Thursday, August 28, 2008
Took half day... konon nya nak pack barang awal and then pergi rumah K Dud for majlis tahlil. Tapi last2, lambat jugak. This time I was very inefficient when it came to packing. No planning, no system, semua main campak je dalam bag. Siap packing around 6:15pm. Looks like kena tunggu lepas maghrib baru lah bertolak ke rumah K Dud.
Since dah lambat, decided to check in je kat KL Sentral and then pergi Kg Sg Merab. Selesai semua, Amt and I made our way ke rumah K Dud yg baru di renovate. Majlis baru nak mula when we arrived... tapi I headed straight for the kitchen in search of food... haha
Around 10:30pm we left K Dud's house. Flight at midnight, but boarding starts at 11:15pm. I sampai sana ngam2... ingat nak beli a few barang kat duty-free but decided against it so that I can visit the loo. Nanti balik lah baru beli.
The flight was full... penuh dgn mat salleh. Sat next to this chinese (I think) lady but we didn't even speak. I watched Things Happen in Vegas sambil makan (again!) and then tido zzzzz But not a deep sleep... asyik terjaga2.
I had requested for a window seat on the right side of the plane so that I'll get a glimpse of London from above. Wanted to snap photos tapi unfortunately it was cloudy... darn! Maybe next time...
Bila dah keluar plane baru nampak NMS... immigration kejap je but tunggu bag yg lama. To cut on cost, we took the tube instead of Heathrow express into the city.
Although I was just here a few months back... am excited about being back in London!
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Yup... that's where I am right now. I've been here before... 2 years ago, but as a tourist. Now I'm staying IN King's College, albeit in a hostel away from the main area... in the Backs.
Am attending a course on New Frontiers in Financial Regulation. A mouthful isn't it? A few other ppl from the organisation is here as well... so in total there are 5 of us attending different courses. Didn't know about them being here... jumpa kat reception area.
Actually arrived in London on Saturday... jalan2 sikit over the weekend. More of that later.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
So sambil tunggu, I did this Personality quiz on Facebook (me and quizzes.. just love doing 'em, hehe).
The results? See below. Do you concur??
The Big Five Personality Questionnaire
This trait refers to the extent to which you prefer novelty versus convention. Approximately 72.6% of respondents have a lower openness raw percentage than yours. From the way you answered the questions, you seem to describe yourself as someone who is intellectually curious and appreciative of what you consider beautiful, no matter what others think. You might say that your imagination is vivid and makes you more creative than many others.
Reflective question: How important are your emotions in determining how you behave?
This trait refers to the extent to which you prefer an organised, or a flexible, approach in life. Approximately 75.8% of respondents have a lower conscientiousness raw percentage than yours. From the way you answered the questions, you seem to describe yourself as someone who avoids forseeable trouble through purposefully planning, and achieves success through persistence. From your responses it appears that you are reliable and prepared for life's challenges.
Reflective question: How do you feel when you are working with someone who is disorganised?
This trait refers to the extent to which you enjoy company, and seek excitement and stimulation. Approximately 30.8% of respondents have a lower extraversion raw percentage than yours. From the way you answered the questions, you seem to describe yourself as someone who prefers low-key social occasions, with a few close friends. You might say that it's not that you are afraid of large parties; they're just not that fun for you.
Reflective question: How do you like to spend your spare time?
This trait refers to the way you express your opinions and manage relationships. Approximately 78.8% of respondents have a lower agreeableness raw percentage than yours. From the way you answered the questions, you seem to describe yourself as someone who people get along with easily. Your responses suggest that you would say you are considerate and friendly, and think that other people are generally honest and decent.
Reflective question: Is your co-operative preference ever taken advantage of by others?
Neuroticism (Emotional stability)
This trait refers to the way you cope with, and respond to, life's demands. Approximately 11.5% of respondents have a lower neuroticism raw percentage than yours. From the way you answered the questions, you seem to describe yourself as someone who is calm and emotionally stable. Based on your responses, you come across as someone who is rarely bothered by things, and when they do get you down the feeling does not persist for very long.
Reflective question: When do your emotions (or lack of emotions) get in the way of good decision making?
