Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Nanowrimo cheer

Ooops! I forgot to give some decent and moral encouragement to all the Nanowrimo writers!

The moral encouragement cheer squad all makan ular also.

Okay, break time is over. Only two short days left before the looming end of the month.

Everybody gather around and shout:



Tuesday, November 28, 2006


3 sentences on thumbdrive

My 512Mb thumbdrive is getting almost full.

Not to mention damn heavy.

You noobs know that a full thumbdrive weighs five times as much as an empty one, don't you?


Monday, November 27, 2006


Casino Royale

For some reason, I did not think that highly of the movie Casino Royale. I expected much more from the film. The most exciting part of the movie was the first fifteen minutes when James Bond was chasing a small-time bombmaker. After that, the movie slows down.

The Bond girls were unexciting. More like B-grade starlets without great bodies. What can I say…..standard sudah jatuh. The sparks between Bond(Daniel Craig) and the lead female character Vesper Lynd(played by Eva Green) would not set a tin of kerosene on fire. And their conversation lacks class. The usual witty Bond conversation was missing. The thing about watching a James Bond movie was seeing the scriptwriters in their element. In Casino Royale, the lines were so boring that I can’t remember hearing a single great line. I do remember yawning halfway in the movie.

The plot has a lot of holes. Vesper Lynd, being someone in charge of ten million dollars, saw a killing in the casino and was so traumatized that she went into the shower with her clothes on. Oh, come on, with control over that kind of money, you would have thought that she was made of sterner stuff.

It gets weirder. After Bond was poisoned, he (although a hardened spy) had to follow instructions carefully by phone on how to plug the defibrillator apparatus into him in order to nullify the effects of the poison. He passed out. Then Vesper Lynd comes along, and she did not know yet that he had been poisoned, but she somehow obtained divine knowledge of it and then without the benefit of professional instructions, just knew where to plug in the connection and what button to press. Wa lau eh….like that also can.

I wouldn’t mind the holes in the plot so much if they had given me a watchable Bond girl… know……a great body in a great dress. Okay….with or without the dress. That would at least have made the price of a movie ticket more bearable.

Daniel Craig was more scruffy than debonair as James Bond……more Macgyver than Brosnan or Roger Moore… a rugged, dark mean character who is ruthless. It's a hoodlum kind of Bond. It is an interesting change. If only the scriptwriters had given him much better lines.

There is something that you should know. The critics loved the movie. And when critics love a movie, that alone will tell you one thing; see it if you must, but don’t expect too much from it.


Saturday, November 25, 2006


Recap a bit

Those of you who read the Cook and the Assassin story would have read a total of 138,548 words. Wa lau eh……didn’t know you would go that far did you? That’s no more a novelette, but can be considered a novel.

When I plan a story, I frequently plan the ending first, then I plan the main events of the story, and after that I will decide on how I want to begin the story. Once I decide how it is supposed to end, I am unlikely to change the ending. The ending is like a goal which I have to constantly keep in mind in every chapter of the story so that I don’t trip myself up with the details

One early part that still amuses me was when White Hair explained the concepts of personality and poisonality.

“With personality, if you walk to a stream where ten naked maidens are bathing, nine of them will willingly spread their legs wide open for you,” replied White Hair.

“And with poisonality?” asked Yiji.

“With poisonality, nine of them will want to bash you up,” replied the old man.

There was a part where Xiang Xiang called another girl a ’lesbian pedophile dominatrix’. I was not sure if it sounded logical, but I wrote it anyway.

One line which stuck in my head was when the thirteen year old Xiang Xiang confided in the monk before the graves of her family members,
“Master, the pain I bear is heavy. I wish that it would go away.”

I thought enough of it to make the monk come round again to see her in the final chapter.

Amos, the prisoner with the Black Widow Tiger Chomping Chop kungfu who was Wen Yijio’s cellmate did sound highly foreign,

“…..Nobody, and I mean nobody, messes with me. Cos I got karng foo so shit-kickin’powerful that even I am afraid of mah ownself. I’m tellin’ ya, when it comes to kicking ass, I da man.”

That kind of writing was a bit non-mainstream wuxia, I admit.

The part where the freed prisoner Wen Yiji met Governor Li was unforgettable to me.

“How about ordering some goat tonight?” asked Governor Li.

“No thanks,” said Wen Yiji. “A goat will be too hairy and also difficult to spread out on a bed in the missionary position. A woman is much better.”

“I was talking about food, like mutton soup, to fortify your health,” said the shocked governor.

All right. That was naughty.

On the boat to Fuzhou, Wen Yiji took the effort to sprout a new economic theory for niche markets:

Without having to think, Wen Yiji declared, “In any market, the customer is always right. In a niche market the customer is always wrong. So you can set any price you want and the customer will have to pay it.”

“What if the customer doesn’t want to pay your price?” asked Xiang Xiang.

“Then you beat the shit out of the muthafucka until he pays,” answered her brother. “This is the new economics theory. In a niche market, the businessman is always right. And right makes might.”

He was not completely off the mark. In niche markets there is often only one supplier and we are often forced to pay whatever the asking price is.

There is this belief that one should not scold the sky and I incorporated it in the story.

He(Yiji) looked up at the sky and snarled, “!@#$%”

“You shouldn’t scold the sky, Brother Wen,” advised Chin Jia Lat. “Or you may get beaten up by women one day.”

Yup, he got beaten up by the courtesans in the House of Noble Delights.

I thought that it would be fun to introduce some modern management theory inside the story. Note that the House of a Thousand Pleasures was run strictly on good management principles as noted in this conversation between Madam Song and Wen Yiji:

“Of course. We don’t stay stagnant. We believe that if you always do what you've always done, you will always get what you've always got."

“How true!”

"The difference between failure and success is doing a thing nearly right and doing it exactly right."

“Beautifully said!”

“Good, better, best. Never let it rest until your good is better and your better is best!”

“Wa piang......enough, okay? Just show us the girls!” Wen Yiji was getting impatient.

One of the part that amuses me is the Ai Ga Lop song (Sung to the tune of the song “Stand by Me”). I don’t think it would be possible to write stuff like this in mainstream wuxia. I was singing it in the bathroom for days.

“When the night has come
And my thing is hard,
But my back is weak when I’m on top

No I won't, be afraid,
Oh I won't be afraid,
Cos I know, what I need is Ai Ga Lop

So darlin' darlin' Ai Ga Lop,
Oh....... Ai Ga Lop,
Oh move now, move for me, Ai Ga Lop,

If the spine that we look upon
Should crumble and fall,
Or the muscles, should fail to do the job.
I won't cry, I won't cry,
No I won't shed a tear,
Just as long, as I have, Ai Ga Lop.

And darlin' darlin' Ai Ga Lop,
Oh...... Ai Ga Lop,
Whoa move now, move for me, Ai Ga Lop.”

No, I did not purchase the iGallop, in case you are wondering.

The photoshop pic of the door of the Borrowing Hag’s house took me more than an hour to achieve the effect I wanted.

Many writers employ illustrators to do their drawings, but I am doing this on the cheap, so my pictures will not have a professional feel to it. Besides, I do not think that many illustrators would want to do the sort of pictures I wanted! Heheheh!

The whole story is now complete in The Cook and Assassin blog page.

Guys, if you have a blog, and if you think that others may want to read the story as well, please put a link to it inside your blog or web page. And tell people that their personality will improve tremendously after they read it!


Friday, November 24, 2006



Woke up damn early.
Flopped over and slept again.
I am on leave mah.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006


The Cook and the Assassin - Chapter 33

Chapter 33: Conclusion

Wen Yiji was on the floor grabbing onto the surrounding spears for support. His legs were trembling uncontrollably from the extreme exertion. The realization hit him that the Dark Energy distributed greater strength to his hands and upper body than to his legs. He felt fatigued and was unable to stand up. All around him were spears and he could neither see his sister nor Simit. A little thought nagged at him that Agent Simit would not have planned a safe position by the wall for no logical reason.

“Another exit!” he swore. “There has to be another exit there……hidden from view!”

Xiang Xiang called out, “Brother Yiji, I think I can break off the spears one by one and try to create a path to the door. Maybe I can get it to open.”

“Wait,” replied her brother. “Do you see Simit?”

“Only partially. I have a line of sight through the spears to him. But it is not perfect. I can only see a bit of him.”

“Is he standing still or moving?”

“He is moving. I think he is looking for something in the wall.”

“He must have a secret exit there in the wall. If he can think of this booby trap, he must have thought of a backdoor as well. Even though he has a stupid face, I do not think that he is that stupid as to allow himself to be trapped.”

“How very perceptive of you, Master Wen,” Simit smirked from across the room. “It is true that I had not expected the both of you to be still standing. But that is only a minor disappointment. The heavy ceiling is supported by those spears. If you break off the spears, the ceiling might just collapse on you. Har! Har! Har! Urrrggnnnhhh!”

“You are indeed devious,” noted Wen Yiji. “But I bet laughing must be painful for you. Really painful. I remember that I broke at least one of your ribs this morning. You should try not to laugh.”

“I will laugh as much as I want! I had this room specially prepared in anticipation that perhaps one day, a team of Fire Mountain Sect high hands would mount a rescue attempt for Gojisan,” said Simit. “This room had been specially constructed and reinforced to hold even the most powerful kungfu masters. Once the booby trap has been sprung, the main door of the room will be sealed shut like a steel trap. Only one person in the world knows how to get out of here and that is me! I’ll be out of here before you can say “Chek Loh Bing Sun”. Har! Har! Har! Urrrggnnnhhh!”

“Who in hell is Chek Loh Bing Sun?” asked Wen Yiji. “Your gay lover? Actually, if you wanted a gay lover, your son Si Fatt Guai would fit the bill nicely. Oh sorry….I forgot….I already killed him! You wanna know what he said before he died?”

“Shut up!” snapped Simit. “Okay…..what did he say before he died?”

Wen Yiji answered him, “He said that he didn’t think that you were a fantastic lover because you were all mouth and no action.”

“Wha…wha….what?” screamed the enraged Simit. “You think you are very funny? But he who laughs last, laughs best!”

“Hey, that was what your second son said!” remarked Wen Yiji. “You want to know what he said about you before he died?”

“No!” yelled Simit. “Just shut up! Once I am gone, there will be a nasty surprise for you! Goodbye.”

Simit pushed the wall in a number of places and in a particular sequence. Part of the wall swung away backwards to reveal a small tunnel set at table height from the floor level.

“Xiang Xiang,” called Wen Yiji. “I heard something. Can you see what is happening?”

“I think so,” replied Xiang Xiang. “Simit has opened up some sort of opening in the wall. Looks like an exit tunnel.”

“Can you get to him to stop him from escaping?”

“I don’t think so,” she replied. “It will take time to remove the spears one by one to create a path to him. He would have escaped and sealed back the exit by then.”

“Damn!” said her brother. “He should not be allowed to get away cleanly! He murdered our sisters in their beds!”

Xiang Xiang’s eyes fell on a spear which she had broken off earlier. She picked it up from the floor and waited.

Simit placed his hands on the ledge of the tunnel and prepared to climb into the opening. The pain from his broken rib would make crawling through the tunnel very painful, but it would not stop him. Momentarily, part of his body crossed Xiang Xiang’s line of vision.

She threw the spear.

Xiang Xiang was surprised by the strength of her throw. She felt the immense power of the Inner Energy of the Celestial Dragon Claw and was awed by it. The weapon sped across the room and landed in its target.


Aiiiiiiiyaaaaahhhhhh!” screamed Simit.

“Xiang Xiang!” shouted Wen Yiji. “What happened?”

“I threw a spear at him,” answered Xiang Xiang.

“Oh…….good! Did you kill him?”


“But you couldn’t have missed. I heard him scream!”

That’s because I speared him!”


“In the right butt cheek.”

“What? You speared where?”

“In the right butt cheek! The right half of his body came into view and I threw the spear. It somehow lodged itself in the right butt cheek and poked out to the front. He is on the ground, but not dead.”

“Quick! Get another spear and get a better line of sight. Aim for the torso, not the butt!”

Xiang Xiang attempted to shift to a new position by removing a vertical spear jutting from the ceiling that was blocking her. She grabbed hold of it and twisted. It took some effort, but it finally broke away from the ceiling.

