Monday, December 19, 2005

Thanks to Sukan Wanita,

I managed to get involved in the Perdana Global Peace Forum. I attended the forum feeling a bit superficial, like the whole idea of the forum was rather pretentious. Heck, this is Malaysia, the land where peace is only skin-deep. So rather than trying to immerse myself with the whole peace-thingy, i chased after the speakers and the MC to reach my own selfish objective.

With the MC, on the first day of the forum. Oh, the lady is Wan Zaleha Radzi, she almost became Dewi Remaja in 1986, if anyone still remembers, i didnt, but roommate apparently still does. throughout the whole forum, she pretty much hanged out with us, and kinda ocassionally exchanged notes with us thinking we were the secretariats and knew the forum inside out (which we didnt), and sat together with us during dinner (heck, i guess we were the only familiar faces there), how could she say no when we wanted to pose with her...

I LOOK FAT! How on earth did i manage to make meself look freakin' fat?!! Btw, ladies and gentlemen, in the middle of the photo is Chandra Muzaffar.

OK, i admit the whole idea of the forum was a bit too ambitious, it felt cheesy even, as cheesy as Wah Idris' composition of forum's theme song. Yuck, why Wah Idris, his moments had passed, heavily synthesized songs are out (along with the rockers of the 80s), his electric guitar goreng action was so out of place especially when it was SO obvious the music was on minus one . Well, maybe i shouldnt complain so much, maybe he's the only musician who feels strongly about world peace, or maybe he's cheap.

Anyways, all in all, the whole thing was OK, and after the forum, I'm a changed person (u wont see it on the surface, though), and i dont think it's too ambitious anymore after they made it clear that the objective is not to revolutionize anything, but rather, it's to open our eyes to wht's happening, and the reality of war, and the harshness of the truth, and to get us to somehow, in our own small ways possible, do something postitive in light of the suffering of the war victims. Yup, there were tons of Bush-bashing, I'm not gonnna go into that, after all, he is an idiot and a murder-addict, and it's a known fact.

My only regret was tht they didnt really cover anything on the sufferings in other parts on the world such Rwanda, Zimbabwe (the president Mugabe was there and supposed to present a speech on the 2nd day, but on the 1st day, one the speakers mentioned something about Zimbabwe, when mugabe's slot came, he didnt speak at all, merajuk kot..i dunno), Uganda etc. Nonetheless, the war in Middle East is real, civilians are being killed on a daily basis. People in the 20th century are more barbaric than in the past where the fights were fought only by soldiers.

I feel strongly about this issue, but i wont say it out loud for fear of sounding too Miss World-ish.. I wanna volunteer to help, but honestly i dunno how, and honestly, i'm too afraid of going to Iraq and mati katak. I know I will never get to directly lend a helping hand. Hence, this is my contribution, from today onwards, I will stop drinking Coke, I will also stop ordering McD (shouldnt be too difficult since they didnt response to the complaint i lodged 2/3 weeks ago) and everything else American (and contributes to israel, that is), unless I get it for free, and since it's gonna be almost impossible if i were to give up everything in every aspects, I'm gonna start with what I consume. And if u see me breaking my own resolution, please, feel free to smack me in the head.

The people behind these websites were the speakers at the forum:
The female journalist who was once captured by the Taliban
These guys pursue to uncover the truth

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

I was on TV again last nite

In the last couple of days, I attended the ASEAN Financial Summit in Shangri-la Hotel. Why? For fun, my sister got me 2 seats worth more than RM1400 each, so brought Nit along since she's still studying (unemployed) and has all the time in the world to waste.

Overall, it was pretty tiring, the only good thing about it was probably the food and Tony Fernandes. Yup, u read that right. He gave such an interesting and funny speech that I was wide AWAKE at 830am . Good thing they put him first that morning.

He talked about ASEAN branding. How they've made AirAsia into a brand ASEANs recognize and how they turn it into a success from a company tht was $20mil in debt after they bought it for RM1 just a few year back.

