Saturday, December 31, 2005


Greetings for the New Year

Two-o-o-Five, it did appear
My blogging life had gone unclear
I put out tales in blogosphere

So I could post some naughty pix.

It's time this blog gets into gear
And greet a new fantastic year
So come on now, let's raise a cheer

Hello, welcome, Two-o-o-Six!



Friday, December 30, 2005



The end of the year draws nigh.

A few weeks ago, I was at One Utama MPH and there was a talk by famed fengshui celebrity Joey Yap. He was launching his book about the coming Year of the Dog. I was passing by as I was browsing for some other book and I overheard some of the stuff he said. He told his audience that he did not believe in asking his clients to buy things such as nine fishes for the aquarium or even jewelry as these have no basis in classical fengshui. However, he did say that if you wish to harness water qi, you can use a bucket of water and use a simple cheap water pump to move the water instead of using fish.

Coincidentally, a few weeks earlier, another fengshui author, Lillian Too, also had an exhibition at One Utama where all sorts of stuff were being sold, like sculptures of frogs, lamps, all sorts of paraphernalia and even fengshui T-shirts! If you look at the MPH bookshelves, you will find that Lillian Too has written more books on fengshui than Joey Yap.

Not being a fengshui expert, I am not going to say who is better, Joey yap or Lillian Too. However, both of them appear to have different approaches.

Many years ago, I saw a local TV show where the presenter invited 3 local fengshui practitioners to the talkshow. The conversation soon revolved around the topic on whether one should stay in a house by the graveyard. One fengshui expert gave the opinion that the person should move as the decomposing bodies would give out gases which would harm the health. (I am not such a hot expert on decomposing bodies either, but I believe one of the gases given out is methane.)

Lillian Too then interrupted him by saying that one could balance the yin energy of graveyards by countering it with yang energy. I believe her remedy was to put a large rock in the living room, as the rock would give out the yang energy. To my mind, that surely must be a strange remedy. I cannot comprehend how the rock could change the methane into something safer, and even if it could, the person would still have to come out to the garden or road and breathe in decomposing gases. Fengshui science is a big mystery to me. Frankly, if you ask me, a graveyard will not give out as much decomposing gases as a landfill or rubbish dump. It is definitely a healthier place to be, than living next to the dump or even living in a smog-filled room in the middle of the city.

Okay, what did Joey Yap said about the Year of the Dog? He said that for next year, the best sector in the house would be in the north, then followed by the southwest. Spend most of your time there.


Thursday, December 29, 2005


You should not worry if nobody reads your blog

Occasionally, I would come across laments from new bloggers that nobody reads their blogs. I can understand that feeling that if you write something, then you would want it to be read. After all, you did put in a gargantuan effort.

But let us put the nitty gritty in the proper perspective, shall we?

Are you blogging as a business? If you are, then you should worry.
If not, then why should you worry?

Are your blogging for fun? If you are, good, coz the fun part comes from the writing.

If you are not having an orgasmic blast in putting out some random bullshit and hoping that readers will mistake it for Nobel Prize offerings, then something is very wrong with you. Seriously. I am not suggesting that you kill yourself yet, but I have a lot of other ideas that just might come in handy. If you are not having fun in blogging, then it is time to stop wasting bandwidth and your precious time.

A blog is not a newspaper. A blogger blogs for blogging’s sake. Blogwhoring is only part of the fun, but it is never the main show.

I remember the time when I had only something like 5 visitors a day(courtesy of PPS) and I was ecstatic for the wrong reasons. My immediate reaction was, “Hey, I’m corrupting 5 innocent people already, wa lau eh!”

The truth was that I would have kept on writing even if the number of visitors were only two. In fact, I am most partial to some of the articles that I posted when nobody was visiting my blog.

Occasionally, I would read a past article, cringe and then ask, “Who is this hectic fucker that puts out awful shit like that?” knowing full well that the hectic fucker was me. Be prepared to be embarrassed by previous posts as well.

The blog plots the blogger’s personal journey through time. It records the personal growth, the levels of maturity the blogger goes through, and the myriad ways by which the blogger has learned to express the thoughts.

The number of daily hits have no bearing on this.

So, if you are a blogger with zero visitors, should you worry?

No, you need not worry as long as you don’t lose your most important yourself.


Wednesday, December 28, 2005


On wasting funds

The idea of turning Pulau Jerejak into a restricted casino for foreign tourists sucks big time. If we restrict the locals, where are they going to get enough gamblers to keep the casino going? We know that those foreign tourists who gamble are mostly Singaporeans, and Singapore is already in the process of setting up two casinos on their own. Once that happens, even Genting will feel the pinch. The proposed restricted casino at Pulau Jerejak will be a white elephant.

What about European tourists? Get real. Do you really think that a European tourist is gonna come all the way to Penang so that he can enter a small cheesy ass-crack casino on Pulau Jerejak, when he has the huge glittering casinos of Monaco to go to? The only real market you can tap into are the expats working in Penang, and I don’t think they are a very big group. We may end up wasting funds on the infrastructure.

Oh wait, I forgot about the lowly paid foreign migrant workers who have passports. Once they blow their monthly wages in the cheesy casino, they will have to think of other ways to survive for the rest of the month. Snatch thefts will see a giant change in statistics.

Still on the topic of wasting funds, let's cast our eyes elsewhere.

Twelve months ago, Proton paid RM313 million to purchase a stake in Italian motorcycle manufacturer MV Augusta SpA. Now, Proton is selling that stake for ONE measly euro. What was the financial profit? You do the maths.

Just what was Proton thinking? It is supposed to manufacture cars, not motorbikes. If it really wants to purchase companies, then it should think along the lines of purchasing manufacturers of reliable power windows that can open and shut consistently. Or even manufacturers of reliable door handles that don’t break so often in your hands. That’s how I would spend the money.

Cheer up, it’s not all bad news. Bigfoot has been sighted and that is good news. You know why? It means that it exists and the reason why it has eluded us so far was because it can turn invisible at will. Yes! The lost art of invisibility exists! You should never doubt things like this. Let me see, where did I put my Klingon camera?


Tuesday, December 27, 2005


Christmas holidays

My weighing scales told me that I had a good holiday. I gained half a kg in weight. Maybe that had something to do with my consuming lots and lots of seafood. Fish, prawns, crabs, oysters, lala….you know the drill.

Oh yes, I was swimming in the Straits of Melaka, with one eye keeping watch for the dreaded tsunami. The other eye was keeping watch for the monkeys hovering nearby. I don’t like monkeys much. I once almost had my bag(with camera inside) stolen by one naughty creature and the incident has left me wary. The last thing you want to happen while swimming in the sea is to have your clothes stolen by thieving monkeys.

In case you were wondering where I went, I was at Lumut, staying with friends.

While shopping for ikan bilis to bring back, the proprietor said that there would not be much fish in this season(until the Chinese New Year) because many fishermen were not going out to sea due to concerns about the tsunami. Even the types of fish were limited at the restaurants. However, I managed to have a good time.

There were a lot of new stalls at the newly built Lumut Waterfront building(opposite the jetty) but they did not seem to have much business. Across the road, along the row of old shophouses, I saw a lot of families shopping for satay fish at the Kedai Manjung and I headed there as well. My logic was that if a shop has business, the turnover would be higher and the products would be fresher. There were satay fish on sale at RM10 for 3 packets or 4 packets depending on quality. I bought the better variety.

My Christmas was uneventful. I had stuffed turkey in cranberry sauce. I just love cranberry sauce. Did I mentioned that I gained half a kg? That must be from the cranberry sauce.


Tuesday, December 20, 2005


The great Kong logic

So there I was, looking out DILIGENTLY for the tsunami and guess what just happened? The floods came. Don’t you just hate it when you discover that you have been wasting your time looking out for the wrong things in the wrong places? Like a national car project, looking out for more market protection, when it should be looking at its own quality problems. Not the best example, I know, but the only one I can think of right now.

I was without internet access for the past few days. Life without the internet was strangely weird. Almost like living on a different planet. So what did I do to amuse myself? I tried to read a book. Yeah, no shit. I started on the “Lord of the Rings” and I’m halfway through. I’ve seen the movie before, many times, and thus I noticed that the author, J.R.R Tolkien, did not exactly follow the movie script.

I am thinking of watching the latest King Kong movie, you know, the movie that has both a GORRILLA and a DINOSAUR. Two creatures for the price of one ticket may seem like a great deal but I have my reservations. You know what can be improved further? In the next remake of King Kong, there will be a GORRILLA, a DINOSAUR, and an OLIPHUNT! Yeah, that would take the cake, wouldn’t it?

I have never thoroughly enjoyed the previous Kong offerings for three glaring flaws in movie logic:
1) It is totally mindless to think that a giant monkey can fall in love with a blonde.
2) The monkey’s obviously stupid because there is no way it could ever have sex successfully with the blonde unless it has a really small dick.
3) If it has a really small dick, it will take hours and hours to finish peeing through it, and there won’t be enough time left to make a movie.

Still, I will probably catch the movie sometime next week because there is a T-Rex dinosaur in it, and I have a thing for T-Rex movies.

My holidays are coming up and I will be going off again, so I’m unlikely to be blogging until after Christmas.



Thursday, December 15, 2005


Value the rakyat

So now, the victim of the nude squats scandal has been identified as a local Malay instead of a foreign Chinese national. That makes it worse. It implies that we are treating our own people as badly as we treat foreigners. This is just too embarrassing for words. What, just because there is no foreign government to give us some diplomatic pressure, does that make it any less awful?

If we do not value the dignity of our citizens, what then do we value?

I am not going to advise the cops how to do their jobs. I do agree that nude searches may sometimes be necessary. For all we know, some women may be able to hide illicit stuff in their vaginas(quantity will depend on the size of the cavity). Those of you humsap people who have been to Thailand to watch the “ping pong show” or the “goldfish show” will be able to comprehend a woman’s ability to hoard things up their u-know-what. (If you are hearing this for the first time, please do not try this at home. You need professional training from Patpong Street for this sort of thing.)