Agent Simit pulled himself to a standing position and yelled, “Siao char boh! Simply spear my backside for what…….chao chee bai!”

He got up from the floor with agony. The spear had gone in deep and the spear tip had protruded out to the front of his thigh. He tried to pull out the spear from his butt cheek but the effort almost caused him to faint. He looked at the tunnel. It was not built to be used by a man with a spear sticking through him. He would not be able to crawl normally, but perhaps he could use his hands and drag his body along until the passage was large enough for him to hop along. It would be agonizingly difficult. Agonizingly difficult, but not impossible.

Then he farted.

Ayohhh! Ayohhh! Ayohhh!” he cried.

He wished he hadn’t farted. The fart vibrations shook the spear in the butt cheek, sending out sharp pain tremors. It was such a pain to fart that he wished he hadn’t eaten beans and sweet potatoes for breakfast that morning. That always gave him gas.

“When I get into the tunnel, I’ll close this exit and seal the room for good,” he swore to himself. “Once the exit is closed, it will not be possible for them to open it from inside. Then I will flood the room with water and drown them!”

At that moment, Xiang Xiang threw another spear.

Aaaaiiiyiiiiiiiiiiiiii!” screamed Simit.

“Xiang Xiang,” yelled Wen Yiji. “What just happened?”

“I threw another spear,” replied his sister.

“Where did it land this time?”

“Er……in the left butt cheek.”

“What? You should aim for the torso,” said her brother. “Why are you always aiming for the butt?”

Xiang Xiang blushed with embarrassment.

Simit screamed curses, “Chao char bor! Spearing my backside again! Bo tua bo suay!”

The second spear, which had even greater power than the first spear, had skewered him from behind. The spear tip protruded out to the front by more than the length of a foot. All movement was painful.

He farted again and that rattled his body.

Ayohhh! Ayohhh! Ayohhh! Ayohhh! Ayohhh! Ayohhh!

With two spears in him, the pain tremors doubled. He had fallen on his side and he could not get up. Because of the spears in him, he could not lie on his back nor on his front. He could not move his legs and he was fast losing what little strength he had.

At that moment, he knew that the end had come. Escape was no more possible and he knew that Wen Yiji would not spare his life. If he was going to die, then he would make sure that his enemies died with him.

Xiang Xiang broke off yet another spear that was in her way and shifted her position again. Now her line of sight through the row of spears was improved. She held up her spear to make another throw. Simit turned around and stared at her. She hesitated.

Wen Yiji shouted, “Xiang Xiang, I think the reason why you keep spearing his backside instead of his torso is because you subconsciously are unable to kill. You have never been a killer and I don’t think that you ever will be one. But if you are to avenge the death of your sisters, then you will have to deliver a killing throw.”

“Perhaps you are right, Brother Yiji,” she replied. “I am more suited to being a cook than an assassin. I’m sorry.”

“Oh..…that’s alright. Just keep puncturing his ass,” he told his sister. “Soon, I will recover my strength and then I shall go over and kill him. Tell me what he is doing.”

“He is struggling to pull himself up by his hands,” she answered. “But he is losing a lot of blood and his lower body is already useless. He is definitely not able to make it into the exit. But it looks like he is trying to feel for something in the tunnel.”

“You of surname Wang! Lin peh ka li kong!” Simit gasped. “Even if I not able to get out good, you also die here with me here! Kanineh….you think you can beat me? In next life, maybe. Today, the King of Hell waiting you! You think you are who? Nao hiah! Only know to poke backside!”

Xiang Xiang replied him, “I don’t know which is worse; your ugly face or your bad grammar. The only thing amusing about you is the way you say “Ayohhh!” each time you fart.”

“Hey Simit!” shouted Wen Yiji. “The townspeople told me a very strange story. It seems that when you were born, you were so ugly that your father lost his cool and had a team of archers go out and killed all the monkeys in the trees around your house.”

“I don’t get it,” said Simit.

“Neither did your father,” said Wen Yiji sympathetically. “If he had looked properly, he would have discovered the old male goat hiding in your mother’s closet!”

Agent Simit’s jaw dropped. When he finally understood what the words implied, he screamed a string of curses as he reached out for a secret control lever just inside the tunnel.

With immediate alarm, Xiang Xiang sensed his intention to close off the exit and seal the room with them inside. She shouted, “People are tall ducks!” and threw the third spear forcefully. Simit pulled the lever and the stone door swung back to close off the exit tunnel.

Xiang Xiang’s spear plunged into the back of Simit’s neck and the powerful momentum rocked the head into the tunnel. The edge of the closing stone door slammed onto the head.

Arrrrrrgggghhhh……gggrrrrggg…..” Simit gurgled as his head was crushed by the door. The spear in his throat prevented him from sounding off a full scream.

“Die, you filthy piece of shit!” mouthed Xiang Xiang. “Your miserable life is not worth as much as my sisters’ lives, but I will take it anyway! And my surname is Wen, not Wang, you stupid muthafucka!”

The room fell quiet.

“What happened, Xiang Xiang?” asked Wen Yiji. “Tell me what’s happening?”

“I think I killed Simit.”

“Are you sure you did not spear him in the asshole or something like that?”

“No, no, I got him in the neck this time. He tried to close the tunnel door but his head blocked the door from closing. It’s wedged there like a doorstop.”

“Oh,” said Wen Yiji. “Oh.”

The significance of the event took some moments to penetrate his mind. Everyone connected to the deaths in his family was now dead; the Borrowing Hag, the Fire Mountain Sect, Gojisan, and finally Agent Simit. All accounts had been settled. He uttered a silent prayer of thanks to the Heavens.

Xiang Xiang’s voice shook him out of his reverie, “What do we do now, Brother Yiji?”

“I think we should try to get out of here from here through the tunnel,” he answered. “I have not yet recovered the strength in my legs. You will have to help me here.”

Carefully, Xiang Xiang broke off spear by spear to create a path to her brother. Holding on to the surrounding spears, he pulled himself to an upright position. He could hardly walk, but by using the surrounding spears for support, he could take small steps. She went back to her former position followed by Yiji, and then slowly, she broke off spear by spear until she had created a path to the body of Simit at the tunnel opening.

“Thank goodness his head is good for something,” noted Wen Yiji when he saw Simit’s dead body. “It never occurred to me before that a head can be used as a doorstop.”

“I have just killed a man,” she said, feeling sick to her stomach.

“You have taken revenge for our sisters,” said her brother. “I will tell them how you delivered justice on their behalf the next time I visit their graves.”

Wen Yiji and Xiang Xiang forced back the tunnel door and then crawled through it. The tunnel ended in a secret chamber under the library of the mansion. Xiang Xiang pushed up a stone slab from the floor of the library and they crawled out of the tunnel.

Wen Yiji looked at Simit’s collection of library books and noted, “This guy has a good collection of porn.”

“Let’s go, Brother Yiji,” said Xiang Xiang. “Are your legs all right for walking?”

“I can walk weakly,” he replied. “But first, I want to set fire to this place and raze it to the ground. The same as what the bastard did to our family house!”

He gathered the books in a pile and set them on fire. Then he piled the furniture on top of the fire. After that, they left the mansion quietly.

Xiang Xiang flexed her hands as she walked and commented, “My left hand appear to be stronger than my right hand now.”

“How did Gojisan give you the Celestial Dragon Claw energy?”

“I don’t know. I remember holding onto his hand with my left hand.”

“So, your left hand was the point of entry. The Celestial Dragon Claw energy resides in the fingers. If, as Gojisan said, he had only enough for one hand, then it would reside in the left fingers and radiate out from there. Your whole body should gain in strength overall as the energy will circulate. Even your legs will be stronger. But the fingers of your left hand are the seat of your power and will now be stronger than the rest of your other body parts. They will have a grip of steel, so be careful how you use them.”

“Does that mean that I will become a lefthander from now on?”

“Of course not! You don’t always do things with the stronger limb. If that were so, most people would be eating with their legs rather than with their hands. Your right hand is probably still more precise than your left hand even if the left hand is more powerful.”

“Do I still continue training in the use of the butterfly swords?”

“Yes. Use your right hand when you need precision and your left hand when you need power. The yin is balanced by the yang. But don’t ever let other people suspect that you have the Celestial Dragon Claw energy. When your enemies do not know what you can do, it will be more difficult to break through your defenses.”

“Yes, Brother Yiji. I am glad that this is finally over.”

“Almost over. There is one last thing to do; I will have to go to the Imperial City and bring back the bones of our family so that they will have a final resting place here.”

“Where shall we bury them?”

“I don’t know yet,” her brother replied. “I may have to first buy some suitable land for their burial. Somewhere with good fengshui. So that our descendents will have a good prosperity.”

“Does the burial land of the ancestors really affect the descendants?”

“Of course! The bones of the dead are connected to the bones of the descendants because they are of a similar structure as long as it is the same biological family line. When the buried bones of an ancestor resonate with good Qi in the burial ground, the bones of the descendant will resonate in a similar fashion in perfect unison. This resonance will be ignored by bones of different biological lines.”

“What about adopted children?”

“It does not work with adopted children because they have different bone structures. It works only with genuine biological lineage,” explained her brother. “I will wait till the end of spring before I make the journey to bring back the bones of our family. You will stay here with Grasshopper. I think I can safely leave you alone now that you possess the Celestial Dragon Claw energy. Try not to kill anybody while I am away.”

+ + + + + +

Grasshopper was happy to see the return of Xiang Xiang and Wen Yiji.

“Are you all right?” the boy was keen to know. “What happened?”

“Nothing happened,” replied Wen Yiji. “Xiang Xiang was invited some place to stay for the night. That’s all.”

“That is all?” asked Grasshopper in amazement.

“Grasshopper,” warned Wen Yiji. “Do not breathe a word to anyone about any nonsense about Xiang Xiang being kidnapped. I do not wish people to talk about the affairs of the Wen family. Not a word. Do you understand me?”

“Yes, Master Wen,” the boy replied. “Wild tigers will not force my lips open.”

“All right,” growled Wen Yiji. “I will take a bath first and then we shall go out for good lunch.”

“I know of a good place where they serve bull penis with noodles,” the boy suggested. “I have never eaten there, but many old men say that the place is good.”

“Do I look like an old man to you?” asked Wen Yiji sternly.

“No, Master Wen,” replied the boy hastily. “I know of another place that serves oysters. But I heard that it is very expensive.”

“Do I look like poor and destitute to you?” asked Wen Yiji sternly.

“Er…,” the boy replied.

“Oysters it is then,” decided Wen Yiji. “With good wine. This is a special occasion.”

“What is this special occasion, Master Wen?” asked the boy.

“We are celebrating the fact that a number of people have repaid their debts to my family,” came the reply from his master. “Some very old debts.”

When Wen Yiji had disappeared from view, Grasshopper said to Xiang Xiang, “Master Wen say some strange things at times.”

“Grasshopper,” said Xiang Xiang gently. “My brother may display very odd behaviour, but I do not think that any girl can ask for a more reliable brother. You may choose your friends, but Heaven chooses your family. Despite the many sorrows I have gone through in my years, I somehow think that Heaven has chosen a very good brother for me.”

+ + + + + +

Five days later, the lunar New Year arrived. Xiang Xiang and Grasshopper had decorated their home with blossoms of peach and peony. Kumquat plants in earthen pots were placed around the house to signify wealth and prosperity. The house was beautiful, but quiet.

“It is so boring. We have nobody to visit on this festive season,” noted Xiang Xiang.

Her brother looked thoughtful and said, “Well, actually I am planning to visit the House of Noble Delights later. There will be a painting demonstration by one of the courtesans. Then there will be a lion dance. After that, there will be a dance competition, followed by an eating contest. I think there will also be a martial arts display. It’s all very happening!”

Xiang Xiang sighed again and said, ““It is so boring. I have nobody to visit on this festive season.”

Wen Yiji looked at her and said, “If you really want to visit somebody, then we shall visit somebody. Madam Qian’s brother, Merchant Chiu, who is a regular at the House of Noble Delights, has invited me to his house on the second day. We cannot go empty handed. What do we have that we can bring there?”

“I can roast two ducks and we’ll take it as greeting gifts.”

