Tuesday, 1 December 2015

November rain* - Guns N' Roses

November has come to an end. It has been a crazy month for me. But it will also be remembered as a very wet month too.

When i was at Sydney earlier this month, rain greeted us and stayed with us for the first few days!!!

The view from our apartment
It almost felt like i was in the UK again - in wet London. So it felt quite nice, to be honest! And it while it was as wet as London can be at times, it wasn't as cold.

In any event, thankfully, it left and gave us a couple of dry days!

Coming back to Malaysia, it has been raining quite a lot too. But it's a good thing! One thing is that it is keeping the haze away. We have been having such wonderful haze-free days.

Also, it has given us nice bearable weather here - not too hot nor humid. I'm a person who prefers the cold to the hot and really loved it when i was in Sydney. But being back home now isn't too bad.

The view from our hotel window when we were at Malacca recently

The down side to it all is that i could not take Shona out for our usual walks. It has been forever!!! Since my surgery in August, i think. After that, i was recovering from the op - and then when i was alright, she fell ill. When she got better, the haze came. Now, the rain!!!

She has been singing "rain rain go away" for so many days. Thankfully, there has been some mornings in the past week that i could take her out - and the wife came along too as she wants to exercise. Nice family outing!

Besides it being a really wet month, it has been raining metaphorically too! Like how the saying goes, when it rains, it pours. November has been pouring in terms of work. At times, i feel like i'm drowning in the rain. I'm thankful to God that he has brought me through November - and although December does not look like it will stop pouring, i know he will bring me through it too.

*One of their classic hits! 9 minutes long!!!

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Breathless* - The Corrs

What a wonderful night of football!!! The teams i supported in the English Premier League and the Spanish La Liga both won. They both won away from home. They both won against very good opposition. They both won convincingly. They both won by scoring 4 goals!!!!

Yes, Liverpool FC beat last year's runner-up (and the previous year's Champions) Manchester City while Barcelona beat their arch rivals, Real Madrid (also last year's runner-up).

For Liverpool, this should give them confidence as they have previously beaten last year's Champions, Chelsea, 3-1 away from home too.

For Barcelona, this meant that they go 6 points clear at the top of the table!!!

More importantly to me was the manner at how the games were won.

Barca played so well, with great class, a brilliant blend of individual skill and wonderful team-work. Slick passing leading to precise finishing. Luis Suarez bagging 2 - the first and the last.

Don't forget their goalie who made numerous wonderful saves to prevent Real from breaking the duck. Bravo to Bravo!!!

It was almost cruel when Messi was brought in as a substitute when Barca was leading 3-0!!!

But when i watched Liverpool play, it was more than joy. It was joy and excitement. The players were playing their hearts out, running until they were suffering cramps close to the end of the game, harassing the City players all the time that they could hardly play their own game, closing down the City players, chasing after every ball, playing with confidence - which led to accuracy.

I cannot remember when it was that i enjoyed watching Liverpool play.

Actually, i do. It was when Suarez was playing for Liverpool. That seems like so long ago.

I had resigned myself to a boring game (maybe even heart-breaking) and hoped that Barcelona (who were playing around the same time - starting 15 minutes earlier) would have given me some comfort and consolation - if they could beat Real at home. Well, Barca did keep me entertained with their stylish football - but it was Liverpool who just left me breathless.

I wished i could have watched both games but in the end, i chose to watch Liverpool. Maybe it's because i've been a Liverpool fan much longer than Barcelona.

This is a glimpse of things of to come. If only they can play like this week in week out - playing with all their hearts, chasing after every ball, passing accurate and confidently, without any fear or inhibitions. As my colleague said, we may rename the Kop End of Anfield to the Klopp End!!!! Why not - if we keep on Klopp-ering every team?

*Considered to be their signature hit after topping the charts all over the world including Spain and the UK.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Blessed* - Elton John

3 months ago, i was lying on the operation table with my head cut opened. Today, i am here, rushing for work as there is just so much to do!!! Yes, life is back to normal again! Normal means having piles and piles of work crying out for my attention!!!

I actually started this post quite a long while ago while i was still on medical leave. But i never got around to really write it (or type it)!

It was after my surgery when i was reflecting over everything and i am reminded how blessed i am. No, don't get me wrong - i am not saying i'm blessed because surgery went well. Of course i am thankful for that - and so are my family members and we acknowledge it was God's grace to me to bring me through such a difficult time.

But more than that, i am truly so blessed to have this life. I began to appreciate the little things we take for granted - so cliched, right? But what is cliched can also be true.

I was touched by the gestures of so many people who were genuinely concerned for me. I have people all over the world who were praying for and and asking about my well-being. People whom i have not seen for a long suddenly called and prayed for me. I had friends who came over the night before my surgery and stayed with me until they could stay no more as they were not allowed to be there.

