales was posted over 5 days from August 1st to August 5th and is related to the Mid Autumn Lantern festival.

This story has a slightly adult theme and is best read with a relaxed mind, and so I wish you, “Happy reading!”


Haze coming back, Monday

Some of my readers actually answered the zen riddle I put up yesterday. Frankly, I don’t know what the answer is. It would depend on whether the squirrel died or not, wouldn’t it? There are thousands of webpages explaining the answer to a similar riddle(“If a tree falls in the forest, and there is no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?”) so I won’t bother trying to outdo them.

Technically, sound waves in the air are silent, existing only as traveling pressure waves in a gas medium. The ear converts these air vibrations into sounds, so the squirrel will need to be alive to do the conversion. Interestingly enough, Spectrakia brought up the possibility of the squirrel having a hearing problem. Hahahahaha! I didn’t think of that one!

So, if ever anyone should ask you that riddle, you should answer back, “How should I know arh?”

This morning, I read in the papers that the haze is coming back next week on Monday.

You know how the Meteorological Services Department likes to give us a lot of technical reasons why this is so. Reasons that nobody can understand. Not even them. How sure are they that the haze is really saying “I am coming back, Monday”?

A little bird told me that the Meteorological officers were staring into space when they saw the haze form a smoky picture of a goat, a chicken, a bag, and a shower tap in the sky.

So they read, “Ayam, kambing, bag, mandi.”

And voila, they interpreted it to mean, “I am, coming, back, Monday.”

This is adapted from an old Valiant Hair joke, in case you noticed. But damn! I would have to keep wearing my face mask again. This just isn’t fair. I haven’t gone for my holiday yet!


Thursday, August 18, 2005


Durian night

I’m still not happy with my template tweaking efforts. I like the current template because it loads fast. Slightly untidy though. Any change would be very minimal. I am currently experimenting with a test blog to see if the loading is still as fast.

Speed is more important than looks. At least, that’s what my constipated boss always say. It’s a mystery to all of us why he would go and hire all the slow-working but good-looking chicks in the office. Not that I’m complaining.

Last night, some girls with small appetites invited me over for durians just after I had finished my dinner. That timing was most inappropriate. They shoulda invited me before dinner, not after. But nevertheless, I don’t see how I have any cause to bitch, considering that I did not have to pay a single sen.

We had D24 and a species called the “Durian King”. The disparity in prices was so great that you could drive a truck between them. D24 is currently selling for like RM3 per kg and “Durian King” is going for RM9 per kg.

Some people will buy durians that have been partially eaten by a squirrel in the belief that the fruit will be good. Now, that’s dumb. Even dumber than trying to join the tongue to the sphincter. Anything that has already been partially consumed by a wild animal runs the risk of getting inhabited by strange mean viruses. Has SARS not taught us anything?

The eating habits of squirrels can be described as obnoxious and kurang ajar. They have a disgusting habit of eating only a tiny portion of a fruit when they are hungry. Then, instead of finishing the same fruit like polite little creatures, they gaily hop off to the next fruit to eat. Such blatant wastage! A human mother would have slapped her kid silly for displaying such shitty table manners. But not squirrel mothers, apparently.

Here’s a zen riddle:

"If a durian falls onto a squirrel and there is nobody there to hear it, does the squirrel make a sound?"


Wednesday, August 17, 2005


3 sentences on why I'm gonna tweak this template

Of course I'm aware that, somehow, this social commentary blog does have fucking brilliant authentic content, and you know that I'm not the shallow metrosexual type to indulge in form over substance, but it is nevertheless high time that I give this interface some sort of makeover.

Look, if you are asked to pick a doll, any doll, would you pick Winnie the Poo-poo or an Inflatable Vixen with vibrating attachments?

The awful truth is, no matter how kickass the contents may be, you can only get into the right humpin' pumpin' mood if the Inflatable Vixen does not look half bad.


Tuesday, August 16, 2005


Sin is a gift from Heaven

Don't you just hate it when immoral politicians talk morals to you and tell you what you can or cannot do?
The people know that they are fucking idiots.
Even Heaven knows that they are fucking idiots.

Heaven does not expect you to be perfect because Heaven knows that sinning is not wrong, but however, you do have to know how to handle it properly.
It's a bit like handling fire.
Sin is not to be avoided in life, and can be useful if you know when and how to utilize it.
It is a gift from heaven, okay?

There are seven deadly sins; Pride, Sloth, Envy, Gluttony, Anger, Lust and Greed.

I'm ignoring all the non-deadly sins for the moment because, well, they're non-deadly, and therefore not as urgent.

As for the seven deadly sins, I have worked out my own personal timetable for them:

Mondays to Fridays, I swallow my pride. I was hired for my good looks, but my cold-hearted boss actually expects real work out of me. Put a thermometer to his heart and the mercury would freeze solid. So I LLB(look like busy) whenever he's around. I ought to save up enough money to buy up the company. In the meantime, I will just have to swallow my pride and pretend to work. So weekdays are my No-Pride days.

Mondays to Fridays are also my Sloth days. You can guess the reason why. But weekends are my No-Sloth Days. By Sunday nights, I'm usually totally knackered. I said knackered, not naked.

I don't seem to envy anybody. This can't be right because I know I am not perfect. Or maybe I am already perfect, but I don't know it yet. Whatever the reason, the envy just isn't there. Okay, every day is No-Envy Day.

I generally have interesting meals during the weekends. I munch on anything......seafood, durians, pancakes, tom yam, dim sum, Hot Babe, buffet.......everything. By Monday, I'm too stuffed to eat. Sounds like a good day to give up gluttony. So, for No-Gluttony Day, Monday it is.

I don't really have a temper. That explains a certain lack of rants in this blog. Even my occasional rants don't appear as rants. Hot Babe said that I am the most tolerant person she has ever met. So, okay, I'm deleting Anger from my weekly schedule. And if anyone dares to suggest that I can't keep anger away, I'll fucking clobber his fucking ass into a fucking pile of fucking shit granules.

Alright, I'm keeping lust all seven days of the week. Every bone inside me is lusty. I can’t help it.

I figured that since I'm keeping Lust for seven days, then I may as well keep Greed just as long.

"Greed and Lust go well together.
Banyak macam salt and pepper."

Heheheh! I'm very proud of my unusual poetic abilities.
Oh heck, I forgot......today is No-Pride Day!
So okay, I'm not proud of my poetic abilities. Not today.

Next, I'm going to set up a timetable for my Seven Heavenly Virtues:

Sheeeeesh, I can't think of any virtue for the moment.

Somebody, anybody, please tell me that I also have Seven Heavenly Virtues!


Monday, August 15, 2005


Doozy woozy

For some reason, I didn’t sleep a wink last night. So, I got out of bed, surfed the net from 4 to 5 a.m., went to bed again, and still couldn’t sleep.

This morning, I drove to work feeling kind of whoozy. I’m feeling so sleepy right now that nothing less than a Class A blowjob will keep me awake. I can do with a good laugh right now. It will be good if somebody can entertain me.

There are supposed to be 10,000 blogs in this country alone. Can somebody recommend me a site that puts out the sort of distasteful shit that I do? You know, humour with more sexual innuendos than real humour? My slow internet connection does not allow me to surf all 10,000 blogs so I will have to depend on the kindness of you people. Even Singaporean sites will do. A site similar to the www.talkingcock.com site would fit the bill. Okay, that is not a blog, but you know what I mean.

This is an emergency.

I need to get through the day without falling asleep.



Saturday, August 13, 2005


Dear Lai Ma - Advice on filter masks

The serious haze problems have got a lot of people wearing filter masks like got no tomorrow. Everyday, the newspapers keep trying to give dubious advice on what to do and what not to do. But everybody knows that at the 5Star paper, we put out professionally proven scientific advice that is 5 times better than the dubious advice of our lousy one-star dipshit competitor.

