Wednesday, January 25, 2012

GONG XI FA CAI!

I think it is still not too late for me to wish all those who are celebrating to have a wonderful Chinese New Year. This year is the year of the Water Dragon; supposedly a very auspicious year to get married and have children. Neither one of them will be happening to me, I can assure you that. I was at the bank today when I saw a Lion Dance troupe getting ready for a performance. I have seen a few Lion Dances before but I've never had any opportunities to take any pictures. This time, I had my old but reliable camera along. I am not a photographer (I never will be) and my camera is not one of those sophisticated DSLR types (it never will be either). Still, I kept on snapping pictures like there was no tomorrow. The banging of the drum and cymbals added to the merriment of the occasion and I stayed until the whole performance was over. The lions moved animatedly from one part of the bank to another much to the excitement of the bank customers. They would stop and eat the mandarin oranges that were placed all over the bank before spitting out the rinds to people who were in front of them. At the end of the performance, one of the lions plucked the lettuce which was hanging at the entrance of the bank and spat the lettuce all over the bank manager who then rewarded the lion with a red envelope. For those who are not familiar with the ritual, it can be a truly ROTFLOL moment when you see lettuce flying out of the lion's mouth before landing on whatever that is nearby (including people!). FYI, I have a long Chinese New Year holiday this year and will only start work next week. Let's hope that the Water Dragon will bring us a lot of 'ong' this year. To all, Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Monday, January 23, 2012

SHARIFAH AINI : BIDUANITA NEGARA 1 & 2

Finally, the CDs that I've been waiting for are here. I found out that the music shop from which I ordered the CDs had lost my phone number and that was why they never called me to inform me that the CDs had arrived. Well, it was worth the long wait (more than two months actually). Kak Pah's pictures on the CDs covers are truly 'divalicious' and classy; befitting her status as a 'biduanita'. I won't say anything about the song selection but I'm really happy to hear certain songs that I haven't heard in such a long time. They truly took me back to another place and time when life was much simpler and less complicated. Unlike Kak Pah's other compilations, one can tell that these CDs are special. All the 10 CDs were priced at RM 89.90 and to me, that was super duper dirt cheap. Where else can you get a nice compilation like that at such price? A few online sites that I've checked are selling them at a much higher price and that doesn't even include the postage. To all Kak Pah's fans, go out and buy these CDs. You know you want them!

Diva!

Monday, January 9, 2012

FLASHBACK: ENID BLYTON

I'm pretty sure many of us in Malaysia are familiar with Enid Blyton especially those who grew up in the 70s and 80s. Despite criticisms regarding her work, she has managed to attract a lot of fans from all over the world. Some libraries even withdrew and banned her books due to elements of racism, sexism, separation of class and xenophobia in the books. Her books have been translated into more than 90 languages and here in Malaysia, the task of translating her books into Malay language was initially done by Fargoes Publication. Federal Publications (and a few other publishing houses if I'm not mistaken) took over the job of publishing the translated books later. I started reading the Malay versions of Enid Blyton's books before slowly (and painfully) graduating to the original English versions. I was only a 'kampung' boy whose exposure to English was very limited so a lot of things in the stories totally eluded me. In addition, the setting of the stories was 1940s until 1960s Britain which was totally alien to me. The Malay versions tried to maintain the stories as original as possible but in a Malaysianised context. My favourites have always been the Famous Five (Lima Sekawan) and the Five Find-Outers (Lima Penyiasat Dan Anjing). I did find the Secret Seven (Tujuh Persik) too simple for my liking and I always had difficulty remembering the names of all the seven characters (and who's who) from the series (I still have problems remembering people's names until now). Another favourite of mine is The Secret Island (Pulau Rahsia) from the Secret series. I borrowed most of the books from the school library since I clearly did not have the means to own them. I managed to get some of the books later with my small savings and pocket money. The first Enid Blyton's book that I bought was Lima Sekawan Di Pulau Kanari Lagi (Five On Kirrin Island Again) and that was in 1977. I guess that is why I still treasure a lot of things (especially books, magazines, cassettes and records) from my younger days since they did not come easy to me.