Wen Yiji nodded.

The next day, Xiang Xiang and her brother visited Merchant Chiu’s house. It was a very big house and there were a lot of guests present.

Merchant Chiu was momentarily busy with some other matters so a servant asked them to wait and take some refreshments first. While waiting, they overhead some snippets of conversation made by the other guests nearby.

“Did you hear? The Si Mansion was burned to the ground!”

“Yes! And they said that nobody survived!”

“Actually, the servants survived. But they were not sure what happened. They said that suddenly there was a big fire and they had to flee for their lives!”

“I heard that the Prefect questioned them and they said that they knew that there was some fierce fighting before the fire, so they hid in the kitchen and did not see anything. So scared! Who was fighting who also they don’t know. The next thing they knew, the mansion already got fire. They came out of hiding and shouted “Kiu miah”. But everybody die already. So they also quickly run!”

“The Prefect found dead bodies in the forest nearby, killed by sword wounds. One body even has a head missing!”

“Aiyahhh…….New Year don’t talk about all this lah…..choi!”

Merchant Chiu approached Wen Yiji and Xiang Xiang and apologized, “Pardon me, Master Wen, for not realizing that you have arrived. Kiong hee, kiong hee!”

Kiong hee, kiong hee!” echoed Wen Yiji. “This is my sister Xiang Xiang.”

Xiang Xiang greeted Merchant Chiu with New Year salutations.

Merchant Chiu then introduced a young man beside him, “This is my son, Chiu Yam Seng. I am training him to take charge of my liquor business.”

Wen Yiji and Xiang Xiang greeted the young man.

Merchant Chiu pointed to another young man nearby and said, “This is my nephew Qian Dafang.”

“Greetings, Master Wen,” said Qian Dafang. “We have met when you came to the house to purchase three houses from my mother. We trust that you are happy with your purchase.”

“I am comfortable with it, and my sister Xiang Xiang seems happy enough with the house,” Yiji replied. “We shall be starting a little restaurant there soon.”

“What will you be serving in your restaurant?” Chiu Yam Seng asked. “Perhaps we can supply you the wine to go with the food.”

“Actually, I do not know the menu,” said Wen Yiji. “You have better asked my sister. She is doing the cooking.”

“But she looks very young!” blurted out Qian Dafang.

“I am sixteen this year,” said Xiang Xiang loftily. “That’s old enough. We will be serving mainly duck dishes. We will have roast duck, stewed duck and duck noodles with salted vegetable.”

“Ducks can be quite challenging to cook,’ commented Chiu Yam Seng. “Why don’t you do something simpler, like steamed fish. The people of Tsinkiang are very fussy in their food and are difficult to please.”

The other guests nodded in assent.

“We brought two roast ducks here today,” said Xiang Xiang. “Why don’t we chop them up to eat now, and then you can tell us if our ducks are good enough or not?”

“Good idea!” said Merchant Chiu. “I have not had roast duck for a long time now!”

A servant was sent to bring the ducks to the table. As the servant was deciding how to carve up the duck, Xiang Xiang intervened and said, “Here, let me do it.”

She placed a duck on the chopping board, took a knife and quartered the duck swiftly in front of the guests. Then she cut it speedily into little slices, impressing the guests with her adroit knife work. The parts where the flesh of the duck was thin, she carved out the skin to be eaten. The knife flashed rapidly over the chopping board and the whole operation was over before the guests realized it. Xiang Xiang arranged the pieces neatly on a large serving plate and poured the sauce over it. She passed the plate around and each guest took a piece.

“This is fantastic!” declared Merchant Chiu on eating a piece. “The duck is tasty and succulent! What is this sauce that you poured over it?”

“This sauce is our business secret!” laughed Xiang Xiang. “Shall I chop up the second duck as well?”

“Oh yes, please do!” Chiu Yam Seng said enthusiastically. “I foresee that your duck restaurant will be a huge success. How did you manage to get the duck to be so moist inside?”

“That is another of our business secrets,” said Wen Yiji grandly. “It has to do with the design of our oven. I designed it!”

Xiang Xiang grinned. She knew that it was more to do with the method of preparation rather than the oven design. But it never hurt to let the public think that they had something special. After all, business was about having a unique selling point.

“A good oven is important in the food business,” nodded Merchant Chiu sagely.

“Not only that,” added Wen Yiji. “The fire must be correctly controlled. The firewood imparts a flavour to the duck. When I buy the firewood, I will sniff at it first to find out if it comes from a good forest! We don’t anyhow buy wood!”

The other guests were now in awe.

“The precision of your knife work is extraordinary,” remarked Qian Dafang to Xiang Xiang. “How do you do it?”

“The skill is nothing extraordinary,” said Xiang Xiang humbly. “I am sure every cook can do it. If the duck is well prepared, then it will be easy to cut up. A duck should neither be too scrawny nor too old. The quality of the fresh bird is very important.”

“Of course, we buy only quality ducks that eat healthy food,” Yiji explained, indulging in some more marketing hype. He was on a roll. “Also, we don’t cook ducks that have emotional problems. A happy duck is a tasty duck.”

By the end of the day, word quickly spread around that a duck expert would soon be opening a duck restaurant in town.

+ + + + + +

The duck restaurant opened for business later in the month. It was a huge success and customers who arrived late often faced the “Sold Out” sign. The restaurant was opened only for breakfast and lunch and Xiang Xiang was kept very busy during the morning. Wen Yiji had employed four servants by that time but even so, there was hardly enough hands to help out. Although the prices were slightly higher than that of competing restaurants, there was always a steady stream of customers waiting for food.

“You know, people say that we should open for dinner as well, since our business is so good,” said Grasshopper to Xiang Xiang one evening.

“No, Grasshopper,” laughed Xiang Xiang. “My brother will not agree to that! He likes the place to be quiet in the evening. Besides, we are already profitable enough. Is there not enough work to occupy you?”

“Of course there is! I am kept very busy!” said the boy.

“This morning, did you practise the pole work that I taught you?”

“I was too busy this morning to do it.”

“You woke up late, you mean. You will not improve if you do not take your training seriously!”

“Why is it that the other servants don’t have to train in kungfu?” he asked.

“You are different from the other servants,” said Xiang Xiang. “They don’t sleep in a single room like you do. They don’t sit down at the same table to eat with my brother like you do. And they don’t even eat as much as you do. Well at least you don’t look like a scrawny chicken anymore. From now on, if I do not see any improvement from you, I will cut your food to only one meal a day. Understand?”

“Yes, Mistress Xiang Xiang.”

“Now go out and practise your footwork and defence moves!”

Grasshopper grinned. He was not afraid of Xiang Xiang’s threats. Her brother was a different matter. Nobody in the house would dare to risk his wrath. Still grinning, the boy grabbed a wooden pole and walked to the back of the house to practise his pole work.

+ + + + + +

A month after the restaurant was opened, Grasshopper came into the kitchen and informed Xiang Xiang, “Mistress Xiang Xiang. There is a monk at the door begging for food.”

“Do we have any leftover food to give away?” asked Xiang Xiang. “Or have you eaten up everything?”

“I do not eat up everything!” protested the boy. “I always leave some behind!”

“Oh,” smiled Xiang Xiang. “So generous of you! You know that Brother Yiji does not limit what you can eat in this house, don’t you?”

“Yes,” said the boy cheekily. “That is what I like about this house. It always has a lot of food. And you cook so much better than my uncle used to do.”

“Shut up. Go check and see if we have any rice left for the monk outside.”

Grasshopper grinned as he took an empty bowl. He walked over to the cooking pot and dished out some leftover rice into the bowl. Xiang Xiang took the bowl of rice from him and placed some cooked vegetables in it. She then took it outside and walked out to the waiting monk.

“I have some rice for you, Master,” she said.

“Thank you, child,” the monk replied.

Xiang Xiang recognized him. It was the same shaven-headed Buddhist monk to whom she had given half of her biscuit three years ago in the Imperial Capital. She emptied the bowl of rice carefully into his large begging bowl.

“Do you want some more rice, Master?” she asked.

“You have given me a lot of rice already, child.”

“I am running a restaurant, Master. I always have rice to spare.”

“It is sufficient, thank you.”

“If ever you are hungry, Master, you can always come here. As long as I run a restaurant, you need not go all over the country to beg.”

“I go where the winds take me, child. Physical hunger worries me not. Nature takes care of the living and the dead. Seek the path that you were born to tread, and all pain will cease to appear as pain.”

“A long time ago, I lost my home,” she said. “For years I have wandered from place to place before settling here in this town. Master, do you think that I have finally found my place in life?”

“Only you can answer that. Life goes in a circle. And it moves us all. Through despair and hope, through faith and love, till we find our place, on the path unwinding, in the circle. Every living being occupies the place to do what it was born to do. The birds occupy the air to fly and the fish occupies the seas to swim. Happy is he who occupies the position that allows him to do what he was meant to do.”

“What does that mean, Master?”

“Ask yourself this; do you cook in order to eat?”

Xiang Xiang thought for a while before answering, “No, Master. I cook in order to cook.”

“Then you have found happiness, my child.”

Xiang Xiang stood there even after the monk had left. Then she smiled.

Wen Yiji came out of the house and asked her, “Who was that just now?”

“That was a monk,” she answered. "An old friend."

“I am going out for a while,” he announced. “Merchant Chiu has a fresh stock of wine and he wants my opinion on it.”

“Oh,” she said. “You are going for a drinking session.”

“It’s actually serious work,” he said. “I’m drinking for the noble cause of research.”

As her brother walked away, Xiang Xiang laughed. The monk was right. Each living being was meant to occupy the place to do what each was born to do. Her brother was born to do research. She was born to cook.

Happily, she went into the kitchen and picked up a knife. Then she sliced some ginger with a speed and precision that defied the common eye.

She was contented. She was home.

* The End *


Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Zen in 3 sentences: Happy fish

"How can I tell if a fish is happy?"

You will have to fry it, eat it, and if it was indeed a happy fish, the feeling of happiness will pass on to you.

Logic tells me that a tasty fish must have been a happy fish.


Monday, November 20, 2006


Buffalo joke

Today, the misguided part of me wants to add a new twist to an old joke.

+ + +

A city slicker went for a safari and hired a tracker to show him some wildlife. After tracking into the wild bush land, the tracker got down and placed his ear to the ground.

“Herd of buffalo passed this way,” the tracker said.

The city slicker looked around him but did not hear anything. Impressed, he asked, “How can you tell?”

The tracker answered, “Ground is sticky.”

The following week, the city slicker invited the tracker to the city with him. As they were walking the streets, they wandered into a seedy alley.

“Head of buffalo passed this way,” the tracker said.

Nah……there are no buffaloes in the city,” the city slicker informed his guest.

“But ground is sticky!” the tracker insisted.

“No,” the city slicker explained. “Not buffaloes……but herd of wankers.”


Friday, November 17, 2006


The Cook and the Assassin - Chapter 32

Chapter 32: A gathering of foes

In the Si mansion, Agent Simit stood in the main hall looking around at the corpses getting cold on the floor. He had seen enough of death in his time not to be squeamish around a few cold bodies. What really irked him was the sight of blood spilling out and dirtying the floor. He wished he could asked his men to clean the place up, but his son, Si Liu Thung, had taken away the men, just leaving behind two guards to help man the main gate. There was little he could do except wait for the return of his son and the men.

He heard a sound and so he turned around. Into the hall walked Wen Yiji and his sister.

“You!” he cried. “How did you get here?”

“By walking,” answered Yiji. “Your two guards at the gate attacked me with weapons so I was forced to kill them. I hope it was all right with you. Good help is so difficult to find nowadays.”

“I didn’t mean you. I meant the girl! She was supposed to be locked up,” said Simit. “How did she get here?”

“I turned invisible and got past your man in the dungeon,” replied Xiang Xiang. She was carrying a sword which she had picked up from a dead fighter.

“You really have guts, coming here,” remarked Simit. “I see that you have managed to evade my son and his men.”

“Your son?” asked Wen Yiji. “Oh, your son……here..….catch!”

Wen Yiji threw a bloody object to Simit who caught it in his hands. It was the severed human head of Si Liu Thung. The open eyes of his son stared straight at him, blank and unblinking.

