Monday, April 28, 2008

Chronicle of an Untypical Happening Sunday

Oh.. how I missed my room, my PC and my bed!

Have been out 12 hours and covered so many places and did many things - all on another sweltering hot day with me not in such good physical condition too..

It's not normally my thing to do this but since it's a pretty untypical Sunday, I thought I should just jot down what happened in brief - just for the fun of it! :p

10:20am - leave home to pick up May from Bangsar to go to church

11:ooam - arrive at church and attend service with a very interesting sermon on finance.

12:35am - service over, say hi to some friends and then leave.

1:00pm - lunch at a coffee shop in Lucky Garden, Bangsar.

1:30pm - walk to nearby pharmacy to get medicines and vitamins.

1:45pm - buy fruits at the stall nearby

2:00pm - decide to check out the Bijou Bazaar at the new Jeumpa D'ramo (a swanky boutique hotel) along Jln Maarof. However, it is rather quiet and not that many stalls and merchandise.

2:30pm - back to May's apartment and take a rest there.

3:20pm - say bye to May, leave for assignment at Park Royal Hotel - on the way, pump petrol.

3:50pm - reach the hotel. Interview Jolin Tsai and director Wu Nien Chen who are the Taiwan's tourism ambassadors. Sorry have to add that Jolin is probably one of the most bland and stuck up artistes I've ever met! (This is the 2nd time I talk to her so confirms it) The interview lasts 11 minutes!

4:10pm - wondering where to go and kill time before the Cantus Musicus rehearsal at 5:30pm

4:15pm - find myself at Pavillion! Happy happy do some shopping - buy a pair of black pants and eye cream - both are necessities!

5:30pm - reach 16, Jalan Kiaping - the Germen Ambassador's residence -where we are going to perform to his guests on Wednesday night together with the High Wind ensemble - it's called `Voices in the Wind' (more on that later!) So it's rehearsal time.

7:30pm - rehearsal ends. Leaves the mansion to join parents and uncles and aunts for dinner in Cheras.

8pm - reach Eight Treasures restaurant at Connaught after a slow drive. Wait for the rest to come.

8:20pm - all arrive and have a sumptuous dinner of homecooked-style food!

9:50pm - buy some breads from bakery nearby

10:00pm - drive home with dad as company (to check my car) and on the way, drop by ATM and am happy to see another payment is in!

10:10pm - reach home. Play a while with the two Js.

10:30pm - room sweet room. Check emails, blog, shower, read etc... (ok, can spare you the details now!! :p)

Gosh, that's quite a lot of things I did in one day.. definitely not a typical lazy Sunday!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The things we eat - well, I did!

I went for a Christian Cantonese musical on Saturday night with Evonne. It was a full-house affair and since my car was stuck at the carpark as every vehicles were trying to get out through one small exit, I decided that instead of waiting and wasting time in the car, why not we go for supper at this place which is famed for its Hokkien Mee. It's just a stone throw away from PGRM building where the show was held.

Well, it was dad who introduced the place, curiously called `mou jiu pai' (No Name/Label) to me and I have been there a few times, always supper with dad and mom. We usually had to wait for a long time before our food arrives because only one person is frying with one wok at a time! I remember once we waited more than 30 mins.

But this time since both of us were quite hungry, I decided to take a chance and just eat there. Sure enough, the place was packed (half of the patrons were audience of the show) and about 90 per cent of them were waiting for their food! At least we got a table so we just sat down and order. I pre-warned Evonne that we have to wait at least half an hour for the food to come.

But guess how long we waited? It was ridiculous and I was really losing my patience already! We were sitting at the rundown hawker in a side lane for 50 minutes before we could have our supper! It was also sweltering hot and I was wearing long sleeves. Plus I was not really feeling that well.. To be honest, when the food came, I wasn't really in the mood already. But still we finished it la - cos we were hungry and we waited so long! And it took us less than 20 minutes to consume our food..

Tell me, would you wait 50 minutes for these two dishes? (for the uninitiated, the top dish is the famed Hokkien mee (plus a few strand of mee hoon) and the bottom one is `loh mee'.

