Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 ROUND-UP (2009, 2010 AND 2011 RECYCLED)

Any great achievements for me? NO. Any extraordinary happenings? NO. Any exciting changes in my lifestyle? Definitely NO. Everything came and went like the previous years. Am I happy? YES. To some, it can be quite strange how a person can be happy and content when not much has happened to him or her. Yeah but that's me. I'm comfortably cocooned in my life at the moment that I don't think I want anything changed (unless it's for the better). At least, not yet. I'm sure that something is bound to happen sooner and later and I'll be shocked out of my pants when that happens. Till then, I'm going to enjoy the routine that I've created for the past couple of years and if there are going to be any changes, I hope they will be gradual. Some of my friends have commented on my laid-back attitude and I can only agree with them. After all, what is there to argue when everything that they say is true? Still, it doesn't mean that I don't work hard or put in any effort at all. I do but I don't think I'll be increasing the quota for my effort any time soon. Even then, I would say that what I've done is definitely much more than that done by some of my colleagues and friends. So how about that?

p/s This entry is recycled for the third time just like I predicted.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

MY SMALL MUSIC COLLECTION

When I was still in school, I'd buy pirated cassettes since I could not afford the real stuff. These pirated cassettes were dirt cheap compared to the original stuff. They could easily be found at any night markets and even at most music stores. Consumers could also choose between the much more expensive (but more durable) cassettes and the cheap (but less hardy) ones. Sometimes, I would go to the music store to have my own mixed tapes made. The amount that you had to pay depended on the number of songs chosen and the type of tapes used. I no longer have most of these tapes anymore. After I left home to further my studies, they mysteriously disappeared and were nowhere to be found . Someone must have 'borrowed' them, I guess.

In college, I joined Columbia House, a mail-order music club. This club offered customers a number of cassettes, records or CDs at one cent with a legal agreement that the customers would buy a number of other music products at regular prices over a stipulated length of time. I didn't own any turntable or CD player at the beginning so I ended up buying cassettes instead. The tapes were of inferior quality than those that one could buy at the music store but I thought they were a real good bargain for a struggling student like me. In the beginning, the offer looked too good to pass. It was only later that I realised that I was actually paying more than I should. After I had fulfilled the obligation of buying the number of cassettes under the contract, I quit the club. By then, I had already found a few other avenues to fulfill my craving for music.

Not far from my campus was a music store called Peaches which I would frequent after my classes were over. The store was spacious and had quite a good selection if you were into pop and rock music. The staff would also play newly-released albums for the customers to listen to and display the covers of the currently-playing records at the check-out counter. The section for 7 and 12 inch singles was adequate if you were looking for the latest top 40 music or dance music. There were also a few other music stores (I can't even remember what their names were) that I went to especially the ones located in the shopping malls but it was much more convenient for me to go to Peaches. Most of the cassettes and singles I own were purchased from this store during my student years. Although I don't listen to these cassettes anymore, I still keep them safely (in alphabetical order, of course) at home. I still own a functional cassette player which is as ancient as I am but I had to bid adieu to my turntable a few months back. I'm not sure if I will ever own another turntable again.

There was also another record shop in my college town which specialised in alternative and college music. I bought my first CD from this shop and also a few 12 inch singles which were not available from other music stores. I only went to this shop a few times and one of the reasons why I rarely went there was because it was located too far downtown. I did not own any transport back then and the walk there could be exhausting. Going to that shop also meant I had to brave the downtown crowd and I did not really enjoy doing that. I was such a weird (but fun) dresser back then and I loathed having people look and stare at me unnecessarily.

There was also a small music shop at the Students Centre on my campus called School Kids Records & Tapes. The music selection was very limited and it was mostly pop and rock titles. I don't think I ever bought anything from that place. I might be wrong about that but my memory is a little bit hazy regarding this particular shop. The Students Centre was usually busy with the more 'normal' crowd especially during lunch hour and I tried to avoid it as much as possible.

I also managed to secure this music catalogue (see the picture above) from a friend which enabled me to know about albums released by my favourite singers. From this catalogue, I'd ask the music stores if they could order the albums that I wanted. I could have ordered the albums directly from the catalogue but somehow, I never did. This catalogue also had a special section for CDs since not all albums were produced in CD form back then. Most of the CDs were priced at US$ 15.98 which I considered as a ridiculous amount of money to be spent on a CD.

My favourite music haunt was a secondhand shop called Papa Jazz Record Shoppe. The shop perpetually smelled of incense and also other intoxicating unidentifiable scents. It was difficult to move around in the shop and the ventilation was not that great either. There were records all over the place including those in boxes and milk crates on the floor. CDs were such rarities back then and only a few titles were available. I loved that place since I could buy a used record for $2.50 and sometimes even less. I spent many hot and cold afternoons in the store browsing thousands of records which I had never heard or seen before. The staff would never ask you what you were looking for and you were free to stay and look even if you never bought a single thing.

