Friday, January 4, 2013

2012 - In retrospect

After a 4 month hiatus, I'm breaking the duck once more. 
It's been a rally, the past 6 months. More so, it had a lot to do with work. Being a litigator is not easy. I've thought I knew the costs of being one. And I'm reminded once more of how tiring it can be. Managing an average of 5-6 hours of sleep a day (I know, some people say that it's quite a lot and perhaps it is), sleepless nights aren't much fun especially waking up in the weee hours of the morning and just staring into deep space, counting sheep, hoping that you fall asleep once again without much fuss. 

But all that said and done and looking back at those times, it wasn't so bad afterall. We eventually survive. We will survive, since we live on hope even when hope seems to be nothing but a tiny flicker, yet, we latch on to it to get through the night. :) 
It was a roller-coaster year indeed, and also a year which sets out the foundations for my decision making and risk taking. Not yet, but I will get there very soon.

So, in retrospect, here are my bests and worsts of 2012


Seriously, this is a really tough decision to make..........nah. I'm just kidding. I should have perhaps chosen an Oscar contender, but alas, I'm bias and I follow my heart. I

It would be, yes you would have perhaps guessed it, The Dark Knight Rises. It's not as good as its predecessor, The Dark Knight, but it's an epic on its own. 

Don't get me wrong. I love many other movies as well. And Avengers would have been a close second. But comparatively, the intensity and drama didn't match the aforesaid Dark Knight who remains as brooding and conflicted as ever. 
Other notable movie mentions which are favourites of mine are The Amazing Spider-man, Judge Dredd and Moonrise Kingdom.

My favourite comedies, I've watched many comedies this year but Sacha Baron Cohen's The Dictator definitely takes the cake for it. I expected it to be another Borat-ish mockumentary but was quite delighted to find that there is a proper story set out The Dictator. So it has my vote for favourite comedy of the year, followed by Ted (seriously, who can resist a potty mouthed teddy bear?) and Will Ferrell's The Campaign (great stuff and a parody of the American election which is quite endearing). 


Now....we were suppose to go to Singapore to watch the Foo Fighters. Tickets were bought and plans were made. Alas Dave Grohl had a really bad throat infection and lost his voice. Monies were refunded, but it was a waste cause it would have been an awesome concert. 

To compensate the misfortune, I bought myself L'arc En Ciel tickets for their concert in Singapore. I was gearing up for that so much so that I started downloading the music which was kept in cassette form by me, which was eventually disposed off. So yes, it was downloads and new L'arc En Ciel album acquisitions. 
But alas.......national service came a-calling. And on 28 April 2012, on the day of the L'arc En Ciel concert, BERSIH 3.0 happened (which will be covered below). And I would miss L'arc En Ciel's first and perhaps only ever tour in South East Asia. Damn.........
Anyhow, no regrets going for Bersih 3.0. I would have decided to go for Bersih 3.0 anyway. 

But the Avenged Sevenfold  (A7X) concert more than compensated for the above bereavement and grief of missing out on two concerts thus far. The Avenged Sevenfold was really tight and each beat was played out precisely! 

I never was a fan of Avenged Sevenfold and was only there so that I get to see a concert in 2012. But like many other prudent people going concerts, we listened as much as we can to AX7 and slowly but surely, I developed a liking for them. And on that day of the concert it was a done deal. I was an official fan of A7X. Energetic, frenetic and I wished I could sing more of their songs at the concert, but I can't cause I'm not familiar with the lyrics. Anyway, here's a video for you if you are either curious or interested.

But the best album, that I've bought for myself, would definitely be this one:-

Tempered Mental's Pax Automata

I've been anticipating their follow up album after The View From Here. I loved their previous album and the EP (Honestly) way way earlier. But this one transcends my expectations. The songs were executed with perfect timing and pinpoint accuracy. The songs were edgy and tight. And progressive rock never sounded so good. Melina was as usual, slapping the bass and singing where no men (or women) can master. Except Les Claypool of course. Jack's guitar shredding puts him on top as one of the best (and technical) players this side of Malaysia. And Jimmy does what he does best, keep the timing tight and attack when needed. Purely technical but enjoyable and rocking stuff. I had the opportunity to watch them launch Pax Automata and what an experience it was. I've been to many Tempered Mental outings but this one was easily the best. Malaysia's best band in my humble opinion.