Lima Sekawan Di Pulau Kanari Lagi (Five On Kirrin Island Again)

Lima Sekawan Di Tepi Laut (Five Go Down To The Sea)

Lima Sekawan Riang Merantau (Five Have A Wonderful Time)

To get more information on Enid Blyton's stories which have been translated into Malay, visit this wonderful blog duneoworld.blogspot.com. Another website that is a must for all Enid Blyton's fans is enidblytonsociety.co.uk. Have fun going down memory lane!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

FLASHBACK: FLASHDANCE

It has been almost 30 years since the movie 'Flashdance' was released in 1983. As embarrassing as it is, I have to admit that I still enjoy watching it from time to time. I don't care much if people say that I am still trapped in the 80s. To me (and a lot of other people as well), the 80s were the best of times. Maybe it was because I grew up in that era. Nowadays, I am only growing 'out' and 'old'. The movie is definitely not of the so-called 'intelligent' genre so don't expect to be mentally stimulated watching it (guys might be stimulated in other ways though). The plot (is there one?) is much, much thinner than Victoria Beckham on a diet and the acting is clearly not one endorsed by Lee Strasberg. I love this movie and I love it very, very much (I'm a sucker for 'love stories', didn't I tell you that?). I love the cardio workouts and dance routines in the movie (FYI Jennifer Lopez and Geri Halliwell even copied the final dance routine from the movie for their music videos). I love Jennifer Beals (she was such a cutie then and she is still now) who plays Alex, the main character and the way she dresses (totally secondhand and Salvation Army chic!). And I love the songs especially 'I'll Be Here Where the Heart Is' and 'Maniac'. Despite the watery and clichéd storyline, there are a few lessons that we can learn from the movie. The movie is all about never giving up and reaching for your dreams despite all the odds that go against you. Those are the mantras that we should abide by in life if we want to succeed. And if love comes your way, grab it and never let it go. Now, who says that only Bollywoodwood movies and Malay dramas are melodramatic and over the top?

This is the pirated copy of the movie soundtrack that I bought way back in 1983. With my limited pocket money, that was the only thing I could afford back then.

And these are my original cassettes and CD.

Monday, January 2, 2012

365 MORE DAYS TO GO!


The first day of 2012 is over. Now, we have 365 more days to spend before 2013 comes and greets us.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2012 - LET'S KARAOKE 21 : SPICE GIRLS -VIVA FOREVER

Happy New Year, everyone! Last year, I 'vogued' myself into 2011 but for 2012, I'm geared towards a more reflective and mellow mode. I hope all the good and positive things that I have experienced so far will go on to greater heights. I also hope that all of us will have a wonderful year ahead. This time, to usher in 2012 I have chosen 'Viva Forever' by the Spice Girls. Do I need to explain why? Nah, I don't think anybody will be interested.

Anyway, Spice Girls' Viva Forever was the first interactive CD single that I bought back in 1998. At that time, interactive CDs were still considered a novelty and I can still remember vividly how fascinated and amazed I was with its multimedia sophistication. I have to admit that I like this song very much. The melody and instrumentation are very soothing and there is a little story behind the lyrics too. The video clip for this song features the animated 'Spice Girls' since Geri Halliwell@Ginger Spice had already left the group at that time. The single that I have does not contain the instrumental version that I have used for this karaoke. Instead , it contains the 'Tony Rich Instrumental' which (I think) is the instrumental version of the 'Tony Rich Remix'. I managed to secure the instrumental version from the Internet and this is the final result. This song is quite easy to sing and I'm quite sure almost anybody can pull it off without sounding gruff as if they've had too much spice in their curry.

The single's cover

video

Do you still remember
How we used to be
Feeling together
Believing whatever
My love has said to me
Both of us were dreamers
Young love in the sun
Felt like my saviour
My spirit I gave you
We'd only just begun

Hasta mañana
Always be mine
Viva forever
I'll be waiting
Everlasting
Like the sun
Live forever
For the moment
Ever searching
For the one

Yes I still remember
Every whispered word
The touch of your skin
Giving life from within
Like a love song never heard
Slipping through our fingers
Like the sands of time
Promises made
Every memory saved
As reflections in my mind

Hasta mañana
Always be mine
Viva forever
I'll be waiting
Everlasting
Like the sun
Live forever
For the moment
Ever searching
For the one

Back where I belong now
Was it just a dream
Feelings unfold
They will never be sold
And the secret's safe with me

Hasta mañana
Always be mine
Viva forever
I'll be waiting
Everlasting
Like the sun
Live forever
For the moment
Ever searching
For the one