Like That Also Can Ah?!!

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Monday, February 28, 2005

Avoid Times Square, man.

I knew I had it coming. The first (and supposedly last) time I went to Berjaya Times Square (BTS) when it first opened, I swore I wouldn’t go there again. Well, I had to break my promise last weekend.

On my first visit, I was stunned. Other than Debenhams (which is pretty small, and too overpriced for me), the whole place was so Ah-Beng, man. I was as if Sungei Wang Plaza transplanted itself and moved there. Hundreds and hundreds of shops selling Hong Kong fashion rejects, ladies shoes, DVD/VCD pirates, it was just too much for me. Even Sungei Wang had its redeeming qualities, BTS had none. There was no decent place to get a meal, not a single bookstore, not a single specialty shop of note. Just rows and rows of pigeon-hole shops (11 storeys, if I’m correct). And the top 6 floors are practically unoccupied.

So last weekend, my sis-in-law and her son came over from JB and wanted to try out the indoor roller-coaster park. OK, I needed to window-shop for a camera phone. So let’s give it another try, I said. Big mistake. Did you know that there isn’t a single phone shop in the thousands of shops there. I specifically remembered on my last visit there were plenty. I couldn’t believe it. There were many places selling phone accessories, but none selling phones. Is there is crackdown on legal phones now???!!

There still isn’t anywhere to get a decent meal, the upper floors are still totally empty, the 1000 Ah-Lian boutiques are still flourishing, the DVD pirates are still doing rip-roaring business. Interestingly, Borders are opening soon. I hope they really did a good market study.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Another Credit Card Horror Story…

Well, it isn’t really a horror story, but it won’t be something the manager of credit card sales would want to read. Here’s what happened actually. I’ve been a card customer of this international bank, which I shall not name (but some of my pals call it Sillybank… oops, did I say too much?) for many, many years.

I must emphasize here that I’ve mostly been a one-credit-card guy, no matter how many sales people approach me at shopping centres thrusting free cards in my face. (That’s another rant for an upcoming blog).

OK, so about 6 months ago this bank sends me this additional card with 3 years free annual fee. Usually, I’ll cut these cards up immediately and throw it out, but when I call them about it, they told me that if I accept this free card, they’ll waiver the annual fee of my other card, the one I’ve been using all this while. That seemed a good deal, since I didn’t have to use the new card, just accept it.

Then when my statement came last month, my annual fee was not waived!! So I called them up today. After going through that annoying computer voice 3 TIMES, I finally got through to a human. He then put me on hold for like 5 minutes ('computer is down'). Finally, after for like an eternity, this guy there said that there was no mention of it in the computer (whoa, did this ‘computer’ just come up?!). And then he said, 'Who did you speak to regarding this last time?'

Well, excuse me if I can’t remember the name of Indifferent Telephone Personnel #3432AF299 (KL branch).

Long story short, I’ve canceled the card. I’m going back to being a one-credit-card. And if those Sillybank sales people ever approach me again when I’m in Tesco…

What Mags I Read...

Here’s a list of magazines I read on a regular basis. Please note, I don’t buy all the mags here, most of them I read at the library or mooch off my philanthropic friends. If I did buy all of ‘em, I’ll probably be living off biscuits everyday.

Empire: It’s a British international movie mag. I used to read every single word of this rag (including the spine quote) but I've gone off it a bit since they changed the format and streamlined it (puh-leez…). 'Too commercialized, now', I would say, with a hint of arrogance.
FourFourTwo: A must read. I love Sam Allardyce's coaching tips and David Platt's tactical analysis. Although I skip the bits about Spanish local rivalries and League One news.
The Edge: It’s gone up to RM5!!! PER WEEK!!! And we're paying for all those useless pull-outs like Options and Netv@lue!!! @#$%!! But I'm addicted... (Thanks Pat, or else I’ll be reading it at the newsstand...)
Forbes & Fortune: Polished, American, informative, biased and both obsessed with the China market. Although I can't really tell the difference between the two.
Personal Money: I’ll only buy it if the articles interest me. When it was first launched, I thot I could write better articles!! But it’s now better than Malaysian Business and Personal Investor.
Investor Digest: It’s always outdated by a month, the layout and design is crappy, the writing is amateurish, the paper quality is only slightly better than toilet paper, but the tables and charts alone are worth the nine bucks.
Touch: Comes free in the mail every month. No idea why.
Torque: Bought it when I was car-shopping. I think I'll switch to Hypertune.
Hello! & New Woman: Only read them when I'm waiting at the mamak barber. It's either them or Stardust (the Bollywood mag).
Esquire, GQ, Arena: Only when I'm bored at the British Council.
Professional Fishkeeping, Majesty: Only when I'm REALLY, REALLY bored.