One nude squat to pump the thing out, I can understand. Maybe two nude squats. But ten? That is way too much. And why hold the ears? Why not allow the woman to use the hands to cover the breasts instead of holding the ears? I am getting desensitized over this shit.

You know, I am one of those people who see the police controlling traffic in the hot sun or driving rain and I feel sympathy for them. And when a dead body is found, they are summoned to the scene to deal with it. Some parts of the job are downright unpleasant and I do sympathize with the folks who have to do this job. I am not capable of becoming a great cop, and because of that, I will try not to be critical of cops. But when something is obviously not on, then we should deal with it and find ways to improve. There is always a better way. There has to be.

My computer is having some problems so I’m getting it repaired and may not be able to blog tomorrow. And ladies, remember what I said about not trying any Patpong Street experiments at home. You won’t know what to do in case things get stuck up there. Damn, I may have to come over and remove it for you.


Wednesday, December 14, 2005


I’m back

Hi! I’m back.

Do you know this?
“Those who can, write.
Those who can’t, blog.
Those who can’t blog, blog stories.”

I seem to be in the last category down there. It’s not so bad. I’m still a mile more ethical than those 100% cut and paste turdfest worms masquerading as bloggers.

But seriously, I’m the last person who should be talking to you about ethics. So, we’ll just let that topic slide.

In case you're wondering about my vacation, I haven’t hit the beaches yet. Waiting for the weather to clear up a bit and stop raining long enough for me to get into the “frolicking in the sunshine” mood. You know.....sun, sea, sand, surf, sex..... and all those fun activities beginning with the letter "S".

Learnt something over the past few days:
“Talent is God-given
Fame is men-given
Conceit is self-given.”

Self-given? Ah, I understand it all now. I must have been generously rewarding myself with conceit. Coz it doesn’t cost a cent. Who wrote that shit anyway? They missed out the all-important line on who gives out the poontang.


Saturday, December 10, 2005


The 3-in-1 Kungfu Girl - Chapter 19

Chapter 19 : Conclusion

Wu Chuan was feeling concerned. Although he knew that Pei Pei was strong, but he did not like to see her mope. Pei Pei’s mother’s sudden departure came rather unexpectedly. She would miss her only daughter’s wedding.

The following afternoon, as Wu Chuan was walking with Pei Pei in the garden, he suggested, “Let us go to Ningshiang village. I would like to see what this village looks like.”

Pei Pei nodded. She, too, would like to see Ningshiang village. Madam Li lent them a carriage and they set off.

The familiar smells of the village reminded Pei Pei of her childhood. It had been four years since she had disappeared from the village. She paused in her steps to admire the sight of the dried fish laid out in the sun to dry. Curious villagers peered out of their homes to stare at her and Wu Chuan.

“This used to be my home, Brother Chuan,” she said, as they stopped in front of a house that had its doors and windows closed. “The long bench where I used to sit is still here.” She sat down on a long wooden bench in front of her house and Wu Chuan joined her. From her place, she could see the fishing boats return from the sea.

“It is mid afternoon,” she explained. “The boats normally return by this time.”

They sat for a while. Then three big strapping lads, carrying fishing nets, walked by engrossed in an animated discussion.

“I am telling you, we can make our own Teng Khok Khok Potency Potion and sell the stuff with huge profits. It should be easy enough!”

“Yeah! The town people will buy the stuff by the buckets. We will be rich. After that we will just sit back and shake legs. Chiak pah lum par song!”

“You think so easy meh? Potency Potion must have tiger penis as one of the ingredients. Where are we going to find a tiger penis?”

“No need to use tiger penis. We use fish penis instead.”

Kanineh. Fish where got penis one? I have never seen one even after catching so many!”

“That’s because you have been catching only the female fish. Can’t you catch some well-hung male ones for a change?”

Pei Pei got up and shouted, “Skinny Chicken! Crazy Dog! And Big Potato!”

The three young men turned around, stared at her and asked, “Who are you?”

“I am Pei Pei!” she answered.

“Aren’t you dead?” asked Skinny Chicken, still in shock.

Kanineh! If I am dead, do you think that I would be here in the daytime talking to you?” she demanded. “You think dead people so free, is it?”

“Pei Pei! It is you!” shouted Big Potato.

The boys were ecstatic to see her. They were introduced to Wu Chuan and then informed about her impending wedding.

“You have changed a lot since we last saw you,” remarked Crazy Dog. “We did not recognize you until you spoke!”

“Yeah, nobody in the village talks the way you do,” said Big Potato.

“Come to think of it, your niece looks a bit like you,” remarked Skinny Chicken.

“Niece? What niece?” she asked.

“You uncle Yue Thau’s daughter of course,” answered Big Potato. “I bet that when she grows up, she will talk like you as well.”

“What niece are you talking about?” asked a perplexed Pei Pei.

“You have only one. I forgot her name. She is two years old, isn’t she?” asked Crazy Dog.

“Will you explain what you are talking about?” demanded Pei Pei.

“We are talking about your uncle Yue Thau’s family,” said Skinny Chicken. “I hear that his wife is pregnant again.”

“Didn’t my uncle die four years ago?” asked Pei Pei.

“Four years ago?” said Big Potato trying to remember. “Four years ago, he fell off his boat but he made it to Chin Tong Island. He was rescued by the Hua family whose boat went to Chin Tong Island to take shelter from the storm. They discovered him the next morning and brought him back. He was lucky to be still alive. What? You didn’t know?”

“Oh, heavens! You really didn’t know!” exclaimed Skinny Chicken. “Where have you been?”

“Never mind that!” yelled Pei Pei in excitement. “Where is my uncle now?”

“He resides in the village of Liuxiang in the house of his mother-in-law,” replied Skinny Chicken. “It is the last house at the end of the road there.”

Hurriedly, Pei Pei said goodbye to her three ‘blood brothers’ and then she and Wu Chuan rushed to Liuxiang village. At the last house at the end of the road, they stopped and got down from the carriage. The door was wide open and a woman was in the house looking after her young daughter. A man who was digging the ground by the side of the house, turned around and stared at them.

“Uncle Thau” shouted Pei Pei excitedly.

The man squinted at her and then asked, “Who are you?”

“I am Pei Pei!” she answered. “I thought you were dead!”

Wu Chuan stood aside while uncle and niece blabbered at each other excitedly. Later on, they noticed him and then Pei Pei did the introductions.

“This is Wu Chuan. He is a merchant from Pingchen,” she explained. “We will soon be married.”

Wu Chuan and Pei Pei were then invited into the house and Yue Thau introduced his wife and daughter.

Over a cup of tea, Yue Thau explained, “That afternoon, after the dagger plunged into me, I fell into the sea. I remembered that it was painful. I thought that I was going to die. I clutched the wound shut with my hand and tried to keep afloat at the same time. The boat had swung around and I could hear you calling for me on the other side of the boat. The boat had its sails up and the wind was strong. It was traveling fast away from me. I shouted, but nobody heard me. Then it drizzled, and very soon I could not see the boat anymore.”

“You were adrift in the storm?” asked Pei Pei.

“Yes,” replied her uncle. “I was adrift, still clutching the wound with my hand trying to stem the blood flow. Then I realize that the sea current was taking me somewhere. If you can remember, we had just left Chin Tong Island and I was trying to change the sailing direction of the boat when I was stabbed. The current was strong, and swept me back towards Chin Tong Island. Somehow, I managed to swim weakly towards a beach and finally, a wave threw me up on the sand. The thing that kept running in my mind was that I had to get to the well for water. I remember getting up and straggling towards it. Then I must have passed out because I don’t remember much after that.”

“How were you rescued?” asked Pei Pei.

“I was lucky,” explained her uncle. “On the other side of Chin Tong Island, there was a boat just coming in to take shelter from the storm. The boatman was a man called Mr Hua from Liuxiang village. The next morning, his two sons trekked over the island to get to the well for some water and that was when they found me on the beach. They brought me back to the mainland and nursed me back to health. They did not know who I was as I was unconscious most of the time. They put me on a spare bed in this house. It belonged to Mr Hua’s brother who had passed away a long time ago, leaving behind a widow and her daughter. The daughter, who is Mr Hua’s niece, is my wife now.”

“You didn’t go back to Ningshiang?” asked Pei Pei.

“I tried to,” said her uncle. “But I could not stay there. I thought that I was the only one of the family left alive and the memories were too painful. I took odd jobs in the other fishing villages and I stayed at everywhere except Ningshiang. I finally married Mr Hua’s niece and moved in here with them. Since I don’t have a boat anymore, I have to take up shore fishing to take care of my family.”

“So you have changed your trade?” asked Pei Pei.

“Yes, I now gather clams along the shore and sell them for a living. I can’t afford a fishing boat.”

Pei Pei then told her side of the story. Her uncle was amazed by the fact that she managed to sail back on a raft.

For the next few days, Pei Pei visited her uncle everyday.

“Take it easy, Pei Pei,” Wu Chuan advised her. “The daifu has confirmed that you are pregnant.”

“I know,” she said. “This three-in-one kungfu girl is about to become a mother.”

“Do you think that we should let your uncle know that your mother still lives?” he asked.

“No,” replied Pei Pei, “My mother would prefer people to think that she is dead. Let us leave things that way.”

+ + + + + +

At the Imperial palace, Governor Li knelt before the Emperor until he was asked to get up.

“You have done well in recovering the two jade lions for me, Governor Li!” said the Emperor in delight. “How did you manage to recover them?”

“A young girl called Pei Pei discovered a poem scratched on the wood inside a boat compartment four years ago. She was twelve years old at that time. The boat happened to be the same boat chartered to bring the treasure to the island to be buried years before that. Luckily, the girl could read, and she remembered the poem even after so many years. Last month, a young man called Wu Chuan, who is also the son of my in-laws, thought that the poem was related to the treasure and he solved it.”

“What is this poem?” asked the Emperor, interested.

