Wednesday, 14 March 2018

More or Less, Malaysian

Consider this your five year anniversary post!


“To all visitors, welcome to Malaysia, and to all returning Malaysians, welcome home.”

As the plane rolled into the terminal, the bittersweet statement by the flight attendant, one they probably use at least once a day in their profession, hit me hard. It has been awhile since I called Malaysia home. The emotions of being away, from the anxieties of suddenly being back, and the uncertainties surrounding my future, overwhelmed me for a few moments.

“Ah, I’m home! … Now what?”

 “Why is everyone standing so close to me? What happened to personal space?”

“Argh! The toilets are disgusting! Why is everything so wet and does NOBODY know how to flush?!”

These were among the first thoughts I had as I walked through the KLIA2 terminal on an overcast March morning. I was experiencing so many emotions that stepping foot in the motherland felt so surreal, like all of this wasn’t true; that it was just a dream. Except it wasn’t. I was home, and I’ll be here for awhile.

I was not craving a plate of nasi lemak; or a steaming cup of teh tarik. Instead I longed for some bacon and salad, perfectly scrambled eggs, and a decent flat white. And while I did indeed have some local fare, the taste of these once-familiar foods felt odd. Why was everything either so sweet or so oily? Is this what life is going to be like now?

As you can tell, being home was not something I wanted; it was something I did not have much of a choice in. And as you have probably guessed, this is not a tale of a Malaysian’s rejoice at finding himself home amongst his comfort food and surroundings, who felt out of place while living abroad and craved for a time when he could be home. But to understand all of that, a short step back in time is needed.


My journey started seven years ago, when as a fresh-faced 19 year-old, I embarked on an adventure to study abroad… on my own. I’m not entirely sure what made me decide to do it besides my parents wanting me to get international exposure, but I had packed my bags, said goodbye to family and friends near and dear, and hopped on a plane to Australia. 

I know, I know, so many people have studied there, lived there, worked there, or have had friends move there for studies. I believe the key point here is that I did it alone. None of my classmates did the same thing, so the first time I stepped into a classroom (and everywhere else) I was the odd one out. Being socially awkward, I did not fit in easily with anyone, and so with Malaysians who were suddenly all about freedom and partying, I was just longing for companionship and connections with people. We had little in common, and that made it hard to strike a genuine connection.

Finding it hard to connect with others was one thing; I also found Malaysians as a whole to be quite cliquey. We seem to like sticking to what we know, and that includes not making the effort to be courteous to strangers, such as a lonesome compatriot. When I had established my own group of friends and social circle, I didn’t really bother chatting up Malaysians, or attend Malaysian-centric events because I had already learned to live independently of my Malaysian identity and countrymen. I rarely ate at Malaysian restaurants or cooked Malaysian dishes, instead I grew accustomed to the chicken parma or steak that my friends would want to have; breakfast wasn’t roti canai with teh tarik, but avocado toast and coffee. I love my country, and I express it in my own way, but I had survived on my own when I felt like my people weren’t there to support me.

And now, finding myself back home, I do experience reverse culture shock, and find myself awkward at best. Things that were once familiar, now seemed forced and unnatural. I am a different person, more mature than the teenager who left but also, in some ways, more aware of the differences between myself and other Malaysians.


One of the very first things I’ve observed since coming home was how judgmental we Malaysians are. This is probably something that was already present for a long time, but it was only after distancing myself that I was able to look from the outside in. We seem to have no qualms about shaming someone for their body, or their looks, or their style, or their associates, or anything that isn’t deemed to be acceptable and the norm.

In fact, barely half a day into my return I was already queried about how I style my hair.

“What are you trying to do with it? Are you trying to look like Donald Trump?”

At that point, I had no idea whether I wanted to laugh or sneer; indeed, it was such an outlandish and unexpected remark that I wasn’t sure if I was amused or annoyed. How dare they compare me to someone whose hair is mocked rather than admired!

Then you have the body shamers.

“Do you eat anything? Are you on a diet or something?”

 “You need to eat more and gain some weight!”

I don’t deny that I’m quite underweight; but I am also happy with where I am. While most people I encountered abroad are able to keep their opinions to themselves or just remark that I’m skinny, it is the Malaysians that somehow have no shame in pointing out the obvious and making seemingly snarky remarks. In fact, growing up I distinctly remember being asked regularly whether my mother is depriving me of food, or whether my sibling is taking all the food at home and leaving nothing for me.