And another thing……we are free of charge!

Miss Lai Ma, formerly a karaoke lounge singer and potential Malaysian Idol chief judge, will be giving her professional advice regarding the use of filter masks in this edition.


Dear Lai Ma
Our school teacher has asked us to put on filter masks. He said that the air got smog particles everywhere because of the haze. But we don’t want to wear. We think it is not necessary because we are only children. Got particles also never mind one. We got small lungs only mah. We don’t breathe in as much air as the adults.
Pupils of Sungei Lembu Primary School.

Dear Pupils
You cannot think like that one. Because you have small lungs, they will fill up with smog particles faster than adult lungs. Then your mother will have to take you to the hospital so that the nurse can remove the smog particles. That one very painful one. The nurses will poke a vacuum cleaner hose down your throat and into your lungs to suck out all the smog particles. Sometimes, when they are not careful, they suck out your liver also. So wear your filter masks and don’t play play.

Dear Lai Ma
I am the best English teacher at the Sungei Lembu Primary School. Because of the haze situation very bad, and some more cannot breathing easy, I want to wear a filter mask. But when I teach the English through the mask, my voice go out muffled and ruffled, like that. I am afraid all the pupils will not understand what I saying. Please advise me good good
Ingurish Tork

Dear Ingurish Tork
During the haze, it is important that you wear a filter mask and teach at the same time. Health is important. Don’t worry if the pupils do not understand you. Even if you take off the mask, they also will not understand you! If pupils can understand teachers, all the tuition centres will go bankrupt already. I have a share in a private tuition centre and therefore I must thank all the teachers. Please tell all your fellow teachers to keep the mask on at all times. You are all very important to the economy!

Dear Lai Ma
I smoke three packets of cigarettes a day. I have been trying to quit smoking without success. I follow the dubious advice given in the other newspapers, and they say to do this and to do that, but in the end their advice also useless. Lately, because of the haze, whenever my colleagues see me smoking, they scold me. As if the haze is my fault like that. I si beh fedup already…want to stop smoking, but cannot…..smoke, also cannot. Please tell me what to do.

Dear Desperate
You are very wise in writing to me. If you want to stop smoking, this is what you should do. Wear a filter mask at all times. When you feel like having a smoke, remove your filter mask and inhale the smog. Then put your filter mask back on again. Your brain will think that you just smoked a cigarette. If you do this often enough, your brain will think you have smoked a few packets of cigarettes but actually you have not smoked. Do this every day and soon your body will lose the addiction to cigarettes. Wa lau eh. I should copyright this method!

Dear Lai Ma
I study at a private college. My Principal say that I should wear a filter mask in the campus everyday to improve the health condition. But I don’t want to wear a mask everyday. It does not make me look cool. I pay so much tuition fees to private education and I expect them to keep the haze away from me. I think you should investigate the college. They take my money already and some more dare to ask me to wear mask. Why like that? Why the world so fucked up?
Chin Tu Lan

Dear Chin Tu Lan
Actually, hor, I have no interest in investigating your problem. I am a columnist, not an investigative reporter. But my talkcock editor said that all 5Star columnists are also investigative columnists. Where got such thing one? But okay, I did some checking for you and I found out that there were a few cases of girls vomiting mysteriously on your campus. But each time you put on the filter mask, there were no incidents of girls vomiting. Your Principal thinks there is a correlation, so he wanted you to put on a mask to improve the health condition. Not your health condition but the other students’ health condition!

Dear Lai Ma
My wife and I enjoy outdoor sex at our farm. My wife would stand by the pond and I would stand by the cucumber patch. Then we would run naked at each other. But the visibility has dropped, and we miss each other in the haze, and end up don’t know where. Lately I have been falling into the pond a lot and also have to pry the cucumbers from my wife. Some salesmen have been coming to my farm to sell a new brand of filter mask, very expensive one. Only 100 dollar, and got free ball point pen summore. They say their filter masks can make the haze like got not haze one. Should I buy?

Dear Farmer
Expensive does not mean good. There is no such mask that can make the haze like got no haze one. All this is only bullshit marketing talk. Made by unscrupulous bo liao salespeople trying to take advantage of the situation. What I suggest you do is to go to a pharmacy and buy their best face filter mask. It will be good and cheap. But don’t expect it to solve the visibility problem, so no more running towards each other until visibility improves. But you can try any sexual position you like outdoors and still enjoy yourselves. Of course you will have to use some logic a bit to know what can work and what cannot work. Once you have a mask on, do not attempt the sixty-nine position. Sure cannot work one! Use your brain. Not your tongue!


Friday, August 12, 2005


Early morning light rain

The early morning scattered showers in the Klang valley lifted up my mood. My throat is no more sore, and I did it without antibiotics. Just water, lots of it, and some strepsils.

Hot Babe got me a mask yesterday. She insisted that I wear it at work. So this morning, I wore the mask and looked like a yellow Darth Vader clocking in at the office.

For my next story project, I want to write something that is not my usual inane style, but a bit more novel-like. I’m thinking of doing a kungfu story. One, where the hero can really kick some asses. And cut up his adversaries to shreds. I have not decided the weapons he will use, but I have ruled out the nunchaku. You can’t cut anybody to shreds with a nunchaku. I thought of using a meat chopper, but that would make it inane. We only want shreds, not chopped liver. So, no. No meat choppers.

Also this time, I want the hero to be really good-looking. Like me.

I see that Belacan, Minishorts and Suanie are already making fun of the haze. Okay, my spirits have lifted up sufficiently after this early morning’s light rain, so I’m gonna join them. My next posting will be a ‘Dear Lai Ma’ article. It should be out by lunch time, tea time or dinner time. Or whenever.


Thursday, August 11, 2005


Need a short holiday

Because of the haze, some of my colleagues have taken to wearing surgical masks, which did improve their looks dramatically. Looking at their faces is now less torturous than it used to be.

On the negative side, the haze is also making me feel like I’ve been bottled up inside a pussy for the last 3 years. All my senses are shot to bits.

I have been drinking lots of water. And I mean LOTS. Oh shit, I am the reason the water level in the Klang Gates Dam went down!

I need a break. Preferably somewhere within driving distance like:

Cameron Highlands
Teluk Intan

Is there anybody out there who can tell me what the air(or haze) situation is like in those places?


Wednesday, August 10, 2005


Hazy days

The haze is making my eyes all watery. I think today’s air quality is worse than yesterday.

Yesterday, I had to send somebody to the airport. The visibility on the highway was bad. Some assholes drove ever so slowly on the middle lane instead of moving to the left lane. And other assholes drove as if there was no haze.

This is a bad time for jokes. But that’s not gonna stop me, issit?

Why is driving through the haze the same as making love in the sixty-nine position?

Well, in both cases, you can get the choked up feeling.

Why is driving through the haze different from making love in the sixty-nine position?

In the haze, you can’t see the asshole in front.

All right, back to some other matters before anyone forgets that we are a social commentary blog.

After my visit to the airport yesterday, I had a bit of time, so I took a detour and saw a branch of Southern Bank. I went in to look at the interest rates and saw a pay-in slip lying on the floor. Being the nice guy that I was, I picked it up.

Account number 1606006358
National Cancer Society of Malaysia, Penang Branch

The payment date was 9 Aug 2005. At the back of the slip were the handwritten words:

Bloggers are indeed morons in more ways than one, but they appealed so hard, so I give up some restaurant dinners this month lor.

Obviously, the stranger who dropped it was not bothered with such minor details as tax exemptions for donations to approved charities.

If any of you people feel like making a donation as well, remember that you can do so in any Southern Bank branch.

Okay, gonna end this posting now cos my eyes are smarting from the haze. I’m hoping for some rain to clean up the air.


Tuesday, August 09, 2005


Not enough rich pickings from blogathon

Can you believe it? After all that effort to set up the blogathon event to raise funds for the Penang Hospice center, the ‘bloggers are morons’ buggers only managed to rake in 1359.98 dollars in pledges as of the time of this posting.