Well, I told myself I would never go there and eat again unless the place is empty. But that is quite unlikely. It just goes to show how Malaysians will go out of the way for the food they like!


Looks like I'm jinxed by this `Black Week'! On Thursday, I suffered a whole day of headache and then on Friday I was having such heavy head and stuffy nose that I felt I was coming down with a flu.

Mom heard of my complain and was so sweet to get some Chinese medicine for me from the shop down the road. It came in the form of medicine power. Actually I have taken the same thing in the past and it did work to a certain extent.

So that's what I've been taking in the last two days.

Looks quite yucky right? In case you're curious what it taste like.. to me it smells and tastes very much like `yun nan bai yau' (a type of Chinese powder medicine which you apply for wounds and cuts) It also resembles some `tit tar' medicine smell.. bitter and `kam' at the same time.

For someone who's used to Chinese herbs and medicine since young, it's quite bearable actually. But I find it so amusing when I let my Indon maid have a smell, she reacted in such a repugnant manner that as if I was eating cockroach droppings or something!!

Oh well, the two-day course is completed and I'm not fully recovered. So now I'm back to Western medicine and LOADS of vitamins!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Why so `Black'??

Warning: More rant!

Is this officially a black week for me!? And I just need to get these misfortune encounters off my chest!

This morning I was going to apply for visa to enter China - we're having a family vacation next month to celebrate my parents' 40th wedding anniversary! And as my car hit the highway, my tyre burst and the thumping sounds were so loud! I had to do an illegal turn into a petrol station and found my left back tyre was TOTALLY flat. But thank goodness a Pakistanis worker there helped me to change the tyre but it wasn't easy for him and he took more than 30 minutes to do it. (Yes I gave him a tip but it seemed he didn't expect it)

Because of that delay, when I reached the embassy office in Bank of China building, it was just two minutes after its closing time!! But after some pleading, they still allowed me and a few others in. Gosh, I didn't expect there were so many people applying for visa! The queues were long and the air-cond wasn't really working well.. The queue was moving very very slowly.. I was playing games on my phone to kill time. And finally an hour later, it was almost my turn.

But guess what? They have changed the rule! They now required either a copy of air ticket or our hotel booking form for visa application! The man in front of me was furious and scolding away as he didn't know. And neither did I! So after queuing for so long, I couldn't apply for visa and have to come back again after getting the relevant document!! Why couldn't they put up a notice or inform us before we started queuing up!? Argh!!

And then I had a tiff with the parking attendant. The sign was so bad and I missed the entrance into the carpark so I was told to park at the side. When I was leaving, the parking attendant wanted to charge me RM9!! Earlier I already asked whether it was the same price and he just said pay later. I told him I won't pay at all if he made me pay RM9 and he even had the nerve to off my engine and threatened to bring me to the office. Finally I paid him RM3 to settle it all.

I was already fuming inside but just tried to calm myself down. I couldn't go home yet as I meant to collect a cheque after lunch, so I decided to mend my car tyre properly. I drove around Imbi-Pudu and found a tyre shop that looked reputable. Then I realise a big disadvantage of driving a MPV - even the tyre cost much more!! I settled for the Thai-made Japanese brand and that was already RM323 for one! (I even checked with my uncle who asked his friend and yes, that IS the price). And because my other tyre was also bursting, I needed to replace it too. So that blew another big hole to my pocket! :(( btw, a new tyre for say a Proton Wira only cost RM90!

I have contacted my sis in HK regarding the hotel booking as she was the one who planned our holiday. She said she would get the form for me. But the thought of going through the long queue in the stuffy room is something i definitely do not look forward to..

Oh, and did I mention my car still had some problems that could not be fixed the last time I sent it for servicing and repair? And I have to do it tomorrow too..

Sigh.. why suddenly all these hapless incidents are happening to me? Well, being the optimist as I am, I just pray and want to believe that things can only be better now..

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Such Gross and Rude People!!

I had a most uncomfortable and grossed-out time at Starbucks today!

I knew Malaysians, especially men, like to stare.. But this was just way to much and it really gave me the creeps!!

