Monday, January 31, 2005
I remember during the teenage years that the weeks before CNY would be filled with trips to Sungai Wang or Lot 10 or 1 Utama for New Year shopping and gatherings. I would be shopping for new clothes as the New Year demand new "everythings" from clothes to shoes. We would be hunting for the best bargain around town as our pocket money was pretty limited. Shall we go for a carrot-cut pants where the wider the pants the better. Or shall we go for that hip bright coloured shirt? What about hair cuts? Go for the more expensive pro or the student cut at Thomas & Guys? Decisions, decisions and decisions. These two weeks will also see people returning borrowed books and money to each other as it's a taboo to owe anyone anything during the New Year. Old debts must be settled before new ones :P
In the working adult years, pre CNY would be filled with endless requests for "sau kung" (wrapping up of working days) lunches & dinners where we would all perform the lou sang ritual, a ritual involving some weird multi-coloured dish where the higher you mixed the dish with chopsticks, the better luck and wealth you will gain in the coming New Year.
This year I had one gathering among the old boys and that's it.
A few years ago would see me hanging out at ZipD's house for mah jong sessions. It's like every week we would play mah jong up until CNY. This year, ZipD's parents moved out of the house and he has the whole place to himself. In any other circumstances, that would be like a new nirvana for us - we could now hang out and play games, mah jong, whatever to our heart's content without "parental supervision" (in quotes because it's not like the parents are supervising but you know the freedom of not having older folks around to nag). Strange thing is, that's not the case now. Are we all bored of mah jong? Or just so bored that no one feels like doing things at all? Hmmm...
Oh... the older I get, the more I dread CNY... can someone please stop time?
Saturday, January 29, 2005
The 3 women in my house are like the 3 Sopranos. When they talk, I think it's a Richter 9 Earthquake scale! No rooms can shut out the noise. And this is "normal conversation". Wait till you hear my mother sings or when she speaks on the phone!
People say that you can get used to it. People who stay in a city get used to the noise generated by the traffic. People who stay near mosque are used to the prayers call. Again, BULLSHIT! I live with these Sopranos for 30 years and I am still NOT used to it. Help meeeeeee!
Friday, January 28, 2005
The movie was so good Monica claimed that she was "cried a few times." LOL.
On the way back Monica and I talked about the first musical we went to see. That was back in October 2001 in Singapore. They were showing Miss Saigon at that time. Greedy was in Singapore and she invited us to spend the night at her brother's apartment.
So ringgit and 3 other beautiful girls (kimmikanuyi, Monica and Emily) took a Nice bus to SG. We were very impressed with Nice. Not only did they use the 2nd link to Singapore (which cut our travel time by a good 30 minutes), they served food and drinks in the bus! Talk about service! The bus was extremely comfortable and clean. It did not give me the jitters like some of the other buses in Pudu Raya.
Once we reached SG, we took a MRT and met Greedy in the city. It's kinda hazy here but I remember meeting her in her office and she took us to a nearby food court for beef balls noodle. Then we took the MRT to Tampines, the suburb which she stayed. Monica started complaining that it was a really long walk from where we alighted in Tampines MRT station to the bus station. Weakling! Heh heh... I think the only constant thing I remember from that trip was Monica's complaints. Ha ha..
Greedy's brother's apartment was very nice. We stayed there and took our afternoon naps. I think Greedy and Emily cooked noodles for dinner (was it Maggi Mee with luncheon meat?) while kimmikanuyi, Monica and I freshened ourselves up. Emily has seen it in Australia before so she wasn't that keen. She just wanted a break and to get out of town, which was why she followed us - though Monica thinks that there's udang di sebalik batu.
Not sure why Greedy didn't want to see. No interest maybe?
Miss Saigon was my very first musical. I was awe struck! Everything was live! Call me a kampung boy but I was extremely impressed! And since that day, I was hooked to musicals. People say your first musical will always be the best. I do agree with this but not totally as I have seen even better musicals. Yet, there's always good memory of one's very first musical and I'm glad it was Miss Saigon and not, for example, Fame.
The following day, we visited Monica's sister who has a house in Holland Village. We spent the night there too and it was a lot of fun. I bought some VCDs and while our intention was to see it together, I ended up watching it alone. The girls were upstairs talking about candles, I think. Not sure why they enjoy doing that.
All in all, it was a good and memorable outing to Singapore.
Thursday, January 27, 2005
"Apparently, Debbie Gibson is trying to revive her electric youth.
The '80s pop phenom, whose hits included "Foolish Beat" and "Into Your Eyes," bares it all in the March issue of Playboy, which hits stands Feb. 11.
The layout reportedly features a "well-defined, yet very sexy, feminine look" for Gibson and marks a departure from her squeaky-queen teen idol image of yore."
Aside from the wrong song quoted in the article - the author meant "Lost In Your Eyes", not "Into Your Eyes", I was pretty psyche up. Debbie Gibson was one of my divas, many years ago. She's like this teen-age pop star driving all the teens mad. Fans of Debbie Gibson hates Tiffany and vice versa. There was like this huge rivarly going on. It's so silly!
But now, it's like this whole childhood fantasy coming to reality!
On the other hand.. a 40 year old Debbie posing nude? COME ON!
Anyway, I am asking TaiLo to buy me Playboy since he's in USA now. I hope he can get it before CNY. w00t!
Monday, January 24, 2005
Many years ago, I went to London with anti-ringgit and we stayed at his Aunt ST's house. ST and her mother were very hospitable and welcomed me with open arms. I had a great time in London, getting to taste some home cooked food (her mother's loh pak kou is one of the best I have eaten!) After the holiday, we kept in touch via email. Every year, ST return to Malaysia with her mother, to visit their relatives and to escape from the chilling UK winter. I'd usually go for lunch or dinner with them - she loves the steamboat near my house.