When are they coming out with a mag for people who read too many mags?

Thursday, February 24, 2005

R.I.P., Canny Ong…

And so another chapter closes in Malaysia’s social history. The murder case of 29-year old Canny Ong has finally concluded. The accused, an aircraft cabin cleaner, has been sentenced to caning, 20 years jail and death.

The media has carried this case with their usual fanfare, sometimes not without the sensationalism.

While life and death are mere phases in the great passage of the spiritual form, I cannot help but stop to reflect each I read about a murder case in the Malaysia. Somehow, for a brief moment in time, we are reminded of our own mortality, of how our nation has descended into such levels of moral depravity, of how insignificant are our petty little problems in the grand scheme of God’s plan.

To the murderer, I hope you make peace with yourself and your maker before your time comes. It is perhaps the last humane thing that you can do.

To the family and friends of Canny, my deepest sympathies lie with you. And so do anyone on earth who has a sister, a daughter, a wife or a mother.

And to finally Canny, if it is in any way possible, rest in peace.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

I dun read paper one lah...

Circulation nos. obtained in the press today (no. in brackets show previous survey):

The Star - 1,109,000 (1,045,000)
Malay Mail - 132,000 (137,000)
New Straits Times - 322,000 (323,000)
The Sun - 173,000 (165,000)
Sunday Star - 987,000 (1,003,000)
New Sunday Times - 303,000, (282,000)
Sunday Mail - 153,000 (134,000)
Harian Metro - 1,218,000 (1,275,000)
Berita Harian - 1,473,000 (1,491,000)
Utusan Malaysia - 1,510,000 (1,010,000)
Kwong Wah - 271,000 (261,000)
China Press - 741,000 (730,000)
Sin Chew Jit Poh - 1,109,000 (1,099,000)
Guang Ming Daily - 381,000 (347,000)
Tamil Nesan - 144,000 (140,000)
Tamil Namban - 247,000 (242,000)

Some observations: totaling up the weekday papers for all languages (excluding the Sun), we get 4.725 million rags sold daily. Assuming the population of Malaysia is 30 million, at an average household has of 4 people (one of which is below reading age); we thus have 7.5 million households. Which means 2.775 million households across Malaysia DO NOT access newspapers. In reality this number is far higher because:

  • A lot of families buy more than 1 paper daily.
  • This is also not taking into account the millions of newspapers subscribed by offices/ schools/libraries. My office subscribes 4 daily.

So I can roughly say 3 million homes do not read newspapers everyday. Or put it another way, 9 million people (of reading age) do not read newspapers.

Malaysian-Style Reality Show

In line with the reality shows craze on TV these days (as opposed to fake or make-believe TV that we’ve been watching all this while), I’m compiling a list of things that might feature if Malaysia were to make our own show. For ease of thought, I’ve broken down the listing into 3 groups:

Do Physical/Frustrating challenge: Like Amazing Race’s Roadblock. Designed to test the contestants physical & mental strength to the limit.

Eat Disgusting Stuff: Like on Fear Factor and MTV’s I Bet You Will every week.

Do Scary Thing: Like on Fear Factor also. Fight crocodile, stay underwater, play with scorpions, the usual thing.

OK, this is what I’ve come up with so far:

Physical / Frustrating Challenge:

  • Scale rock face in Sarawak and collect bird’s nest with bare hands.
  • Stand in line at 7am and renew passport or make myKad at the government department. On a non-working Saturday!
  • Board the LRT at KLCC station at 5.30pm on Friday. And carrying heavy luggage.
  • Collect RM100 in donation money by going house-to-house in Damansara Heights or Bukit Bandaraya.