Agent Simit dropped the head in horror. Then he collapsed on the floor, shocked out of his wits.

Wen Yiji went up to him and said, “Hey, get up! My business with you isn’t over yet!”

Simit remained motionless. Wen Yiji kicked him in the ribs.


A rib broke. Still, Simit remained where he was. Yiji finally pulled him up and frisked him for weapons. Then he frog marched the older man along, saying, “Now, let’s go and meet Gojisan!”

“Who?” asked Simit blankly.

“You don’t have to pretend,” Yiji said impatiently. “We know where he is.”

Xiang Xiang led the way and she soon located the room that led to the dungeon. They went down the flight of steps and stopped at the dungeon door. The door was still latched from the outside. Xiang Xiang readied her sword, unlatched the door and tried to open it. But it was bolted shut from inside.

“It is shut,” she said. “There is a guard inside. Maybe we should call him to open it.”

Wen Yji whispered to Simit, “Tell your man inside to open the door.”

However, Simit only stared blankly back at him and remained silent.

Xiang Xiang knocked on the door. After she had knocked several times, a voice from inside asked, “Who is it?”

“Hey! It is I, the invisible girl,” she replied. “I have turned visible and now I don’t know where I am!”

The guard, Siao Kau, immediately threw open the door. He saw Xiang Xiang, Yiji and his Master Simit standing outside. Xiang Xiang swiftly put a sword to his neck and forced him to stand aside as the three of them entered the dungeon.

“Don’t give us any trouble or your master Simit dies,” said Wen Yiji. “The life of your master depends on you. Are you going to cooperate?”

Siao Kau nodded nervously.

“Good,” said Wen Yiji. “You have a prisoner here whom you have strung up in chains. Take us to him.”

Siao Kau stood still dumbly, unsure what to do, until Xiang Xiang scraped him on the neck with the sword. That galvanized him into action. He led the way to the cell where Xiang Xiang had earlier saw the prisoner. At the door, he stopped.

“Open the door,” said Wen Yiji.

Grudgingly, Siao Kau took out a key and unlocked the door. It was a heavy wooden door lined with iron inside. He pushed the door open with an effort. All four of them then trooped into the large cell. The door swung back shut after them.

Wen Yiji was shocked. He had experienced some horrifying years in a tough prison, but the sight of the horizontal prisoner being hung up by more than thirty chains was not something he expected. The prisoner was hung at a level higher than the height of a man with his front side facing downwards. The chains ended in large hooks that pierced into the flesh of the prisoner. The hooks had been there for a long time and the flesh had grown around them in a most grotesque manner. The sight was so inhumane that Wen Yiji had not expected to see it outside prison. Xiang Xiang felt like vomiting.

“How long has he been strung up like this?” asked Wen Yiji to Siao Kau.

“Five years,” replied the guard.

“The flesh has grown onto the hooks,” noted Xiang Xiang with a touch of nausea.

“Not very well,” said Siao Kau. “He still bleeds from the wounds at times. You can see the cake of dried blood on the floor under his body.”

“How disgusting,” said Xiang Xiang.

“You are right,” agreed Siao Kau. “I keep telling him not to bleed but he would not listen. So I caned him whenever he bled.”

“If you cane him whenever he bled, he would bleed even more,” noted Xiang Xiang.

“That is true,” said Siao Kau. “I can only hope that he listens.”

“Who is he?” asked Xiang Xiang.

“I don’t know his name,” replied Siao Kau. “But my master calls him ‘stupid old devil’, so that could be his name.”

The prisoner opened his eyes to look down at all of them. He stared impassively at Wen Yiji. Then his eyes fell on Xiang Xiang and his eyes opened a shade larger.

“Red Leaf?” the prisoner asked slowly. “You are alive!”

“I am not Red Leaf, but her daughter,” Xiang Xiang said. “You must be Master Gojisan.”

There was a long pause. Then Gojisan spoke, “Please excuse me, but I was confused. You look just like Red Leaf. I remember now…...her daughters are dead.”

“Not all of them. I survived!”


“I was not in the house on the night of the fire.”

“Ah……the youngest daughter whom we could not find on that night. You must be her. I am glad that you are still alive.”

“You murdered my family!”

“Yes. And I have deeply regretted the fact ever since.”

Gojisan’s response was totally unexpected. Wen Yiji examined the sad figure and remarked wryly, “How touching! It must be so easy to regret the things you did when you are strung up like a piece of unsold meat in a butcher shop.”

“And who might you be?” asked Gojisan to Wen Yiji.

“My name is Wen Yiji, eldest son of Wang Yuan and Lady Red leaf. The one you failed to kill five years ago.”

“The one in Li-Khor prison?”

“The one in Li-Khor prison.”

“But the jailors in the prison said that you had died!”

“They lied to you.”

“Impossible! No one can survive the Humpalang Si Khiaw Khiaw poison. The victim of such a poison will die within two months.”

“Your poison almost took away my life. But Fate smiled upon me and I made it through. The day of reckoning has arrived.”

There was a long silence. Then Gojisan spoke, “The will of Heaven. Such is the will of Heaven! I suppose you have come here to avenge the deaths in your family.”

“Need you ask? Is it not my duty as a son to avenge the death of my parents?”

“Very well then. Too long have I lived with a scar that will not heal. You want my life? Take it!”

“There is plenty of time for that. I need to know why you travelled all the way to the Imperial City to try to wipe out my family.”

“How did you know about this matter? Only two other people knew that I wanted to kill your family. They are the dog Simit and his sister-in-law called the Borrowing Hag. I was told that the Borrowing Hag is dead. Did you kill her?”

“She was burned alive accidentally. But before she died, she told us about your involvement in my family’s destruction.”

“Then she would have told you that your father, Wang Yuan, killed off my bloodline.”

“A man like you does not deserve to have a bloodline. Perhaps you would like to explain to my sister and I why you had to kill off my family.”

Gojisan looked at both Xiang Xiang and Wen Yiji. His eyes closed for a few moments. Then he opened them.

”Yes, I need to get some things off my chest before I die,” said Gojisan. “A long time ago, I had a very good friend called Lonesome Sword. We were very close and often fought side by side in battles together. Fate seemed to smile upon us as we would always emerge from every assassination job unscathed despite the most difficult odds. One day, we undertook an operation to wipe out an entire kungfu clan. It turned out to be much more difficult than we originally thought. During the battle, I found myself fighting against a very skilled kungfu master and I got injured. Lonesome Sword came to my rescue but in the process, he was wounded fatally. With his dying breath, he asked me to take care of his daughter after his death. I gave him an oath that I would. He then grabbed hold of the kungfu master and would not let go in order that I could escape. I owed him my life. He was my good friend till the very end.”

“What has this to do with my family?” asked Wen Yiji.

“Lonesome Sword was a widower and his daughter was only three years old at that time. I took her to my home and raised her up as if she was my own daughter. She was your mother, Lady Red Leaf. I loved her as I would love my own flesh and blood.”

“That did not prevent you from seeking to kill her.”

“When she was older, she became a very proficient killer, and I planned to have her marry my eldest son. One day I accepted a job to kill Patriarch Wang, a man who was proving very difficult to kill. At that time, one of his younger sons was getting married and we surreptitiously hijacked the bride from the bridal procession. Red Leaf went in her place and no one was any wiser because she was wearing the bridal veil. The plan was for her to disable the booby traps in the Wang mansion at night so that the rest of our assassins could get in safely. However, that day, she got knocked out by the bridal wine that she had to drink during the ceremony. When my eldest son and his men tried to steal into the mansion later, many of them were shot dead by the bridegroom, Wang Yuan. That night, my eldest son did not return. Wang Yuan had taken him away from me with an arrow. I had expected Red Leaf to kill Wang Yuan, but she betrayed me by staying with Wang Yuan as his wife. My mind was set on revenge.”

“You cannot blame my mother for what she did. Once she bowed to heaven with my father, drank the bridal wine and consummated the marriage, she was already a member of the Wang family. The laws of Heaven are clear. It was your decision to send her in the hijacked bride’s place. For that, you have to bear the consequences of your decision. He who seeks revenge should remember to dig two graves.”

“I was mourning for my eldest son and did not see it that way at that time. When Wang Yuan and Red Leaf were subsequently banished from the Wang household, my younger son tracked them down. Wang Yuan killed him also with an arrow. Thus, I lost both my sons and my bloodline. Wang Yuan must be the dark star of my family, like a stubborn nemesis. When the men came back and told me that my second son would not be returning, I went berserk. I swore vengeance on both Wang Yuan and Red Leaf. For years, I was consumed with hate, and I vowed that I would end Wang Yuan’s bloodline because he ended mine. And I swore that I would kill Red Leaf as well because she betrayed me. Despite my best efforts, I could not track down the couple. They seem to have vanished from the face of the earth.”

Gojisan paused and closed his eyes as if trying to remember some details. Then he opened his eyes again and continued.

“Six years ago, my nephew discovered Wang Yuan and Red Leaf in the Imperial City. He sent me a note that he would be making an attack on them. After that I had no more news from my nephew. I think they probably died. Truly, Wang Yuan was my dark star.”

“No,” said Wen Yiji. “Actually, I am your dark star.”

“You? Why you?”

“Your sons started dying only after I was conceived in my mother’s womb. Which was on my father's wedding night.”

“I had not thought of it from that angle.”

“And if you must know, it was I who killed your nephew. A group of seven men sneaked into my house one night six years ago. In the dark, I shot them all dead with my arrows. I thought that they were robbers and did not know that they were from the Fire Mountain Sect at that time. I am your dark star.”

“Heaven’s will. This must be Heaven’s will.”

“The Borrowing Hag said that she drugged my family and then you got into my home to kill them all. Even the servants were not spared. You are indeed cruel.”

“No. I did not kill all of them. I only killed your parents and your brothers. The Borrowing Hag had already drugged them to deep sleep so they felt no pain. It was that rabid dog Simit who killed your sisters and servants. I told him to leave the killing to me but he volunteered to do it. He is the scum of the buffalo dung.”

Wen Yiji turned towards Simit who cringed.

Xiang Xiang asked Gojisan, “Why do you think that Simit is scum when you are no better than him?”

“I am a professional who kills for a purpose,” answered Gojisan. “Simit kills for pure enjoyment. That is where we are different.”

“You are both the same,” said Wen Yiji. “You were in this together. If you make love to a pig, both of you get dirty. The only difference is that the pig likes it."

There was another silence.

Then Wen Yiji asked, “While my parents were drugged, how did you kill them, Gojisan?”

“I used an iron palm blow to the head,” answered Gojisan. “They felt no pain.”

In a way, Wen Yiji felt relieved to hear that his parents had not died painfully.

Gojisan tilted his head to look at Xiang Xiang again. He said, “You look so much like your mother. She was a beautiful young girl once. But beneath her beautiful exterior was an assassin so skillful that at the age of sixteen, she was already among my top assassins. I am glad to see that you are alive.”

“How can you be glad to see me alive?” asked Xiang Xiang drily. “You wanted to kill me. When my family died, I wanted to end my own life. I was a ten year old girl wandering the streets of town, all alone, starving and miserable. Have you any idea of the sorrow I went through each time I swept the graves of my family members? Do not seek to tell me that you are now repentant.”

“It is difficult not to be,” said Gojisan. “Several days after I killed your family, the figure of your maternal grandfather, Lonesome Sword, kept appearing in my dreams. He reminded me of the oath that I had made to him……that I had promised to take care of his daughter, Red Leaf. The first time I had the dream, I woke up in cold sweat. I had broken my oath to the man who gave his life to save mine. He appeared in my dreams night after night, so much so that I was afraid to go to sleep. Finally, I left the Imperial Capital and came back to Tsinkiang. But the dreams followed me. Lonesome Sword would not leave me in peace. At that time, I wondered when Heaven would punish me for breaking my oath. I did not have long to wait. Once in Tsinkiang, Simit drugged me with the Beh Ting Tang paralysis potion, then he disabled my tendons with hooks and locked me up here in order to force me to pass my kungfu to his sons.”

“So, you are the sifu of Si Fatt Guai and Si Liu Thung?”

“Yes,” admitted Gojisan.

At that moment, Simit broke out of his stupor and shouted at Wen Yiji, “Your fight was with Gojisan! He was your enemy! Why did you kill my sons?”