That’s all? With all the fuss, all the hype and all the free publicity in a one-star newspaper? What a bunch of amateurs! And morons(but we knew that already!).

Look guys, not say I say one, but raising money is an art. You gotta play rough and dirty!

The first step is to figure out what it will take to get people to part with something as insignificant as money.

What we really need here is some really HARD sell. For that, we’ve got to involve everybody’s wives and girlfriends.

I even got this poster ready, in case we need something like this.

I am telling ya, HARD sell works! And don’t ever say that I have never contributed any ideas to you guys. Sheeeeeesh!!!

* Latest update *

Just when I thought this topic was over and done with, Suanie throws me a guarantee in the comments section.

Okay, dudette, if you can hit USD 5k, I'll stop calling you people 'amateurs' and 'morons'.


Monday, August 08, 2005


On being around morons

Feeling slightly fatigued. Although I was not directly involved in the bloggersaremorons.com charity blogathon, I was nevertheless logged on to the site whenever I had free time on Sunday.

Putting out 8 posts in 4 hours is murder, if you ask me. Maybe you would remember that I did an 8-post a day effort 3 weeks ago on 18th July. You have to do it to know how difficult it is. The first few posts, you are still coherent. After that, you don’t know what you are typing and can’t wait for it to end. Knowing how difficult the whole effort was, I decided to give some moral support.

For every shift, I would post a comment to the bloggers just to let them feel that they are not blogging out to empty air, that the posts they put out have readable value despite the hurry. I think I commented on everybody’s shift except Kenny’s shift. That was because he took the graveyard shift and I was fast asleep in bed already. By the time I woke up around 6 a.m., he had already passed the baton over to suanie and she had already put out her second post.

Oh yeah, Minishorts interviewed me online from 5-7 p.m. and asked me a lot of stuff. The posted version of the interview sounded so polite, so she must have edited out all the bad words I used! The interview is here if you are interested.

Before this blogathon thingy, I’ve never heard of the Penang Hospice. I’ve already set aside a small sum of money to give to Hospice. I won’t say how much it is, but it will not be less than RM100. Since it will be an anonymous donation, I will not put up a pledge, and if anybody as so much as bug me about it, I may just change my mind! So back off, and let me do certain things in my own way!

Oh, did you noticed that I updated my Malaysian Idol site as well? No wonder I’m having blogging fatigue!


Sunday, August 07, 2005


Analysing the comments on “Viewtru’s Lantern Tales”

There has never been a good explanation why lanterns are present during the 15th day of the Eighth Lunar month, or the Mid Autumn Festival. I wrote ‘Viewtru’s Lantern Tale’ not because I wish to distort history, but because I think my version is just as plausible as any other. (Mooncakes, another festival fixture, are popularly associated with the rebellion against the Yuan dynasty, but the festival actually predates the Yuan dynasty.)

There have been more comments than usual for this particular story and I have done some analysis of the ideas expressed in the comments.

This is a story of Swordsman Wu, a common man, who has an uncommon heart. In the story, he has to go through the Emperor’s 5 gates, with each gate guarded by a Gatekeeper.

Gate 1: Swordsman Wu appeared as an inane lucky fella and this sets the mood for the story. This episode is funny, but only lightly funny. I do admit that the phrase "....why so long one" was a bit out of phase with the language of the setting, and one reader pointed it out. It's usage was to emphasize how inane the tale was going to get.

Gate 2: At this gate, it became apparent that the swordsman was able to bluff his way through a sticky situation. He had to battle someone who cannot be defeated and he was smart enough not to try. This is the episode that disappointed many readers because they expected an actual battle. They did not expect a common man as a hero.

Gate 3: This is the most inane episode of all five, and the funniest, if you appreciate adult humour.

Gate 4: In the previous 3 gates, Wu did nothing but talk his way out. But at this gate, he actually trounced the Gatekeeper 4 in poetry. The ability to create poetry was considered a sign of civilised culture in the olden days, so I hoped to create the impression that Swordsman Wu was not totally uncouth. This was supposed to be the episode to smoothen the transition to the more serious mood of the 5th gate. However, I think quite a number of readers found this one even funnier than the 3rd episode! So I did not completely achieve what I tried to achieve.

Gate5: This is the longest episode of all because I had to complete the story as well as explain why we carry tang lungs(lanterns) for the Mid Autumn(or Moon Cake) festival. In a real book, I could probably achieve a smoother mood transition from Gate 4 to Gate 5. In a blog, I had to shorten the content, but considering the limitations, I am quite satisfied with the effect. Despite the graphic description I employed in the sex scene, half the commentators called me a romance writer! On rereading the whole thing through several times, I realized now that the ending is sweet, much sweeter than was expected out of me. If another writer had written that, you would probably have called him crude!

Nevertheless, I wish to thank all the commentators for giving me feedback on “Viewtru’s Lantern Tale”. We will now wait for the official review from the professional book reviewer. For my next project, I hope that you will give me your feedback again!


Friday, August 05, 2005


Viewtru’s Lantern Tale – The Fifth Gate

FINAL EPISODE – The Seduction Gate

Swordsman Wu arrived at the fifth Gate and saw no man around. There was nobody except for a young woman dressed in fine clothes. On drawing closer, he found that the woman was of exceptional beauty. Her skin was milky fair and with a healthy pinkish glow on her face. Her neatly combed black hair was long, with the silky black tresses flowing down to her waist.

She smiled a welcoming smile to him, and he politely got down from his horse.

Peach Blossom : You must be the great Swordsman Wu. I have been told to expect you. You may call me Peach Blossom. I am the Gatekeeper of the Fifth Gate.

Swordsman Wu : News travel fast. It is my honour to meet you, Lady Peach Blossom.

Peach Blossom : Come, your trial awaits you. If you successfully surmount this challenge, you will be given a high position in the Emperor’s Court as well as your weight in gold pieces. Follow me, Swordsman Wu.

He followed her to a big, beautiful garden nearby. In the middle of the garden stood a house. On entering, he could see that it was a beautiful house with exquisite furnishings. Clean and well kept. He was tired, but was not sure if he should sit on the chair in his dusty clothes. Peach Blossom sensed his thoughts and laughed. It was a melodious laugh.

Peach Blossom : You may sit down, Swordsman Wu!

Swordsman Wu : Thank you. I have heard told that the Lady Peach Blossom was as beautiful as a butterfly in spring. You are more beautiful than I have imagined.

Peach Blossom : Thank you, great swordsman. Here is your challenge. For three days, you will live in this house. You will eat with me, bathe with me and sleep in the same bed as me.

Swordsman Wu : This is the challenge? That’s not very difficult!

Peach Blossom : I am a virgin, Swordsman Wu. At the end of three days, if you had deflowered me, then you are considered to have lost the challenge. My role as the Gatekeeper, is to seduce you. Let me tell you now that I sleep naked.

Swordsman Wu : You do tempt me. But if I want my weight in gold, then I will have to behave myself. That will be most difficult. But not an impossible task!

Peach Blossom : You will also have to drink 10 catties of wine a day. You may have the best of intentions, but when the mind is intoxicated, the body will betray you!

Swordsman Wu : No, it won’t. I cannot hold my wine well. If I should drink 10 catties of wine, then I will sleep for 3 days, by which time the trial period will be over. Your seduction will fail. You may as well give me the gold now!

Peach Blossom : What kind of swordsman are you that you cannot withstand 10 catties of wine?

Swordsman Wu : In truth, I am not a swordsman but a tang lung maker. Making lanterns is my business.

Peach Blossom : A tang lung maker?

Swordsman Wu : Yes. I make those huge white lanterns that you see at funerals, and the huge red lanterns that you see at weddings. The Wu family has been lantern makers for generations. In the province I come from, we are known as the Tang Lung Clan. And because we are of the Wu family name, we are called the Wu Tang Lung Clan.