Research has found that the Big Five personality traits are significantly related to Jungian Typology (e.g. the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator). This is a popular alternative personality framework regularly used for personal development, in which Types are used rather than Traits. Based on your Big Five trait scores, your estimated Type is shown below
Introverted iNtuitive Thinking Judging
INTJs are very analytical individuals. They are more comfortable working alone than with other people, and are not usually as sociable as others, although they are prepared to take the lead if nobody else is up to the task, or they see a major weakness in the current leadership. They tend to be very pragmatic and logical individuals, often with an individualistic bent and a low tolerance for spin or rampant emotionalism. They are also commonly not susceptible to catchphrases and commonly do not recognize authority based on tradition, rank or title. Hallmark features of the INTJ personality type include independence of thought, strong individualism and creativity. Persons with this personality type work best given large amounts of autonomy and creative freedom. They harbour an innate desire to express themselves; that is to be creative by conceptualizing their own intellectual designs. Analyzing and formulating complex theories are among their greatest strengths.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Although the days are quite busy, I always try to find time to do a little bit of kerja2 yang sewaktu dengannya... either touching base with my cause leaders, arranging for volunteer announcement... macam2.
Latest, is organising a Ramadan Donation drive. Got a lot of response for that, but what I really need is a co-project manager. Also started a campaign to help the blind... by getting people to donate their voice to read books, spend time typing books to be converted to braille, and planning for blind masseuse at our new clubhouse.
Today there was a stream of emails from another group who is arranging for a bantuan for anak yatim/staying in homes... so many people are eager to participate. Warms my heart to know that there are many kind hearted souls out there...
Last weekend another team took some kids from a home in Cheras to Petrosains. They got very good response for donation and the home carer gave a glowing comment on the success of the trip. This weekend, another team is doing an elephant awareness trip to Kuala Gandah. Would love to ikut but I'll be somewhere in the skies masa tu.
Tapi one thing I perasan... most of the people who come forward to extend assistance are ladies. Kenapa eh?
Monday, August 18, 2008
Ina and I were watching athletics on TV last night and both of us (almost simultaneously) said "waa... hansem" about a Japanese hammer thrower.
His name Koji Murofushi. Berbadan sasa and he's doing his PhD.
Ooooohhhh.... me like strong men with brains. Doesn't hurt that he's quite pleasant on the eyes too ;)
Sunday, August 17, 2008
On the way back from Low Yat, Amt and I made a detour to Jalan Raja Abdullah to the much talked about Yellow Cab Pizza Co. True to its name, the Italian pie outlet is decked in all things yellow... from yellow chairs, to yellow vespas that will make its way through the streets of KL to make deliveries to hungry customers.
It's quite a simple shop... occupying what used to be a townhouse. But as soon as you step into the shop... the smell, yummmmmmm!
We ordered the 4 cheese and Manhattan Meatlover 14" pizzas to go... sebab it was already Maghrib and Amt wanted to catch the inaugural EPL match for the season.
Memang the bau sangat harum... both of us were repeatedly telling each other that if the taste is as good as the aroma, we'll definitely be devoted customers.
So was it good?
It was better than the usual fare that you find in Malaysia. It's still not as good as the authentic Italian pizzas that I've tasted while in Rome and Milan, and still not as nice as the pizzas I had in San Francisco. But it was good nonetheless. A bit mahal than Dominos and Pizza Hut. I think lebey kurang sama harga dengan California Pizza Kitchen. I haven't been to the latter for a while, but if memory serves me right... it's definitely better than that.
I'm already thinking about the Tribeca Mushroom and New York's Finest... next time :)
Saturday, August 16, 2008
It's official... Osain Bolt is the fastest man on land.
Just watched him take gold medal in the men's 100m sprint. His run was amazing! He left the rest of the field by the 60m mark and did it (seemingly) with such ease. He even slowed down as he neared the finishing line and looked at the big screen and thumped his chest... and yet he broke the world record (which was his to begin with). Next to the other runners, he's really big... which makes one wonder how he can run so fast. But when you see the slow-mo, you'll realise that his long legs are his secret weapon. His strides are easily 1 foot longer (I think).
After winning, Bolt went on a victory lap around the Bird's Nest with his gold sprint boots in his hands and the Jamaican flag on his back. He's one bold man. His boots were gold on top and on the soles. Even the spikes are too! I didn't get to read it properly but there was also stitching on the boots that said 100m Beijing 2008 (or something like that). What I wonder is whether there are also stitches which says "winner of"...