I was really excited when Tower Records opened its first shop in Kuala Lumpur. Everything was much more organised and the store was also very spacious and convenient. Going to the store was always fun and exciting. To my dismay, the original KL store was closed after a few years operating. I have often wondered if the changing trend of buying music was the cause of the closing of the store.

Nowadays, buying music is no longer fun like it used to be. I'm not sure what the cause of this feeling is. One possible reason is I no longer feel the connection with current music. Not many songs are able to touch me the way they did when I was younger. The excitement of waiting for new albums to be released and buying them is gone. I still buy a few things that I like through the Internet from time to time but they are mostly albums that I can no longer get in the Malaysian market. As I get older, I believe one of these days I will no longer buy any music at all. All my cassette tapes, compact discs and records are precious to me and are part of my youth. At the moment, everything in my music collection is kept safely far from public view (except for my CDs) where they will receive the occasional visit from me whenever I feel that nostalgic thug on my heartstrings.

p/s I am yet to buy any music digitally.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

SOMETIMES YOU MISS THE MEMORIES, NOT THE PERSON

Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! It felt as if somebody knocked me on my tender head with a giant hammer when I stumbled upon this quotation. Had I been holding on to certain memories so hard all this time that I failed to see the truth and reality behind them? Looking back at certain memories, I can remember many things that took place back then but ironically, I can't even recall the names of some of the people who were with me at that time. Memories are very much like an infectious disease; easy to contract and difficult to shake off. We tend to remember only the good parts, neglecting the fact that sometimes there were a lot of pain and heartaches too. Obviously, I am in a much better position and state of mind/emotion today than I ever was in the past and yet, the not-so-fantastic old times always seemed so much better to me. Strange as it is but that's the truth. Conversations with my former high school buddies (a few of them are still my good friends until now) always revolved around the memories but never the people. We talked about how much we missed our teenage years but never said how much we missed somebody whom we knew then. I once went to my high school reunion a few years ago and I never went back since. I had never really understood my reluctance to attend the annual gathering despite the persistent coaxing and phone calls from my ex-schoolmates. It's only now that I realise now that I don't really miss most of the people I grew up with. I only miss the memories. In the back of my mind, maybe I knew that meeting them could never bring the memories back. I even realise that many of my posts are quite 'past-oriented' in nature. Re-reading them only reaffirms my belief that it was the memories that made me tick and not the people. I also had a tendency to connect everything around me with certain memories, thus making the past look even more wonderful than it truly was. I believe that a lot of people do feel exactly that way too; thinking that the past was fantastic when actually, it might not even be that great after all. Memories to many of us (including me) are simply blurry, happy mental pictures with countless and nameless people in them. Bring in the real people who were part of our past and we can see the the good, the bad and the ugly of the whole thing. In today's world, nostalgia is undoubtedly big business and entrepreneurs know they can play with the emotions of those who have a keen interest in the days gone by. My fascination (even obsession, maybe) with certain collectibles and the desire to obtain them are testaments to this. I had never thought twice paying for something that I really wanted. Having the item in my hands was like being transported to the past; a past that my mind had subconsciously (and possibly falsely too) painted with happy images and cheerful colours. It was a feeling of indescribable bliss and ecstasy. All in all, I'm not saying it's wrong to miss the memories since they will always be a part of our lives. All that I'm trying to say is don't let the memories be seen through a rose-tinted glass and don't ever forget that for the most part, it was the people that gave us the memories. Without these people, there would be no memories to begin with.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

LET'S KARAOKE 25 : GEORGE MICHAEL - CARELESS WHISPER

This is one of the biggest songs from the 80s and it still receives a lot of airplay until now. It's also one of the more well-known George Michael (or is it Wham!?) songs. It is quite popular among karaoke-goers especially the older generation. There are many unofficial karaoke versions of this song and some of them are quite good actually. You can go to any karaoke lounge and there is a high possibility that this song is in the song list. There are a few other Wham! original instrumentals released on the the B-sides of their singles but I have chosen this song as the first Wham! karaoke here because of its popularity and familiarity among listeners. I do have another George Michael karaoke that I have published in this blog though. You can check it out if you want to. There are a few other George Michael and Wham! karaokes I am still working on at the moment. I do wish I have the original instrumentals for George's newer songs though. It will be wonderful if I can do 'As' or 'Amazing'. As much as I love this song, I can't even sing it to save my own life. I sound awful (I sound bloody awful on most songs anyway) whenever I sing it and I always end up stopping half-way. It's a great consolation to me that not many people can sing this song and get away with it either. 