This year, in addition to her mother, ST brought along a kwai poh friend. She said that she could finally tour Malaysia herself instead of just visiting relatives every year. ST also asked me to help her buy a notebook as it seems to be relatively cheaper in Malaysia and that she didn't really trust those e-bays dealers in UK.
Anyway, so I met up with her on Friday to give her the notebook. That's where I met her friend, a German who is currently working in UK. Interestingly, she works in a weather research center. I have never met a scientist (a PhD) in my life and it was my pleasure to meet one. My first impression was that she's a really serious, stoic and quiet lady. My attempt at conversation failed most of the time. I thought, well, maybe she's a geek, you know .. the really "studios" type that don't talk a lot or when they do talk, it's filled with scientific gibberish :P
We went to Chinese restaurant called Imbi Palace for lunch. anti-ringgit's cousin sisters (Jamie and Joyce) and cousin brother (Mr T) joined us. It's odd. Here I was, with anti-ringgit's aunt and cousins without anti-ringgit. It was awkward for me, at least, so I have to try to get Miss German to talk. Since we were both stranger to this little "family gathering", I thought it is better that I get her talking.
I learned that she dislike Asian food, rather, she's not adventurous enough to try them. Okayyy... so I asked, "what do you like about Malaysia?".
Her answer was nothing. Hmm.. interesting answer - it is the sort of answer that just sealed out any further attempt at conversation trail of the similar topic.
One more try.. "Why not? We have the best food and shopping places in South East Asia."
"Oh, I don't like to shop and as you already know, I don't like Asian food."
"Okayyy..," awkward silence, "um.. um.. ah.. waiter, more Chinese tea pleaseee.." :-D
"But I had a good time at Langkawi... the beach is so beautiful and it's so quiet there." (that's was because no one goes there after the tsunami, I thought to myself). Good, now we are talking.. So we started warming up to each other and I suggested some other things to see in the following week like the Thaipusam festival on Tuesday. kimmikanuyi gave me the idea of suggesting Selangor Pewter factory tour so I told her that too.
After lunch, they went to Midvalley and I went back with the promise to join them in Hard Rock Cafe for dinner tonight.
At 8.30pm, we met outside HRC in Concorde Hotel. Miss German wanted to sit outside and ST asked if it is ok? ST said that they don't get a chance to sit outside a lot in London because it was too cold. I said fine but I am thinking, weird - the kwai would rather breathe carbon monoxide?
So we sat outside. Strangely, there wasn't much traffic on a Friday night! The streets were empty of vehicles! Does that mean that Jalan Sultan Ismail is frequented by Muslims? So Miss German and I ordered a cold beer. ST chose orange juice and Joyce went for ice lemon tea. After two beers and a chicken breast barbeque later, Miss German became more talkative. By "more talkative" I don't mean she turned into kimmikanuyi.. ha ha ha.. So I found a few interesting about Germans:
Germans have no sense of humour. It seems to be a well known traits in Europe. ST agrees to it. It's just their culture.
Germans are highly efficient and productive. Miss G told me that she was surprised to see our train schedule in KTM main station. There is like only a few lines. She commented that trains are not popular here, are they? I said that what she saw was actually the trans-national train lines, not the LRT. Those are more popular. And I said you cannot compare our trains to the ones in Waterloo Station in London. That station is madness. I think there must be like 1000 lines (I may be exaggerating here) in that station. It's overwhelming. When I was there I am like totally lost! 1000 lines! In comparison, Singapore has 4 lines.. so do Melbourne. London's Underground has like maybe 10 or 15 lines. Miss G agreed that Waterloo is madness too. In London, you may board train A in platform 1 today but train A may go to platform 10 tomorrow. Unlike Germany where a train will always come to the same platform at the exact time. Miss G said that the Germans are very methodical and precise. She said that they have almost 30 days of leave per year which is quite a lot by any world standard and yet when the Germans work, they are highly efficient and productive. Works get done. I think to myself, well, if you don't joke around and lepaking is probably a foul word in your workplace, I am sure one gets highly productive. I wonder if they surf the Net at work? Or blog? Highly unlikely.
I should also say that I feel embarrass that my countrymen in Langkawi has scammed Miss G. See, she made hotel reservation with this local travel agent in Langkawi via the Internet. When they arrived in Langkawi the hotel claimed that the travel agent have not paid them for the rooms. They approached the travel agent who later issued a cheque to the hotel but the cheque was bounced. RM2,000 burnt. I told ST that she should not trust local travel agent - go for popular ones like Mayflower or Reliance. She said Miss G wanted to go through local agent to help the local economy. They could have made reservations using London travel agents but Miss G wanted to help Malaysia. I feel ashame to see her good intentions were being treated this way... maybe that is why she has nothing to like about Malaysia.
As we were talking and whenever the traffic light (at Renaisance Hotel) turned green, there is a rush of traffic as vehicle started accelerating towards Shangri-La. Miss G would wince whenever that happen and after the third or fourth times she could not contained it any longer and would exclaim "you guys don't have noise regulation, do you? I blinked. Noise what? She explained that in Europe, all the cars are regulated. You don't get "noise pollution". I said "come on, be realistic, I am sure noise from vehicles is a norm in ANY cities. London was not exactly a ghost town, ya?" She said no.. London was relatively quiet. ST disagreed. ST said that the noise level in London is as bad and the reason you don't realize is because traffic were always at a standstill. Yay for ST! Secretly though, I thought that Miss G was really spoilt. What we heard is not some loud motorcycle or some old cranky car. It's a pretty common traffic noise. No one was honking and she thought it was loud. She must be living in a forest or something in London. Then again, she probably stays and works in some suburb. We are sitting outside one of the city's major intersections. How to compare?
Miss G asked me if I speak and write Chinese and I said I don't. She gave me "the look" and wonder why I don't know. Luckily I have ST to back me up here. Ai, this has been discussed here so I won't talk about it anymore. The weird thing is what I wrote in my blog is coming back to haunt me. Brr... Takut!!
