Wednesday, 31 January 2007

Heroes* - The Wallflowers

Alritee, then. I can't resist it but join in the hype. Truth be told, been wanting to blog about this for quite a while, ever since i caught this brilliant series in Colchester.

It's all over the papers - the biggest satelite TV event in the land for 2007! Tonite marks the premier for the series, Heroes!

Pic taken from the TV series official website

I won't give out any spoilers (like someone who told me last Sunday that House could start jogging in Season 3!!!! Thanks a lot, mate! :-P) - but just me full endorsement - it's a really good series for a long long time. Some might find it moving a little slow - but to me, it is necessary to enable us to understand each character.

A word of advice - watch it like i did, not reading anything about it, no prior knowledge of the plot. And be pleasantly surprised by it, amused by Hiro, smitten by Claire, symphatise with Nikki... i'm giving away too much, am i?

Just one complaint - the opening credits, or the lack of one!!!!! No catchy theme song to hum or sing along. Nothing save for the pathetic view of earth from space and the name of the creator!!!!! *sigh*

*Song taken from the soundtrack of Godzilla, and used also in the brilliant movie adaptation of Moulin Rouge!

Tuesday, 30 January 2007

Can't buy me love* - The Beatles

Many have asked if i was planning to join back the legal firm where used to be a partner. Well, in the first place, i'm not so sure that i'm wanted there!!! But in any event, my reply is that if i did, i would have wasted a lot of time and money doing me Masters. After all, the reason why i did me Masters is to get away from that kind of life.

Still, i must say that there has been some moments of weakness when i have flirted with the idea of going back to practice and entertained the thought of being a litigator again. I confess that it is the lure of money that is tempting me...

It's funny but i'm beginning to feel really poor since i got back!!!!! This is in spite of the fact that it was proven last year that London is one of the most expensive places to live in the world while KL is one of the cheapest capitol. This is all the more evident when one were to compare the exchange rate.

Nevertheless, i never felt poor (in terms of ca$h) when i was in London - well, not like how i feel here. There are a few reasons.

The first is that there is a legal minimum wage that one can earn in the UK. It's about 5 quid an hour. No matter what kind of work one does, that is the least one can earn in 60 mins. Of course there are employers who illegally ignore this - but that's another story.

The next reason is the buying power. Lemme explain by giving an example - you work an hour in Burger King, London and you can get a decent meal. You work an hour in Burger King, KL and you still won't have enuf to get a meal there!

Imagine this - i can go to Tesco in Colchester and spend only 10 quid and i would hav bought sufficient groceries for a whole week!!!! the other day, i was in Giant USJ and i was shocked to find out how little i can buy with RM10! Do you think one can work for 2 hours here in BK and have earned enuf to buy a week's worth of groceries?

Oh - and working for a month or two would be more than enuf to finance a holiday in Europe for a couple of weeks, at the very least! How long must one work here to earn enuf for such a holiday???

There are other factors too - like the transportation is so good that one doesn't need a car there. And the weather is so nice to just walk. I used to get free calls and text messages that it feel strange to have to pay for them now!!!!

So, yes, just like the lure of the dark side for Anakin, i was enticed by the possibility of earning lots of money by going back to practice... but i'm resisting it. It's easy when i recall the kind of life i used to have, the kind that made me decide to drop everything and resume me studies. I remember the early mornings and late nites, of not seeing my parents for days even tho we live under the same roof, of not seeing the sunlight on some days, of the pressure and the stress, of the feeling of emptiness when i helped the rich get richer and made the poor poorer...

I've gotta constantly remind meself that while Mastercard can pay for a lot of things, there are some things that money just can't buy.

So it's ok. I'm driving me dad's old car now while me mates are going round in their Mercs and Beamers. I eat instant noodles while they experience fine dining in the latest up-market exotic restaurant in town. I'm planning a trip to East M'sia while they are talking of their next Europe trip. I'm still happily taking photos wif me 2 megapixel digicam while they plan to get their hands on the latest DSLR.

But i'm happy cuz i played UNO wif me nephew and neice this evening, and i went shopping at Giant wif me mom last weekend, and i watched tennis wif me dad the other day, and i hung out at the mamak until the early hours of the morning wif me mates, and i go for a jog every morning...

And those rich mates of mine? They've not ceased ferrying me around and buying me meals since i got back!!!! :-)

p/s - this post is not meant in any way to cause disrespect to those still in practice and/or earning big bucks!
p/p/s - had to add the disclaimer above in view of the many sensitive bloggers around these days.... ;-P

*One of the Fab Four's top songs! And one of the songs that i remember from me childhood days growing up watching the animated Beatles show on tele.