The single's cover

video

Time can never mend the careless whispers of a good friend
To the heart and mind, ignorance is kind
There's no comfort in the truth
Pain is all you'll find
 

Should've known better

I feel so unsure
As I take your hand
And lead you to the dance floor
As the music dies

Something in your eyes
Calls to mind the silver screen
And all its sad good-byes

I'm never gonna dance again
Guilty feet have got no rhythm
Though it's easy to pretend
I know you're not a fool

Should've known better than to cheat a friend
And waste the chance that I've been given
So I'm never gonna dance again
The way I danced with you

Time can never mend
The careless whispers of a good friend
To the heart and mind
Ignorance is kind

There's no comfort in the truth
Pain is all you'll find

I'm never gonna dance again
Guilty feet have got no rhythm
Though it's easy to pretend
I know you're not a fool

Should've known better than to cheat a friend
And waste the chance that I've been given
So I'm never gonna dance again
The way I danced with you

Never without your love

Tonight the music seems so loud
I wish that we could lose this crowd

Maybe it's better this way
We'd hurt each other with the things we'd want to say

We could have been so good together
We could have lived this dance forever
But now who's gonna dance with me
Please stay

And I'm never gonna dance again
Guilty feet have got no rhythm
Though it's easy to pretend
I know you're not a fool

Should've known better than to cheat a friend
And waste the chance that I've been given

So I'm never gonna dance again
The way I danced with you

(Now that you're gone) Now that you're gone
(Now that you're gone) What I did's so wrong
That you had to leave me alone

Monday, October 1, 2012

A FUNFAIR IN TOWN

While everyone is getting super excited about the new Legoland, I'm simply quite happy to know that there is a funfair in town. The last time I went to a funfair was a long, long time ago and I can barely remember what I did there. When the sun begins to set in the horizon, a magical fairyland will suddenly emerge. Bright lights. Blaring music. Delicious street food. Fun games. Exciting rides. And endless fun. From what I have heard, the response from the public is quite good but I don't think will be doing my share of the whole funfair thing this time since I have a tendency to make a fool of myself whenever I am in places which make my adrenalin rush. There is a possibility I would be acting like a kid on a sugar rush or worse; someone on an acid trip. Living in a small town like mine, I know news will spread faster than a bushfire if I were seen that way. Still, curiosity took a hold of me and as if in a daze (I'm always in a daze anyway), I went to the funfair during the living daylights to see what the whole place looked like. I was on my way to fetch my Mum from the dialysis centre when I decided to pay the funfair an unofficial visit. I was alone but that did not stop me from doing what I wanted to do. I felt almost adventurous at that time (what was I thinking?). The entrance to the ground was wide open but nobody was there. Not a single soul. Not even a cat or a bird. I took a few pictures of the entrance and then, I walked into the funfair. I could have been charged for trespassing but they had left the entrance wide open without any security at all. Walking into the funfair, I felt as if I was walking into a ghost town. The stalls, the machines and the rides were all around me but everything was dead still. I saw a giant Ferris Wheel looming ahead of me and a beautiful carousel. The hot sun was blazing on top of my head and I wondered where everyone had gone to. There was no sound at all. Everything was silent. I thought maybe the crew members were having their naps before the funfair began its operation for the night but I didn't see any makeshift quarters for them either. I was about to go for a little bit of further exploration when my cell phone rang. I woke up from my short reverie and found that I was standing in the middle of the funfair. It was my Mum asking my whereabouts and I told her that I was on my way. Quickly, I left the ground after taking one last picture of the ticket counter. While walking to my car, I contemplated about my life and life in general. Like the giant Ferris Wheel and the carousel that I saw earlier, life is just like a circle and nothing ever stays at the same spot forever. And in the end, everyone has to get off the ride.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

MID-AUTUMN FESTIVAL

I have to admit that I don't know much about this festival although I live in a town where the population is mostly Chinese. Its historical and cultural significance is lost to me and I am quite sure there are also many other Malaysians who are like that. I will automatically know that the festival is getting close when I start seeing mooncakes and lanterns being sold. That's why this festival is also known as the Mooncake Festival or the Lantern Festival. When I was small, I was always fascinated by the colourful lanterns hanging along the corridors of shops which sold them. I would stop for a while to admire these lanterns on my way back from school and wished I could have one too. In my hometown, there is usually a parade to mark the celebration of this festival. There will be children (accompanied by their guardians of course) carrying beautiful, brightly-lit lanterns, adults carrying banners and a band playing music as soon as the sun sets. I was on my way home yesterday evening and I forgot that the road to my house would be used for the parade. I did not expect that the festival would be celebrated on a grander scale this year and I was quite surprised when I saw the huge crowd getting ready to start the parade. There were people everywhere; taking pictures and causing slower traffic flow. Lucky for me, only one side of the road was closed at that time so I still managed to go back home without getting trapped in the 'semi' traffic jam. Had I been late a few more minutes, I knew I would have to go the other way around to get home. I wish I could have stopped to take a few pictures or at least, watch the parade but I had had a full day and was not ready for any more excitement. I hope I will be able to watch the parade next year. I know it will be a beautiful sight with all those brightly-lit lanterns swaying gently under the full moon. And maybe, I can get a chance to eat a mooncake or two. And preferably with lotus seed paste filling too.

p/s These pictures were taken a week before the festival. The lanterns (which look almost similar to the ones during my childhood) definitely transported me to another time and another place.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