“Self-defense,” remarked Wen Yiji. “As fate would have it, Si Fatt Guai attacked me in a desolate restaurant one evening. I had to kill him. Your second son attacked me today, so I killed him too. As for the third son, that was an assassination; I was paid to kill off that lousy piece of shit. It’s a long story. Perhaps it is too late to say so, but your three sons had atrocious behaviour. You should have given them a proper education so that they would know the error of their ways. When the sons err, it is the father who is at fault. You should have taught them to respect people because people who need people are the luckiest people in the world.”

Simit had the look of stunned astonishment on his face as if he just realized that he had forgotten to pay the firewood bill.

“You killed all of Simit’s sons?” asked Gojisan with a slight smile. “Hahahahahahahaha!”

“You seemed pleased,” noted Wen Yiji. “Soon, it will be your turn to die.”

“I am pleased. Your kungfu skills must be really powerful to defeat Si Fatt Guai. I wish I could have seen the battle. They say that the Five Fairies Iron Palm is difficult to beat. But I have never seen it in action. Nor have I practised it.”

“How can you not have practised it when it was you who taught Si Fatt Guai that martial art?”

“It is true. I have never practised the Five Fairies Iron Palm. But I know the method because I have the manual in my possession and I memorized it. It is not a safe martial art. I only taught Si Fatt Guai the method knowing that he would turn into a gay once he mastered it. He would then not produce any grandsons for Simit.”

“You cunning bastard. This is the first time I have heard of a sifu teaching a disciple something that he does not know himself. It is like a mother hen teaching her chicks how to waddle like a duck.”

“A lot of sifus are like that. They use disciples for experimentation. That is how sifus learn.”

“I suppose you do not know the Celestial Dragon Claw as well.”

Oh….on the contrary, I do. Unlike Si Liu Thung, I learned it safely when I was still a young virgin boy. It uses the Dark Energy, and therefore, one needs to exercise great caution.”

“Is the Dark Energy as evil as people say it is?”

“Nothing is inherently good or evil. All forces of nature have their uses. Yin and yang are both part of the Great Taiji. Heaven smiles of one who learns to approach both appropriately. Only a fool would make sweeping comments of what he cannot comprehend,” replied Gojisan. “He who knows not, and knows not that he knows not; he is a fool, shun him.”

“You are quick to condemn others as fools. Yet it is the fool who is free while you are chained up here for years. You are neither dead, nor are you alive. In fact, you are the biggest fool. If you want to know how big a fool you truly are, I will be most willing to tell you,” said Wen Yiji. “He who knows not, and knows that he knows not; he is a child, teach him.”

“You have a calm arrogant air about you. You will make a great career assassin.”

“I am not a career assassin. I kill only when I have to. I do not enjoy killing people.”

“Maybe you do, but you just don’t know it yet!” commented Gojisan. “He who knows, and knows not that he knows; he is asleep, wake him.”

“I am smart enough to know that a lifetime of killing can only end with the accumulation of bad karma and cosmic debts. Those who make a career out of killing others may one day be on the receiving end of a sword. I am no fool,” remarked Wen Yiji. “He who knows, and knows that he knows; he is wise, follow him.”

Gojisan sighed, “I am sorry that I killed your family. I was filled with hatred for your father for ending my bloodline that I forgot my sacred oath to my good friend Lonesome Sword. As it turned out, Heaven has punished me severely. Look at me! Even in my worst nightmare, I could not have foreseen that the chief of the Fire Mountain Sect would meet with such a terrible fate. I am an unworthy chief.”

“I have news for you,” said Wen Yiji. “There is no more Fire Mountain Sect. You are the last surviving member.”

“What? How is that possible?”

“After you disappeared from the sect five years ago, there were about twenty assassins left. After four years when you still had not returned, the members had to choose a new chief. There was some severe infighting in the process that soon, everyone was dead except for the Whizz Twins.”

“Ah yes…the Whizz Twins. Good men. Fast and effective.”

“The two of them became robbers and tried to rob me and my sister on a boat. It was their gravest mistake. I sent them to meet the King of Hell. And that was the end of the Fire Mountain Sect. Before they died, they told me the sad story of what happened to their sect of assassins.”

“You killed the Whizz Twins?”

“Yes……Whirlwind and Blizzard. I dumped their bodies in the river. The fishes had an orientation party for them on that day.”

Gojisan closed his eyes for a moment. Then he opened them and said, “You have killed just about everybody. Are you going to kill the lowly dog Simit?”

“Of course,” replied Wen Yiji. “He killed my sisters. I will avenge them. His death will be painful.”

“Do me a favour,” asked Gojisan. “Please kill him first before you kill me. I want to watch him die.”

Simit backed away warily to the wall.

“Why should I give you this pleasure?” asked Wen Yiji. “Simit did me a favour. He strung you up in this torturous fashion for five years. Even I could not have thought of this method to torture you. No, I will reward him instead!”

“You are rewarding Simit?” asked Xiang Xiang in surprise.

“Of course!” her brother answered. “I’ll allow him to die after Gojisan.”

“Do not underestimate Simit,” warned Gojisan. “That was my mistake.”

“Don’t worry,” said Wen Yiji. “I am in control of the situation.”

A noise at the door alerted Wen Yiji that all was not right. Instinctively, he leapt towards the door and tried to open it. He could not. He knew that Siao Kao did not lock the door back with the key. The door was bolted shut by some hitherto unknown mechanism.

Sensing danger, he gathered his energy to hit the door open with his Dark Fire Iron Palm, and then he heard sounds coming from the ceiling. He looked up. Spears had suddenly protruded out from the ceiling. They were set very close together, too close for comfort.

Instinctively, he knew that the ceiling was just about to drop downwards and impale them all with the spears. They were set so close together that even a very thin person would still get impaled.

Quick as a flash, he delivered a palm blast upwards. The spears shook, but they still remained steadfastly moored to the ceiling. Wen Yiji leapt upwards to the ceiling just as it was starting to drop. Using as much strength as he could muster, he wrenched off two spears at one go from their moorings. Then he grabbed another two more spears and wrenched them off even as he was falling downwards with the dropping ceiling.

“Lie down fast, Xiang Xiang!” he shouted.

The ceiling dropped downwards as one huge single slab, spiked with spears to skewer anything in their path.

Xiang Xiang hit the floor flat, rolled over to face the ceiling and prayed hard. The wall of pointy spears rushed downwards and just when she thought she would die, they stopped miraculously. Wen Yiji had held up the ceiling with his hands, standing in the position where he had cleared away four spears earlier. The surrounding spears skewered the air around him as he used his Dark Fire Inner Energy to keep the ceiling from falling further. He looked downwards. The spear tips were nearly touching the ground.

The nervous Siao Kau while looking for a safe place to hide, had dived under the body of Gojisan. Momentarily, that saved his life.

Gojisan’s body was hung by chains from the ceiling. When the ceiling dropped, he dropped as well. Unfortunately, he dropped on top of the body of Siao Kau and the spears skewered him in seven places. The spears penetrated through downwards to the other side of his body and just poked Siao Kau underneath.

“Xiang Xiang!” Wen Yiji shouted. “Answer me, Xiang Xiang!”

Lying flat and looking upwards, Xiang Xiang breathed out as she realized that she was still alive. The spears above her were almost touching her.

“Xiang Xiang! Xiang Xiang!” shouted Wen Yiji again. “Answer me!”

“I am alright, Brother Yiji,” she answered. “The ceiling has stopped dropping. Praises be to the Buddha. It’s a miracle!”

“It’s no miracle,” said her brother. “And the Buddha has nothing to do with it. It is I who is holding up the damn ceiling! Heavy like hell! I don’t think I can hold it up for very much longer. Look for a safe place. Tell me what you see.”

She cast her eyes towards her chest and muttered, “Damn, if my tits were any bigger, they would definitely have been punctured already.”

“What did you say?” asked her brother.

“Er…nothing” she answered.

“I can’t see you,” said her brother. “Tell me what you see.”

Xiang Xiang turned her head carefully and looked all round. She had a clear view under the spears.

“I can see your feet,” she said. “Siao Kau is lying on the ground still alive. He is cowering under the body of Gojisan. Somehow, Gojisan’s body must have landed on him. I think Gojisan could be dead. He appears to be skewered by many spears. I don’t see Simit. Wait I can see his feet standing by the wall.”

“Forget about other people!” grunted Wen Yiji. “Look for a safe place where you can stand up. As long as you can stand up in between the spears, you will be safe from being skewered by them. I can’t see much from where I am standing. It’s like a forest of spears blocking my range of vision. Wait…..did you say that Simit is standing up?”

“Yes,” said Xiang Xiang. “I think he is in a safe position.”

“Hahahahahaha!” the voice of Agent Simit floated out to them. “How do you like my booby trap so far? I am standing in the only safe place designed for the room. While you were busy talking nonsense with Gojisan, I triggered the booby trap from here!”

“I underestimated you!” said Wen Yiji.

“You were lucky to create a safe position for yourself by breaking off some spears,” said Simit. “I had not anticipated that move. But you will not be able to hold up the ceiling forever. Sooner or later, you will have to let the ceiling drop and then the spears will skewer your sister like a piece of meat from the market. Hahahahahaha!”

“I will kill you!” swore Wen Yiji.

“Very soon, your legs will turn to tofu and they will collapse from fatigue. That is when your sister will die. I shall enjoy watching it happen,” gloated Simit. “Hey girl! Why don’t you slither your way over here to me. I will save you. Come! Come on! Over here!”

“Forget it!” said Xiang Xiang. “You wish to kill me the same way that you killed my sisters. And I won’t be able to fight back from this vulnerable position.”

“Since you are going to die anyway, you may as well give me this pleasure,” grinned Simit. “Don’t be so selfish!”

“Come……over……..girl…..” the voice of Gojisan spoke.

“What was that?” asked Wen Yiji. “I thought I heard something.”

“It is Gojisan,” replied Xiang Xiang. “He is not yet dead. He wants me to go to him.”

“He wants to kill you too,” said Simit. “Even near death’s door, that obstinate old devil still wants to kill off your family. Na beh…..”

“Xiang Xiang, see if you can wrench off some of the spears with your hands,” said Wen Yiji. “You do not have a big frame, so I think you will be able to get up to a sitting position if you can break off at least four spears. Once you are able to sit up, you will be able to get to a standing position without difficulty. But hurry!”

“I have already tried to move the spears,” shouted back Xiang Xiang. “But they are very securely attached to the ceiling. I can’t move them!”

“Hahahahahha!” laughed Agent Simit. “Of course you can’t move them! They were designed by me and I am a genius at booby traps! Hahahahahah!”

“What about your position, Brother Yiji?” asked Xiang Xiang. “Do you think that I can slither over to you?”

“I only managed to clear away four spears,” said Wen Yiji. “The space is not sufficient for both of us. I can feel my knees getting weaker. If you try to squeeze in here, I will most likely drop the ceiling and then the spears will impale you. Look for another solution. There has got to be something! Hurry!”

Xiang Xiang looked all round again. There did not appear to be any solution.

“Hey girl, come over here!” taunted Simit. From a hidden recess in the wall, he produced a long broadsword. “Come here girl! I want you to take a message to the King of Hell! Tell him to get ready because your brother will also be joining you!”

“Damn!” muttered Xiang Xiang. “Stay here means die. Go over to Brother Yiji’s position also die. Go to Simit’s position also die! Everywhere also die!”

“Come……….girl…….” Gojisan’s voice mumbled.

“If I am going to die, I may as well let the old man kill me,” she mumbled to herself. “After all, he did take care of my mother when she was young.”

Propelling herself along the ground with her hands and legs, she slithered over to the dying Gojisan and said, “All right….I am here.”

“Remove…..hook….. from…..hand,” the wavering voice whispered.

Although Gojisan was atop Siao Kau, his right hand had dropped to the floor. She reached out with her left hand and wrenched the hook out of his flesh at his wrist. Blood spurted out.

“Hold……my…..hand……” he said.

She held his hand with her left hand and thought, “Ah……the old man only wants me to hold his hand while he dies!”

“Are……you…….a…….virgin?” he asked.

Xiang Xiang was shocked at the question.