If you think for a second that this is acceptable behaviour, think again. By making someone feel uncomfortable about their body you are body shaming them and bullying them; that they should strive for an ideal that society had imposed on you and that you’re now pushing on to others. And let’s not forget the hypocrisy: we have no reservations about arguing for being body positive, and being happy with ourselves, but we also have no qualms about reducing another person to feeling self conscious about their body.

Perhaps this comes from a lack of awareness of the societal norms that’s been placed on us. In particular, gender norms are something that Malaysians as a whole are lagging in. Since returning I have been very aware of the constant subconsciously used gender norms that are never questioned; such as how a “man” should behave, and what actions would be “unmanly”. Granted, these happen elsewhere too, but I was made acutely aware of just how much farther we have to go in getting gender equality – we don’t even realise the inequality that’s present in our daily lives. Apparently, a “man” should be “strong” and “muscular”, not “skinny like a flagpole”.

Seriously, give me a break!


Next on the list: the driving. If I had to describe Malaysian driving it would be: erratic, impatient and borderline risky, with no decency or regard for fellow drivers or road rules, endangering not just other drivers but also pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists. In fact, sometimes it feels as if we want accidents to happen (so we can drive slowly by?).

Our indicators seem to act as visual effects only – no thought is given about indicating when switching lanes or turning. I am normally tolerable if it happens from a distance, but when drivers do it abruptly and at a short distance, a few choice words that shan’t be repeated instantly come to mind. Is it really that difficult to indicate so that other drivers are aware that you intend to move your car in a specific direction? It’s one of the basic things we are taught in driving school, and one of the first things we unlearn upon getting our P’s.

Despite that, I found myself defending Malaysian driving when living abroad. I talk up our impressive driving skills (I mean, you really have to be a very alert driver in Malaysia) and do see drivers from other countries like Australia as less skilled due to them not having to navigate tight corners, narrow roads, and torrential downpours. Try backing into a parking lot when it’s completely surrounded by illegal parks!


Technology has been another huge aspect in which I found myself being faced with some rude awakenings. For all the musings about technology bridging gaps between cultures, technology has also been a platform in which I felt alienated and different; it’s one of the platforms in which I was vividly aware of the cultural differences in the use of technologies.

The use of messaging apps is one such example. While I was overseas, WhatsApp was a very common platform for communicating with friends, however it was strictly a personal platform. But at home, WhatsApp is commonly used for professional purposes as well, and most people have no qualms about sending a WhatsApp message to a colleague or client at any time of day, and expecting replies outside of business hours, something I am still coming to terms with. I would be aghast if a client had sent me a message on WhatsApp in my previous job in Australia. In this sense, work really doesn’t ever stop, even after you’ve left the office. 

I had always been very clear about separating my professional and personal lives, and WhatsApp blurred the lines which made me hyper conscious of what perceptions professional contacts are getting from my personal life. Take it as me being old-school if you will, but I very much prefer being sent emails that can be dealt with the following business day, as well as not resorting to more informal text messages to communicate. Longer response times, yes, but better for everyone’s sanity. I just didn’t understand why did we not come together as a society and provide each other with a bit more personal space, and a bit of work-life balance?


Where does this all leave me?

I guess, in a kind of limbo. While the sights and sounds, the roads and trees of Malaysia all seem familiar to me, and I have (mostly) no problems with navigating through the maze of a city we call Kuala Lumpur, I can’t help but feel a little out of place in my own backyard despite my identity as a Malaysian being (also mostly) intact. I cannot help but long for cool winter days, orderly traffic, and a more relaxed way of life that I have led elsewhere. This notion of identity and the self can be a sobering thought, for while I become more certain about my identity, and who I am as a person, I am at the same time less certain about it because I realise that it is one that is not easy to define, one that does not fit into most labels that we currently have. In a world in which we seek comfort, and belonging, it can be an isolating feeling.

All of this does not mean that I am struggling to conform; rather, I think it simply demonstrates someone whose identity is still being shaped. I am Malaysian, born and bred, and nothing will change that regardless of how many cities I live in or how long I spend away. But it is also not entirely home anymore – but perhaps that is a discussion better suited for another day.