Then there was family - they will always be there for you no matter what. And they will always be there for you - even if its for the second time. And they'll be there for the third, and fourth and many more (hopefully there will not be a third!).

I had to go back to my mom's place to rest there after being discharged. My sis bought a new bed for me for that purpose. My mom prepared meals for me and attended to my needs. My mom-in-law came down from Ipoh to help my wife keep an eye on my little girl. My wife made so many trips to the hospital and also to my mom's house to see me, to buy food for me, to bring my daughter over to see (the highlight of the day).

And i experienced again afresh God's love - and his peace that passes all understanding.

I'm feeling good now - back to work as usual. if anything, It's the haze that is making me unwell - thankfully, it is not so bad today. Definitely not like how it is in some parts of Indonesia!

*His 1995 song which is apparently about how a person who has a child is blessed.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Travelling in Time* - Uriah Heep

So today is Back to the Future day!!!

BTOF is one of the best trilogies ever!!! And to me, it satisfies my time travel requirements - which a lot of movies fail to!

It is sad though that in the past, we had hoped the future will be more impressive and much more advanced. here is a video which is quite funny - but quite sad as we look at the world we live in today:-

I remember when i was young, there used to be a TV series called Space 1999 where we will have a base on moon to make it habitable for humans and spaceships. It is 2015 now and do we have the technology for that?

*Taken from their most successful album which made this English rock band famous.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Blue skies* - Doris Day

Scene from Daredevil, Season 1 Episode 1:-

Karen Page: Do you remember what it was like to... to see?

Matt Murdoch: Uh... Yes I remember.

Karen: I can't... I can't imagine what that must be like.

Matt: You know, um, I'm suppose to say I don't miss it. It's what they teach you in trauma recovery. Define yourself by what you have. Value the differences. Make no apologies for what you lack. That's all truth for the most part...It doesn't change the fact that I'd...I'd give anything to see the sky one more time.

When i watched that scene and heard what Matt said, i am reminded of the short couple of days when i was moved into the normal wards after my surgery recently. I spent most of my time sitting by the window, just looking out at the sky. Here is the view:-

It's not a pretty view - but to me, i enjoyed it - especially after a few days in the ICU and HDU wards. We take for granted the beauty around us, the simple things in life - until those things are taken away.
I know that even today, i will rush through the day sometimes without taking time to stop and look at the sky - or look at the simple beauty around me. If only i am reminded that for some people, they do not get to see - and they would give anything just to be able to do so again.

*This was one of the many recorded version of this song which was originally written for a Rodgers and Hart musical, Betsy. It was then featured in the movie, The Jazz Singer and has been recorded by many jazz singers like Ella Fitzgerald, Dianne Schuur and Dizzie Gillespie.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Feelings* - Morris Albert

We finally watched Inside Out! Probably the latest amongst those who have been wanting to watch it.

Pic obtained from a Cinemasiren.com
We enjoyed it! It was my wife's birthday outing - lunch and movie while my mum took care of the little girl. Win-win-win-win for all!

And this movie was a big win! What a show. I have described it as possibly being the best movie this year - bear in mind that this year already had Avengers 2, so if i say this is better, it really counts for something!!!

The story is pretty simple (SPOILER ALERT) - girl moves into big city with parents, finds it hard to settle down, decides to run away and go back to her previous home.

Nothing much there, right? But what was going on in her head all this time??? A LOT!!!

A student was saying that parents will cry when they watch this movie but she does not under why. I told her that if she was a parent, then it will be apparent!!!

I loved how it showed (SPOILER ALERT AGAIN) that each emotion is important. From the start, it appeared that "Joy" was the main character and all others were not good. But in the end, it was "Sadness" who came and saved the day.

Yes, all emotions are important. That's why God gave them to us. We need sadness to help us appreciate the joys and the good around us. We need fear to make sure we keep ourselves protected and safe. We need disgust so that we will learn to avoid wrong and things which are bad for us. We need anger to deal with pain and unfairness.

One of the worst conditions we can find ourselves in is when we are immune to things around us - we don't feel the sadness, we don't feel the hurt. I have gone through that in the past - to the extent that i tried to hurt myself physically (slapped myself) just so that i could feel some pain.

So having emotions is good. Being too emotional is not. We need to find the right balance.

As a relatively new father, I want to do whatever I can to ensure that my little girl will not feel sad. It sometimes hurts me that I know it is impossible to do that - and I'm glad this movie is a reminder that sadness is not really a bad thing after all. And w are who we are today as a result of the joy and sadness that w have experienced in our lives.

*A very popular song in the 70s but lately has come under parody and ridicule. Ah well... haters will hate.