Governor Li cleared his throat and recited,
“Between the summer wind and morning sun
Taking aim from Rabbit Island
I skipped a rock with a banyan tree”

“Interesting!” said the Emperor. “Explain to me how it was solved!”

Governor Li explained how they managed to follow the clues in the poem and finally found the treasure.

“Excellent! Excellent!” said a very pleased Emperor. “I have never heard such a strange poem, but it made sense! I shall reward the girl Pei Pei a thousand taels of silver for remembering the poem and an equal amount to the young man Wu Chuan for solving the clues. You will deliver it to them when you go back.”

“Yes, your Majesty,” said Governor Li.

“Did you manage to find out who buried the two jade lions?” asked the Emperor.

“I was told that it was done by a man called Black Bat,” replied Governor Li. “He was a servant of a kungfu master called Sum Wan, also known as Cold Wind Hands. I have questioned the servants of Sum manor and found out that, six years ago, Cold Wind Hands was wounded in a fight. It happened coincidentally around the time that the two jade lions were stolen. The deputy chief of the Imperial guards protecting the jade lions, Arrow Eye, once told me that he had shot two arrows into the body of the masked man whom he suspected to be the leader of the robbers. The servants of Sum manor also told me that six years ago, Cold Wind Hands was so badly injured that he had to lie on the bed most of the time. Black Bat disappeared from sight. Then, Cold Wind Hands died a year later from his injuries.”

“So, it looks like Cold Wind Hands is the leader of the robbers, and he is dead,” commented the Emperor. “Did he leave behind any family members?”

“He had two sons who died before him. He left behind one grandson. A month ago, the grandson attacked my son Li Chiang and was killed in the fight,” said Governor Li. “With that, the family line of Cold Wind Hands Sum Wan had come to an end.”

“Good!” Very good!” exclaimed the Emperor. “Death is a fitting end for those who dare to rob me!”

Governor Li took a deep breath and then said, “Your Majesty, I have a request to ask.”

“Speak!” ordered the Emperor.

Governor Li then said, “Six years ago, when the two jade lions were robbed, Chief Feng and many of his Imperial Guardsmen gave up their lives trying to protect the consignment. After the loss, the deputy chief, Arrow Eye implored me to keep on searching while he and the remaining men came back to the Imperial Capital to report the loss. They were subsequently imprisoned for failing to protect the consignment. Lesser men would have run away, but these men have a sense of honour that would not allow them to do so. They have always been loyal to your Majesty. Now that the jade lions have been recovered, Governor Li would like to request that Arrow Eye and his compatriots be freed and given back their old positions.”

The Emperor thought for a while, “I cannot give them back their old positions. Positions are only given to people who have proven that they can hold on to them. I will however free them from prison.”

Governor Li was happy with this and he said, “Thank you, your Majesty. There is one other thing.”

“What is it?” asked the Emperor.

“Wu Chuan is marrying Pei Pei soon and I have promised that I will go back in time for their wedding. However, I have many good friends here, and if they find out that I am in the capital, they will want to see me and that will delay my leaving. If it pleases your Majesty, I will like to keep my visit to the Imperial capital a secret.”

“The Emperor smiled and said, “All right. I will not announce that you have been here until you are long gone! I will also give some gifts for you to take back to the bridal couple.”

Governor Li bowed low and said, “I will represent the bridal couple and thank you on their behalf. May you live ten thousand years!”

As he was about to leave, the Emperor stopped him. “Wait! There was a Magistrate Chee Ko Pek whom I sent to Fuzhou to help you in this investigation. Did you see him?” he asked.

“Magistrate Chee Ko Pek came to Fuzhou but did not offer me any new information. Although I outranked him, I treated him with the utmost respect seeing that he was doing a job for your Majesty,” replied the governor. “He conducted his own investigations. In the process, he had three people beaten to their deaths when they could not tell him anything. He left Fuzhou four days before me.”

“Four days before you?” asked the Emperor in astonishment. “Then how is it that he has not arrived yet?”

“I am not sure,” said Governor Li. “But I have heard that he was going to stop in Shanghai to do something important. Did your majesty instruct him to go to Shanghai?”

“No, I did not,” said the Emperor, puzzled. “But I can easily find out what he is doing there.”

+ + + + + +

Three days later, Magistrate Chee Ko Pek turned up at the Emperor’s court. Kneeling low in front of the Emperor, he said, “Magistrate Chee Ko Pek has news to report from Fuzhou.”

“Speak!” ordered the Emperor.

The magistrate spoke, “There is no news regarding the missing jade lions of your Majesty. Governor Li, who is the governor of the province, treats this matter as a huge joke. My investigation there tells me that the jade lions have most likely already left the province. For that, Governor Li has to bear responsibility. I therefore recommend that he be replaced.”

A few ministers lent their voices in support. They had been suitably bribed by the magistrate beforehand. The Emperor realized that the people in his court did not know that the jade lions had already been recovered. “And who do you think would be most suitable to replace him?” he asked.

“If your majesty pleases, I will be willing to fill that position,” answered the magistrate. Again, a few ministers voiced their support. The Emperor understood at once that it was a political move against Governor Li.

The Emperor spoke in measured tones, “You cannot expect me to remove a governor just because a robbery has occurred in his area. Crime can occur at any place. Governor Li has administered the province to my satisfaction so far.”

“But your Majesty,” argued the magistrate. “Governor Li goes around arresting people without any suitable reason.”

“He has?” asked the Emperor. “I have not heard of it.”

The magistrate tried again, “May I report that just before I left Fuzhou, Governor Li went to the manor of the Sum family in Fuzhou and arrested everybody in it. That is an abuse of power. The Sum family is a rich family and should be treated with greater respect.”

“Enough!” said the Emperor. “For all you know, Governor Li may have already recovered the jade lions at this moment.”

Seeing that the Emperor was not so easily persuaded, Magistrate Chee Ko Pek made one more attempt, a more dramatic one. “Your Majesty,” he said, “Governor Li is not the type of person to treat this matter seriously enough. I am willing to guarantee that he has not recovered your jade lions!”

“You guarantee?” exclaimed the Emperor. “With what do you guarantee?”

“I will guarantee my head,” said the magistrate. A few ministers showed the thumbs up sign to each other. It was a dramatic political move.

“Guarantee with your head? Those are very strong words uttered in here,” remarked the Emperor. “If Governor Li has recovered the jade lions, you will lose your head! You are very bold, to give such a guarantee in my royal presence.”

“My guarantee serves to prove my confidence,” said the magistrate. “It has been six years since the jade lions were lost. The trail is now cold. If he had been serious in his work, then he would have delivered the jade lions to you by now. When I was in Fuzhou, I did not find evidence that he was even trying. If it pleases your Majesty, I would propose that Governor Li be replaced.”

The Emperor paused and then said, “You stand by your guarantee?”

“I confidently stand by my guarantee, your majesty,” reiterated the magistrate.

“I don’t know where you obtain your confidence from,” said the Emperor coldly, “or where you found time to conduct your investigation. I was told stories that, in Fuzhou, you spent your time in the courtesan houses looking for young virgins.”

The ministers who had been supporting the magistrate kept silent, sensing that they were in dangerous waters.

“Your Majesty,” explained the magistrate. “Whoever is bringing these stories to you is not telling the truth. Even if I was in a courtesan house, I was there on official duty, trying to get information about the missing jade lions.”

“Then on your way back here,” continued the Emperor, “you stopped over in Shanghai to look for more virgins! Please do not tell me that you were conducting investigations of the missing jade lions with the virgins of Shanghai also. While you were occupying yourself with virgins in the courtesan houses in Shanghai, Governor Li had already recovered the jade lions and delivered them to me. He left Fuzhou four days after you and still arrived three days before you. You are a disgrace to the Imperial Court!”

“Wha…..what?” asked the magistrate in shock.

“And since you guaranteed with your head that Governor Li has not recovered the jade lions, I will have to take your head!” said the Emperor.

“Spare me, your majesty! Spare me!” croaked a quivering Magistrate Chee Ko Pek, his stomach knotted tightly in fear.

One of the ministers tried to ask for clemency for the magistrate and the Emperor snapped back, “Do you think that it is all right for a subject to say things in front of the Emperor without meaning it? That you can just say things for fun in the Imperial Court because the Emperor may be deaf?”

At that, all the ministers kept quiet. The silence in the room was so thick that the farting of a young eunuch could be heard plainly. It was quite musical, but nobody laughed.

Curling his lips at the prostrated magistrate, the Emperor announced, “In view of the services you have rendered to the crown for many years, I will spare you your life. But you will be stripped of all positions you hold.”

The magistrate’s robes and hat were then removed and he was led out of the hall.

+ + + + + +

The bed in the Old Horse Inn creaked rhythmically in time with the movement of the young man, as he rocked the naked body of the young woman under him. She gasped with each stroke, and when she reached the peak, she gripped him tight and clawed his back, sending red scratch marks down his skin.

He continued rocking her until he at last arched into her and jerked violently, sending thick strings of fluid into her for the second time that afternoon. Spent and exhausted, he held her close to him and whispered, “This is even better than the first time, Pei Pei!”

“It certainly is, Brother Chuan,” she replied. “I wonder if we can try for a third time.”

“I will have to rest first,” he answered. “It will take some time to get hard again! Maybe I should have bought a bottle of Teng Khok Khok Potency Potion to speed things up a bit!”

“Does that potion actually work?” Pei Pei asked.

“I heard your blood brothers say that it makes the thing go “toink toink”. It must have worked,” said Wu Chuan.

“My three blood brothers talk nonsense most of the time,” laughed Pei Pei. “Don’t listen to them!”

“They are quite entertaining,” he said. “They say that they will help send off the bridal procession. It’s just a few days more to our wedding. I hope Li Chiang and his father return in time.”

+ + + + + +

Governor Li returned to Fuzhou two days before the wedding and gave Wu Chuan and Pei Pei the gifts from the Emperor. Pei Pei took her thousand taels of silver to her uncle and gave him half of it. He was reluctant to take the money. She told him that it was a gift from the Emperor to the Yue family and therefore she would represent her dead father and take half of it while Yue Thau’s family takes the other half. He finally agreed.

