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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Haze, Rain and the Stock Market

Haze, rain (flood and traffic jams), haze, rain (flood and...), haze...

I'm beginning to see a pattern emerging here.

After one week of lung choking haze, number of MC's increase. Yes, I contributed one day, too. Then the papers will be out with their swords against those people contributing to the haze e.g. evil logging companies, poor enforcement by neighbouring companies, restaurants serving sizzling steaks, etc.

Then comes one day of super heavy rain.

I guarantee you the next day there'll be front page pictures comparing the 'haze' and 'no haze' KL skyline. Usually with Mat Salleh tourist pointing to the sky. (Yes, everyone, don't forget the haze will be turned into a major tourist event for Visit Malaysia Year 2007).

Traffic jams and floodings caused by the heavy downpour, aiyah, that one we Malaysians used to it la, if you're caught in it, who ask you to leave the office so late? Very busy izzit? Year end evaluation long time more, lah...

The other day in the thick of the haze, when i couldn't even see 200m ahead of the road in the morning, the radio news was telling me that the API reading for KL is still not at dangerous level yet, only 120 or something. 'Dangerous level' is defined at 300. Geez, i can imagine what 300 would look like. If the API=100, i get 1 day MC, then API=300 i might get 3 days.

I suspect that the API readings have a strange correlation with the KLCI, but have yet to see the significance of it. Well, at least the API increases, can't really say the same for the KLCI, so...

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Being A Millionaire By The Age 30

If you've been reading the papers recently, they've been doing a series of interviews with loads of people from different industries about their job, i think it has something to do with some Education Fair. They always end the interview with a question about whether you can be a millionaire by the age 30.

Oh, sure, everybody wants to be a millionaire by 30. Heck better still, most people regret they didn't win the genetic lottery and be born as Bill Gates' kid.

But then of course, you and I know it's far more difficult than it seems, unless:
  • You do it via the less-than-legal way,

  • You're a hot chick and marry a millionaire,

  • You've got some freaky talent like singing or sports or swallowing snakes or something like that.

Anyway, for the rest of us, we can only give excuses when our children asks us why we can't go to Disneyland like all that anak Datuk...

Excuses For Not Being A Millionaire By Age 30

  • "The very low fixed deposit rate of 3.7% per annum has slightly delayed by first million by another 35.4 years. But I still have faith in the magic of compound interest to make that happen."

  • "Somehow I think I overestimated the demand and underestimated the market saturation of direct selling beauty products and scented air purifiers. Apparently Avon and Amway are doing it too! And my upline promised me I can be millionaire if I believed in my mind I can do it! Damn it! Too bad my joining fee of RM10,000 isn’t refundable. And to think my Diamond ArchEmperor status would mean something…"

  • "I did my market research well, but too bad, Malaysia isn’t ready for my concept upmarket bistro-cum-deli serving espresso and Vietnam style fried grasshoppers and cockroaches. Losing money there was tough, but now I’m looking to bring Thailand tuk-tuks to the streets of KL…"

  • "I did a calculation on Excel. In order to be a millionaire by 30, I needed a reasonable pay increase of X amount. Unfortunately, my boss didn’t warm to the idea. So I had to kiss goodbye to that dream."

  • "I set up a PayPal tip jar in my pr0n website, takings have been a little slow these two years. Not to mention how offensive the gahmen has been with me. And they say they ‘support’ local entrepreneurs."

  • "I had this fantastic plan of to bring in mobile self-cleaning toilets right here in the city! Then someone beat me to it…"

  • "Money isn’t everything, I’m happy to live on potato chips and ketchup as long as I get to play DOTA all day long."

  • "I bought a RM500,000 bungalow for investment last week. The next day, the gahmen announced plans to build a waste treatment plant next door."

Monday, December 18, 2006

Me And The New Espresso Machine

My office has a spanking new espresso machine, and boy, is it a lot of fun.

I’ve never liked all these designer coffee with their fancy names (espresso? Latte? Cappuccino? Apa binatang ini semua?), except for one or two I usually order at Starbucks or Coffee Bean.