Friday, 9 October 2015

I wanna be like Jürgen Klöpp* - Matze Knop

So it is finally confirmed - Jürgen Klöpp has joined Liverpool FC as our new manager!

So far, no one seems to be unhappy with this - except for fans of other teams!!! Well, we are quite excited about this. Not hoping for a quick fix, though but a new start to something good.

A lot has been said about him - but i discovered something new about him this morning. He is one who speaks openly about his faith and his belief in God. Here are some of the things he has been quoted as saying:-

'In order to answer this question (is there a football god) once and for all: although there is no football God, I believe that there is a God who loves us humans, just as we are, with all our quirks, and that's why I think he also loves football! But we have to score our own goals.'
'All of these really likeable guys who I meet week in week out at matches or in some cases even in training, have one thing in common: they have noticed at some stage in their careers that there must be more to life than championship and relegation battles. They relate how a relationship with God has changed their perspective.' 
'To be a believer, but not to want to talk about it - I do not know how it would work! If anyone asks me about my faith, I give information. Not because I have claim to be any sort of missionary. But when I look at me and my life - and I take time for that every day - then I feel I am in sensationally good hands.'

(Quotes taken from this link)

Wow! Nice. I want to be like him, to talk about my faith and want to do so!

*This German song (first ever in this blog) was written and released as a tribute to the newly appointed manager of Liverpool FC.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Wishing you were somehow here again* - Emmy Rossum

Today's would have been my father's 84th birthday. If he was still alive. It has been more than 8 years since he was taken away from this earth.

Flowers for papa

I can't say that i miss him a lot - not all the time. But sometimes, i do. Especially on days like today.

Sometimes, there will be small little things that remind me of him - like how each time i hear about the football team Bordeaux, i am reminded of the time when we were watching the sports news on TV when they announced that Bordeaux football team trashed another team and he commented "How can a team with the name 'Bodoh' (stupid in the Malay language) win like that?"

Quite lame-eh? No prizes for guessing where i got my "lame-ness" from!!!

As i grow older, i really can see that i am in fact my father's son. Looks wise no but our outlook, our attitude towards people and things are quite the same. What differs us is the fact that i became a Christian at a very young age and that changed a lot of how i see and deal with things.

As a father now, i understand him better - and have a new sense of appreciation of the struggles he had to go through - that only a father would know and understand.

I wish he was still around as there are so many things to chat about. I wish he was still around today as he would be so happy to have Shona as his granddaughter - and she would absolutely love him as her yeh yeh (paternal grandfather).

But he is not.

Yet, as i'm blogging this, i realise that he is!!! Just as i was mentioning above - he is "in me". I am who I am because of him - a big part anyway.

*This was the version from the movie adaptation of the musical, Phantom of the Opera.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Time's up* - Ashley Tisdale

Bye bye Brendan. It's nothing personal. You've been a great guy but the time is right for you to go.

It has come to a point when it doesn't matter if i watch Liverpool play anymore. Even if i have the choice, i may choose not to. As to watch them play these days can be a much painful experience.

We stood by you from the start, hoping that you are the breath of fresh air we need.

We waited as you were given money and brought in new players. But for every Sturridge and Couthinho, there were the Lambert and Lovren. Thankfully, you managed to get Ings and Milner in for free before this season started.

But we still do not look like that is to be taken seriously. Sure, we almost won the league 2 years ago - but that was because Suarez made the whole team - including you - look good.

Your role which you played was making sure Suarez did not leave for Arsenal after 2012 season. You should have tried harder to keep him because without Suarez, we got to see Liverpool for what they really are. Let me quote Jamie Carragher:- "Liverpool are becoming Tottenham. They think they are a big club but the real big clubs aren't concerned about what they do"

So in a way, it was a good thing we did not win the EPL that year for we would all be duped in thinking that you are the answer to our prayers for a manager to bring us back to the heights we used to scale.

No doubt you are good - but just there yet. And so that is what Liverpool is now too.

We have given you time, money and our support. And now your time is up. Thanks for everything! Good bye.

* Only found as a bonus track on her Guilty Pleasures album (iTunes stores), written by Katy Perry.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Wake me up when September ends* - Green Day

It's October!!!!!! First of October! WAKE UP!!!!!!!!!!

No, I've not been sleeping all this time - but i need to wake up from my blogging slumber! It's been more than 1 month since my last post. Not a single one in September!

No, September was not uneventful! But i just could not find the time - to actually post something that i can deem worthy to be on this blog, not a slipshod post which is up just for the sake of posting something (although this post feels like such a post...)

I even have so many posts in my draft folders as i did not want to post more than once a day in August.

Is life just too busy that blogging is out of the question? if i find it difficult now, how will it be when no. 2 comes?