Oh, it is interesting to note that if you work in a EU research center based in London, you don't get taxed as that center has diplomatic immunity. No income tax! Earn Pound Sterling! Isn't that a dream?
Friday, January 21, 2005
My friends and I met for our yearly reunion party before Chinese New Year. We tried to arrange for one gathering each year – just to catch up with our old friends or with existing friends. Unfortunately, the ones that attended today were the friends that we meet almost every month. The others could not make it. So who attended? There’s Daniel. I have known him for 25 years. We were in the same class, Standard 1A, in Methodist Boys Primary School, all the way to Form 6. There’s Loochoomus whom I have known for 24 years – from Standard 2A till Form 6. He’s been with me the longest in the sense of spending time togerher – even during school days we would hang out at each other’s house. I was also his best man during his wedding, oh so many years ago. Then there’s Guderain whom I have know for 17 years as he joined us in Form 3 till Form 6. John Lim, 25 years, also happily married to “Mrs Cow” (ha ha) who is expecting a baby.
How many people can claimed to have such long friendship who are really close to each other? I can depend on my friends on anything and I totally TRUST them. During school, we may not be close or hang out together as we have our own circle of friends (except Loochoomus and I) but all these histories that we shared meant something.
We could still remember the names of the teachers who cried in disappointment because of our disobedience… and we were the A class students, ok? And yet, from Form 1 to Form 6, there would be one female teacher who would end up bursting in tears. We could still remember our Form 1 public caning .. ha ha.. (another story, that) or how the whole class boycotted the Form 5 Chemistry teacher’s class because she was a racist – saying how we Chinese only love Chinese teachers and not her (and how we did not give her flowers and appreciation card during Teacher’s Day. She claimed that she’s a Master grad. and we were NOTHING. Ok, we are nothing, so we boycotted her class – we refused to go to any amali (lab) and our Form Teacher had to be the intermediate counselor between the Chem teacher and us. And yeah, we all scored damn well in Form 5 Chemistry without her! But I disgressed.
Usually our Chinese New Year reunion dinner would be a buffet, or a 10 course dinner (with liquor, of course) and lots of old boys attending. And usually, after the dinner and some normal chit chats, we would say our goodbyes.
This year was different. As a lot of the friends didn’t turn up, so it was just the usual gang I see all the time, so we got to talk more crap and really had fun together. Instead of a buffet or 10-course dinner, we decided to go karaoke at this new center in Berjaya Times Square (buffet dinner included) and then adjourned to Shadows pub in Bangsar for all-out drinking and painting the town red. After all, we have known each other for 20+ years. What is there to hide? It was total freedom. We swore, we laughed, we sang, we screamed till our throat was course, we danced – basically we had lots of fun, with alcohol influence... ha ha. I have not had such a good time with my friends for as long as I could remember. Boy, it was good to hang out with the these old farts (minus the wives).
Usually, Loochomus, Guderain and I would leave around 12-ish because well, one have to go back to the wife and babies and seriously, we do not have the energy of John Lim and Daniel who were both kaki-discos/pubs/night owls.
Instead of going back, I proposed we hang out in Starbucks for a latte and just to cool down – get our hearing back and heal our throat with some iced tall latte and hot chocolates. In the relative quietness of Starbucks, the three of us started talking about the good old times and our old friends – basically your usual reminiscence and gossips about old friend.
We talked about Daniel and how he has chose his life as a gay. Guderain said it is a conscious choice and he chose to live that way. We all agreed that there was nothing wrong with it (I mean we have known and accepted his way of living for almost 10 years since he came out of the closet). He’s extremely happy with his life. Very positive, work hard to earn a honest living, good relationship with his “wife” of 10 years. Good for him. Of course, being men, we don’t understand how could one man be sexually attracted to another but hey, it’s none of our business and he’s still a friend.
We talked about another friend who has chosen to live a different life with a upper class, well to do family and even though there were many gossips directed at him about his choice, our friend was happy with it. We agreed that his ignorance and his oblivion to how other people think about the whole this is his strength because by being oblivious, he’s obviously extremely happy. Sometimes ignorance is bliss and I told the guys that I sometimes wish I am not so sensitive to my surrounding and be as blur as this sotong. Perhaps life would be much easier to live in and both of them agreed. After all, a positive person such as this friend would see life so differently from his point of view. Things are just simple, uncomplicated. Something akin to how Forrest Gump look at life but of course my friend is an engineer and very educated – not like Forrest Gump, in case I gave you that opinion. Of course, he’s still our dear friend (24 years) and we do respect his choices.
We talked about Guderain’s psychotic and revengeful ex-girlfriend (and her friend) who were our Form 6 classmate and had a good laugh. We teased Guderain why he dated her in the first place. Is he acting as our spy, trying to find out why his psychotic and revengeful girlfriend hated MBS guys? Or is he genuinely in love with her? Of course he sincerely love her but we just like to teased him about it.
The topic went to some of our failures in courting girls and the stupid things we did to win girls’ hearts. All the ridiculous flower and song dedications run by equally silly clubs at school. How we would all strategized and wrote the best poem or words to melt the girls heart. How people would start noticing those girls getting flowers and wondering who the heck sent to them and how all the speculations and gossips would run wild at school. And of course, all the heartaches and mamak sessions to console each other or to do more strategizing. That was really hilarious and thinking back, damn, we were so childish and stupid. (No wonder I did so badly in STPM – almost cost me my entire future with no University entrance). In my opinion, Form 6 was the best school time for me. The exams is tough. Life is tough at that time because there were a lot of work, but damn! Form 6 will always go down in my history book as the best times I have ever had in school.
We talked about some of our favourite Apple // games and how we had conquered all of them by wasting valuable school time… yeah we skipped classes, in the pretext of doing Computer Club work, but ended up in the air cond (it was a BIG deal last time to have a/c in school) computer room to continue hacking the orcs and ghouls.