Eat Disgusting Stuff:

  • Drink down one jug of the infamous SS2 Coke susu (Coca-Cola mixed with obscene amount of condensed milk).
  • Durian milkshake mixed with bat guano.
  • 1 large tray of mamak maggi mee goreng, cooked with VERY generous servings of oil…

Do Scary Thing:

  • Run the convenience store at Bukit Bintang during Chinese New Year period, right in the middle up the Bangladeshi/Indonesian/Pakistani/Burmese/Thai workers get-together.
  • Cross Jalan Tun Razak on foot at peak hour traffic in 7 seconds or less. No second chance.
  • Go for dental check-up.

Your suggestions are most welcome.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Bob the Malaysian Builder

My daughter loves to watch the cartoon 'Bob the Builder’ on cable TV. Its quite entertaining, kinda reminds me of the stop motion claymation of the old days, although this one probably uses far more advanced techniques.

If you’re not familiar with this show, it’s about a construction guy called Bob with his blue cat, talking machinery (cement mixer, forklift, excavator, you get the picture) and a young girl named Wendy. Each episode usually features the gang facing a ‘construction’ problem and how they work together to solve it. Together with the talking and moving machinery.

Having worked in the construction line for many years, I would like to point out a few differences between what is portrayed in the show and with real life for the benefit of you and your children, in case they grow up having a warped view of our local construction industry:

  • In the show, the 'building' work is done by Bob and Wendy the teenage girl, and sometimes with the help of the talking machinery. In real life, the actual work is done by chain-smoking & swearing Chinese sub-sub-sub-contractors. Actually, they seldom do the work. That job is for the Indonesian/Burmese/Pakistani labourers. The Chinese bosses usually drink tea and swear loudly on the phone.
  • Bob’s machinery talk, dance, sing and move by themselves. They are brightly coloured, clean and new all the time. Whereas in real life, the machinery don’t talk, they just snarl and scream, leak hydraulic fluid and engine oil, look like they survived the Second World War and are usually coloured yellow and caked in mud. The smoke emission from these machinery can kill birds.
  • There’s a live scarecrow on the show. I’m not really sure exactly what he does. In our construction world, the stink from the portable toilets and temporary labourer camps scare away the birds and attract health inspectors.
  • At the end of each episode, there’s always a neat lesson to be learnt, usually about teamwork, friendship or something goody-two-shoes issue. In real life, the only lessons I’ve heard so far are: “Wah, that day this supervisor got killed by a falling bricks, lah”; “DBKL coming! DBKL coming!”; “Next time, tell your children all don’t work in construction-lah”; “Today got overtime, aah?” etc…

    Despite the shocking inaccuracies, I still enjoy the show. But I just wonder when is someone going to make a kiddie show featuring these real life elements…

Friday, February 18, 2005

In Cold Blood


PETALING JAYA: The 26-year-old co-owner of a children’s boutique was sexually assaulted and stabbed to death in her shoplot at a newly opened shopping complex in Mutiara Damansara here.
Goh Lee Fang, 26, who had multiple stab wounds on her body, was found by one of her partners at 1.15pm yesterday sprawled in a pool of blood at the back office of the Ovo - The Difference boutique, located on the first floor of the Curve.

What is our nation coming to? A woman is murdered in cold-blood, in what is perceived to the up-market, high society area of PJ. And the Curve is hardly even a few months old.

Looks like a crime of passion. I dunno. Everyday seems to bring more and more of these stories.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Some of My Favourite Discs

I haven’t bought a CD for awhile. Due to some cost-cutting measures when I was getting married, I had to stop this luxury. And till today, I buy like max 1 a year. My pal Dave the Slayer still buys RM300 worth of tapes and CDs a month (Including Ker-rang and Metal Hammer magazines). I think he is personally supporting 50% of the revenue of that music store at Campbell Plaza. Headbangers around the city will know that middle age lady store owner very well.

The last CD I got was 2 years ago, Our Favorite Things by Tony Bennett, Charlotte Church, Placido Domingo & Vanessa Williams. Very disappointing. At that time I was really impressed by my pal’s copy of Charlotte Church’s Voice of an Angel. Anyway, randomly, here are some of my favourite discs in my vast collection. All of them represent a certain phase in my life, and they really help me get through some bad patches much easier (and still do).