“Damn!” she thought to herself. “So the old man was thinking about sex! Dying also want to humsap me!”

Aloud she said, “Yes. Not that it will do you any good!”

“Ah……one…...gate……is…….opened….” mumbled Gojisan as he moved his fingers.

His hand felt cold. Then it grew warmer. Suddenly, a wave of heat passed from Gojisan’s hand to Xiang Xiang’s hand. The heat spread into Xiang Xiang’s body and she screamed, “Aeeeiiiiiyeeeeeeeeehhhhhhhhh!”

“Xiang Xiang! Xiang Xiang!” shouted Wen Yiji. “What is happening?”

But Xiang Xiang kept screaming. Wen Yiji could only stay in his position, still holding up the ceiling and feeling helpless.

The screaming stopped suddenly.

Gojisan’s hand fell away. With his dying words, he mumbled, “Have…….passed……you………remaining…….inner energy……..Celestial Dragon Claw…….not much left……enough…..for……one……hand.”

Xiang Xiang was too shocked over what had just happened. She could only mutter, “Thank you.”

Gojisan spoke again, “Sorry…..about…..your……family……forgive me….”

“Xiang Xiang! Xiang Xiang!” the voice of her brother kept calling to her. “Talk to me!”

“I am all right!” she responded.

“What happened?” he asked.

“I think Gojisan just died,” she answered. “He asked me if I was a virgin. Then he passed me his remaining inner energy of the Celestial Dragon Claw. Enough for one hand, he said.”

Wen Yiji thought fast. He spoke, “Try to wrench off the spears above you with your hand. Hurry! My legs are giving way!”

Xiang Xiang brought up her right hand to the spear right above her face and tried to move it. The spear remained steadfast. “I still can’t move it!” she cried.

“Hahahahahaha!” the mocking laughter of Simit sounded across the room. “The old devil bluffed you even while he was dying! Hahahahahahah!”

Wen Yiji was getting desperate. “Try with your other hand!” he shouted to her.

Xiang Xiang brought up her left hand to the spear above her. She grabbed the wooden shaft just behind the metal spearhead and twisted.


The spear was twisted clear off its mooring.

“It worked!” she shouted excitedly. “The left hand worked!”

“Hurry……can’t……bear……..much…..longer…..” grunted Wen Yiji.

Swiftly, she worked and when she had twisted off four spears, she pushed herself up into a sitting position. Her legs were still under the spears and in danger of getting impaled. As she was getting up into a standing position, Wen Yiji’s knees gave way and he collapsed due to fatigue. The ceiling dropped down and the spears hit the ground.

A loud scream filled the air.

“Xiang Xiang! Xiang Xiang!” cried Wen Yiji. “Oh Heavens…..what have I done…. what have I done!”

The screaming tailed off and stopped.

“That wasn’t me screaming, Brother Yiji,” Xiang Xiang’s voice called out. “That was Siao Kau. The spears went through Gojisan’s body and skewered him. Poor fellow. He’s dead now.”

“Oh…..” noted her brother with relief. “So, only you, I and Simit are alive in this room. When I have recovered my energy, I will go over to where he is and kill him! I don’t have a line of sight through the spears. Can you see him?”

“I can see him only partially,” said Xiang Xiang. “Not that I wish to see him. He is ugly….like an old wrinkled shaven monkey.”

“You two have the most unusual luck,” said Simit from across the room. “When I built this booby trap, do you think that I would be so stupid as to forget to leave a safe escape route for myself? Do you think that I won’t have a backup plan? Do not think that you have won. You two will still not leave this room alive!”

Next: Conclusion


How the writers are faring

On the Nanowrimo, I noted that Dabido is doing the same thing as what I did last year. He is posting his story ‘live’ online chapter by chapter as he writes. This way of writing is rather challenging as the writer must be very certain of the plot. There can be no going back to alter the plot in the unfortunate event that an error is discovered later on. No choice but to work around it. Way to go, Dabido! I think Dabido is slightly lagging behind in the word count. You can go to his site to give him some moral support and tell him to move his ass!

If you want to know how our Nanowrimo writers are faring, click this Nanowrimo link. It is already the middle of the month and those who have already past the 20, 000 words milestone has a good chance of completing the required 50,000 words by the end of this month.

Add oil! Add oil! Add oil!

I’ve finally decided to divide the ending part of “The Cook and the Assassin” into two separate chapters. It ends in Chapter 33. Chapter 32 will be posted either this evening or tomorrow.


Thursday, November 16, 2006


Some more wait

The wuxia story is drawing close to the end and writing the last bits of the story is getting more difficult because of the possibility of conflicting details. I had to go back to read some of the previous chapters again and again to check for loose ends and whether the details match. Believe it or not, I am already on my third rewrite! Although I wanted to end the story on Chapter 32, the chapter is getting lengthy and I may have to break it up into two. It won’t be out today. Maybe not even tomorrow.

The one-star publication had this article : Samy and Koh clear air.

I thought that those two were trying to claim credit for clearing the haze. What?

Nothing of the sort. I read the whole article and saw this:

“……But, you know how Samy Vellu speaks. He is a bit dramatic…….”


You mean as in drama? Oh, I love a good drama!

Let’s recap:

“What a wounding shame this is, that the multitudes call for my blood, demanding unjustly that the virtuous Valiant Hair should go. Be it known that I, the greatest, am misthought, for acts that the gods do. Halfwitted mortals that they be, that they unreasonably entreat me to suffer not the rocks to fall and the mud to slide. Nor suffer the roads and bridges to fail. Oh vile fools! The most infectious pestilence upon them! Know they not that all bridges and roads faileth in time? In two years, two months or two days. Who knoweth?”

Hey. I love drama!


Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Zen in 3 sentences: One hand clapping

What is the sound of one hand clapping?

“Krup! Krup!”

Able bodied dudes who cannot clap with one hand are obviously not putting in sufficient effort and should be put down like rabid animals so that they can be reborn in the next life as dogs.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Joy is a new mousepad

I just know that I need to upgrade my mousepad.

Nothing fancy. Just a simple two-toned design will do.

I use a three-button mouse.

Sure, sitting in front of the damn monitor is no biggie, but I wanna feel that I’m doing something sociable when I am working that scroll button. Yannow, the feeling you get when you think that you are doing something of utmost importance to our species?

And what can be more important that scrolling?

Well, that takes care of one hand.


Monday, November 13, 2006


That awful remark

A lot of bloggers have already blogged about this topic. Penang Municipal Council president Datuk Abu Bakar Hassan is now officially a sexist after the crappy remark he made:

“If the dress was not sexy, the incident would not have happened.”

Anybody with decent intelligence would understand that dressing has nothing to do with it. The morons who don’t understand that have brains the size of a pea and should be removed from all official positions. Yes, I am calling for his removal. I am sure there are people more capable than him in Penang who would love to have his official post.

The other big news of the week was the story of the murdered and exploded to bits Mongolian model.

No, it did not occur in Penang.

It would definitely have pained me greatly if a council president had expressed some awful shit to the Mongolian press like:

"If only your Mongolian women were explosion-proof, the incident would not have happened."

It’s about time that we have council elections.


Friday, November 10, 2006


Zen in 3 sentences: Ordinary mind

“What is ‘ordinary mind’?”

Ordinary mind is the mind that belongs to ordinary people.

Some other beings, like my dog around the mat, have ‘extraordinary mind’.


Thursday, November 09, 2006


Lobsters at The Lobsterman

You may have already guessed that I don’t do rood reviews. If ever I have to work for a living by doing food reviews, I’ll be like the guy sitting by river and selling water.

However, I just have this urge to sell water every now and then for the heck of it.

There is this restaurant called “The Lobsterman” in SS2 that specializes in lobsters. The lobsters are caught in the Atlantic Ocean, flown in fresh from Canada to Petaling Jaya and then they get to sit in a tank of water, until a customer comes in to make their end meaningful.

Recently, I went with Hot Babe to dinner at The Lobsterman. The place was not crowded since it was on a weekday. Only four tables were occupied when we got there. The minute we sat down, we sort of knew that this was not the usual restaurant ambience; no kids running around and yelling or doing odd stuff. Everybody was well behaved. So Hot Babe and I followed suit and behaved like we had class.

The waiter brought the garlic toast to the table. Hot Babe thought that it was pretty good toast. Me, I just ate.

Then came the soup. Hot Babe made some favourable comments about the soup. Me, I just drank.

Then, came the escargots.

The dish looked appetizing and tasted like clams. In fact, I wouldn’t have known that they were snails if nobody told me they were escargots. Pretty good, I thought. I savoured it slowly. As slow as a snail. (‘You are what you eat’ comes to mind.)

After that, we had the Heavenly Palace Lobster which was lobster cooked in a chicken and cheese sauce with noodles at the bottom. Apparently, this Hongkong styled dish is the most popular lobster dish the restaurant does.

I am not a fan of cheese, but I ate it anyway. It was just okay for me. Hot Babe enjoyed it more than me. But then she is into cheesy stuff like cheese crackers and cheesecakes.

Next we had the Shelter Garlic Lobster. Now that was more to my liking. Love the stuff!

Yup, the two of us had two types of lobsters and it was pretty filling. We pigged out and ate with our fingers. Eating lobsters is easier than eating crabs, but you will still need to use your fingers. If you are thinking of taking your date there to impress her with your table manners, be prepared make a mess. It is not the sort of place to go on your first date, hoping to con her into thinking that you are a refined eater.

After the lobsters, we had dessert and coffee. I forgot what the desert was, but it was one of those fruit cocktail thingys. The bill came to RM198.00.

The Lobsterman is situated in SS2, Petaling jaya and is in the block of shophouses at the Sea Park/SS2(at Eng Seng Hin) traffic lights. It is a corner shop located in the row behind the Formosa Restaurant, and along the same row as the Mee Sua Tow place. Or go to this site for the map.

Have fun!


Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Of things Zen

Of late, I have been fascinated by Zen. That would perhaps explain why I have been posting “Zen in 3 sentences” articles recently.

Some Zen sayings have been very well known for centuries, for instance, the one on:

“If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.”

Many of us would have heard a Zen riddle or two. In fact I have posted one on the famous “If a tree falls in the forest and there is no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?”

Zen masters have a habit of asking their pupils these riddles, or koan, to gauge the extent of their pupils’ understanding of the universe. It’s not the answer you give but the way you answer it that counts.

For example, a Zen master may ask me the riddle, “Why is one plus two equal to three and not four?”

Then I’ll hold up five fingers and answer him, “It should be sex.”

From my answer, he can immediately conclude that I am already enlightened and have no need for Zen riddles anymore.


They don’t teach you all these concepts in school, which is why you have to come to this blog.

The Cook and the Assassin wuxia story is drawing to a close and there will be a slight twist at the end. This chapter will take some effort to write to tie up some loose ends. Meanwhile, let’s shout out some support to all the Nanowrimo writers out there:



Tuesday, November 07, 2006


The Cook and the Assassin - Chapter 31

Chapter 31: The taming of the Celestial Dragon Claw

As Agent Simit laughed away in his usual cunning manner, Wen Yiji was flabbergasted that he had fallen so easily for the old man’s trick. Both Simit and his son looked at him intently, as if expecting him to be paralyzed at any moment. If he were to be attacked by Si Liu Thung, he would be mincemeat

He looked around for a solution. His eyes fell on the dead henchman who was carrying his bow and arrows. His bow and arrows! They were still on the floor where the dead henchman had dropped them. If he could get to them, he might have a chance. He stifled the impulse to run to his bow. Si Liu Thung would probably reach him before he could load an arrow to his bow. No, he must play it cool.

He had one advantage in that his enemies did not know that he had such a thing as the Poison Field Inner Stance within him. Perhaps he could trick them.

“Your Beh Ting Tang paralysis potion must be way past its expiry date,” said Wen Yiji to Simit. “It does not appear to have an effect on me! Or perhaps yours is a cheap counterfeit version. You should buy original!”

As if to prove his point, Wen Yiji walked around nonchalantly. Seeing a decapitated head in his path, he kicked it across the hall. The fighters in the hall looked at him warily. As long as they did not know that he could not safely use more than one third of his strength, they would be cautious about attacking him.