We looked back to our favourite mamak stall (called Traffic Light Corner) beside Berjaya Singer (now shifted) and how we always ended up chatting for hours over many helpings of kopi-ais, teh-ais and our favourite puri (instead of going home to do school homework in the afternoon). Man. That mamak made the best puri in whole of KL and we can’t find any that can replace it today.
So, again with the influence of alcohol and caffeine (disclaimer.. ha ha), I told Loochomus and Guderain that I have been a jerk. I never call them to chat and they have to call me and look for me to come out to mamak. I said I am a jerk and that since I am turning a new leaf this year (to foster better relationship with people, not just friends) I will try to make some effort to er, call them. Loochomus said I had better not. Just be myself. If I started calling him and asking how is he, how his wife, son and daughter, he would get REALLY worried and will suspect I either have mid life crisis or have this incurable disease. So he said, no need to call ah. Guderain of course was laughing his ass off. He said when he called me I was like totally unresponsive, like in another world. Then I said, hey, but have you been noticing that I was really friendly for the past few months? :P and he said yeah he noticed that too, so please keep up the good work but DON’T CALL ME! Hahahaha… guess my no-call people reputation is really popular. And the best thing is, my friends still think of me and value me as their friends. In this context, I am really bless and I should not abuse it. I thank God for such friends… even people like ZipD and Dogbone who were really making a lot of effort and I am just the anti-social guy that ignore people. My friends, you are really a treasure! I’ll make an effort, I swear! Didn’t we agree to go VA cybercafé tomorrow at 8pm to play C&C? I promise I won’t ffk and come up with lame excuses.
As we were talking, Guderain’s phone rang. He picked it up and said “1.30”. We were like, oh gosh, is that YOUR MOM? Ha ha ha.. and we started ragging him about how he’s turning 32 tomorrow and yet still being a mommy’s boy! And he dared call me a mommy boy!!! Then Loochoomus and I said that if there’s something we learned today is that Guderain is a mommy’s boy and he’s dead meat because both Loochoomus and I have very good memory and we will start haunting him about this for the years to come. Hahahaha.. don’t mess with us. It is incidents like this that give life to our friendships as we have so many things to recall and rag people about.
It was a good reunion, IMO. The more important thing is to be able to reminiscence about the past and think how far back our friendship goes. We now lead different lives. All of us came a long way – from the 3 of us (and our parents) living in a really small 2 room flat a few blocks from each other, where we don’t even have a table to do homework (at least for me as I did my study and homework crouching on a floor), to where all of us are today. Yes, we do live different lives now with different priorities, some having kids and gay partner. I am still looking for mine and praying for the courage to do things that I really wanted to (in fact I am also praying for the wisdom to know what I wanted) and while I sometimes questions why some of my childhood friends fare better in terms of having a family-relationship, I know that I should also be patient.
You know, over the course of my life, I made many friends. I can tell which “era” they are from by the way they call me. It's in the intonation, the pronounciation of the name. The MBS gangs called me differently. ZipD, DogBone and DroolMan (who are one year my senior) called me differently. My friends in my company (Greedy, kimmikanuyi, anti-ringgit aka Ross and Monica) pronounced my name differently So do mystic_grey. Based on the way you guys call me, I can tell which part of my life you once are part of and have an influence on.
Since it is a New Year (for the Muslims, but what the heck), I just want to say that while I may be nasty at times, highly irritable and have zero patience, I am also a nostalgic person and will always treasure you guys. So yeah, thank you for the memories - after all, I am here to serve too.
And no, I don’t have incurable cancer. It's probably because Cairo/Egypt makes me do strange things.
I will probably turn back to my own self tomorrow, but you all still love me, don’t you? :P
Thursday, January 20, 2005
Version 2 is now available for download. Get it.
A couple of enhancements that I really like:
1. Ability to put a star in your photos (just like Gmail) to mark your favourites
2. It will auto rotate pictures that are supposed to be in potrait mode (vs landscape). The beauty of it is that Picasa knows which picture should be rotated! It's amazing! It's like they can read and understand the photos!!
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
I read a lot of blogs these days. It is a chore to use Netscape to go to each blog hoping for an update. I wish there is some sort of "blog program" just like an email program where I can, at a glance, see which of my favourite blogs is updated.
Thankfully, such a program exist. It is called a newsreader. Usually they are a standalone program like Outlook Express where it will automatically connect to the web and grab all this blog updates, called feeds. However, these standalone programs are not free.
Fortunately, this particular standalone program, called NewsGator, offers an online version. The best thing about the online version is that it is free! All I need to do is sign up for a free account and add all my favourite blogs as a feed and voila, I get an Explorer like navigator on the left, showing in brackets, how many unread posts (refer to graphic above). At a glance I can see whose blog has new updates! I am waiting for a widget that will do the same thing for Konfabulator. In fact, I am trying to see if I can code a widget to do such a thing :P
Anyway, do try this website out. The URL for ringgit's blog (as a feed) is to add /atom.xml to my blog URL for example: http://ringgit.blogspot.com/atom.xml
Monday, January 17, 2005
This picture is a true representation of the power of Konfabulator. I have it installed in my notebook which has higher screen resolution so I have more "screen-estate" to play around.
Some new stuff.. I have two picture frames instead of one. The left picture frame shows photos from my Egypt trip while the right will display USA photos. They change every 5 minutes so everytime I press F8, I see new pictures. Niceee..
I have a battery gauge (bottom left, the one in green). Beside it is a WiFi strength indicator. Then I have the recycle bin followed by a CPU usage. There's also a To-Do list.
Sunday, January 16, 2005
It occurs to me that somebody actually asked me how much I earn in public. And I don't even know this somebody. He's a friend's friend. I met him that night because he was with my friend in a mamak. So we had some small talk and he said he's been working for 3 years and then started asking how much I earn after working 8/9 years. I danced around the issue but it never occurred to me that that question is considered offensive and rude. Hmmm... NOW I KNOW!