At the end of the day, I do constantly need to negotiate my sense of identity, and what makes me Malaysian. Not feeling like I belong, but knowing that this is, ultimately, the place I used to call home, the place where I spent two-thirds of my life. I guess it makes me more or less, Malaysian.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

The Siren's Night

I don't know what hit me, really. I was home, in my pyjamas all ready for bed, when I got the texts. One from the dearest asking me to meet him there, another from the roomie saying that his friend was dying to meet me.

What was I thinking?!?! YOLO, the road less taken, being spontaneous?

I had this feeling of anticipation at the start when I agreed to head out, the thrill of meeting this mysterious, handsome stranger I'm being set up with, but that was quickly killed by the taxi driver who hit on me. To be perfectly honest, it made me fear for my safety. Thank goodness I had my phone with me so that I could check on Google Maps to ensure that he was indeed taking me in the right direction.

When I finally arrived at my destination, I had no idea what to do. It was a new venue that I hadn't been before, and everyone I knew was already inside. Forced to wait in line outside, with my phone on flight mode to conserve battery, I was left with no weapons. I had no one to talk to, no screen to bury my face in, and sobriety to keep me well aware of my surroundings.

Just get me inside, I thought, wanting to get the night started and over with.

After probably a good three quarters of an hour since I got in the cab, I was finally in! But I had to navigate through yet another obstacle- locating them. I was lost even though it was a tiny venue- I did not see any familiar faces, and to top it all off, the stares I was getting made me feel like a food item on a menu.

When I finally spotted my roomie, I immediately gestured to the cloak room. Now that I knew where I'm going, I needed a few minutes' breather. I sauntered back to the table, telling myself that I could do this.

He is stunning.

Those eyes, the beautiful smile, the strong, taut arms.

I smiled. I didn't know what else to say. I turned to the dearest. And smiled again. Seeing him smile back did little to calm me down. Despite everything, why do I feel like the stranger had no interest in me whatsoever? What happened to 'dying to meet me'?

I resigned to the fact that the roomie was probably joking and cursed myself for looking like a desperate hoe. Next time, I will have to be more careful.

I got around to chatting with the stranger. He seemed nice, though a little disinterested. What is going on here? Who is the other stranger clinging to the dearest like an elastic band? Why did the roomie ask me out?

Despite wanting answers, I knew I wasn't getting any that night. It was crowded, the music was loud, and I was late. The dynamics of the group was already established and I was merely a newcomer who has to learn the ways and fit in.

Hell no!

I was indignant as I thought of that. I am no pushover. I will NOT be taken for granted. Leaving the stranger alone, I started chatting to the roomie instead. Perhaps it was this act of reciprocal lack of interest that sparked his curiosity. I was asked to head to bar with roomie. The three of us walked off, with me in the middle.

It took forever for him to get his drinks. By that time, the roomie had disappeared, and I had made the choice to stick to someone familiar rather than wander off looking for people. I've done that once tonight, I wasn't going to again. If roomie and the others wanted to know where I am, they can call me.

Left alone, the not-so-mysterious stranger turned to me. "I hear you've a bit of a reputation," he said, smirking.

"What?" I said, fixing him with what I hoped was a knowing but not-giving-anything-away smile.

"I've heard things about you."

It dawned on me that while he was a complete stranger to me, I wasn't to him- he already had a preconceived notion about who I am. There was only one way to deal with this. If he thinks of me that way, it's better to close myself off and be the seducer that he thinks I am. I gave him the flirtiest, most confident smile I could muster.

"And yet you're still here," the siren said.

The man shrugged, his intentions starting to show. "You're very cute," he said.

"So what are you gonna do about it?" the siren said, laughing.

The stranger moved slowly, first grabbing the siren's hair, then moved his hand to the back of the head, pulling the siren closer to him. Finally, he went in for the kiss.

Looks like this night is a success after all, the siren thought while kissing the stranger back.

Friday, 27 December 2013


"Is he staring at me?"

She was in one of those fast food drive-thru outlets, waiting for her cheeseburger to be delivered to her when she felt slightly uneasy.

She looked up from her phone and realised someone looking at her. 

A guy. 

An Eurasian guy. 


What's going on? Why would a stranger pay any attention to her? She has to be imagining things. 

She turned her attention back to her phone. Just before she refreshed her Facebook page, she surrendered. She couldn't resist.

