Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Reason For Christmas

Christmas shall be upon us once more!! A time of cheer, a time of giving and bla bla bla…the usual stuff. But what does Christmas mean? Is it just about having parties, gatherings, opening bottles of liquor, buckets of beer and to get wasted? Come on…surely there must be more to Christmas than that. And more to giving and sharing and presents and gift exchanging.

It’s about the birth of a very special person, Jesus Christ, who gave His life for the sins of men. Now that is what giving is all about. Christmas marks the significance of this miraculous birth and it should be a time of celebration indeed for all mankind. But sadly, the significance is eroding as Christmas is merely just another day of festivities and another excuse to pop the bottle. I take this time to share about the true reason for Christmas, and I chose this song, a very beautiful song indeed and, if I can upload a video for that, perhaps many can actually capture the meaning of the lyrics and also understand the beauty and significance of Christmas. It’s a song written by David Meece which I have heard 14 years ago. Until now, it remains one of my best Christmas songs ever, as it touches the core and the true meaning of Christmas. Here goes “-

We Are The Reason

As little children we would dream of Christmas morn
And all the gifts and toys we knew we'd find
But we never realized a baby born one blessed night
Gave us the greatest gift of our lives

And we were the reason that He gave His life
We were the reason that He suffered and died
To a world that was lost He gave all He could give
To show us the reason to live

As the years went by we learned more about gifts
And giving of ourselves and what that means
On a dark and cloudy day a man hung crying
in the rain
Because of love, because of love

And we are the reason that He gave His life
We are the reason that He suffered and died
To a world that was lost He gave all He could give
To show us the reason to live

I finally found the reason for living
It's in giving every part of my heart to Him
In all that I do every word that I say
I'll be giving my all just for Him
For Him

And we are the reason that He gave His life
We are the reason that He suffered and died
To a world that was lost He gave all He could give
To show us the reason to live

He is my reason to live


After all, as my friend Colin Pal aptly puts it, “You don’t celebrate a birthday without a baby, so how can you celebrate Christmas without Christ?” Check it here at http://simplyblatant.com/wordpress/?p=342

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Our 51st Merdeka...........

At midnight tonight, the fireworks will begin and pass, and it will signal the 51st year of independence for our country, Malaysia. A time of jubilation and celebration perhaps. But we are far from being independent. Independence is still a moral and ideal which we speak of, but do not prescribe.

We do not have an independent judiciary ever since 1988. We are still submissive to a Draconian Act, which is the Internal Security Act. And now, censorship laws are getting even more out of proportion ever since the Printing Presses and Publishing Act really messed up local journalism, by banning Malaysia Today. I guess everyone would have known that Malaysia Today is already banned by the Malaysia Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC). The government has since revoked its promises for no censorship and less tampering in the internet when the MSC was launched 10 years ago. WHY?!

Are they so afraid of that the Malaysian minds will be easily corrupted by ‘false news and allegations’?

Oh how stupid and foolish we are to read blogs and to get independent news! Yes folks, we all should just read the Star and New Straits Times and be happy with the news we are getting about how fine and dandy things are in our country. About how we are getting more foreign investments in our country on the Super Corridors like the Port Klang Free Zone, when in fact many have pulled out, like the JAFZA from Dubai which had previously made promises of investments therein. About how corrupt the opposition devils are as compared to the angelic Government. There is only good news about BN and good news all the way.

GEEZZZ I sure hate my sugarcoated news!! Perhaps Malaysians are still not mature enough to decide for themselves what they should be reading and to analyze facts and draw conclusions. Haha..yeah…Malaysians can’t do that. That’s the way things are :P

But then again, we will still get blogs who press for the truth and also kudos to Malaysiakini for being the most un-bias media and reporting the facts for what it is and for what they are. It’s true. Everyone should subscribe to Malaysiakini :)
On another issue, it’s great to see Anwar Ibrahim back in Parliament. Surely he is the man of the hour, but as was pointed out by Haris Ibrahim, the victory was not his alone, but the rakyats’. People say the outcome in Permatang Pauh was expected. To some extent, perhaps it was. But then again in this age of Malaysian politics, anything goes. Look at the latest sodomy allegations. The swearing of the truth which seems to me, has lost its meaning of truthfulness. But whatever it is, it was the second wave of the political Tsunami. And then for the biggest we hope on the 16th of September. We can only wait to see how things turn out and whether our petrol prices will drop. By all in all, it would be a refreshing change from the already decaying stranglehold of the Barisan Nasional of our country.

So what now? I don’t know. I have said once that we are living in interesting times, and yes, I still believe that we are. We are in the midst of a very very big fix. Holes need to be plugged. Wounds need healing. The judiciary should be restored once again as an independent body not governed by the executive, and I hope that Zaid Ibrahim would carry out the restoration that is needed as he claims to do. The ISA needs to be abolished for being an overdued piece of legislation in an era where human rights should prevail. And Malaysians shouldn’t be distinguished by colour or religion. Utopian? Then again aren’t all good ideas utopian in nature? It is through these ideals that we should work towards. We know it. And I hope that we are moving towards it.

Still, A Happy Merdeka to all. We shall be independent…one day.

