Monday, October 31, 2011

She Seems to be Getting Lost + "Seis"

Around 5:00 pm today, I received a call from mother again who then started the same “I saw it wrong” story. What’s really happening to her? Who’s taking care of her condition? In The Book-bag by Maugham, I found the word “seis” of which meaning I am not sure.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Collected Short Stories Volume 4

Yesterday afternoon, I bought Maugham’s Collected Short Stories Volume 4 (20% off). I don’t remember if I have read this collection of stories, some of which are set in British Malaya but it is very likely that I have read it at least once. After I finished the volume 1 at Coffee Beans of T.B. Plaza, I started it at home.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Yakuza Story Concluded

Dewali holiday today. Last Monday (17th), when I was having beer before dinner with my client, mother called me and started repeating the yakuza story as if she had not remembered telling me the identical story. Impatient, I cut it short. And tonight, she called me again to tell me that he visited her today and she found it was all her imagination as I thought it was. On 20th, I attended a seafood dinner party at East Coast Park. There were 14 of us, six Koreans, two Sri Lankans, two Japanese, a Belarusian, a German, a Malaysian and a Singaporean. I didn’t touch chilli crab, fearing a sweat flood from the crown, and bamboo clams, fearing they are half-cooked. On 21st, my client, the Belarusian and I tried a Russian restaurant on Duxton Hill. It was a little too fine to our taste. I had my borrowed DSLR camera with me and found there was no memory card inside. Nothing was recorded.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Maugham's Short Stories Volume 1

Collected Short Stories Volume 1 (W. Somerset Maugham) followed The Razor’s Edge. Mostly I read it on train or in bed. This is my third, or fourth, time reading the book. Now I’m reading Gigolo and Gigolette, thus half way through. This Volume 1 is the first book in English I have read. It should be more than 25 years ago.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Last night with my client, currently visiting here, I had dinner that perhaps should be described super. Salute to the chef. After the dinner we walked around the area which used to be known for its seediness. It seemed cleaned up though the budget hotels that remain reminds one of its recent past. We decided to hop into one of the lounges for no obvious reason. Inside I found that the untidiness was something that I would see in Chinatown pubs years ago. And it seemed that nobody spoke much English and many of them none. A few poured beer for themselves from the jug we had ordered. I tried to communicate with one of the girls working there in Chinese not very successfully as she told us she was from Chongqin. We only had a jug of beer but it was a waste of time and money anyway. Then, we could, or should, have gone back to our abodes, in his case a hotel room. But we moved on to the by now familiar "Y." Time flowed nicely and we had already settled the bill and been ready to leave when one of the few customers present whom I had not met before stood up and said, "I am going to marry Miss so and so. I want to celebrate this occasion with all of you." Lovely. He offered Chivas Regal in shooter glasses to all of us and we obliged to accept. And after the celebratory toast, he was incoherent totally. So incoherent that no meaningful, or even civil, conversation was possible as he couldn't even give his name. He was behaving very badly going around the place to bother and annoy those who congratulated him in a polite and friendly manner. He then started leaning his body to my client and covering him and even touched his groin. And he did the same to me. He was saying, "I'm not gonna let you go tonight." By this point, my patience was thin enough. I gave a clear warning to him to behave himself as the way he was behaving was not anything I expected of anyone who asked us to stay on for his own reason. Not even words from him for appreciation. After all, we had no obligation to celebrate him and Miss so and so and we were ready to leave. Noticing I was objecting his behaviour severely, Miss so and so started abusing me. She said, "I will report you to the police. You are not a gentleman but a bastard. You took Chivas free from him." Be serious, Miss so and so. I did not ask for the glass. I only accepted it out of politeness and courtesy. She also mentioned the nationality he and I share. Sorry, I see a person as an individual. His nationality does not matter. Miss so and so, furious and unable to win verbally, seems to have decided to use physical force. She attacked me with violence. She tried to punch me and failed. Then she pulled my hair at which point the staff rushed to subdue her, or it seems so. There was another man, who had been drinking with this drunken husband and Miss so and so, and he did nothing to stop his disgraceful behaviour and her verbal and physical abuse. On the contrary, this man joined the fray and also tried to use force against me. Shame on them. I am absolutely sure that I did what any decent person would do in such a situation, especially when he is with his important client.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Who/What Killed Sophie?

I finished The Razor's Edge this afternoon, which I started reading for my second, or probably third, time after A Doctor in the House and「劇画暮らし」. Was Sophie killed by zubrovka or by Isabel, or her own wantonness? "Do you know who did it?" "No, but I do. I think you killed her." "... You only lack only one thing to make you completely enchanting." She smiled and waited. "Tenderness."

