Thursday, November 30, 2006

No longer homeless :D

Finally, after more than 3 weeks in Cairo, I have my own place to live!!

I’ll be sharing a sick-ass apartment in Dokki with these 2 American girls from the American University in Cairo and another AIESEC trainee, Nay-Nay, who is relocating from Alexandria to Cairo this weekend!! I’m so excited, Nay-Nay is really cool and I cant wait to be living together! We’re lookin forward to our first grocery shopping outing :P

Our apartment is on the 18th floor, and I think it’s meant to be like a penthouse. It’s the only split-level apartment I have seen in Cairo so far, and its on the top floor. My room itself is MASSIVE, it has its own bathroom and balcony! One side of the balcony overlooks the Nile and from the other end you can somehow see the Pyramids on a clear night (apparently). It’s such a wicked place to chill…Now I wish I was living in Cairo for 6 months not 3! L

The room itself is a little expensive (ok actually it’s very expensive) by Egyptian standards, but by London rent standards it’s a bargain and a half. So I’m trying to console myself with that fact lol. Also, after 3 weeks on a living room floor, I decided, Sod it, it’s time to pimp it out in Cairo!

Will put up some pictures soon as I move in!!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A peculiar thing about Cairo/Egypt. Landlords here are obsessed with making sure they are renting out to tenants of 'good character'. Alot of landlords stipulate in the contract that unrelated men and women cannot share an apartment together, people of the opposite sex cannot stayover or even crash at your place, unless you're related and they keep a check on this through the bowebs (doormen) who report on what's going on. People get their security deposits confiscated or even evicted and so on. I've never seen anything like this in another country. Even in Bangladesh! Alot of the time the landlord is conservative or is worried about what people will say, regarding the kind of people he is leasing his apartment to. Some of the female AIESEC trainees live in a flat together, and at one point the boweb started thinking they were running a whore-house, and began interrogating every single male who tried entering the building. Some have to bribe their bowebs if they want to throw a party. lol!

I finally got my password generator from work, which means I can now work from home, or anywhere with DSL. A huge relief, because now that Luli is on a work-trip to Sweden, its not easy finding somebody to drive me to work. On Sunday I had to go in, so I took a cab which cost me 50 pounds! A normal trip here costs like 5 pounds max! Thats 50p. You dont even get one-way trips to work in London costing 5 quid!

Anyway, things are super messed up at the moment. I actually found a real nice place to live, with Nay-Nay another trainee, but the girls who are living there at the moment are holding out on making a final decision because they want someone to live there for 6months not 2. So, we wait. And wait. To top it all off, the guys I've been crashing with have been evicted from their flat. Yep. So now they are as homeless as me. Cairo is being over-run by homeless AIESEC trainees.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

What not to do when getting food delivered in Cairo

Dial phone number of local Egyptian eatery.

Arab man on phone: Salaam
Stupid trainee called Zine who doesn't know a word of Arabic: Hello? Salaam Can I get some delivery?
Arab man: booga wooga?
Zine: Crap. Do you speak English?
Arab man: No. Booga wooga. Hold on.
Arab man #2: Hullo! Yes?
Zine: Hello! Salaam. I would like to order some delivery please. Can I have a fata? With meat.
Arab man: ok, address!
Zine: ok. 94...Mohie El Din
Arab man: 94? booga wooga? Arabic!
Zine: Erm....94. NINE FOUR.
Arab man:94?
Zine: NINETY FOUR. La Arabiya (No arabic!)
Arab man: ok. address
Zine: 94, Mohie El Din Aboul Ezz...door number 2
Arab man: two?
Zine: Yes, two. one, two? Two.
Arab man: Khamsa (5)?
Zine: No! la Khamsa! not 5! two!
Arab man: ok. ok booga wooga booga wooga.

Click. Man hangs up.

Sit around. Worrying whether food is gonna end up coming. Feel like on the brink of starvation. Someone returns home, so write down how to say 94 and 2 in Arabic.

Re-dial number of shop again:

Zine: Hello. I ordered some Fatah 5 mins ago, and I wanted to give you my address again.
Arab man: Booga wooga, fata? meat or chicken?
Zine: *alarmed* No no! Im not ordering again! I just wanna give you my address again! Its me Zine! I called you 5 mins ago!
Arab man: Booga wooga booga wooga booga wooga stupid foreign girl booga wooga


Sit on couch. Wonder if food will arrive. Or if two portions of food will arrive. Twiddle thumbs. Door bell rings. Yaaaaaaaay!

