Politics and Campaigns

March 29, 2009

When it comes to politics, I know next to nothing. And saying that I care about politics is an overly-stated overstatement. For all I care, politics can crawl under a rock and vanishes off the face of the Earth.

Politics’ bastard cousin, however, I loathe.

The series of planned activities that are intended to achieve a particular social, commercial or political aim. In this case, it is clear that these activities strive to achieve political aims. The incessant parade of trucks with people in it, carrying flags with symbols and wearing matching shirts also bearing the same symbols with those on the flags. The loud, idiotic, embarrasing me as a citizen, but mostly annoying yells that’s supposed to be motivational, inspirational, or something in the line of that?

That’s correct. Campaigns.

I hate campaigns.

I especially hate politic campaigns in Indonesia. Politicians running for an office seems to use all kinds of disgustingly idiot approach to make their ways into the hearts and minds of people. It was amusing at first, but now I find it more and more degrading. Wearing superman’s costume? Using captions like “XXX Turun Gunung”?.

The candidate who uses the superman’s costume was quoted by the Straits Times, Singapore:

The fresh-faced 32-year-old, who is depicted as Superman on his posters with the tagline ‘Superoni’, said: “The public does not care about issues or programmes… As a candidate, you just want to stick out so they remember you on Election Day.

Those are such refreshing words, coming from a man who says he will do so and so for his country. Oh wait…he didn’t. He never said what he is going to do if elected, all he did was wear his underwear on the outside, and pose for a picture. Bet it wasn’t the poor guy’s fault, he just didn’t want to overwhelm our tiny teeny brains with issues or programmes. Heaven knows we are not smart enough.

Anyway, these idiotic acts make one hell of a traffic jam, and noise pollution. And eye pollution, seeing those people wearing those hideous shirts? This is actually why I hate campaigns. ūüėĄ

Fairytales 07

March 28, 2009

“You do not have one?” asks Nate, following Madeleine into the depths of the Forest.

“Nope,” says she.

So they walk, walk, and walk. They walk and stumble upon trees, leaves, more trees, a carcass of a deer with an arrow through its head, more trees, a family of rabbits that run scared upon seeing the two human, and, believe it or not, more trees. Until…

“Do you see what I see, Nate?” Nate turns his head around to face Madeleine, then looks to the direction Madeleine’s finger is pointing to.

It is a house. Of gingerbread. And candies. With sugars for windows. Madeleine’s stomach lets out a mutinous growl. The last thing that has come close to her mouth has been a live frog.

“Great, food. I’m starving,” says Madeleine, walking briskly past Nate into the sugary heaven of a house.

“Hold on, princess,” says Nate, while looking at the house in caution, “Do you really think it’s safe?”

“Don’t be silly, Nate. What could be unsafe about it, it has lollipops sticking on the roof, for goodness’ sake. Do you think there’s a wicked witch in there waiting to cook us in an oven and eat us?”

“Well…,” says a rather doubtful Nate, “I don’t know, wouldn’t it be like trespassing or something?”

But all of Nate’s feeble excuses are not heeded by a ravenous Madeleine. She has already gone ahead and broken one of the many the window casements on one pull and is eating it on spot.

“I don’t think that is wise, prin-,” but Nate does not finish his sentence.

Madeleine turns her head, and Nate is gone. “…N-nate?”

“You need to leave immediately, princess,” says a shy voice from the bushes behind.

Madeleine turns her head around, and another round, but still she sees no one.

“Who are you? Where are you? Show yourself,” Madeleine says rather curtly.

“Please, don’t be mad, Your Highness,” says that voice, and the owner of the voice comes forward from the thick Forest. It is a fawn.

“Oh great, just what I need… A talking deer.”

“But, Your Highness, I was just born last winter, so I’m still a fawn.”

“Never mind that, what did you say earlier?”

“I said you should leave.”

“And why?”

“Your friend has fallen into the witch’s trap,” says the fawn, lifting his left forelimb to point to a big hole on the ground.

Madeleine goes to the hole in a flash, and kneels beside it, “Nate?” she calls, “NATE! ARE YOU THERE? ANSWER ME, FOOL!”