The bridal procession started from Pei Pei’s old house in Ningshiang village. It had been specially spruced up for the occasion. Pei Pei wore a bridal gown of resplendent silk that had been given by the palace. The beautiful bridal gown would be the talking point of Ningshiang village for many years to come. Her uncle and three ‘blood brothers’ were on hand to send her off. The carriage procession was accompanied by Governor Li and his troops and they took three days to reach Pingchen.

The wedding feast lasted seven days in Pingchen. The wedding had some surprise guests. Arrow Eye and his fellow guards who had been freed from prison had accompanied Governor Li down to Pingchen to offer thanks to Wu Chuan and Pei Pei for helping to secure their freedom. At the wedding feast, Arrow Eye made a pledge, “If ever the Wu family is in trouble, just let us know, and my brothers and I will come to your aid!”

Yue Thau bought himself a boat with his five hundred taels of silver and he soon returned to sea to fish. It was a better way to make a living than collecting clams from the shore to feed his growing family. However, he made a vow never to charter out his boat to anyone again.

The following spring, Pei Pei gave birth to a healthy son. Wu Chuan hugged her as they sat beside the crib to admire their baby. She wondered when the child would grow up to be old enough to pick up her kungfu skills.

Bending low over her baby boy, she whispered, “The three-in-one kungfu girl will pass you all that she knows. Learn well. One day, we will be known as the Pingchen House of the Flying Daggers!”



My game plan

Like I said, I am not going be scared off by Dr Smith Dharmasaroja’s ‘tsunami down the Straits of Melaka’ warning for December 2005 and January 2006. I still intend to go to the beach. However, that does not mean that I will not take reasonable precautions.

Will I have time to react if a tsunami really does happen? The wave speed varies with the depth of water. In 2004, the wave took about 50 minutes to travel from the tip of northern Sumatra to Phuket.

If I am standing on the beach along the Straits of Melaka, and if there is a tsunami coming from the Andaman or Nicobar islands(the predicted new epicentre), the waves will be coming from the right hand side, and not from the front. It will travel to Phuket first, then Langkawi, Penang, Pangkor, then Kelang, then Singapore. Very roughly, I think that it will hit Phuket 45 minutes before reaching Penang.

The Thais have some form of tsunami warning system on, so I think we will get some advance warning as well. The idea is to be at a place where you are in a position to hear the warning.

This is my game plan:

1) I will swim only near the resort area, where I will be in a position hear any warnings. And I will keep an eye towards the right(that’s the direction of Phuket) for any huge wave. If you are on the coast near Medan, the direction to watch for is the left.

2) I will not take any long walks along the beach. It is better to be near the resorts where there are ready paths for a speedy escape to higher ground. There is nothing worse than being caught out in an area where even if you saw a wave coming, there is nowhere you can run.

3) I will watch the sea level very carefully. A sudden drop in sea level or a sudden increase in level is a sign that a tsunami is about to arrive. If that happens, I will get to higher ground quickly.

4) If dogs howl for no reason, or run up the slope helter skelter, than it is time for me to quickly follow suit. No questions asked.

5) I won’t go to the beach at night. Too dark to see anything coming.

That’s it! I am all set for my beach holiday! Frankly, I don’t think the effects will be that bad since any tsunami wave down the Straits is expected to hit almost parallel to the beach. I expect a thing like that to be more of a river overflowing its banks rather than a full blast. Still, it would not be a nice thing to be swept away. If Dr Smith’s prediction was true, then the islands in the Straits will catch the full blast on their northern and western shores. The southeastern side will be a lot safer. I’m assuming that the island that you are on is not so small that a big wave can cover the whole island, of course. People near the Pulau Ketam area will have to pay special attention, because that is where the Straits start to narrow, and the depth of water start to reduce. But relax, a tsunami in the straits may not even happen for the next 50 years!

And even if it did happen, if you take the proper precautions, it can’t be more dangerous than our roads.

Tell, you what. If I did see a tsunami, I’ll take some pictures and then come back to blog about it, okay? Then we will have one big discussion on whether I saw any STRANGE animal behaviour prior to it!

I will post the 3-in-1 kungfu girl Chapter 19 here later. I know that you have already read it in the 3-in-1 kungfu girl blog. But since I have posted all the first 18 chapters here, I may as well post the last chapter here also.

Before I forget, there will be no update on Monday and Tuesday. I’ll be outstation. Not the beach yet, but somewhere else.


Friday, December 09, 2005


Dear Lai Ma – How to predict a tsunami

I absolutely and resolutely refuse to live in fear of the tsunami. Sure, it can be badass dangerous, but so are roads. Every year, we have more than two hundred people dying on the roads in the balik kampung rush, but has that ever stop people from travelling home?

This month, despite the warning by famed Thai meteorologist, Dr Smith Dharmasaroja, that a tsunami is going to sweep down the straits of Melaka, I will be going to the seaside for a holiday. And I will be swimming nonchalantly in the sea! Semi-naked.

Look, fellas, nobody can predict with a certainty when a tsunami will happen. We can’t even be sure that it will occur within the next hundred years! If you are going to be so worried, then you may as well stop living and quit wasting precious oxygen for others. Even if a tsunami were to roll down from the expected quake epicenter of the Andaman and Nicobar islands, it will hit Phuket first and take hours to reach Pangkor or Melaka. By that time, the kind folks in Phuket would have given us enough warning to get out of the sea. It helps if you are staying at a big resort and they have people to do announcements to clear the beach. Find out first about their tsunami warning system.

If, however, you are staying at an el cheapo beach hut without phones and TV, then my friend, you will have to depend on other types of warning systems. My advice to you is to watch out for unusual behaviour of animals. Dogs are particularly good in sensing earthquakes.

Say that you got a problem and you don’t know shit about unusual animal behaviour.

Well, don’t worry, help is at hand!

The 5Star, being five times more knowledgeable in animal behaviour than our lousy dipshit one-star competitor, will attempt to answer your questions as to what constitutes tsunami-related behaviour in animals. Miss Lai Ma, formerly a karaoke lounge singer and currently our world-recognised animal behavioural expert, will helm the column.


Dear Lai Ma
If I see a dog up a coconut tree humping a coconut, is that a sign that a tsunami is approaching? Should I contact the Meteorological Department immediately?
Kua Bo

Dear Kua Bo
I don’t think that you can call it a sign that a tsunami is approaching. A dog cannot climb up a coconut tree. You should not contact the Meteorological Department, but instead, contact your optometrist immediately. What you saw was no dog but a horny monkey.

Dear Lai Ma
If my dog humps a chicken, would that be a sign that a tsunami is on the way? Do I contact the Meteorological Department immediately?
Dog owner

Dear Dog owner
The animal behaviour that you should be looking out for is that your dog may appear frightened, agitated, excited or disoriented before an earthquake. And it may howl for hours. Humping a chicken, although unusual, merely indicates that your dog’s hormones are rampaging loose in its furry little mind. Please do not contact the Meteorological Department. Instead, you should contact your veterinarian to make an appointment to get your dog neutered.

Dear Lai Ma
If I see a man humping a goat, would that constitute unusual animal behaviour? Should I check if the goat is frightened, agitated, excited or disoriented? And then do I report to the Meteorological Department?
Not a Clue

Dear Not a Clue
What you have described is gross indecent behaviour. No, I do not think that it is a sign that the tsunami is approaching. The correct department to report to, is not the Meteorological Department, but the R.S.P.C.A. If you have a camera with you, please take some pictures. I know of one inane blogger who is only too willing to post those pictures in his blog.

Dear Lai Ma
I think this tsunami thing is way overrated. The last time I experienced a tsunami, I found that it was a very raw and not to my liking. When I complained, the people laughed at me and displayed highly unusual animal behaviour. Why like that? Why the world so fucked up.
Chin Tu Lan

Dear Chin Tu Lan
Na beh…..I refuse to answer any bo liao questions from bo liao people. But my talkcock editor said that we are a five star paper and we have a ruling that we do not discriminate against bo liao people. Kanineh. Don’t know what kind of stupid ruling is that. Okay, listen up. I advise you to contact the nearest Japanese school and enrol for language lessons. The word you should have used was “sashimi”, not “tsunami”. And another thing…..please don’t send me any more pictures of yourself in your underwear. Baka.


Thursday, December 08, 2005


Congratulations, Nicol David!

Because this blog understands and values greatness, I will dedicate a post to World Squash Queen, Nicol David.

Well done, babe!

Don't let those opportunistic politicians ride on your greatness. They were nowhere nearby while you were training hard. Their attention was fixed on soccer, badminton, bowling and other sports where they erroneously thought we had a chance. But it was you who delivered. Don't be surprised to see them swarming around unabashedly to bask in some reflected glory.

Make them crawl, babe!

And another thing. If they offer you a datukship, tell them that you want something better. Greatness deserves greatness.

Rock on, babe!


The guitar put me in the mood

Will wonders never cease.

Dr M received an International Prize for Human Rights last week. Human rights? Never mind, we are gonna let that slide.

This week, I open the papers and see him holding a guitar.

I’m so in the mood that I’m gonna launch into a song from the classics.

“Silence is golden, but my eyes still see…..”

While I'm in the mood, let’s have another song about the virtues of silence.


Wednesday, December 07, 2005


The comments board of the 3-in-1 kungfu girl

I did not realise that the comments column for the 3-in-1 kungfu girl page had moderation turned ON. So, to my surprise, there was a host of comments waiting for me to moderate. Well, I then turned OFF the moderation feature and some of your comments disappeared. I did not know where they went! Anyway, it should be working properly now.


Social commentary

I am relaxing in the office. Many colleagues are on leave. I may go to the seaside this month and ignore the tsunami SMS. Not that anyone has tried sending it to me that SMS. If they did, I would just ignore it. My strategy is this: if I see a huge wave approaching while in the sea, I will just run like the dickens.