Metallica by Metallica – the legendary ‘black’ album, and the one that started the whole metal thing for me. I first heard Nothing Else Matters and Enter the Sandman on Singapore radio and it blew me away. I’ve since bought many other of their older and newer albums. Nothing beats old school Metallica. My favourite song, though is not on this album is Fade to Black (on Ride the Lightning). No, it doesn’t make me wanna commit suicide.

Triumph of Steel by Manowar – You can have your Megadeths, Whitesnakes or Testaments, but nobody makes album like Manowar. In fact, there IS no other band like Manowar. (their first track Achilles: Agony & Ecstasy In Eight Parts runs for 28 minutes). Plus, there is Master of the Wind.

Triumphal Return by Whitecross – Aah, Christian metal (a.k.a white metal), so misunderstood, never accepted, now forgotten. But this has to be the pinnacle of that strange music genre caught between two worlds of the secular and spiritual. My RM8 cassette (from Kingdom Rock in SS2) is now koyak already, but the memories still remain.

Fire & Love by Guardian – A far better engineered album by a more talented group than Whitecross, Guardian delivers this masterpiece that I still play today.

Discovery by Pet Shop Boys – Heart, It’s a Sin, West End Girls and my favourite track, Rent.

This article will be continued. When I feel like it. Watch this space.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Watch This Movie!!!

Here’s a movie you must watch : “Dodgeball - the True Underdog Story”.

Now, before you go on to tell me that the reviewers gave it a bad rating, saying that it’s a formulaic, juvenile, run-of-the-mill movie, I’ll say this. It’s funny.

I won’t go into a fanboy play-by-play review here, there’s many places on for the Net where you can get it. And besides, I don't want to give out any spoilers to ruin it for you, just my intellectual views.

Why? Firstly, it’s funny. I know I’ve said that before. I have a tendency to repeat myself, sometimes. I have a tendency to repeat myself, sometimes.

Secondly, it tells a story of a laid-back little guy battling the mega-corporation bad guy. And the little guy wins, against the odds. But he doesn’t get the girl, although there’s a funny story why. Must watch it yourself to appreciate the joke.

Thirdly, the little guy is surrounded by a bunch of social misfits that are his friends and double-up as his dodgeball teammates. There’s this guy who thinks he’s a real pirate. A high-school loser who dreams of making the cheerleading team (he’s a guy). An accountant type middle-age guy with a Russian mail-order bride. And a few others too funny to mention here.

Fourthly, it promotes team spirit and fairplay in competitive sports. No, I’m joking.

Fifthly, there’s this line in the movie that goes, “I want you to meet my team – Blaze... Laser... Blazer…” Still laughing thinking about it.

And lastly, two words for you - Ben Stiller. Need I say more?

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

England Squad Woes

Now that the holidays are over and Arsenal has virtually lost the Premiership title, let's talk about something less depressing - the England squad. It is strange that the 23 member composition of this team can stir so much controversy and debate all over the world, and especially by third class bloggers half a world away that have never even set foot in the British Isles.

Over the past 2 years, the two positions that have been the most problematic for Sven Goran-Eriksson would be rightback and left wing.

Let's talk about the left wing position first. It is ironic that England has a shortage of good leftwingers. Most of the world's best players in that position play in England. Pires, Kewell, Duff, Giggs earn their keep in the Premiership week in and week out. More painful for Sven and all England is that Giggs could have easily turned out for the three Lions, but now proudly wears the dragon of Wales. Ditto for Duff, but that's a long story.

So Sven has 2 options on the left wing. Either play a good right-footer in that position (either a right winger or central midfielder) or, play an inexperienced leftie. He has tried the first choice before, the list of players trudging uncomfortably down that left passage include Gerrard, Scholes, Wright-Phillips, Jenas, Joe Cole, etc. If he plays option 2, it would be Wayne Bridge. It speaks volumes when in some games Ashley Cole plays left wing better Bridge. Stewart Downing has recently emerged as another choice. However, Downing is not in the same class as say, Pires or Giggs, and it is only by a twist of luck that he can wear the national jersey. Perhaps he may grow to be into a great player one day, who knows. But left wing is too important a position to gamble on a greenhorn. But too bad for Sven, he has not many options. Some people are touting Lee Hendrie of Aston Villa, but I don't think he'll get a chance.