Peach Blossom : Wu Tang Lung Clan? Not the Wu Tang Clan?

Swordsman Wu : I have the tendency to speak too fast in introducing myself and thus it often sounds like the Wu Tang Clan! I must learn to speak more slowly.

Peach Blossom : Why then, do you call yourself Swordsman Wu?

Swordsman Wu : It is the name that others call me. In our trade, we are often required to split short bamboo poles to create the structure of the lantern. While most people use an axe or a knife, I prefer to use an old sword given to me by my grandfather. Hence, my friends and family call me ‘Swordsman Wu’.

Lady Peach Blossom pondered this information for some time. After a while, she came to a decision.

Peach Blossom : It matters not if you are a swordsman or lantern maker. The spirit of the challenge is to see if you are able to withstand the temptations of the flesh. The Emperor insists that only people of sufficient self-discipline should become a high official in his court. I will have to alter the challenge!

Swordsman Wu : Three days is too short a time to test me. May I suggest that we alter the duration of the challenge from 3 days to 30 days? Then you will have a longer time to seduce me.

Peach Blossom : You are agreeable to such a long test period?

Swordsman Wu : Only if you agree to let the full 30 days take its course before concluding if you have remained a virgin or not.

Peach Blossom : I would know if I have been deflowered or not before the 30 days are up.

Swordsman Wu : Maybe so. But if, by a slip of judgement, I had deflowered you within the period and yet, at the end of 30 days your virginity grew back, would you deny me my gold then?

Peach Blossom : Hahaha! How can a woman’s virginity grow back? A salted fish cannot come back to life! But I will agree to those terms and delay all conclusions of my virginity until the full thirty days are up.

Swordsman Wu : Very well then! When shall we begin?

Peach Blossom : Your challenge begins now, lantern maker! Come, you must be hungry. I have prepared some food for you.

The meal was simple but good. It was the first good meal he had in many days. Lady Peach Blossom poured him some wine which relaxed him. They talked about his encounters at the four previous Gates and Peach Blossom laughed at the manner by which he got through. He loved to hear the peals of her laughter.

But he was dirty and tired, and his joints ached. Lady Peach Blossom had prepared a huge tub of warm water behind a screen for him to wash off the dirt. Standing behind the screen, he removed his clothes, climbed inside the tub, and gratefully sank into the water. Lying back, he closed his eyes. He was at peace with the world.

Hearing a sound, he opened his eyes to see Lady Peach Blossom standing besides the tub. Slowly, she disrobed before his eyes. Climbing into the tub, she faced him. Then, taking a washcloth, she proceeded to wash his body. He allowed her to wash him, sensing that she was more embarrassed than he was. He placed his hands around her waist and pulled her towards him. Leaning over her, he tilted his head slightly and kissed her parted lips gently. Then more passionately. Then with tongues intertwined.

She felt him running his hands over her breasts. They were firm and peaked with erect pink nipples, which stood out proudly in the autumn air. Gently, he held her breasts as they kissed in the water for a long time. Then, without a word, they stood up and wiped each other dry. Not bothering to put on their clothes, they moved to the bed.

She lay back as he planted her body with kisses. She had beautiful skin, with a little black patch of hair between her legs. She let out moan after moan as his hands roamed her smooth body. When he kissed her nipples, she quivered slightly but continued moaning.

Sensing that she was ready, he got on top of her. She squealed slightly as he entered her. He thrusted inside her wetness, slowly at first, and then faster. She had her eyes closed and mouth open, still moaning uncontrollably.

Soon, he felt as if he was going to explode. When the moment came, he held himself deep inside her, and stream after stream of his fluids flooded her insides. They kissed passionately and held each other closely, not saying a word. It was a moment they would remember for the rest of their lives.

Lady Peach Blossom sat up and turned to look at the lantern maker.

Peach Blossom : Swordsman Wu. If I am still a virgin after this, it would be a miracle!

Swordsman Wu : Lady Peach Blossom, we agreed that we would consider that question only at the end of thirty days!

Peach Blossom : You are right. I did agree to delay all conclusions about my virginity until the full thirty days are up. Please excuse me.

Swordsman Wu : Was it very painful for you?

Peach Blossom : Not as painful as I had expected. The pleasure soon overrode the pain and I had forgotten about it. But the presence of blood reminded me. I need to get up and clean myself. Or my blood will mark the bed sheet.

Swordsman Wu : Come back to bed as soon as you are done.

Peach Blossom : Hahaha! Of course! I am waiting to see if you can do what you painted at the Third Gate!

And thus they made love day and night. At times they made love in the bed. At times they made love in the tub. At times they made love while walking from the bed to the tub.

Three days after they met, Lady Peach Blossom had her menstrual period. For the six days when they could not make love, Swordsman Wu showed her how he made his lanterns. He made her a lantern small enough for her to carry, but she said that it was still too heavy and too plain. So, to please her, he designed a little coloured lantern small and light enough for her to carry around the garden, and this delighted her no end.

Peach Blossom : Swordsman Wu. It is exquisite! How can such a simple thing, made only from coloured paper, strings and a bamboo stick, be more beautiful than gold and silver?

Swordsman Wu : It is beautiful because it brings out the beauty of the Lady Peach Blossom at night.

Peach Blossom : Swordsman Wu. You do say the nicest things. This will be the most beautiful Mid Autumn Festival I have enjoyed!

Swordsman Wu : Is it the Mid Autumn Festival already?

Peach Blossom : In a few more days, it will be the Fifteenth day of the Eighth Month.

Swordsman Wu : Then, if you so wish, I shall celebrate the Festival with you in a feast of lanterns in this very garden.

Peach Blossom : Hahaha! Whoever heard of such a thing as a feast of lanterns on Mid Autumn Festival? But make your lanterns. I am fascinated with the idea! The Mid Autumn Festival is the most boring of all festivals. It is neither the beginning nor the ending of anything. Perhaps your idea of using lanterns may yet help to make it a colourful celebration one day. Time will tell.

Swordsman Wu : In the years to come, I shall make little lanterns for every Mid Autumn Festival, to remind me of this time that we spent together.

True to his word, Swordsman Wu made many tiny lanterns for the garden so that Lady Peach Blossom could spend the Mid Autumn Festival in a feast of lanterns. Carrying 3 lanterns in each hand, they wandered around the big garden in the moonlit night. When they were tired, they spent the time sipping rice wine while admiring the full moon. After the lights of the lantern started going out one by one, they retired to the bed and made love till the dawn.

The days passed, and soon the thirty days were up.

On the morning after the thirtieth day, Lady Peach Blossom sat across the breakfast table and addressed Swordsman Wu.

Peach Blossom : Swordsman Wu. The thirty days have passed. I have inspected myself and I am sure that my virginity did not grow back.

Swordsman Wu : It didn’t grow? But I watered it every night!

Peach Blossom : Hahaha! The more you watered it with your fluids, the less of a virgin I became!

Swordsman Wu : I suppose I must face the consequences of my actions.

Peach Blossom : Swordsman Wu. I hereby announced that you have failed in your challenge. Thus, you will not be allowed to become an official in the Emperor’s court, nor collect your weight in gold pieces. You will have to leave. I am sorry!

Swordsman Wu : In that case, I will say goodbye, Lady Peach Blossom. Of the five Gatekeepers, you are the most worthy Gatekeeper.

Peach Blossom : Don’t be silly. I am no more a Gatekeeper! All Gatekeepers at the Fifth Gate have to be virgins. The moment I succeeded in seducing you, I lost my virginity and thus my position as the Gatekeeper of the Fifth Gate is relinquished.

Swordsman Wu : It is truly a stupid situation that if a Gatekeeper is worthy of her position, then she will lose both her virginity and her position. No woman will willingly become a Gatekeeper here!