The above incident was quite frustrating so when the delivery guy asked me if I wanted more fatah tomorrow, and I said yes, and he asked for my number and gave me his, I thought whoopee! He's just made my life easier, a one-stop-call for fatah at my door. But when I came back into the flat, everyone gave me the biggest bollocking, telling me I should never EVER give a random Egyptian guy my phone number, because apparently they think us foreign girls are an easy lay :S According to Kent, he could even start stalking me, and calling me constantly. I promised never to do it again, but I still think the guy just wanted to make our future transactions a bit easier... :S We shall have to wait and see..

And as a follow up to this entry, please refer to Kent's blog:

So at the moment I look like Quasimodo. A mosquito bit me on my right eye the night before last, and my eyelid swelled up and I couldn’t open it properly. So I took the day off. Lol. Yes any excuse I know.

I feel bad that I haven’t blogged in a while, so I’m gonna spin off a lazy entry.

My work situation is very relaxed at the moment. The project I came to do I haven’t even started as yet, because I’ve been waiting for all sorts of programmes and networks to be downloaded onto my work laptop. Now that I do finally have them, I need to be trained by someone to use them. So once I have been trained I can start on my project. Funny thing is, at work there aren’t enough desks to go around, so a lot of people work from home. And if I can get myself access to DSL at home, I could work from home too! My boss only comes in like 2 days a week as well. It’s wicked. It majorly helps because getting to work is a major hassle for me, havin to carpool, and getting stuck in traffic, all in all, makes me grateful to be able to work from home. I gotta say my first week was rough. Wakin up at that early in the morning, sitting in front of a laptop for 8 hours a day (even if I am not working the whole 8 hours) really got to me. All I’m telling myself is, thank god this aint forever. Even though before I always knew I couldn’t do the 9-5pm, office job, at least now I can say, been there, done that, no thank you! Nevertheless I am still appreciating the professional experience, and I’m not regretting this traineeship at all. But lets just say it’s great as a traineeship, and not a lifelong career!

My 2nd week, I got out a little bit more. Went to Khan El Khalili this big souk here, and the Pyramids (I actually beat some of the long term trainees to that, they still haven’t been!), took the Metro finally (very impressed btw) once accompanied, and once alone.. .yay! Now I can say I have conquered the Cairo metro :P) I’m hardly taking photos, I’m surprised. I think at some point you lose the enthusiasm for snapping shot after shot of things you probably won't look at again. So I take shots of people. Now that, I can do, because a lot of my time spent here in Cairo is spent chilling with other trainees and AIESEC Egyptians. But I do need to get off my ass and see Cairo properly.

The food in Egypt. I gotta admit, I aint too impressed. To be honest: I aint such a big fan of Middle eastern cuisine. Lebanese is most common in London, and really what else have they got besides pita bread and meat. Not that I am denying Helens kebab is the most scrumptious meal I have ever had. Nevertheless I have been surviving on a lot of Egyptian food here mainly because its cheaper than everything else. Fata, Howowshy, Koushury, Mashed Potato in pitta bread, which is my favourite, it costs 1 pound and is so simple yet yummy etc. Its also the one thing I can never remember how to say in Arabic. Life here makes you lazy as hell. Goddamn everything can be delivered to your door, so many a night I get home from work and just order my food home. Fine, fine, I got KFC delivered twice so far. Sorry :P

A curious pheonomenon. They are bit like being in university, I’m discovering. Everyone thrown into a pressure cooker of friendships, relationships and gossip mills. People become friends very quickly, becoming dependent on each other very quickly, its just like living in halls. The whole AIESEC thing is a curious thing. I’m slowly trying to figure it out. I joined as an SN, so I was never a full fledged AIESEC member. So I don’t know any of the terms or how this organisation works. All I know is they have some super passionate members. It really is fascinating. Some would call it a cult, some would just call it an amazing network with incredible opportunities. But hey, it got me to Cairo, so I aint complaining. And seriously, my 4th day in Cairo I was walking around downtown and I bumped into 3 AIESECers….that was so cool. How else would one be in a completely new, random city and manage to bump into familiar faces? Only on an AIESEC traineeship… !!!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

"Chaotic and polluted, swarming with humanity, and electrifyingly noisy and alive, this not a city for the faint hearted, rather for those who grab life by the horn and hang on for the bumpy ride."

So I’m feelin in a bit of a daze this morning. It’s Wednesday, which effectively is a ‘Thursday’ here in Cairo, meaning tomorrow the weekend starts!! Woohoo!!