The fawn shakes his head sadly, “Your friend has been captured by the wicked witch. You really should leave, Your Highness. She is coming here any moment. By the way,” the fawn asks as if remembering something, “you didn’t happen to meet a doe on your way here? I’m looking for mother. She tells me to run earlier, which is weird now, is it not, and now I’m looking for her and I cannot find her anywhere.”

“What am I to do? Where shall I go now?” the distraughted Madeleine does not hear a word the fawn said. “Nate, what am I going to do?” she whispers.

“I know one place where they take in princesses who are being targeted by assasins,” says the fawn, who does not know what the word assasin means let alone the sentence he just said.

“Well then, let’s go there, fawn, show the way.”

“Yes, right away, Your Highness. Mother will not be mad, I suppose, if I come home late, I’m helping a princess am I not,” says the fawn. “My name is Bambi, Your Highness, at your service.”

(to be continued)

Fairytales 06

March 27, 2009

“But princess,” Nate protests, “What of the fate of the prince?”

“Do you seriously think that I can save Frederick by kissing all those frogs!?”

Nate is silenced.

“I have a better idea. We’ll find Helga and asks her help. Now, are you with me?”

So off they go, to Helga’s Hut.

“I cannot help you,” Helga says once they enter her hut.

“I haven’t ask you anything, witch,” says Madeleine.

“Your Highness, I beg your pardon,” Helga bows, “you wish me to lift the curse casted on Prince Frederick. But I do not have the powers.”

“Why not? They say you’re the best.”

“Well, I am,” says Helga, ever the modestl girl, “but the curse can only be lifted by the person who casts it, milady.”

“I have to find Harriet?”

“That, or you can find the prince and kiss him. Or it, whatever form the prince is in.” says Helga, “It is a wiser choice between the two, Your Highness.”

“So you, too, suggests that I kiss every frog that has ever lived!?” a hysterical Madeleine asks.

“I sense that it is not a frog we are looking for,” says the witch enigmatically.

“Then what?”

“I do not know. Think, princess. What do you hate the most?”

After a long silence, Madeleine answers, “I really have no idea, witch. See, I pretty much execute anybody that crosses me, and also creatures that I hate, so you see I’m really at lost here.”

“Then I’m afraid I cannot help you, princess.”

“Can’t you read it in your cards or crystal ball or whatever?”

“Only you know your own heart, Your Highness.”

“Not even if I threaten to have you guillotined?”

“Not even if you threaten to burn me at stake.”

“Oh well, we haven’t gotten to that time where people burn witches at stakes, Helga.”

“But yes, there is one thing I can do for you,” she says, looking conspiratively at Nate.

“And that will be?”

“I can lift the spells I make when I bound you as infants.”

“What do you mean?”

“You are in love with the prince, yes?”

“Errr…well, I cannot think of any other reasons that would make me willing to kiss even one single frog. And you have no idea how many of them I’ve kissed.”

“And that may be my spell. I can lift it if you want me to.”

“Why would I want you to lift it?”

“So I take it that you will be satisfied to think you are in love for the rest of your life, although all the while it is only the works of magic?”

“Is that what it is?”

“We don’t know… And we won’t know unless you-“

“Fine, fine,” snaps Madeleine. “Please do. But I still have to figure out where Frederick is. For all we know there’s a huge possibility he’s being digested by a crocodile.”

Madeleine storms out of the hut. Nate follows shortly, after saying a silent ‚ÄėThank you’ to Helga, who smiles ever so satisfied.

Meanwhile, Madeleine is walking into the Forest. Nate runs to catch up with her, and asks, “Where to, princess?”

“I don’t know, to find things I hate and kiss them?”

“We have seven days left, I reckon?”

“Eight, Nate.”

“I believe it’s seven, princess. And what is your plan?”

“I believe I don’t have one.” And Madeleine keeps on walking, further into the Forest.

(to be continued)

Fairytales 05

March 26, 2009

“It will seem, milady,” says the friar, “you have been left at the altar, although we are missing an altar to make that expression work.”

“Shut your mouth, Tucker.”

“It is Tuck, milady, and if Your Highness will allow me, I’d like to share my thoughts on this mat-“

The friar’s words are cut short by Madeleine. “You will keep your thoughts in your hear, because that is the reason you have that head. If you don’t put that head of yours to good use, I’m relieving the head from its duty. Am I making myself clear, Tucker?”