So that's my album of 2012. Yes Sir. Crap. Can't upload any videos from the launch though. :(


There were many events that had happened over the year. There were some weddings. There were some wakes and funerals. There were performances. And then there were demonstrations. 
The biggest event for me in 2012 would be the Bersih 3.0 rally. 5 years down after the first Bersih rally back in 10 November 2007, the people marched on for cleaner elections and a more transparent process. I have in my own words documented this in my post here.
In light of the upcoming general elections, pressure needed to be asserted to ensure that the terms of the Memorandum from Bersih 2.0 will be clearly adhered to. Dato' Ambiga, chair of the Bersih coalition had warned that the upcoming elections would be the dirtiest. From the events that happened since the political tsunami of 2008, one would not challenge that assertion. 
Things are changing still and the process will be even more evident. But once again, it was encouraging to see familiar faces once more (veterans of the Bersih rallies, and I'm one of them if I do say so meself :) nyahahah) and new faces who have joined in to voice their concerns of the decadence of the ruling coalition.
Speculation on the dates for the general elections were pushed further and we may see experience the general elections in the first (or second quarter) of 2013. We will be ready then. And hopefully we see more change happening. The good fight continues on....

The other notable event would be the KL Bar Charity Night. SYB performed once more. I should be blogging about this as a tribute to our cover band. But here's the nutshell of it. It was a great night. We played our hearts out. The crowd was supportive and enjoyed our music (hopefully) and we hope we will continue to play for more events in the future. 

 We played a few covers. 6 in all. The list goes like this:-
1. King of Wishful Thinking by Go West
2. Rolling in the Deep by Adele
3. Don't Stop Believing by Journey 
4. Zombie by Cranberries
5. That's What You Get by Paramore and 
6. I Dare You to Move by Switchfoot

But here's 3 of the videos. I will perhaps post the rest up in another posts. If anything we're just a cover band, so we're not perfect :D

The lovely Raja Nadia Sabrina was our guest singer for two of the songs. This one is Zombie

Paramore's That's What you Get

and then below, Swtichfoot's Dare You to Move

Hopefully I get all the videos of SYB and I can post up a full song list in my next post. Whether you like it or not! Muahahah!

By the way, we also performed at the KLCC Plenary Hall. Michael Bolton held a concert there 3 weeks later. Just saying. 

Also notable was my trip to South Korea. It was an experience, culturally and err socially. Its a fact, there are many good looking people in Korea, and how do they all look so good? :)'s your guess. But I enjoyed every bit of the trip; from the food I've tasted, from the wonderful places we visited and the people we meet along the way. Heck, given a chance I would go back there once more. Then again, there are many places I've yet to step foot on. Still the idea is an idea kept in view. 
We traveled cheaply and backpacked as much as we can. It made the whole trip even more worthwhile. 

Now here's the funny thing. Up this part, I can no longer posts any pictures. Probably I overused my quota of pictures for 2012. Hahaha. Oh well, just my luck. 

Oh yeah. And St Michael's had it's centenary dinner finally. It was a gathering of familiar faces. Ancient and young. Alumnis of La Salle who made their way from all over not only the country but from the globe as well. We gathered, we sang, we feast and we drank. And I'm reminded of why it is possibly the best school on Earth, ahahah (We Michaelians are a proud lot). And it has been an honour to have spend the best (and worst days) of my studying life in St Michael. 

To that I say, Quis Ut Deus (who is like God?)!

World Events 

Obama wins the presidential elections and will yet serve another term. Joy to the Democrats. Not so the Republicans. 