You see ah, I like my coffee sweet, like the ones you get at the old town kopitiam. Nescafe is okay la, but getting a right brew is like Mission Impossible. Either too bitter or too sweet or too undrinkable. Plus drinking too much Nescafe will result in one of the following:

  • Yeet hei (heatiness)

  • My pee smelling, um, Nescafe.

  • Any other condition related to item one above, like sore throat, etc.

Anyways, this espresso machine in my office very teh pwn one. The satchets dem expensive one, but I beginning to try out all the different combinations of tastes and methods. So far the decaf latte is my favourite. At least not so yeet hei...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

And Another Thing About My Wonderful Neighbours...

I’ve mentioned my neighbours before, and after a quite few months, they’ve acted up again. As I’m typing now, one of the couples staying there are having a massive shouting matches (I’ve no idea what’s it about, I can’t make out the screaming words at the top of their voices). It’s a bit like those Hong Kong serials really, except they not as good-looking or have designer apartments, and also here they use a lot more vulgarities than on TV. A LOT more.

These shouting matches tend to follow a certain pattern, but I notice it not because I’m so the very paat, but with these thin walls of my low cost house, privacy doesn’t mean much around here.

First girl’s mother comes and visit. Then after a weekend or a week, the old lady goes home. I know this because the old lady will wash everything there is to wash in the house – bedding, tablecloth, mats, etc. that never gets washed unless when she’s around. I also know whenever she’s around because the girl and mother will be trading gossip loudly through the night.

Then after the nice old lady goes home, after a day or two, the guy and girl disagree on something. I can’t say for sure if it really has anything the nice visiting mother, their profanity-laced shoutings are too complicated for me.

After a few minutes of screaming, I can hear things being thrown, doors slammed, and tables (or cupboards) thumped. Not necessarily in that order. Ah, the many splendours of marital bliss...

Then the screaming goes outside, one party (I’m not interested to stick my head outside to see which party) slams car door (heavily modded racerboy Honda Civic), drives off.

The next day things are back to normal, whatever passes for normal around here.

At least until nice old lady visits again.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

This Should Explain A Lot to Most of You

Star: I need a new name for my new image – something that projects my personality and aura to my million of fans worldwide…

Agent: Fans? What fans? Millions?

Star: You know, all those teenage girls that watch my TV show, and that are going to buy my new music CD showing off my awesome undiscovered singing talent.

Agent: (cough, cough) Talent? What talent? Sometimes some things should stay undiscovered. Weren’t you kicked out of the Korean Idol auditions 4 years in a row?

Star: You should hear my new CD. My music is haunting yet beautiful, my recording company is talking about a tour to support the album. You know, lots of MTV-style dancing, showing off my washboard abs and skimpily dressed back-up dancers. There’ll be female dancers, too. MTV is American for “MUSIC TELEVISION”, you know that?

Agent: Oh wow, did you figure out that all by yourself? Which reminds me, have you re-paid your mom and grandma for the liposuction on your stomach?

Star: I’ve been thinking about my name. All this green-eco-environmentally conscious crap seems to be hot, so something along those lines, hor?

Agent: And what did you have in mind? “Greenhouse Gases”? “Polarcaps Melting”? Ooo! Ooo! How about “ChloroFluroCarbon”? Rolls off your tongue, doesn’t it?

Star: No, no. Something short, one word. So that all those screaming girls can fit my name in the signs they hold up during my sell-out concerts. Besides, I have problems with big English words, like ‘contract’ and ‘credibility’.

Agent: How about ‘Bland’? Or ‘Crap’? Oh wait, maybe ‘Lame’?

Star: Are those environmentally-friendly? I’ve been using this awesome space age technology called “Google” on my 10-year nephew’s computer, have you heard of it? It awesome!

Agent: Google? I *think* I’ve heard of it… (rolls eyes)

Star: How about ‘Haze’?

Agent: It’s unhealthy, everybody hates it, it makes people sick, YES, IT’S PERFECT FOR YOU…!