Peach Blossom : You are very perceptive. I am the eldest daughter of a nobleman who got into trouble with the Imperial Court. When a man has no sons to take up his cause, even the daughter must come to the fore. The virginity of a woman of beauty is considered a precious commodity. Thus was my virginity bartered away to help save my family.

Swordsman Wu : You are not only beautiful, but filial as well. Great is my shame for having taken advantage of you. I have dishonoured myself.

Peach Blossom : The fault is not yours to bear. One cannot press down the head of a cow if it does not wish to drink. Besides, you could not possibly know the affairs of my family.

Swordsman Wu kept quiet and started to pack his things. His face was expressionless and Lady Peach Blossom could not tell what was going on in his mind. Wordlessly, he tied his few belongings onto his horse. As he turned to leave, Lady Peach Blossom called out to him.

Peach Blossom : Swordsman Wu. There is one thing that I do not understand.

Swordsman Wu : What is it?

Peach Blossom : Why did you prolong the trial period from 3 days to 30 days? You did not even try to resist me. You could have gained your weight in gold and your high position. To have come to the last gate and falter so easily…you are inexplicable.

Swordsman Wu : I did not come here for gold or high position.

Peach Blossom : Then why have you come?

Swordsman Wu : I am an ordinary man living an ordinary life. My clothes are ordinary, my house is ordinary, and even my lanterns are ordinary. I am not poor. There is always a strong roof over my head, and fish and meat on the table. My life is comfortable enough, but nevertheless, to live such an ordinary life is the same as not having lived at all. I could die, and the world would not mourn my passing. And so I thought that if I could experience but a brief moment of extraordinary beauty in my life, then I would consider myself to have lived.

Peach Blossom : What has that to do with the challenge of the Five Gates?

Swordsman Wu : I have heard much about the Lady Peach Blossom. That she is so warm, the flowers lift their heads in greeting as she walks by. That she is so melodious, the birds stop their birdcalls to listen when she sings. That she is so beautiful, the fish in the pond will not swim too close lest they ripple her reflection in the water. Thus I said to Heaven that if I could but spend a brief moment in the company of the Lady Peach Blossom, my existence would not have been in vain. To do that, I would have to go through the four Gates.

Peach Blossom : You came because of me?

Swordsman Wu : For that I did.

Peach Blossom : And thus you were agreeable to stretch the three days to thirty days in order to spend a longer moment with me.

Swordsman Wu : Yes. I have been most fortunate.

Peach Blossom : Indeed, Heaven has favoured you. Yet a moment with me would soon end and you would have to go back to your ordinary life!

Swordsman Wu : It does not matter. The joy I felt being with you will stay within me forever. I can face my life again, as long as I have you in my memory. My eyes have seen the wisdom of the ancients that says that one joy is enough to scatter a thousand sorrows!

Peach Blossom : You fool! You have wasted a perfect opportunity! Thousands of men could not even get past the second Gate. You could have become a high official of the court!

Swordsman Wu : And I would forego my principles and indulge in backstabbing politics in the Emperor’s court so as to maintain my position. No, that does not suit me!

Peach Blossom : You fool! You could have taken your weight in gold!

Swordsman Wu : And I would constantly be a host to worthless relatives who would come and live off my gold. Or fend off bandits who would rob me of it. No, a thousand times no. A month with you is a greater treasure than a lifetime with my weight in gold pieces!

Lady Peach Blossom pondered on his words. It was not an answer she had expected to hear from any man. Swiftly, she made a decision.

Peach Blossom : Gold is tested by fire, and man by gold. You have valued me higher than the Emperor’s rewards. No man has accorded me a greater honour than you have. Swordsman Wu, I will willingly follow you wherever you go!

Swordsman Wu : I live in a simple house, and not the opulent castle that you are accustomed to. Although I will welcome you with great happiness, it is not fair that an ordinary man asks the daughter of a nobleman to share his simple unsophisticated life.

Peach Blossom : You discourage me not! Better the cottage where one is merry than the palace where one weeps. Swordsman Wu, I will willingly follow you to the ends of the earth!

Swordsman Wu : And I will treasure you for the rest of my life!

Peach Blossom : Youth is not eternal. Know that one day my beauty will be gone.

Swordsman Wu : My eyes will be weak long before your beauty is gone, Lady Peach Blossom.

Peach Blossom : Swordsman Wu. You do say the nicest things!

Thus the two of them journeyed out of the castle and began a life together in a little town. Happiness is when a man and a woman found beauty in each other. They continued to make love in the bed and in the tub. And occasionally, while walking from the bed to the tub. Lady Peach Blossom bore Swordsman Wu many healthy sons and daughters and soon their house was filled with the happy laughter of children.

Every Mid Autumn, they brought out their lightest and most colourful tang lung designs so that their children could enjoy them. Their children, and their children’s children, carried on with the family practice, which soon spread rapidly throughout the land. In generations to come, the legacy of the ‘feast of lanterns’ of Swordsman Wu and Lady Peach Blossom would become entrenched in the cultural traditions.

The story of how Swordsman Wu married the beautiful Lady Peach Blossom passed down from generation to generation. Hundreds of years later, the term “Peach Blossom luck” would be interpreted to mean, “to be lucky in love”.

Today, the Tang Lung Festival is celebrated in many nations across the four seas. For a brief period in the whole year, the streets are colourful with beautiful lanterns.

And all this came about because of one man, an ordinary man, who would have his moment of extraordinary beauty in his ordinary life.



Thursday, August 04, 2005


Viewtru’s Lantern Tale – The Fourth Gate

EPISODE 4 – The Poetry Gate

Swordsman Wu was hungry. The encounters with the last three Gatekeepers had left him mentally tired. He stopped his horse, reached into his belongings and retrieved a dumpling. Slowly he ate. After a drink of water, he felt much better and proceeded to the fourth gate. An important looking man, who was the fourth Gatekeeper, was there to greet him.

Gatekeeper 4: Halt! You must be Swordsman Wu!

Swordsman Wu : You know my name?

Gatekeeper 4: Yes. News has reached me that someone of that name has managed to get past the first three gates. I have been waiting for you.

Swordsman Wu : I am here now. Will you be so kind as to open the gate and let me pass?

Gatekeeper 4: I am not that kind. This is the Poetry Gate. You will have to best me in poetry before I can allow you to pass.

Swordsman Wu : Poetry? That should not be too difficult. I am known among my townspeople for writing very good poetry. At the age of 12, I mastered all the right principles of poetry.

Gatekeeper 4: He who merely knows right principles is not equal to him who loves them. At the age of three, I was already sprouting poetry. You are young and inexperienced. Only he that has traveled the road knows where the holes are deep.

Swordsman Wu : You don’t scare me. How shall we battle?

Gatekeeper 4: I shall say a line. And after that, you have to match my line in rhyme.

Swordsman Wu : And later, it will be my turn to say a line, and your turn to match my line. Is that right?

Gatekeeper 4: Wrong! I am the Gatekeeper. I don’t have to match your anything. But you have to match mine! Ha! Ha!

Swordsman Wu : In the eyes of Heaven, that cannot be fair!

Gatekeeper 4: Too bad! But those are the Imperial Rules. Ha! Ha!

Swordsman Wu : If that is the case, I can only hope for a draw! How will I ever win?

Gatekeeper 4: I can say any line I like. As long as you are unable to match my line, any line, I will win. You, on the other hand, can only win by tiring me out such that I am unable to continue. Ha! Ha!

Swordsman Wu : You cannot have one rule for me and a different rule for yourself. The superior man dispenses justice equally to all under Heaven!

Gatekeeper 4: The superior man dispenses justice equally to all except uncouth dirty swordsmen. I have seen people like you. Your blades are on hire for a small fee. Do not for one moment think that you are culturally my equal.

Swordsman Wu : @#$%@#$%!!!

Gatekeeper 4: Do not use profanities in my presence.