Yes, no. 2 is on her way.

Yes, *her* way.

More about that another time...

*This song was written by their frontman, Billie Joe, regarding the death of his father.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Uninvited* - Alanis Morissette

Last Wednesday, there was an uninvited guest who came into our house!

It was a good thing that i decided to go to our TV room in the morning with my daughter - for it is better that i discovered the "guest" than my wife!!!

When we got there, i noticed that something was not right as things from my cork board was falling off (it was my "This is Anfield" banner so i guess that little fella must have been a Red Devil fan!!!). I noticed also that my study lamp had fallen over and when i switched on the lights, i saw IT!!! I quickly grabbed my little girl, slammed the door shut and ran down!

When my wife saw us, she must have noticed how white my face was - i told her that something is upstairs and her first thought was that it was a cockroach!!!

Well, we started calling up exterminators and pest controllers to sort out the guest. To our dismay, they all had the same modus operandi - set up a trap and then hopefully it will catch that fella within 2 days!!!!

Finally, i found this company online and they said that they will go in and catch that fella for us! And they can come by noon (one company said they'll only come after 3 pm that day).

It was a little amusing as the guy over the phone tried to tell me that they will basically kill the intruder and it may be in a violent manner. Perhaps he didn't want to offend any animal rights activists!!! I told him that we are fine with it. Just get it OUT!!!

And they did. They sent one man over. He was polite - although a little amused that i was clearly scared of the small fella. Well, small relatively - if compared to me. But to me, it was a big fella!!! The guy tried to make me feel better by saying that different people are afraid of different things. But he asked if i was afraid of cockroaches and i said yes, i was afraid of that too!!!

He went up and locked himself in the room. I heard him used a stick to try to get it out of its hiding place. After a couple of minutes, my heart sank - had it left edi? That would mean we still have to pay them their fees! But then i heard the fella screaming!

What the man did was just to place some glue boards - it's like fly paper but bigger. He then chased the fella onto it and it will get caught.

Well done! Here's a free plug for them:-

The hardest part then was to clean up the entire room. First things first, though. I made sure that there are no openings available for such intruders again. These fellas can squeeze in through some really small openings!

And if you wanna have a look at that fella, you can click on the following picture to enlarge it.

*Her first single after her successful Jagged Little Pill album - this song was featured first in teh soundtrack of City of Angels.

Friday, 21 August 2015

I will always love you* - Whitney Houston

I felt sad today when i realised that i cannot afford to bring my daughter to a concert that she would love! For a brief moment, i felt like i have failed her.

And then i began to think of the things i know that i will not be able to afford to give her, the places that i can never bring her to, the experiences that i cannot ensure she gets. Have i failed her?

Of course there are people who say that if we give our children everything they want, we will be doing a disservice to them. Still, it does not change the fact that i won't be able to see the joy in her face if i could bring her to that concert.

But at the end of the day, i am just focusing on myself - i am being selfish!!! I am thinking of what would make me feel good. My daughter did not ask to go for the concert - she is just happy to watch the studio recorded performance in our TV room. In fact, saying she is happy is an understatement. She absolutely loves it. She was dancing around today much to my amusement. There will be days when she insists that i dance along with her and she is left in stitches seeing me try!

Similarly with going to exotic places and eating at posh restaurants - to her, it does not matter as long as she is with us. As a friend said, other people go to Club Med, he goes to PD (Port Dickson).

When i think back of my childhood, my parents also couldn't give me a lot of things that i wanted. I would also hear of friends who went to Disneyland for holidays. But it was ok with me. Well, not really ok - but i learnt to accept it. And i was never bitter nor angry at my parents or the financial situation we were in. I just hope that my children will have the same mindset.

A lot of people today do not have more than 1 child because they feel that they cannot afford it. They will not be able to buy nor provide the children will all the things they want. But i disagree with such a view - and i have friends who are not well to do but have a lot of children. And they are doing fine.

I am reminded today that i may not be able to provide materially for my children - but what i can provide, i should give as much as i can for as long as i am able to. And one thing that i should do is to love them. Love my girl. She doesn't ask for much. she just wants her daddy and she wants her daddy to spend time with her.

Love does not mean giving her everything she wants. Love is to give of myself to her no matter what. And i pray that i will be able to love her always.

*Her remake of the Dolly Parton song which was featured in the soundtrack of the movie, The Bodyguard.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Renewed* - Stryper

I just renewed my passport this week - will be travelling for work later this year (meaning it is paid for - can't afford any overseas holidays).

I want online to get more info about renewing my Malaysian passport but could not get the info I wanted. So as a public service post, I am going to provide info which I wanted but could not get.

Let me just put s disclaimer here - the info is correct as of the 18th of August 2015. Further, the renewal was done at the office at Plaza Glomac and I am unsure if other places have different practices or not.

