Wednesday, 28 January 2009

I miss you* - Haddaway

As we got ready to disembark the plane, the young man sitting in front of me was helping his father zip up his jacket - no doubt the old man never had many occasions to wear a jacket back in Malaysia.

As i looked on, i suddenly missed my father. I wished i have had a chance to take him back to London again. Sure, he came here before when i was still a student - but he had always wanted to return again. He never had the chance.

As for me, this is the fifth(?) time i'm coming to London - and i acknowledge that it is all thanks to my father that i have had so many opportunities to come to London. He paid for my first trip here to complete my studies. He paid a large amount for me to come here again to do my post-grad studies. And the money i used to pay for my subsequent trips - it was was earned as a result of the education i received here.

The best times in my life - 2006 - was experienced here. And it was all thanks to my father. And i never really thanked him specifically for that.

p/s - as i sat enjoying my English breakfast this morning, i remembered how me dad introduced me to eating bacon. And how he would have enjoyed the wonderful breakfast with me if he was here.

*One of the songs that kept me company in those cold wintry nites in 1993.

Homecoming* - Vienna Teng

I actually felt excited!

This was how i had expected to feel when the plane approached London last month. It had been more than a year and i was arriving back to London for a 3 week long holiday. But i din feel that way then. Maybe it was because i just had an extremely bad flight - having fever, flu, cough and a migraine for most part of a flight in a cramped economy class seat was a horrible experience.

So when the plane approached London last Saturday, i was surprised that i actually felt excited! I wasn't coming here for a holiday. I din have a great time here the last time round. But yet, i felt excited.

I moved over to the window seat and tried to see London like i've never seen it before - from the skies. It was not difficult to pick out the familiar sights. Coming from the east, we flew past the London City Airport and Michele's place (where i stayed the last time round). I saw the Millenium Dome (or known now simply as the "O2") along the Thames. Soon, the famous London sights came to view - the Houses of Parliament, the 'Gherkin', Hyde Park, South Kensington Park, the Royal Albert Hall, the Natural History Museum, the BT Tower, Wembley Stadium, etc.

I was snapping photos non-stop. These familiar sights from a different angle! (Sorry for the blurry pics - the plane windows not very clean. Hehehe).

And soon, we touched down at Heathrow. The familiar and brilliant
"Your Point of View" HSBC posters welcomed us as we stepped out of the plane.

As i walked around Terminal 3, i recognise the place where i sat for hours waiting for the Uni bus to come and pick me up. I saw the Millie's Coffee where i bought my very first coffee when i arrived here in 2005.

Yes it was good to be back! Just after we touched down, the pilot announced that we have landed - to those who are visiting, he wished them a warm welcome to London. To the rest, he wished them a warm welcome home. Welcome home. I liked the sound of that.

*Track 8 from her album, Warm Strangers.

I don't want to talk about it* - Rod Steward

Moi: Is it because of (scenario A) or (scenario B)?
F: Um.
Moi: Huh? So what is it? Because (scenario A) or (scenario B)?
F: Um.
Moi: No, you can't answer 'um'. It's an either or question. You have to choose an answer. You can't say yes.
F: Whatever you want the answer to be!

What the...????? If she did not want to talk about it, why couldn't she just say so! Not too difficult is it? Just say "I don't wanna talk about it". Simple!

What's the point of having a conversation if i answer the questions that i am asking her??? No point, right? That was why i ended the conversation.
It was obvious she did not want to talk. What a waste of time...

*This big hit for Rod was actually a remake of a song by a band called Crazy Horse.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Let's dance* - David Bowie

I know this is a free advert for T-Mobile - which i am not affiliated to and neither do i endorse. In fact, a flat mate in the past din have nice things to say about it.

But i absolutely love this ad!!!! Check it out:-

I guess i'm a sucker when it comes to this breaking out in dance (and song). Dancing is really good for the soul! I have many memories meself - in times of joy, in times of sadness, in times when we just wanted to have a good time... on the streets, in my room, on the kitchen benches, while working at the cafe... :-)

One of my favourite quotes taken from the movie Elizabethtown is "
Sadness is easier because it's surrender. I say make time to dance alone with one hand waving free".