Star: But I dunno, I don’t like words with ‘z’ with in it. Hard to sign my autograph for my millions of screaming fans…

Agent: Hmmm, environmental single syllable words? How about Rain? You’re practically a washout anyway.

Star: Rain? I LIKE IT! I can see it now – the biggest rising star in Asia… RAIN IS COMING!!!

Agent: Then you probably should bring in your mother’s laundry outside…

The Breakfast Club

The other day, tired of wondering which new summer blockbuster to watch on DVD next, I found Pat’s copy of “The Breakfast Club”. What the heck, I thought, its been years since I watched that show…

And the next 90 minutes, I was enthralled as I was transported by to the 80’s, to my secondary school life, to the great music growing up, to our teenage struggles with our identity, our parents, disciplinary teachers, and journey of discovering who we really are inside.

For those grew in a different decade, or never got to watched 'The Breakfast Club', it’s a amazing teen movie by John Hughes. It’s about 5 high school kids forced into detention class early on a Saturday morning for different disciplinary misdemeanours. What followed was a movie that captured the imagination of a generation of youths, and went down as one of the movies that defined the glorious decade.

"...And these children
that you spit on
as they try to change their worlds
are immune to your consultations.
They're quite aware
of what they're going through..."

David Bowie
, shown at the start of the film

5 teens, Emilio Estevez as Andrew the wrestling team jock, Molly Ringwald as Claire, the popular rich daddy’s girl, Anthony Michael Hall as the science geek Brian, the fabulous Ally Sheedy in a career high performance as the runaway basketcase chick Allison, and Judd Nelson puts in a good turn as John Bender, the school problem tough kid. Paul Gleason is the cocky school principal who tries (and fails) to impose his authority on the students (there’s also a creepy Janitor in the mix).

(pic from wikipedia)

8 hours in detention gives the 5 kids a roller-coaster of emotions and bonding, but the kids get over their initial seemingly irreconcilable differences, and find that they share a lot of similarities in life. They share their sexual awakenings, smoke some pot, bitch about parents and ultimately made some new friends.

At the end of the day, the ultimate question of who they really are by their own definition, not by what their parents (who pressure or ignore them all the time) or their teachers want them to be.

If you haven’t seen the movie, watch it. It’s a great movie. Especially if you’re teen, and you think that your parents and teachers don’t really understand you.

Dear Mr. Vernon, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it is we did wrong, but we think you're crazy for making us write an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us, in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain, and an athlete, and a basketcase, a princess, and a criminal. Does that answer your question? Sincerely yours, The Breakfast Club.

A few months a remember watching the MTV movie awards, where they awarded the movie and reunited part of the cast on stage and ran a fitting tribute to the movie. I wonder if anyone has a copy of that clip? I’d love to see it again…

Sunday, December 03, 2006

How To Have A Hit TV Series for Teens

How to have a hit teenage TV series ala the O.C., Dawson’s Creek and One Tree Hill:

  1. Get this group of good-looking, moody actors and actresses. Also ensure they look even better in swimsuits / trunks.

  2. Age downgrading is encourage, i.e. get 21-year-olds to play 18-year-olds, and similarly 18-year-olds to play 16-year-olds.

  3. Adults are limited to roles of exasperated parents and caring teachers. They too must be good-looking, or else cast them as janitors or gardeners.

  4. The teenagers must act like 30-year olds, speak like adults, have complicated love-lives, have emotional crises every 4th episode, etc.

  5. Always have another good-looking character to play your lead’s nemesis. Usually very popular and bitchy, surrounded by a posse. If girl, head cheerleader. If guy, star ball player.

  6. They may be playing characters from a poor background, wear new and trendy clothes everyday and with make-up like Eva Longoria.

  7. Some time in mid-season, to keep the interest going, get a rock star to guest star. And preferably sing a not-too-mouldy hit song.

  8. Don’t forget nail-biting cliff hangers like finding out some of the main characters may turn out to be actually siblings, parents suffering from a life threatening disease or accident. And next season, take at least 5 to 6 episodes to sort it out.

  9. After the first season, get one of your ‘stars’ to release an album / appear in movies.

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