Now on to right back. I can understand why left wing is difficult to fill, there are more righties in the world as compared to lefties. Which makes the rightback situation baffling. Currently Gary Neville plays for England, backed up by either Jamie Carragher or Matthew Upson. Neville is way past his sell-by date, Carragher does not play regularly in that position, Gunner-reject Upson is not experienced enough to play in the World Cup.

Again the problem is the lack of English rightbacks in the Premiership. As the EPL gets more and more popular and cashloaded every season, more and more foreigners are flocking there, which means less and less Englishmen playing regularly. Ironically Sven has no such problems for left back, Ashley Cole probably has that position locked for the next 8 years or so. As for centreback, the are at least 8 good players lining up to fill the 2 slots - Campbell, Ferdinand, Terry, King, Southgate, Brown, Woodgate, etc.

So until the next qualifier for Germany '06, the debates will still go on.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Not Feeling Great

Well, it had started as a fine CNY holiday but yesterday, it hit rock bottom for me. I had a loud disagreement with my parent's neightbour (not the nice Malay family having a kenduri kahwin, the other one). The reason for the bust-up is irrelevant, I don't want to talk so much about it. I guess it has been a building up for a few years now, since they moved in.

I'm pissed off at myself for losing my cool, and to let myself to be bothered by the petty stuff. I haven't felt so bothered about other people like this for a long time now. I remember when I was growing up, there were many occasions, helped by the fact that there many jerks out there. Usually rich jerks who like to pick on the poor, little guy. As the years went by it became less common, prolly becoz I learnt to stand up to them, or not be bothered by them so much. But this incident really burns.

I hope I can get over it soon.

Let's talk about tailgaters on Malaysian highways. You know what a tailgater is, they drive at 200km/h on the fast lane of the highway, come a few inches behind your car and flash at you until you move aside for them to pass. They usually drive either
  • Mercedes (or BMW) or some imported expensive car I can't pronounce;
  • 4WDs or
  • those Mat racing with their souped-up Wiras.
Obviously, they are above the law, they don't need to obey the speed limit, unlike commoners like you and me. Their time is too important and expensive to be wasted on something like road safety or civic consciousness. Traffic summonses? Who cares? RM150 is spare change for me, what?! Summon me lah!

Anyway, here's a joke I found off the Net. Kinda tells how I'm feeling at the moment:
When Joe's wife ran away, he got so depressed that his doctor sent him to see a psychiatrist. Joe told the psychiatrist his troubles and said, "Life isn't worth living."
"Don't be stupid, Joe," said the psychiatrist. "Let work be your salvation. I want you to totally submerge yourself in your work. Now, what do you do for a living?"
"I clean out septic tanks," Joe replied.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

First Day of The Rooster

Well, I here in my hometown celebrating the first day of the rooster. Last night there was a massive fireworks party that lasted for more than half an hour all over town. Yes, there is also a fireworks ban being enforced at the moment.

I expected all towns across Malaysia would be the same.

My Malay neigbour is having a kenduri kahwin for his son tomorrow. So we're having problems getting out of the driveway due to the canopy in front of the house. I must go to the monkey park this evening! It's a sacred tradition!

This will be the first kenduri kahwin that will be serving nasi minyak together with mandarin oranges.

Until this evening, when hopefully I can give a report on the visit to the monkey park.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Some Good Advice for Chinese New Year

There's two more days to go until the big day. Anyhows, for those of you reading this, here are some tips and pointers for surviving the holiday season (some of it from experience):