Saturday, January 15, 2005
You know I only recommend cool software to you. I have recommended Netscape or Firefox for tabbed browsing, iTunes for your best music experience, Blogger, Hello+Picasa for managing your photos and Notes Buddy. Today, please say hi to Konfabulator.
Please take a look at my Desktop below running Konfabulator.
My desktop showing Konfabulator in action. Notice how it dimmed my current workspace (IE browsing my own blog) to show all the active widgets.
Konfabulator allows you to put small programs called widgets on your desktop. If you looked at my desktop, I have Konfabulator with all these little widgets. They are, top left to bottom right:
- a widget showing a chrome clock
- a widget showing a calendar
- real time weather updates (of Luxor)
- a photo frame that shows photos from My Picture folder - it changes every 5 minutes for new photos. Currently, the photo frame is showing a photo of my trip to Giza, Egypt, with Pyramid of Khafre as backdrop.
- a GMail notifier, which will check to see if you have unread mails on Gmail. Currently I have 4 unread mails
- an iTunes remote controller so I can quickly change song. This remote will show the name of the song playing, artist and album. It can display Chinese characters too. Currently playing "Think Of Me" from Phantom of the Opera
- a CPU usage reader
- a recycle bin widget showing how many files in it
- a real time stock ticker
Beautiful. Try it out!
Friday, January 14, 2005
When another friend and I discussed about how great iTunes is, he asked us to send him the program but I know he won't install or try it. He just wanted to have it.
He wants all of my mp3 though he only listen to Cina songs and can't understand English songs. I, of course, will not give him the mp3. My mp3 are my backups from legal CDs which I bought with my hard earned money, ok! And I am not going to give it to someone who does not know how to appreciate it. I bet my ass that he does not know who Debbie Gibson is.. nor The Corrs nor Faith Hill.. nor Delta Goodrem.. and you wanted all my collection? Go fly kite man!
He's also the type of person who would beg me to lend him my Friends DVD so that he could burn it and keep it somewhere in his house without knowing who the heck Ross is. That is the reason I don't tell people I have Friends DVDs. Go buy yourself if you wanted to hog it, you hogger!
Do you know people like that or am I the only one who attracts this type of people?
This week saw the announcement of a new mac - the mac mini. This is a piece of art. I have always wanted to own an Apple. My very first computer was an Apple //e. I grew up on an Apple. I longed for an Apple. And today's announcement made a mac affordable! Very affordable. Apple used to be a premium machine, the BMW of cars. Now, it's like BMW making the mini car affordable to Proton drivers. I WANT IT SO SO SO MUCH. But again, it is a need vs indulgence. I think to myself, when will I use a mac? Sure, I can use it at home to listen to iTunes, play around with iPhotos, surf the Internet with Safari. Then what? When I wanted to do some work or play games do I move my heavy butt and sit on the other side of my workdesk and use the PC? And when I wanted to surf again, move the butt back? The PC allows me to use iTunes and Picasa as my photo organizer. I have IE and Netscape as browser. I get to play all the games I wanted. I can download bittorrent files. Why do I need a mac? Is there any specific application in the mac that I need that is not available for the PC? The answer is no.
So yeah, this post will seal my yearning in an air tight container. I will not talk about it. It's obvious that I do not need a iPod or a mac mini. BUT...
I do need a LCD display for my current Pentium 3 machine... and I am eye-ing this:
For US$999 (20"), I think I can afford it... and I want it... ohhhh... my precioussssss...
Thursday, January 13, 2005
I have been doing my current job for almost 3 years. The nature of the job is such that there is nothing "concrete" to show at the end of the day. We helped people when they faced specific problem during the development of their application. But we don't know what the end result is. We don't see the finished product. Day in, day out, week in, week out.. it is just pure operational support work. There is no sense of achievement. There is no glory. There is no pride. It is a dead job.
It seems to me I have been in dead jobs the whole of 8 years in this company. I started by doing internal IT support. At that time, that was like the lowliest job in this company. Nobody wanted to do internal support. The pay sucks, the users are demanding and there is no glory. Management, who cares about revenue, do not appreciate internal support. We are the cost center. The one that cuts into the bottom line. The expense department. Which management likes us?
The best IT job at that time were the customer facing IT services people. I use to yearn for customer facing jobs. Let me meet the customers. Let me show them my skills. Let me help them solve their problem. Let me bask in the glory of success.
As time pass, the best IT job is no longer the customer facing IT services people. The crown goes to this small group of people that do remote pre-sales support. These guys are funded by the marketing people and therefore they have a lot of funds to get new toys (machines) or go trainings or more bonus if target is achieved. The job is to provide support remotely via email or telephone (as opposed to on-site, face to face) so naturally the stress level are relatively lower than those that provide IT services to the customers. As it is a pre-sales team, they don't support production problems. There is no stress over bringing up the system by 7am the next morning. Nor is there stress in fine tuning a system that seems to be running really slow. Nor any of those late nights meeting trying to figure out what went wrong.
Every IT support personnel in the company wanted to join this team of remote pre-sales people. Who wouldn't, considering all the benefits I have outlined above.
I am in this pre-sales team. I am the envy of a lot of people. Yet, people do not see the negative side of this job. And the bad side is actually the nature of the job itself. It is operational. There is no sense of accomplishment because you can't tell see the end product of your labour. Look at me, blogging during office hours. Is that achievement? There is nothing to be proud of. There is no "Ohh.. I am part of the team that built maybank2u.com (as an example)". Do you want this type of job?
See, I was in the worst IT job in the company, the DBKL of the company, and now I am in a job that people envy. I have experienced the worst and the best and my conclusion? Nobody is ever going to be happy with their job. No one. Therefore, in my opinion, the best attitude is to always look at the good side of it and be thankful that you still have a job. Since nobody's going to be happy with their job *anyway* and there will be complains, why not do your best at your job.. deliver what you are being paid for and if you have time for other things (eg surfing, blogging, chatting), so be it.