Silence speaks (a thousand words)* - Debbie Gibson

I hear you loud and clear! That's the reply i was expecting.

Still, i've no regrets. Not yet...

*A song taken from the first CD i ever bought in me life!!!! Way back in 1993!

Saturday, 27 January 2007

Running on faith* - Eric Clapton

Sometimes in life, things at close scrutiny looks like it is in a mess and out of control...

But when one takes the time to stand back - and look back - one can truly appreciate the things which took place, and the person who is in control of everything.

Hindsight is always 20-20 - but until then, i just have to learn to trust in my Lord.

Visual aids credits:- Claude Monet and Musee D'Orsay

p/s - yes, i'm finally sorting out my France photos!!!!! Hopefully, i'll get it all done before the end of the year of the Dog!!!! Be patient, WS! ;-)

*One of my fav song of his! Too bad i missed the chance to see him perform at Royal Albert Hall (again!!) last year.

Friday, 26 January 2007

The world's greatest* - R. Kelly

I got down on time to see the start of the second set - and a display of grace, accuracy and power in tennis never seen before!!!

I'm referring to the Mens' semi-finals of the Australian Open between Federer and Roddick. Having finally beaten Federer just earlier this month, Roddick must have thought that he had a good chance of progressing into the finals.

He was mistaken.

We all felt for him - all the more as i know what a nice guy he is, and what a wonderful tennis player he has become.

But as the commentator exclaimed, "It's not a racquet in his hands - it's a magic wand!" And i had to agree that we were indeed privilleged to witness such a wonderful display of brilliant tennis by Federer. If you missed it, dun take me word for it - read about it here (and catch the highlights on a link therein).

It's a pity, tho cuz it is hard to imagine Federer reproducing that performance in the finals... or can he?

Pic taken from BBC News Online

He is beyond doubt, the world's greatest tennis player now - and some say of all time!

*A song taken from the movie, Ali

Careless Whisper* - George Michael

Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966**

1. Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference.

2. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.

3. The exercise of the rights provided for in paragraph 2 of this article carries with it special duties and responsibilities. It may therefore be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary:

(a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others;

(b) For the protection of national security or of public order (ordre public), or of public health or morals.

In recent times, many bloggers in M'sia have been speaking out against the legal suit taken against 2 prominent local bloggers by a local newspapers alleging defamation.

What concerns me more is the fact that many of these bloggers prolly have no idea what the suit is all about. All that matters to them is that 2 bloggers have been taken to court for statements made by them in their blogs - and they say that this is going against every bloggers' right to freedom of expression. What disappoints me more is that many of these people are themselves human rights activists.

Let's get one thing clear - there are very few absolute rights i.e. rights to which there are no exceptions and limitations to. For example, Article 19 para 1 as reproduced above allows everyone to hold an opinion. One may think that the government is corrupt, or that Beckham is overrated, or that Nazism is not wrong, or that Christians are stupid. They have the right to hold such opinion.

However, freedom of expression is not such a right - and human rights activists should know better! Article 19 para 3 above lists out the restrictions. Article 20 lists out even more restrictions.

These people also forget that there is another right involved in this case - the right for anyone to litigate any matter in Court. That right too has its limitations but i won't go into detail here. But what this means is that the local newspaper has every right to take anyone to court if it thinks that it has a valid claim against them. If at the end of the day, they have been found to abuse their right to take out such a case eg. they commenced the law suit out of malicious intent, the bloggers have every right them to demand for costs and damages.

This is the legal process of the land - and of many if not all other modern democratic nations. Who are the bloggers to limit the right of anyone to commence a law suit if they have a legal and valid right to do so?

I know that many would be saying now that the local newspapers do not have a valid and legal right - but it is unfortunately not for us to judge, but for the Judge to do so - that is why they are called judges!!! ;-P

So to those who are making a lot of complaints about this legal case, may i humbly suggest that they do the following things first before saying anything:-

1. Find out the details of the case;
2. Learn up the laws on defamation;
3. Form your opinion, by all means - but as the matter is already filed in Court, let the legal process run its natural course.

I think it is unfair that the solicitors of the newspapers are receiving flak for taking up the case. I have had previous dealings with the particular lawyer and have utmost respect for him. He is just doing his job. Let's not get personal with him or the firm he is from.