BLOGGER NEW DASHBOARD

Just when I thought I did not have to learn anything new, they changed their look and setting. They call it upgrading but to me, it's just confusing and annoying. Bummer! Bummer! Bummer! Yes, blogger has a new dashboard and I have to say that I am not too fond of it. I am so used to the old dashboard and working with a new one is not making my life any easier. It will take some time before I can familiarise myself with all the new features and I hope I will not get frustrated and lost while doing so (I'm always lost anyway). One of the things that really bug me is the position of images and videos when I upload them to my blog. They never stay in the centre of the blog post although I have set them to be that way. Now I have to edit the html a little bit (and I am not that thrilled when it comes to any form of adjustment) every time I want to upload any new pictures and videos. The same thing goes for the font sizes. I have discovered that the 'new small font' is not of the same size as the 'old small font'. The 'new small font' is much smaller (much too small in my opinion). There are a few other good features as well but as I mentioned earlier, it will take time for me to get acquainted with them. In the mean time, I guess I have to keep on getting confused and annoyed.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A CAT STORY III : CLOUD EIGHT

It was a forbidden place. A cold white box with the faint hum of machinery. But it held a fascination with Victcha. She often sat outside its door, waiting patiently, knowing it housed all sorts of delicacies - chicken, liver, milk, cream, cheese, trifle, butter... Victcha almost drooled in anticipation. Even her favourite Whiskas used to live there if she happened to leave any- which was not often.

Victcha was not sure of the sequence of events that gave her access to this holy of holies, but perhaps someone left the door open or the catch slipped. It was about five feet high, free standing; it was easy to miss a small black and white shape crouched on a back shelf hopefully impersonating a carton of juice. Then someone shut the door without seeing the cat.

It was very dark inside and the hum was louder now. Victcha explored the shelf. It seemed to be almost empty. Only some bottles and boxes. Where had all the lovely food gone? She sniffed expectantly. But everything was covered up.

It was also cold inside, a fact which did not bother Victcha first. Her coat kept her warm. She huddled, flipping her tail over her nose. The tips of her ears were paper thin and beginning to feel cold. It was a sensation she did not like.

She curled herself into a small ball, wishing the cold would go away. It was not such a nice place after all. She grew restless and scratched at the door, miaowing. No one heard.

Sleep was coming over her in waves. Instinctively she fought off the sleepiness, knowing that this was not a normal sleep.

'Victcha...Victcha...'

She heard her name, very faint and far away.

She was trembling now, an ague over which she had no control. It was becoming difficult to breathe as the cold began to paralyse her muscles. She could not fight the overwhelming sleepiness.

She was floating. It was a strange weightlessness, as if she was made of air. She did not question her new state because it was not frightening and she felt very un-curious.

There were dreams in her mind. It was like spinning back to when she was a kitten and the world was very new. Images floated in and out of her consciousness, vague but recognisable, comforting and not in any way a threat.

The cold was something she had never endured before, but it no longer mattered. She had gone beyond the point of feeling the cold; she was frozen; but the pain had gone.

The mist was a strange colour now; lavender, rose and blue, very blue... it was the sky, a vast endless sky, above, below and all around her.

'Her heart has stopped beating,' said the vet, Dennis Archer. 'It's not surprising. How long was she trapped in the fridge?'

'We're not sure. But she was missing for up to twenty-four hours.'

'There's not much hope, then.'

'Can't you try? Please try. There could be a chance,' urged Dorothy Wozniak. Her little black and white cat was the joy of her life. 'Please do something.'

Mr Archer tried to find the heart-beat eight times, but eventually gave up. Victcha remained icy cold. There was an odd gasp from the still form.

'I'm sorry, but she technically dead of hypothermia.'

Dorothy was heart-broken. Her lovely little cat. They left Victcha lying on the vet's table, thinking they would never see her again.

'Look,' said Mr Archer. ' Her temperature is too low to record. But I will give her an anti-shock injection, and put her in a kennel with warm blankets and an infra-red light. If there's no change in the morning, then I'll make all the arrangements to dispose of the body.'

He always hated this part but someone had to be practical. Sometimes a grieving owner preferred to take their pet back to a familiar garden; others did not want a painful reminder.

The young art student went home with her family. They would never know how Victcha had got shut in the fridge. They could not forgive themselves for allowing it to happen. But the refrigerator was the last place they had thought of looking for Victcha when she went missing.

What a pity, thought Mr Archer, preparing the injection. It was a nicely marked cat with a sweet white face and big patches of black above the eyes and under the jaw. The cat would not have known much about it, or suffered. It would have got progressively colder, then simply gone to sleep. But he did as he had promised and left the cat under an infra-red light.

It was another busy day at the surgery; cats and dogs of all shapes and sizes came and went. Mr Archer was called out several times.

It was seven hours after Victcha had been brought into the surwery when the veterinary assistant, working late, hear a funny noise. The black and white cat had thrown off the blanket and was getting unsteadily to her feet, looking around in a dazed manner. Victcha shook her head, wondering where she was. She stretched her stiff limbs and began to stagger to the edge of the kennel.

'Good heavens,' exclaimed the assistant. 'She's alive! It's a miracle.'

Victcha began to miaow feebly. She was feeling hollow and hungry and still cold. The tips of her ears were tingling like ice.