Friday, August 15, 2008

All that Jazz.....(Part 1)

Another night out. Actually two nights. This is for the first. Yup folks the Annual Mont Kiara Jazz Festival is back. The usual suspects are back as well, and then there are the others. This time however, it only spanned for two weeks compared to the usual four. The reason? Duno. Recession maybe. The fuel price hike maybe. They couldn’t get more bands maybe. Or they just simply wanted to do it for one reason. Because they can :)

Ok cut to the chase. Me and buddies were there one band only actually. The Funk Mob band headed by John Thomas drummer extraodinaire. In fact we even got a shot of him, me and Colin. It was great. Well, we got some groupie to do it, and she said that she would charge us for RM50 for one photo each. Haha. We obliged and told her that we would send her an installment or two. Below is the pic that we took.
From L to R – me, John Thomas, Colin, John Thomas’ latte


Well, after taking the picture, we went back to our tables to enjoy the mouthwatering music which was to befall our ears. Sure enough when the John’s drumbeats came in, me and Colin left out seats once again and started taking pictures. Hey , surely sitting on our arses alone aint gonna do the trick. We took lots of photos and even got close to John when he was performing his para-diddles and tricks. That man can really make an average drummer felt like he had learnt nothing his whole life!! He had a great line up too. Wan on the guitar, and a whizz at that he is too! Fly on bass….yeap…Fly not Flea for u Red Hot Chill Pep fans out there. But he is a master on the bass on his own right! And then there was the keyboardist, can remember his name though but he is pretty awesome as well. Below are the pics.


Then Elvira, the famous lead singer came on up. Colin and I had an absolute shock! That was the groupie who took our pics with John! Oh ignorant are we! We laughed to ourselves at the side of the stage and she saw us laughing too. She smiled at us and I Bet she was already wanting to tell us….bloody….dun u know who I am! Hahahahah. But it was good all the same. Elvira rocked the house, or rather jazzed the house with her vocals! Absolutely brilliant! Powerful and it complemented her band as well.
Below, Elvira in action.


And then we had the Lim Kit Siang band. Why Lim Kit Siang? Cause the bassist had an uncanny resemblance to LKS and it wasn’t my opinion alone but several others including my pal Alvin Cheah. And we didn’t caught the name of the band. Hahah. It was ok. But the bassist was too loud in his own department and sounded muffled, which in a live set isn’t a good thing actually. Oh well, they did managed to entertain the crowd as well.

The other highlight came later. The very awesome and acoustic Mia Palencia. We have heard of her reviews of her music. When she performed, the reviews did her justice indeed. She had a very wholesome voice and she was playing a lot of light but hippity hoppity numbers and she got the crowd dancing, in front of the stage.


We didn’t dance though. We’d rather enjoy the music like music academics and music intellectuals. Furthermore if we were dancing, it would be much difficult to kutuk them now :)
When the night ended, suffice to say, it left us rather satisfied. So that’s good :)The following week, next…stay tuned.

Oh..before we left, we sneaked in for a photo with Wan the guitarist of Funk Mob. Good stuff...good stuff...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Rhapsody of the Nonsensical World

Ok....I just can't help but post this pics in my Blog.
Copyright is mine....so there aint no infringement.

The things I saw in Penang....
Let me introduce....the Lorrycyle....
Behold....


and this is the Back of the Lorrycycle...


Notice the helmet the guy wears...hahaha...Salute!

But this one absolutely takes the cake....IT SURE MADE MY DAY!


McDonalds + Kentucky = McTucky
Genius....E=mc2 doesn't even come close!

ahahhahahaa....thank you....

Friday, August 1, 2008

Life Lessons on Punctuality


Two days before the end of my tenure at Rockwills. We had our bi-monthly Legal Department meeting.

We were going through the minutes of the last meeting prepared by Lynn. At the last meeting the issue of punctuality was addressed. “We should always come to meetings and come to work on time” and that was what was addressed the last time round. My boss goes through the minutes and then speaketh:-

Mr Lim:- “Hmm…Ok, we also discussed about punctuality in our last meet”
He turns to me. And then he turns to my other colleagues.

Mr Lim:- “Ok. We shouldn’t worry about this. As of tomorrow, this problem will be solved. The person who is giving us this problem will be leaving us very soon”.

He looks at me and smirks . My other colleagues looked at me as well, and then the department bursts out into laughter. I was laughing my arse of as well.

Mr Lim:- "Daniel…..I Can See You from the window, eating your roti canai every morning after 9.00am ok!" And then he smiles.

Me:- “I know Mr Lim. Thanks. Sorry. Hahahhahhaaha.”
And then we continued laughing.

People, please be punctual for any event whatsoever. Don’t play play with punctuality! Hahaha…I hope I won’t too in the future.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Out of the Pan, and into the Fire...

Two more days. Two more including this one. I will be sitting on a different chair, working on a different desk. Hopefully, doing something different. I don’t share random thoughts that often. I usually don’t feel the need to. Other people have much lovelier thoughts. Mine, they are no different than others.

But here I am writing this post. In two weeks, I’m gonna get a lot more grilling than I ever have before. Am I prepared to go into practice? I don’t know. But then there is never a perfect time. Nothing is perfect. And my time is overdue.
It’s already 2 years and 7 months since I first started working in Rockwills. Perhaps this should be a tribute to the time I spent there. The wonderful people I met. The not so wonderful people I have encountered. Have I learnt much? Perhaps, I have in many ways. Learn how to cope under pressure though I still crack at it sometimes. I learnt that my methods are ineffective, and for this, I need to evolve. Evolve is such a strong word. I’m no simple organism.

