Monday, June 29, 2009

Saigon Days

Got back yesterday to a messy house no thanks to my brother. Dropped the heavy Deuter backpack on the bedroom floor and almost immediately fell asleep.

Only woke up this morning with a groggy head and a massive hunger pang. After sitting it out for a while, that's when the withdrawal starts to kick in. Yes, the post-vacation withdrawal syndrome for those not familiar with it. Symptoms are diorientation, and a heavy feeling inside, though symptoms may vary.

Saigon is a sprawling city made up of numerous narrow buildings packing the small streets. We stayed at one of those buildings along Bui Vien which is made up into a backpackers' hotel. Surprisingly the rooms are very nice and clean with daily maid service plus breakfast, and all for about USD3 per person per night.

Me, Loblo, JJ, Mulder and Abu all have never been to Vietnam before, so we don't really know what to expect. Now I can safely say it is more modern than Phnom Penh, with better sanitation and infrastructure, but not yet near KL or Bangkok's level. The people are friendly enough for the most part, the cabs are cheap if you know which companies to take. The standard rate from Ben Thanh market to our hotel was about 15,000VND, we got ripped off once by a meter-cab which quoted 50,000VND instead. A tip, use Vinasun or Vina Taxi only.

The traffic was crazy. Gazillions of motorbikes, and crossing the roads was like a suicide bid. We did what the locals do - just cross and hope for the best! Yeap, those bike will avoid you smoothly with only a few honks for the trouble. Otherwise just take a cab. Food was very cheap and good, no problem finding halal or at least seafood/vegetarian meals.

Those are the basics, which somehow combined to have this effect on us all, making it so hard to leave it all behind to come back to KL. Would I go again, yes. Definitely.

For pictures, go to

Monday, June 22, 2009


Last Saturday I went up Bukit Broga for the second time. The first time around I managed to get some nice shots, of which my fave is this one:
Arinus Maximus, star of Gladiator part 328

So me, Loblo and Jinjang Joe (JJ) hiked up the hill again in anticipation of more shots as such.
Truth is, I have no stamina to speak of. To quote The Journo "I have the lung capacity of a hummingbird" would be quite accurate.Tapi ku gagahi demi gambar-gambar indah yang menanti untuk diambil. Ayuh!

Alas, I was bitterly disappointed. Some bloody idiot set most of the hill on fire I guess, leaving scorched earth and dried up vegetation for most of the hilltop. Though there were some nice shots to be had, but certainly not enough to sate my appetite.

JJ mengenang nasib sebagai 'cutest Asian guy' (purpotedly).

Oh well, I guess that calls for Bukit Broga hike part 3 then!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Message From Mom

My mom went to Indonesia last week, and upon returning she dedicated this song to me. She said it's very popular over there at the moment.

Apa salahku
Apa salah ibuku
Hidupku dirundung pilu
Tak ada yang mau dan menginginkan aku
Tuk jadi pengobat pilu
Tuk jadi penawar rindu
Tuk jadi kekasih hatiku

Timur Ke Barat
Selatan ke utara
Tak juga aku berjumpa
Dari musim durian hingga musim rambutan
Tak kunjung aku dapatkan
Tak jua aku temukan
Oh tuhan inikah cobaan

Ibu-ibu, bapak-bapak
Siapa yang punya anak
Bilang aku
Aku yang tengah malu
Sama teman-temanku
karena cuma diriku
yang tak laku-laku

Siapa yang mau bantu
Tolong aku kasiani aku
Tolong carikan diriku kekasih hatiku
Siapa yang mau
(Wali Band - Cari Jodoh)


Monday, June 15, 2009

The Family

Work is no fun, I guess everyone whose been reading my posts knows that now. However, I just found a way to make it a bit more interesting. Let's marry something more cool and thrilling with the inane reality of work. What could be better than to play pretend? How about turning the department into a Mafia organisation for starters.

We'll start at the Family's organisation. For the sake of my job safety let's give the players Mafia names. Let's see, the Family's don Vito Gazza is on his way out, imprisoned yet still calling the shots behind bars. Unwilling to let go, they say. The upcoming don, Larry Ianucci is trying to wrestle the control of the family bit by bit.

Then there's the 4 caporegimes. There's the oldtimer Eddie 'Pops' Santorelli, rose up slowly though the ranks. Quiet, unassuming, on his way out. Then there's Anthony 'Legs' Silvestri, loudmouth but mostly hot air. Massimo 'Bugs' Mancuso, mumbles but a ran a tight ship over his crew. Michael 'Big Mike' Cuneo the big guy, ran the biggest moneymaking outfit of them all. There was a fifth caporegime, Gianni Gravano who were recently made capo of a related Family.