Swordsman Wu : Why not?

Gatekeeper 4: Because it pains me!

Swordsman Wu : Shit of a dog!

Gatekeeper 4: Didn’t you hear me say that you are not to use profanities in my presence? That was rude, and uncultured.

Swordsman Wu : What I wanted to say was that you just stepped on the shit of a dog!

The Gatekeeper checked his shoes and found that he had indeed stepped into some dog shit. He became enraged and started shouting.

Gatekeeper 4: Not good! Not good!

Swordsman Wu was amazed to learn that this angry Gatekeeper would not even swear. He waited for the Gatekeeper to scrape his shoes clean and cool down.

Swordsman Wu : Surely, this is a sign from Heaven that you should apply more equitable rules.

Gatekeeper 4: You cannot talk your way out of this one. Ha! Ha!

Swordsman Wu : Even your laughter is evil. This is not a fair battle. It is obvious that you officials have no intention to let anybody collect the gold!

Gatekeeper 4: That is our prerogative. Commoners have no right to question us. Are you ready?

Swordsman Wu : No.

Gatekeeper 4: Ready or not, we will start. The first one to stop loses.

Swordsman Wu : Very well, then.

The two men bowed at each other and the poetry battle began.

Gatekeeper 4: A tiger roared out in the night.
Swordsman Wu : The farmer rose, prepared to fight.

Gatekeeper 4: He rushed to find his trusty spear
Swordsman Wu : And finding it, he kept it near

Gatekeeper 4: The tiger sniffed the cold night air
Swordsman Wu : And smelled the farmer's underwear

Gatekeeper 4: The great beast moved without a sound
Swordsman Wu : But tripped and fell down on the ground

Gatekeeper 4: The farmer waved his spear and said
Swordsman Wu : ”You clumsy shit, I'll stab your head”

Gatekeeper 4: The tiger got up with a roar
Swordsman Wu : And sashayed like a drunken whore

Gatekeeper 4: With mighty claws and raging heart
Swordsman Wu : It let go one big smelly fart

The Gatekeeper paused. The dirty swordsman was spoiling his beautiful poetry.

Gatekeeper 4: Its not cultured to say that word!
Swordsman Wu : Just pretend that you never heard!

Gatekeeper 4: You use the vulgar words I hate.
Swordsman Wu : I do? Oh yes! Isn't that great?

Gatekeeper 4: You're coarse and crude, and you should stop
Swordsman Wu : I'll keep on rhyming till I drop!

The Gatekeeper paused again. He was the top authority of poetry in the Imperial Court and no foul-mouthed swordsman was going to get the better of him. He continued.

Gatekeeper 4: The tiger circled round the man
Swordsman Wu : Who threw at it his frying pan

Gatekeeper 4: But the pan missed the tiger’s head
Swordsman Wu : And hit the creature’s ass instead

Gatekeeper 4: It leapt up high in startled shock
Swordsman Wu : The farmer tried to spear its cock

Once more, the Gatekeeper paused. Swordsman Wu was getting on his nerves. Making a supreme effort, he continued.

Gatekeeper 4: Why would he spear that stupid thing?
Swordsman Wu : He wished to see the organ fling!

Gatekeeper 4: That is the dumbest thing I’ve heard.
Swordsman Wu : It's not so dumb, don't be absurd!

Gatekeeper 4: A farmer should not fight like that.
Swordsman Wu : Then tell me how he should combat!

Gatekeeper 4: With steady spear he took his aim.
Swordsman Wu : The tiger snarled fiercely and came.

Gatekeeper 4: He stabbed the tiger's upper half.
Swordsman Wu : But missed and made the tiger laugh!

Gatekeeper 4: He stabbed again and scraped the hair.
Swordsman Wu : The beast gave him an ugly stare.

Gatekeeper 4: He swung the spear and hit its eye
Swordsman Wu : The tiger cried out, “Chau chee bai !!!”

The gatekeeper was nonplussed. He tried to continue but he could not. Nothing came into his mind. Finally, he gave up.

Gatekeeper 4: You may pass, Swordsman Wu!

With that, Swordsman Wu passed through the fourth gate and made his way to the final gate.

* Next episode: the Seduction Gate *


Wednesday, August 03, 2005


Viewtru’s Lantern Tale – The Third Gate

EPISODE 3 – The Artistic Gate

As Swordsman Wu approached the third gate, he saw an old man seated besides a long table. The old man carried a set of brushes of all sizes. He was the third Gatekeeper. He stared at the dusty horseman without speaking, as if he was taking the measure of Swordsman Wu. Finally, he spoke.

Gatekeeper 3: And who would you be?

Swordsman Wu : I am Swordsman Wu of the Wu Tang Clan.

Gatekeeper 3: In the years that I have been here, you are the only one to have reached the Third Gate. You must be extremely lucky.

Swordsman Wu : Either that or I am extremely good. It matters not. May I ask why you have so many brushes?

Gatekeeper 3: Simple! The ancients said, “Learn to handle a writing-brush and you'll never handle a begging-bowl.”

Swordsman Wu : I’ll remember that. Now please open the gate and let me through!

Gatekeeper 3: This is the Artistic Gate. Not your house gate! By the Imperial Rules, you may pass only if you can prove superior to me in the art of Chinese Brush Painting.

Swordsman Wu : Is that all? I am the best artist in my village. I should beat you with ease!

Gatekeeper 3: Foolish young man! You have eyes, but yet you do not know the Tai Mountain. Prepare your brushes!

Swordsman Wu : I have none.

Gatekeeper 3: You have no brushes and yet you said you could beat me with ease? The ancient sages said, “Do not insult the crocodile until you have crossed the river.”

Swordsman Wu : Indeed the proper tools I may have not. But the ancient sages also said, "Do not despise the snake for having no horns, for who is to say it will not become a dragon?"

Gatekeeper 3: Let not it be whispered that I took unfair advantage of you. You can have one of my brushes. Both of us will start with a yellow parchment and black ink. I will light a joss stick, and when it is completely burnt out, we shall stop painting and compare the results.

Swordsman Wu : Good! What shall we paint?

Gatekeeper 3: We shall each paint a scene depicting an activity of the Emperor. Whoever paints the more realistic scene will win.

Swordsman Wu : Can I paint the Emperor dancing with a goat?

Gatekeeper 3: That is not realistic. The Emperor will never do a thing like that! People without ideas, such as you, are not fit to be even here competing with me! I feel insulted to be even standing here with you!

Swordsman Wu : You are too full of yourself. A fly before your own eye is bigger than an elephant in the next field. I will be the winner because I am the more desperate.

Gatekeeper 3: Are you ready?

Swordsman Wu : Yes!

The gatekeeper lighted a joss stick; a very short fast burning one. Then he painted furiously. Swordsman Wu could not decide what to paint. After some thought, he decided to paint the Emperor catching a monkey. Just as he was about to start painting, the joss stick burnt out.

Gatekeeper 3: Time is up!

Swordsman Wu : What? So fast?

Gatekeeper 3: Yes! I omit to mention that it was a fast burning joss stick. Now let’s compare our paintings!

Swordsman Wu : But your painting is all dark! There is no shape to be seen! I win!

Gatekeeper 3: Ha! That is what you think! Did I not say that the contest would be judged on the most realistic scene about the Emperor?

Swordsman Wu : What is so realistic about this?

Gatekeeper 3: This painting is entitled “Emperor having sex with concubine at night”. The room is totally dark which is why the painting is all black. Nothing you paint can be more realistic than that. Therefore, I win!

Swordsman Wu : If I had painted the Emperor catching a monkey, or eating a flower, or getting behind a camel, you would also say that you win. That is not right!

Gatekeeper 3: The truth of the matter is that the world is in colour. Black paint alone will never depict a realistic scene unless it is a painting of a room in darkness. Therefore, no matter what you had painted, I would still win! You were a fool to think that you could beat me!