Perhaps learning would be a better word. I learnt that there should be no delay in work, I procrastinate for reasons which are not evil or bad, eg laziness, but that I sometimes tend to put other things before what I deem unimportant but ‘important’ to some. Damn. I learnt the hard way. Somehow I always learn things the hard way. That’s kinda stupid. Do not always learn things the hard way. You can ONLY learn so much the hard way.

I don’t know if my colleagues are going to read this. I love them in many ways. Ahahah. As my friend puts it I love them, but not in love with them. Ahh heck…they are nice people, many of them. Well, its not the people that bug me in office…it’s the job. Then again, how many of us actually love our jobs? That is as true as it can get.

So…after Thursday, no more will vetting, no more will drafting (at least in the interim) and no more arguing over the phone for things which sometimes…make no sense to me. Do I love confrontation? I don’t actually, because it drains the heck outta ya. But here is the thing, I’m starting to enjoy it. And I hope I do not go overboard on this. So maybe I would love litigation. Maybe I will be burned by it. Heck…..i don’t know. But I can’t wait to find out. Although its gonna take a toll on me. I just feel it. Out of the pan, and into the fire.  CHooi and Co...
I hope I don’t suck in this!

Well….if my Rockwills folk are reading this, I’m sorry that I gave you guys hell. I have had great moments in Rockwills, and you all meant a lot to me. Thanks for the great time and the great memories. I live around the corner, so unless Rockwills decide to pack and up and move somewhere else, I’m always near.So goodbyes will be spared for now....

Hahaha…if only people read this blog……



Sunday, July 20, 2008

Enter the Dark Knight



Disclaimer : - This post is definitely for the comic book enthusiast and to some extent, purist. If you are not, perhaps there are other posts and sites that you can read. But if you wish to continue, please do read on.

The Dark Knight:- It was only a matter of time that I would write a review on this movie, now very much acclaimed by almost everyone, whether a comic book fan like myself or any other moviegoer looking for a good entertaining movie.
The Consequence? After coming out from the cinema, my thoughts were on it. After coming home and before I slept, my thoughts were on it. The dialogue, the monologues, the thought provoking ideas and schemes. Yes, it was that magnetic.
Indeed it was superhero movie like no other. Think, watching Michael Mann’s Heat but with the characters strewn out from freaks and caped crusaders Think, watching the Infernal Affairs (which was a superior movie to the Academy Award The Departed) but with super heroes involve. And then there was Heath Ledger’s performance of a lifetime which, presumably, took a toll on his life.
The Batman’s comicbook tendencies, have now been fully transported into the silver screen. Even more so, is the psychological play of his sanity, and how deep he has to dig himself into his character as the Bat, to stop the foes which he have helped created. “I’ve seen now what I have become to stop men like him’ says Bruce Wayne. Every force has an equal and reactionary force and in this movie, this was explored. I have read a few of the many Batman novel epics, The Dark Knight Returns and Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, and Killing Joke and let me tell you, those stories aren’t for the faint of heart. And perhaps this Christopher Nolan epic, like Batman Begins, could have really been an epic novel by itself. And so here is my review.

The Batman:- Never has the Batman been this intriguing and self conflicted with ideals of justice, morality and vigilantism. He keeps on fighting, but in his war against organized crime, the harder he deals, the harder it gets. After battling the immortal Ra’s Al Ghul in Batman Begins, now he is up against the clown prince of crime, The Joker. The Joker, never fails to remind the Batman, that he is also a freak, like him. Knowing that he is also the outcast, because people still will not comprehend to the idea of a vigilante superhero, continues to become the outcast, which is best to protect the citizens he originally vowed to protect. And thus, Bruce Wayne has now become an alter-ego of this person called the Batman. The Joker keeps reminding, that Batman, human afterall will break and is waiting for that day to come. Bale never disappoints reprising his role as the forlorn anti-hero.

The Joker:- Perhaps, Heath Ledger’s best performance and a cryptic one at that. The
Joker, redefined in a new and horrifying way, cleary eclipsed even Jack Nicholson’s definite portrayal. Murderous, unpredictable, terrifying and a criminal mastermind are perhaps the best words to describe the murdering menace. While Ra’s Al-Ghul in Batman begins had the intention for a chaotic world, his was a cleansing of the corrupt, the destruction of all that is foul, something which needed to be done to pave way for a more civilized society. The Joker, on the other hand, just wants pure anarchy and to bring out the animal survival instinct deeply rooted in every man and woman. And thus, begins his wave of destruction to prove that civilization is a thin veil and fa├žade that hides the worst in all of us. I felt the chill when the Joker rode on the police car with his head sticking out of the window, embracing the moment when his chilling deed has been done. My hats off to Ledger, for the last and a very memorable and disturbing performance.