I now understand why people look forward to the weekend so much….now that I have done about 5 days of working 9-5pm, sittin in front of a computer the whole day, and generally feelin very uninspired. I haven’t been trained as yet for the project I came here to do, so I’m just doing odds and ends. The working day is tough. My 9-5 schedule isn’t so rigid, its generally dependent on when I can get a ride to and from work, and how bad the traffic is. On my first day at work, we took 2 hours to get home on a road that should take 30mins. So sometimes we leave around 7pm, because it means getting home at the same time, but not being stuck in traffic the entire time.

I also haven’t found a place to live. It ain’t easy finding a place to live here. You don’t really have a system like gumtree or anything. It’s either going to check the AUC boards to find flyers, or finding a broker to show you places….which hasn’t been so successful. Everything is either too expensive or too depressing. Or they want somebody staying longer than 3 months. Or the location is too inconvenient for me to get to work. Sigh.

And I finally experienced the joys of Egyptian timing the other day. Our broker told us to meet him at 2.15pm. At 2.45, he arrives, and tells us the guy who HE is hookin up with aint gonna be here till 3.30pm. So we go wait in the flat. At 3.30pm, the other guy calls and says he will come at 4pm. We wait more. At 4pm, we head out on to the main road to meet this dude. We stand in the dusty, polluted street for 30mins, and he doesn’t arrive….at something like 4.45pm, he comes, and he shows us an apartment. But the commission he charges us is like 1 months rent for me.

I suppose I shouldn’t be so surprised. In Dhaka, the ‘timing’ culture is similar. Nobody makes plans too ahead of time. You kinda go along with it and see what works out. People are always doin things at the spur of the moment, which creates a very laid back culture. As they say, InshaAllah…..What a contrast from London. Over there, people are booked up like 2 weeks in advance. If you don’t let people know the plans for the evening, they will get PISSED OFF. People need to know what the ‘plans’ are for every minute of the day. I’m not sure yet which culture I prefer. London is more stressful though, that’s for sure.

I just read my entry, and realized how much I am moaning. Goddamn, is this culture shock?! LOL.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Nile

Mysterious Flood,--that through the silent sands Hast wandered, century on century, Watering the length of great Egyptian lands, Which were not, but for thee. - Bayard Taylor, To the Nile

So I'm in the taxi, heading downtown to meet some AUC AIESECers. About two minutes into crossing a bridge, I realise I am beholding the ancient, much-talked about, millenia of history filled River Nile. And why has it taken me two long minutes to realise this? Because it looks like the bloody Thames, that's why!

I apologise for my naivete, but I think I expected the banks to be slightly more isolated, not strained between hotels, big yachts, and TGI Fridays. Hell, I think I expected to see a baby Moses floating by on a straw basket! Quite the disappointment, clearly...but nevertheless the weekend ensued with a lot of time spent on this river.

Friday night, I attended a typical boat party, and literally danced under the stars as the dj spun tracks from the roof of the boat...but Saturday night allowed a much more intimate brush with the Nile, with a group of us renting a feluka, a small sail boat, available for private hire for an hour or so. The captain of our feluka looked straight out of a Mauritanian desert, albeit the fake rolex watch on his wrist, and he sat there serenely guiding the boat, listening to us singing the Nile deaf and generally having a good time as we drifted down the river.

Definitely not an experience you can buy on the Thames on any given day...

cabbing it in cairo

Day two in Cairo. Preparing myself to go on my first solo taxi ride across town. I do not know the language. I do not know the directions. I do not know how to even pronounce my destination.

Kent emails me a letter he drafted advising all newcomers to Cairo on the etiquettes’ of getting about in taxis here.

1. Flag taxi down.
2. Tell him your destination in pitifully pronounced Arabic. Do NOT mention the fare.
3. Wait for him to repeat what you just said with a 'you goddamn foreigners butcher my language' look on his face. [and reality followed theory to the T, in my case]
4. Get in the cab, hang on for dear life.
5. Get out of cab at destination. Pay him without negotiation.But Kent clearly failed to mention one small detail, catching me off guard when the following happened:

I am riding in the backseat of a Cairo taxi. I see people standing by the road waiting for other taxis. They glance at me sitting at the back, then they shout at my taxi driver telling him where they want to go. I think to myself, “what a bunch of idiots. Can they not see me in the backseat?!” This happens several times. I start thinking Caireans are a little thick. Then, all of a sudden, my taxi stops, and a random Egyptian woman off the streets hops into the front seat?! And I’m sitting up looking around startled, wandering, “Did anybody else just see that?!”.