First things first - what you need to bring. Bring your Mykad and RM200 (as fees for adults). And your current passport. That's all. You Amy want to bring something to amuse you while you wait. A book kept me suitably entertained.

From online, I found out the office opens at 7.30 am. I was late - close to 8 am and there was a long queue. You can park behind the office - an open air car park for RM2 an hour.

When you are allowed in, you will be given a small piece of paper. You are required to fill in your name, your address, your height, your mobile number and your email address. There is a small counter there with pens if you need them. You will have to submit that form together with your Mykad and you'll be given a number. I was the 46th person.

After waiting for over an hour, my number was called. I was required to submit everything and they took my fingerprint. They also took my photo - coats are provided. So you do not need to bring your own photos. Can save some money on that.

After that, I had to wait until they called my number again to the payment counter. I paid the RM200 and they gave me a printed receipt together with another number on the receipt.

I then had to wait again for a while before they called for the number on my receipt. They collected the receipt and then I had to wait until they called for me by name.

That's it. I was done in less than 3 hours.

Quite happy with the process. Not happy with my photo which I'm stuck with for the the next 5 years. I was told from online that I should have a neutral expression - but I overcompensated and I looked really miserable! Lol!

*The last track from this Christian metal group's 7th studio album, No More Hell To Pay.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Stuck on you* - Lionel Ritchie

It has been a while since I've posted anything up. Well, compared to the flurry of posts after my surgery!

The reason is simple - I've finally moved back into my own house. It's been a week since that day when I came back home.

I wondered before my surgery how my daughter'so reaction will be. Is it going to be "absence makes the heart grow fonder" or "out of sight, out of mind". A part of me which feared that I may not make it through the surgery hoped it would have been the latter. After all, she is just barely over 2 years old. How much can she remembe? I cannot remember anything about what happened to me when I was two.

But thankfully, it was the former rather than latter. And although it has been a bit difficult, I have to admit it feels good to be missed and wanted, doesn't it?

It meant that she wanted me by her side ALL the time! And I'm not exaggerating. Even though she had been warned that I am not allowed to carry her and that I will only be holding her hand, she made sure that she held on to my finger almost all the time!

So I have to make sure that I get my rest whenever she is sleeping - for she will not allow me any sleep when she is awake! She will make sure that I am stuck to her by her side all the time!

Ok. Better go get some rest now!

*Interestingly, this hit song of his marked his country music debut!

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Join together* - The Who

I went back to remove the staples last Thursday. Managed to sneak a selfie while waiting for the doctor to come.

Unlike other kinds of surgery where they use stitches which actually dissolve in the end, they literally stapled my scalp back together!!! On Thursday, the doctor just removed the staples as one would from a stapled bunch of papers!!!! Thankfully, he didn't use a stapler!!!

If you don't believe me, you may click on the following photo (which i shrink it into quite small in case some people do not like seeing these kinda stuffs) for a zoom in on the staples in my head!

*This song was released as a non-album single way back in the early seventies.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

I'll be there for you* - The Pretenders

I lift up my eyes to the mountains— 
where does my help come from? 
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. 
He will not let your foot slip— 
he who watches over you will not slumber; 
indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. 
The Lord watches over you— 
the Lord is your shade at your right hand; 
the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. 
The Lord will keep you from all harm— 
he will watch over your life; 
the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

The passage above is taken from the Bible - Psalm 121 to be precise. I read this Psalm some weeks before my surgery and it was of great comfort to me. It was not coincidence during the church leaders' meeting when the elders decided to pray for my surgery, Mr. Wong read this very same Psalm before praying for me.

The Psalm is such a timely reminder that God will be there for me. I can truly count on him - and be comforted as the one I am counting on is the one who is powerful - the creator of the universe, no less.

You can read more about my views on this Psalm here.

*The theme song for the popular TV series, Friends.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

No matter what* - Boyzone

There was an interesting quote from one of the characters in Dear Galileo:-

Interesting? "People these days are just concerned about the result, not the process".

The line was spoken in the context of fishing - one of the characters was fishing and another felt that it was a waste of time as they could very well buy the fish.

It is true! And it is sad. I remember over 20 years ago where some colleges used to advertise how students can finish their pre-U very quickly and graduate young. The focus is on the results, not the process.

In football, we see that a lot too - who cares about playing the "beautiful game"? If they play attractive football, that is the icing on the cake. But what matters is that the team wins - or get the result they desire - which sometimes means a draw. And they play what pundits call "ugly football". And they don't care about the criticism - they are paid to get the result, no matter how the result is achieved.

We live in a day where the ends justifies the means. But does it?