Swordsman Wu : You win nothing! You should have drawn the concubine’s teeth glistening in the dark!

Gatekeeper 3: Ha! The concubine had her mouth closed all the time!

Swordsman Wu : Tightly closed?

Gatekeeper 3: Yes. Tightly closed! What have you painted? Nothing! You have only an empty yellow parchment!

Swordsman Wu : My painting is entitled “Emperor covers concubine with sperm”.

Gatekeeper 3: What? That is not possible!

Swordsman Wu : Are you saying that this is not realistic? The yellow parchment has the same colour as sperm. It is realistic!

Gatekeeper 3: But nobody has so much sperm to cover a woman!

Swordsman Wu : That is treason! How dare you suggest that the Emperor cannot produce enough sperm! Dare you imply that he is sexually deficient? I will have to report this to the Emperor. You will be severely punished for insulting his Highness!

Gatekeeper 3: But I did not mean to insult the Emperor!

Swordsman Wu : He will confiscate your horses and your wives.

Gatekeeper 3: No, not my horses!

Swordsman Wu : Yes! He will confiscate your donkeys and your wives.

Gatekeeper 3: No, not my donkeys too!

Swordsman Wu : You do not show the least bit of concern for your wives.

Gatekeeper 3: I can always get new wives! And besides, I am alright as long as I have the use of my hands…..

Swordsman Wu : He will confiscate your precious hands.

Gatekeeper 3: Oh……

Swordsman Wu : And after that, he will confiscate your useless head! I shall go to look for the Emperor now!

Swordsman Wu picked up both the paintings and prepared to leave. The Gatekeeper felt a sudden rush of panic and tried to stop him.

Gatekeeper 3: No! Wait! Alright, I agree that your painting is realistic! We’ll call this a draw!

Swordsman Wu : You call this a draw? You have painted a horrible scene implying that the concubine did not enjoy the Emperor’s sexual efforts.

Gatekeeper 3: How can you conclude that?

Swordsman Wu : If she was enjoying herself, she would be grinning, and her teeth would glisten in the dark. But you painted her with her mouth tightly closed! Let us take our paintings to the Emperor and let him decide. Whether my “Emperor full of juice” painting is better, or your “Emperor unable to give pleasure to concubine” painting is better. I hope he lets you keep your head after this. Hey, what am I saying? Of course, he won’t! I feel sorry for you already.

Gatekeeper 3: Er…….perhaps I have been hasty in my judgment of you.

Swordsman Wu: The superior man sees the light and takes the necessary action. Decide your action now!

Gatekeeper 3: I have decided to open the gate. Please do not mention any of this to the Emperor! You may pass, Swordsman Wu.

Swordsman Wu: Thank you!

Without a backward glance at the cringing Gatekeeper, Swordsman Wu passed through the third gate and rode his horse towards the fourth one. He had been told that the fourth Gatekeeper was a cantankerous official of the court who prided himself as being a man of culture. He was also known to be an official with two sets of rules; one for himself and one for the rest of the world.

* Next episode: the Poetry Gate *


Tuesday, August 02, 2005


Viewtru’s Lantern Tale – The Second Gate

EPISODE 2 – The Kungfu Gate

The distance between the first and second gate was not far by horse back. It was a huge sprawling castle and there was nobody to be seen except for the guards at the first gate. Swordsman Wu approached the second gate which they called the Kungfu gate. A huge mean looking man with a broadsword stood besides it. That must be the second Gatekeeper. The second Gatekeeper had a reputation of being undefeatable in combat. Nobody knew his kungfu style, and thus nobody could work out the appropriate countermove. Those who have fought against him did not live long enough to inform others. Swordsman Wu wished that he did not have to confront the man, but he did not wish to turn back either. There has to be a way to avoid a duel.

The Gatekeeper saw him and strode out to meet him with his broadsword in hand.

Gatekeeper 2: Halt! Who are you?

Swordsman Wu : I am Swordsman Wu of the Wu Tang Clan. Open the gate and let me pass!

Gatekeeper 2: No man may pass through this gate lest he defeats me in battle. I have the greatest respect for the famed swordplay of the Wu Tang Clan. Your clan is known throughout the land as the noblest of clans.

Swordsman Wu : Thank you. I, too, have heard great stories about you. To be able to meet you today is my pleasure.

Gatekeeper 2: Thank you. But your pleasure will be short lived. It has been said that to face me is to face certain death. Many have given up their lives to my broadsword in their quest for their weight in gold. Are you not afraid?

Swordsman Wu :I do not fear death. I only fear poverty. The ancients said that it is better to die ten years early than to live ten years poor.

Gatekeeper 2: True! But the ancients did not have to face the sharpness of my blade. Before you die, I wish you to know that it is my great honour to meet a member of the Wu Tang Clan in combat.

Swordsman Wu : Thank you. It will be my great honour to defeat you in my quest.

Gatekeeper 2: Your quest is in vain, because I am the best kungfu exponent in the Emperor’s service. I cannot be defeated. You are like a chicken in the market waiting to be slaughtered!

Swordsman Wu : There is none who cannot be defeated. There is a saying that says, “There is always a higher mountain.”

Gatekeeper 2: True as that may be, but I really cannot be defeated.

Swordsman Wu : Why is that so?

Gatekeeper 2: I have mastered the supreme martial art of Buffalo kungfu!

Swordsman Wu : Buffalo kungfu? I have heard of Tiger, Crane, Monkey, Eagle , Dragon, Snake and Preying Mantis kungfu. But what in Heaven’s name is Buffalo kungfu?

Gatekeeper 2: The fact that you have not heard of it implies that it exists in total secrecy. A powerful martial art it is. Being a Buffalo kungfu master, my skin is thick like a buffalo. Swords and spears may not penetrate it. A hundred men cannot even hope to kill me. Accept your defeat now before I divide you into pieces with my nine-dragon broadsword!

Swordsman Wu : You cannot be that superior. The superior man is modest in his speech but exceeds in his actions. If Buffalo kungfu is so great, why then, has the world not smelled its fart?

Gatekeeper 2: It is a secret martial art, passed down through the generations in my family. I learned it from my honourable father.

Swordsman Wu : I too learned the fighting arts from my honourable father. And my honourable father can beat your honourable father!

Gatekeeper 2: No he can’t!

Swordsman Wu : Yes he can! My honourable father can beat your honourable father with one hand tied behind his back.

Gatekeeper 2: My honourable father can beat your honourable father with two hands tied behind his back.

Swordsman Wu : My honourable father can beat your honourable father with three hands tied behind his back.

Gatekeeper 2: Three hands? Your father is a freak!

Swordsman Wu : You do not know my father. My mother says that he has more hands than an octopus! So stop insulting my father, or I will use my special Crocodile Grip of Death kungfu on you!

Gatekeeper 2: Crocodile Grip of Death kungfu? Hahahahaha! Never heard of it. I am not afraid! What is it?

Swordsman Wu : The fact that you have not heard of it implies that it exists in total secrecy! It is a secret art that enables the hand to grip with the strength of a thousand crocodiles. My hand will grip your private parts and crush them into a liquid paste within your skin. It is not necessary for me to try to break your Buffalo skin to inflict tremendous damage. Within one breath, you will become a eunuch. After that, it will be excruciatingly painful each time you try to pee. So painful that you will faint from the attempt. If you go to the toilet ten times a day, you will faint ten times a day. The other kungfu masters will call you “The Fainting Buffalo”. Their students, being less polite, will call you “The Fainted Beef.”

Gatekeeper 2: No matter. If you try to grip my privates, I will simply chop off your hand with my broadsword!

Swordsman Wu : That will not help. The muscles of a dead hand can only harden further. The Crocodile Grip of Death continues gripping even with the hand chopped off. It can only be freed if lightning strikes it twice. In the same spot.

Gatekeeper 2 scans the sky for signs of lightning. There were none.