Also managed to catch the men's 100m butterfly swim. Phelps did it again... and has now equaled Mark Spitz record of 7 gold medals at one olympics and is now the most successful Olympian with 12 (I believe) gold medals to his name. And he won it with the smallest of margin... 0.01 second! Yes... that's less time than a blink of an eye. He almost didn't get it and the medal seemed destined to hang around the neck of the Serbian Cavic and it did seem to the naked eye like he had won. Very hard to determine when his arms were lunging under water while Phelps' aimed for the wall with a final stroke. According to the news reports, the officials had to watch a frame by frame slow-mo of the video in 1/1000 speed. That's how close it was. In the end... Phelps did win, as the commentator said "the time sensor don't lie"... although I bet many around the world are thinking of conspiracy theories ;)
Whatever it is... one can't deny that Phelps is one outstanding athlete... one of the best that the world will ever see. He has won all 7 events that he competed in thus far, all bar one in world record time (the latest is one where he *only* managed to break the Olympic record).
Hooray to mankind's great achievements!
And today, *armed* with Amt by my side, we ventured to Low Yat in search of Canon's latest EOS 450D.
After checking the prices here and there, negotiated and end up discovering that they were out of stock, masuk keluar pelbagai kedai... I finally got it at Boeing Foto in Sg Wang Plaza. Bought the 450D kit, extra battery and UV filter there. Bag from Foto Shangri-La (it's actually an Olympus bag, but I like the colour). Spent almost 4 hours doing all the price checking, haggling, twice walking to and from Sg Wang Plaza. Penat!
The battery is being charged now and so far, dah main sikit2... I am very happy with the purchase :) The photos are crisper and more precise, the camera much lighter than Ina's Rebel, speed very good, colour seems richer and the LCD screen is big!!
Tak sabar nak try ambik gambar betul2... maybe tomorrow morning I shall wake up early to catch the sunrise?
Friday, August 15, 2008
... It's a wonderful honour and a privilege for me to speak here for ten minutes without fear of contradiction, defamation or retaliation. I say this as a Singaporean and more so as a husband.
My wife is a wonderful person and perfect in every way except one. She is the editor of a magazine. She corrects people for a living. She has honed her expert skills over a quarter of a century, mostly by practising at home during conversations between her and me.
On the other hand, I am a litigator. Essentially, I spend my day telling people how wrong they are. I make my living being disagreeable.
Nevertheless, there is perfect harmony in our matrimonial home. That is because when an editor and a litigator have an argument, the one who triumphs is always the wife.
And so I want to start by giving one piece of advice to the men: when you've already won her heart, you don't need to win every argument.
Marriage is considered one milestone of life. Some of you may already be married. Some of you may never be married. Some of you will be married. Some of you will enjoy the experience so much, you will be married many, many times. Good for you.
The next big milestone in your life is today: your graduation. The end of education. You're done learning.
You've probably been told the big lie that 'Learning is a lifelong process' and that therefore you will continue studying and taking masters' degrees and doctorates and professorships and so on. You know the sort of people who tell you that? Teachers. Don't you think there is some measure of conflict of interest? They are in the business of learning, after all. Where would they be without you? They need you to be repeat customers.
The good news is that they're wrong.
The bad news is that you don't need further education because your entire life is over. It is gone. That may come as a shock to some of you. You're in your teens or early twenties. People may tell you that you will live to be 70, 80, 90 years old. That is your life expectancy.
I love that term: life expectancy. We all understand the term to mean the average life span of a group of people. But I'm here to talk about a bigger idea, which is what you expect from your life.
So here you are, in your twenties, thinking that you'll have another 40 years to go. Four decades in which to live long and prosper.
I'm here to tell you this. Forget about your life expectancy.
After all, it's calculated based on an average. And you never, ever want to expect being average.
Revisit those expectations. You might be looking forward to working, falling in love, marrying, raising a family. You are told that, as graduates, you should expect to find a job paying so much, where your hours are so much, where your responsibilities are so much.
That is what is expected of you. And if you live up to it, it will be an awful waste.
If you expect that, you will be limiting yourself. You will be living your life according to boundaries set by average people. I have nothing against average people. But no one should aspire to be them. And you don't need years of education by the best minds in Singapore to prepare you to be average.
What you should prepare for is mess. Life's a mess. You are not entitled to expect anything from it. Life is not fair. Everything does not balance out in the end. Life happens, and you have no control over it. Good and bad things happen to you day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment. Your degree is a poor armour against fate.
Don't expect anything. Erase all life expectancies. Just live. Your life is over as of today. At this point in time, you have grown as tall as you will ever be, you are physically the fittest you will ever be in your entire life and you are probably looking the best that you will ever look. This is as good as it gets. It is all downhill from here. Or up. No one knows.
What does this mean for you? It is good that your life is over.
Since your life is over, you are free. Let me tell you the many wonderful things that you can do when you are free.
The most important is this: do not work.
Work is anything that you are compelled to do. By its very nature, it is undesirable.