Two-Face-
Harvey Dent is another complex character. Amoral at best, he relies on his coin to make decisions. Life altering decisions. And that’s what makes him another complex character. The Dark Knight portrayed Harvey as the white knight in Gotham. The anti-thesis of Batman’s Dark Knight persona. Upholding everything he believes in but alas, we all know (at least comic fans knew) that tragedy would struck and he would eventually become Two-Face. The character’s evil half is indeed scary and resembles a very badly burnt face. Gone is the Tommy Lee Jones rubbish in Batman Forever. Now here is a real character with a tragic fate and a twisted sense of justice thereafter. Such a sad and depressing event.

Overall?
I would truly say that I enjoyed it every bit, as complex a crime drama as it is, there is no way to top it at the moment. It has brought the comic-book movie adaptation to new heights. Not since Spiderman 2 had such a movie about superheroes be as exciting as this. As the movie reviewer in the Star mentioned that this movie, stands together with another thought provoking movie and a personal favourite of mine which is V for Vendetta. If you liked that, you’re definitely going to love this. My friend, Yep mentioned, it didn’t look like super hero movie. It was too much into realism. Perhaps its time comic book movies grew up. My friend told me that after the movie, he saw a kid who was dazed. I pity the kid….hahahaa.

Ok now that it is off my chest, I feel a lot better.  However, movies like this are only going to get better and in this case, prepare yourself for another bout of realism, with another superb movie adaptation, titled the WATCHMEN which should be out next year. Till then, WHY SO SERIOUS?!


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Debates....the thing you catch the fish with...

The debate. Anwar spoke about it. The government prepared for it. But really, after watching the debate, how much did Shabery Cheek prepare for the debate, besides quoting circulated e-mails which many of us got.

I quickly finished my fried lala, Hokkien mee and yee mee to catch this historical event. What I thought was that, Anwar was now in their turf. In the TV3 studio and we all know, or at least can deduce from the wolf howls and lewd whistles that the crowd was bias towards one side. Especially each time Shabery Cheek gave a ‘factual comment’. But Anwar stood his ground, cool and compose, and at least he blurted facts based on reports and not merely rhetoric comments. If this debate was held in Dataran Merdeka, trust me, it would have been a roaring pandemonium, that is, when each time Anwar delivers his statements. And of course we will have road blocks once again. My deepest regrets t those who made it late for the CLP examination on Monday 14/07/2008. It was indeed a cruel move to have the road blocks for the sake of our ‘national security’. Geeez….with each road block such as these, I feel so secure. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind roadblocks…if it was for a proper reason. But not this. 

Back to the debate, Shabery now, compared us to Venezuala, Iran etc. They may have the lowest price in oil, but they also have one of the highest inflation rates in the world. And he claims that Malaysia although may have high petrol prices, we have low inflation rates. LOW? On what basis did he made that claim? COME ON MAN! The fact that Teh O Ais is now RM1.30 already shows inflation by any lay man’s standard! I may not be an economics whizz, but I do know when petrol price increase, so does the cost for travelling. And if the cost for traveling increase, those who do supplies will increase the price for supplies to cover these costs. And thus begins a chain of inflated prices. Geez man, I don’t know jacknuts about macro economics or microeconomics, but that’s that! So…..once again, don’t compare for the wrong reasons!! We are comparing the price of petrol and the maintenance of it!! Thank goodness they didn’t compare us to Myanmar this time as before.

Personal attacks were made, to discredit Anwar. Ok. Not relevant to the debate. What was he thinking? Similar fact evidence? Of what? That Anwar opposed the leaders in every decade? I guess the worst thing for him to bring out would be the 1998 crisis. Especially when you are going against something who knows more about the economic situation first hand. Once again, its facts against opinion, and in debates, opinions without facts would be treated as…..mere opinions, baseless, space….air….whatever you choose to call it. Haha. Guess he forgot that this debate was about the oil hike. Not about Anwar. Haha…ok. To be fair, Anwar strayed a little, but perhaps that was on the defence and not the offence. Hey, its not everyday that he gets a chance to speak on live tv nowadays, so, of course ,make the most out of it! He even acknowledged that.

Our country claim to have saved billions on the reducing subsidies, but based on the questions (which is based on last years report on the 30 cent hike), only a few million was used on the improvement of the transportation. Now you may say that this money is channeled to other developments, but then again, people pay taxes! And this, my friends is merely the subsidy moneys, and we are not even talking about other moneys that the people pay to the government. Anyways, there was more of course and I shall perhaps watch the debate again, if it is on youtube to do a second assessment.

Sure it aint like the Obama vs Clinton debates, but hey….it’s a start to democracy. Kudos I would say to Malaysia for allowing this to happen. Anyway, hands down to Anwar, for being calm and composed. Surely he inherited the composure of Dr M once, being his protege, but did it in his own way. Well, tonight it was his night. Lets hope that there will be more of this, and that the arrest charge would once again be dropped due to lack of a case. As for the sodomy issue, did he do it or not, I have no idea. But I would give him the benefit of doubt for his innocence , as opposed to not guilty. Well, if I’m wrong later, you can all slap me and tell me “ I TOLD YOU SO!!” . As for Bung Mokhtar….will he ever learn………..

Thursday, June 5, 2008

V-Power...and the Petrol Hike



(picture taken from www.philippetastet.com)

4th June 2008. It was like any ordinary day. My car was almost running on an empty thank. I didn’t even bother filling up, although there was news circulating about the raising of the petrol price. Actually the day before, the news was that the oil price has gone up to US$130 per barrel. Well, we know it was going to affect the prices of oil in Malaysia. The government has already been harping, that we are being heavily subsidized, and that it was time that we should not rely solely on the government. FINE.