I called home. My area was not affected though, thank God for that!
At any rate, this is really embarrassing. The power came back after 3 hours downtime. 3 hours! Imagine the amount of ringgit lost.
Today I saw Season 8. In one episode, he found out that condom works 97% of the time - there is a 3% failure rate and he could not believe it - they should put it in the box. It should be in BOLD!!!
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
As I was opening my package, my father said that all of a sudden, the cramp on his hands were gone. I said of course la, God's blessing mah. He's like, real or not? Mom laughed and said to me "you believed also meh?" and sister was telling dad that she prayed for him too so it's true. Well, I wonder if this miracle will strengten his faith or not. We'll see.
It's madness.. A few hundered ringgit on DVDs. I mean, it's ok if it were 20 or 30 ringgit instead of US$20 or US$30. But after conversion it became hundreds of ringgit. That hundreds of ringgit could be a monthly income of some families.. used to feed the young. And I blew it in DVD.
Malaysia currency sucks! One can't buy anything anymore! It's just too expensive!
Monday, January 10, 2005
I started previewing some of the songs in the 1991 Billboard Top 100 and I was suddenly hit, full blast in the brain, with memories of that time: Wilson Philips, Mariahh Careeeyy (pheeeet! pheeet! My divaaaaaaaaaa!), Roxette, Firehouse, Scorpions, Guys Next Door, Tracie Spencer, Vanilla Ice, Bette Midler, Mr Big... wow...
I still remember my black Sony Walkman. I'd gather all these cassettes before going to school or going to tuition. You see, to commute from my house to KL for tuition is a 1-2 hours bus ride. Worse, if there's traffic jam. The commute was pretty boring and lots of CO2 to fill your lung. Therefore it was always a joy to have a Walkman around at that time and you can just shut out all the noise from the traffic and just float towards wherever the music and your mind is taking you to.
I can recall the times when my Christian friends said that God is watching us from a distance from the song "From A Distance" was a blashphemy because God will never be far apart from us. Or that time when Whitney Houston was singing through the loudspeaker of the swimming pool in Cheng Wu (somewhere near Stadium Merdeka). I was doing my lap and I could hear her Andddd IIIIIIIIIIIIIII, I will always love youuuuuuuu. It's surreal, to be doing the breast strokes to Whitney's melodious voice. I will always cherish that moment.
Then there's Loochomus and his irritating I am dying inside to hold you by Timmy Thomas. This silly song took Malaysia by storm. If you went to Petaling Street.. it was played at every corner and every loudspeaker. You'd go to Popular Bookshop or Big Bookshop and it's there. It was almost as frequently played as that Lemon Tree song that appeared years later! I mentioned Loochomus because he bought the single and had tortured me in his car by playing it over and over and over again. I believe at that time he was dying inside to hold someone in school :P Imagine 1 hour in a traffic jam in his car listening to Timmy Thomas and his incessant wailing!
Fast forward to1993-96, during college years... That time, we don't "heng" Walkman already. I drove this tiny Suzuki car to college. Every afternoon on my way home, I'd tune in to this new and radical Radio Station, 99.3fm, TIME HIGHWAY, and would be entertained by this DJ (thinking of his name now) and his wonderful selection of songs...
There's UB40's "Can't Help Falling In Love".. stupid song. Instead of giving me the courage to go after this girl, the song went Wise men said only fool rush in... apa ni??? If rush in, I am a fool wor!!! UB40! You destroyed my chances!
Then there's I swear, by the moon and the stars by All-4-One but then, she was not listening to my promises! or Mariah's I caaan't liveeeee... if living is without you... ai.. so stupid.
There's "All for Love" by Rod Steward, Bryan Adams - the theme song from the movie The 3 Musketeers.. See la.. at that age.. whatever you do is All for Love! Right? College degree be damn!!! No wonder I always end up copying Ash's tutorials!!! No heart to study. Always busy strategizing!
It was during that time that I befriended these few girls from SG - especially one special beauty. Aiyo. How the heck I get through college is beyond me! Really! Songs that I associated with them are: "Forever In Love" by Kenny G from his popular Breathless album, "So Much In Love" by All-4-One, "I Live My Live For You" - Firehouse. Then there's "Only Wanna Be With You" - Hootie and the Blowfish - did we hear this in Iguana, in Bangsar or what? Somehow it was associated with them.
Fast forward 1996-1998 - again I was driving to work... this time we have very optimistic songs I believe I can fly, I believe I can touch the sky by R Kelly. Well, What to do? First year of working life mah. Earning RM.. sure a bit optimistic lar. Another fast and happy number has to be doot doot doot.. doot doot doot.. semi charmed life, baby baby by Third Eye Blind or "Barely Breathing" (Duncan Sheikh) or "Freshmen" by The Verve Pipe (this happens to be me and Joey's favourite). Then there's "All for You" by Sister Hazel.
Of course, we have I love you, always forever, near and far... by Donna Lewis and "Don't Speak"by No Doubt. I remember these two songs very well because I first heard them in this nice music store in 1Utama. 1U was like the newest and hippiest shopping center in town and whatever they played must be the coolest too eh? Donna Lewis' song was played during the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Malaysia.
96-98 also saw songs like "Tubthumping" by Chumbawamba: I GO GET DOWN and I get up again, you will never see me down... I remembered being in front of Loochoomus's house waiting for him when the radio played "I Shot The Sheriff" and I am like, what a stupid song!!!
Ohh.. and Everyday is a winding road by Sherly Crow would somehow went really well with Eric Clapton's if I could, ch-ch-change the world. The latter is a theme song from the movie The Phenomeneon starring John Travlota - very moving movie.. thus a very appropriate song to play to commemorate his anniversary (in the movie).
So much memory.. so much to write.. but alas.. it is almost 8pm .. so I have to stop now. It was fun though.. going through all these songs and remembering where or what I was doing when this song played - it may not be accurate, heck.. but it was a good trip down memory lane.