Back to the ad - it really helps too that the ad was filmed at Liverpool Street Station in London - our gateway to London when we were studying at Colchester.

Must admit that the ad was pretty clever too - in between the dancing scenes, they caught people chatting excitedly on their mobiles as well as taking pictures and video (dun know if they were 'planted' or real - not hard to believe if it was the latter). It captured the essence of the whole ad - Life is for Sharing. And the people there were sharing what they were experiencing.

Are u sharing yr life wif anyone else? :-)

*The single from his album of the same title which was released in the early 80s and was one of his biggest hits.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

I have a dream* - Amanda Seyfried

Today is Martin Luther King Jr day - a public holiday in the US, marking the birthday of the civil rights activist. It is celebrated on the 3rd Monday of January every year.

Probably well remembered for his speech, "I have a dream" given on 28 August 1963 during a civil rights march in Washington, many say that it is fitting that tomorrow is the first day when President Obama takes into office - this is as close as the US have ever come to fulfilling the dream of Martin Luther King Jr.

Photo taken from Minnesota Public Radio site

Here are some excerpts from his speech:-

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'"

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."

"I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood."

"This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day."

"Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children."

"Let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring—when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children—black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics—will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

*The opening song of the musical Mamma Mia.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Only yesterday* - The Carpenters

Oh. My. Goodness!!!!!

I thought this only happens when i'm in the UK!!! You know, with the black-out curtains and the sun forever hidden behind the gloomy wintry rain clouds, there are days when i'd wake up and wonder if it was getting brighter or getting dark.

I'm completely and totally wasted. I told the church yesterday that my fear is not that someone falls asleep during my sermon - it is if i fall asleep during my sermon!!! I told the same thing to me students this morning.

I was tired that when i got home, i turned off me mobile and went to sleep. When i woke up just now, i got a shock! It was morning oredi!!! The sun was just rising. It was 7.15 and the day was just getting brighter! I slept thru dinner - again! In fact, i set a new personal record!!!! 16 HOURS PLUS OF SLEEP!!!! UNINTERRUPTED!!!

You know wat was one of the first things which came to mind? i wondered if Liverpool beat Everton "last" night or not! I turned on me laptop to get online. Then as me it loaded, i got ready to go to work. I went downstairs.

That's strange - me mom is in the hall watching Chinese series on TV!!! At this time of the day? And why isn't she out for her morning walk?

I went to the dining and saw all the leftovers which is still there. Strange again. Me mom would have kept it all in the fridge when she woke up this morn. I hoped none of the food became bad. Then i saw the rice cooker was left on. I checked it and found a fresh batch of rice just cooked!!!

I went up to me mom and asked her why is she boiling rice - and i meant of course, why at this time of the day. She said me bro and his family are coming over to eat. What the...? For breakfast? Lunch? She cooked a meal for...

Then it dawned upon me!!!! It was 7 something IN THE EVENING!!!!! Not 7 something in the morning!!!!

Which means - it's ONLY YESTERDAY!!!! It's still Monday. It's NOT Tuesday yet. It's not time to got to work yet!!!!

Which also means... i can go back to sleep!!! Woohoo!!! And i din miss the Liverpool match!!!!

Sunrise or sunset? (File pic taken in Colchester, may 2006)

Oh... it also means i din set a new record of uninterrupted sleep. So it remains at a mere 15 hours. For now... :-(

Good night people!

*This was their 11th no. 1 song on the US Easy Listening Chart.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Under the sea* - Samuel E Wright

Watch... and dun adjust the sound controls!

I found this soo hilarious! Still have to pick meself up from the floor each time i rewatch it. It's so mean... but so me, ain't it? :-P

*Taken from the Disney animated feature, The Little Mermaid, this song won an Oscar for Best Original Song in 1989.

Through the rain* - Mariah Carey

When it rains, it pours. It's pouring like crazy now!!!!

There is just so much to do! The scary thing about it is that things will only get worse. :-(

I was telling a mate the other day that i'm "still living in 2008"!!! What i meant is that i'm still doing work which was supposed to be completed last year! I was still doing my Bible reading for last year (i've finally completed it this week, thank God)! I had promises which i made last year which are still yet to be kept. There are many 2008 movies which i still wanna watch. And I have much about last year which i still want to blog about!