If anyone would like to read a good and IMHO fair comment on the matter, read the editorial by TheSUN here. I have read it and reread it and is of the view that it is legally sound and makes sense. Unfortunately, a particular human rights activists had blasted the newspaper for that editorial and made many criticisms which in my view are uncalled for, personal and unfair. This is the law of the country, a country which believes inter alia in the Rule of Law.

Ideally, the case filed should deal only with whether the alleged statements are defamatory in nature - and should not add any limitations to any bloggers' freedom of expression in his/her blog.

Yes, we bloggers should jealously guard against any attempts to curb our right of freedom of expression - but that does not make us immune to any legal proceedings for any careless statements made which in law amounts to defamation or anything which falls under the restrictions listed in Articles 19 and 20 as referred to above.

**Kindly note that while Malaysia has not ratified this Covenant, it is nevertheless generally accepted as the benchmark of Civil and Political Rights in the world today

*Arguably, one of the best songs of all times, if not the best! Interesting to note that in Capital FM's top 500 songs of 2006, Careless Whisper came in no. 1 again!!!

Thursday, 25 January 2007

Baby what a big surprise* - Chicago

Many people were caught by surprise when they saw me on Sunday morning. It was nice to note that some were genuinely pleasantly surprised! To those who think that i purposely kept my coming back a surprise so that i can get a cheap thrill of seeing their reaction, lemme say that that is no true. It was a pretty last minute decision.

In any event, methinks that they were more surprised at me appearance (see here) rather than seeing me!!!

One mate predicted that i'll gain back all me weight in 3 months. A former boss said that it'll take me only 1 month - after seeing me polish off 3 and a half bowls of rice and bah kut teh! Another mate has made it his personal mission - of which i have no objections to - to fatten me up (and making his wallet slimmer, as he said).

But to me, what has been a surprise is how easy i have readjusted to life back here.
A mate was saying today that it doesn’t feel like I’ve been away at all – and I echoed that sentiment. I was recalling how last Sunday was like every other Sunday b4 I left – service, lunch, hang out in me mate’s house to chat and watch movies. I’m even coping well with the weather here – although it has been rather cool in the evenings due to the daily downpour late in the day.

In some ways, I’m not doing things that differently here – I stay up late to surf, blog and chat wif me mates online (although it’s a whole different grp of mates I meet online in the early hours of the morn now), I watch TV series on me laptop (despite having a nice desktop next to me now), I hang out wif me mates, I wander around town taking photos (although I do that in a car), I miss me mates who are far away…

Loitering in the capital after dark - last week

Loitering in the capital after dark - this week!

So while there are many things I miss and many things I din get a chance to experience – like for instance:-
  • travelling to Spain,
  • seeing the Angel of the North,
  • going to Ireland and drinking Guinness,
  • watching musicals Billy Elliot, The Sound of Music, Evita etc.,
  • experiencing snow one last time,
  • hanging out in Oxford,
  • seeing the crop circles in South-West England,
  • seeing the northern lights in Scotland,
  • catching a Premiership match,
  • the list goes on…
Still, I have to say it is good to be back home. :-)

Note: The snowman along the Thames pic is taken from BBC News Online. It snowed the week after i left!!!!

*A song from one of me fav groups, the horn-backed rock group which used to be led by the brilliant Peter Cetera.

Wednesday, 24 January 2007

I'm sensitive* - Jewel

Me poor tummy...

I'm suffering from mild diarrhoea after just being back home for less than a week. Yup, i've been enjoying all the spicy food and hot chilli!!!! Me sensitive tummy, which has been accustomed to generally mild food, must surely be experiencing a terrible time dealing with it.

But i love spicy food!!!! And after being deprived of it for so long, i'm not gonna deny meself! Not yet, anyways! ;-P~

Let's see, i still have to try nasi lemak, rendang, kari ayam, sambal udang, curry laksa, assam laksa, chilli crabs, mee rebus, tom yam...

But i sure dun enjoy the sweat pouring down me face when i eat spicy food in the hot afternoon. People are amused at me rosy cheeks! Oh well... in a couple of weeks, i'd prolly get back me tan and there goes the red cheeks then!

*One of her brilliant guitar-vocals song in her debut album, Pieces of You

Tuesday, 23 January 2007

You'll never walk alone* - Gerry & the Peacemakers

Here's something i drafted at the airport in Doha, Qatar, while awaiting for me connecting flight late last Friday nite.

To be honest, I really wanted to spend those last few moments on me own, alone wif me thoughts. I was thinking of how I’ll slowly walk thru the campus one last time, dramatically saying goodbye to all the inanimate objects and memories – the laundry room, the copy shop, the squares, the towers, the south court, the place where we sat…, cherishing those wonderful memories one final time.