The assistant heated some milk and Victcha lapped the warm milk gratefully. She was emerging from the strangest dreams. She could not make out what was real. They were fading now as the world became a familiar place again. The assistant wrapped her in a blanket and stroked her.

'There, pussy. You have had a strange adventure.'

'I can't believe it,' said Mr Archer, examining the cat thoroughly in the morning. 'That cat was technically dead. No heart-beat. Temperature too low to record. The odd gasp. Nothing. Somehow she's come back to life. As you say, it's a miracle.'

The Wozniak household was wrapped in gloom. They were all upset about the fate of their little cat. Victcha had meant a lot to them.

'I think I'll just ring the vet's, once more,' said Dorothy.

She listened in amazement, hardly able to believe her ears, trying to take in what the receptionist was telling her.

'It's Victcha! She's alive after all. She suddenly came back to life and started staggering around. She's all right now and we can go round and collect her any time.'

Dorothy's eyes filled with tears of joy. Her prayers had been answered.

Vitchcha came home to much rejoicing, though she did not understand what had happened. She had gone to sleep in one place and somehow woken up in another. It was all very peculiar.

She has fully recovered but is a little wary of the refrigerator now. Despite the memories of lovely food inside it, she knows it holds the cold hands of death.
THE END

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

ILLUMINATI AND U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY

So much has been written about the Illuminati and how it is related to various organisations and governments. Nobody really knows the whole truth regarding the whole thing but something posted by a fellow member of a website that I frequent totally caught my interest. If we type 'itanimulli' (which is 'illuminati' spelled backwards) and then add .com after it in the address bar, the browser will automatically take us to the NSA website. I read somewhere on the Internet that the domain name of 'itanimulli.com' is actually owned by an American guy by the name of John Fenley and the whole thing is just a hoax. I am not sure what to make out of the whole 'itanimulli.com' thing but it is still creepy and fishy to me.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

NEPRO : LIQUID NUTRITION FOR RENAL PATIENTS

I am not a doctor and I don't even work in the health care industry but this is something that I think I must share. Please don't take this post as an endorsement or a promotion because that is not what I am trying to do. I simply want to relate my experience and what I went through. After my Mum was discharged from the hospital a few months back, she lost a lot of weight and sometimes was tired and breathless. I was very worried because my Mum had never had such problems before. I did not really know what happened to her body after she received her blood transfusion at the hospital. Explanations from the doctors did not justify the drastic change that had happened to her. She no longer passed urine as much as she did before her hospitalisation. Her sleeping pattern was disrupted and she suddenly had difficulty breathing. She also lost her appetite and no longer could she do any housework that had been her routine. I understand that breathlessness could be due to water retention as renal patients usually do not pass urine as much as a normal person does. There are also patients who cannot pass urine at all and this can usually cause a lot of complications if they do not limit their liquid intake. The water in their bodies is usually extracted during dialysis and the treatment (which usually lasts about four hours each session) will usually drain them of essential nutrients and energy. Consequently, they will feel tired and it will take some time before they fully recover. I was introduced to this product by one of the guys who work at the dialysis centre where my Mum goes for her triweekly dialysis treatment. Initially, I was quite hesitant but I was also desperate. Something needed to be done and fast. My Mum's health, energy level and appetite have drastically improved since she started taking this supplement. This product comes in liquid form and tastes great especially chilled (I know since I've tasted it myself). It will take time for her to gain the weight she has lost but I'm happy with the progress she is making. She is much more energetic than before and her breathlessness is almost gone. Her appetite has come back and she no longer has problems doing light housework. I strongly recommend this product to renal patients who have to control their fluid intake and watch their diet. This product has been formulated to ensure that patients get the required amount of nutrients without having to worry too much about their food intake and restricted diet. The same company also has other products for diabetics, adults and children. Those who are interested can visit their official website to obtain further information or enquire from the nearest pharmacy. I wish I had known about this product much earlier and I can only say Alhamdulillah for everything good that has come my way.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

LET'S KARAOKE 24 : CULTURE CLUB - TIME

It's karaoke time again and this time I'm going to feature a group that was all the rage back in the early 80s. Fronted by the androgynous and adorable Boy George (he was adorable back then), Culture Club managed to score a number of top ten hits all over the world including in the United States during the New Wave movement. This song was their fourth single after the worldwide success of 'Do You Really Want To Hurt Me'. 'Time' finally peaked at number two on the US Billboard Hot 100 on June 18 1983 and was held off from taking the top spot by Irene Cara's Flashdance...What A Feeling. I still remember something that made me really mad when I was on holiday back in 1987. All my Culture Club's singles (most of them were 12 inch singles) were stolen when the house I was renting with my friends was broken into. The thief (it could have been more than one thief but I guess I'll never know the truth) took all the records and singles that I had collected for the past couple of years and until today, I still don't have replacements for most of the missing items. Those records were precious to me since I had bought them with my own hard-earned money washing dishes in a cafe after my classes and during weekends. On Saturday, I would usually head to a local secondhand record shop called 'Papa Jazz Record Shoppe' (oh how I loved that store!) and spend a few hours there browsing through their stuff. The prices of the records sold were quite low but so was my weekly pay. I had to be quite selective since I did not want to spend my money on something that I would not enjoy. As I get older, the only thing I can do is to look back at those good old times with fondness since all the time in the world  I have now can never take me back to my youth and a much simpler time.