4th of June, at about 4pm, we are told that the price will increase in August. Now seriously?! Wait till August ? Right....and then at about 5.30pm, it was official. Price in petrol to increase after midnight! To my horror, I still haven’t forgotten that I was running on an empty tank! Without thinking further, me and my colleagues requested for an early take off to pump Oil before things got crowded and messy. Of course being the responsible colleagues that we are, that didn’t meant going home after the pump but straight back to work.

Now, I have friends who told me, why you so kiasu? Actually, I’m not kiasu. I’m kiasi. Cause I need to go to One Utama for dinner and movie, and running on an almost empty tank from Old Klang Road certainly ain’t going to get me there on time, if at all. So once the news was out, we hoped that those who left at 5pm, have not gotten the news yet. Hahaha…well..fortunately for them, there is always radio…so......Anyway, we drove to the nearest petrol station. The crowd was already beginning, but we managed to pumped BLACK GOLD into our vehicles. And in a funny moment, as the momentum of the crowd was building up and as I was pumping petrol, across me was this gentlemen in a Waja, ever so cooly, pumping his share. There was a long queue building up to take over his place once he is done. And then when he pressed he pressed his remote control to open the car door, his alarm rang. Damn! Something was wrong. Must have short circuited. HAHAHA, that certainly wiped the cool look off his face. When I left, he was still there frantically trying to get his car to start. I didn’t know what happened but I hoped for the best for him before the crowd starts honking. Well, we went back to work after that.

Here is my take on the price hike. We have been screwed over by the Premier the second time around. Last time, it was the dissolution of Parliament. The PM said that No, parliament will not be dissolved. Right…less than 24 hours, Parliament was dissolved. Then now, the price of oil will not hike until August, but will be based on floating rates. Less than 30 minutes later, price to rise at midnight! ARGHhh!!!! KALI KEDUA!!! That was the first of my dissatisfaction. We all know that the price of oil is going to increase. Yes. No problems. Petrol is now already deemed a rare and valuable commodity in the world.

So if the price increases, then naturally, it will affect us as well, right? How true is this? Sometimes, I really wonder, if the figures shown in our subsidy, about RM1.00++ for a litre of petrol is really accounted for. I just wonder if the figure is true. In fact, I highly doubt it a lot. We are compared with other countries on the price hike. True is it happening everywhere, but here is the question, why on Earth are we compared to countries that do not produce oil? Have Terengganu, and Sarawak suddenly disappear from our country? The last time, on the issue of the BERSIH rally and as a democratic country we were compared to Myanmar! WHY ARE WE ALWAYS BEING COMPARED TO COUNTRIES WHICH DO NOT HAVE THE SAME POLICIES AS US?! WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY?!

Ok. Back to the issue. Since we are an oil producing nation, then naturally, if the oil of price increases, our income, as a nation should increase. We are after all a net exporter of crude oil. And thus the increase in oil shouldn’t affect us this badly. They say if we have less subsidies, then RM13.1 billion (if I’m not mistaken) is saved and will be returned to the Rakyat as rebates. OK. The rebates, if ever will only last us 2 months. Is this rebate a new policy? Or a counter-action to the increase of the price of oil in Malaysia? I don’t know about you, but I doubt this policy has any good effect at all on softening the blow. Well, what happened to the PETRONAS profits? PETRONAS should be collecting profits with glee amidst this situation(you can read all about this in MT). Certainly, the issue of transparency in our government is still an IDEALISTIC thought and not in action. My hope that if it is true and that Pakatan Rakyat will sweep the country soon, then I shall embrace it so see if change can be made. I am hoping for another wave, an even bigger wave than the 2008 elections. I’m angry. And so is everyone else. Because we are being screwed by the government over and over and over and over. Lets hope when the opposition takes over, they are not going to get us screwed over as well. Otherwise, we are gonna screw back….haha..whatever that meant, but I’m sure you all out there will know of many ways.

My next petrol pump is going to be RM98 for a full tank. I drive a Wira 1.3 by the way. And this increase is not going to be the last of it……..

Friday, May 23, 2008

A Third European Star

May 22nd. A pulsating night of football in Moscow as the masses in Malaysia gulped their brew of expressos and kopi kau, just to stay up in the wee hours of the morning to watch the UEFA Champions League Final between the Red Devils and the London Blues. I missed the final in 1999, where Manchester United played Bayern at the Nou Camp. We were at troop camp which to begin with, wasnt even ours. All we had was the radio and the word of mouth. THIS TIME however, i was sure i wasnt going to miss it. My mates thought the same. 5 days before the meet of destiny, I applied for leave. My boss asked me for the reason, to which i replied in Cantonese " the preferable reason for the leave was i needed the rest, but then Boss, you know the truth and it is football". Being the understanding boss, he duly allowed me my leave. YES!!! And so there i was in the wee hours in the morning at DI KAYU NASI KANDAR in Chow Yang. I pity the folks who live there. Gone are the tranquil moments of peaceful sleep each time a big match is in play.