I feel strongly about this because it is the process that determines the quality of the result. Perhaps i am looking at it in the field of education which i am in - results does not guarantee success in the working world. It all depends on how the process of obtaining the results - the trials and tribulations, the challenges, the lessons learnt.

I find personally that the process of obtaining the results in my education played a big part into molding me into who i am today. It also helped me appreciate life - and to live life to the fullest.

*This song is their remake of a song taken from the musical Whistle Down The Wind written by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Friday, 7 August 2015

Thank you* - Dido

I went for my follow-up check yesterday. The results of the tests on the tumour was ready. Here it is:-

Basically, what it means is that everything is good!!!! The doctor said that this is the best result that could come out - that it is Grade 1. The lower the grade, the better it is as it is less dangerous. Mineis Grade 1. In fact, this tumour is even less aggressive than the one i used to have last time.

This is indeed wonderful news. Tumour removed, surgery successful, confirmed benign. I am thankful to God for this.

*Song from her debut studio album and was also featured on the soundtrack of Sliding Doors.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Call me* - Blondie

Since being discharged, i seek for this series and i finally completed the first season - which consisted of 10 episodes!

In case you don't know, this is a spin-off prequel of the successful series Breaking Bad.

I first came across it when it was nominated for 7 Emmy's this year (or is it 6?)

including Best Drama Series as well as best actor and supporting actor. Upon checking IMDB, i also found that the episodes were highly rated.

I enjoyed Breaking Bad and i also liked the character of Saul Goodman as well as Mike Ehrmantraut. So why not?

I really enjoyed it and am glad for the two Emmy nominations for the actors in the series.

It is interesting to note that in spite of the good ratings, there are those who feel that it does not deserve the positive reviews - and that it is only good because people miss Breaking Bad so this is the next best thing.

I think it is unfair. Better Call Saul is different. You can't really compare the two series - in my opinion. Although there are similarities - the main one being that things may not be black or white but grey at times.

Still, i really like Better Call Saul - it seems to be taking its time to build up the characters - perhaps this has worked against it as some have said it is slow moving. But we really get to see what kind of a person Saul was in the past. The main thing working against this series is that we all know what kind of lawyer he ended up being.

But for now, we see how he started as a con-man to someone working in the mail room of a huge law firm to a lawyer himself.

The character of Saul to me is very likable. He is your everyday underdog, trying very hard to make a living. His virtues would be he is willing to work hard. He definitely has the gift of the gab - and this was illustrated so well when he pleaded for the lives of the twins in episode 2. Enough said to keep this as spoiler free as possible.

Bod Odenkirk in my view deserves his Emmy nomination. The show is about him. We see him almost all the time. He has to carry the series on - and to me, he has done a really good job!

As for Mike, he was arguably my favourite character in Breaking Bad. So nice to see him again and to also see how he becomes who he is in the Breaking Bad series.

I will be waiting for season 2!

*This was the band's biggest hit ever and is included in The Rolling Stones 500 Greatest Songs of All Time

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

A whole new world* - Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle

Finally, after a long time, i got to watch this movie:-

Dear Galileo. It's a Thai movie about two friends who decide to travel to Europe. I've been wanting to watch this for so so long and have had the DVD for quite a while - there were a few trips to Bangkok when i looked for this DVD. I did find it but it did not come with subtitles. In the end, i found it at the local Speedy Video store!!!

Here is the trailer for the movie:-

So how was it? Putting it in a nutshell, i enjoyed it. In about 5 minutes into the movie, i already had tears in my eyes!!! And the tears kept coming all the way till the very last scene!!!

No, it is not a sob-fest. It is a simple movie about friendship, about life, about experiencing it to the full. You can read more about the movie elsewhere. Here, i just want to talk about what it means to me!

It was nice to be able to "travel" with the two main leads and share their experiences - especially the London part. The roles were played out very well. I have to admit that the movie dragged on a bit at times (it was over 2 hours - but it did cover 3 countries. 4 if you include the Thai part.

And perhaps this is a movie for those who are younger, those who are doing their tertiary education or just ended it. To be able to be free from responsibilities and just go where you want to go, meet up with people, see a whole new world, experience new things both bitter and sweet, sometimes bittersweet.

The wanderlust in me was indeed stirred up again. Just last night i was chatting with an old friend who spent two months travelling around Europe earlier this year!!! There are so many places that i still would like to go to. And so many sights to see. Of course, there are the people that can meet during the travels too.

But times are different now. I have a family. I cannot just leave at the drop of the hat. There are bills to pay and mouths to feed - and future education to save up for!!! It took me a while but i have resigned myself to the fact that my travelling days are over. And i have come to peace with that.

