What Isn't Yours

I had started this post earlier and then went off to the other PC to do some work. When I came back, the laptop had “gone to sleep” and wouldn’t wake up! So what’s a girl to do right but start all over again!
Ah, technology! (Mentally screams)
Here’s a question: when is stealing permissible?
If you’re like me, you would say, whenever has stealing been permissible? I’ve been taught that stealing is never all right. No matter what the circumstances.
But I’ve been “stolen” from when I was younger.
In those days, I used to write like what I do now. The difference was, I didn’t have the Internet then. I contributed to Starchild in my tween years and then ahem, graduated to (the now defunct) Malaysian Post. I’d submit opinion pieces, writings about friendship, life as a teenager, and more. I’d be whooping for joy if they printed my article. I’d clip them out and save them in a folder.
One day I was flipping through Malaysian Post and chanced on a very familiar article. The words were mine. The style was mine. But holy moly, the byline wasn’t mine! Ooh, you should have seen how upset I got. My blood pressure went through the roof. This plagiariser stole my words and submitted them to Malaysian Post. Immediately I sat down to pen a vicious letter to the editor, howling about how this preposterous thing was happening and the audacity of the writer to steal my words, my thoughts, my article and make it into his!
That’s how we writers operate. We cling to our articles, our stories, our ‘babies’ like a fierce tigress. We find no solace in others’ flattery when they COPY our work.
Plagiarism is also abhorred in academia (and it’s quite a serious offence too!). You quote someone else’s research (yes you attribute that line, that idea, that paragraph to them) because you cannot steal what isn’t yours.
I had heard of a senior of mine whose dissertation was thrashed by an examiner who found that most paragraphs were lifted off other research, without proper attribution. She should have known better. It was that fear that drove our supervisors to drill into our heads that if in doubt, quote. Use quote marks. Or paraphrase and attribute. If you used more than 6 words from the original sentence or paragraph, you better do something like rewrite or find some fast synonyms! This drove us all crazy for a while because the fear of plagiarising unintentianally gave us all writer’s block. I couldn’t type a paragraph without fearing if I’d accidentally said the same idea in the same words as the original author.
Anyway, I heard of another act of plagiarism yesterday from a friend/client. His friend – a popular Star columnist – was being ripped off by someone who had set up a blog pretending to be her! As this columnist had her stories published in The Star weekly, the fiend (yes, and imposter and plagiarist too) who set up a blog under this columnist’s name just copies and pastes the weekly stories into the blog. Many of the columnist’s friends were first delighted to have found “her” blog and happily emailed her. The poor woman told her friends that she never had a blog. Imagine her surprise when she found the blog, using her name and her stories!
It’s really a Catch-22 for her. If she set up her blog now, SHE would be labelled the imposter (and who’s to prove who is who online anyway?). Maybe she should leave spiteful comments on the blog to point them back to her website/blog. Any ideas people?

Annyeong Haseyo!

Anyone who knows me well will know that I am a Japanese food fan. I think I recommended so many friends to the Japanese buffet at Penang Mutiara Resort that Penang Mutiara should give me some plaque or gift voucher. Alas, that lovely Japanese restaurant there discontinued its buffet (it was most affordable at RM36++, considering its spread of dishes!). No one even minded the long, zig-zaggy 45-minute drive along Batu Feringghi to the end of the island. After all, Penangites will go anywhere, do anything for food!
But I have also developed this enormous liking for Korean food, particularly kimchi. No, I did not watch Dajeunggum the drama series. I did not even know about Rain until Marsha blogged about the hunky Korean. All I knew was many years ago, there used to be this Winter Sonata drama series (which was particularly soppy and romantic) because of that highly annoying drama soundtrack which later became everyone’s ringtone.
Anyway, back to my kimchi love affair. When I tried it many years ago, I didn’t like it all. Tasted so so. I figured Japanese food (sashimi topping the list) was still the best. Until one day, my uncle brought me some kimchi from Korea. I had told him in jest to bring me some kimchi the next time he comes home (he’s based there so I think he should know which type of kimchi to buy).
After sampling the real Korean kimchi, I was hooked. Sure, it smells very strong! The garlic in it is enough to destroy several generations of vampires. The taste is tart enough to make your gastric juices work overtime. And the crispiness of the cabbage is amazing. So all this time, I’d been tasting some lousy kimchi. The real thing is something else.
I cannot find this brand in Penang so I went online to check the price. It is expensive at RM25 per packet, the last time I checked. And opening a packet of Chongga kimchi during meal times is to be treasured (once my supply finishes, I have to wait a couple more months before my uncle comes to Penang, and even then, I am way to shy to get him to buy me some, knowing that it costs so much!).

Precious commodity…All the way from Korea, Chongga (or zongga) kimchi.

One spoonful of this and all the germs in your tummy will shrivel up and die cursing!

There is a great ending to my kimchi supply woe: Recently I found a local Korean restaurant which makes kimchi similar to Chongga! This Korean restaurant supplies to Cold Storage the supermarket so I get my regular supply from Cold Storage, Gurney Plaza. A square plastic box of it costs RM9.90 which is still much more affordable than directly flown in kimchi from Korea and which makes indulging in kimchi lots more pleasurable now that supply is within my control.

What Peeves Me The Most

Is there anything in particular that peeves you to no end? I have. I have a long list of what I don’t like. Not because I am an old biddy with nothing to do but compile lists, but because I think human beings are the oddest creatures on earth.
Topping this list is the something which has no name. It’s a sickness called marriagitus. If you are single, it won’t attack you. You’re safe. But if you’re hitched, or planning to get hitched anytime soon, it will cleave onto you and never leave. Unless you’re of strong will and independent spirit. Marriagitus strikes most people. Women particularly though I have a male friend who shows symptoms of this sickness.

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My Interview with a Bellydancer

This is the first time I’m doing this and it’s quite fun actually. I met Naziehah through this blog of mine; somehow she’d stumbled upon it and we started an online friendship. And then I found out that this woman is a bellydancing teacher!

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Playing Nice

I’ve been missing quite a bit from my blog so much so that friends aka readers of this blog ask me when I’ll be updating it. Hah, sorry my dears. I have been too bogged down by other work and I had just come back to Penang after one week of relaxation sans PC, sans Internet, sans email.

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