Thursday, February 28, 2008

This And That

I'm bored. Left and right all I hear is about politics and the upcoming GE. Any Tom, Dick or Harry (or to be politically correct - Thiruselvam, Dahari or Hong Swee) is doing a discourse on politics on their blogs. If it's not brainless bashing and childish name calling, it's brainless bashing and childish name calling. Oh for the love of God, enough already.

Since I am steering away from talking about politics (I did it once, sorta), I wanna do a mindless post just to give you folks a bit of a variety.

I firmly believe you should get a load of these (if you haven't already):
Rama - Bertahan
Tokio Hotel - Monsoon
Gamma - Lost In Love
Avenged Sevenfold - Almost Easy
Red Jumpsuit Apparatus - Your Guardian Angel
The Killers - Don't Shoot Me Santa
Athlete - Wires
Chris Cendana - Apologize (cover version)

They're heavily played on my playlist now, and yes some are old. Hey, let me know what songs are you listening to. Ohh, no Sigur Ros please. I think I've OD-ed on Sigur Ros recently. I'm still listening to lotsa Indonesian music, which has consistently produced good music. Hattan was saying on TV the other day how Indonesian music that came to our shores are thrash, unartistic stuff. Well, let's see you coming out with something artistic and listenable. To be fair, they have a far bigger talent pool. Something good gotta come out when you have 235 million people living (and probably singing in the showers) over there.

Which makes me wonder, when are we going to stop with the singing reality TV shows? It was entertaining to me during the auditions (good source of laughter, I kid you not), but when the show starts proper it would suck badly. Sikit2 nangis sikit2 nangis, duduk rumah je la. I'm sure you know which show I'm talking about. Malaysian Idol is not much better. Nor do the 327 other singing reality shows our TV stations are putting on air. Our population is only slightly more than 10% of Indonesia's, do we need that many shows?

From politics to reality tv shows, that's big diversion. Or not. We can do Who Wants To Be A Politician, or Akademi Politik you know. Maybe I should join those. Support me guys, just text APUNDI THEBANKER and send it to 32999. Bersatu Ke Arah Kemajuan! *some patriotic song playing in the background*

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Lovers' Luncheon

This is my first post using my spanking new internet connection at home! Using my new Aspire 4920 no less, hehe.

Anyway, I'm way overdue for this posting. I know I promised someone I would blog about it ages ago, so here it is.

I decided to cook for my girlfriend last weekend. I scouted around for a simple recipe that I think I can make, simple yet tasty. After some deliberation, I decided on the following menu:

Starter: strawberries dipped in chocolate, chilled.
Main course: chicken parmesan with steamed baby potatoes and seared cherry tomatoes.
Dessert: peach melba.

It turned out well, and the kitchen miraculously escaped unharmed for the most part. Since I'm a huge fan of the food channel on Astro, I decided to make use of whatever I gleaned from it. So how did it turned out? You tell me.


Does it look like anything Gordon Ramsay might churn out from his kitchen? Haha.


I substituted the raspberries in the recipe for strawberries instead since I can't find any. Cold vanilla ice cream topped with warm peach melba. Sinful!


Since we don't drink, apple juice came closest. Presented in tall green bottles and served in wine flutes, sure looked the part.

Well, she loved it and I'm glad it did turn out like I imagined it would be. After all the trouble of getting the right menu, ingredients, napkins, cutleries and presentation, I would be stumped if it turned south. Relieved, is an understatement.

Then again, I would be in trouble if I can't outdo myself next year!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A Love Story

There was a man just now. Clothes dirty with dirt and grime, hair mangy and unkempt. An Indian man, probably one of the countless homeless people wandering the streets of KL. I looked at him the same way I looked at pillars, or boxes, or pavements - with no emotions.

Then in an instance he changed how I saw him. He took out an RM1o note from his pocket, and looked at it long and hard. He rubbed his stomache, hungry no doubt. He looked at the food on display, and looked again at his money. All the while his hand was rubbing the grumbling tummy. He seemed torn. He probably wasn't sure whether should he spend the money on food now, or wait until he's desperate for it. The look on his face alone struck me like a hammerblow, displaying his unsureness and desperation all at once. In my mind, I'm almost sure he would just leave without eating a single morsel, saving the money for later. And perhaps that was what he was thinking too.

Just then the lady who owned the stall gave him a polysterene pack filled to the brim with rice, vegetables and fish. He quickly offered his note to the lady, and she just waved it away. She even gave him a can of Zappel for free, attending to him like he's just another paying customer like me. She treated him with dignity. This twist again struck me a blow, the kindness shown by this Malay lady really moved me. It was unasked, unforced. I thought this scene could get no better.

But it did. The man ate maybe half of his share at one of the empty tables. Then, probably sated his hunger pangs, he stood up and offered the rest of his food to the rest of us. Imagine that, him offering his food to us, the moneyed patrons who might not even blink an eye to pay Rm10 (or RM100 for some) for our food. The man who had least was the most thoughtful of us all, oh the irony of it.