So yeah it turns out they take multiple passengers here. That would be Number #6 on the list. On my return journey, same thing happened, except this time, I invaded the taxi of another young girl, who very calmly got out and let me in to sit next to her. She didn’t seem as perplexed as I felt, so I figured this was normal. Thankfully the first time a male passenger didn’t get in, or I would’ve shouted bloody murder!!!

In fact i realised, my taxi driver kept slowing down each and every time someone else tried flagging him down, in order to hear what destination they were headed for…. Convincing me the traffic in Cairo isn’t caused by too many cars, rather by taxi drivers trying to maximize on their profits on each journey!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

working girl

It is the end of my first day at work in Cairo....and I've been given a laptop to take home! I even get a mobile phone! Woo-hoo!

So this has been a totally new experience. I have never worked for a multi-national company, never worked in a typical 'office', never really done 9-5pm and never got lost in a sea of nameless, faceless employees that make up the immense companies of today. For the first time, I have a job which can't be summed up with one word, like 'Teacher' or 'Journalist'. Good God, I am Chandler, with a job where nobody really knows what I do!!

My building (yes I have an entire one) is situated quite far out of downtown Cairo, and its a minimum 30 minute commute by car. Sometimes, I am told, it can take 2hours with traffic. Eek. I am currently catching rides with people, Luli drove me to work this morning. She is a former AIESECer too, now working full-time in my company. We are in this huge corporate neighbourhood, surrounded by loads of other big companies like Microsoft and Vodafone. Its pretty cool though, there are alot of AIESEC people who have worked, or currently work in my company. My colleagues are all really friendly, and the work enviornment seems chilled out thankfully. I can wear denim to work, which I am so grateful for because I have only one pair of black trousers and 1 work shirt!

I don't have my own desk at work as yet, so this makes me homeless AND deskless. lol. Perfect!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Another great thing, I found out that quite a few other trainees, such as Kent and Tom, aspire to be journalists. That just made me feel so much better (even though I am feeling pretty damn great anyway about being in Cairo regardless) about being here, doing this traineeship with Ericsson, even though it is not completely relevant to my journalism career.

My dad tells me there is no point being a "jack of all trades" (lol, his words) but I dont see it that way. I don't blame his scepticism, because I know where it comes from: I've always tried so many different things, gone in so many directions, and am always changing my mind about what I am going to do with my life, and so on. When I was younger, I went into gymnastics, drama, choir in school. I never stuck to any of them long term. I started piano lessons for 6 months, and quit. I then took 6 months of organ playing, and quit that too. And all this was before I turned 12!! I've done the whole TEFL thing, now I am doing a management traineeship, and ultimately, I hope to pursue journalism, but I have never regretted anything I've done, career/work wise. My TEFL certificate may have cost me 800 quid, but the job it got me, paid me like 5 times that amount, so I never lost anything. I only gained more skills and professional experience.

So, yes, I think it's in my nature to just try out everything, and I like that. Goddamnit, I can't even stick to one country!! Life is too short to stick to one hobby, one profession and one calling ALL your life. I'm very serious about journalism, definitely, but I think one of the biggest draws of journalism is also because it is so flexible and ever-changing. So it suits me perfectly. I am only 22, and I will never get a chance to experience an AIESEC traineeship ever again, since commitments pile up, so yes I feel really really happy I made the decision to come to Cairo..... :)

Lastly, a small note about my flight here:
Qatar Airways is a little wierd. My 8 hour flight from Singapore to Doha, had no personal televisions, only those big mains screen hanging on the top of every 50 seats....yet my 4 hour flight from Doha to Cairo was amazingly fitted out with great screens, and plenty of viewing choices. I felt a bit peed off about that. Although i did manage to sleep the entire 8 hours, but its the principle that counts. I must have 200 films at my disposal!!

apartment hunting

Last night we went apartment hunting. One of the AIESEC members, Omar, hooked up with a broker who took us around to view the various flats. We were laughing because he first told us there were only 2 apartments to view, but when we had seen them, found them dismal and rejected them, he suddenly materialized with like another 6 apartments! Only about 2 were actually liveable, but also extremely expensive. They seem to hike up prices when they see foreigners, naturally, but what they don’t realize is that we are very poor foreigners! We’re AIESEC trainees! Anyway, our search continues tomorrow....