The same with London – to walk all by meself at 5 in the morning, saying goodbye to the town which was still asleep…

But I din get to do that. I had 3 people walk me to the Uni bus stop and another waiting there for me. And me mate in London insisted of waking up at some ungodly hour to walk me to the station.

I couldn’t say no to them. I tried to, but I guess they thought I was just being nice.

But looking back, I’m not disappointed that I din get me last wish. Spending time wif people who care for me far outweighs spending time dwelling on the past all by meself.

It’s nice to know that as I walk thru some of the difficult times in me life, I dun have to walk alone.

I miss me mates - esp in these quiet early hours of the morning...

*The club anthem of Liverpool FC! This version reached no. 1 in the UK in the sixties and stayed there for 4 weeks. The original was written by Rogers & Hammerstein for the musical, Carousel.

Monday, 22 January 2007

Red hot* - Debbie Gibson

It was good weekend of Premiership footie - in respect of the top positions. For the neutrals, it makes it more interesting as the lead of the top 2 teams are cut down to size. For the Reds' fans in Merseyside, we were entertained by a wonderful performance all round the pitch by the men in Red.

The goals were truly well taken but what was more heartening to me was the way they defended - for the 10 mins at the close of the first half when Alonso was out for treatment and they played with 10 men, and for a greater part of the 2nd half when Chelsea finally woke up and made a match out of the game... or is it "a game out of the match"??? Jet-lag...

And on top of everything, we had a moment of true comic relief!!! For those who missed it, here it is:-

The other team in Red (the devils) din do so well. To be honest, i was rooting for them and felt their pain when they lost to a goal in the final minute of added time. Anyways, me happy for me Arsenal fan mate who to be fair to her, did not gloat when they thrashed us 6-3 a couple of weeks back.

Now, hopefully, we'll have a 4-horse race to the wire!

*One of her songs from her debut album. Yeah, i used to be a big fan and have all her albums!

Sunday, 21 January 2007

As if we never said goodbye* - Glenn Close

[Drafted at KLIA on the 20th January, 2007 at 2 pm, local time]

Here I am, at KLIA, waiting for me mate to come pick me up. Beads of sweat have oredi formed on me forehead, threatening to trickle down my face. This is in spite of the fact that I’m dressed only in a thin t-shirt. I’m longing for a nice cold shower – more than yong tau foo or char kway teow!

I’m hearing the public address system make announcements in Malay, just like how all the signs are worded, although the English translation is stated below it in smaller italicised font.

I’m hearing all kinds of Chinese dialects being spoken. Even the English is in the familiar Malaysian accent.

Yet, somehow, everything seem so familiar…

Sure, I’ve only been away almost 16 months – but the last time I was away for 12 months, coming back was quite an adjustment! Seeing the palm trees along the runway made me heart beat slightly faster.

But for now, it feels like I’ve just woken up from a deep sleep… and from a wonderful dream!

Yeah, Colchester, Rayleigh Tower, London, Food-on-3 et al all now appear to be vistas of a nice dream. I’m like Alice who returned from wonderland, Frodo returning home to the Shire, Harry going back to Pivet Lane at the end of school term.

I guess I have been well prepared to return home. In the last couple of months in the UK, I’ve had had many interactions with Malaysians. I found out that I could still converse in the Malay language, my accent is still the same, and my Cantonese has improved by leaps and bounds thanks to those few weeks at the Chinese restaurant where all the full time staff are Malaysians!

And Uni of Essex is overrun with Chinese while Barking is predominantly Africans and Asians – therefore, seeing so many black-haired people in the airport needs no adjusting at all.

Maybe this would explain why I’m not at all excited at being back home. Earlier, I moved to a window seat as the plane started its descent, thinking that an aerial view of my home land would stir up some emotion in me. It din.

This is not to say that I’m not happy to be back. I have been looking forward to this day – but it’s just not the same. If only I came back under different circumstances… But I’m back now due to one reason – and to be honest, I’m dreading facing it.

Life is full of little ironies – like I finally tasted Costa Coffee after being in the UK for almost 16 months, but in Qatar! And despite being geographically closer to her now, I feel even further away than ever. And the day I was looking forward to so many months ago turned out to be something I wished would not take place... not so soon, anyway, not under such circumstances, definately.

Still, it is good to be home. I dun feel anything – but in a way, that’s a good sign, isn’t it? Home is suppose to feel as normal as normal feels.