Gatekeeper 2: But think about it! You will lose your hand!

Swordsman Wu : True! But I can live without one hand. I will become the new One-armed Swordsman. You, on the other hand, will become an impotent eunuch! And each time you try to pee, you will think of how my Crocodile Grip of Death crushed your family jewels into a watery waste. The mental pain will be terrible! The physical pain will be unbearable!

Gatekeeper 2: I laugh in the face of pain! The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor the man perfected without trials! Losing my private parts in the line of duty to my Emperor is the greatest honour to my family! Draw your weapon, Swordsman Wu!

Swordsman Wu : You know well the nature of the Wu Tang Clan. We do not indulge ourselves in idle boasts. The fact that I made it through the first gate should be enough to warn you that I am not an ordinary person.

Gatekeeper 2 : That is true. I do not doubt it.

Swordsman Wu : After this battle, you can never have sex again, and will be the laughing stock of your village!

Gatekeeper 2: If that is to be my fate, then let it be so! My duty to my Emperor is clear. Nothing you say can shake me!

Swordsman Wu : And after you become a useless eunuch, you’ll be practicing Buffalo kungfu without your cows. Your frustrated wives will be having sex with everybody in the village. With your neighbours, your servants, your stableboys, the vegetable sellers, the village headman, the tofu makers, the roadside beggars……even with the crazy village idiot! And that’s during the day. At night, they will be getting their regular thrusting from the …….

Gatekeeper 2: Enough! Stop! I wish to hear no more…..diu…...you may pass, Swordsman Wu!

Swordsman Wu : Thank you.

Swordsman Wu passed through the second gate before the second Gatekeeper could change his mind. Once out of sight of the second gate, he heaved a huge sigh of relief. Very quickly, he rode his horse over the hilly terrain towards the third gate. The third Gatekeeper was known to be a cunning fox. Perhaps the most cunning of all five Gatekeepers. Swordsman Wu stopped his horse and pulled out his gourd container of water. Drinking from it, he wondered what the task at the next gate would be. The realization hit him that he may not be able to talk his way out of the next one.

* Next episode: the Artistic Gate *


Monday, August 01, 2005


Viewtru’s Lantern Tale – The First Gate

EPISODE 1 – The Riddle Gate

High in the mountains, a foreboding castle stood, imposing and majestic. Within its gates laid the Emperor’s guarded Treasure Room. The Emperor issued the challenge that whosoever managed to pass through its gates would be allowed to remove an amount of gold equal to his own weight from the Treasure Room. Such a person would be made a high official in the Emperor’s court. There were five gates in all, with each gate guarded by a Gatekeeper, a high person of extraordinary talent, and no man had ever been successful in reaching the Treasure.

On a quiet afternoon in summer, a lone horseman approached the First gate.

Gatekeeper 1: Halt! Why are you here?

Swordsman Wu : I am Swordsman Wu of the Wu Tang Clan. I have come, that I may collect my weight in gold!

Gatekeeper 1: Indeed, the Wu Tang Clan is well known for its exquisite swordplay. But hear my advice. Waste not your time. Many have come, including some famed exponents from the Shaolin, Emei, and the Huashan Clan. Almost all have failed, and have left empty-handed. The remaining ones left their lives here. Heed my wise words. It cannot be done!

Swordsman Wu : A person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the man doing it. Open the gate and let me pass!

Gatekeeper 1: You are too impatient. And too proud. A fall into a ditch will make you wiser. Like the rest before you, your efforts will end in bitter defeat.

Swordsman Wu : Defeat is not bitter to the superior man if he does not swallow it.

Gatekeeper 1: Wise words indeed. Very well then, you may make your attempt. This is the Riddle Gate. You may not pass until you have answered my riddle. I will light a joss stick. Give me the correct answer before the joss stick burns out, and I shall allow you to pass.

Swordsman Wu : What if I do not like your riddle? Will you change it to one that I like?

Gatekeeper 1: No, by the Imperial Rules, I can only repeat the same riddle.

Swordsman Wu : What if the riddle you tell is too complicated to be understood by normal people like me? Will you change it if my time is not up?

Gatekeeper 1: That will be most unfortunate. By the Imperial Rules, I can only repeat the same riddle.

Swordsman Wu : What if you mumble your words, and I cannot……

Gatekeeper 1: Enough! For whatever reason, I can only repeat the same riddle!

Swordsman Wu : For whatever reason?

Gatekeeper 1: Yes! For whatever reason! You have more questions than a dog has lice!

Swordsman Wu : He who asks a question is a fool for half a joss stick’s time; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever.

Gatekeeper 1: Truly, you test my patience. Are you ready for my riddle?

Swordsman Wu : The superior man fears neither rhyme nor riddle. Ask your riddle and be quick about it. I am in a hurry!

* The Gatekeeper lit a joss stick and got ready to ask his riddle. *

Gatekeeper 1: The riddle goes hence: the Lady Peony was traveling along a dusty road in summer. The day was hot and she was feeling tired. By good fortune, she happened upon a stream of running water and so she thought, “You cannot fight a fire with water from afar. It is better that I immerse myself in the stream.” With that decision, she made preparations to wash the dust from her body in its cool waters.

Swordsman Wu : I am in a hurry. What is your riddle?

Gatekeeper 1: Quiet! The Lady Peony removed her clothes carefully and placed them by the side of the stream. Then she entered the cool running waters. To her horror, she saw a naked man already in the stream. He was a young woodcutter, and had been sitting quietly in the water under some overhanging branches, which was why she had not noticed him before.

Swordsman Wu : Why are you taking so long to ask me the riddle?

Gatekeeper 1: Let me continue! The Lady Peony requested the woodcutter to leave immediately so that she could bathe in peace. The man argued that he was there first, and by the justice of Heaven, she should be the one to leave. But Lady Peony implored on him to leave and he eventually agreed. The woodcutter then stood up in the stream, and the water dripped away from his muscular body. As he did so, what were the first words that ……

Swordsman Wu : Wahhhhhh ……why so long one?

Gatekeeper 1: …….the Lady Peony uttered? Oh, you have answered the riddle!

Swordsman Wu : I have?

Gatekeeper 1: Yes! Those were the first words that the Lady Peony uttered!

Swordsman Wu : Actually, I was asking why you were taking so long to ask the riddle.

Gatekeeper 1: Oho! In that case, you have not answered the riddle!

Swordsman Wu : Yes, I have!

Gatekeeper 1: No, you haven’t!

Swordsman Wu : Have!

Gatekeeper 1: Haven’t!

Swordsman Wu : Okay, fine! The joss stick glows unabated, so my time is not yet up. I demand a second riddle!

Gatekeeper 1: No, you cannot. I have already said that for whatever reason, by the Imperial Rules, I can only repeat the same riddle!

Swordsman Wu : Okay fine! Follow the Imperial Rules and repeat your riddle!

Gatekeeper 1: When the woodcutter stood up, what were the first words that the Lady Peony uttered?

Swordsman Wu : The Lady Peony said, “Wahhhhhh……why so long one?”

Gatekeeper 1: That is correct!

Swordsman Wu : Good! Now open the gate!

Gatekeeper 1: You were lucky, Swordsman Wu. But a man may not always depend on his luck. Sooner or later, luck will run out.

Swordsman Wu : You are a sore loser. By the Imperial Rules, you have to let me pass. A good dog does not block the road.

Gatekeeper 1: Gloat as you may. But you will not pass the second Gatekeeper. He is the best martial artist in the land. In the years that I’ve been here, less than ten men have passed through this gate. But they all went to their graves early at the hands of the second Gatekeeper. I will have the last laugh yet.

Swordsman Wu : Indeed you are long winded.

Gatekeeper 1: You may pass, Swordsman Wu!

Swordsman Wu : Sheeeeeesh!!!!!

* Next episode: the Kungfu Gate *


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