  1. Try not to pig out on too much BBQ meat / cookies / keropok / munchies. It'll take forever to work off the pounds you put on in 5 days.
  2. If you're still not married and over 30, better be prepared with the barrage of "so when are you getting married" and "why no girlfriend/boyfriend" questions.
  3. There will be at least 3 concert specials on TV - usually featuring Andy Lau, Sammi Cheng and/or Aaron Kwok.
  4. You don't get ang pow after 21 years of age. Even if you're still not married.
  5. More than one relative or friend will say to you "Wah, long time no see, you put on weight already ah!" (This happens even though you know you've actually lost weight).
  6. Eating too much mandarin oranges can be bad for your cough. And it makes your fingernails dirty. Ditto for kuaci.
  7. Your nephews and nieces seem to naughtier and louder every year.
  8. Your parents' friends will come and visit at the most inopportune time, like when your favourite TV show is about to start or when you are about to defeat the big boss on PS2.
  9. Your neighbours and their visitors will indiscriminately park in front of your house gate and block you. Even though it wide open and you are reversing out.
  10. With all the elderly uncles and aunties around, you again reminded of your shockingly poor grasp of dialect...
  11. There's nothing good to watch on local TV. Unless you love those re-run Jet Li & Jackie Chan movies.
  12. You subconsciously compare the size your car with your relatives' and friends'.
  13. Ban or no ban, those pesky kids next door will be letting off firecrackers like there is no tomorrow. At 4pm in the afternoon.
  14. Waking up too late in the morning gives you a headache.
  15. Unless you're into gambling or partying, there isn't much to do after midnight.
  16. Drink lots of water. Its gonna be blazing hot for the next few days.

and lastly...

  1. On the first day of work after the holiday, you will check the calender for the next coming public holiday!

Anyway, Happy New Year everyone!!!

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Chinese Zodiac

The other day my wife and I were discussing about the 12 animals of the chinese zodiac. As Christians we don't believe in the significance of the zodiac (both English or Chinese) and whatever characteristics the animals represent, but as Chinese people, it has always been a source of fun and entertainment for my family.

Shockingly the both of us could not even remember the 12 animals correctly, let alone the order. After a few minutes of stumbling in the dark, we whipped out a note book and started listing down the years. We went like, "OK, my brother was born in 1967, he's definitely a goat" etc using our friends as points of reference. Let me just note that I'm not saying my brother is a real goat, nor does he acts or look like one, only that he was born in the year of the goat. Must clarify that...

So after like ten minutes we got the final list:

Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Ram (goat), Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Boar.

I just check on the 'Net and found out that the rat was the first in the cycle. I remember a story about how the rat tricked the cat in a race to enter the listing of the zodiac. Something like the "Ancient China's Amazing Race for the Top Twelve Animals". Or "Survivor China : Make the List or Be Eaten". That was supposed to be the reason for why cats hated rats. But the story clearly makes no mention on why dogs hate cats. Or if a real 20 foot dragon actually appeared in the flesh for this particular race.

Which makes me wonder - what happened the to other animals who did not make the list? Did they not come for the race / selection? Or did they actually come but came in 13th place and below? For example, I wonder if the Dou Na the Duck actually came in 27th because he chose the wrong coach. Or if Jiang Bo the Elephant failed to read the route marker properly or was voted out in the tribal council. Or did Wei Ni the Bear get 2 yellow cards for an illegal challenge on Yi Or the Donkey?

This is all very mysterious. I suspect the Han Dynasty suppressed vital information on what really happened. Maybe after 5000 years, the historical documents and telephone transcripts can be declassified and finally revealed to the eager public.

Maybe I'll finally find out the real reason why lion only dance during Chinese New Year, but not when see them at the zoo.

Friday, February 04, 2005

3 Complaints

For those of you who spend at least two hours in the car everyday caught in the jam (like me), you would have heard the ad on the radio by a certain government agency. It’s in Bahasa Malaysia, and it’s done in a rap style.

Here’s my take on it – ITS BAD! REALLY BAD!

I’ve nothing against rap or Bahasa Malaysia, but the ad sounds like a ‘pantun’ written by a 12-year Vanilla Ice fan! If this was 1988 when MC Hammer just got started with the rap thing, I can understand it. But this is 2005! Hello?! Have you heard of Kanye West? Black Eyed Peas? 50 cent? Just watch MTV and see how hip-hop has progressed with the times!
OK, second rant. Traffic jams – BAD.
:( :(

Third point. Let’s get back to radio ads. How many ads have you heard in the past 2 months that sound almost alike? I can think of 3 of them that go something like this (try to picture them in annoying stereotypical Malaysian voices):

Annoying Person A – Hello, how are you?
Annoying Person B – Can’t talk now! Got to go that place to buy this thing at so-much-so-much. Plus they giving this-thing-this-thing FREE!
Annoying Person A – Really?! This thing at that place at so-much-so-much price? Plus they giving this-thing-this-thing FREE? How can?!
(at this point I must note that they have to repeat that line of conversation to emphasize the point. Yeah, like in a REAL conversation…)
Annoying Person B – Yeah, can you believe…
Annoying Person A – toot… toot…toot…
(sound of phone after hanging up)
Annoying Person B – Hello? Hello?