Friar Tuck gulps and nods ferociously.

Suddenly they hear sounds of someone walking in the Forest towards them. Madeleine’s face lit up. “Frederick?”

But it is Nate. “Princess, here you are. We are worried sick of you. Your Queen-mother is lying in her bed-chamber, moaning and crying all day and night, and your father has ordered every soul in the kingdom to look for you.

Hot tears come streaming down Madeleine’s cheeks. She is simply confused. Earlier she feels this irrational feeling supposedly called love, and it has came all too suddenly, just out of the blue. People do say that love is blind, blablabla… But whatever love is, it has certainly taken her off guard. And now the person who makes her feel that is gone, and she doesn’t know if she is ever going to meet him again.

Madeleine goes home to the palace with Nate, after giving the friar some gold coins. Her parents are outraged at her for running away and she is now locked up in her rooms, the windows now barred to make sure she doesn’t run away again. Her wedding has been put off without a new time frame, and she spents her days shedding tears on her pillows.

Three days after Madeleine escape, the king and queen of the Far, Far Away Kingdom come to the Farther Away Kingdom, bringing with them soldiers, and the queen’s ladies-in-waiting, and even a poodle. The royal couple looks angry, desperate, and sad at the same time.

Not a good combination.

“I demand to see your daughter,” says King Francis, while Queen Felicity quietly sobs, dabbing her eyes with a silky handkerchief.

“What is this madness?” asks King Marcus.

“She is responsible for my son’s missing.”

“Why, this is nonsense. My daughter is in her room as of now, and she has been in that room since the night she came back from-” Marcus stops. More wrinkles start to appear on his already wrinkled forehead. He clears his throat and calls Nate, “Tell the princess that I expect to see her immediately.”

Madeleine comes, her face sullen and her eyes red and swollen from crying.

“Where is my son!?” Francis roars.

“Well, I will also like to know where he is,” Madeleine snaps.

“Calm down, and let’s talk about this like civilized people,” says Marcus, “We’re royalties, for crying out loud.”

So Francis tells them that Frederick has gone missing for three days. “He was in his room, and the next thing we know, he wasn’t. The day this happens, Frederick tells me that he wishes to marry that wench,” Francis points his finger to Madeleine.

“I wonder…,” Marianne starts, dreamily, “Could it be…”

“Pray tell, my queen,” says Marcus, “What is it?”

“Harriet…”

Felicity lets out a gasp. “That curse,” she whispers.

Madeleine looks up. “What about it? What curse? Who is this Harriet?”

At that, the kings and queens speak up, in a chaos, explaining to Madeleine about the witches, the bond, and the curse. And from there a conclusion is drawn. It is this: The prince has turned into a frog.

“A frog?” asks a doubtful Madeleine.

“W-w-well, he is to be turned into something you hate,” sobs Felicity, “And what can a princess hate, but a frog?”

Madeleine is dumb-struck. Felicity starts sobbing noisily, “Oh, my poor son… Poor, poor cupcake…” while Marcus and Francis order their men to collect every frog living in the two kingdoms and miles around them.

The unwilling princess starts kissing the frogs one-by-one. Nothing happens until the hundreth-or-so frog.

Felicity shrieks.

“What now?” an annoyed Madeleine asks.

“You have to kiss it on the mouth,” says Felicity, “On their mouths, wench, not on their hides.”

“Seriously?”

Felicity nods vigorously and commands the servants to bring the kissed frogs back, so the princess can kiss them again.

Three days and no results later, the princess has had enough.

“No more frogs, Nathaniel,” says she to Nate.

(to be continued)

Fairytales 04

March 25, 2009

“Hullo there, lovely maiden,” exclaims a deep, masculine voice, “what beautiful tresses you have.”

Madeleine, being a snobby princess and is accustomed to people greeting her with a respectful, ‘Your Highness’, scolds that voice, “Show¬† yourself, peasant. I wish to see the person who dares to speak to me like that.”

The so-called-peasant turns out to be Frederick, taking a stroll in the Forest, and suddenly feels the urge to cross that wide stream. Frederick has grown into a handsome man, with eyes the colour of the sky and yellow hair. And he is finely built, too. But it is not his physical appearance that causes the princess’ heart to skip a beat, for the princess has seen many men much more beautiful than Frederick.