Agent Simit glared angrily at the servant who had brought out the tampered wine. “Drink!” he ordered. Fearfully, but obediently, the servant placed the pot of wine to his lips and drank.

Wen Yiji walked casually over to where his bow and arrows had fallen. As he was about to bend down to pick them up, he noticed that his abdomen had grown stiff. The realization hit him that the Beh Ting Tang paralysis potion in his stomach had already caused partial paralysis around the stomach area, making him stiff like a board around the abdominal section. Although he could not bend, he could still squat down to pick up his bow and arrows. Having done that, he slung the quiver of arrows onto his back. The fighters in the hall eyed his every movement, but nobody made a move to stop him.

In the forested area near the mansion, Xiang Xiang was trying to get her bearings. Her brother Yiji could still be around, she thought. She had heard the sound of fighting coming from the mansion and she concluded immediately that her brother was in a battle. She moved nearer towards the mansion and then placing her hands to her lips, she hooted like an owl.

Wen Yiji heard the hoot and recognized it.

“That hoot came from Xiang Xiang outside the mansion….in the woods,” he thought. “It’s an ‘all clear’ hoot so she must have escaped somehow! Good girl! I guess it’s time for me to leave as well!”

Wen Yiji fitted an arrow to his bow and started to walk out of the hall with an air of apparent unconcern. At that moment, the servant who had drunk from the pot of tampered wine fell down to the ground with his limbs frozen in a peculiar position.

“The potion works!” shouted Si Liu Thung. “It may be slow to act on Master Wen, but it definitely works!”

“Master Wen must be controlling the paralysis potion with some form of inner energy! His gait is funny,” noted Simit aloud. “However, I suspect that he has weakened considerably!”

“Attack him!” screamed Si Liu Thung.

The fighters rushed towards Yiji before he could reach the door. He turned and sent an arrow through the heart of the nearest fighter.


The fighter dropped dead immediately.

Quickly, Wen Yiji reloaded and shot the next one even as he ran.


Another fighter fell down dead.


A third fighter came too near and got an arrow in the head.

The smarter ones among the fighters did not chase after Wen Yiji. They cleverly stood aside to wait for the bowman to use up all his arrows before attacking. The more suicidal ones followed after Wen Yiji foolishly and died just as foolishly.

Wen Yiji ran across the hall as he shot arrow after arrow on the run. One by one, the fighters got smarter and stopped chasing after him. Seven of their compatriots sprawled dead on the floor with an arrow in each of them.

Si Liu Thung decided to take a hand in the attack. As he took two steps forward, an arrow came from Wen Yiji towards Agent Simit. Just in time, Si Liu Thung reached over and deflected the arrow away from its flight path with his steely fingers, thus saving his father’s life. He stood in front of his father to protect him.

“You won’t be able to save your father’s life every time!” Wen Yiji shouted. His plan had worked. By threatening Agent Simit with an arrow, he was able to pin down Si Liu Thung.

Wen Yiji had stopped running as the remaining fighters had stopped chasing after him. Even at one third of his power, he was still faster than the average fighter. With an arrow in his bow, he walked cockily towards the line of fighters and announced. “Anytime anyone of you wishes to die, just step forward!”

The fighters could not believe his confidence. It unnerved them. They surreptitiously stepped backward, except for one man who remained where he was. Because he stood out in front of the rest, Wen Yiji lifted his bow and targeted him.

The man looked surprised and said, “But I did not even step forwa…..”


An arrow from Yiji caught the man in the heart and he dropped to the ground dead.

Wen Yiji moved to the door. The stiffness in the abdomen was getting uncomfortable. He had to get the toxins out fast. He stumbled awkwardly as he exited the door.

“Chase after him!” screamed Simit. “The potion is taking effect and he is stumbling! Soon, he will not be able to move! He has very few arrows left!”

The fighters hesitated. Then one man, who was braver than the rest, took a few hesitant steps towards the door.


An arrow came from outside and hit him right in the center of the forehead. He dropped to his knees and toppled lifelessly over. The rest of the men stayed where they were. Si Liu Thung hid his father behind a table and then shouted at his men, “Look at you…..a bunch of cowards! If any man dare not go out with me after the bowman, he is useless to me as a fighter and I will have him killed!”

Si Liu Thung walked to the door followed grudgingly by his fighters. When he reached the door and looked outside, he discovered that Wen Yiji had disappeared.

“He can’t have gotten far!” he yelled at his men. “We’ll track him with dogs!”

Wen Yiji stumbled out to the forested area next to the mansion. He had only two arrows left. He heard Xiang Xiang’s hooting again and this time he hooted back. He had not stumbled far when Xiang Xiang found him.

“Brother Yiji!” she said excitedly. “Are you all right?”

“I have drunk some paralysis potion,” he told her. “I need to hide somewhere safe until I can expel the potion!”

“Let’s hide in the forest for the time being,” said his sister.

Together, they walked for a short distance until Yiji finally said, “It’s no use. I have to expel out the potion now or soon I will not be able to walk.”

“How are you going to expel it?” she asked.

“I have to shit it out,” he replied. “Simit’s men may be pursuing us. Stand guard while I go behind this bush and shit.”

Xiang Xiang kept a lookout while Yiji squatted behind a thick bush and shitted. In a short moment, the sound of dogs filled the air.

“Dogs are coming, Brother Yiji,” warned Xiang Xiang.

“Kill them!” said her brother. “I’m trying to shit. Damn! Boh sai pang! Nnnnnngggggg……”

Si Liu Thung’s dogs found them and barked ferociously. Xiang Xiang took her pole and brought it down hard on the head of a canine.


The dog yelped in pain and ran off followed by his four-legged friends. They ran to a safe distance but continued barking.

Wen Yiji continued with what he was doing.

“Ah..….coming out now……..Nnnnnngggggg…… Nnnnnngggggg……”

A small group of five men burst onto the scene and spotted Xiang Xiang.

“Brother, are you done yet?” asked Xiang Xiang as quietly as she could.

“Not yet,” whispered back Yiji. “But it’s on its way out! Nnnnnngggggg……”

The men had never seen Xiang Xiang before. She had been kidnapped the night before by Si Liu Thung and taken to the dungeon quietly without the men knowing.

One of the men approached Xiang Xiang who pointed her pole at him and said, “Stop! Do not come any nearer! My grandmother is shitting behind the bush! I don’t want you men to embarrass her!”

“Oh sorry,” the man said. “But did you notice a man run by here just now? He was carrying a bow and arrows.”

“He ran that way,” said Xiang Xiang pointing to her left.

The men looked at where she pointed and ran in that direction.


The last bits of Yiji’s shit had emerged, carrying with it the Beh Ting Tang paralysis potion.

“Ahhhhh……” Yiji sighed in contentment loudly. “That was good! Si beh song!”

The fighters heard him and turned back.

“Master Si! Master Si!” one of the men shouted. “He is here!”

The next moment, an arrow from Wen Yiji thudded into his heart and he was silenced permanently. Another fighter moving towards Xiang Xiang suffered the same fate. Yiji had stood up to shoot them over the bush while still half naked. The remaining three fighters backed away, not knowing that Wen Yiji had already run out of arrows.

Si Liu Thung was some distance away with another group of men. He had heard his name being called, so he and his men headed towards the source of commotion.

Meanwhile, realizing that there was no water for him to wash his ass, and with his pants around his ankles, Wen Yiji hopped around impudently to look for a leaf large enough to wipe his ass. He did not find any leaf large enough for his usage and so he hopped to the next bush.

Si Liu Thung burst onto the scene with another five of his henchmen. He was shocked to see Xiang Xiang standing there.

“You!” he cried. “How did you escape?”

“That’s none of your business,” replied Xiang Xiang. “Now go away!”

Then Si Liu Thung saw Wen Yiji who was about to pull up his pants after wiping his ass with a large leaf. He stared hard.

“Don’t stare so hard!” admonished Wen Yiji. “I bet that mine is a lot longer than yours, but still, it is rude to stare!”

The fighters gathered around Si Liu Thung who pondered his next step. So far, Wen Yiji had been full of surprises and was proving to be a troublesome opponent. Si Liu Thung decided that his best bet would be to capture Xiang Xiang again and use her to force Wen Yiji into submission.

He ran towards her, and then leapt high using lightness kungfu. From the air he swooped down swiftly on her. But Xiang Xiang saw her danger and she shifted away from her position and brought her pole up to meet the threat. Wen Yiji had just finished tying his pants and he moved in fast to meet the challenge. As Si Liu Thung was about to reach Xiang Xiang, Wen Yiji delivered a powerful palm blast that threw Si Liu Thung off course and caused him to flip over the bush and land on the pile of shit that Wen Yiji had recently excreted.

Wen Yiji then walked over to the two fallen fighters that he had earlier killed with his arrows. He picked up their broadswords and held one in each hand.

Behind the bush, Si Liu Thung was attempting to clean the shit away from his face. “Kill him!” he screamed. “Kill that son of a pig!”

The eight fighters cautiously advanced on Wen Yiji and his sister who retreated slowly before them.

“Xiang Xiang,” said Wen Yiji. Do you remember the strokes that I taught you recently?”

“You mean the strokes of the twin butterfly swords?” asked Xiang Xiang.

“Yes!” he replied. “I will use these two broadswords to demonstrate how the strokes are to be delivered with killing precision. The sword strokes are to be executed with speed and accuracy if you are to overcome your enemy. Observe carefully and watch how I do it.”

“Yes, brother,” she replied.

Wen Yiji suddenly rushed towards his advancing enemies and swirled his broadswords into them.

“Parry, thrust, parry thrust, parry slash, slash, thrust, thrust,” Wen Yiji called out in a rapid whirl of movement. “There, did you see how it was done?”

“I did not see it very well from this angle,” said Xiang Xiang. “Can you do it again?”

“I can’t do that again!” said Wen Yiji indignantly. “There are only two of them left!”

Six men had died in the little demonstration and the two remaining men decided that things had gone badly enough for them. They took to their heels, one running east and the other running west.

“Observe how the blade can be thrown like a spear,” said Wen Yiji. He threw a broadsword to the east.


The broadsword impaled the back of his running target fatally.

“Tell me you saw that!” Wen Yiji said to his sister.

“Er, yes I saw that,” replied Xiang Xiang. “But I did not see it clearly enough.”

“Observe again!’ ordered Wen Yiji.

He threw his other broadsword towards the west this time.


The speeding weapon killed the last remaining fighter.

“I saw that clearly,” said Xiang Xiang. “But I still do not think that I can master the skill!”

Wen Yiji sighed. Training his sister was going to take much longer than anticipated.

“Your problem is psychological,” he commented. “You do not have the will to kill people. This is a psychological threshold that you must overcome. If you put half as much attention to killing as you do to cooking, you can be a decent martial artist. I am sure that if I were to throw ten ducks at you, you will slaughter them within moments. You will do much better if you try to think of people as ducks!”

“How can I think of people as ducks?”

“Easy. Keep repeating to yourself, “People are tall ducks” over and over again.”

“All right. People are tall ducks! People are tall ducks! People are tall ducks!”

Si Liu Thung had just finished cleaning the shit from his face with leaves. He came out from behind some bushes and was shocked to discover that all of his henchmen had died. He wondered why Wen Yiji did not seem to have been slowed down by the Beh Ting Tang paralysis potion.

“Well, hello. I see that you managed to clean yourself up,” Wen Yiji called out to him. “I’m sorry about the shit. When I shitted there, I was not aware that some idiot would come along and fall down on it. Damn! This is embarrassing!”

“Shitting away like an uncouth barbarian,” said Si Liu Thung. “And dirtying me with your shit! You ought to be thoroughly ashamed of yourself!”

“I am! I am!” said Wen Yiji. “Especially after what happened in Amoy!”

“In Amoy? What happened in Amoy?”

“I threw boiling soup on your face in Amoy!”

“What? That was you?”

“Yes. First I scalded your face. Then I dirtied you with my shit. Oh God….this is just so embarrassing!”

“When I am through with you, you will wish that you have never been born!” Si Liu Thung said furiously.

“You know, you should try to avoid me and not go looking for trouble with me,” said Wen Yiji easily. “Some things are very predictable. For instance, every time you run into me, shit happens.”