I did say that PAS had the statistical advantage in the Pengkalan Pasir by-election. I had expected half of Independent candidate Ibrahim Ali’s supporters to desert him. It turned out three quarters did so. Where did their votes go? My guess was that more landed on the BN plate than on the PAS plate. The good weather on election day favoured BN supporters. These ‘fair weather’ voters got off their asses and turned up to vote.

What happens now? Wait for the recount lor. But after that, whatever the results, I don’t think anything will change in the state until the next elections.

Chapter 19(the conclusion) of the kungfu girl story has been completed and already up in the 3-in-1 kungfu girl page. Those of you who cannot wait for me to post it here can go there and read it first(link is on left sidebar). If you are looking just for the last chapter, you will need to scroll all the way down. Please leave a comment at the end of the story saying that it is the best thing since sliced bread or something similar. Muahahahah!

Gonna do social commentary posting after all the story writing!


Tuesday, December 06, 2005


The 3-in-1 Kungfu Girl - Chapter 18

Chapter 18: The Journey of the Jade Lions

There was great excitement in the Li residence over the news of Pei Pei’s impending marriage to Wu Chuan. Everyone was caught in the excitement. Over lunch, they could talk of nothing else. Only Governor Li was quiet.

“Are you all right,” asked Jade Flower of her father-in-law. “Do you feel unwell?”

“I have a fear, daughter-in-law. I fear that the House of Li is about to go through a dark cloud,” he replied.

“I don’t understand!” Jade Flower exclaimed.

“Magistrate Chee Ko Pek has left for the capital this morning,” explained Gvoernor Li. “I was told that he intend to bring news to the emperor that I had made no effort whatsoever to recover the Emperor’s two jade lions, that I had treated the whole affair as a joke.”

“That is most unfair,” said Li Chiang. “We know that you had spared no effort in trying to recover the lost imperial shipment! Magistrate Chee is up to something!”

“That he is,” said his father. “He will use this affair to persuade the Emperor to have me removed as governor! My news source tells me that he has lined up a few ministers to lobby the Emperor to give the governorship of this province to him. The treacherous snake!”

“If it comes to that, then you will have to retire,” said Madam Li. “I, for one, would not mind if you retire.”

“It is not as simple as that,” said Governor Li. “You do not know this man. He is vicious. The province will suffer under his yoke if he is in power here. All those who live here will not have peace.”

“What can we do, father?” asked Li Chiang.

“If we can find the jade lions, then we can thwart him,” said Governor Li. “But nobody seemed to be able to give me any information as to their whereabouts. I have questioned all the prisoners, but no one knows. I don’t even know who buried them.”

Pei Pei looked thoughtful. “I cannot remember the details now, but I faintly remember being told a long time ago that it was buried by a black bat. Or was it a man with a black bat? All I can remember was that whoever buried the stuff chartered the Huang brothers’ boat.”

“The Huang brothers? Of Ningshiang?” ask Pei Pei’s mother.

“Yes, mother,” replied Pei Pei. “Their boat was chartered for the purpose of hiding the treasure on some island.”

“Good,” said Li Chiang. “All we have to do is to look for the Huang brothers and they should be able to lead us to the right place to look.”

“They are dead,” remarked Pei Pei’s mother sadly. “Six years ago, we found their boat drifting out to sea and the dead bodies of the brothers on deck.”

“Whoever killed them did so in order to keep the location of the island a secret. Nobody was even supposed to know that there was a treasure hidden on one of the offshore islands,” said Pei Pei.

“The person who chartered the boat would have to ask the Huang brothers to help draw up a map indicating the treasure’s location. Maybe the Huang brothers left a rough draft of a map. Did you check the boat?” Li Chiang asked Pei Pei’s mother.

“No,” she replied, “We did not think of that. We just handed the boat and the bodies to the mother of the Huang brothers.”

“Madam Huang was quite pitiful,” said Pei Pei. “She had no more sons to operate the boat and so she had to sell it. But nobody wanted to buy it because the boat had been tainted by death. Finally, my uncle Yue Thau bought it at a cheap price.”

“And that was the same boat that brought you to that unknown lost island?” asked Wu Chuan.

“Yes,” replied Pei Pei simply.

Wu Chuan looked deep in thought. Then he said, “Pei Pei, can you recite that bit of poetry that you found written inside the rice compartment of the boat again?” asked Wu Chuan.

“That was not very good poetry, Brother Chuan,” she said.

“I know,” Wu Chuan nodded, “but I would like to hear it again.”

Pei Pei recited,

“Between the summer wind and morning sun
Taking aim from Rabbit Island
I skipped a rock with a banyan tree”

Wu Chuan scratched his chin and commented, “Why would anyone want to write this inside the rice compartment? I am guessing that this was written by one of the Huang brothers and has something to do with the location of the treasure. But, this is a wild guess of course.”

“A wild guess is better than no guess,” said Governor Li. “But I have never heard of a Rabbit Island.”

“Neither have I,” remarked Pei Pei. “But if Brother Chuan thinks that this is worth investigating, then I will go along.

“Good. We will go and try to follow this clue tomorrow. We shall first sail towards Li-Shan Island,” said Wu Chuan. “Once we reach there, we will decide our next step.”

“Is the treasure on Li-Shan Island then?” asked Li Chiang.

“No,” answered Wu Chuan. “I don’t know where it is at. Will you come with me?”

“Of course!” said Li Chiang. “If we do not venture out, we will never profit at all.”

“Aha! You are unable to turn down adventure!” said Wu Chuan. “However, to prevent anybody from knowing that we are going treasure hunting, we should keep this to ourselves. For the trip, we will bring along only family members and trusted people.”

The next morning, Wu Chuan headed out to sea in the same boat that was captured from the pirates before. With him was Pei pei, Li Chiang, Ouyang and two trusted sailing crew. Governor Li came along at the last minute because he could not bear sitting at home waiting.

The wind direction was not favorable so by the time they reached Li-Shan Island, it was close to evening.

“Doesn’t look like much, this island,” commented Li Chiang.

“That’s because we are looking at it from the north. Wait till you look at it from the south side,” said Wu Chuan.

The boat rounded towards the south of the island and anchored there.

“Heavens, the island resembles a rabbit when seen from the south!” exclaimed Governor Li.

“That is true,” said Wu Chuan. “The resemblance is uncanny. I first noticed it when I was sailing from Tsinkiang to Fuzhou. I will assume that Rabbit Island is Li-Shan Island. We shall anchor here for the night.”

Pei Pei remarked, “This place is not very far from the shark infested waters where we were attacked, almost three months ago.”

“Do you think there are sharks here?” asked Wu Chuan.

“Don’t think so,” said Pei Pei, as she nonchalantly let down a fishing line. They spent the night on the deck.

In the morning, Wu Chuan set the course of the boat in a south-southeast direction from Li Shan Island.

Li Chiang asked, “Why are we sailing in this particular direction?”

“Because the poem says “Between the summer wind and morning sun”. The summer wind comes from the southwest and the morning sun is in the east,” explained Wu Chuan. “The direction halfway between them is south-southeast.”

Sailing in that direction soon brought them to another island.

“Is this it?” asked Governor Li in excitement.

“Not yet!” answer Wu Chuan. “This island is small and is just a rock, jutting out from the sea. The poem says that we should “skip a rock with a banyan tree”, so we are going to skip this rock. If we go past this rock, we should come to another island.”

Sailing past the rock after some time, they came to another island, which was much bigger.

“This is it!” said Wu Chuan. “We are going to search this island. I suspect that whoever buried the treasure brought along a banyan tree sapling to plant as a marker. What we should look for is a six-year old banyan tree. I hope it is still alive!”

The men landed on the island and scoured the area for young banyan trees. They found three.

“Whoever hid the treasure would look for an easy place to hide,” said Wu Chuan. If the treasure was hidden in the ground, then it will be at a place where the ground was easy to dig. We can discount the two banyan trees growing on the hill slopes. The third banyan tree is growing on ground that appears to be level enough for digging activities. We will concentrate our efforts there.”

Everybody stood around the young banyan tree concerned and then pondered their next step.

“Surely, whoever did this is unlikely to have buried the treasure and then plant the banyan tree on top,” remarked Governor Li.

“No, he wouldn’t!” said Wu Chuan. “He might have wanted to dig up the treasure in the future and it would be easier if there is no tree growing on top. The treasure will be some distance from the tree.”

“But where?” asked Pei Pei.

Walking to a spot thirty steps away from the tree, Wu Chuan said, “There is a slight mound in the ground here. There is always a slight mound whenever we bury something big because of all the earth dug up from the hole. Of course, the earth will be spread around the area a bit, but it is usually not done perfectly and a slight mound results.”

The men dug the ground at the spot indicated and when they had dug only an arm’s length into the ground, they found something.

“Looks like a wooden box,” said Ouyang excitedly. The men redoubled their efforts and soon, they uncovered three wooden trunks. Mindful of booby traps, Li Chiang opened the trunks one by one at a safe distance using a long spear. There were no booby traps.

“The jade lions!” exclaimed Wu Chuan in awe, as one of the trunks revealed its contents.

“They are certainly beautiful,” remarked Li Chiang.

“Yes!” said Governor Li in glee. “We have found them at long last!”

“Never have I seen jade pieces that big!” admired Ouyang. “These are rare. I may not see anything like this again in my lifetime!”

“So, this is the treasure that caused the death of my father and uncle!” remarked Pei Pei.

The other two trunks contained the spoils of the Sky Dragon Clan from other robberies.

Ouyang recognized some of the items in them and exclaimed, “Salted fish come alive! These are the items that were robbed from under my charge when I was the lead escort for the Yung Ann Protection Agency seven years ago! How often have I been unfairly blamed for that loss! Governor Li, if you do not mind, I would like to return the items to their original owners and thus regain back my honour!”

“We will take these back and sort them out. I will give you a chance to regain your honour,” said Governor Li. “I will also have to escort the jade lions to the Emperor’s palace. And I will have to hurry.”

“Why the urgency, father?” asked Li Chiang.