The single's cover

video

Don't put your head on my shoulder
Sink me in a river of tears
This could be the best place yet
But you must overcome your fears

Ooh, in time
It could have been so much more
The time is precious I know
In time
It could have been so much more
The time has nothing to show

Because time won't give me time
And time makes lovers feel
Like they've got something real
But you and me
We know we've got nothing but time
And time won't give me time
Won't give me time

Don't make me feel any colder
Time is like a clock in my heart
Touch we touch
Was the heat too much
I felt I lost you from the start

In time we could've been so much more
But time is precious I know
In time we could've been so much more
The time has nothing to show

Because time won't give me time
And time makes lovers feel
Like they've got something real
But you and me
We know we've got nothing but time
And time won't give me time
Won't give me time

Sunday, August 26, 2012

KONSERT EKSKLUSIF DATUK SHARIFAH AINI BERSAMA ORKESTRA RTM 2012

Kak Pah's concert which was aired by RTM really made my night. Actually, I had forgotten all about it (causing me to miss the first part of the show). Fortunately, I saw a post by one of my cousins while I was checking my facebook. I quickly switched on the television and there she was; Malaysia's First Lady of Music. The whole concert to me exuded class and sophistication. Admittedly, Kak Pah can never sing like she used to but she definitely radiates an aura of elegance and grace. The set for the concert was adequately and stylishly decorated with giant portraits of her, a crystal chandelier and a few other simple accessories. Nothing that was too ostentatious and flashy. The focus during the concert was Kak Pah herself and I'm glad there were no unnecessary back-up dancers to crowd the stage except for the fantastic orchestra. For those who missed her exclusive appearance on RTM, here is the link where you can watch a live streaming of the concert :


This picture is taken from her official facebook and FYI, she has been quite active on facebook lately. She has been posting news about her and her family almost on a daily basis.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

HAVE A BLESSED EID 1433H

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✿ S E L A M A T . H A R I . R A Y A . A I D I L F I T R I ✿
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To all Muslims, have a blessed Eid and may we find love and compassion in our hearts for our brothers and sisters.

Friday, August 17, 2012

AT MY FATHER'S GRAVE 2012

I was at my father's grave this morning. Alone. My brothers and sisters were still not back for the Eid and I definitely did not want to be at the burial ground on the first day of the celebration. I've learned from past experiences how crowded the place can be when everyone seems to make visiting their beloved's graves as a family tradition. I guess this year I won't be seeing the familiar faces that I usually met once a year at the burial ground. There was only one small family when I arrived there and they were about to leave. The weather was really fine this morning though I could feel it was going to be much hotter later. The wind was also blowing softly and I felt as if the heavens were smiling down upon me. The burial ground was totally quiet and the rustling of dry leaves from the rubber trees only made the silence more conspicuous than ever. The burial ground caretaker had cleaned up the whole area so there wasn't much for me to do except clear the odd wild grass that grew here and there. I felt much more at peace this time since I did not have to talk to anyone or dwell on trivial matters that could divert my attention unnecessarily. Physically, I was all alone and yet, I knew I wasn't. My father was there. Looking at me and and watching over me. I'm still missing him. Too much sometimes. Al-Fatihah, Abah.

Monday, July 30, 2012

IFTAR AT MIRA'S PLACE

My mum and I had a wonderful iftar at Mira's place last night. Nothing fancy and elaborate. Just a small gathering with a few close friends and Mira's family. Coco, my mum and I arrived quite late since we decided to buy some fruits at the last minute. We had to make a detour all the way to town before finally heading to our destination. FooArt and his wife, Yati, had arrived much earlier after FooArt closed his salon at sevenish. The food prepared by Mira was excellent but catching up with each other was priceless. We definitely had a good time that night. Lately, all of us have become so caught up in our own hectic schedules that we rarely have time to get together like we used to. All of them are busy running their own business and unlike them, I am the only salaried employee in the group. Most of the time, our schedules will clash. They are usually busy during school holidays and weekends when that is the time I am usually free. We don't even get together for tea or karaoke sessions or anymore. I was not planning to stay long in the beginning but I ended up going back after eleven. If I had my way, I would have stayed much longer but unfortunately, today is a working day for me. I'm hoping our next gathering will be better and longer than this one. An outing with everyone in tow would be nice but I guess it will have to wait.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

TEEN MARRIAGE : SYAFIK AND YANA

A wedding between a 16 year-old boy and a 14 year-old girl which can be watched on youtube has invited a lot of positive and negative comments from viewers. To some people, the couple might be a little bit too young and immature to get married but I guess everyone has his or her own opinion concerning teenagers getting married. I prefer to see the positive side of the union between these two young lovebirds. They might be young but with proper guidance and support, they can be a better couple than those who are much older. After all, there are many couples who are unable to sustain their relationship despite their so-called maturity. To this couple, congratulations and may both of you stay true to your love.