She casually glanced at his face. Blue eyes, sharp features, blonde. Not bad. Not bad at all. And all that gorgeousness were all still directed at her. She began to feel hot and it was not the Malaysian heat to be blamed. 

She gulped. 

He was obviously staring at her. But why?

He can't be one of those creeps that eye out women's handbags to snatch them at the first opportunity they can get right?

Nah, of course not. 

She was tempted to Google "Why is guy staring at me from afar!?" when she smirked. 

He obviously fancied her. 

"Drats!" she thought almost immediately. 

She didn't imagine meeting the man of her dreams this way. 

She thought she'd meet him in a Starbucks outlet and they'd laugh at how they both loved cinnamon on their caramel macchiato and secretly know they were meant for each other when they find out that they both live and breathe the same indie band or that author that only people with refined taste appreciate... people like them. And she'd seal the deal by being successful enough in her career by then to be wearing that expensive but oh so glamorous fire engine red dress she saw in Pavillion the other day.

But it was not meant to be. Today she was wearing flip flops and was in her oldest pair of denim shorts and in a T-shirt that screamed "GENTING HIGHLANDS THEME PARK". She wasn't even sure if she had combed her hair before leaving the house.

She buried her face in her hands. This is a disaster. 

She looked up. He was still staring at her unblinkingly. She gave him a little smile and looked away. 

Maybe it wasn't all that bad. She might not have a grown-up sophisticated story to tell at their wedding of how they met but she would have one that would put Disney to shame. It would be about a story of a guy who didn't know what he was in for when he entered into a fast food outlet in a foreign country when he spotted the girl of his dreams in the sea of better dressed people. It will be said that he noticed her glowing with confidence to leave the house in simple clothes and his poor heart stopped at how she pulled off the messy hair look so effortlessly. He will tell her (jealous and unmarried) friends about how he just knew from her eyes that she was kind and from her smile that she was everything he wanted in a girl, and more. Then they will toast with champagne in their glasses and everlasting love in their hearts and ride a stallion into the sunset and live happily ever after.

She nodded. She could live with that story.

She checked if her future husband was still paying attention to her. He was. 

So the future is set. But how is she going to get things to move along? It was difficult for her to resist spreading wedding invitations on Twitter but she was not so unwise as to be so impulsive. No, she would obviously have to have some form of conversation with the guy before he would get on a bended knee right? 
She was getting impatient. Why isn't he coming over and trying to impress her with a charming one-liner yet? She already had an arsenal of witty responses waiting to be unleashed!

She slapped her forehead. Of course. The guy is Eurasian. He's probably not so old-fashioned. He was obviously waiting for her to make the first move. 

Ah! Maybe this was a test! Maybe he was waiting for her to walk up to him. It was his way of seeing if she was a modern lady that would not be hindered by the conservative restraints of society. Oh how exciting!

Just as she was about to get up to prove herself, her future husband walked towards her table. 

Ah..... he's a gentleman after all. She KNEW he couldn't have expected her to make the first move. Chivalry is not dead after all and all that good stuff! 

"Excuse me, ma'am," he said with a weird accent. 

Okay, so he doesn't sound as good as he looks but she knows a good speaking coach that could fix him in no time. 

"Yes?" she smiled prettily. 

"Are you.....her?"

What? Okay, that has to be the worst pick up line she has ever heard. 

"Her". The not-so-boyfriend-material-anymore guy repeated himself while pointing at a poster behind her. 

She turned around and lo and behold there she was, blown up on a massive poster of the fast food company. 

"Oh...." she realised. That was why she was in the fast food outlet in the first place. Alongside with a small some of money for smiling at the camera while pretending to eat the unhealthy fast food of the company, she was given vouchers to use at any of that fast food company's outlets. 

"Yes, yes that'". 

"I knew it!" he exclaimed triumphantly. 

And just like that, he walked away from her, without looking back. 

Sunday, 1 September 2013

The Living Walker

Hey everyone! Sorry it has been such a long time since our last update. This story is one that I've had in my head for awhile now, and although is written as a short story here, I do think that it is something I would like to explore more. It just seems like a very fun and fast paced story that requires a lot of writing that I have not done before, so I think that it would be cool to go back and look at them in more detail. I definitely had a lot of fun writing it, but let me know what you think! 