And neither is it the princess’ elvin face that has captured the prince’s heart, nor is it her onyx, piercing eyes that takes his breath away, for the prince too has seen many women much finer than Madeleine.

It is the witch’s spell, no less.

It is the witch’s magic that causes the urge in Frederick to cross the wide river and stands where he is now. And it is the witch’s magic that causes the two of them to fall in love. Truly, madly, and deeply in love.

“Let me up, fair maid,” says a love-struck Frederick, “Let down your hair and let me climb up.”

Madeleine lets out an unusual, soft, chiming laugh, and says, “You, sir,¬†have to be joking when you suggest you climbing up here with my hair. It is hair, sir, it is no rope,” she stops herself short before adding ‘you blithering fool’.

Frederick just stands there, looking left and right, looking for something only he and heaven knows.

“Why, sir, use that ladder there,” says Madeleine, pointing to a single rope hanging on a branch near the tree house, “I use it all the time to get up here.”

Frederick looks dubious. “Well…,” he hesitates, “Is it safe? Can it hold my weight?”

Madeleine rolls her eyes. “The rope doesn’t look convincing but my hair sure does, right?” and then she stands up, walks to the rope and slides down it.

They are in love. That is simply the case. And after they find out who the other person is, they stand still. They are silent and thinking. Frederick’s parents have warn him constantly not to go to the Farther Away Kingdom, and Madeleine’s parents too have keep her from goint to the Far, Far Away Kingdom. They have translate this into a fact that the Far, Far Away Kingdom is not in good terms with the Farther Away Kingdom.

Thus they separate, with a promise to come back the next day.

Back home, Frederick goes to his father’s chamber.

“Father,” says he, “I have found the love of my life, Father. And I wish to be make her my wife.”

The king is happy, naturally, but wary. A prince cannot just marry anyone. “Who is this lady who has caught my son’s heart?”

“She is a princess, Father…,” Francis’ face lit up. “…of the Farther Away Kingdom.” Francis’ smile dies as quickly as it has arise.

Before he can say, “What is wrong, Father?” Frederick has been whisked away into his chamber, and bolts are added to the door.

In the Farther Away Kingdom, things are no better for Madeleine. She, too, is locked up in her bed-chamber, with a promise that she will be married to her cousin since no other gentleman will have her. This happens after she tells¬†her parents that she has fallen for Prince Frederick of the Far, Far Away Kingdom. Her parents’ reaction has confirm her hypothesis that her’s and Frederick’s parents must really hate each other.

In the still of the night, she climbs out the window of her room, and goes to the Forest. When Frederick doesn’t show up at the promised time, she walks to the Far, Far Away Kingdom. When she gets there, it is dark, and although she manages to get to the castle, she has no clue as to where Frederick is.

“O Frederick, Frederick! Wherefore art thou, Frederick?” she laments.

A voice calls from above, “Here I am, dearest.”

It was Frederick, calling from his bed-chamber’s window.

“Why, then, climb down, Frederick,” says Madeleine.

“It’s quite high, dearest one,” says Frederick, looking down. “What are we to do now…”

Beside Frederick’s window is a tree, whose branch are now being pulled by Madeleine. She is climbing up the tree, and in another minute, she is looking at Frederick, “Let’s elope.”

“Elope?”

“Yes, let’s be married. I shall find us a priest, and we can be married tomorrow. What say you?”

Thus they settled that tomorrow, Frederick is going to find a way to slip out and go to the Forest. Madeleine leaves, she sets out to find a priest. The night turns into twilight, twilight to dawn, and even as the sun has risen Madeleine hasn’t succeed. By the time the sun is high on her head, she finds a friar.

“Well, no one can say I haven’t tried. What’s your name, friar?”

“It’s Tuck, milady.”

“Your name is Friar Tuck?”

“Yes, milady.”

“And what, this is Sherwood Forest?”

“Yes, milady,” says the Friar with a confused wrinkle on his forehead.

Madeleine decides to drop the subject and to quickly leave the premises before things get even weirder… Say, like Robin showing up… So they walk to the Forest where they are supposed to meet Frederick. It is a long walk and by the time they get there it is already dusk. But Frederick is not there.

They wait and wait and wait, but he never shows up.