p/s These pictures are the captured stills from the youtube video. I think both of them look so sweet together.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

RAMADHAN 1433H

InsyaAllah, Muslims in Malaysia will start observing Ramadhan this Saturday. The time for spiritual purification and soul cleansing is back once again to greet Muslims all over the world just like the previous years. With the sighting of a new moon, the gates of heaven will be opened and blessings will be abundant for all who seek them. Ramadhan also gives us the opportunity to heal ourselves from any negativity that can tarnish us physically, mentally and spiritually. In this post, I would like to wish everyone a wonderful Ramadhan. I hope I will be able to observe this holy month as well as possible. A lot of good things have come my way this year and I feel I am truly blessed. It's time for me to give myself an internal inspection and correction. I also wish for spiritual enlightenment, insightful wisdom and ability to differentiate truth from falsehood. May our submission and devotion to Allah make us better servants to Him. InsyaAllah.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

URBAN EXPLORATION : BETWEEN LIFE AND DEATH

I found this totally interesting website 'Urban Exploration' by accident when I was reading a posting on my friend's facebook. It is sad to discover that there are so many abandoned buildings and structures around us which have gone unnoticed. Structurally and architecturally, the foundations of most of these buildings are still intact despite their being abandoned for quite sometime. One of the places mentioned in this website is Pulau Bidong in Terengganu which was once used as a refugee camp for the Vietnamese 'boat people'. A good friend of mine used to work on the island more than 20 years ago teaching English and a few other helpful skills to these refugees before they resettled in other first world countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia and France. The island is still not properly developed until now and visitors to the island will only be greeted by ruins and remnants of all sorts. Closer to my hometown is this almost forgotten 'ghost town'. Nobody ever pays much attention to it and most people will only drive by without giving it a second glance. Most of the shophouses are in severe dilapidated conditions and are clearly not fit for living. Like a lot of other small towns that mushroomed all over Perak in the last century and especially during the 'tin rush', this deserted little town once had been the 'heart' of small villages surrounding it. Sadly, it does have the same lucky fate like the other towns. Instead of flourishing and enjoying what modernisation can bring, it has been left behind to die a slow uncertain death. I haven't had the chance to exactly explore this place and I don't think it is safe to do so alone. This place is called Kampung Kepayang and there are still a lot of people who live around the area. I think one of the reasons why this place is unable to survive is due to its location which is non-strategic commercially. Not many would want to start or have a business here since there are a few other towns a few kilometres away providing services to the residents around the area. In my opinion, it is a shame to see places like Pulau Bidong and Kampung Kepayang neglected just like that. They had a past and they had a history. Give them a new breath of life or grant them a dignified death. Don't let them suffer like this.

p/s I did a little editing to the pictures so as to give them a more romanticised quality. The buildings actually look real bad in real life.

Monday, July 2, 2012

IT FINALLY RAINED!

The hot, humid weather was too much for me to bear and just when I thought it would never rain until September, the weather suddenly changed in a blink of an eye. I was taking a short nap in the living room this afternoon while waiting for my Mum to come back from her dialysis when I felt totally cold. I forced myself to get up and to my surprise, it was raining. It has been a while since it last rained and this time, the rain came down real hard. The drain in front of my house was full of rainwater which was moving fast and carrying a lot of junk. The heavy downpour was also accompanied by gusty wind, rolling thunder and electrifying lightning. I switched off all the major electrical appliances and sat quietly in the cold, dark house since there was nothing I could do but wait for the rain to subside a little bit. By the time my Mum reached home, the rain had already abated. I am totally grateful for this much-needed respite from the sweltering heat that has been going on for quite some time now. Everything around me looks so dry and brittle especially the trees and fields in my neighbourhood. People also get tired (and also irrationally angry) easily and going out in the scorching sun is not fun at all. The fasting month is quickly approaching and I hope the weather will turn out all nice and pleasant by then. One thing for sure is both my Mum and I will be sleeping like babies tonight.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