So I went for a walk in the afternoon, and I have to admit, it was a little intimidating. It’s dusty, there are men everywhere staring or whispering things to you, I don’t know the language and I really don’t know my way around. I’m not sure why I’m finding it harder to imagine going out alone here, it’s not like I’ve never traveled or been to a completely new city/country or wandered unknown neighborhoods on my own abroad. Of course, compared to my other trips abroad, I have probably done the least research into getting around here, I suppose because I’ve slipped into the comfort zone of knowing I’m here for 2-3 months and that there are so many people here who will take me around. Perhaps it’s the same as being in Dhaka, we don’t usually go out for walks to ‘explore’. You just don’t do that in Dhaka. But obviously I want to in Cairo, hopefully I will become more comfortable/independent with maneuvering the Cairean streets.

One thing: I would never drive in this city. I would get smashed to a pulp within 15mins. It’s crazy on the streets here! You have to be so aware, because somebody could bump into you at any minute, people don’t really follow lanes, cars stop randomly on the side of the road and man this city is jam packed with cars. I think I must’ve silently shrieked in the car like 5 times last night!

I had my first Egyptian meal yesterday! We went to El-Omda, a local fastfood chain, and I had Koshary which is a meatless dish with various layers of beans, rice, lentils and pasta with a tomato-cinnamon flavored sauce. Nice!

I’m meant to do a country presentation, sort of like an introduction of where I am from etc, and frankly, I am a little confused about what country to represent! I’m officially representing the UK here because my AIESEC local community is UCL/SOAS, Uni of London….but to be honest, when it comes to cultural exchange between the UK and Egypt, I’m not sure I would be that helpful! And I did grow up in Singapore, but I don’t have any idea of what life is like in Singapore today, I don’t even know the AIESEC there. It’s funny because when I chat to others here, I naturally compare my life or how things are in my country compared to here, and I find myself rotating information about London, Singapore and Dhaka. It must be confusing for those I speak to! Culturally I find myself mentioning Bangladesh the most naturally….so maybe I will do a Bangladesh presentation. Or maybe I’ll just do a bit about all 3 countries!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Welcome to Egypt

Location: Cairo!

I was looking out the window as we drove into town from the airport, and it just felt so surreal. I cant believe I am in Cairo. My first time on the continent of Africa! Also the first time in 10 years exactly, that I am back in the Middle East – and of course – my first time in Egypt! :D

I am currently crashing with some of the other trainees, as I haven’t got a place of my own yet, so last night I slept in the living room of a Mexican, a Canadian and a Pakistani, all AIESEC trainees, sharing a flat in Mohie El Din. Ive already met loads of people, especially other trainees (which there are so many of!) and everyone is really friendly and trying to settle me in as much as possible.

I haven’t seen much of Cairo as yet, yesterday was spent in a half comatose state, May picked me up from the airport, took me back to her home where I met her mum, then we went and dropped my bags off at the flat, and then I was whisked off to spend the evening chilling in the apartment of one of the trainees, eating pizza (apparently you can get ANYTHING delivered here, in any quantity, even 1 small aubergine if need be!), watching the Producers and just chatting to everyone.

I do however have my very own Cairo mobile number. Yay!

First impressions: funnily enough, Cairo reminds me of Dhaka. Besides the odd ancient-ruin-esque sites we drove past on the way back from the airport, so far I am drawing plenty of parallels between life in Dhaka and Cairo. I got out of May’s car and it even smelt like Dhaka (not in the bad sense)! Of course I shouldn’t be speaking too soon, it hasn’t even been 24 hours since I arrived, but I spent some time talking to May about our cultures and the intricacies of being Bengali and Egyptian, and we found many a similarity.

Oh and I just found like 10mins ago, that where I am crashing at the mo, is in Giza, which puts us 20mins away from the Pyramids! I find that so thrilling! I am so tempted to run out of the flat now, and leg it there and have a look, but I shall control myself. A little at a time. Plus, if I did that, I would most likely get immensely lost!

Right now everyone is either working or in uni, and as I haven’t started work yet, I am chilling in the flat on my own. I might go for a walk later, check out the neighbourhood. Later tonight we are going to go apartment-hunting, and I am going to meet my future flat mates.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Bye-bye Singapore, Hello Cairo!!!

Right. So where do I begin? This has all happened so bloody fast!!