Sunday, October 02, 2011

More of "He Became Yakuza" Story

She also told me that he was in bed with a fever for two days last week. And she claims the fever was because of the tattoo work he had gone through. I said, "Anybody can be in bed with a fever for two days." "No! He's never been in bed for as many as two days. It must be because of the tattoo!" I don't deny some people will become feverish after needle works. But it is most unlikely for him, a devotee to music, to allow himself to get connected with disagreeable, almost criminal, people. And she says when she talked to him on the phone, she heard that his current woman, apparently being behind him, was saying, "Put her into a nursing home." I'm far more worried about her capacity of thinking. It does seem to me that she is now living in the world of imagination. I have received "He went missing" calls a few times before and about three years ago, she called me to talk about "your (my) visit of the other day." By "the other day" she meant some recent day. The fact is that I had not met her for about a year then. She couldn't believe it at first but I eventually convinced her that she was wrong. Even when the capacity of reason deteriorates, one's core, tightly held belief may remain intact. If this belief itself is represented with negatives, that is "against something or someone," or a victim mentality, as seems to be my mother's case, the situation will be complicated, of course adversely.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Huge Emotional Disruption by "He Became Yakuza" Story

Today, her story was "He (my elder brother) became a yakuza. Last Monday, he brought some food he had cooked for me with his whole back tattooed." And she insisted it was not her imagination because "I did see it." My side of the story based on my recollection: At first she said, "He came with no shirt at all." When I pressed, she changed it to "He came in a white open collar shirt, unbuttoned. Wind blew the shirt off to reveal his back." He passed the food to the welfare worker who was at her place and left there quickly without a word to her. Did the welfare worker see the tattoo? "No, because he (or she?) was facing him." "We used to sit down and have dinner together, but these days he doesn't say even a word to me. This time, he hesitated to talk because if he had, he would have been asked about his tattoo." Does a yakuza cook any food for his mother? "He is still concerned of me." Worried, she contacted an office of the local government and even the local police. The police told her that they could not look into the matter (what matter in the first place?) when there was no allegation of law breaking on my brother's part. (It is possible she was throwing this part into the story from another episode.) Why do you think he has anything to do with any yakuza organization? "Some time ago, he was saying he was going out for drink every night. There is a drinking place near his apartment. As he is not really working, he should not be able to pay his bills. A yakuza group then started threatening him and tattooed him (against his will). It is totally unthinkable he would willingly tattoo himself." How can you be so sure he is still going out for drink every night? "Because he said he was going every night..." Some people do have tattoos because they wanted to. "I don't know about foreign countries, but it doesn't happen in Japanese society. Here, only criminals do." While we were talking, I checked the web to see where he lived. I found she was referring to the wrong area. When I tried to correct her, she insisted that she was right and she knew the area he lived in. "Terrible things such as this (yakuza and tattoo) happen because he is not working properly." How can you say so when you don't know anything about the way he works and the nature of his work? "He abandoned his piano, which HIS FATHER GOT AFTER MUCH EFFORT (surprisingly positive remark about my father)." Why do you think he need his piano for his composition? "... He is only making final copies for and arranging others' works." "He is not composing his own." How do you know? "I know because he told me so some time ago. The mistake is he is not working properly." "His woman (of whom mother has no clear idea at all, and I know no better than she) is contacting people." Who is she contacting? "..." (In our last conversation (about a month ago?), she mentioned that she was connection with "such people and he was being threatened by them." I ended the conversation by saying that "You story is so incoherent that I don't understand what you were saying.") "Why do I have to worry like this at this old age. I got you two (my brother and me) enough education. I brought up you two to lead a decent life." "I didn't force either of you to choose any particular kind of life." "And you wanted to go abroad, didn't you?" You don't understand a bit of my life here. And I didn't get any assistance from you for my going overseas. I must wonder what kind of decent childhood you gave me? "I PROTECTED YOU FROM YOUR FATHER (her familiar refrain)." Though familiar, this saying of hers almost exploded me. You really love to stress how much you suffered, but do you know I too suffered so much growing up in such a family? You even pushed me to visit father (because you didn't like to do so yourself)."I also suffered when I was young. Every child does. Then children can grow into adulthood. You don't understand what I have done FOR you. I never expected you to talk to me in such a harsh way (to disregard my effort and suffering)." Unspeakably unbearable, after about an hour and a half, I selected "End active call" of my mobile phone. Sorry, mother, but you are, and have been and most likely will be, impossible. My emotion is disrupted in a huge way. The only way to calm down even only a little is bang the keyboard. Isabel: "... A mother only does her children harm if she makes them the only concern of her life." (6, Chapter IV, The Razor's Edge)