FLASHBACK: PML

Being an 'old' guy, I am into a lot of 'old' things (not antiques since I can never afford them). When I say 'old', I mean things that were familiar to me when I was growing up. PMLs or 'pinggan mangkuk lama' have long been the craze for quite a number of people (especially women) in Malaysia. Fans of these types of crockery will go to all lengths to complete their collection. They will trade with other collectors, rummage through the back of old shops, visit flea markets, ask from family members (usually their mothers and grandmothers), buy online (where the prices are ridiculously exorbitant most of the time) et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Some of these PMLs were not really that expensive in the first place especially the ones which were made in China. They were used mostly by Malay and Chinese families during their daily meals. My mum told me that back in the 60s - 80s it was common for Malays to lend their PMLs for any 'kenduri' (especially weddings) since nobody had enough crockery for the guests to use. That is why if we look at the bottom of some of these pre-loved PMLs, we can find the names or initials of the owners written. She also mentioned that many Malays from the older generation preferred not to use transparent plates since they could see through the bottom of their plates. Nobody ever thought back then that these PMLs would become 'prized' items like they are now. PMLs which were made in England and Japan were much more expensive and beautiful than the ones made in China. China-made PMLs have been given Malay names such as 'bunga kangkung', 'bunga kekwa', 'bunga ros', 'bunga dahlia', 'bunga peony', 'bunga padi', 'bunga sakura' and 'bunga lalang' based on the designs and colours by PML collectors since there were no specific names for them in the first place. There are many other designs that I'm not familiar with though. I have to admit that these PMLs have their own charm and attraction. I do not own any complete set of any of the PMLs but I do have a few odd pieces here and there. At the moment, most of them are sitting pretty in my cabinet but I do use them once in a while.

These are PMLs (from the 'bunga kangkung' collection).

These are also PMLs (from the Johnson Brothers Old Mill collection).

These are my still not stored PMLs (from the 'bunga kekwa hitam' collection).

This slightly chipped PML is used as a feeding bowl for my cats (they deserve their own PML too).

This PML is without its cover so I use it for my money plant (FYI the flowers are fake and for decorative purpose only).

This is NOT PML. Don't start looking for the whole complete set because you will never be able to find it. This one is a 'gift' when you buy a big box of 'Daia' detergent.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

LET'S KARAOKE 23 : ABBA - SUPER TROUPER

Back in high school, I had a friend who was a big fan of ABBA. Both of us were staying in the same hostel and our beds were next to each other. He was one of my best friends during my early teens before both of us discovered other like-minded friends and interests. He is still a good friend of mine though and we still keep in touch with each other until now. He knew a lot about ABBA and was especially nuts about Agnetha Fältskog. For those who don't know, Agnetha was the blond goddess with the sexiest bum in show business long before J.Lo and Beyonce's derrières took centre stage. During weekends when we had nothing to do, my friend and I would often sing a few ABBA songs that we knew. Our favourites were Chiquitita, Angel Eyes and Voulez-Vous. At one time, one of the hostel wardens was listening to us without our knowledge. We were singing near his room since we thought he had gone for his weekly outing. He only made his presence known when he started clapping after our 'performance'. We quickly scrambled from our 'stage' never to return. Since that day, we tried to avoid him whenever possible. I haven't listened to this song for quite a long time and I guess it's time I called my friend to see if he would like to join me for a few ABBA karaoke sessions the next time he comes down to visit me. This time, I will make sure that the Super Trouper lights shine on us brightly!

The single's cover

video

Super Trouper beams are gonna blind me
But I won't feel blue
Like I always do
'Cause somewhere in the crowd there's you

I was sick and tired of everything
When I called you last night from Glasgow
All I do is eat and sleep and sing
Wishing every show was the last show

So imagine I was glad to hear you're coming
Suddenly I feel all right
And it's gonna be so different
When I'm on the stage tonight

Tonight the Super Trouper lights are gonna find me
Shining like the sun
Smiling, having fun
Feeling like a number one

Tonight the Super Trouper beams are gonna blind me
But I won't feel blue
Like I always do
'Cause somewhere in the crowd there's you

Facing twenty thousand of your friends
How can anyone be so lonely
Part of a success that never ends
Still I'm thinking about you only

There are moments when I think I'm going crazy
But it's gonna be alright
Everything will be so different
When I'm on the stage tonight

Tonight the Super Trouper lights are gonna find me
Shining like the sun
Smiling, having fun
Feeling like a number one

Tonight the Super Trouper beams are gonna blind me
But I won't feel blue
Like I always do
'Cause somewhere in the crowd there's you

So I'll be there when you arrive
The sight of you will prove to me I'm still alive
And when you take me in your arms
And hold me tight
I know it's gonna mean so much tonight

Tonight the Super Trouper lights are gonna find me
Shining like the sun
Smiling, having fun
Feeling like a number one

Tonight the Super Trouper beams are gonna blind me
But I won't feel blue
Like I always do
'Cause somewhere in the crowd there's you


p/s This one is for you, Alzafri! Thank you for making high school years fun and tolerable.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

MY BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING

FooArt, one of my homies, got married yesterday after Zuhr prayer at the Sungai Lesong Mosque. These pictures were taken the night before the 'akad nikah'. The wedding recepton will be held later next week.

FooArt's mum (in red and white) and my mum (in grey) having a very late dinner at Man and Ida's house.

Mira and Coco in their best 'beached whale' poses. Mira's baby, Iman, was clearly fast asleep and oblivious to what was going on around him.

Kak Teh, FooArt's sister putting the pounded henna leaves on his fingers while the others waited for their turns.

My mum, Ida's mother, Kak Teh, FooArt and FooArt's mum. The back of Coco's head also makes its appearance in this picture.

That's me fixing the pounded henna leaves on my mum's fingers.

Ida (the hostess), Shaun, Ady and Man in the background.