But when this year started, things just started piling up. In Church, at work, everywhere else!!!! It's like the heavens parted and the rain came falling in torrents!!!

A rainy London welcomed me back last month!

Last friday nite, when i had to drag meself to a committee meeting (i was chairing so i couldn't skip it), i felt so totally exhausted and tired, and suddenly was overwhelmed by the sheer thought of the work that is needed to be done. I almost broke down and cried. Instead, i started praying. And i received the assurance that God will help me thru. No matter what. No conditions attached. He'll be there for me - and he'll help me make it thru the rain... the storms, the floods, even!

Alright. Back to marking essays!

*Her first single from her 8th studio album, this was expected to be her 'comeback' single after the disappointment of her previous one. However, this single flopped too. But i like it!

Spice up your life* - Spice Girls

Since i came home, i've been having this craving for spicy food! That may not be surprising to most of you - you'll be thinking, 3 weeks in a gwai low country, sure miss spicy food la!

Well, it wasn't like that. Sure i had my fair share of chips, burgers, hot dog, pies, fries, sandwiches etc. But i had me fair share of spicy food too. When eating at Chinatown, i'd always eat me food with generous helpings of 'chili oil'. I had chicken curry katsu at Misato. Made maggi mi goreng asam laksa flavour (with loads of birds'-eye chili) for me mate, finished up me host's Siamese chili sauce, had a delightfully fiery prawn sambal courtesy of my host's fren who brought it over for Christmas pot luck, and yes, i finished up my host's stash of curry maggi mee too!

Yet, when i came back, i just wanted spicy food. I was disappointed to learn that the sambal chili ran out when i went down to my local church's kitchen for my first lunch back in Malaysia. But i made it up with nasi lemak for the next 4 or 5 days in a row. I've had me fair share of indian curry too as well as a couple of times eating my favourite hot and spicy pan meen - with extra helpings of their special dried chili!!!

But then again, i've always liked spicy food - since young! And when i was studying overseas, birds eye chili is one of the constant on my weekly grocery sopping list. So maybe my sudden longing is just a natural expression of what my taste-buds normally crave for. I do miss me dad's curry chicken, tho. Man, when was the last time? 2005?

Or maybe i'm just bracing meself for another week there in a fortnight's time - now for that trip, i doubt i'll be getting much spicy food as i'll be taken out for me meals by locals there. Except for 2 dinners with me students which i'm really looking forward to! Sad but tt's all i'm looking forward to. Those dinners - and musicals, yes! :-)

*Their first single from their 2nd album, Spiceworld.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Something kinda funny* - Spice Girls

There're just so many things to blog. 2008 has long gone and the new year has started. All thru my holidays last year, i was blogging in me mind - the sights i saw, the feelings i was experiencing, the thoughts running thru me mind. I guess most of these will remain only in the deep recesses of me mind and not on this blog as i din have access to the internet much then - and since i've been back, i just can't find the time to blog.

But for now, lemme just amuse you with pics of these greeting cards - which i found absolutely hilarious! I hope u do too - but many are footie related.

You can purchase them at the Borders found on Oxford Street, London - go to the cards area which is just next to the Starbucks inside Borders.

*The 8th track from their first album.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Baby, what a big surprise* - Peter Cetera

Here is a happy post, Markus!

I overslept. Recurring theme in my recent trip The other is missing trains, buses and tubes!

I had very little time that day - gonna run to town, then pay a visit to Hana and see Debbie, her new born baby, and then back to London to have dinner with Andrew.

I was walking on the so-familiar road from the University of Essex leading to Tesco (Greenstead) - Boundary Road. I've walked up and down that road literally hundreds of times! It brought back many happy memories. Being the only road to town and Tesco, it was inevitable that i'd meet frens along the road.

There was once when we were all so busy with exams and assignements that me flatmates and i hardly saw each other. It was funny cuz when i was going to Tesco for more groceries, i met me good fren and flatmate, Michael. coming back with his groceries. We have not seen each other for so long that we actually stood by the road side and chatted! So ironic - we live in the same flat but had to catch up with each other by a chance encounter by the road side! We would have stayed there longer but his milk was getting warm in the summer sun.