What happened was I had a late morning appointment with a friend - was interviewing her for an article - and the meeting place was Starbucks at Amcorp Mall P.J.

I arrived before she did and sat down inside, at a table by the full-length glass window. It was just adjacent to a table outside (you know, we're practically joined if not separated by the glass). A man (around early 40s I think) with his laptop was there and he smiled and nodded at me. I thought he was just being polite and I returned the nod and proceeded to do my own thing.

But then I noticed from the corner of my eyes that he kept staring and looking at me - almost non-stop! And when he caught my glances, he nodded and smiled again.. I was a bit perplex.. and wondered was he someone I knew? But honestly it didn't ring a bell.

Even when I was talking to my friend, that weird guy was still staring and looking me over! By then, I was pretty sure he wasn't someone I know at all.

When I walked out to the toilet, he eyes movement practically followed me. I was feeling more and more uncomfortable as his looks were getting more lecherous and lewd. But I was determined to just ignore him. After my friend left, I continued to stay on to do some work as I needed to pick up something from my church after lunch time..

I tell you, I could be quite thick skinned and bold but being eyed-0ver by a creepy man - yeah, he was quite disgusting, even took off his shoes and picking his toes - for over two hours were really a grossed-out experience!

At one point, I was tempted to just walk outside to confront him and ask what was his problem!! I didn't do it (to think of it, I should have!) Instead, I just could not `tahan' it anymore and quickly pack up and left!

Actually I also had an unpleasant encounter at the carpark earlier on. As I entered the basement parking, a van was behind me, driving closely. I saw an empty parking lot and immediately signaled and ready to reverse my car in. But that idiot was so impatient that he refused to let me park! Instead he honked!! I didn't relent so he had to let me park but he was so angry that he gave me a dirty look. I honked back as he passed by, but he then had the nerve to stop and reverse his van to where I was, honked again and sped off!!

I was so angry but also a bit worried for my car. I told the security guards about this and they suggested I re-park my car at another place just in case. So that's what I did.

Gosh, I just couldn't believe some people could be so rude - don't they know basic courtesy? You should let the person in front you to park and you don't stare and eye someone over for two hours!! I tell you, these people should not be allowed to live in civilization and should be banished to a remote island forever!!

Extra `Special' Effect for Three Kingdoms

I couldn't believe GSC could do this to its audience!!

I hadn't watched `Three Kingdoms - Resurrection of the Dragon' - starring the dashing Andy Lau - until tonight. But as it was already showing since beginning of the month, we got to watch it in a smaller hall - ie. Hall 15 of GSC Mid Valley.

When the movie started, Lynn and I thought the screen was kinda weird. The people all looked thinner than usual. Even Sammo Hung's round face had become long!!

What happened was, instead of showing the movie on a wide-screen format, the screen was lengthened and what we saw was a elongated/compressed version!

We were hoping they would rectify the problem soon.. but no. Well, it was quite annoying as it really distorted the picture. But what could we do? So we just had to make do with it and watched on..

It didn't help that the bulk of the movie - the war and battle scenes were just so messy and a blur. The director chosed to use close-up and OTT artistic shots. And then we had to watch a compressed version of it.. well, just to say I couldn't make out the fighting scenes.. and it wasn't enjoyable.

But guess what? At the ending scene, suddenly the screen black out for half-a-second and before anyone cried foul, the wide-screen was restored!! So we got to watch the last two minutes of the movie properly. And gosh, what a difference seeing a normal looking Andy Lau finally.. and so much better looking too.

Sigh. Guess it's just our luck. I had an urge to make a complain. But what use would that be as I'm not going to watch this movie again..

So how's the movie? Well, I didn't like it. With its rich historical setting for story and characters, it could have been much better. But instead, it was another war movie with glorified gore and violence, but not much human relationships and emotions..

Of course, the extra `special' effect we got didn't help.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Jelly has put on weight again!!

She now weighs a whopping 15.6kg! Every time she visits the vet, her weight would increase.. the last time when she went for vaccination end of last year, she was 14kg.