Then of course there's us, the wiseguys. The guys who did the actual work for the Family. Often underappreciated, bullied and stepped on. But it's all in a day's work.

Then working for us we have the enforcers, the button men. Hard to work with most times, yet have to be nice to them if we ever want to get anything done. Too bad we can't give some of them concrete socks to go fishing in.

So there you have it, the Family. Any future work related rants would be in this romanticised format, fit for a TV series a la The Sopranos.

Don't judge me, we all need some kind of theraphy.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Say What?

I absolutely enjoy reading the Letters page in the daily papers.

One which I read last week in The Malay Mail was from a dissatisfied man who complained about IKEA. He complained that he wasn't eligible for the free parking that IKEA offers to customers who bought their goods. He also admitted that he bought nothing from the store. I laud the patient explanation by IKEA.

Another one today in The Star was from another man (I assume it's a man) who attacked a news report for calling humans 'aliens'. He said aliens are only for creatures not from Earth. He goes on to explain even mixed parentage children are still humans and not aliens (you don't say!). Oh he said he got his definition of 'aliens' from Wikipedia apparently. Solid. Perhaps he's not heard of a dictionary before...

Fun, isn't it?

Thursday, June 4, 2009


9 years ago, a group of boys grouped together and decided to resurrect the Annual Concert which has not been held for a few years. They have been jamming together for a few years now, so why not create bands and have a concert?

So the wheels were in motion. We never had specific bands during the weekly jamming sessions at Zai Am, so it was time to create it. The bands were pretty good for those days, but being jokers that we were none of us chose cool names for the bands. My band was the Butterfingers-worshipper, we called ourselves Soda Pop =D Another band played Nirvana religiously and hey called themselves Cock &Tail. Rage Against The Coke Machine played what else if not Rage Against The Machine. The Wisma Mat Sapaks played punk rock. There's prolly a few other bands but these 4 were formed from the core Saturday jamming crowd. See, it wasn't about the bands or the names, we did it just because we wanted to perform (like a rockstar, of course).

Flyers were designed in the spirit of the underground scene of the day, photocopied and distributed to death. I don't remember who designed the flyer, but I designed the backstage pass for bandmembers (I did the flyers for our Form 3 end of year concert - Vociferation Eternity). I still have one of those backstage passes you know.

So everything was in place, and the day arrived. Behold the first Annual Concert after 4 years, Malam Pria Mambo!

The night flew by in a blink of an eye. The bands played well, and I of course sang terribly (yes, I was the vocalist for Soda Pop unfortunately). The crowd was small, some parties pressured the juniors into staying away. The konon-pious crowd stayed away and pressured the inbetweeners into staying away too. Did we mind? No. We had a grand time yessiree.

And for that 15 minutes, I felt like a rockstar wa cakap sama lu...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Back Here

It was a tiring weekend. After dinner on Friday I went out again to hang out with Han and Azlan over shisha. Left after a few hours to go fill up the car tank and returned home to sleep. Or so I thought.

After a few hours of tossing and turning, I gave up. At 2am I was in the kitchen preparing myself some breakfast. By 3am I'm already in the car ready to embark on the long drive home. Just as I started the engines, it started to pour. It didn't just rain, it was like someone dropped a huge bucket of water on my area.

Anyway, since I'll be driving out of town I figure it won't be that bad. Wrong.
It actually rained all the way to Kota Bharu. Visibility was very bad, and I don't dare push the limits of my Kruizers (good when dry, hopeless when wet). Took me an extra 90 minutes to reach my destination.

When I was somewhere near Machang town, the traffic was trudging along at a snail's pace. Then when I checked my rearview mirror, there's this Evo-wannabe Waja tailgating me. I was tired from driving and not sleeping the night before and the rain does not make things any easier for me. For this guy to be tailgating me so closely when there's obviously no space for me to move aside and impossible for me to go beyond 70km/h, I think he was toying with me.

The thing with cars like mine, people always thought it belongs to some nutjob who needed not much prodded to start driving crazy. I drive bloody auto, I'm not interested in racing you. So I did the only thing I can do in those circumstances. I braked hard.

Yeah stupid move I know, but I think he must've peed his pants a little because after that he kept a safe distance away from me before he saw half an opportunity and overtook me and was gone in...wait, he's stuck there. The traffic is heavy bro, lek laaaa...

Then it was all about Makdik's engagement and glorious good food to be had. But somehow it didn't turn out so well.

I was on MC yesterday because I got food poisoning. Had to go visit the john so many times my ass felt like it's on fire.

Now I'm at work, dehydrated and tired and in need of more rest. But since my inbox is burstng at it's seams, I can't take any more leave unfortunately, boo!