Work kills. The Japanese have a term 'Karoshi', which means death from overwork. That's the most dramatic form of how work can kill. But it can also kill you in more subtle ways. If you work, then day by day, bit by bit, your soul is chipped away, disintegrating until there's nothing left. A rock has been ground into sand and dust.
There's a common misconception that work is necessary. You will meet people working at miserable jobs. They tell you they are 'making a living'. No, they're not. They're dying, frittering away their fast-extinguishing lives doing things which are, at best, meaningless and, at worst, harmful.
People will tell you that work ennobles you, that work lends you a certain dignity. Work makes you free. The slogan 'Arbeit macht frei' was placed at the entrances to a number of Nazi concentration camps. Utter nonsense.
Do not waste the vast majority of your life doing something you hate so that you can spend the small remainder sliver of your life in modest comfort. You may never reach that end anyway.
Resist the temptation to get a job. Instead, play. Find something you enjoy doing. Do it. Over and over again. You will become good at it for two reasons: you like it, and you do it often. Soon, that will have value in itself.
So what should you do? You will find your own niche. I don't imagine you will need to look very hard. By this time in your life, you will have a very good idea of what you will want to do. In fact, I'll go further and say the ideal situation would be that you will not be able to stop yourself pursuing your passions. By this time you should know what your obsessions are. If you enjoy showing off your knowledge and feeling superior, you might become a teacher.
Find that pursuit that will energise you, consume you, become an obsession. Each day, you must rise with a restless enthusiasm. If you don't, you are working.
Most of you will end up in activities which involve communication. To those of you I have a second message: be wary of the truth. I'm not asking you to speak it, or write it, for there are times when it is dangerous or impossible to do those things. The truth has a great capacity to offend and injure, and you will find that the closer you are to someone, the more care you must take to disguise or even conceal the truth. Often, there is great virtue in being evasive, or equivocating. There is also great skill. Any child can blurt out the truth, without thought to the consequences. It takes great maturity to appreciate the value of silence.
In order to be wary of the truth, you must first know it. That requires great frankness to yourself. Never fool the person in the mirror.
I have told you that your life is over, that you should not work, and that you should avoid telling the truth. I now say this to you: be hated.
It's not as easy as it sounds. Do you know anyone who hates you? Yet every great figure who has contributed to the human race has been hated, not just by one person, but often by a great many. That hatred is so strong it has caused those great figures to be shunned, abused, murdered and in one famous instance, nailed to a cross.
One does not have to be evil to be hated. In fact, it's often the case that one is hated precisely because one is trying to do right by one's own convictions. It is far too easy to be liked, one merely has to be accommodating and hold no strong convictions. Then one will gravitate towards the centre and settle into the average. That cannot be your role. There are a great many bad people in the world, and if you are not offending them, you must be bad yourself. Popularity is a sure sign that you are doing something wrong.
The other side of the coin is this: fall in love.
I didn't say 'be loved'. That requires too much compromise. If one changes one's looks, personality and values, one can be loved by anyone.
Rather, I exhort you to love another human being. It may seem odd for me to tell you this. You may expect it to happen naturally, without deliberation. That is false. Modern society is anti-love. We've taken a microscope to everyone to bring out their flaws and shortcomings. It far easier to find a reason not to love someone, than otherwise. Rejection requires only one reason. Love requires complete acceptance. It is hard work – the only kind of work that I find palatable.
Loving someone has great benefits. There is admiration, learning, attraction and something which, for the want of a better word, we call happiness. In loving someone, we become inspired to better ourselves in every way. We learn the truth worthlessness of material things. We celebrate being human. Loving is good for the soul..
Loving someone is therefore very important, and it is also important to choose the right person. Despite popular culture, love doesn't happen by chance, at first sight, across a crowded dance floor. It grows slowly, sinking roots first before branching and blossoming. It is not a silly weed, but a mighty tree that weathers every storm.
You will find, that when you have someone to love, that the face is less important than the brain, and the body is less important than the heart.
You will also find that it is no great tragedy if your love is not reciprocated. You are not doing it to be loved back. Its value is to inspire you.
Finally, you will find that there is no half-measure when it comes to loving someone. You either don't, or you do with every cell in your body, completely and utterly, without reservation or apology. It consumes you, and you are reborn, all the better for it.
Don't work. Avoid telling the truth. Be hated. Love someone.
You're going to have a busy life. Thank goodness there's no life expectancy.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
A race where the top 4 (or was it 5?) finishing teams were INSIDE the world record time. How crazy is that??