I blame it on mom, she just loves to feed the dogs with whatever leftover meat we have - usually those in the soup. Ok to be fair, I'm also partly responsible as I am so used to giving my dogs snacks.. although I try to limit it to just a few pieces a day.

Everyone who sees Jelly would exclaim on how `fat' or `big' she is! Indeed, I have never seen another miniature schnauzer of her size too.. although the other day I brought her to a pet shop and the shopkeeper said he just saw a schnauzer that is so fat that he can only walk and can't even run!

Anyway, Jelly IS overweight, although she can be considered `large frame'. Jelly's fat can be due to two main factors. Firstly, she is spayed and the side effect is easily gaining weight. Secondly, she is forever hungry! She has such a good appetite... For her health sake, I need to put her on a diet, and I must get the cooperation of the whole family, especially mom!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

`Rescued' by a Good Samaritan!

I finally found a micro-cassette recorder and could savage my work! And I want to say a BIG thank you to Lydia!

I woke up yesterday morning and spoke to my editor, who said she used to have one of those recorders but needed to search for it and could only let me know by today. In the mean time, she asked me to ask around as well.

Then over lunch as I was ranting over this incident, my uncle said out of the blue that he has one lying at home! One that he bought `just for fun' and hardly used.. But I could only collect it later at night when he is home.

Suddenly in the afternoon, I received an email from Lydia who read about my `recorder crisis' in my previous post. She offered to lend me hers, and gave me her number so that I could contact her. It was a little of a surprise and I thought it was so nice of her.. but I thought I didn't need to bother her as my uncle has one already.

After choir practice and a meeting with friends, I went to uncles' home close to midnight. The recorder looked pretty new and my uncle was so sure it was working, so I thought the problem was solved..

How unlucky I was again! On the way home as I tried it out I discovered the recorder was faulty! The `play' function did not work although I could forward and rewind the tape. I tried it so many times and I had to give up. In desperation, I shot Lydia an SMS at midnight.

The sweet lady replied in the morning and said I could pick the recorder up from her in PJ as she would be there. She even took the trouble to walk a distance to pass it to me so that I didn't have to park my car.

I was still a little worried as I wasn't sure whether my tape can be heard on hers.. so imagine how happy and relief I was when it played loud and clear!!

And I spent a good part of the afternoon transcribing the interview...

So, I didn't manage to get help from any of the people I know but instead was `saved' by one good Samaritan.. and indirectly my blog :p

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

a micro-cassette recorder crisis!

For about 40 minutes, I was like a mad woman pacing around Mid Valley Megamall in search for a micro cassette recorder!

I was feeling more mad, frustrated and exasperated when one store after another that I went to did not stock any of those recorders anymore! What's worse was, I was misguided all the way.. ARGH!!

Ok, to tell the story briefly. What happened was I accidentally dropped (but very severely) my micro tape recorder just before I came out from home today.

my poor recorder which is now dead!!

I know, most people have already upgraded to using digital recorder these days. In fact I also own a digital recorder but I use it mainly for my vocal lessons. I still find it easier to track and maneavor with a cassette recorder so I still carry on to use it since my newspapers days..

I happened to have a lengthly interview with a personality last Saturday and yet to transcribe it when I `killed' my recorder!! Yep, the injury was too much and it wasn't working anymore!! :(

So the first thing I thought was, sigh, I just had to replace it and waste a couple of hundred or so.. Anyway, the new one can still be of use so it's not really a waste.

(But at that time I didn't know that these micro cassette recorders are almost obsolete!)

After I parked at the Gardens (since I planned to go to work at Starbucks), first I went to a couple of camera shops (I actually got mine from one camera shop last time) . But they didn't have it. One of them asked me to try Jusco or HSL (which was all the way at the other end of the mall), and said their prices are cheaper! Well, Jusco's service was quite appalling, but they did have two of those recorders - though not of the same brand as the one I had. And they looked even more old fashion than the one I had. So I decided to walk all the way to HSL, lugging my heavy laptop with me.