Instead of looking at the glass as half empty, i look at it as half full. I don't think so much of the places that i have not been to yet. but i keep in mind the places that i have! And I have been to many places. More than many others would ever have the opportunity to do so. I should be thankful - and i am.

Perhaps when my kids are older, we may travel again. We still do - but cheap. Local. And that is good enough.

I confronted myself honestly as i watched this movie - would i rather go travelling or stay put now. Thankfully, my honest answer is that i would rather not see some of the most wonderful sights but to just be able to spend time with my wife and with my daughter. That is far more precious to me now.

But to those who are young - and especially unmarried - go and travel. See the world. Experience life and widen your outlook.

*The theme song for Aladdin which won the Academy Award for Best Original Song as well as the Grammy for Song of the Year. 

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

The one* - Elton John

So its confirmed - Benteke will be Liverpool's new no. 9. The question is whether will be be a worthy no. 9 or not?

Pic taken from Liverpool FB page

We have had some hits but a lot of misses in recent times with our no. 9s, the most recent one being Lambert who is now at West Brom (to be honest, i felt he needed a bit more time). You can read about the good and bad no. 9s in an earlier blog post here.

I've never been a big fan of Benteke - but a lot of people are rating him highly - including one of the best no. 9 ever, Robbie Fowler (read his views here where he feels that Benteke is "perfect" for Liverpool).

As usual, i cautiously optimistic - but when Benteke does something like this (see the following video clip) on his debut, you can't blame me for being excited, can you?

Is he the one then? The one worthy to inherit the no. 9 jersey? I really really hope so!!!

*The first single from the album of the same name.

Sore loser* - Tom Chapin

And so English football resumes again!!!! Whoopie!!!!

An interesting game which was won in the end by a brilliantly taken goal by Alex Oxlade Chamberlain for Arsenal. A significant win for Arsenal?

But what amused me was Mourinho's reaction to the loss. He said that the "best team lost".

You can watch the interview here:-

Yeah, yeah, yeah - the best team just couldn't score against an organised defence. The best team conceded the only goal. The best team obviously was the team in blue, isn't it?

To be fair to him, he did congratulate Arsenal.

Let the football resume!

*Tom Chapin is a multiple Grammy Award winner, only for Best Spoken Word Album For Children. This song is from his album Billy The Squid - a "family" album.

Monday, 3 August 2015

One week* - Barenaked Ladies

Exactly one week ago (give or take about an hour or so), i was lying flat in a freezing unfriendly sterilised white room with tubes attached to various parts of a body while a man with a very sharp knife cut my head opened.

The night before, they placed markers so the surgeon knows where to cut

Time flies.

Tumour removed, new titanium plate put into place. ICU, HDU, normal ward, back home.

First real hearty meal was food from home!

Modern technology helped!

Friends came a visiting
Friends came bearing gifts

Give us this day our daily bread - and medication

Reunited and it feels so good!
So thankful to God for his gracious providence and care not only for me but for my loved ones. It's still a long road to full recovery but the worst should be over.

*Their first single from their 1998 album which made them famous.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Feeling good* - Michael Bublé

It's day 6 since my surgery and I'm back home! Well, back to me mom's home. Have been here since day 4!!!

I've been feeling pretty good. As me wife drove me back from the hospital on Friday, i told her that i feel that i can deliver a lecture there and then! With a mic, tho.

Truly God has been very gracious to me. The recovery has been very very good! Much better than the last time! Although it didn't seem like it would be like that initially. My first memories post surgery was that i was feeling pretty bad. I had a headache, i felt like i had urinary tract infection and i was feeling pretty nauseous. The nausea stayed with me for the first two days. I also could feel the pain - albeit slight - on the stitches/staples on my head. I recall the last time round, i couldn't feel anything at all.

But slowly and surely, God helped me to recover and recuperate. The defining moment - actually it was close to 2 hours - was on Wednesday when they were getting ready to transfer me to the normal ward. I got "unplugged" - yay!!!! I felt like Ultron! or Pinnochio!!!

I recall from the last experience that when they finally wheeled me into the ward, i was so overcome by nausea that i went right into the toilet and threw up whatever little i had in me tummy!!!

So this time round, when they told me that the room was being cleaned, i decided to sit up on the bed and prepare meself for the nauseating journey up!

It wasn't easy. I still felt bad but made sure i sat up. Lying down for more than 50 hours can really mess with the head!

Thank God that after an hour passed, i was feeling much better. Soon, i was sitting there singing hymms and old Bible School songs quietly. I was having a mini worship session!

When they wheeled me to the ward, i continued sitting - on the chair next to the window drinking in the view of the world outside, the light blue skies and white clouds, especially, and whatever greenery there was to see.

My condition steadily improved and when i got home, i was quite surprised at how "normal" i felt!