I really, really hate messes. But unfortunately when you’re working as a waiter in a dingy old restaurant, that comes with the job a lot. Tonight was just another night, spent clearing dishes and wiping stains off tables that disgusting customers leave behind. Why do they even do that, I will never know.

My life wasn’t so purposeless and routine all the time. It actually used to be pretty fun when I was growing up. Then I fell in with a different crowd, got shipped off to this godforsaken place all alone, with no friends, no money, and with no future. That’s my life. The work at the diner pays for my rent that also keeps the water flowing and the heater working in the apartment that I live in alone. Without it, I would be one of those homeless people living under train overpasses and deserted areas of the city.

Grumbling a little under my breath, I quickly sprayed the usual chemicals on the last table and hurriedly wiped it off. I was eager to get home. After all, what was the point of staying here more than I need to? It’s not like they’re paying me enough to afford any much more. Once that was done I strode into the back, grabbed my bag, and walked out. Another hard day’s work completed.


Darryl knew that something was wrong pretty quickly. As a Walker he has been blessed with greatly improved senses. But that was also a worry- he could tell that his pursuer was quiet. Very quiet, unlike most people- which makes them even more dangerous. Taking a deep breath, he got ready for the fight. He slowed his footsteps to allow time for his pursuer to catch up, then when they were in range, he turned back and at the same time, swung his feet in a perfect kick.

What happened next surprised Darryl- the person under the hoodie easily dodged and with a swift punch, had Darryl lying on the ground. Not about to be outdone, Darryl flew to his feet and immediately prepared himself. This time his attacker made the first move, with a strong front kick that was so quick and powerful he barely managed to block it, taking a few steps back. Before he could gather himself his attacker threw something at him.

Screaming as the blade hit his abdomen, Darryl could only watch as his attacker then landed punch after punch so hard that he could no longer stand. When that happened he was grabbed by the collar and pushed against the wall.

‘Who are you?’ Darryl moaned. ‘What do you want?’

Laughter ensued.

‘You don’t know? I was sent here to kill you,’ Darryl’s attacker replied as he pulled the knife out from Darryl’s abdomen and stabbed Darryl in the chest. Another piercing cry filled the night.

‘Why?’ Darryl asked weakly.

‘Because you are a Walker,’ the hooded figure replied. ‘And I will kill every last one of you’.

It all became clear to Darryl now. He knew who sent this man. His last thought before the knife was brought to his throat was that he hoped the two had hidden themselves well.


It’s been an old habit of mine not to listen to music while I’m walking home at night. It sounds like a very paranoid thing to do, but I do know that many bad things happen because people weren’t aware of their surroundings.

I was almost home when this man jumped out of nowhere in front of me. By then my instincts had kicked into overdrive. I saw that he had a shiny knife- I wasn’t about to die like that. Quickly, I swung my bag at him, but he dodged. Damn, he’s fast, I thought. By the time I had finished that thought he already had me in a choke hold.

Struggling, I knew my time was running out. But I had one last trick up my sleeve.


And with that kick to the crotch, I got up, grabbed my bags, and ran for my life. But not before I heard the words ‘darn Walker’ come from the man’s mouth.

I don’t know how he found me, or what this man wants from me, but I do know one thing- my past is coming back to haunt me, and it could very well cost me my life.

Time to pack up and leave.  

Saturday, 9 March 2013

The troubled mind

Heyo mayo everybody-o!

I am in the midst of exams.

That should explain my absence and the inspiration behind this story. Enjoy. 

With my backpack slung on one shoulder and a ring folder in one hand, I was getting ready to leave the library when I saw James.

“Hey James!” I whispered as loudly as I could.

He waved and gestured for us to talk outside.

I nodded and smiled. I had been looking forward to talking to James. I just watched the YouTube video he shared with me last night and was eager to tell him what I thought of it.

He finally emerged and with not even a hello, or how are you, he said “How did you find the Chemistry paper?”

My smile ran away from my face. For a second, I felt the living daylights sucked out of me once again. I clenched my folder even tighter and released a soft sigh.

Chemistry. The Chemistry paper. That DARN CHEMISTRY PAPER.

“Um…..” I began. “It was…..”

“Unbelievably easy right?!  I can’t believe they’d set the standard SO LOW this year! I mean I expected it to be much worse, honestly!”