When I reached the other end of the world, the staff at HSL told me they don't sell those recorders anymore! But one guy said that Best does. They seemed so assured of it that I believe them and made my trip three floors down to Best. To my horror and dismay, they too did not have any!

By that time I was so exasperated that I actually told them off for not stocking the recorder! But no, I wasn't scolding them but more like grumbling.. And then I even tried one or two more electronic shops near by. And of course I was disappointed.

So I went back to Jusco - and chose the cheaper among the two units though they both look kinda old. There was no more stock besides the display unit, but I was so desperate that I was willing to take it, even though there was scratches on the cover and no discount. Then I tested it, put my own batteries and the cassette inside. I couldn't believe it!! Whatever I have recorded was hardly audible! It was so soft, muffled and even not at the same speed.. So what's the point of buying it?!

I was so furious and desperate. Suddenly I thought of calling up the people at the magazine for help.. I just hope someone, just someone would have a similar recorder to mine and I can just borrow for a couple of hours.. The editorial coordinator told me she would help me to ask around..

Now I just have to keep my fingers crossed. If no, my only other solution is to try out some of my ex-colleagues one by one. Never mind that I hardly keep in touch with them!

I was so stressed out with the whole thing that I think I have killed many cells in just one afternoon. I went to treat myself to a double-scoop of ice-cream. And finally calmed down a bit at Starbucks with a coffee and yes.. blogging about the incident does help to get it off my chest!!

Now to think of was one of those days.. and I really can't blame anyone but myself for being so careless and ruin my own recorder, thereby putting myselt through all these hassles!!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

5 Years since Leslie left

Leslie Cheung Kwok-Wing (1956-2003)

How time flies! It has been five years since April Fool's Day has been redefined. Well, at least for the fans of the late Leslie Cheung.

On April 1, 2003, the news of Leslie plunging to his death from a Hong Kong hotel startled the Chinese entertainment world. The reason of his sudden suicide has also been highly speculated. After all he seemed to have everything going for him.. good looks, great talents and a high-flying career in the show biz.. no doubt he was one of the most popular artistes HK has ever produced.

I remembered five years ago today, I was having dinner at Hartamas with HL when my mom called and said that my sister from HK told her that Leslie had died. I couldn't believe it, although it was unlikely that my mom would play a prank on me even if it was April Fool's Day. Even HL was dubious, so immediately I called my sister and she told me seriously that it was true and not a `joke'!

As it was such a shocking news - and one that was newsworthy even for the English press, I ended up writing a series of news stories and articles for the paper I was working with then.. Basically I got the latest news/gossips related to his death from HK and translated some of them. I even covered a memorial for Leslie in Mid Valley, but felt I was a participant too..

The irony was, I wasn't even a Leslie's fan, even though I admired his talent and also enjoyed his music and movie. Since our teens, my sis was officially his fan while my idol had always been Alan Tam (and apparently we even fought over our idols!) But now that my sister is married with kids, she was definitely much less fervent towards her `idol'.. she didn't attend any of his memorials or events even though she's in HK.

Even though I wasn't a fan, Leslie's death somehow still shook me in a way, especially since I was covering all the aftermaths and news related to the tragedy. It made me realise how fragile life was and how depression could be fateful even though you may have everything in the world. But on the other hand, the dramatic way to which he chose to end his life has reinforced his legendary status.. people would always remember Leslie Cheung. Just think of names like James Dean or Marilyn Monroe, who died young and at the peak of their careers. They remain the immortal stars in the hearts of their fans.

Truly Leslie was a rare talent.. how many Chinese artiste could you name who is successful in both singing and acting careers? Leslie, who started off singing had attained stardom in the movie world with sterling role such as the startlet in `Farewell My Concubine'. Singing wise, he continued to reinvent himself. His latter years' concerts saw him as a pioneer who daringly wore long wig, skirts and high-heels and pushing the boundary of sexuality.

Cliche though it may sound but there won't be another person who would come close to what Leslie Cheung has achieved.

Since today is the 5th anniversary of Leslie's death, I thought I would just blog a bit on it as a tribute to one of the brightest, most talented artistes on this side of the world..