Friday, January 07, 2005
Best email of the day:
We have received a box of parcel, from AMAZON.COM on behalf of you. Please advise us on the collection or delivery arrangement, thank you.
Woo hoo!!! Even though it just hit me that I am 32 this year, nevertheles, Friends and LoTR will keep me happy for a week.... :) I am smiling.. I am smiling now!
Earlier, two colleagues could not come in at 8 and was 15 minutes late - one could not wake up on time and is now stuck in the traffic. The other did not give a reason.
Then another girl had to go to the bank at around 9.30am because her husband did not have enough money to pay the doctor. So she has to transfer money from one account to the other so her husband can withdraw them.
Another guy called to say his son is sick so he has to come in around 12.30 (he's one evening shift too. He said that he will take his son to see doctor, have his lunch and come in)
All this makes "buying biscuits" sound really lame so I said no to Bonnie. I told her she could buy earlier before she come to work (which is true isn't it? Why can't you leave home 20 minutes earlier to stop by the shop and buy the biscuits? Why must you do it at 11.30 when you are supposed to report to work? Does the shop open only at 11.30?).
Sometimes, I think I am cruel. Am I heartless? It's not like we have a lot of work to do here. They can do their chores and operations will not be impacted.
On the other hand, it is a matter of principles right? This is not their company! They are paid for the time and their skills. If you have an emergency, I can understand. It is an exception and excusable. But buying BISCUITS?
Bonnie claimed that as she was messaging me, she was also doing work .. from home. She's trying to say that she's doing work now.. so why can't she buy biscuits. I admit.. it is true. We sometimes put in extra hours by working from home. Again, back to the principles.. does that give you a right to take advantage of company's time? What will other colleagues think? Will they start adopting this habit since you are more senior? Will they think it is ok to go buy biscuits or this or that because ringgit is flexible?
I am going nuts. Personally, I think it should be ok if you are 10-15 minutes late to do some chores. Over my 9 years in this company, I have done such things before.. eg long lunches. But this is different. We are running 8am-8pm operations. It's not so flexible as last time. If I can keep to the time, why can't people follow? Why don't they understand?
Thursday, January 06, 2005
What about the ladies? They have some "women" love too. Are they lesbians too?
So perhaps the gays/lesbians are more bolder because they come out of the closet while perhaps other men/women are just suppressing it?
Do I even have a point to make it? Nevermind. Just don't let me catch you (men) staring at me! I am a known ghey basher you know.
Wednesday, January 05, 2005
Current question is "Who is your favourite F.r.i.e.n.d.s?". Vote away. You can comment here why you chose the Friend.
I chose Ross. In my opinion, he's the funniest of all. Friends will not be as funny without him. All his antics are memorable - the time he discovered, from his apartment, Monica making out with Chandler; or he becoming the referee when Chandler/Joey challenged Monica/Rachel and won the girls apartment; or when he started wearing leather pants because it's New Year and he wanted to do one new thing a day; or when he laughed at Joey because he couldn't remember all the States of America and claimed that he's educated (unlike Joey) only to find out that he was not able to recall all the States too!
What about the time he bleeched his teeth white??? Or dated the girl who was so messy she breed rats in her house? And the time he and Monica participated in this dancing competition. Or the time he showed the friends his "music talents" (more like noises). And the time he had to read 96 pages of letter that Rachel wrote to him, "front and back".
HAHAHAHA.. just writing the above made my day!
So, vote and your comment please.
And I have Friends Season 8 in the package. I need Friends to cheer me up when I am down.
Come on amazon.com.. DON'T LET ME DOWN!
I also believe that the best experience of human relationship is sowed at the breakfast table. Before I moved to this new house, I used to break fast with my mother, twice a week. She would wake me up at 7 and I would bathe and then drive her to the nearby restaurant for a fishball noodle soup or wantan mee. She would tell me all the latest gossips in the family, about her past experiences or share some wisdom of her life. There are some mornings where there's nothing to talk about but the closeness of the relationship is undeniable. Something to do with the first meal of the day binding one human being with another.
In any roadtrip, what I look forward to the most is the breakfast with friends before we start our journey. I can remember our yearly Cameron Highlands trip especially the breakfast session - we woke up around 6am and ate the meatball noodles at 7am. We might all be grouchy because we had to wake up so early, but nevertheless, it was a good meal. We didn't talk much yet I yearn for these early breakfast sessions.
Perhaps it is not just breakfast. Perhaps it's the act of sitting down together to eat something. It could be lunch, dinner or supper. Whether one talk or not is immaterial. The presence of one's company is suffice. Maybe that is why a family reunion dinner is so important to a Chinese family during the Chinese New Year, well, not just the Chinese, basically every race and culture.
Yet I don't enjoy brunches.. these are too late in the day for breakfast and too early for lunch.
Finally, the word breakfast come from break fast... like the Muslim during Ramahdan, we are breaking fast in the morning. When we are sleeping, we are actually fasting... so, yeah, breakfast.. not break - fast.
Monday, January 03, 2005
I had my peer review. Strangely, Bonnie, did not "teach me a lesson." Hmmmmmmm... Overall, very good feedback from 14 people. Boss was impressed :P
Maybe I'm a natural born leader. LOL thinking about this! Ha ha..
Finally, it seems that ALL my readers hated the new template. For the first time in my hundred of posts, all of you provided comment on the same topic! Amazing. But I will not yield to all these temptations to change. White is good. White is pure.. Do not try to taint it, you evil people you! :P
After I published this blog, my choice of words, "1st Day at Work" struck me. I still remember my first day at work in this company. I came to the office around 8am. I am supposed to go to the reception to meet my manager at 8.30am. Having nothing to do and not willing to wait at the reception, like a "so chai", I decided to hang around the ground floor lobby.