I'm not a big fan of the American swimming team, despite all their terror-ness... But I take my hats off for the amazing swim by Lezak, anchor for the US team, who chased after the French (favourites to win) from half-body length behind to win by a finger. Heroic efforts!!
And what better place to do it than at the iconic Ice Cube :)
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Thanks Mario... for the compliments. That definitely make me want to take more nicer shots.
Anyway, for those of you who were wondering... I've been using my trusted Canon IXUS 850 for a few years now. One of the best investment I've ever made. Check out my Korea photos... it's amazing, the kind of images that can be captured by that small compact camera.
But recently during the UK-Germany trip, I also brought along my sister's Canon EOS Digital Rebel. Itu pun camera lama dah tu...
I can now see the vast difference between taking photos using a compact and a DSLR.
So now, I'm aiming for EOS 450D. The question is... should I get it now or wait until price turun sikit? Will it turun??
Sunday, August 10, 2008
And guess what... I'll be there masa tu!
Now I need to figure out where the heck "the Mall" is and whether it is an open concert.
Oohhh... my heart goes wild ;)
I usually don't really look forward to annual dinners because they're usually a drag. But this year it was a whole different experience! There was so much entertainment that we didn't have enough time to eat! haha...
A TV talk show host was the emcee for the night... ok lah, he kept it light. But the amazing performer for the night was an entertainer named Buddy Loren. An oldie who is very versatile, funny... he impersonated everyone from P Ramlee, to Elvis, to Mick Jagger, to Michael Jackson, to Shah Rukh Khan, to Leslie Cheung... there was even a bit of Aziz Satar and Saloma thrown in.
Another highlight was when the whole ballroom resonated with the sounds of angklung. Who would have thought that playing the angklung would be so much fun?!? 8-) Each person had his/her own angklung... there were 8 types, each with different sounds. A guy from Indonesia was our *conductor* and guided everyone, and I mean everyone, to play popular tunes. You could see from the faces of everyone in the ballroom how much they enjoyed it.
Sheila Majid was our singer for the night. I didn't pay much attention to her because I was busy chatting with my dear friend Ina whose hubby happen to work at the same organisation. So lama tak jumpa dia... almost a year. And I was greeted with good news... she's pregnant! Am sooooo happy for her and her hubby. I can't wait to get cute little things for her child :)
My volunteer team also put up a short multimedia show... a promotional bit to get more people involved in our efforts. I've had good comments from several people on how they really liked the way it was presented and how it had touched their hearts. Let's hope that many will sign up as members tomorrow when they get back to office.
One of those nights when things turn out much better than you'd have expected...
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Friday, August 8, 2008
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Sunday, August 3, 2008
"Along... kata nak bawa Amt makan Carl's Jr?"
Bagaikan pucuk dicita ulam mendatang ;) So off we went to Pavilion... in search for the famed fire grilled burgers. Today tak ramai sangat Pak/Mak Arab macam hari tu... After negotiating the menu for a while, we decided on...
Superstar burger with cheese
Portobello Mushroom burger
Chili Cheese Fries
We traded burgers so that we would both rasa each *flavour*.
The Portobello Mushroom burger is highly recommended. It was juicy and the has lots of yummy mushroom. I thought it was better than Chilli's mushroom burger, but Amt thought that it was lebey kurang...
After makan we went searching for printing paper. And then terjebak kat Stadium... Amt nak beli boots bola. His ever-so-kind sister paid for the shoe. Nasib baik on 40% off sale...
Semalam masa Ayah Ngah, Wan Nyah, Abg Ee, Kak Ina and family were here... they lepak-ed in my room. Sambil2 tu Abg Ee belek my vcd folder and discovered my x-files stash. I totally forgot about those episodes that I had downloaded from the internet.
So malam ni I nak start tengok balik the old episodes... starting with the Pilot. To re-live the magic ;)
p/s: Nasib baik Hamilton tak menang today... hahahaha
Saturday, August 2, 2008
Although I'm not really a fan of Rachel Weisz, I sorely miss her in this movie. Her replacement, Maria Bello, is very not convincing at playing the role of an English lass. It was quite *painful* listening to hear trying to speak English. She'll lapse into the American twang every now and then...
It's amazing isn't it... how it is easier for actors from the other side of the pond to *convert*. Look at Hugh Laurie, Gary Oldman and many more actors... they seem to make the transition effortlessly.
This weekend I Ayah Ngah and family are coming down to KL to attend a wedding of orang Kg Ayor Mati. Lama tak jumpa dia... Mama kata Abg Ee will be coming as well. I was earlier planning to go up to Ipoh to attend Haz's wedding, tapi since they're coming down, tak jadi lah...