“I don’t appreciate your pun. Foolish dog! With your smelly shit! Ni nabeh. Stupid pig head!”

Wa piang…..You have a most disrespectful tone. It must run in your family! Your youngest brother used the same disrespectful tone with me once and I had to slap him silly till his manners improved.”

“You were the carriage driver who slapped him? Kanineh! He lost half a mouthful of teeth from your slaps!”

“Only half? Damn! He was supposed to have lost three quarters of a mouthful! I think I did not slap him hard enough. How could I be that negligent? Oh Heavens.….this is really so embarrassing!”

“Go suck on a goat’s ass!”

“That phrase sounds familiar. I am getting a déjà vu feeling. Hey…..I remember now….. that was what your other brother Si Fatt Guai said to me on the night he died!”

“Huh…..Fatt Guai? How did my elder brother die?”

“Well…..I killed him with arrows. I hope you don’t mind!”

“So, it was you! You! Of course I mind! What do you think?”

“I guess that now would not be a good time to tell you that I intend to kill your father as well some time in the future.”



“I am going to kill you!”

“No, you won’t. From the little that I have seen of your kungfu in Amoy, I think you are not my match.”

“You know nuts about my kungfu.”

“Oh yeah? You use the Celestial Dragon Claw. One must be a virgin to learn this type of martial art. Otherwise he will become sexually impotent. Fingers of steel but with an organ like tofu between his legs. Like you. I heard the story that you ordered a courtesan in the House of Noble Delights, but you could not perform sexually. So, out of frustration, you beat up the poor girl instead until she almost died, you impotent piece of shit! After that incident, the whole town found out how sexually useless you were. Oooops! I shouldn’t embarrass you like that!”

“You think this is a huge joke?” asked the enraged Si Liu Thung. “But I will have the last laugh. He who laughs last, laughs best.”

“Actually, he who laughs last is the last to get the joke.”


“Every time a group of people gather around for a session of drinking and telling jokes, there is always some idiot who need to have the jokes explained to him. Then he laughs…..after every one else has finished laughing. He who laughs last is the last to get joke.”

Si Liu Thung stared at Wen Yiji open mouthed for a long time. Then, snarling angrily, he said, “You will be dead in a short while! Let’s not waste time.”

By an unspoken agreement, Si Liu Thung went through his warming up exercises and Wen Yiji did the same. When they were both ready, they squared off against each other.

Si Liu Thung was the first to attack. He leapt towards Wen Yiji with his fingers of death spread out before him. Wen Yiji avoided his clutches and counter attacked with his Dark Fire Iron Palm. Si Liu Thung parried Wen Yiji’s hands and tried to clutch his forearms. Wen Yiji was cautious. He had already witnessed the bone-shattering capabilities of the Celestial Dragon Claw in Amoy. Delivering a strike against Si Liu Thung entailed a certain risk. Each time Si Liu Thung parried his blows, Wen Yiji had to quickly move his hands away to avoid being clutched by the deadly fingers. Both men fought with their own styles with Si Liu Thung attacking viciously and Wen Yiji fighting cautiously. Wen Yiji refrained from using his palm blast for the moment. There would be a time for that after he had understood Si Liu Thung’s defence technique better. Wen Yiji remembered that one of the Fu Fighters in Amoy had said the only way to fight with the Celestial Dragon Claw was to grip his wrists to prevent him from bringing his fingers into play.

After a particular vicious bout of sparring, Si Liu Thung made an error and extended his foot a little bit too forward and Wen Yiji promptly stomped down hard on it. Si Liu Thung hopped backwards in a flash of pain. He limped a bit as he sneered, “Stomping like a small boy! You can’t even fight like a real man!”

“You have lost,” remarked Wen Yiji. “I see that you are now limping. When your walk is not balanced, then your mind is not balanced.”

“Do not try to psycho me,” said Si Liu Thung. “It will not work.”

However, the little move told Wen Yiji what he needed to know; that he was a shade faster with his legs than Si Liu Thung.

The battle continued with each man attempting to seek an advantage over the other. Si Liu Thung executed a “Dragon Claw snatch grapes” move to clutch Wen Yiji’s balls with an underarm right hand swing, but Wen Yiji caught the wrist with his left hand, thus arresting the movement. Si Liu Thung clawed at empty air.

Sensing an opportunity, Si Liu Thung brought his other hand to grab at Wen Yiji’s offending left hand. However, the other hand was also promptly grabbed at the wrist by Wen Yiji’s right hand.

“You must be quite romantic, holding both my wrists like this,” sneered Si Liu Thung.

“Oooops! Please excuse me! I keep confusing you for a woman! But now that your wrists are immobilized in my grip, your Dragon Claws are practically useless!”

“You must be stupid like a pig. This is the easiest of holds to break free from.”

Flexing his hands, Si Liu Thung twisted his hands outwards and then jerked both his hands upwards. Expecting the move, Wen Yiji chose the same moment to release the wrists while he planted a kick into Si Liu Thung’s groin. Si Liu Thung was concentrating on breaking out of Wen Yiji’s grip that he was not aware of Wen Yiji’s kick until it was too late. He tried to twist his body to avert the kick, but it landed on his groin anyway. He flew backwards several steps from the impact and landed on the ground, clutching his groin in agony.

“Oh dear,” said Wen Yiji. “I must have flattened your balls somewhat with that power kick! I hope you have a pair of spare balls. If not, you will surely become impotent.”

“You….you….” Si Liu Thung gasped in pain.

“Oh I forgot!” said Wen Yiji easily. “You were already impotent! And the whole town knows that! How can I forget that fact so easily? I must be getting old! Damn!”

Si Liu Thung got up from the ground painfully and took up a fighting stance. He glared at Wen Yiji angrily and said, “If you want to fight cleanly, then fight without using your legs!”

“Fighting with legs is part of kungfu! Any idiot knows that,” retorted Wen Yiji. “You want to change the conditions just because you have already lost! Sore loser!”

“I have not lost!” insisted Si Liu Thung. “If you are a real man, then you will not use your leg to kick!”

“All right,” said Wen Yiji. “I will not use the leg to kick!”

Thus, the two of them battled on. Wen Yiji moved swiftly and took the offensive while Si Liu Thung fought defensively. Wen Yiji could feel that Si Liu Thung had been slowed down by the groin injury. Wen Yiji’s strategy was to wear down his injured opponent.

Meanwhile, Si Liu Thung’s strategy was to get a quick kill. With his groin injury, he knew that he would not be able to last very long. All he needed to do was to get his Dragon Claw on any of his opponent’s body part and he would be able to turn the battle to his favour. He shot his steely fingers out at Wen Yiji’s throat. Wen Yiji reacted by ducking down low abruptly as Si Liu Thung’s hardened hand moved past his head with its fingers of death. In that low position, Wen Yiji concentrated his Dark Fire Inner Energy and directed a powerful palm blast to Si Liu Thung’s groin area.


“Ahhhhhhhhhhhh……..” shouted Si Liu Thung as he flew backwards and dropped to the ground. He had been hit in the same area twice and it left him a quivering mass of bone and muscle. He tried standing up. It was agonizing, but he made it to a standing position.

“Can you still fight on?” asked Wen Yiji. “Or do you wish to just go kill yourself instead?”

“Go to hell!” screamed Si Liu Thung. “If you are a real man, then fight without using your palm blast!”

“You cannot demand things from me as you like,” remarked Wen Yiji. “Even a child who asks for something knows that he has to raise his right hand first.”

“I am not a child,” snarled Si Liu Thung. “If you are a real man, then you have to fight without using your palm blast!”

“All right,” said Wen Yiji. “I will not use my palm blast but you will still lose. And the next time you ask me for something, you will have to raise your right hand!”

Wen Yiji moved in for the kill with a combination of punches. Si Liu Thung parried all the punches and just when he was getting tired, he intercepted a punch with his right palm. His fingers curled around Wen Yiji’s fist. Wen Yiji felt his right fist being grabbed by the steely fingers of Si Liu Thung’s Dragon Claw. For a split instant he could feel the beginnings of the dark energy of the Celestial Dragon Claw penetrating into his fist. Ignoring the feeling, Wen Yiji struck the ribs of Si Liu Thung smartly with his left palm. The Dark Fire Iron Palm sent Si Liu Thung flying into the air and the body landed against a tree trunk.


“Urggghhhh…..ahak…..uugggghhhh…..” cried Si Liu Thung. “Ayohhhhhh….. Ayohhhh……”

Wen Yiji flexed the fingers of his right hand. They were all right. He had managed to smash Si Liu Thung away before any damage was done.

“Phew, that was close!” he sighed with relief. “This Celestial Dragon Claw can be dangerous!”

Si Liu Thung stood up with much difficulty. He was coughing blood. He asked, “What kind of kungfu are you using?”

“Because you are about to die, I will tell you,” replied Wen Yiji. “I use the Dark Fire Iron Palm.”

“Impossible….. that martial art does not exist!”

“Believe it or not, that is what I use. You almost got me with your Celestial Dragon Claw! That was careless of me. You will not get another chance. Now to finish the job.”

“Wait! If you want to fight, then fight without using your iron palm!”

“First you wanted me to stop kicking. Then you wanted me to stop using palm blasts. Now you want me to stop using the iron palm. Forget it! I have had enough of you! Get ready to die!”

Si Liu Thung immediately raised his right hand and said, “You said that if I raise my right hand, I can ask you for something. I am asking that you not use your iron palm.”

Wen Yiji breathed hard and then said, “All right. I will not use the iron palm! But I will use weapons instead.”

He then walked over to two dead fighters on the ground and pick up their broadswords. Whirling them about him, he rushed at Si Liu Thung who caught a downward blade stroke with the steely fingers of his right hand. He snapped the blade into two and at that moment, Wen Yiji’s other blade went under his right armpit and sliced off the arm at the shoulder joint. The arm fell to the ground, still clutching the broken blade.

It was time for the killing stroke. Wen Yiji lifted his remaining broadsword.

“Hold it!” shouted Si Liu Thung. “If you want to fight me, then don’t use a broadsword!”

“What?” shouted an incredulous Wen Yiji. “You still don’t want to give up? Didn’t you hear me say that if you want to ask for something, you have to raise your right hand?”

“But my right hand is lying on the ground!” cried Si Liu Thung.

“Excuses……excuses….” muttered Wen Yiji angrily as he sliced his blade towards Si Liu Thung who made a feeble attempt to ward off the attack with his left hand. However, Si Liu Thung’s effort was too slow and Wen Yiji took off the head in one quick movement. The head toppled down unceremoniously to the ground and rolled towards a bush, eyes wide open.

Xiang Xiang walked to where her brother was standing and looked at the carnage. Eleven men lay dead all around her. She took a look at Si Liu Thung’s wide-eyed fallen head bleeding crimson red at the neck cutoff section and she reacted, “Eeeeeeewwww!!!”

“Change your attitude!” snapped her brother. “Killing is a necessary part of life!”

“All right,” she said. “People are tall ducks. People are tall ducks.”

“Good. I will take you to a safe place to hide while I go and deal with Simit,” he said.

“Please be careful,” Xiang Xiang advised. “Simit is a cruel man. When I was a prisoner in his dungeon, I saw another prisoner strung up by chains in another cell. And the chains were hooked into his flesh. He would have booby traps in his mansion. Take care that you do fall into a trap and become his prisoner.”

“Say that again? You saw what?” he asked. ”No, it can’t be…..”

“It’s true!” insisted Xiang Xiang. “I saw this prisoner in a cell suspended in mid-air by chains from the ceiling. I suspect that all his major tendons were pierced by hooks at the end of those chains. I think he was still alive even though I could not detect him moving.”

“That…..that prisoner…..that has to be Gojisan!” blurted Wen Yiji. He remembered what Lord Tai had told him before he died.

“Gojisan?” asked Xiang Xiang. “How can that be Gojisan?”

“I don’t know, but I will find out. In Changchow, I learned that Gojisan was kept a prisoner and suspended in midair by hooks at the end of chains attached to the ceiling. What you have just described fits the description I was given.”

“What do we do now?” she asked.

“Take me to this place where you saw that prisoner!” he said. He looked up at the heavens and his voice had an edge of steel to it. “Today, the enemies of the Wen family will die painfully. Today, all past accounts will be settled!”


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