“I have to reach the Emperor before Magistrate Chee Ko Pek does,” replied Governor Li. “Otherwise he may get the Emperor to demote me. The Imperial Court has its own traditions. Once the Emperor opens up his Golden Mouth to remove me as Governor, it will be difficult to take back his words later.”

“I will go with you father,” said Li Chiang. “But Magistrate Chee Ko Pek has a head start of four days over us!”

“This boat is fast. You may still beat him,” said Ouyang. “Besides, I did hear that he will be stopping in Shanghai to look for some virgins.”

“You are an amazing source of information Ouyang,” remarked Governor Li. “If he stops long enough, we may overtake him.”

“I hope you overtake him. Will you be back in time for my wedding?” asked Wu Chuan.

“With a modest wind, I will be able to sail from Fuzhou to Tianjin in 15 days. From there, it will take another five days to transport the jade lions over land to the Imperial Capital,” said Governor Li. “I will be back in 45 days at the latest. I may just be in time.”

The next evening, they reached Fuzhou and Governor Li quickly prepared food supplies and a group of his best soldiers to sail with him to the Imperial capital. He promised to be back in time for Wu Chuan’s wedding in Pingchen. He was glad that Li Chiang was going with him.

The following morning, Li Chiang, Governor Li and his troops, sailed out of the harbour with the jade lions. Merchant Wu and his wife left for Pingchen to make preparations for the wedding feast. Wu Chuan had to remain in Fuzhou to escort the bridal procession to Pingchen when the day arrived.

Pei Pei wanted to visit her father’s grave. Her mother had never visited her dead husband’s grave and she wanted to go well. She was embarrassed by this fact and also the fact that she had two sons by West Cloud. “Should any of the Ningshiang villagers meet me, I will not know how to explain myself,” she said. “It is better that they think that I am dead.”

To save her from embarrassment, Wu Chuan arranged for a carriage to bring them to Pei Pei’s father’s grave at night. In the darkness, Pei Pei’s mother lit joss sticks for her departed husband and wept.

Later, Wu Chuan took the weeping woman aside and then, Pei Pei knelt in front of the grave and whispered, “Father, as I had said I would, I have dispensed Heaven’s justice on your killer. His body is lying somewhere without a head. You can rest in peace. The young man here with me is my future husband. His name is Wu Chuan. He is very intelligent. He will take care of me from now on.”

When they got back to the Li residence, Pei Pei’s mother was still weeping.

The next few days, Pei Pei got worried over her mother’s health. Her mother seemed depressed most of the time and even more so since the visit to her father’s grave.

“Mother,” she said, “The Wu family said that you can come to live with us when Chuan and I get married.”

“The Wu family will be your family, but not mine,” said her mother. “I will not follow you to the Wu household.”

“Where will you live then?” asked Pei Pei. “Who will take care of you?”

“It does not matter,” said her mother. “Once I send you off on the bridal procession, my job as your mother will have come to an end. What happens later is not your concern. When we next meet each other, I will have to treat you as a guest. You know that this is the tradition.”

“You miss your sons, don’t you?” asked Pei Pei.

“I am a mother,” was the reply. “What mother will not miss her young ones? You will be a mother one day and you will understand the feelings I have.”

Pei Pei kept quiet and then came to a decision.

Early the following morning, she took her mother to an old restaurant on the outskirts of town for breakfast. They occupied a table at the far corner at the back hidden by a screen. “Have some more tea, mother,” she said as they were eating, “for this is the last meal we will have together.”

“What are you talking about?” asked the mother.

“I have arranged for West Cloud to meet you here,” said Pei Pei. “Please do not be alarmed or raise your voice. He is a wanted man, so it is best if your actions do not give him away.”

“Pei Pei, are you serious?” asked her mother.

“Speak softer, mother,” said Pei Pei, “or you will put West Cloud in danger.”

A man, dressed in the clothes of a tradesman and wearing a hat, suddenly joined them at their table.

“Thank you, Pei Pei, for arranging this,” said the man, who was West Cloud. Turning to the mother, he asked, “How are you, dear?”

Pei Pei’s mother was shocked, but she later recovered sufficiently to ask about her children.

“The boys are all right. They miss their mother,” said West Cloud. “The younger one finds it difficult to sleep at night.”

“I thought you had gone!” said Pei Pei’s mother. “Your pictures were pasted on the walls everywhere. Why did you not flee far from here?”

“We are a family. I cannot just leave,” replied West Cloud. “If I flee, I would rather flee with you. I told Pei Pei how to communicate with me in case there was a need.”

“Mother,” said Pei Pei, “West Cloud and his sons are leaving Fuzhou. Do you wish to go with them?”

“If I go, who will send you off on the bridal procession, my daughter?” her mother asked. “Who will do the hair dressing ritual for you the day of your wedding? I am your only relation. You have no one else!”

“Mother, I have been taking care of myself for the last four years,” replied Pei Pei. “It is you whom I worry about. If you have to leave, then leave now. If we do not part today, we will still have to part on the day of the wedding. It will be difficult for West Cloud to escape when Governor Li returns with his best troops. As long as West Cloud remains in the Fujian Province, he will be hunted down. It is not easy to be on the run with two young boys.”

“We have to leave immediately,” said West Cloud. “After today, you will not see your daughter again.”

“Goodbye Pei Pei,” sobbed her mother.

“Goodbye mother,” said Pei Pei, trying to keep from crying. “Master Hsi, please take good care of my mother!”

“I will,” promised West Cloud.

Then they were gone by way of the back door.

Pei Pei did not cry. She paid for the food and walked out of the restaurant. Some time later, she walked behind some trees where no one could see her. It was only then that she wept.

She wandered around town and returned to the Li residence by nightfall. Calmly, she informed Wu Chuan and Jade Flower that West Cloud had taken her mother away. Then she went straight to bed, hoping that that West Cloud and his family had managed to evade the soldiers watching the roads. She prayed that her mother would be able to see her two young sons grow up into men. Then she slept for a long, long time.


Stopping the touts

I like the Jail For Touts idea. Touts are not beneficial to the economy and they exist only to leech the system of blood. Every time I go to KLIA to fetch people, I would see touts hassling the tourists at the lifts at the arrival floor. That is not good for the image of our country. Imagine that a guy gets of the plane, walks through a swanking airport and is greeted by touts. Surely they can find some other line of work than being touts? Yes, I have blogged about this before. Wah lau eh.....this blog gets results!

It looks like I will have to end the 3-in-1 Kungfu Girl story on Chapter 19. I did not realize that the ending part would have so many details to cover. Chapter 18 coming up in a moment.


Monday, December 05, 2005


Weekend that was

I saw “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” yesterday at 1Utama. There wasn’t as much action compared to the previous Harry Potter movies in this latest offering. Also, it was much more dark and macabre this time.

The 1Utama parking charges seem to have increased. Kena charged RM5 for parking 8 hours. Shit, man. It used to be only RM1 for the whole day.

Hot Babe bought me lunch at Genki Sushi. I ate some kind of noodles in miso soup. She remarked that I ordered the same stuff the last time I was there as well. I couldn’t help it. I really liked their miso soup with the noodles. Personally, I’m not a great fan of Japanese food, so if I find any part of the menu that agrees with me, I STICK WITH IT! Familiarity breeds consent.


Sunday, December 04, 2005


Pengkalan Pasir by-election.

I think that PAS has the advantage this time in Pengkalan Pasir.

Why do I think that?

There are two groups of voters that can swing the victory to either side; the followers of Independent candidate Ibrahim Ali and the Chinese voters:

I do not think that Ibrahim Ali's voters would want to waste their votes on the man, knowing that it will be an exercise in futility. Half of them will either vote BN or PAS. Those who have not forgiven BN for rejecting Ibrahim Ali last time will probably vote PAS. On the other hand, there will be some within the camp, who have never voted PAS in their whole life, so their votes will go to BN. It is difficult to tell how their votes will go.

In the last election, only 5% of the Chinese in the area voted PAS. Looking at the statistics, it will be far easier to increase the 5% to 10% than to decrease the 5% to 0%. In other words, no matter what the issues are in the state, there is still more upside potential than downside potential.

The nude squats issue will only be a side issue. The candidates themselves are colourless.

Based on this analysis, I would say that PAS has the statistical advantage.


Friday, December 02, 2005


The 3-in-1 Kungfu Girl - Chapter 17

Chapter 17: The rescue of Pei Pei

Three of the pigeons made it to the coop at Governor Li’s manor, one after another, by dusk. A servant removed the messages from the birds and brought them immediately to Governor Li. They were identical messages. Governor Li read them quickly and sent for Ouyang immediately.

“Ouyang,” he said, “Wu Chuan has sent word to say that Pei Pei and her mother are being held without food and water in a secret room under the library of Cold Wind Hands Sum Wan’s manor. Do you know the place?”

Ouyang nodded, “It is just outside Fuzhou.”

“In that case, we will go and rescue them now,” said Governor Li. “Unfortunately, Wu Chuan was not able to find out how to enter the secret room. The only thing he knows is that the entrance is through a bookshelf which has been booby trapped by arrows.”

“Did they manage to capture whoever was responsible for this?” asked Ouyang.

“No,” replied Governor Li. “There were two of them who went to the island, but they died. Wu Chuan and my son are returning and they will be here the day after tomorrow. I will have to go to this Sum manor and arrest everybody for questioning!”

Governor Li was disappointed. There was no word on the two jade lions from Li Chiang so he knew that the treasure had not been found. Quickly, he assembled his soldiers and Ouyang led them to the Sum manor. It was dark by the time they reached there.

A servant opened the gate to ask what the matter was and Governor Li’s men took the opportunity to force their way in. Some fighters appeared and tried to defend the manor but the fighting was brief and the soldiers soon overcome all resistance. All the men and women of the Sum manor were brought to the courtyard and forced to sit down on the ground. The captive fighters were an aggressive lot and the soldiers had to tie their two hands together.

Ouyang was quite surprised to see the presence of fighters. He had thought that they had disappeared with the death of Cold Wind hands. “Looks like Sum Teng Rong had been quietly building up his forces,” he thought. He quickly made his way to the library together with Governor Li and the captain of the governor’s guards.