On Monday, I got an email from AIESEC in Cairo, saying there was a TRAINEESHIP on offer, for 2 months, web-designing for a huge international telecommunications company in Cairo [yeah I dont think its wise to display what company I am with!] ............. and would I be able to fly down for it asap? I did the phone interview on Wednesday, got accepted that very night and today I confirmed my flight for Monday morning!!!!!!!!!

I cant believe it, I'm actually going to Cairo!!! I haven't even managed to get over my jet lag since arriving in Singapore and I am already leaving! lol! Sorry, Singapore, looks like job-hunting here will have to be put off for now! .....All these months, searching and waiting for the right traineeship, and hoping it would be in Cairo.....and it's all worked out all so suddenly!! I am really all so very overwhelmed!

Right so I have a billion different things to do at the moment, so can't write a long, rambling blog entry about how bloody excited and ecstatic I am about going. But! I will try to keep everyone updated as much as possible.

ALL, and I mean, ALL of you have to come visit me! We'll go camping in the desert! We'll go play hide and seek around the pyramids! We'll do everything! Yaaaaaay!!!! :D

What's that behind you?

Location: Singapore

The other night, Xeina came over and we got rented out some DVDs to watch. The first one was The Exorcism of Emily Rose. Watched it till the end.....and now I am totally creeped out.

Our house is kinda big. It's spread out over 3 floors, and my bedrooms on the 3rd floor. And it's just me, mum and dad living here. Mum and Dad go to sleep at like some ungodly hour of 11pm every night, and I stay up all alone until 6am every night, due to a lethal combination of regular insomnia, jet lag and a generally nocturnal disposition. Leaving me

I also have an unusually unhealthy imagination. Combined with a sadistic desire to scare myself silly, and subsequently regret the consequences, my every turn in this house is filled with dread, espeically since watching Emily Rose.

Why am I even admitting this to the world, I do not know. I'm 22 years old admitting that sometimes, I'm still a little scared of the dark. Isn't that just ridiculously mind-blowingly stupid?

I know though, that, after a few days, when the images from this movie have slowly ebbed away out of my mind, I will resume normal activity in our house, without constantly staring too deeply into every dark corner, and imagining that the hairs on the back of my neck are standing.

But I really sincerely believe sometimes, there are things to be afraid of. Perhaps, not in my own house, but in this world, definitely.

I liked the film, Emily Rose. It handled the concept of the spiritual world in an interesting manner, for a spook film. It displayed the debate between scientific and spiritual explanations of the occult, which, instead of deadening the world of spirits to the viewer, made it seem all the more scary. And the ending was most fascinating. The girl who eventually dies, believes that her death will result in a positive ending, which is that if, because of her, some people start believing in the devil, how can they not believe in God? Which is so true. Apparently, it is a true story, and many now revere this young lady's grave like that of a saint's.

This movie portrayed the possession of Emily Rose by something truly and purely evil. Not a human evil. Not the kind of evil that kills hundreds in a country during a genocide, because of something like racism. But a pure evil, an evil existing in mere opposition to goodness. And the thing is, I got even more spooked when I recalled an event that occurred in the home of my mother's bestfriend. And scarily enough, the details of this real life event mirror the movie a bit too similarly.

Basically, my mum's bestfriend, Aunty Jasmine had just hired a new maid from Bangladesh to live and work in their family apartment. One day, she started acting really crazy, threatening them, saying she had poisoned their dinner and so on. They got totally freaked out, and called a bomoh (a Malay priest who specialises in Exorcisms), and the next day he was told to come to their flat. Apparently, when he tried doing so the next day, he kept getting lost trying to find the flat. They lived in a HDB block of apartments, which btw, are the most common form of housing here in Singapore. You just dont get lost. You'd have to be stupid. In the film, as well, the Father who was meant to do the exorcism the next day, kept getting spooked out the night before, as though 'they' were attempting to stop him from doing the exorcism the next day. Anyway, the bomoh came, did the exorcism, and aparrently, found that there were 3 jinns posessing her. (Jinns are what Muslims believe in, instead of ghosts, spirits etc). In the film, Emily Rose had 6 demons inside her.

This is my mum's bestfriend's story. So it's quite close to home. But at the same time, I always think, heck I've never seen anything why act like such a scaredy cat? Or am I speaking too soon? [Nevermind that we grew up in Singapore reading a healthy dose of 'Singapore Ghost Stories', and I spent all summer last year listening to Javed Bhai's Jinn stories when he was visiting us here, my imagination is running to Timbuktu......]

[I think....when you are also bored, and sitting at home, waiting to find a job.....your imagination runs wilder than it normally would! (I shall take solace in that!)]