The guilty parties of this 3 hour past midnite rendezvous were Khee Fatt, Eugene, Alvin, Wil Liam, Daren and myself. After our maggi gorengs and roti kosongs with dhall, the match was about to begin. I was wearing my Champions League jersey, in which Alvin had suggested. Yup, the right time for the right occasion. The match started with a frantic pace, and United were the better team in the first half. They controlled most of the possession, but it was the wonderful exchange of the ball between Hargreaves and Brown that got the gameplay for United rolling. After a neat trick of one-two passes, Brown made a decent cross which Ronaldo connected with a header in the top left corner of the post, to put United ahead. Securing that vital goal, they pressed on and were nearly 2-0 up if not for the double heroics of Peter Cech. Indeed, he is not touted as the best goalkeeper in the world for nothing. 2 saves from the Chech Republican made sure that Chesea were still in the game. And then Lady luck favoured Chelsea, when a shot from Drogba caught the back of Ferdinand and rebounded only for Lampard to latched on to it putting things back to square one and bringing United back to Earth. Lucky? Perhaps. The half time whistle blew not long after.

As the second half resumed, we could see that the Chelsea playing is now a more confident Chelsea. Who knows what mumbo jumbo cooked up in the Chelsea dressing room. But now even more determined with Lampard's lifeline, they decided to unleash hell for the United defence. Possession was now Chelsea's. They came with shot after shot. However, United were equally lucky. Ballacks shot, which could have resulted in another goal, hit the post. In the 75th minute or so, it was Drogba's turn to hit the woodwork. If that had gone in, it would have been difficult for United to recover from being a goal down at such a crucial moment. Just ask the Bayern Munich players, and they will attest to conceding a goal in the dying minutes is not exacty the greatest feeling on Earth. But it seems as quickly as lady luck decided to favour Chelsea in the first half, so did she deserted Chelsea as time wore on. Many battles on the pitch were personal. Ballack vs Tevez, Essien vs Ronaldo and Makelele with.....almost anybody :). Of course it was a delight to see twinkle toes Ron skipped over Essien twice or thrice.

And then Drogba did the unthinkable. At extra time, when the match was getting heated, words between the players were exchanged. Thats normal. But Drogba had to slap Vidic. It wasn't a hard hitting slap, just a petty one, but it was enough to see him earn a red card. Come On......remember Zidane and Materazzi? Tempers flared, but at least Zidane made full use of the red card and headutted the outspoken and often villified defender. Now that was worth it...hahahah!If you wanna go down, go down in style hhaha. Such a waste, but seriously, kids.....don't try it in the football field. Never, never involve yourself in a football fight. So Chelsea were down to 10 man at the end of extra time. During the whole extra time, the players could be seen stretching their legs, apparently to recover from cramps. No goals which meant, penalty kicks were in line.

The moment of truth now. It was indeed Russian Roulette. One winner, one loser. No in betweens. The real deal. Each player scored, Tevez, Carrick, Ballack, Belletti. Ronaldo was up next. He knew the pressure was mounting. He tried to dummied Cech, but Cech would have none of it and he made the save (see picture below)! Ronaldo now knew that he depended on his other team mates to absolve himself of the blame. Now we all know that in penalty shoot-outs, there shouldnt be anyone to blame as in all boils down to luck. But then again, we know the vile press woud always get their scapegoats. Finally when it was Terry's turn, with much confidence he stepped up. A Captain's penalty was all it needed to seal the deal. However, for sure this time, luck had deserted them and his penalty was wide! A sigh of relief for the United fans after cringing for mercy for a miss from Terry and a miss they got. Sudden death. Each shot was vital and important. In the end, it was Le Sulk who missed. The player who plays for a different club each season, was given the honour to hand the trophy to United. Anelka's shot was saved by Edwin Van De Sar, who was by now, the hero of the day.



As the United fans celebrated, Ronaldo collapsed into the ground, hands on face tears streaming. This wasnt his usual crybaby whines. This was perhaps tears of relief and joy. He knew that the weight was on his shoulders and it was finally off. Player of the year? Perhaps. It will depend on his Euro 2008 outing. I couldnt help but felt bad for Terry. He knew his miss was even more vital than Anelka's miss. And penalties are always the cruelest way to lose. Its a game of chance and tonight, it favoured United. But then it didnt matter. United won. the crowd in KAYU was fantastic as we sighed relief and hugged each other as if Malaysia had won the Thomas Cup or the World Cup. We suspect there were more Man United fans than there are Chelsea fans in that premise. The victory was perhaps a hallmark moment for Ryan Giggs as he surpassed Bobby Charlton's record of appearances in a United kit. Now....he is the most decorated United player ever. GOOD OL' No.11!!



Me, Daren and Wil Liam celebrated the victory with dim sum at SS2 as we did a post mortem the match. A wonderful double for United and it as a victory to savour. Well....by now if you havent notice....i'm a Manchester United fan. Thank you and good night.




Tuesday, April 22, 2008

This City is Haunted By Ghosts.....




Borrowing a line from a song by Alexis On Fire, the title if written whole would be, that “ This city, this city is haunted, by ghosts from broken homes. This city, this city is haunted, there’s no hope, left for these souls.” The title of this song is also aptly named, “This could be Anywhere in the world’. Seemed like an ordinary hardcore song. However the lyrics remain more poignant than they should be for a song of this nature and is hauntingly striking, if we look beyond our comfort zones.