(to be continued)

Weather Report

March 24, 2009

“Any day I’m vertical
is a good day”
…that’s what I always say.

If you ask me,
“How are you?”

I’ll answer, “GREAT!”
because in saying so,
I make it so.

When Life gives me dark clouds and rain,
I appreciate the moisture
that brings a soft curl to my hair.

When Life gives me sunshine,
I gratefully turn my face up
to feel its warmth on my cheeks.

When Life brings fog,
I hug my sweater around me
and give thanks for the cool shroud of mystery
that makes the familiar seem different and intriguing.

When Life brings snow,
I dash outside to catch the first flakes on my tongue,
relishing the icy miracle that is a snowflake.

Life’s events and experiences
are like the weather –
they come and go,
no matter what my preference.

So, what the heck?!
I might as well decide to enjoy them.

For indeed,
there IS a time for every purpose
under Heaven.

And each season brings its own unique blessings.

-B. J. Gallagher-

I like this poem. Very…optimistic, sunny, very warm, and I love it, hence I’d like to share it with you. Yes, you! You, yeah you over there… Stop¬†looking left and right, I’m talking to you! Yes you, no, not the person beside you… =)

Fairytales 03

March 23, 2009

As soon as the shock wears off, the two Queens start to quarrel.

“My son is going to be turned into something undoubtedly hideous, but your daughter will be able to live like nothing happened?” Queen Felicity whispers, for queens are usually of a gentle nature and hence do not ever raise their voices, let alone¬†scream or shriek.

“Oh, dear…I feel faint,” Queen Marianne laments as she¬†sits down on the grass, forgetting all manners. “But surely you cannot possibly believe,¬†my dearest Fel, that my daughter is going to fail to rescue your son?”

Queen Felicity snorts, as delicate as a snort can be, “What rescuing can a princess possibly do? Are you to say that I am to put the future of my son, the heir to our kingdom, into the hands of a young maiden, a princess none the less, making a spoiled and sheltered brat?

“Outrageous!” Queen Marianne exclaims. “And are you to say, then, that my daughter is to grow up a spoiled brat!?” The lizards, toads, and mice just look at the two of them, from Queen Felicity to Queen Marianne, Queen¬†Marianne to Queen Felicity, holding their breaths. Not one of them dared to even so much as swished their tails or whiskers.

The two queens bicker, argue, and disagree on everything else but one: that their children must never meet. That way, they will never get the chance to fall in love, and hence the curse will be harmless.

Or so they think.

The queens separate thus, vowing never to let their children meet. They have made new plans to marry their children to another royalty, to ensure that the curse will never materialize.

And then, summers turn to winters and winters to summers, until one beautiful summer, Princess Madeleine has blossom into a beautiful rose. She is a briar rose, no less. Her exterior is sweet, like the pink petals of a briar rose, but as the briar rose is equipped with thorns, so is Madeleine.

She grows up headstrong, stubborn to the bone, mischievous and, true to Felicity’s “prophecy”, a royally spoiled brat (no pun intended :P). The only one who can control her is Nathaniel, who as a boy is her playmate and now is her bodyguard. Madeleine’s parents pretty much let her does whatever she wants, so long as she stays in the boundaries of the Farther Away Kingdom.

Madeleine, like previously planned, is bethrothed to another prince, from another kingdom in another land. But none of Madeleine’s many fianc√©s have last longer than a month. Either the prince is a pompous ass and Madeleine cannot stand him, or the prince is weak as a duckling and Madeleine cannot stand him. The princess is soon coming of age and her parents are starting to¬†worry that no one will have her.

One day, after her Queen Mother summons her and scolds her for once again scaring away a respectable future husband, Madeleine set out to the Forest. The Forest lays in the border or Far, Far Away Kingdom and Farther Away Kingdom, separated by a wide river with flowing stream. When the queen and little princess came back from Helga’s Hut, the beautifully built bridge was cut down, so no one will ever cross it to go to Far, Far Away Kingdom, and vice versa.

The princess climbs her tree house, which Nate had built for her, and sits there, once again feeling sorry for herself, and she begins to let her hair down. The princess has such beautiful hair, strawberry blond in color and very soft, and also extremely long that it fell down like a waterfall, almost reaching the ground.

And then suddenly, a voice calls from among  the trees.

(to be continued)