I smiled weakly.


“And it was so easy that even EMILY thought it was a piece of cake! I mean, that girl sleeps in class!”

“Um, James? I, uh, need to um, go. I’ll catch you some time this week?”

“You alright, Susan?”

“Yeah, yeah. It’s just that… I forgot I needed to do something”.

I said a hurried bye and headed the opposite direction of where James was heading. I didn’t know where I was going. I just wanted to be anywhere that was not beside James.


I can’t even think about Chemistry or look at my Chemistry lecturer without feeling my heart pump a little faster, shoulders hanging a little lower or my spirit feeling a little dampened.

It was bad.

It was so, so bad.

It’s not like I didn’t work for it. In fact, before the paper, I felt so ready. I did all the preparation I could. I stayed up late for many nights trying to memorise everything and I did. In fact, I spent so many nights studying that it felt like it was just last night I was downing Red Bull desperately trying to memorise just one more thing before I called it a night because it might just make the difference in grade. I really wanted to do well in it. I was desperate to, in fact, because Chemistry is my favourite subject. I worked so hard for it. I have pages and pages of practice exercise to prove it. Colour pens that I’ve exhausted to show my hours of labour. Mountains of notes to show how I took this seriously.

Suddenly, my phone rang. I snapped out of my day-dream and realised I didn’t know where I was because I was so lost in thought. James’ name flashed across the screen. I gulped and pressed the red button on my phone. Why, James. Why?!

When the exam came, I just…. I don’t know. I had forgotten things that I knew even before my first day in Chemistry class. For some reason, the hours just flew by so quickly and I was only halfway through my paper when the invigilator said that we only had 15 minutes left. After that, I experienced the worst 15 minutes of my life. After the exam, I just picked up my bag, avoided all eye contact and went home to  bawl my eyes out  watch TV . I was so sure I was going to fail and unless you've been in this situation before, you wouldn't know how infuriating and depressing the whole situation is. If only I could turn back time.

Speaking of time, it was only then I realised how dark it was getting. I then realised just how alien this place was to me. Where was I? James tried calling me again. I ignored it. I needed to find my bearings. The streets were so unfamiliar and I had no idea where I was. I wiped a tear on my face and made sure I boarded a bus that would bring me home.

It’s so unfair. I worked so hard for it. I know my Chemistry textbook inside and out. Ask James. Ask my lecturers. Ask my classmates. Ask the Paul the janitor or Emily the kind canteen lady. They’d tell you how dedicated I am to my work. I work harder than anyone else and now I’m the only one that found the paper hard? Sigh.  I just wish all that effort wasn't so wasted, ya know?

I eventually reached home. I took off my boots, removed my coat and dropped my bag on the floor. It was frustrating that all my effort didn’t show itself on its paper. I don’t know what went wrong. Why did I do so badly? Did I not pay enough attention in class? Am I not smart enough to call myself a Chemistry student? Did I not prepare hard enough to get through the questions quickly enough? Suddenly I wasn't sure why I thought I did badly for the exam. What ACTUALLY happened? All I felt was the familiar frustration build up in me again. Maybe my anger was blinding my memory. 

My phone rang. This was the third time James was calling me. My frustration rose again as I thought that I wouldn’t be in this emotional turmoil if James simply didn’t bring up the whole Chemistry paper. GAH! I threw my phone on the sofa. The ringing stopped immediately.

I sat myself down on the sofa. It was only then did I realise just how exhausted I was roaming aimlessly around town and wrestling with this emotional turmoil. I began to relax a little and eventually fell asleep.



I woke up from my sleep. It was James. For the first time I felt bad for ignoring his calls. Maybe I should answer his call now. But must be midnight now, so what business does he have calling me at this hour?


“Susan? Susan? Hello?”

I suddenly woke up. The sun was blinding and my neck was aching. It time? What happened? Where am I?



 “Susan, please get up! You have only 15 minutes left!”


I sat up straight immediately. Around me were rows and rows of tables. Everyone was frantically scribbling on their papers, papers were viciously flipped, there was a strange sense of silent tension around me. A bearded man at the front of the room was shaking his head at me. Mr Patrick James, my lecturer was beside me with a bewildered look on his face.

As I slowly came to my sense, I looked down on my table and saw in large, bold, capitalized letters: