Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tigers

It's not a secret that Malaysian football, domestic leagues and the national team both, has been in the ditches for so long. Not much can be said when we keep on harping on the exploits of the teams of the 70s even some 40 years on.

I still remember in the early to mid 90s, we had quite a good semi-pro league going. The mercurial foreign players such as the likes of Ervin Boban, Scott Ollerenshaw, Zsolt Bucs & Olubumi (later converted to Abdul Rahman) Adigun complemented the local boys like Hashim Mustapha, Dollah Salleh, Radhi Md Din & Matlan Marjan. Local matches are shown on TV, men actually went to watch the games while those who didn't stayed home to watch them.

What happened between then and now? I guess the popular theory is that after the major match fixing scandal, people just lost the passion and the players who were not affected by the scandal were just not good enough.

And it all went downhill from there. Various plans and initiative were carried out, but we were sliding further and further down the football pecking order. Remember the Olimpik 2000 team? That was an initiative to get future national players more playing time, which failed. Basically the team was crap. A few actually went on to have a long career in football like Khalid Jamlus and Akmal Rizal while the rest faded away.

But you know, these days I'm actually seeing light at the end of the tunnel. Still dim, but it's a light nonetheless. On the domestic front, two things happened. One is the emergence of the Kelantan team as a major force after years of being in the doldrums. Why is this important? Well, this is the only team where home games are ALWAYS packed, and away games would see a sizable away support cheering the team on. What does this have to do with the big picture? Several things. The team now actually have money from the gate collection, and with the team playing so well the supporters splurge on authentic team merchandise which means more money too. With that kind of money, they can attract the best players around. Which also means that the other teams gotta start to buck up and get their act together. Playing in front of a voracious crowd weekly surely would help our boys grow some balls and gain mental toughness too.

Kelantan when on song is a joy to watch, second leg Malaysia Cup tie against Selangor comes into mind when Selangor was demolished despite having the players and the money to match Kelantan. Despite these two teams, Negeri Sembilan is also consistently fighting for silverware on all fronts. I hope next season we'll see a re-emergence of Perak, Pahang, Kedah and the Borneo twins who have been big teams in the past.

The other thing is the raw talent coming through are being handled correctly. Harimau Muda A and B are playing regular football, and unlike Olimpik 2000 these guys are actually good. Then they were also given exposure in the Slovakian league, which sounded like a dud but I am sure helped in some ways. Then you see many players below 25 playing week in and week out for their teams, which can only be good for the future.

Starting with some friendlies, we started to shift gears. In Guangzhou we did very well in my books, despite some dubious officiating in the game against China we made it through to play Iran. And that's with half the team out due to injuries and suspensions. Now we're playing the AFF Suzuki Cup, where after the 1-5 drubbing by Indonesia the wolves came out baying for blood immediately. K. Rajagopal realised his mistake I guess and immediately restored Khairul Fahmi as Malaysia's No. 1. With a much more reliable keeper than Sharbinee, the young back four gained confidence and started playing like they did in Guangzhou. Draw with Thailand and just now a 5-1 thrashing of Laos saw us through to the semis (credit shall also go to Indonesia for being sporting and not just rollover to Thailand).

Of course I'm pretty sure there will still be wolves out there discrediting our performance. They are not world class players yet, sure. We're not the feared team in Asia nor Asean yet, true. But I have faith. It has to start somewhere and I have a niggling feeling that it has started already. It is my belief that in 5 years time this current team we have will have matured enough to be a force to be reckoned with. These same guys will be mid 20s to early 30s then, which should be at the peak of their careers. It's time to start cheering our boys on, and not just ignore pre-game and criticise post-game no matter the result.

If not us, then who? If not now, then when?

Current Malaysia squad at the AFF Suzuki Cup
Khairul Fahmi, Sharbinee; Sabre, Faizal Mohd, Asraruddin, Muslim, Fadhli, Razman, Khairul Helmi, Mahali; Safiq, Amar, Khyril, Amirulhadi, Guru, Kuna, Faizal Abu Bakar, Amri; Norshahrul, Safee, Ashaari, Izzaq.

AYUH HARIMAU MALAYA!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Cult Of The i

I woke early on Sunday, by 7am I was already in the shower. Put on some comfortable clothes, grabbed the keys and hurried to the lift.

Turned back because forgot the wallet. Then again rushed to the lift and to the car and sped out.

By 8am, I was already on the escalator going up to where I wanted to be. I was early, I'm pretty sure that - ohh, I'm number 14.

Yes, I did the unthinkable. I actually went to line up outside Maxis KLCC to get the iPhone 4 at 8am on a Sunday morning. Last Sunday there was only 20 in stock, so the folks who arrived some 10 minutes after me had to go back empty-handed.

The whole process of getting one is a big hassle. I lined up at 8am, and the Centre opens at 8.30am. We were asked beforehand which iPhone 4 we wanted (16GB or 32GB) and was given a number. Then when the door opened we all went to a special iPhone 4 counter and was asked some questions about out preferred iValue plans and payment method etc. Then they photocopied my IC and was asked to wait 10 minutes.

Boy that was the longest 10 minutes ever. It was already 9.15am when I asked one staff what's going on, and what am I supposed to wait for. I was told to wait for the number. Okay then.

It's 10.00am and still no number given out, how hard was it to get me a damn number? So I asked again. Only then I was told that number 14 will only be processed IN THE AFTERNOON and they will call me when it's ready for pickup. Flippin' hell, they could've told me that after they photocopied my IC and save me more than an hour of useless waiting around.

So I left and went to wash my car, all the while planning to go to the bank and run some other errands to pass the time when Maxis called at 10.30am that my iPhone is ready for pickup. iDontfuckinbelieveit.

So I went back to Maxis KLCC and finally got a goddamn number, and waited for another 45 minutes before my number was called. So I went to the iPhone collection/payment counter, and the whole process took maybe 10 minutes tops. I was told to go to the unbricking counter, and it was done in less than 1 minute.

The whole ordeal took me the whole morning that could've been put to do more productive stuff like err sleeping in for instance. Okay maybe not productive but definitely beats waiting around like that. It could've gone better, they could've just told me at 8.45am that my phone will only be ready in the afternoon so I can go run my errands or balik sambung tidur and I'll just pop back in later to collect it.

After all that trouble, this phone better be worth it.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sole Searching

I've been stressed up lately with some financial troubles, and kept blaming it on not being paid enough. Of course in a way that's true actually seeing how expensive everything are in KL these days.

Anyway last week, the soles of my shoes were finally worn out until there's a hole that small stones can fit through. And my socks will get wet if it rained too. Since I don't have the extra money to just drop into Pedro and get a new one, I decided to just go get it repaired during lunch on Monday.

So I went to this pakcik where I usually repair my shoes, the same pakcik that I wrote about before. I took off my shoes, slipped on the flip flops that he has ready for the customers to wear while waiting and waited while he got to work on my shoes.

He's a chatty fella, so we chatted a bit about this and that. I then noticed he's been using his thighs as base when he has to hammer the new soles in place, so I asked him about it.

"Nak buat macam mana, besi tuh kena curik malam tadi. Sakit tuh memang sakit tapi kena cari rezeki jugak", he said with a shrug of the shoulders and smiled.

"Tak apalah, bukan rezeki saya".

I felt like I was hit by a truck. There I was begrudging my salary when I earned it in the comfort of an air-conditioned office, sitting in an ergonomical chair and at most I'll get a headache from the stress; while this is a man who works on a sidewalk with the dust and exhaust fumes around him, cutting, pulling, hammering (now on his thighs since the anvil-like thingy he normally used got stolen) yet he seemed more at peace with his life.

I realised then that I have not been as thankful for all the things that I've been blessed with. We often focus on the have-nots rather than the haves. Sure I might not get my Audi next year, but at least I already have a decent car to get me around. I might not have the cash for that nice property that is sure to skyrocket in value, but I already have a comfortable place to live. So I might feel a bit underpaid, but compared to his life I got it way easier. So many things I should be thankful for rather than go through the truckloads of complaints that I have accumulated.

That day I walked off not only with repaired soles but just maybe, with a repaired soul too.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Hi, I'm Brad

My younger brother is afflicted with a serious condition called 'perasan hensem'. He is always crafting tall tales of how girls swoon and sway because of his hensemness. Being the elder brother, of course I can't let him have his day.

Well one day, we were watching the idiot box when he quipped:

"I'm so handsome, girls froze in their tracks when they saw me"

"Yeah right, that was because I was right behind you"

"No, they didn't even see you because I was glowing with awesome handsomeness"

"Those are just streetlights reflected off your oily pimply face lah"

"Ceh, ini adik Brad Pitt tau?"

Before he realised it, I already said thanks =D

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Vandals

Whenever I (had to) use public toilets, I used to read the graffitis 'decorating' the stall while taking care of business. It amuses me to read so many advertisement for 'services' of all kinds. Jantan sasa? Got. Amoi manja? Got. Pondan mantap? Gottttt.

They always listed down the phone numbers as well if you feel like having a try. Many a times, they even have diagrams illustrating 'certain' facts.

Then recently I noticed how times have changed. After such a long time of not visiting public WCs with graffitis, I finally found one with some writings on the door and walls:

"kerajaan makan duit rakyat!"

"parti xyz takda telur, pengecut"

"parti 123 pak turut, sembah parti abc"

Aik, vandals pon nak main politik jugak? When did everyone stopped having fun?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Long Drive Home

Took me 9 hours of non-stop driving (save for two toilet breaks in Kuala Krai and Kechau Petronas stations) to get me safe and sound back in Ampang yesterday.

The trip got off to a bad start, the traffic grinded to a halt somewhere after Kota Bharu and crawled towards Kuala Krai at a pace a snail would be ashamed of. The 1-hour stretch became 3, and I contemplated turning back and trying my luck another time.

But I persevered. Soon after Kuala Krai the traffic jam untangled itself and we managed to cruise at around 80 km/h. Of course at some stretches it slowed down to a crawl again and you'll start seeing dimwits using the emergency lanes to overtake on the left side. There's an MPV with multiple stickers and whatnot saying there's a baby on board doing so, funny that the driver doesn't seem to care about the safety of said baby.

Somewhere near Kuala Lipis, Makdik called updating me on the traffic condition (she's got a few hours headstart on me ), the traffic had crawled to a standstill in Raub seemingly. So I took the alternative route via obscure small hamlets of Sg Ruan, Klau, Sertik etc. Pretty soon it started to feel like a bad horror movie.

That stretch was pretty much empty save for a motorcycle now and then, and it was getting dark fast. Darker when the tall palm trees are casting longer and longer shadows. I don't see any streetlight lights, and homes were few and far in between. God don't let my car broke down here, please.

Did I mention I was driving alone?

An hour or so later (and a wrong turn inserted for good measure), I emerged on a small ramp leading to the Karak Highway and I was on the home stretch!

Woke up today with stiff arms, sore back, sore throat (from the heat and uhh singing along to the CDs to keep me company), headache and feeling rather glad I did not turn back and miss out on this mini adventure of sorts.

And oh, Selamat Hari Raya people!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Some Like It Wet

Yesterday it rained so heavily I can't see further than the car in front of me. Trudging along at 50 km/h, not daring to go any faster lest we want to end up dead, it reminded me of something though.

I used to walk to and fro class in uni every day for 4 years, and it took me about 15-20 minutes per way. Enough time to swear sweat under the burning sun. And sometimes, the sky would open up on me and I would be soaked head to toe. If I was on the way to class, that would mean an about turn was necessary and uhh no class.

Thing is, I actually enjoyed being rained upon. Besides the obvious fact that it negates the risk of my hair catching fire from the heat, it has a calming effect. The cool caress of the droplets as they first kissed the skin was delicious, and the refreshing outpour following that usually invigorates.

Sometimes good samaritans would stop their cars and offer me rides, and sometimes I would accept. Other times, I'd smile and shake my head while mouthing a silent thank you. I bet they think I'm crazy.

Then after 4 years of walking, I finally got to use my mom's old car and then 2 years ago I bought my own car to replace that one. No more wet pasty hair, no drenched shirts and pants, no sloshing shoes. It is no fun anymore.

Next time I'm home fiddling my thumb, and the sky starts to turn grey - I will be out there, probably pretending to look for a lost key or kitten so that the neighbours won't look at me funny next time. But I will be embracing the downpour like a long lost friend now found again. Oh yes I will.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Point To Ponder

I was walking back after Friday prayers and saw a car with a big sticker on the rear window saying boldly in black and yellow - Fear Allah.

I don't know, but it feels wrong to preach based on fear. Compare that to the 'I Love Jesus' stickers instead. When you fear, you often find ways to rebel. But when you love, you do more than you are supposed to. Isn't that often the case?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Dahlia Street Crew

Come to think of it, we had a frat house going back in Uni. That double storey terrace in Desa Dahlia was our very own frat house, 6 residents (me, Scouser, AlyG, Man, Pije, Amr) and maybe a dozen hang-arounds made the place so.

Our immediate neighbour was a pakcik and his family we affectionately call Ayah Pin (after the infamous Kerajaan Langit fella, remember him?). We sure gave him a hard time, a few times he knocked on our doors telling us to be quiet. Luckily he never called the cops on us. Sorry Ayah Pin pakcik, we were idiots then.

Across the street was a whole row of houses taken over by Samsung and made into hostels for their female workers. Boy those ladies weren't shy. Getting catcalls from women was a novelty, but getting it from ladies clad in bras and no shirts was a bit scary.

Some of us used to play firecrackers in the yard we had behind the house, and after a while it gets old. So to keep it fresh, main dalam rumah pulak. Imagine the shock you get from a loud bang coming from the kitchen downstairs, only to find 2 hysterical guys throwing mercuns at each other.

Then we had 'Sunway Lagoon', riding a small mattress down the stairs just because we can. Usually results in very sore bums and other miscellaneous light injuries, light enough not to deter us for subsequent runs.

We recorded our own version of 'Forever Blowing Bubbles' after watching Green Street Hooligans, and call ourselves the Dahlia Street Crew. AlyG's cluelessness was hilarious. I still have the mp3 boys, hahaha.

We even had an indoor BBQ once, no kidding. We were planning for one and was just about to get started in the yard when it started to rain. Luckily someone had 2 electric BBQ, so we decided to move it indoors and closed the doors and windows to prevent the smoke from coming out and alarming our neighbours. Loads of food, lots of good people, PS2, massive smoke inhalation, slight electric shocks. Superb. Haz even took some videos of us and posted it to Youtube, bugger!

And then there's the pranks like the 'terima kasih Era' prank I wrote about earlier. I still can't bring myself to add her on Facebook, the shame! But it was funny though, hehe. We also used to drive our friends' houses and shout their names in the middle of the nights. We call it Drive-By Shouting. God what were we thinking?

Then there's the cookouts we have (I think we cooked throughout Ramadhan), playing the guitars and learning new songs, dinner at the cheapest place possible, boycotting our favourite restaurant because it started to get sloppy, each of us downloading different series so that we have non-ending supply of things to watch on our house local network etc. We spent a whole lot of time just hanging out together.

It was one of the best periods of my Uni life. Everytime I find myself in the vicinity I would take a short detour just to see how the old (frat) house is doing. Man, Pije and Amr are all married with kids and working with Petronas, JKR and TNB. Me and Scouser are both in banking despite all of us being engineering graduates. I lost contact with AlyG, and last I heard he was still chilling around. Awesome.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Fun At The Mamak

"anney, menu ade?"

Roti kosong
Roti telur
Roti pisang
Roti sardin
Roti bawang
Roti tisu
Roti tampal
Roti jantan

Ehh?

"anney, roti jantan nih roti apa?"

"sama macam itu roti telur, tapi dua biji telur"

Ahh, should've guessed that.

True story.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Interview With The Banker

A few months ago I was asked to attend an interview with a local Islamic bank. I was kinda excited at the prospect of going into the Islamic banking space, so I decided to give it my best shot.

So there I was, dressed to the nines with my swanky cufflinks, tailored shirt and matching tie, tailored pants (no pleats, of course) and all the works. I was trying to make a decent first impression, you know.

As I was filling up the forms in the HR waiting area, I started to notice that the other folks who were there for interviews (I know so because they were all filling up the same forms) did not exactly put much thought into what they were wearing. Imagine lots of 'shiny' shirts (kain berkilat, is it rayon? polyester?), ties that clashes with the shirt colour, khaki pants and loafers. I thought hey, I'm gonna be a standout!

That was before I observed the bank's staff as they passed though the waiting area. They were dressed like these guys! I thought oh heck, if the clothes are not gonna help me I'll just impress them with my BS, I mean my CV and my oratory skills instead.

I was called into the room and was met with 3 middle-aged ladies who looked so motherly and a man wearing a jubah and kopiah. Huh? Turned out, he's the hiring manager, and an ustaz at that! My mind starts recalling all the do'a and surah just in case he asked, you never know right?

Well I think I did quite well since one of the moms (she's the Head of Something apparently) said I'm very eloquent and she's quite impressed with the CV too. Then the ustaz just had to come up with a trick question, would I choose a horse or a woman. That's it, no explanation. No prizes for guessing which one did I chose.

At the end, the HR manager said they really liked my personality but was not sure about me fitting in with their bank because I was too confident and smooth and all that jazz. That's the first time I heard anyone said that I'm much too good for something, ever! It's a weird feeling, disappointed yet disgustingly happy too =P And I guess my choosing the sexy blonde over the strong thoroughbred did not help sway the votes either, hehe.

So yeah, I didn't get that job, but they did offered something else which I was not interested in. Come to think of it, it was the best for both parties. I'm guessing we're operating on different frequencies, and I still need my daily dose of lengluis of course.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Siamese Dreams

Yesterday Manao showed me an online news portal depicting Bangkok has been voted as the world's best city. No surprises there, i thought.

Bangkok is my all time favourite city, followed by Hong Kong and Venice in third place. I've been to Bangkok twice now, 5D4N and 6D5N respectively and I still want to return for at least another trip. Or two.

What's so great about Bangkok? Not so sure really. I've stayed at the lively Khao San Road twice now, and it has not failed me with it's cheap yet clean and comfortable hotels (RM25/pax and you get room with A/C and hot shower), cheap and tasty hawker food (pad thai for about RM3, and all the fruit shakes you want for about the same price), various live performances, bars and clubs to spend your nights and also the multitude of nationalities drifting in and out of this backpackers haven. Conversation and friendship struck out of nothing (though more often than not it's over buckets and beers).

And then there's the people. Soft spoken and polite, it makes you feel brash being around these folks. I have always loved the distinct sound of the Thai language, and hearing it spoken (especially by the ladies and their oh-so-soft kha) is music to my ears. We even made friends with a very amiable taxi driver Tom who never charged us extra even when he had to drive across town to pick us up. He even declined our fare after he sent us to Suvarnabhumi. His reason being "we are friends, no need to pay this time". Can you even imagine this happening in KL? Mimpi la brader.

There's also the shopping. Chatuchak is well known, but you should only go there for the small indie brands. Self-designed clothes, and usually not remade once finished, this is where you go to get something unique at a very cheap price. MBK has got the other stuffs and in air-conditioned comfort. A multitude of tailors around town can make good quality shirts, pants and suits for a fraction of what you're gonna pay back home. I made 6 shirts and a pair of pants, all customised to my liking for only RM500, do the maths.

Most Thais I've met are devout Buddhists and they subscribe to the idea that everyone is equal or something like that (from a conversation with a cabbie, so I can't vouch on the facts), hence the accepting gesture towards gays, lesbians, kathoeys and all sorts of people from the human spectrum. I've seen kathoeys that walked past a small shrine stopped and offered a prayer before resuming their walk. Regardless of the religion, I find this beautiful.

Of course there's the infamous Bangkok nightlife which equates to stripclubs and sex shows and whatnot but for me that is just a sideshow. Patpong is not a place you want to spend much time at, seriously. The real nightlife can be had at Ratchada, where the music was out of this world. I am no clubber, but Hollywood is really something else. Give it a go if you're in town.

So I've seen the idyllic countryside during my train ride, and I've also chilled at Pattaya beach side eating various seafood (fresh and cheap!), and rather than distract it actually enforces my affection for Bangkok and Thailand in general. During the first trip, all four of us (Manao, Pyan, JT, myself) fell in love with the city. More recently, Yam and Ben felt the same way while for me and JT it served to reinforce what we already knew. We don't need no survey to tell us what city is ranked first, we already know.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Mini Odyssey

For almost a week I was in Bangkok again, savouring the Thanon Khao San lifestyle and enjoying every moment away from my daily reality back home. It's always good to be traveling somewhere, and it's even better when that somewhere is Bangkok aka Krung Thep aka the City of Angels. Pom rak Krung Thep mak mak, ching.

Since it's my second trip up north, I decided to shake things up a bit and travel by the express train from Butterworth to Bangkok which would take 22 hours but I would be ensconced in air conditioned comfort plus considerably comfy berths to sleep in. So last Thursday I hopped on the earliest bus from KL with Yam to get to Butterworth to catch the train. We arrived at around 1pm, and had time for a quick lunch at the bus station before making our way to the adjacent train station to get on the 2.20pm train.

We arrived at the station all eager to hop on the train and sleep the journey off, only to be told bluntly that the train was canceled due to a derailed train the day before. WTF! We got a full refund on the tickets but now have to find an alternative way to Bangkok. After asking the KTM staff for tips, we rushed to catch the 2pm bus heading for Hat Yai. Paid RM38 for the bus ticket and headed north to the border and afterwards Hat Yai in about 4 hours from Butterworth.

The bus conveniently dropped us in front of it's office/travel agent and was immediately crowded by touts telling us to get on their tuk-tuks (in actuality a song thaew) to catch the 6.30pm bus to Bangkok for THB800 I think. After a quick discussion we decided to take a gamble and forego the bus and took a song thaew to the train station (despite the song thaew's driver's protest saying that all trains are off). Turned out, trains were running normally and we managed to secure tickets to Bangkok for only THB 339 (about RM40) but with one catch. We had to ride third class since all other tickets are sold out.With a 'what the hell' shrug, we got ourselves to platform 5 and boarded the 7pm train. It is going to be a 16 hour ride at least, no air-conditioning, no berths, no problem. The seats were reasonably comfortable and since the carriage is not full we secured a 'compartment' each to ourselves.

It's a different travelling experience, the wind blowing in your face as you see the Thai countryside roll by. We went through Songkhla, Phattalung, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Surat Thani and soon I fell into an awkward contorted sleep (which would be continually interrupted by screaming muscles and joints, which requires a change of position).

I woke up very early next morning and was greeted by a breathtaking dawn vista somewhere in Prachuap Khiri Khan. Soon the paddy fields and faraway hills faded and the sea comes into view.

Pretty soon, the more familiar names of Hua Hin and Cha-am comes into view and we are only a few hours away from reaching Hualamphong station in Bangkok. At around noon, we finally pulled to a stop and here we are finally in Bangkok after 30 hours of non-stop travelling from KL.

Truth be told, that's the most fun I've had going to a destination. I was tired, hungry, body aching all over, face probably grimy from 16-17 hours of air blowing on to my face but I thoroughly enjoyed the trip. It costs only about RM100, but I get to see breathtaking sights and enjoy the sights and sounds of the Thai countryside. I strongly suggest you try the overland trip, but make sure you get on the journey with an open mind and a strong love for travel. Since the train is actually running the route of Sungai Kolok-Bangkok, you can even try starting your trip from almost the southernmost tip of Thailand (Sungai Kolok or better known as Golok is a Thai town bordering the Kelantan town of Rantau Panjang).

That's it for the first part of my Bangkok trip, will write of the rest of the trip in a later post since I gotta go eat (gosh I miss the pad thai in Khao San!) and you people have more things to do than read about my trip. Stay tuned!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Pompoy

Kalau tengok orang hisap rokok sekarang, teringat zaman sekolah sorok-sorok hisap rokok kat tangga kelas time prep petang (dan malam!), satu batang Surya kawtim 4-5 orang. Bara dah panjang, asap dah panas, bibir dah pedih. Tegar. Balik kelas badan bau asap, mulut rasa cengkih. Nice.

Those were the days eh?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Why Get An Evo When...

Last June I was actually contemplating to buy a 1995 rosso Ferrari F355, which incidentally is my all time favourite Ferrari. After considering my finances (and seriously thinking about renting out my place and stay elsewhere cheaper), I decided it would be a very stupid thing to do.

This June, I saw an ad for 2005 black Porsche Boxster at an even lower price! My financial sensibility (or something resembling it) was again shaken and I took out the calculator once more. In the end decided not to, but with a heavier heart.

Is this the quarter-life crisis, and would I finally succumb to temptations in June 2011? I hope so not!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Now Where Did My Salary Go?

I am now back on home soil for a couple of weeks now. First day back at work, checked my inbox and was greeted with 700+ e-mails. Took me almost 2 weeks to clear everything, sigh.

Been a bit busy lately at work, it is the high season for us and the fact that half of the execs have resigned (including Big Boss who nicely gave a 24-hour notice before leaving, thanks a lot) does not help. Normally we would have a Director, assisted by 5 Senior VPs. Now we only have 2 Senior VPs left, and since my boss is taking up a portion of the Director's work naturally some of his work comes to me. Phew. Just have to take each new task one swear word at a time I guess.

But thankfully, I'm due to go on my compulsory leave in 2 weeks time! Two consecutive weeks of paid leave, that is bliss. I'll be spending my time in Bangkok for most of it, taking a 22-hour train ride to Hualamphong station from Butterworth just to do something different this time around. Will we have Bangkotitis second wave, we'll wait and see ;)

Pak Andhy is getting married in October and he's inviting me over to Jakarta for the wedding. I'm looking forward to attending my first authentic Javanese wedding, let's hope I can save enough money after Bangkok to go to Jakarta. Fir, I'm taking you up on that chicken tongseng offer yeah?

Finally in December the guys and gals are planning a getaway in Phuket. That would be one trip too many for me this year since I have something bigger in store.

Yeah, I work to travel.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Bing Bang Wah

For the past few days it's been cold, windy, foggy and drizzling throughout the day. It feels so much like London in autumn, no wonder so many Brits call this place home.

Victoria Harbour, as seen from Level 42.

Went to a nice halal Turkish restaurant in Mongkok for dinner last night, before taking a stroll down Fai Yuen Street (aka Sneakers Street). OMG. I've never seen so many shop selling so many shoes in my life. I managed to keep calm, though I have earmarked one or two (or three) that caught my eyes. You can be sure that I'll be back pretty soon =P

Later on I joined the guys on one of their regular drinking sessions (though only with a Coke Light to keep me company), and quickly got up to speed with the drinking games. The title of this post is just one of the games, and the games just got more interesting, exciting and uhh risque as the night wore on and the copious amounts of alcohol starts taking its' toll. These Hongkies sure know how to have fun!

Can't wait for Saturday, going on a day trip to Macau. Heard that Cirque du Soleil has a show there, that is one thing not to be missed. Of course, there's also the famous Portuguese egg tarts and crab congee waiting to be devoured.

My camera is pretty much underused here, I'll prolly whip it out more next week and try to get some interesting pictures of Hong Kong life.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Hongkie Panky

Before I came here, I wasn't so receptive of the idea of spending 3 weeks in crowded Hong Kong. I was kind of hoping that I can even sit it out altogether. The night before I flew here I even sprained my ankle stepping accidentally into a hole, which dampened the mood further. But soon enough I found myself in Chek Lap Kok airport, without the usual excitement and anticipation that usually followed me whenever I went travelling.

Checked into the hotel, and found that I got a nice cosy room which brightened me up a bit. However the busted ankle just saw me sleeping the first Sunday off while some of the guys went out and about, taking in the new city experience.After we're done with business on Monday, I forced myself to walk around the surrounding area for a bit just to see what's Kowloon all about. I've heard many things about it. Noisy, dirty, crowded, polluted, the works. Guess what, I was pleasantly surprised that it's not as bad as some people made it sound like. Sure it's noisy and crowded and polluted (as you would expect from a city like this) but it's not dirty at all. A trivia point, I've not seen a single fly yet - which is a miracle by my standards since I've since walked practically everywhere between Mongkok to Tsim Sha Tsui to Causeway Bay to Central. Even the most dodgy looking eateries (a la Jalan Alor) is clean.

The toilets in the malls and stores are spick and span, people don't spit everywhere and they actually do use the trashcans, they use the pedestrian crossing diligently 95% of the time, cars actually stop to let people cross at said crossings, public transportation is wonderful with it's frequency, punctuality and sheer network (you can walk from one station to the other, something like the Tube) of it. The pavements are wide enough, and there's even underground network of tunnels connecting many malls, MTR stations and various locations that you can still walk around even if there's a typhoon blowing hard outside.
The local folks seemed pretty assured of their police force, one guy Vincent assured me that in HK the cops usually arrive very quickly whenever there's a crime that sometimes it seemed impossible. I even saw a demonstration of that when a number of guys (immigrants I guess, Indians I suspect from the language) were about to get into a brawl. In no time at all 5 (FIVE!) police vans arrive to defuse the situation. No wonder the Hongkies are so confident.

The food is expensive and halal eateries are scattered around the area, though you must really look for it. Shopping for electronic gadgets and clothings are amazingly cheap (usually 30-50% cheaper than prices back home for the same item), and this is in proper stores and not the dodgier neon-lighted shops which are usually cheaper but can also scam you out of your cash if you are not careful. I guess I'm even luckier than I don't get harassed by salesmen looking for tourist money since I look pretty much like a local, thank God for the chinese genes!

I've seen the much talked about light show at the Harbour, took the famous Star Ferry over to Central, did my shopping in Mongkok and Causeway Bay, rode the tram up to the Peak for the amazing night view of the city. All the must do stuff, done. Come Saturday I'll be hopping on a ferry to get me to Macau for the sights (and a flutter or two, perhaps?) and sounds and tastes (Portuguese egg tarts y'all!), Sunday is yet to be decided.

Hong Kong has so far been a city of wonders for me, and I'm loving every second that I've been treading the pavements walking in and out of small alleys onto busy high streets and ducking into the odd MTR or two. If you've not been here, I suggest you make plans to do so. Come with an open mind, and you might just fall in love too ;)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Peakture Of The Day

Night view from The Peak.

TST

8pm, down by the Harbour.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hello From Hong Kong!

Yeap, been here for two days now. The weather's fine, though they're anticipating the typhoon season to start pretty soon. I'm bunked in a nice hotel in Nathan Road, which is like in the middle of a triangle between Mongkok, Kowloon and Tsim Sha Tsui. Not a bad location at all.

The room's pretty nice, no complaints so far.
The best thing about the room is gotta be this:

I can watch the telly while taking a shower!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Rakyat Harus Faham

I'm not a political blogger, nor do I yearn to be one. But I am an interested observer, a backbencher to the backbencher of sorts.

It annoys me to no end when the government does not seem to understand their raison d'ĂȘtre. Firstly, whenever the general public raised a big hoo haa over something (toll rate to be raised, new taxes etc) the Minister in question would tend to answer with a Rakyat Harus Faham talk.

"Toll rates to be raised by 30%, we want an explanation!"
"Rakyat harus faham, the government is currently bearing the RM300mil cost of bla bla bla"

"Fuel prices to go up again, why?"
"Rakyat harus faham, currently billions of Ringgits are spent bla bla bla"

Well, if the government is not going to bear those costs, why are we paying taxes then? If they can't manage the budget prudently, should they still be in power? In banking, we provide mainly a service to our customers. The customers does nto want to understand what goes on behind the scenes, they only want the expected results. There's no point explaining to them we are facing this and that difficulty because to them, it does not matter. Telling the customer that they have to understand that we're bearing this cost and doing this and that just to do this for them is not going to get you more leeway. You might lose the customer even. In the broader aspect, why should we bother with the nitty gritty details of governing the nation? It's your task to govern, and govern it well. Give a better explanation, not the Rakyat Harus Faham talk please.

Also why is it that only when there's a by-election that everyone flocks to that constituency promising this and that and start building clinics and schools and bridges? If that's the practice then you'll do well to vote the most likely to die early in the next election. It should be on-going, and it needn't be tagged as Satu Lagi Projek Kerajaan Barisan Nasional. The money does not come from your coffers, Mister BN sir. Satu Lagi Projek Kerajaan is more apt.

I might sound pretty pro-opposition here, but I am not. I feel the current opposition offers nothing new or different to the current government in power. I am pro-people, pro-development, pro-rights. I am idealistic, but it doesn't hurt to dream of a better world ;)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thought Of The Day

Kalau Shabery berbahas dengan Shaziman, adakah akan berlaku parti buih (mulut)? Bincangkan.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Listen

If you wanna do emo, do it right:

1. Avenged Sevenfold - I Won't See You Tonight Part 1
"Cry alone, I've gone away
No more nights, no more pain
I've gone alone, took all my strength
I've made the change
I won't see you tonight"

2. Jawbreaker - Kiss The Bottle
"I kissed the bottle
I should've been kissing you
You wake up to an empty night
With tears for two"

3. From Autumn To Ashes - Autumn's Monologue
"Oh why can't I be what you need?
A new improved version of me
But I'm nothing so good
No, I'm nothing"

Give them a try.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Forever 17

Last weekend we had our 10th Anniversary of leaving the school. We anticipated 50, but 100 turned up. For those three days we forget all our grown-up worries and focused on being boys again.

Eggs on toast, with sos cap Arnab for breakfast. Long cold soak at Ulu Kenas, with two bags of piping hot Kaw Kee paus to keep us warm. Sweet bowls of cendols alternating with plates of laksa at Lembah. Mi goreng basah with a heap of cili jeruk at Kaw Kee. Ice cold Teh Herba to cool you down in the 38C heat. Leisurely drives up Bukit Chandan to Masjid Ubudiah and Istana Kuning. Simple lunch at So'od. Dinner at Yusnoi. Reminiscing over Jeng Leng, Cik Nah, Crank, Karok, Fajar, Kamy, Side Two. Kuala Kangsar, checked.

Long hours chatting away, loud and often vulgar jokes abound, awaiting turns to shower and brush your teeth, looking for space to sleep on the mattresses laid on the floor, wearing the batch shirts with pride, attending the concert and showing our full support to the band, waking up bright and early just to get ready for the batch photo session, walking around for nice shots of the school, saying hi to old acquantainces, saying hi to old teachers. Talking about Common Room, Mob Justice, Urban Bred, burn the gombang, 'I saw you at the party', manggis, perut, uban, botak. Koleq, checked.

Arrived back in KL late Sunday afternoon with a no voice left, pounding headache and a desperate lack of sleep. Got home, turned the A/C on, changed into something more comfortable and instantly drifted off for a peaceful 14 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Woke up with sore throat and a deep throbbing in my left temple and something more serious.

Loneliness.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Morning Madness

From: X
To: F; S

S,
Please go through the list provided and pick out the ones with existing facilities. These are FX customers, so we should look to do more.

F,
This is something you should do as a support staff and not let us in sales do it. We should be focusing on sales rather than this. If you don't agree, please come and see me.

Regards,
X

From F
To: X; S

X,
Please read my note out on 01Mar where I have actually done all necessary filtering and analysis. If you have read it, then there's no need for S to be doing it all over again as I have done the hard work. I attach below the aforementioned note for your reference.

Regards,
F

- - - - -

One of the great wonders of the world, how come idiots get to be SVPs?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Hollywhat?

Pergi minum dekat Andalus jumpa Diana Danielle dengan Farid Kamil.

Jalan pergi Ampang Point jumpa Mustapha Kamal.

Potong rambut dekat Derrick selisih dengan Imuda.

Pergi Sushi King pekena pulut mahal jumpa Syanie.

Pergi Tesco jumpa Siti and Dato' Misai.

Pergi tengok movie jumpa Que Haidar dengan Linda Jasmine.

Pagi tadi keluar nak pergi kerja Azizah Mahzan melintas jalan pulak.

Budak-budak AF muka bangga tak tentu hala lagi la bersepah.

Ampang dah jadi Hollywood Malaysia ke?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Lest We Forget

An Ode To MCKK

We offer our youth
To the world we build
With courage and truth
And love fulfilled

A city will rise
That is bright and fair
Into cloudless skies
And fresh clean air

Proudly we’ll serve
With faith will strain
Muscle and nerve
And heart and brain

‘til wisdom descends
Like a silver dove
‘til evil ends
And the law is love

- Anthony Burgess, 1954

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Personality Of The Day

Hasbullah Awang is like the local version of John Motson or Andy Gray. His voice often accompanies footie matches shown on local TV, and he's been doing that for practically ages. Experienced though he is, he's not free from hilarious slips of the tongue.

Me and the boys, we still remember World Club 1998, when introducing the potent Chile strikeforce at the time - Ivan Zamorano and Marcelo Salas - nonchalantly announced "gandingan mantap Marcelo dan Salas!".

A more recent gaffe was during a Champions League match involving AC Milan and probably Barcelona (forgot which year though), when he announced in his spirited way "di kubu kuat AC Milan, Nou Camp!". For the non footie savvy out there, Milan plays in San Siro aka Giussepe Meazza Stadium while Barcelona plays at the Nou Camp.

And of course the more frequent mixups of numbers "Nombor 8 pantas meluru di sayap kiri, maaf nombor 3 sebenarnya" or action itself "GOALLL! Ohh maaf, rupanya sedikit tersasar"

Other contributions are welcomed.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Kit Theng

My feet itches for foreign soil yet again. I long to sit on the green grass in the shade of a tree, reading Nabokov while taking in the evening breeze in Bangkok. So I made a plan to return to the welcoming environs of Khao San.
Come July, I'm hopping on a train to get me to Hua Lamphong station. Pom ao pai Krung Thep leao.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Bonne Nuit

Falling asleep with the sounds of Coronation Street playing on the telly is so comforting.

Are we back to 1994 now?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Beyond Apprehension

It's late in the afternoon, and it's gonna get dark soon. The roads are jammed up to the brims, heavy grey exhaust fume hangs around like the memory of your first love. The maddening din of honking soon manifests itself as a dull throbbing in your left temple. The hustle and bustle of the sidewalks is maddening yet comforting in its' familiarity.

Strange, but sometimes when I'm away from the city I would miss this.

I think I'm in love with KL.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Twenty Seven

The correct and acceptable manner: Thanks guys for the wishes and stuff. Really appreciate that, I heart you all! *hugs*

The actual situation: Twentysevenohmygodohmygod. I should start hanging out with older guys to make me feel young. Haz? Zad? VJ? Han? Joe? Jom lepak!!!

Oohh 3 more years to go for my Beemer/Audi deadline. How lah?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Wawasan 2020, Satu Pandangan Jauh

2020 is only a decade away, yet I'm not seeing any flying cars yet or people going to work in silver suits a la The Jetsons. But it would be interesting to go Nostradamus and predict what 2020 would be like, based on comparison with the last decade:

2000: KTM Komuter was never on time, always packed to the brim during rush hours, and tend to stop in the middle of the tracks for no apparent reasons for several minutes (sometimes with even the A?C turned off).
2010: Despite it being the biggest moneymaker for KTM, it is still notoriously bad.
2020: Since the RapidKL LRT service has been expanded to cover until Seremban in the south, Bentong to the east, Port Klang to the west and Rawang to the north (with extensions to Ipoh under works), the Komuter has been relocated to serve Kelantan's rural outbacks instead with stops such as Gaal, Manek Urai, Pahi and Dabong proving to be very popular.

2000: ASTRO was the premium satellite TV provider, with the sole competitor being the 5-channel Mega TV cable. Mega TV soon went out of business and ASTRO had a monopoly of the market.
2010: ASTRO still has that monopoly, surprisingly. They can dictate the price and service level sesukahati since there's no market pressure.
2020: ASTRO staged a coup d'etat of sorts, when they assumed controlling stake of Khazanah Nasional. Effectively, Tan Sri Ananda is named as the Finance Minister and Telecommunications & Multimedia Minister (double portfolio). His bid to become the first non-Malay PM was denied by the Legislation.

2000: BN had a firm grip on the nation's political scene. Despite Adil's attempts at breaking the status quo, they are ultimately unable to shake the longstanding position of power.
2010: The last General Election saw a division of power unseen before, where PR led by PKR (Adil decides that it is no longer adil, so it changed the name. I think) managed to seize power in several states.
2020: Due to incompetencies and personal glory-hunting, PR quickly dissolved and PKR merged with DAP to create Keadilan Untuk RAkyat Progresif (KURAP). PAS decided to merge with UMNO's Team B and create Parti UNtuk DEmoKrasi (PUNDEK). UMNO Team A merged with MIC & MCA to create BAngsa Bersatu Untuk Negara (BABUN). However the General Election was largely won by Parti ASTRO.

2000: Malaysian football was in disarray. Despite the best efforts of Claude LeRoy and Allan Harris, the national team very much sucked. Many blamed it on having too many politicians and rolayties in the administration of the game.
2010: We still have many politicians and royalties involved, but we did won the gold in the SEA Games with a single lucky goal. FAM went crazy immediately, The Sports Minister followed suite and went just as crazy (oh my bad, foaming at the mouth does not always equals to crazy). The national squad will be sent to Europe for stints, while national age group teams will also be sent to Europe to play as a team in some obscure Eastern European league.
2020: With the 'Golden Generation' reaching the twilight of their careers, we have since won the Asian Cup once albeit with the help of 7 naturalised Brazilians playing. What heppened to the European trainees? Well, most of them did not make the grade and resorted to opening restaurants in Europe. Now you can enjoy mamak food in Prague (Sri Zaquan Adha Maju), and Krakow (Darul Bunyamin Omar 786). Weirdly, the Pahang royalties still controls FAM (and Pahang is still in the top tier tournament despite coming last every season)

So what's your prediction?

Friday, January 8, 2010

Cerita Joe

"Ade sekali nih, masa aku belajar kat UM lagi la, pegi lepak mamak tengok bola dengan kawan-kawan. Sekali tengok ade mamak baru kerja situ, punya lah selalu pergi sampai dah boleh cam kalau ada orang baru.

"Aku pon panggil la 'Aney!', datang la aney baru nih. Kitorang nak order air. So sambil-sambil bebudak dok fikir nak order apa, aku layan ah borak dengan aney tuh jap.

"Aku tengok atas meja ade nasi lemak bungkus kecik-kecik, aku tanye berapa. Dia jawab '60 sen'. Tengok ade kuih ape benda ntah, aku tanya gak harga, die jawab la '30 sen'. Bukan aku nak beli pon, saje nak test dah reti cakap melayu belum.

"Aku pon tanya la pulak 'baru datang Malaysia ke?', die geleng kepala. Tanya sudah reti cakap Malaysia, die geleng kepala. Diorang kan geleng kepala kalau 'ya'. Last sekali aku tanya 'BERAPA lama dah datang Malaysia?'

"Aney tuh tenung aku jap, then die jawab dengan confidentnya '60 sen'.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Are You Kidding Me?

Is it just me or is it really weird that only a Sargeant is being implicated in the missing F-5E engine case? It is not like a few boxes of pens or paper that can easily go unnoticed for a year, it's two big ass engines worth RM100million purpotedly. I'm sure some other people are involved to get the necessary clearance to at least get it out of the Bases.

So the Sargeant must've worked alone since he's the only one being charged. I wonder how did he sneaked those engines out, in his pockets? Even if it is true that he worked alone with no higher ranking officers involved, then I believe more heads should roll since such a significant theft was left undiscovered for a year. Hrmm, the wonders of Malaysia...

Monday, January 4, 2010

Monday's Musings

It's 2010 yo. 2009 seems like a wasted year, did not have much to say about it really.

New year's resolution? Hrmm, lose weight, run more, swim more, save the animals, world peace and all that jazz. Last year's resolution? Can't really remember now but I suppose it must've been lose weight, run more, swim more, save the animals, world peace and all that jazz.

Seriously, I wanna get either a promotion or a new job this year. If the bank doesn't think I'm kissing ass enough to promote me, then it's time to seek new pastures (and asses to kiss, oh joy).

Am gonna turn 27 in a fortnight, got a reality check during lunch last week. Temasek Scholar was talking about some guy and he said 'he's very young, early 20s like that'. Then an uncomfortable silence reigned for a while before someone quipped 'yep boys, we're late 20s now'. That dream about owning a 3-series before reaching 3-series, well that's why I need that promotion or big move away.

Anyway, hope it's not too late to wish you folks a Happy New Year. Have a fulfilling year ahead, God bless.