Update - It wasn't as bad as i feared. Me dad was not so bad - he was even eating well and joking when we went out for dinner. Do continue to pray for his health. Cheers!

Update 2 - it's funny. the weekend i arrived at Colchester, Chelsea played Liverpool in the Premiership where they won. When i got home, it was Liverpool's turn to host Chelsea - and the Reds won! :-)

*Song taken from me all time fav musical, Sunset Boulevard. Glenn Close played the lead role of Norma Desmond in the US version.

Monday, 15 January 2007

It would take a strong strong man* - Rick Astley

I told them me plans...

"What????", KK blurted out, incredulously. "But i thought you said you've given up!!!?!"

Four pair of eyes stared down at me while i averted mine away... and meekly replied, "Yeah, i have given up!" Sensing the air of disbelief in the room, i added wif a cheeky grin and a twinkle in me eye (or at least i think there was one!!!), "For now...".

*This song never fails to bring a smile to me face. It's so... for want of better word, cute! To those not from me generation, Rick was pretty big during me time! He had a great voice but unfortunately, sang teeny-booper songs. Me mate used to call him "The Plastic Man" cuz the bass programming for all his songs sound so... plastic-kly!!!!

Sunday, 14 January 2007

Where do we go from here* - The cast of Buffy

Where do we go from here? Why is the path unclear, when we know home is near...

Wouldn't it be nice if we can see our final destination ahead, and the path leading there is lined with lamp posts?
But that wouldn't be fun, would it?

I'm happy, i'm sad. I'm looking forward, i'm filled with regret. I'm excited, i'm numb. I'm leaving, i'm coming.

Is this the real life?
Is this just fantasy?
Caught in a landslide
No escape from reality
Open your eyes
Look up to the skies and see
I'm just a poor boy, i need no sympathy
Because I'm easy come, easy go,
A little high, little low,
Anyway the wind blows, doesn't really matter to me,
To me
Freddie Mercury

I believe that having the right person to walk with you is more imporant than knowing where you are going.

*The penultimate song in the brilliant musical episode, Once More With Feelings.

Saturday, 13 January 2007

A place in time* - Amanda Abizaid

I had to go there. The fact that soon, it will no longer be the home stadium of Liverpool FC made it all the more important that i pay the place a visit. It is after all, Anfield! And while in the years to come, it will no longer be the place that the Reds call home, nor the place that the visitors tremble as they are reminded by the imposing sign which simply states "THIS IS ANFIELD", yet it will always be the place that holds a special place in the hearts of a true Reds supporter.

Check out my blog dedicated to my visit to this hallowed ground - wif loads of pics and some short vidoes - here!

*The wonderful theme song to the series, The 4400.

Only you* - Sally Yeh

There i was, sitting on the coach, gazing dreamily at the English countryside, when i caught meself smiling. The reason? That song came on the radio.

Only you can make me smile like that... :-)

*Her cover of this brilliant song from the musical, Starlight Express was the first time i heard it. It took me many mnay months later to learn it was from a West End musical.

Friday, 12 January 2007

Can't fight the moonlight* - LeAnn Rimes

And "see ya soon" is so sillyly vague...

This mate - who happens to be a female - had been giving me stick cuz i had been quite evasive about when i'll be back home. The extract from an e-mail reproduced above is an example. Well, i wasn't being secretive. It was only very recently when the decision was finally made.

Still, she'd complain, nag, throw tantrums... yeah, girl thing.

So i finally told her the other day.

This was her response:-

*rolls eyes* u n ur whole suspense thing - lame.. Ur not jesus, ok!

What the... ?*#@*!??

D*mned if i do, d*mned if i don't!

Women... i just can't win.

*Taken from the soundtrack of Cayote Ugly. I love her powerful vocals!

Wednesday, 10 January 2007

Something stupid* - Robbie Williams and Nicole Kidman

Nothing like something stupid to help you get yr mind off things. I decided to catch Spamalot - the musical based on Monty Phython and The Holy Grail. It was brilliant! Lame, but... i mean, lame AND brilliant!

Sure, they did rehash a lot of the jokes from the movie - they even did the Black Knight scene - but there were a lot of new stuffs.

I think the actors had as much fun or even more than us audience.

Here's the lyrics for one of the songs to give you an idea of how lame it is:-

Once in every show
There comes a song like this,
It starts out soft and low
And ends up_ with a kiss.
Oh where is the song that goes like this

Where is it?!