As we lay on our comfortable beds, in our air conditioned rooms and ponder upon our everyday problems; on how we lack the materialistics, Ipods, PS2’s and how little we earn for so much of work that we do; we ramble on with our personal problems. How trivial are they then compared to those people who struggle with their lives daily, trying to feed themselves with the meek earnings that they have. Only recently have I felt that there are people who need hope, perhaps much more than others, where survival is nothing more than everyday struggle to be fed. In 2005, there is an estimate of at least 100 million homeless people in this world.

I’ve seen homeless children. Orphans. Interacting with them. They are much easier to reach out. Still young and ever eager to see the world.You see, I joined my LF to this outreach called KAWAN located in the heart of the city. It’s a drop-in for the homeless where they are fed. I was invited and I took this chance perhaps to do some ‘charity’. Or so I thought I would. I thought, ‘Hey…I’ve been to an orphanage. How hard can it be? Its gonna be a walk in the park.” When we reached the centre, for the first time, I felt what it is like to live on the streets. I mean I didn’t experience living on the streets, but judging from the conditions of the area where KAWAN is located, its not as easy as I thought. At the point, I knew I was humbled. How arrogant was I into thinking that all is fine. It isn’t.

Many things went through my mind. Were these people hostile? Some of them could have been drug addicts and even perhaps the question of the realities of AIDS arising. It did went through my mind. This is much different from dealing with children. These are people who have gone through so much in life. These are people who are as old as our grandparents. And there are those who are younger. Their hearts hardened and weathered by the harsh living conditions. Poverty, hopelessness seemed an integral part of their lives. And it was at that moment that I decided to try to bring myself to do what I can for these people. We had a praise and worship session .We did some sharing, a skit on the parable of the Prodigal Son, which is perhaps a New Testament classic. It was in Cantonese. We acted it out while Eddy, narrated. It was most fun and encouraging especially when we saw that there are some who have heard of this parable before and giving some feedback. And then there are those who are weary from a days work of survival and just waiting for the food. When dinner was served, we took the opportunity to mingle with the crowd. It wasn’t easy, well at least for me, as I tried to choose a common topic to talk about. And when I did, I learnt that these folks have much to tell, and have much to let out. About lessons in life, and how not to stray onto the wrong path. And when it was time to leave, we say our goodbyes and vowed to come back soon. My eyes, to say the least were opened. I confided with some of my LF members and they too told me that it wasn’t an easy task initially. But with their perseverance and their genuine care for these people, it wasn’t impossible to deal with.

There are many homeless people out there. People with real needs. They do not need computers. They do not need PDAs, notebooks, a Gucci wallet or an LV handbag. They need food. They need to survive. They need more than Charity. They need God’s Word. They need hope. Our cities are haunted with ghosts from broken homes. How they are homeless, is anyone’s guess. Perhaps they have families who have disowned them. Perhaps they have lived on the streets for far too long, and forgotten what it was that had put them there in the first place. It is a sad state of affairs. Perhaps we need a welfare state. A system where these people can be taken care of. All this of course is yet to be seen. Right now, it’s the NGOS who are picking up the pieces, and I really do have the admiration for them on how they dedicate their lives for this cause. However we all know that admiration alone is not enough. Perhaps we need to act, to make change in things such as these. And we need to complain less about our trivialities. Try to be more aware that your problems are not the biggest in the world.

As I wait for my next trip to KAWAN, I’m writing this post, as a reminder of the people who have genuine needs. Once again they need a lot and especially Salvation and grace, not only from God, but from the people around them. I don’t know what my next step is, but I know that whatever it is, it would be a step to do my part for the people who need help. “ THIS CITY IS HAUNTED BY GHOSTS FROM BROKEN HOMES.” And THIS COULD BE ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD. So perhaps the next time you have an encounter, what would your part be?



Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A change, A belief and a New Dawn



Its been a month and 8 days after the General Elections. History was made. Malaysian democracy was finally evident. Who could forget the events that lead up to the climatic twist in the outcome of the elections. The BERSIH rally, the HINDRAF rally, the Vigil for the ISA detainees, the police crackdowns , the fiery pre –election speeches on both camps, and the forums organized by various church groups in light of the political climate in Malaysia which has taken its turn for the worst. The general election was about to become another day where BN
would prevail, and that was the thought of many, no matter how much we hoped that it will not be reality.

Days before the election, after futsal with my mates, we had a discussion on the outcome of the General Elections. It’s a lost cause some say. The only way that things can change is if there is a coup, probably similar to the one that had happened in Thailand where Thaksin was ousted. A Coup. That would be undemocratic. But then in Thailand, that was what happened and whatever the method was, the desired effect was achieved. Which had us wondering, if a coup was really needed, and we concluded, that it’s a done deal for BN in the elections judging from the news spun by the countries infamous spin doctors, our very own newspapers on the walkovers of the constituencies. Like injured badminton players, they conceded defeat without even fighting. The Warong Fikir in which one of my friends, Colin Pal, organized a video/film session where the forgotten history of Hartal 1969 was told. A film by Fahmi Redza titled ‘10 Tahun Sebelum Merdeka’, it chronicled on the events that happened before independence and the parties that fought for the independence, whether it be right-wing parties or left wing ideologies. One thing was certain, both these camps had one thing in common and a common fight; Independence for Malaysia. Today, we don’t fight for independence but for a better Malaysia. But we have taken all these for granted. And that’s where a new fight begins. To strip the powers that be who have taken their appointments for granted and being too big headed for their hats. And thus, the build up the general election, was to create an awareness of what is happening in this country and to awake all those who are in slumber or have been sitting on the fence.