Another time, i was coming home from a summer day's outing to London when i met Cheng who stayed off-campus and was going home. We chatted for so long - even tho i was freezing in the cold summer nite wind!


I was walking down the road, thinking of those happy memories and taking photos. I noticed that they have finally changed the signboard! Well, it has been so long! of course they would have.

As i walked on, i slowed my pace. Were my eyes playing tricks on me? Or was my walk down memory lane so vivid that it was beginning to blur the lines between reality and memories?

Sure enough, walking up the road was Ghisseh - another of my ex-flatmate!!!!!

NO!!! It can't be! She was back home in Syria for Christmas and New Year. She always goes back home for Christmas and New Year! Even Michael told me that she will not be on campus when i come a visiting.

But it was her! :-) :-)

The look of surprise on her face was priceless - and i'm sure it reflected the same look on my face. We hugged each other - as if needing some tangible proof that we were indeed seeing each other!

It was a wonderful feeling. I'm sorry if i failed to bring up the emotions i felt in this post. I had a super brilliant time with me flatmates back then. I have missed them all so badly. This time round, i went back to UoE knowing that none of them will be there. I stayed at Rayleigh Tower with a bunch of strangers. Even Michael was called home (to Athens) suddenly on a family emergency.

So to actually meet up with a flatmate! Wow! What a wonderful surprise! I travelled thousands of miles to a place and i bump into a frenly face along the road! I was not supposed to see her. She was supposed to be in Syria.

But imagine her surprise - i was supposed to be in Malaysia!!!! I had no reason to be on campus! I could see it really made her day. She was after all spending New Year's (and had spent Christmas) away from home. She had to stay on in UoE due to her workload. So our chance encounter lifted her spirits.

And the same for me. It really made my day - and ranks among the top on my list of best experiences in this trip back to the UK.

Ghisseh and me at the Playhouse (Autumn 2006)

And to think we almost did not meet. That would have been so sad. Because i woke up late, i was considering taking the bus to town. But i decided that i want to walk along the familiar roads to town. But if i had taken the bus... of if i had woken up earlier as planned...

As for her, she too was late and missed her bus. So she decided to walk to campus.

It could have been like in the movies - she on the bus looking one direction passing me as i walked by the roadside...

But no. We met. And i told her that i was so glad she missed her bus!

*He wrote this song for Chicago and he did a cover version of it when he released a colection of his solo hits.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

I wish I could go back to college* - Cast of Avenue Q

I wish I could go back to college.
Life was so simple back then.
What would I give to go back and live in a dorm with a meal plan again!
I wish I could go back to college.
In college you know who you are.
You sit in the quad, and think, "Oh my God!
I am totally gonna go far!"

How do I go back to college?
I don't know who I am anymore!

I wanna go back to my room and find a message in dry-erase pen on the door!
I wish I could just drop a class...
Or get into a play...
Or change my major...
Or f**k my T.A.

I need an academic advisor to point the way!
We could be...
Sitting in the computer lab,
4 A.M. before the final paper is due,
Cursing the world 'cause I didn't start sooner,
And seeing the rest of the class there, too!

I wish I could go back to college!

How do I go back to college?!

I wish I had taken more pictures.

But if I were to go back to college,
Think what a loser I'd be-
I'd walk through the quad,
And think "Oh my God..."
"These kids are so much younger than me."

(Robert Lopez, Jeff Marx)

*Taken from the brilliant musical, Avenue Q

Monday, 5 January 2009

Slipping through my fingers* - ABBA

I watch her go with a surge of that well-known sadness
And I have to sit down for a while
The feeling that I'm losing her forever
And without really entering her world
I'm glad whenever I can share her laughter
That funny little girl

Slipping through my fingers all the time
I try to capture every minute
The feeling in it
Slipping through my fingers all the time
Do I really see what's in her mind
Each time I think I'm close to knowing
She keeps on growing
Slipping through my fingers all the time

What happened to the wonderful adventures
The places I had planned for us to go
Well, some of that we did but most we didn't
And why I just don't know

Slipping through my fingers all the time

(Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson)

*The song that was inspired by the daughter of Björn and Agnetha, 2 members of the group.