A sentimental song
That casts a magic spell.
They all will hum along
We'll ov-er-act as well
Oh this is the song that goes like this

Guy: yes it is
Girl: yes it is
Guy: yes it is
Girl(accented): YES IT IS

Now we can go straight
Into the middle eight
A bridge that is too far for me

I'll sing it in your face
While we both embrace
And then...
We'll change the key

Now we're into E
That's aw-f'lly high for me

But ev-'ry-one can see
We should have stayed in D.

For this is our song
That goes like this

I'm feeling very proud

You're singing far too loud

That's the way this song goes

You're standing on my toes

Singing the song
That goes like this

I can't believe there's more

It's far too long I'm sure

That's the trouble with this song
It goes on and on and on

For this is the song
That is too long

We'll be singing this till dawn

You'll wish that you weren't born

Let's stop this refrain

Before we go insane
The song always ends
Like this

Well, the show has ended and i'm back in the real world. On the bright side, the bank called up and said they would refund me money!!!! But i would gladly not receive it if it meant that the bad news received yesterday did not take place.


I miss being on stage...

*Love this song - the oldie feel, the nice harmonisation!

Tuesday, 9 January 2007

Don't speak* - No Doubt

Lemme just say from the outset that i'm not superstitious. i think it's bad luck to be so!


But seriously... i'm not. Having said that, sometimes i feel that i shud just keep me mouth shut. After all, we do have sayings like "spoke too soon" and "famous last words" for a reason.

Last nite, we spent the greater part of it standing around the bar, munching on chocs and skittles and chatted away. There were no customers at all. "Ah, we can actually go back early tonite", i thought out loud. I was quickly hushed into silence and everyone reached for something wooden to touch!!!

Fast forward to 15 mins b4 closing time and we were doing the necessary cleaning before shutting the place - when lo and behold, a group of drunken middle-aged locals appeared at our doors and asked for a table.

They left after midnite. Me workmates who were vocally cursing the late nite customers must have been silently cursing me for "jinxing" them by opening me big mouth!!!!!

I never learn, tho. When i got back, i blogged the previous post on how uneventful and slow-going this year has been.

Me world has been been made topsy turvy today...

*Their first brilliant hit which made me a fan of them.

Monday, 8 January 2007

One week* - Bare Naked Ladies

I only realised it has been just one week into this year when the pastor welcomed us to the first worship meeting of the year yesterday morning.

The weeks leading to the end of the year before were like one crazy roller coaster ride - highs and lows, thrills galore, hardly having time to breathe. Then suddenly, when the new year kicked in, everything started to move in slo-mo.

Compared to the brilliant 2006, the first week of this year is an anti-climax. I stopped working full time and had the whole week off. Pretty uneventful, not extra-ordinary.

Still, it was good. I took the opportunity to catch up with a lot of people, mainly online. Replied e-mails (finally!), chatted online, read blogs. Heard from mates in Greece, Spain, China, Japan, Poland, Syria, Australia, S'pore and of course M'sia. Spent some time catching up wif mates on campus too - even had nice dumplings to usher in the new year (Markus, u were invited but too bad u weren't around).

Check out the rest of the pics here

Thru one of me mate's blogs, I've been reminded of the importance of spending time with people - and i am truly glad i did spend some quality time doing that.

Took time to have a nice walk and enjoy the mild winter.

Even went to visit Uluru (Ayers Rock) in Australia.

Ok, ok - just kidding about going down under! ;-P The pic was taken near me Uni during me aforementioned walk.

The week also saw some major decisions being made, altho quietly and without fanfare - decisions which will make, and to some extent, already has made a clear impact on the direction that me life will be heading this coming year.

In life, sometimes it's in the little things that makes a big difference. Sometimes, it's in the things which may have gone unnoticed which produces eye-catching results. Sometimes, it's in the quiet things that makes people hear better.

I won't be surprised at all if the events of the first week of this year is any indication or a reflection of the year ahead - slow and quiet, yet purposeful and important. but then again, neither will be surprised if it is not!

Yes, bei ngo korng sai! ;-)

*Their first hit - a catchy tune with a great bass line from the best pop bassist at that time.

Saturday, 6 January 2007

Painters* - Jewel

It all started with this photo (on the left) which i used as me profile pic for me MSN. I was surprised at how many people asked if i painted it meself!!!! I'm flattered. Truly am, that they think i am that talented!

Unfortunately, i must confess that i got that photo using Microsoft Photo Editor programme. Yup, just used a normal photo of meself (see here) and used the programme to edit it. And it wasn't difficult at all.