The outcome to say the least,was UNEXPECTED. True, we have expected more votes for the opposition but not 5 states. I guess there is no need to mention which states fell, since now, most of us are more politically aware of what is happening around us. 5 states! Who would have imagined? People prevailed. Democracy prevailed. No coup. Finally the ghosts of May 13 have been exorcised. The ruling coalition conducted a post mortem of the defeat. Was it really necessary? They knew what was going wrong with the country. They see it, but yet too arrogant to admit. They have, for one, underestimated the might of the people. Haris Ibrahim coined the term Barisan Rakyat, which goes to show from whom the party coalitions in the Barisan Rakyat garner their support from, the People. The Barisan Rakyat is now called the Pakatan Rakyat. They have settled their indifferences, at least at this point in time. The hardest was perhaps Perak where the opposition won by a small margin, a close call, 3 state seats. The baptism of fire came in the appointment of the Menteri Besar. And in the end, Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin came through as the MB. That is the first test. The next and bigger test would now be the performance of the Opposition ruled parties in the next 4 years. And I believe if they would come through, hold on to their promises, then they can be the next ruling coalition.

Black 14 recently marked the return of Anwar after a long exile from politics. In no small manner, he had played a major role in the Pakatan Rakyat. The questions now arise; is he going to be the next PM, and if he does, is he going to abide by his manifesto, that Malaysia be free of the racial political structure which had been in our lives throughout but yet forced to deny it? Or he is another sly fox, wanting absolute power for himself? If it is for the former, then I will say that he can have my vote anytime. Perhaps I would give him the benefit of the doubt. Afterall, this man has gone through hell and back which may have played a part of him re-inventing himself. People say a leopard do not change its spots, but mind you, we are talking about a man and not a leopard. People are capable of change after going through life-altering events. And perhaps I would give him that. I truly hope for a better country. Where the welfare of the people are its prime objectives. If this man can do it, then he has my vote. However, things remain to be seen and if ever the Pakatan Rakyat decides to go down the spiraling road in which BN went, then, the people, once again should deny abuse of power and not be bullied anymore. POWER TO THE PEOPLE!



I end this posting with what we are all familiar with, if we have watched V for Vendetta. It’s a good movie and I think everyone, being citizens of their respective countries should watch it.

'People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid.' of their people.




Good times indeed - November 10th 2007 BERSIH RALLY

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A Gothic Romance

This was something that I wrote back in 2005 . It was pasted in the now-nearly defunct Friendster operated blog. Yes, its been awhile, but this is one of the ways in which I remind myself of what I wrote. I enjoyed writting it, and I hope those of you out there who read it, would feel something similar. I was quite obsessed with everything gothic, well...almost everything, perhaps even now. Well, this was inspired by a video called Helena by My Chemical Romance............Well, what better way to start a blog than to give an ode to meself...Here goes...

A Gothic Romance

She looks beautiful and fine, like the ethereal moonlight,

Her pale skin glows, Her black hair dark as night

Alas she lays , no one by her side,

in a handcrafted casket , where she abides.

Body in a lifeless motion , Dead as seen,

And I sit there wondering , what might have been.

if only i have done more, more than I could,

would i be spared of this misery and guilt?

The sickness that inflicted her, that tore her apart

took away too my soul, along with my heart,

the choir sings, the crowd resounds,

a sad and beautiful song, one seems heavenbound,

and as our heads are bowed, our lips in prayer,

our eyes closed shut, none a whisper,

But there she ascends, from the coffin she wakes,

she dances along the aisle, each minute step she takes,

In her long black dress she dances, making lovely spins,

like a gothic ballet, so beautiful and serene,

She danced and danced, her black dress flows,

And as she reaches me, coming to a close,

Reaching out to me from where i stand,

her forehead on mine, my hand in her hands.

She whispers into my ear, notes of gratitude,

As tears flowed from her eyes, fears of solitude,

Forgive me i said, I wish i'd done more,

I'd give u a better life, i'd given you my all,

It's ok she says, you know i'll be fine,

I'm here to thank you for all the wonderful times,

She lifts my head up as she kisses my face,

one last hug, one last sorrowful embrace,

and as we parted and say our last goodbyes,

she dances through the aisle, tears in her eyes,

she danced and danced till i lost sight of her,

and i opened up my eyes, it all seemed a blur.

i look onto the crowd, their heads bowed in prayer,

Was it my imagination, at that point i wondered.

I touched my left cheek, where i'd been kissed,

the mark of black lipstick which was upon her lips.

the evidence of things, somewhat profound,

it's not a figment of my imagination, but something sound.

She was there to see me off, I cry once again,

feeling guilt inside, but she told me I'm not blamed,

My thoughts recollected, I knew she was right,

goodbye my dear Helena, So long and goodnight.