There were tragic events as well. Notably, two shocking and shooting events in the US. 
The first in Aurora Colorado where a lone gunman fired into a movie theatre whilst showing the Dark Knight Rises. The gunman was arrested. The identity of the person was later revealed to be James Eagen Holmes. His trial is still and on-going event. 

And then there was the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. Reminiscent of the Columbine massacre in 1999, only this time, it's in an elementary school. The death toll and fatalities was about 20 odd children and 2 adults. The lone gunman, Adam Lanza committed suicide after the shooting before help arrived. 

Whilst I read about this and vicariously experience the tragedy, one can not help but ponder once again on what is it that drives some people to the edge. Over these episodes, questions arose, on whether gun enforcement should be stricter, or whether these gunmen are themselves victim of social ills? 

In India in December, 2012, notably the brutal sexual assault of an medical student on board a bus (her friend was assaulted as well) and thrown off a moving bus has sparked outrage in the heart of India. It was one of the most crushing and heartbreaking news of 2012, on how the student cling on for life after the assault only to die 13 days later in a Singaporean Hospital. We can only hope that this event, would have sparked not just an outrage but also spark reforms on what seems to be the chauvinistic attitude towards women. Not just in India, but around the world, to strip down the chauvinistic attitude that men in some archaic nations (including ours) have always harboured and to pound in them the humility and respect that they owe women around the world. 

Ok, I felt kinda depressed penning down the last bit. 

On a sunnier note.....


On the sporting front, Manchester United lost the title to their noisy neighbours, Manchester City. Was it shocking? Not really. The most shocking thing was of course how United lost the lead whilst ahead by quite a margin by losing game after game. But the title was tightly contested nevertheless and in the end, the title was won on goal difference. 
We were in South Korea in the district of Itaewon (not many EPL fans in Korea I reckon) drinking our beers and drowned our sorrows when QPR conveniently lost to City in the dying minutes. A draw would have sufficed but at the end of the day it was not to be. 
So the noisy neighbours take the 2011/2012 title and United are left reeling. Of course, now, with the acquisition of Robin Van Persie at the expense of Arsenal, things are looking bright once more. Lets hope it stays that way. 

And then our Dato' Lee Chong Wei put up a gallant fight but was unable to deny his arch-nemesis and friend, Lin Dan of China from taking home the gold medal at the Olympics. 
That was my highlight of the Olympics. :) Wished I could remember the other medalists, but not at the top of my head right now. 

And Spain prove itself to be a formidable force once more in football by trashing the Italians 4-0 in the finals. Not only are they the World Champions but they remain the unbeaten champs of European football. A feat not easy or unprecedented even, that a team would win 3 consecutive championships. Spain has come of age and are no longer playing second fiddle to the powerhouses of old, i.e. Germany and Italy. I supported the Netherlands in this one. But they couldn't kick themselves into second gear and bowed out horribly without any point. They came with great expectations but collapsed under the burden of that expectation. 

Below are the highlights of the final. Watch how Italy is made mincemeat by the Spaniards.


The ancient Mayans predicted that the world would end in 21.12.12. It didn't. We survived the 'apocalypse'. But having said that, we are in our last days anyway, so it's just a matter of time.
But anyway, with 2012 gone and I've resigned from my current job, changes will come, rest assured. New challenges will be ever present. And I will continue blogging as long as I can with the things that interest me. 

And I end 2012 with this:-

2012, an epic, I have not,

But a rhyme or two,
A ponder, a thought.

It brought the worst,
And the best of times,
In friendships and fellowships,
And brotherhoods that bind.

Events that ensue,
Of wakes and weddings,
Of life and death,
Of funerals and blessings.

The successes and joy,  
Together we shared,
And tragedies that ensued,
In solidarity to bear.

Of hopes and dreams,
That may have fall short,
Of lessons we learnt,
Let them not be forgot.

So we bring new hope,
In the days to come,
Of planned resolutions,
May they be done.

As I shut the doors,
For a year gone by,
And I usher in a new year,
With a smile and a sigh.

A memorable 2012,
Has it at all not been,
Happy New Years to all,
Happy 2013.

My grammar sucks. Bite me.

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