That night before, my friend's girlfriend, SK wonder if I will be meeting her friend, Greedy whom she said started work in the same company a month ago. I didn't know Greedy nor how she looked like. I was supposed to meet her when I visited Australia. She was sick at that time (or maybe anti-social) so she didn't come to the Great Ocean Road tour with us. Anyway, SK said that Greedy is very tall. You can't miss her.
So, there I was at the lobby watching people, when all of a sudden, Greedy walked past me towards the foodcourt. I knew it was her. Such a tall girl. I don't think I have met any girl as tall as I am. She was wearing black.. from top to bottom. Later I learned that that's her trademark dressing.. LOL! (Greedy, you still have that striped T-shirt? Black-white-black lines :P)
So 8.30 and the manager came to accept me and took me to 19th floor. I was introduced to my new colleagues. Anti-ringgit was with SamSee at that time in this old dumb terminal. I remember him because he was really LCLY. When the manager was figuring out which workstation to put me in, she commented why not sit behind me since it is hardly occupied at all (that was anti-ringgit's workstation). He quickly turned and said "MUST PAY MONEY!". Sei anti-ringgit. I knew you "fat chin horn"!!! Celaka. This anti-ringgit didn't want to sit behind boss, see, so he always hide in this obscure dumb terminal behind Greedy to do his work. So, his workstation is really empty and yet he refused to let me use it. Double celaka!
Anyway, then we walked to the other aisle and I was introduced to Greedy. I said, "so we meet at last" and boss remarked "you two know each other?". I was trying to explain to boss that Greedy is a friend's friend. Before I could finish my attempt at explaining friend's friend, Greedy said "we have a mutual friend." Boy! I was impressed. "Mutual friend" compared to "she-she-she's my friend's friend". POWER ENGLISH!
To anti-ringgit's credit, while he may have instilled a LCLY (arrogant) first impression on me, he was also the one who initiated all the group lunches and therefore makes my joining the group so much easier. Everyday we had lunch - me, anti-ringgit, Greedy, SamSee and a few others.
I also remember when I first met kimmikanuyi. It was also in 19th floor just beside the procurement workstation. She's Greedy's friend, you see, so my first meeting with her was when she showed off her new Nokia phone. Wah.. so envy that time. Purple metalic colour phone some more. At that time, hand phone was really a luxury. There's one time she told us that she has to change all her wardrobe because she said she cannot wear "loud" dresses while she was mourning.
Time flies eh? Almost 9 years liow since we first met. Brrrrr.
Sunday, January 02, 2005
Like my template, I hope to start this new year with a clean slate too. No grudge against Bonnie. No prejudices with people and things. Let the old dogs lie. Let go of any burden I am carrying.
I pray that I have the strength to do this though.
Let the new year begins!
Saturday, January 01, 2005
When I was a small boy, I grew up in this place called Kolam Air. I spent almost half of 15 years of my life there. My parents had a full time job, so my sisters and I were put into this distant cousin's house where she can look after us. The school bus would drop us here in the afternoon and we'd do our homework, have our lunch, watch TV and take afternoon naps there.
Every evening, I'd beg for 20 sen so I can walk towards this small shop and buy junk food. The shop is around 5 minutes walk away but one had to go through back alleys and small lanes to get there. There's no tar road at that time in villages like this - it's just dirt lanes. The shop is really a kind of shed. Inside there is an arcade machine (Space Invaders?) which I was extremely fascinated with but I didn't hang out there because of the rowdy people inside. I'd buy my Mamee and walked quickly back home.
Around 5 before Father come to pick us up, I would play some games with the neighbours kids. There are around 6 of us. Today, I can't even remember any of their names at all. I wonder where they are now.
There are two type of marble games. One of them are using the white marble the size of a 20 sen coin. The marble cost 20 sen too. This marble is kinda solid and the objective of the game is to hit your opponent's marble as hard as you can as to chip it. Once a marble is chipped, it is practically useless. Because of this, choosing a marble from the shop is a form of art.
The other type of marbles are the smaller, transparent, glass-like marbles. These marbles are colourful - red, blue, green, yellow - you name it. Every one of us would put 5 marbles into a 1 feet diameter circle drawn on the sand. Using our lucky marble and standing far apart, we have to hit as many marbles away from the circle as possible. You own the marble you hit out of the circle. However, if your lucky marble, the one which you used to hit other marbles with, fell inside the circle, the game is over for you.
I have no idea what I did with the marbles I won though - perhaps I sold it back to them. Or perhaps they are now lying in some of the flower pots in the aunt's house.
There's another game I played with the kids. We would spend 5 sen buying a piece of cardboard with pictures of many things - it could be some soccer star or Disney's cartoons or Robotech - whatever. One cardboard have around12 smaller pieces of these pictures and we have to carefully tear them along the lines. With these 12 pieces, we would stack all of them on the sand. Then we'd draw a box on the sand around this stack. We would then stand maybe 10 feet from this stack and taking off our slipper, we would try to throw the slipper at the stack of cards. Whoever hit the cards out of the drawn box will get to collect them. So I have lots of practise throwing slippers ok? Watch out Romeo the dog. You keep on barking and you will eat slippers one of these days :)
At school, I play a different kind of games - there's "kunda kundi", a game played on the badminton court. There are two teams 7 each and there is a "mom" in the game. The objective was to get the whole team from one end of the court to the other. Then there's the "monster" game. And there's also this baseball-like game without the baseball. Instead of a ball, we use sticks. There will be a hole dug on the sand. One team would put the stick across the hole and using another stick, flipped the stick off the ground. The opposite team would have to catch the stick. Then throw it back to the guy who flipped it who will try to hit it.
Those were the fun days. These games may sound traditionally and old fashioned but they are seriously fun and easy to play.
What do kids play these days? Counter-Strike?
This comic strip was taken without permission from http://www.pvponline.com . PVP is a comic about the gaming industry. I love reading PVP. This particular strip reminds me of the Turkish hat I wore when I was in Egypt. Feel the power!! Rarrrrrrrr!
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