But it's really cool, isn't it? I liked it so much that i did many more. Check out these narcissistic efforts of mine:-

Some have asked where they can get the programme - i found the programme in the PCs in me Uni's PC Labs. A quick check with Wikipedia (since me mate's walking encyclopedia cousin is not around) informed me that the programme came with the Microsoft Office 1997 but has since been replaced by Microsoft Office Picture Manager, which is what i have - and i suspect most of you too - in me PC.

*One of her many brilliant vocals-guitar song in her wonderful debut album, Pieces of You

Friday, 5 January 2007

Miracle* - Whitney Houston

"It's gonna take a miracle, to give up on my hope and get on with my life..."
Deborah Ann Gibson

A miracle has finally taken place.

*One of my fav songs of hers - interestingly, it is in a way speaking against abortion. The "miracle" in the song is referring to the miracle of life, the baby in the womb.

Balik kampung* - Sudirman

I've just bought the ticket. I guess i am going home.

See ya later!

ADDENDUM: Looks like leaving this time may not mean staying away forever - check this out!!! :-)

*Really old song but heard every year during the Hari Raya (Eid) celebrations! Literally translated, it means "Going back to village". It is understood as going back to one's hometown.

Thursday, 4 January 2007

If you wanna be happy* - Jimmy Soul

It was right then that I started thinking of Thomas Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence; and the part about our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; and I remember thinking, “How did he know to put the 'pursuit' part in there?” That maybe happiness is something that we can only pursue, and maybe we can actually never have it, no matter what. How did he know that?

Chris Gardner (Will Smith) in The Pursuit of Happyness

I always liked Will Smith movies - even Wild Wild West! None of the movies with him in it have disappointed me - so far. The only other actor who falls into that category is Mel Gibson. John Cussack used to be in that category too until i watched Serendipity. What a pity...

Let me tell you how good The Pursuit of Happyness is - there i was, feeling tired and sleepy, not in the mood to watch any movies, but somehow, i decided to just give it 5 mins or so before turning in. I ended up watching the whole movie.

I dun know exactly what made it so appealing to me. It must be Will Smith's engaging personality that he puts into all his characters that he plays. Or maybe i just can emphatise with him being broke... ;-) Prolly it is the usual small-but-nice-guy-beats-the-odds feel-good theme. Whatever it is, it was gooood!

I dun think i'll be spoiling the movie for you if i tell you that he succeeds in his pursuit of happiness. And in that scene where he weeps for joy, i recalled those incidents when i did the same, last year. Yes, incidentS!!! That nite all alone in the PC lab, getting the results of my exam, when i took me mate's advice which paid off, dancing on the streets in the wee hours of the morning, getting that wonderful news on X'mas day.

I guess all this show that we can not only pursue happiness but catch it too! :-) Trust me, i know it for a fact! ;-) And i've been so blessed.

p/s - poster obtained from a link in IMDB

*I would have prolly never heard this song if it was not included in the brilliant soundtrack of My Best Friend's Wedding.

Written in the stars* - Elton John and LeAnn Rimes

" is not merely a series of meaningless accidents or coincidences. Uh-uh. But rather it's a tapestry of events that culminate in an exquisite, sublime plan."

That's what Jeremy Piven's character said in Serendipity - which for the record, disappointed big time for me!!!

I agree with the statement - but not on the same basis. When it was said in the movie, it was in reference to "fate" or "destiny". As for meself, i believe steadfastly that it is God who dictates the "exquisite, sublime plan" in my life.

But wait a minute - the more i thought about it, the more confused i got. Then how does believing in God differ from leaving things to "fate"? Do we really have a free will, an ability to make decisions - if God has a plan for all of us?

Then i recalled a heated discussion we had after a Young Adults' Fellowship meeting a couple of years ago when i suddenly raised a question - brilliantly or foolishy (sometimes the lines are blurred) - does the Bible ever say expressly that man has a free will? We never reached a consensus on that.

If man indeed has complete free will, then why do Christians pray that people will change? Because when they do that, they are basically asking God to change someone - and that goes against that person's free will to be who he wants to be, isn't it?

However, wouldn't it be ridiculous to think that God controls all our decisions, from deciding to eat chicken kurma today to wearing a green shirt? Having said that, he could have "programmed" our minds in a way that will make such decisions - in that way, the freedom of choice is illusory... or is it??!!!