Wow, even I can write radio ads!

New Year in those days

Another 5 days to go until Chinese New Year. Apart looking forward to the holiday (read: no work), I can't seem to get into the spirit of the season. I watched this documentary on Nat Geo once about the celebrations in China. It said that the New Year meant the most to the very young and the very old. How true.

Chinese New Year as a small kid for me was a blast. We would be in Malacca, at my paternal grandmother's place. My grandmother, being a respected matriach of the clan, would have a long stream of visitors and relatives. That meant cousins and lots of fun times.

We always hung a red cloth around and above our door, a custom special only to Hakkas in Malacca. As a Christian, its mirrors the passover practice, a significance lost on us at that age.

As I look back now, I can remember a lot of discreet practices that I rarely see these days - small lime tree in our porch, the traditional dinner dishes, the annual gathering for family photograph, white cherry blossom in the living room, etc...

Sadly once my revered grandmother passed on many years ago, we stopped going to Malacca and eventually stopped celebrating New Year. Partly because I was born a Christian, and New Year meant more as a family gathering and not a religious festival.

I remember from very young on, I always told people that 'my family didn't really celebrate New Year'.

I'm looking forward to spending the holidays at home finishing my books, watching my brother's VCDs, watching American Idol and Amazing Race, and going to my in-laws in Ipoh, where the celebrations are on a full-blown grand scale.

I'm everywhere I go, I'm bringing my jogging shoes with me. This is to counter the effects of the bak kua.


Kenny would have been safely cremated by now.

In sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life through our
Lord Jesus Christ, we commend to Almighty God our brother Kenny, and we commit his
body to the ground; earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. The Lord
bless him and keep him, the Lord make his face to shine upon him and be gracious
to him, the Lord lift up his countenance upon him and give him peace. Amen.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

One Of Our Own...

Today has started on a poignant note. An acquaintance of mine, Kenny has passed on to be with the Lord. He is not even 30 yet, but in the short time he has been on earth, it is more than obvious he has his fair share of hardship and cruel irony.

In our world today, the passing from life to the hereafter has been trivialized and over-sentimentalized for whatever reasons beyond me. For Kenny, I wish I had known him better, and he has by all means fought a good fight.

See you in heaven on that glorious day.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
John 14:6

In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread

Till you return to the ground,
For out of it you were taken;
For dust you are,
And to dust you shall return."
Genesis 3:19

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
II Timothy 2:7

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

A Very Public Holiday

Yesterday was 1st February, City Day. Or Federal Territory Day, a public holiday for KL, Labuan and Putrajaya. When I was studying in JB, their City Day was on 1st January. (Johor does not celebrate New Year’s Day – for reason please refer to Tingkatan 2 Sejarah textbook).

Most KL people see City Day as a trade-off with Thaipusam. KL celebrates City Day but not Thaipusam, the opposite applies for Selangor. Complicated? Not really. Wait til we talk about Nuzul Quran. The important thing is that it’s a holiday. And for Malaysians, public holidays is a pretty touchy subject. In most private offices, a large portion of time in January is spent planning and talking about this matter. You’ll hear things like, “Wah, so many holidays fall on Saturday, wan. Wasted only lah” or “If I take Friday and Monday off, I get 6 days off, man!” and so on.

Last month at work, we were asked to submit our annual leave schedule. Now this is something new to some of us. How on earth are we going to plan for something 6 to 12 months from today?! My colleague, who like me, came from a contractor background commented that working with a contractor, people only talked about, not annual leave. Any mention of annual leave would probably result in a reprimand from the management.

Anyway, back to yesterday. You would think that it would have been a great idea to get some errands done around town where it was a working day. Fat chance. The whole place was jammed up with snarling traffic. With some professional maneuvering around the roads, I managed to escape to jams and get to the banks. Some of my friends who were working in PJ told me the traffic in the morning was worse than usual.

On the plus side, I have only 3 and a half working days to reach my Chinese New Year break. Woo-hoo! See? We can’t stop talking about public holidays!!

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