The problem with allowing comments

…is that it breeds the anonymous trolls.

The Job’s comments policy is very clear, IMHO:

Please refrain from comments of a racist, sexist, personal, vulgar or derogatory nature and note that comments can be edited, rewritten for clarity or to avoid questionable issues. We also reserve the right to delete off-topic comments.

Not brain science, right?

Tell that to the many readers who think it is OK to go against the comment policy. Let’s not get started on the likes who write like this:

“PARTI XXXX ARE #&#&#&#&# AND @*#*#*#*# EH BLOODY POLITICIAN A YOU ARE A %*$*$*$*#(( ”

Moderating comments is soul-destroying.

Bad language.

Bad grammar.

Bad taste. In humour.

And pretty much every single commenter considers it his/her “right” to be published on the site. Am mystified. And also thinking I need to stock up on a lot of mindnumbing substances.

Crawling out of the comfort zone

Why, yes, it’s the new job post.

Anything worth doing is worth doing well. But the path towards “doing well” isn’t always easy.

It’s been about a week relearning the subeditor routine. Working, for me, requires a rhythm, a structure and a routine that is flexible while also being familiar.

There’s been a lot to get used to. Shifts, for instance. On morning shifts, I wake up at 6.45am and finish up work at 4pm. Afternoons mean 4pm to 12am manning the subsdesk.

The multitasking is a bit of a headache. Scanning the newswires and emails for things to put up, and in the morning it’s a mad rush to update all the sections. I admit the first half hour after waking up my mind is still hazy but it gets better as the day goes on.

Until I get to moderating the site’s comments. By the 20th comment, I usually feel like slashing my wrists. Anonymous commenters do not hesitate to unleash the vitriol. I just wish they would, oh, spell better.

So I’ve been learning things the hard way – silly mistakes, cluelessness as to the daily work routine, muddled communications. But the people I’ve been working with have been the patient, kind and professional sort. So I’ve nothing to complain about in that regard.

I hope I’ll get into the groove by the end of the month and become less of a liability. Setting small goals, making baby steps. By the end of the month, may this post remind me how far I’ve come since I wrote this.

Crossed fingers!

Gotta be standing for something

It can be hard dealing with pigheaded people. But someone stubbornly set on an opinion is still better than someone who’s wishy-washy. You have to stand for something and figure out what you’re for and what you’re against.

Sometimes what angers you is a good clue about what makes you feel alive. And I figured out that it riles me up when people make excuses for poor use of language in the public sphere.

Use all the bad grammar you want on your blog or at home, but I have no patience for people justifying it on government websites. Have some standards for pity’s sake, Malaysia.

I can haz new job?

It’s my first day sub-editing for The Malaysian Insider. The only real change is that instead of working in pyjamas from 8am to 6pm, I’m working (still in pyjamas) from 7am to 4pm or 4pm to 12am.

I wrote this blogpost last night but scheduled it for  9am today SO NO I R NOT SLACKING AND BLOGGING AT WORK REALLY REALLY.

Though am slightly sad didn’t work out the way we envisioned it, but I learned a lot about  managing a “proper” website. Lesson No.1: to make a lot of money with a site, you actually have to put in a lot of money and have sponsors lined up before even launching.

Am looking forward to subbing for TMI as the experience will be quite different from, say, my last stint subbing at Malaysiakini. Not going to talk badly about my previous employers as that is not classy. What I like about my current employers is that I can work from home, I don’t need to come into the office except for the odd meeting or to prove that it is me subbing and not my cat, Wally.

That means: being able to play loud music and dance like a crazy hyena in-between uploading stories. The blog will probably be continually updated about life as a sub-editor, tricky style guides and how to resist the temptation to illustrate political stories with random pictures of kittens.



Hello, 2012.

The first Monday of the year and I’m as happy as a lark. Just because.

Joy, after all, can be where you find it.

I’m a bunny momma again!

So the significant other got me…a rabbit. Say Hi to Malone the Christmas bunny! He’ll be the sixth rabbit I’ve ever owned.

The good: he’s got personality and doesn’t bite.

The bad: he disapproves of his current feed. Finicky eater, this one.

Both my cats are far from thrilled but who knows? Maybe Malone might end up being a better playmate for Cat No.2 than ornery loner Cat No.1 is.

A Christmas story to remember

(This was published as a Facebook note Friday, 25 December 2009 at 21:26)

So, I lost my purse last night.

Yes, I very clever hor. The good news is I got it back. The unbelievable news is how I got it back.

Just an hour after I’d dropped it, some guy finds it and calls Maybank. Maybank can’t get my phone, they tell the fella to just leave my purse at the nearest police station.

But no. Instead, he rifles through my cards and discovers my workplace. He then sends an email to my colleagues who then call me.

Three hours ago, I got my purse back. He showed up at a cafe near his lodgings. MH, as I’ll call him, is a foreigner of South Asian descent. I offer to give him a reward and he waves it away, appalled. “No, no, I didn’t return it to get a reward!” Then he hastily walks off.

Half an hour later, he SMSes me, tells me that he had to rush off because he was running late.

“If you really want to give me something, remember me in your prayers.”

I could have cried.

It was against the odds that I would get my purse intact, and that a Good Samaritan would go to all that trouble just to return it to me.

God bless him and all the people who make the extra effort to do good in this world.

My mother, the heartbreaking mystery

I have a difficult relationship with my mother. Yes, I love her but it is a love fraught with tension and the baggage of years.

Being her eldest daughter meant being the embodiment of all she hoped and feared.

She made sure I was never burdened with chores and that I had all the time I needed to study or revise. But when I was out too late and didn’t call home, she would tell my sisters that I was likely getting myself knocked up.

Her Jekyll and Hyde nature made it difficult growing up.

A beautiful woman who could charm government officials and cabbies with her wit and humour, but I heard every Malay swearword I know from her mouth.

She was damaged, I realise now, and more than likely bipolar. Most of it came from her father abandoning her and her mother, leaving mother in the care of her grandmother. My own grandmother from what I hear paid more attention to her other daughters with her new husband, leaving my mother the sole child of her separated parents.

When my father left her after nearly 20 years, she was a crying mess. But I wasn’t there to see my mother falling apart as I was away in university. A university I didn’t even want to attend but I did because my mother insisted it was the best place for me.

Ten years later, and my mother is a noted poet back home. A short story just won a major prize in a local literature competition. She’s published with the DBP and has established quite a name for herself in the Sabah literature scene. The chief minister even presented her with an Outstanding Woman award years back, which I only found out about through Google.

What makes me sad is that it is obvious now how talented she is but why didn’t she make the most of her talent when she was with my father?The truth is my father was everything to her. She gave up her ambitions to be a stay-at-home mom because my father demanded it of her. She had so much resentment over that and it poisoned their marriage but when you were made for something, and denied it too long, it hurts you.

I guess that’s why I’m afraid of marriage. Weary of commitment. Too prone to just running away screaming from being tied down or on the flipside always running right into the arms of men who will treat me badly/leave/offer me nothing lasting.

Though I often call myself my father’s daughter, I am also my mother’s. I have her sentimentality, her depth of emotion, her chattiness and intuitiveness. But like her, I am plagued with bouts of paranoia, self-doubt and yes, on occasion I swear like a sailor.

I used to be afraid of becoming my mother. But now I realise she has weathered so much. Loved so much and lost so much. But she has never given any less than everything when it came to her heart.

She is both the good and bad parts of me.