“Governor Li,” said Ouyang. “There are many book shelves here. We do not know which bookshelf is the correct entrance to the secret room. I will go and check the walls outside the library to see if there are any unexplained dimensions. Later, I will have to remove the books from the bookshelves so that we can search for the entrance. Just in case that I set off any booby trap inadvertently, I would advise that you leave the room first.”

Governor Li nodded.

“It will take too long for Mr Ouyang to move the books by himself,” said the captain of the guards. “I have a faster way! Leave it to me!”

Ouyang left to examine the rooms surrounding the library. The room on the south side of the library appeared to be a bit short, so he concluded that the hidden entrance would most like likely be found behind the bookshelves along the south wall of the library.

Meanwhile, the captain had gone out and brought back ten of the Sum manor’s servants. The servants were ordered to removed the books and take them out of the room. Ouyang was alarmed to see the servants gather up huge armfuls of books ad dumping them outside in the corridor.

“They could set off the booby traps and be killed!” he told the captain in the corridor. “You must tell them to be careful!”

“You are right!” said the captain. “I ought to warn them!”

Standing in the doorway of the library, the captain shouted, “Hurry up! There are booby traps in here and if they go off, you will be killed! Work as fast as you can! And be careful!”

On hearing that, the servants just swept every book from the shelves and ran about throwing armfuls of books into the corridor as fast as they could, much to the increased alarm of Ouyang. However, the work was completed very quickly without a booby trap being set off.

A relieved Ouyang then examined all the empty bookshelves. He had worked in the Yung An Protection Agency long enough to know the tricks of the trade. Secret doors, secret compartments and secret hiding places were part and parcel of the security business and a good security man would soon develop a feel for these things.

“One shelf along the south wall is different from the rest,” he told the captain. “It has three wooden stops placed right at the back. I suspect that if we pull out the stops, we will be able to swing out the whole bookshelf to reveal a hidden room behind.”

Ouyang paused to examine the three wooden stops. Wu Chuan, in his message, said that the bookshelf had been equipped with arrow booby traps. He could not tell where the hidden arrows were going to be shot from. His best approach would be to trigger off the arrows remotely and then decide how to look for the entrance. To do that, he would have to attach strings to the wooden stops carefully, and then pull them out from a safe distance.

“Pull out the stops? That should be simple!” said the captain.

“In is not as simple as that!” said Ouyang. “I believe the stops have been booby trapped. They have to be pulled out in a particular sequence or else the person pulling them will be shot down by hidden arrows!”

He told the captain of his plan of triggering off the booby trap remotely by using strings.

“Are you sure that there are hidden arrows?” asked the captain. “It looks quite safe to me! Judging from my experience, I would say that this story of an arrow booby-trap is one big bluff to scare people away!”

“Better to be safe than to be sorry,” remarked Ouyang. “I will go and look for some strings.”

“No need to go to so much trouble,” said the captain easily. “I can solve this for you very quickly! It’s easier than borrowing a flame.”

“Don’t do anything without me,” said Ouyang as he left the room to search for some string.

After Ouyang left, the captain went out to the courtyard and inspected the captured fighters of the Sum manor. He barked an order and his soldiers selected three of the ugliest looking captives and marched them into the library. He then made each one of them stand in front of each wooden stop that had to be pulled out.

Ouyang came back with the strings and saw the captain standing in the doorway and the three captives at the targeted shelf rack. The room had been cleared of people except for the three captives.

“What is going on?” Ouyang asked.

“I am solving your problem!” replied the captain. He turned to the captives in the room and shouted, “Now, pull!”

The captives pulled out the wooden stops, much to Ouyang’s alarm. Immediately, arrows started flying across the room from the ceiling above. They landed everywhere in the library, but most of them landed at the spot where the three captives were standing. The three of them died on the spot, with arrows sticking out of them like three porcupines.

The captain turned to Ouyang and said, “Damn! You are right! There was a booby-trap!”

Ouyang cautiously entered the library and looked at the three dead men. “Oh shit! They are dead!” he said.

“Oh! Don’t worry! I have still a lot more captives!” the captain assured him confidently. “What else do you still need to pull?”

Ouyang stared at him in disbelief. Then he noticed that the rack of shelves had moved a bit. He asked the captain to stand back, and then using a spear, he gingerly tried to move the shelf rack outwards. But the shelf appeared to be stuck. As he was wondering how to swing out the rack of shelves safely, the captain stepped forward and wrenched the whole thing out. The whole rack swiveled roughly and noisily on hidden hinges outwards to reveal a hidden space behind.

“No more booby traps lah, see?” said the captain. “Don’t be so scared like that!”

Again, Ouyang stared at him in disbelief.

In the hidden space behind the rack that was revealed, there was a flight of steps going downwards into the ground.

Ouyang took a lantern and walked down the flight of steps, followed by the captain. In the light of the lantern, he could see a door at the end of the stairs. He opened the door, went through it and found himself in a big room. In the dim light of the lantern, he could make out two figures, one on each side of the room.

“Miss Yue,” he called out. “Miss Yue. I am Ouyang!”

A figure on one end of the room answered back, “Ouyang?”

Excitedly, Ouyang walked towards the voice. He saw Pei Pei shackled and chained to the wall. “Miss Yue!” he exclaimed. “I am so glad that we found you! Are you all right?”

“I am alright. But my mother, she is on the other side of the room. I don’t know how she is,” said Pei Pei.

“Don’t worry,” said Ouyang. “You are safe now. The Governor’s soldiers are here and we have overcome all of Sum’s men.”

“How did you know where to find me, Ouyang?” asked Pei Pei.

“Young Master Chuan sensed that you had been captured yesterday. He then guessed that this would have something to do with some buried treasure. He also guessed that you would send your captors to Kon Lo Island. So he went with Master Li Chiang to Kon Lo Island to set a trap for your captors and to find out where you were held. He is still at sea, but he sent a message by homing pigeons to tell us where to find you and your mother. We just received the message and we came immediately.”

“Wu Chuan has got to be the smartest man in the world,” said Pei Pei.

“Young Master Chuan is very smart, Miss Yue,” agreed Ouyang.

The captain went around the room to try to find the keys to unlock the shackles. Ouyang did not bother to look. Instead, he took a bent pin from inside his pocket and unlocked Pei Pei from the shackles. Picking locks was one of the things he had learned in his years as a security specialist and lead escort with the Yung An Protection Agency. After unlocking Pei Pei, he unlocked her mother as well.

Governor Li had climbed down to the dingy windowless room to see things for himself. “Take the women upstairs and give them food and water,” he told the captain. “I will question them later.”

Pei Pei and her mother were given food and water and put in a carriage. They were then brought to Governor Li’s residence. Both mother and daughter were given a guest room to share and Jade Flower came to see if they were comfortable. Pei Pei was surprised to see her there.

“My husband, Li Chiang is the fifth son of the Governor,” Jade Flower explained. “Governor Li is my father-in-law. Please do not hesitate to ask for anything you need. You are guests here.”

“So, Brother Chuan’s relative is the governor,” murmured Pei Pei. “When will he be back?”

“If he start sailing tomorrow morning, he should reach here the day after tomorrow,” answered Jade Flower. “Your mother does not look too good. She is suffering from severe exhaustion and stress. I have asked the servants to boil the herbs for you and your mother to drink. You should rest now. You have been through an ordeal. We will talk tomorrow when you are much better.”

Pei Pei did not think that her ordeal had been that bad. She was tough, and had braved a sea journey in a raft, which was a far worse ordeal. Nevertheless, she went to sleep, as there was nothing to do. She was woken up once together with her mother and asked to drink some boiled medicine. She did not think that it was necessary for her, but she drank it nevertheless.

All the servants and fighters that were captured from the Sum manor were taken and placed inside a lock-up.

“Guard them well,” Governor Li instructed his captain. “I want to question them tomorrow. I hope that they will talk.”

“They had better talk,” said the captain. “Or I will make them squat up and down in the nude.”

+ + + + + +

The next morning, Pei Pei woke up early. She remained with her mother for a while. By midmorning, she was feeling bored, so she went to take a walk in the garden. Jade Flower met her and told her, “You should be resting instead of walking around. When you are much better, I will send you back to your home.”

Pei Pei kept quiet. She did not know where home was. Ningshiang? The Old Horse Inn? Or West Cloud’s manor? She did not want to go to West Cloud’s manor, but she knew that her mother would want to go there.

“I would like to thank your brother for helping to save me and my mother,” she said. “His intelligence amazes me.”

“Chuan has always been the intelligent one of the family,” laughed Jade Flower. “I do not know how he guessed that your disappearance had something to do with some buried treasure.”

“I cannot understand why so many people are looking for this buried treasure,” said Pei Pei. “I don’t know a single thing about it!”

“The treasure contains two jade lions. They were part of the consignment that was supposed to be delivered to the Emperor. It must have been important to the Emperor because the guards who failed to protect the jade lions were imprisoned when they returned to the Imperial capital. Whoever robbed the Emperor’s consignment will not only be executed, but his whole family will be executed as well.”

Pei Pei looked thoughtful. For the past years, her life had been turned upside down because of the two jade lions and there was no end in sight yet. North Cloud had searched her out. Sum Teng Rong had done the same. She did not know whoe will be next.

Jade Flower interrupted her thoughts and said, “Come, I will take you to see my parents!”

She then brought Pei Pei to a large room and introduced her to Wu Chuan’s parents.

Merchant Wu had expected to see a tough big woman, and was surprised to see that Pei Pei was a pretty sixteen-year-old girl of slight build.

“I wish to thank you for saving my son on the black ship,” he said. “He is my only son, and if I were to lose him, that would be the end of my family.”

“You need not thank me,” said Pei Pei. “I did not do very much. Your son is a very good person. I am sure that Heaven would have looked after him.”

“We owe you a great debt,” said Merchant Wu.