I am terribly humbled. This is humanity at its' core. The hungry man who has nothing was offered salvation by the lady, a stranger who saved him the tough decision, money and dignity of not having to beg. Yet, he has the thought to offer his meagre share to everyone else, while we did not even think of offering ours to him. Both of them showed me what is it that's missing in our world. It is pure, unspoken and unheralded basic love for our fellow human beings. Happy Valentine's day, folks.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Sometimes I wonder if I'm doing the right thing.

I have never imagined that I would be a banker. My first ever ambition, way back in standard one was to be a fireman. You know how it was, the teacher would ask all the kids in class what do they want to be when they grow up and you'll get mostly standard answers - doctors, teachers, soldiers, policemen, nurses, firemen etc. I was part of the norm, I wanted to be a fireman because I thought it would be cool to slide down the pole like on the telly. Seriously.

Then somehow I got interested in dinosaurs, so I wanted to be a paleontologist, a nightmare for my class teachers to pronounce and (no disrespect intended) much less know what it was. Realization (that there's no dinosaurs' remains to be found in Malaysia) hit me when I reached standard four, so I changed it to a archeologist instead. By standard six, I befriended an Indian boy named Bhuvan. He introduced me to the world of aviation. That boy was nuts about airplanes, I wonder if he did become a pilot like we always talked about in those days. I kept that dream all the way until SPM.

After SPM, mom dashed that dream when I told her about it. Tak payah la jadi pilot, nanti dah ada anak bini susah. I was disappointed, yet I understood her rationale. I was at a lost, don't know what I want to do. I decided upon pursuing economics, but dad talked me out of it. Finally we agreed on engineering. A decision that I would kick myself for the next five years for. Before graduation, I got the offer to join this bank and I took it with no reservations as I was not looking forward to become an engineer.

15 months on, here I am wondering if this is for me. I bet most people would experience this, that I gather from chats with friends. I wonder if it's just a temporary thing or it would grow like a tumor, eating at me until I had enough and leave it all behind to pursue something else altogether. Even then, what would I do?

Sorry, I'm not interested in existentialism at large, questioning my raison d'etre, my significance in the grand scale of things. Such things bores me. My questions of life are on a much more smaller scale, much less pomp and grandeur than Kierkegaard and Nietzsche would ever find interest in.

This is not a question that I can actually discuss with anyone for no one is better prepared to answer it than myself. I do talk about it with my girlfriend, with my close friends, yet no one had any absolute answer. No one had the cure, but they served as the painkillers. Their thoughts, suggestions and ideas are often well-meaning and proffered with care, they keep me going. Yet I still wonder.

And in this, perhaps I stand alone.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Natasha The Poet (Not!)

Haha, I can't stop laughing. Have you heard about the poetry book by Natasha Hudson? My mom was sceptical when the book first came out, she said something to the effect that if she can write poetry and publish a book of it then anyone else also can.

Well, mom was right. Natasha can't write for shit. She just translated poems and published them as her own, all the while maintaining that it's her own personal work. If one line is uncannily similar, it could be coincidence. If one whole poem is similar, maybe it's still a coincidence. But three?! See below:

Kek Coklat
(Supposedly by Natasha Hudson)

Saya mahu satu kehidupan
Kamu mahu sesuatu yang lain
Kita tidak dapat makan kek coklat
Jadi kita makan sesama sendiri

(By Roger McGough)

I wanted one life
You wanted another
We couldn't have our cake
So we ate each other
Si Kura-Kura Kecil
(Supposedly by Natasha Hudson)

Ada seekor kura-kura kecil
tinggal di dalam kotak
berenang di tepi tasik
memanjat di atas batu

dia cuba menggigit nyamuk
dia cuba menggigit kutu
dia cuba menggigit berudu
dia cuba menggigit aku

dia berjaya menangkap nyamuk
dia berjaya menangkap kutu
dia berjaya menangkap berudu
tetapi dia tidak berjaya menangkap aku

I Have a Little Turtle
(By Nicholas Vachel Lindsay)

There was a little turtle.
He lived in a box.
He swam in a puddle.
He climbed on the rocks.

He snapped at a mosquito.
He snapped at a flea.
He snapped at a minnow.
And he snapped at me.

He caught the mosquito.
He caught the flea.
He caught the minnow.
But he didn't catch me.
Mentega Kuning, Jelly Ungu, Jam Merah, Roti Hitam
(Supposedly by Natasha Hudson)

Mentega kuning, jelly ungu, jam merah, roti hitam
ratakan tebal
katakan cepat
ratakan tebal
katakan cepat

sekarang ulang
sambil kamu makan
sekarang ulang
sambil kamu makan
janganlah bercakap
bila mulut kamu penuh

Things We Like to Eat
(By Mary Ann Hoberman)

Yellow butter, purple jelly, red jam, black bread.
Spread it thick,Say it quick.
Yellow butter, purple jelly, red jam, black bread
Spread it thicker,Say it quicker.

Yellow butter, purple jelly, red jam, black bread
Now repeat it,While you eat it.
Yellow butter, purple jelly, red jam, black bread
Don't talkWith your mouth full!