When a fren came over to visit, he reported back to the rest of me mates saying that i look the same except with the patch on my head.

Sure, i don't feel 100% - but i feel quite good. Less than 1 week and i'm already blogging. I think the last time round, it was in week 3 when i started to blog again. And i would have been blogging earlier if i wasn't too busy watching TV!!!

When me wife came over to visit me last night, i think i was feeling much better than she did!

Last night also, i started singing this old chorus that we used to sing a lot during our secondary school days. We used to love this Praise and Worship album - Give Thanks. I still listen to it once in a while these days and the CD is in my car. The song that i was singing was "I am the God That Healeth Thee".

Truly, he is the one! I speak very well about my surgeon and he is probably the best neurosurgeon in the country (and the most expensive too) but at the end of the day, i acknowledge that it is God who used the surgeon and it is God who is healing me day by day. Although i am 5 years older compared to when i had the first surgery, i am recovering much faster. Much much faster. I walk down the stairs and i find myself surprised at how easy it is. I remember how i had to gingerly walk down slowly the last time round.

Well, it's still a long journey to full recovery. I can't see what is happening inside me - so i better take it easy and slowly and just leave it in his hands, the hands of the one who can heal me completely and perfectly!

*His cover version of this popular song written in the 60s.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Nothing's gonna change my love for you* - George Benson

Last Sunday's sermon was on the latter half of Romans chapter 1. It was on the wrath of God - how God's wrath is poured on us be used of our sins. It was a good reminder of how much God detests sins, how holy he is.

 But it wasn't all just "fire and brimstone" kind of sermon. It ended with us being reminded th at even though God cannot stand sin, he still loves us and provides a way for us to be forgiven of our sins, to be transformed rom our sinful ways. We cannot do it ourselves but with God, nothing is impossible. It may be possible but it sure was not easy - it cost Jesus everything. He died for our sins. God demonstrated his love for us this way (as stated in chapter 5 of Romans).

Therefore, in Romans chapter 8, we are reminded of this great love of God in verses 31-39:-
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
What a wonderful reminder. I really needed this. We talk about God's love so much that sometimes, I forget just how much he loves me. But when I think of how much I love my little girl, and then remind myself that God loves me even more than that - so very much more than my feeble love, it overwhelms me to think of such great love. And just like how I will love my girl no matter how naughty she gets, God will still love me the same no matter what I will do. And nothing will be able to separate me from his love. His love will never change.

 One of my fears of the surgery that I am going through next week is that I will be separated from my daughter for days, or even weeks. And that she will not be able to understand what is going on. But that is something that will have to be done. And I know that while I may be separated from my loved one, God will be there with me all the time.

"Hold me close, Lord. Never let me go. Bring me near, draw me to your side. And as I wait, I'll rise up like the eagle. And I will soar with you, your spirit leads me on by the power of your love".

*His version of this love ballad which in my view is better than the original.

Friday, 17 July 2015

Who knew* - Pink

It has been a while, hasn't it?

Who knew that i would be back here blogging?

Who knew that i would actually stop posting anything for more than 1 year?

Who knew that i would once again be going for a major surgery to remove a tumour from my head?

We don't really know what will happen, do we? We can hope, we can wish, we pray - at best, we can try to predict. But we will never know until it happens.

Looking back, i never knew how much studying in the UK for my Masters would change my life - until it has changed it. In fact, it wasn't even my plan to go to the UK.

I never knew how wonderful being a parent is until i am one now. There was a point in life when i didn't even think i would get married let alone have a daughter!

So that is how life is. And that can make it a very scary and nervy journey as we travel on this road, not knowing what lies in store. Yes. And no.

No - not if you know someone who knows what is going to happen!

God knows! God knew! God will always know. He is in control of things - yes, even when things seem to be spiraling out of control. How many times have we seen things go that way only to somehow miraculously fall neatly into place? Or when things do indeed crash and burn - and from the ashes, rises something even much better?

As one classic song goes - I don't know about tomorrow - but i know know who holds tomorrow, and i know who holds my hand.

Here is LeAnn Rimes with my favourite version of that song:-

When we know the person who holds tomorrow - and we know that he is holding our hand, then it doesn't matter if we do not know what is going to happen ourselves. Just like a little child who holds on to her father's hand as he leads her to a mysterious place - it is fine with her even though she doesn't know what to expect because she is holding on to her father's hands. And she trust in him.

I am going through a difficult time now in my life - i do not know for sure what is going to happen but it helps so much knowing that God is in control. And that he loves me so much!

“What no eye has seen, 
what no ear has heard, 
and what no human mind has conceived”— 
the things God has prepared for those who love him
(1 Corinthians 2:9) 

*My favourite song of hers. It was a hit in the UK during the summer of 2006 when i was a student there.