“No, you don’t, Master Wu! Brother Chuan has done more for me than I have done for him. It is I who owes the debt,” said Pei Pei.

“I understand that he did something that he should not have done to you,” said Madam Wu. “We wish to offer our apologies over this matter.”

Pei Pei blushed, “I have exonerated Brother Chuan from all blame. Please do not think any more about it.”

Pei Pei then helped to pour out the tea. She still remembered her training as a front parlour maid at the House of a Thousand Pleasures and poured out the tea in a graceful manner. Madam Wu was impressed with her graces and could not imagine that this was the very same girl who pulled her son up from the sharks. The Wu’s were curious about her, but they did not think that it would be polite to question her so soon after her ordeal. Pei Pei did not volunteer much information but kept quiet most of the time.

Pei Pei’s mother was still sleeping in the room, and so the Wu family asked Pei Pei to join them for lunch. Pei Pei ate lightly and daintily the way she had been trained at the House of a Thousand Pleasures. After lunch, she went back to her room to check on her mother.

“Well, what do you think?” asked Jade Flower as soon as Pei Pei was out of earshot.

“So this is the girl whom my son calls his woman!” said Merchant Wu. “She is quiet and moves with a kind of delicate grace. I cannot imagine her saving my son and Ouyang with flying daggers!”

“You cannot judge things from outward appearances, father,” said Jade Flower.

“That is true,” said her father. “Is she really pregnant as you said?”

“I said that I was not sure!” protested Jade Flower. “If she was pregnant, that will make me an aunt! And you a grandfather! She is a very nice girl, and she gets along well with my brother. I wonder why she turned down his offer of marriage.”

“What happens if she is pregnant with our grandchild and refuses to marry our son?” asked Madam Wu.

“She will probably raise the child as her own, and use her surname, I suppose,” answered Jade Flower. “Things like this have been known to happen. Let Chuan handle his own affairs. He’s old enough.”

Old Merchant Wu and his wife looked thoughtful.

“Things like this should not be handled by the young people,” declared Madam Wu. “They often do not know where the priorities are.”

Meanwhile, Pei Pei had entered the guest room and found her mother sitting up and looking very distressed. She was still too weak to get up.

“Mother, you are up!” said Pei Pei happily.

“Yes, Pei Pei,” her mother acknowledged her.

“Is anything wrong, mother?” asked Pei Pei, sensing that something was not quite right.

Her mother kept quiet.

“Answer me, mother! What is wrong?” insisted Pei Pei.

“Governor Li came in with his captain to check on my condition just now,” her mother answered. “They thought that I was asleep. Than I heard them talk among themselves and the captain asked if they should get ready to start arresting the Clouds after lunch.”

“So?” asked Pei Pei.

“They have questioned the servants of the Sum manor and found out about the nefarious activities of the four Clouds,” said the mother dejectedly. “They will arrest West Cloud! I know that you don’t like him, but if he is arrested, my sons will be without a father. No woman will wish to see her sons grow up without a father.”

Pei Pei kept quiet for a while. She had grown up the past few years without a father and she knew what the feeling was like.

“He will have to evade arrest as best as he can,” Pei Pei said softly. “Then he has to flee to a place where no one can find him and raise his sons up quietly.”

Her mother kept quiet.

Then Pei Pei asked, “Do you wish me to go and warn him, mother?”

“I cannot ask you to do such a thing,” replied her mother.

“I will do it if you wish me to, mother,” said Pei Pei, “but if West Cloud flees with your sons, I do not know if you will see them again. You have to decide quickly. Even now, I may not get there in time to warn him.”

“West Cloud was involved in criminal activities in the past,” said her mother. “Governor Li must have found some evidence or witnesses against him. I know that the law should take its course, yet I do not wish him to be arrested.”

“If he is somehow involved with the two missing Imperial jade lions, he and his whole family, including you and your two sons, will get executed by Imperial decree,” said Pei Pei. “It is best that he was not involved. But if he was already involved, then it is best that he does not get caught.”

Pei Pei’s mother looked even more worried.

“Don’t worry, mother,” said Pei Pei. “I will go and warn him. I hope that I am not too late. You will have to pretend to be asleep and tell no one where I have gone.”

There were very few guards around as most of the soldiers had been sent to arrest the Clouds. Pei Pei walked out of the manor gates and once she was a few streets away, she used her Seven Stars Inner Energy and ran as fast as she could to West Cloud’s manor. She was glad that she had mastered the last three steps of the Secret Taichi Path that allowed her to run like the wind and leap over the obstacles in her way. She guessed correctly that Governor Li would go to arrest North Cloud and South Cloud first because those two were the more active Sky Dragon Clan members and nobody knew yet that they were dead.

On reaching West Cloud’s manor, Pei Pei was relieved to see that the soldiers had not arrived yet. Leaping over the manor wall, she appeared before West Cloud who was surprised to see her. As fast as she could, Pei Pei told him where her mother was and explained to him why he had to flee.

“Governor Li’s men are coming now. If you don’t flee immediately, it will be too late,” she told him. “My mother wishes you to take her two sons somewhere safe.”

“I know you do not like me,” he said. “But I thank you for coming here to warn me. I will do as your mother wishes.”

West Cloud immediately put his two sons in a carriage and drove it out of the manor.

Pei Pei returned to Governor Li’s residence and told her mother that West Cloud had fled with his sons. Her mother was relieved at the news.

“Your troubles are not over yet,” said Pei Pei. “Governor Li already knows that you are the wife of West Cloud. I hope that he does not try to hold you as a prisoner here to bait West Cloud into a trap. I told West Cloud of this possibility and that he should on no account try to rescue you.”

Her mother paused for a while and said, “I shall leave everything to fate.”

+ + + + + +

Governor Li was frustrated. He had gone to the manor of the North Cloud and found him missing. All he could arrest were the mentally retarded sons and the servants. The he went to South Cloud’s manor and found that South Cloud had been missing as well. When he reached West Cloud’s manor, he was told that West Cloud was not in. Even the two young sons were missing. Ouyang had already told him that East Cloud had disappeared with his sons four years ago so he did not bother going to East Cloud’s manor.
“Damn! Where is everybody?” he shouted in despair. “All I am arresting are the servants, some fighters and retarded family members who know nothing about the jade lions!”

He summoned Pei Pei to him and asked, “Do you know where the treasure is?”

“I don’t!” she replied.

“Does your mother know?”

“No,” she said. “She was on my father’s boat when he was killed. For five years, she was kept in West Cloud’s manor and not allowed to walk out even half a step. If Sum Teng Rong had not kidnapped her, she would still be in her prison. But from now on, I will take care of her.”

Governor Li nodded. He would get some men to keep an eye on Pei Pei’s mother in case West Cloud showed up to claim her.

+ + + + + +

The following evening, Wu Chuan and Li Chiang sailed into the harbour. On entering the Li residence hall, Wu Chuan spotted Pei Pei and excitedly pulled her into the garden. Li Chiang was greeted by his wife, who was pleased to see him safe and sound. One by one, the family members came to the hall and greeted Li Chiang.

“Where is Chuan?” asked Madam Wu.

“I don’t know,” replied Li Chiang. “He was with me just now.”

“He is in the garden with auntie Pei Pei,” said his elder seven-year-old daughter. “I saw them standing very close together.”

“They were so close that a bird could not fly between them!” piped up Li Chiang’s second daughter.

“Actually, they were so close that even an ant could not get crawl between them!” added the elder daughter.

Everybody smiled and tittered.

“Keep quiet and don’t simply say things like that,” admonished Jade Flower to her daughters.

Wu Chuan and Pei Pei came in from the garden and everybody changed the subject and talked about the weather.

Wu Chuan later went to check on the health of Pei Pei’s mother and she thanked him, “You were the young man who came with Pei Pei to West Cloud’s manor on that day. I had wondered what your connection was with my daughter.”

“She was my benefactor, madam,” said Wu Chuan.

“Will you stop calling me that, Brother Chuan,” said Pei Pei laughing.

+ + + + + +

The following morning, Merchant Wu and his wife visited Pei Pei’s mother in her room to inquire about her health.

After the usual pleasantries, Madam Wu told Pei Pei’s mother, “You have an unusual daughter.”

“She is a dutiful daughter. She allowed herself to be captured in order to save me,” said Pei Pei’s mother. “I could not have asked Heaven for a better daughter.”

“She is quite capable for someone so young,” remarked Merchant Wu.

“She has always been capable as a child,” said Pei Pei’s mother. “The only good thing I did as a parent was to ensure that she could both read and write.”

“We have a favour to ask of you,” said Madam Wu.

Madam Wu and Pei Pei’s mother talked at great length. A servant was then sent to fetch Wu Chuan and Pei Pei.

“Pei Pei,” said her mother, “The Wu family has asked me to give you to them as a daughter-in-law. They are a very reputable family in Pingchen and I think that it would be difficult to find a better family to marry into. However, I have not been much of a mother to you for the past five years. I would like you to decide this yourself.”

Pei Pei blushed and did not quite know what to say.

“What is your answer, Pei Pei?” asked her mother.

Haltingly, she replied, “If you think that this is a good match, mother, then you can decide for me.”

“I will take that as a “yes”. In that case, I will accept the offer of the Wu family,” said her mother.

The couple was asked to kneel down and present tea to their prospective parents in-laws as a greeting.

Wu Chuan was grinning from ear to ear. While still kneeling, he whispered to Pei Pei, “One night as a couple is going to be more than a hundred nights of gratitude, Pei Pei.”

Pei Pei smiled shyly and blushed a second time.


Thursday, December 01, 2005


A short break

Chapter 17 has stumped me momentarily. So I am taking a short break to catch my breath. The big challenge in writing a novel online is that you cannot go back to the previous chapters and start rewriting. There is no backtracking. Once the chapters are published, they stay that way. Can be a pain in the ass. But in a way, it’s quite fun really, and everybody should try this once!

Hot Babe complained to me that my dog tried to hump her leg. The dog is neutered. Can a creature evolve from “neutered” status to “stud”? I doubt it.


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