Don't it just reeks of Babelfish-ism? I first read about it here. I say spread the word and let the world know how much a poet Natasha really is. It pains me to see such beautiful words being carelessly translated, word for word almost but none of the original soul included. Worser still that she claimed that is is hers. Shame.

Dear readers, spread the word. This sort of blatant plagiarism is not acceptable bar none. If you care to google around abit about this, then you can even read her own comments trying to defend herself by again reiterating that it's her own personal work. Sigh. Bodoh tak reti diajar?

Anyway, here's me doing a Natasha Hudson as well:

Usah berdiri di pusaraku dan menangis
Aku bukan disitu, aku tidak tidur
Aku di dalam seribu angin berlalu
Aku ialah seribu salju-salju
Aku ialah gerimis perlahan
Aku ialah padi masak di bendang
Aku di dalam pagi yang tenang
Aku di dalam kelembutan cepatnya
burung-burung berpusingan terbang
Aku ialah sinar bintang malam
Aku ialah bunga yang berkembangan
Aku di dalam bilik sepi
Aku di dalam burung yang menyanyi
Aku di dalam semua yang indah
Usah berdiri di pusaraku dan menangis
Aku bukan di situ, aku tidak mati.

Tell me if you know who wrote the original one. Wait, of course it's me! Heh.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Cendoi And Chandan

Went back to Kuala Kangsar for the weekend with Eddie and Izrin. Started our journey at about 9.30am Friday morning, stopped by Tanjung Malim for breakfast at Yik Mun, and arrived in Kuale at about 12.45pm. Checked into Double Lion, and went to the mosque for Friday prayers.

Afterwards went to catch up with Ms Grace before meeting up with Hj Manan '75. Lunch at Yut Loy is a must, so off we go to indulge in the succulent paus. After lunch, I was hoping to acquire (or purchase if need be) our batch's film negatives from Lisse. They were the folks who took the batch picture in '96, '98 and '00. After trudging up the steep stairs to Lisse, we were told that they did not keep any of the old negatives. Either the lady owner lacked the vision, or she just didn't care. She could've made some more money out of those negatives, and I'm sure we were not the first ones to come inquiring about it. She showed us a recent batch pic that they took, and it looked like some horrible page out of SMK Hulu Banat's yearbook! It has garrish green/blue border around the boys, and there's a caption on top proclaiming the picture was taken in 1996 of a certain batch. Below the pic, there's the list of names. Come on, just because Photoshop is very common nowadays, doesn't mean you have to do it like that. What I pity. I would think hard about putting that kind of pic on my wall.

Later on, Eddie went to coach the ruggers while me and Izrin went up to Bukit Chandan for a driveabout to kill time. Went to Sayong too just to use the Sultan Abdul Jalil bridge. Topped it all with a trip to the cendoi stall. The same proprietor used to have his stall by the roundabout near the Post Office, and we would sit by the wall of the adjacent building sipping our lovely cendoi while cars zipped past not too far away from us. It was so old school, the uncle used sawdust as his anti-melting material for his ice. The bench that we sat on was actually balanced over a drain, we would be doing a balancing act by a roundabout at a rickety stall. Talk about fun!

After going back to the room to shower and change, it's time to go to stesen (the train station) for dinner. Since Cik Nah is no longer around, we had to eat at some other stall. The food frankly sucked, and made me miss Cik Nah's NGA (nasi goreng ayam, fried rice with chicken lah) more.

The next day, we started out with breakfast at Kawkee in Lembah. I had what I always have there - chicken pau and mee goreng basah topped with loadsa cili jeruk. Then it's onwards to Galeri Sultan Azlan Shah. It's a converted istana methinks, and it's filled with interesting exhibits connected to Sultan Azlan Shah of Perak. Spent a few hours there, and was going to Istana Kuning (aka Istana Kenangan) as well but unfortunately it is closed down for renovation works.
Stopped by Ubudiah mosque as well to pray and to take pictured of the old (and dilapitated now) Perak house beside it. The house was immortalised in a painting we saw at the Galeri.

Then on, Eddie went for 2nd training session while I went pic snapping of koleq with Izrin. Curiosity uncurbed, we went to Latek's house yet again to get more photos. We went once on Friday, but it was too short a visit to sate our curiosities. Took pics until my battery die out on me (which reminds me to buy a spare battery). Went to drink the famous herbal tea before heading back to the field to wait for Eddie. Finally we left koleq at about 7.30pm.

In all these years, I have never actually gone around Kuale as a tourist, taking in the sights et cetera. 12 years after first setting sights of this slow and sleepy town in the bosoms of Perak, I finally did just that. It was a well spent 2 days, and I'm cured of my longings for good ole Kuale food.

As for the age old question, which pau is better - it is Kawkee's for me. Yut Loy came second and Yik Mun trails the pair. Kawkee's is the most succulent and tasty, while Yut Loy's is a bit less juicy causing it to take numero deux. Yik Mun's that most KLites like to rave about? Dry and definitely no contest for Kawkee's or Yut Loy's, and I swear I'm being objective in this survey of chicken paus!