As the chorus for the above-titled song goes:-
Is it written in the stars?
Are we paying for some crime?
Is that all that we are good for?
Just a stretch of mortal time

Is this God's experiment?
In which we have no say
At the end of the day, i believe that God is real. That God is almighty. That he is all knowing. Most importantly, he loves us - so we are not some chess piece who's sole reason for existence is to give it's owner some mild amusement

That's all i'm sure of at the moment....

Oh, and i must really must stop watching movies which raises deep theological internal debates within...

*Elton John and Tim Rice wrote for this song for the musical, Aida

Wednesday, 3 January 2007

Can't smile without you* - Barry Manillow

I was looking thru the "Inbox" of me mobile phone and realised that out of all the text messages i hang on to, most of them were from one particular person!

99% of her messages never fail to make me smile each time time i re-read them (as an ex-BB-ian puts it in her blog, these kinda text messages are "ACME Smiles"!).

Here are some of them (which methinks are safe to reproduce without revealing her identity - wah lau, macam super-hero, konon! Ada secret identity!!!!):-

Hmm.. mayb i shldn't hav emailed so much - revealed more than i need 2 but end of the day (ala Jim Carey in Bruce Almighty) IT'S GOOOOD!

COCO MO! on the radio! :) and u didnt email me.. tsk tsk.. i'll sing this song 4 u at ur wedding dinner.. :P

OK, no $$$ 2 sms u.. go exercise or pee on the toilet seat..

U like 4play? :/ how boring *yawn* No wonder u r still single

I hope u'll have a wonderful day..:) smile at strangers and dance to Queen's Don't Stop Me Now.. keeps u young!

God has alot2 answer regardin BGR. but dun u be sad la. at least u enjoyed a brief explosion of friendship rather than it trickle n die a slow death. Like fireworks, u love it while it lasts, wish it cld be longer, then wait 4 the next occasion.

Its pouring DOWN rain.. so lovely.. :)

Trust me, its just cruel...

Good evening.. One hopes thou art faring well. One imagines thou prancing from town to town on a white pony. I bid thee goodnight, and safe travels

Ur song's being played over carrefour's PA... i'll be home 4 xmas, if only in my dreams.. boo hoo hoo

It's sad that that person who makes me smile so much is now feeling down...

I'm remembering u in me prayers, mate - and hope to receive more "instant smiles" from u soon! Take care.

*Oldie but goldie!

Monday, 1 January 2007

(I can't get no) Satisfaction* - Britney Spears

A excerpt from me first MSN chat of the year:-

D: you know "围城"?
Me: no...
Me: what does that mean?
Me: a place?
D: it is used to describe marriage
Me: google translate it as "beseiged city"!!!!!
D: before you going to get married, you always looking forward to it
Me: oh, ok. i understand!
D: but after you got married, you will want to get out of it
D: something like that
D: actually the same feeling happens to everything
Me: yeah... so sad

I think most, if not all, of us understand that - and have experienced it. I have. We just never seem to be able to be contented. Or things just dun live up to expectations - and we are unsatisfied, thus end up not being contented.

I guess to many, the beginning of a new year can be pretty exciting - new hopes, chance to make some wrongs right, great things anticipated. Me? Just another day... yeah, after going thru so many new years, it kinda got to be like a no biggie for me.

Still, i'm glad for the chat wif me mate - cuz i'm reminded that no matter what happens in the year ahead, i can never get satisfaction and contentment except only in my Lord, Jesus. Only he can satisfy all my needs.

The LORD will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
Isaiah 58v11

p/s - me thoughts kinda incoherent, aren't they? Worked on New Year's Eve from 3:30pm and only got home on New Year's Day at 2:30 am!!!! Still, i had fun - tiring, but fun. And i din get screamed at! ;-)

p/p/s - woke up just in time to hear Stevie G scored Liverpool's 2nd goal against Bolton (UK listeners can listen to matches live online). Kuyt was easily the best player, making 2 and scoring one. If you see him play, u'd understand why Reds' fans love that guy! He's not a profilic goalscorer but the amount of work put in by him is incredible and his understanding of the game is brilliant! LFC starts off the year on a winning note and in 3rd place. Woohoo!

ADDENDUM - found this clip. The goals are really pleasing to the eye - Crouch's sensational overhead sciccors kick, Gerrards brilliant side-foot volley technique and the accute angle that Kuyt threaded the ball thru the legs of Gardner and sending the goalie the wrong way!!!!

For a more entertaining (Middle-eastern?) commentary, check out this clip!

*Britney's remake of The Rolling Stones' classic - it was the Stones' first US no. 1 hit!