He also talked about the obstacles they faced and the creative ways they handled it. One story I find funny was when he told us the story about the Thai pilots. You see, in Thailand, the pilots refused to share the same bus with the cabin crew as they were kinda a bit stuck up. In Malaysia, it was the other way 'round, Malaysian pilots will never get on the bus if the cabin crew weren't in it. So to settle this matter, since they couldnt afford to provide separate buses, they sent 20 Malaysian pilots to Thailand, and brought back 10 pilots from Thailand so they can learn our ways here. The strategy worked and in the process, they played matchmaker to 4 couples. That was cute.

Another story was when they wanted to build their own hangar. They consulted the constructer/builder (i dunno wht to call these ppl), and was quoted $2 mil(i think) which was obviously TOO much. So Tony got in touch with the guy who built his house, and asked if he'd be interested to get into the aviation industry. The guy said yes, built the hanger which cost them only half a million, and today they are busy building hangars for airports around the world.

Ok, one more story. Miss Thailand 2005 is an AirAsia pilot, did u know tht? I read about her being a pilot some time ago, i just didnt know which airline, now i know. Apparently, she'd always wanted to be one, but then she also wanted to enter the beauty pageant. She asked the CEO for his permission, he was cool with it as long as she'd allow them to use her pictures should she win. Guess wht, she won, and they can now proudly say tht only with AirAsia, can Miss Thailand get u literally laaa....

Anyways, enough about Tony Fernandes, more about ME! After his session, there was a break. Nit asked, wanna take pictures with him, and i was like, Hah, u read my mind! Let's go!!

However, he was extremely popular with the media so we waited, and waited and waited. I went to the toilet and back, and he was still surrounded by them. session was gonna start soon. Anyways, we decided to still wait for him, and while doing so, we started strategizing on how to approach him. Nit suggested, "Hi Dato', we're you fans".. Yuck, too groupie-ish . Done tht with the hoobastanks, needless to say, they totally ignored us. I suggested tht instead of waiting at the entrance, maybe we should wait a bit further from the entrance and when he got out, we would walk calmly to him. Tht'd be more subtle, and konon more professional la than to pounce on him like a bunch of star-struck gorillas. Hey, I did exactly that with Tony Kanal and Tom Dumont of No Doubt several years ago in KLCC, worked beautifully (that is if u ignore my out-of-nowhere stammering)- that's their autographs on the left, btw. So we did just that, plus some some uncontrollable gedik action and this is the result.

Not too bad, eh? It also helped tht he was approachable, he wasnt too overdressed like most conservative bizmen. A strategy he practises so tht people dont get too intimidated by him. Nonetheless, I didnt manage to get into my normal unnatural pose which i believe maximizes photogenicity (if there's even such a word), maybe some other time. A few boroi middle-aged bizmen laughed and kinda made fun of us, well, i'm sorry u dont share our enthusiasm, shuddup je la.

Well, that was how my weekend was spent. As for the summit? Nah...u dont wanna know about it

By the way, I was on the news last nite for like a split second, and just like the last time (which was 7-8 yrs ago), it was also jawa who saw it... eeeshhh, i should watch more news .

Thursday, December 08, 2005


U want an update? How 'bout this one.

This morning I was out early, went to JPN to get my myKAD made, then the bank, then renewed my license and finally to the Medical Center.
There, I complained about my bloated tummy, the doctor checked it, confirmed it was nothing, probably just gas and constipation which means u know wht...prescribed some tablets for the gas and a box eno-like gel tht's supposed to be diluted in water.Fine!

While waiting for my number to be called, i noticed tht the pharmacist was kinda cute. So I stared and stared and staredddddd..... and i think he noticed. Then my number was called, by HIM, yahooooooo!!

Being naturally shy and all, I just went about collecting my medicine quitely and as quickly as possible. But he asked some trivial questions like where i work and stuff (which he could easily find in the form i passed to him), so I answered politely, trying my best to appear matter-of-fact when in fact i really wanted to put my roommate flirting tips into practice. Ok, maybe I should've been more assertive and flirt like there's no tomorrow, but it was just NOT possible, especially when this is also the guy who seconds ago told me to "ambil ubat ni 3 kali sehari untuk angin, yang ni pulak untuk sembelit"....malu maluuuuu....

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Can frogs go crazy?

Frd asked me to burn a bunch of the annoying crazy frog songs.
What?? You've never heard of them???
Take a listen to and tell me it doesnt sound familiar at all to you....

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Lijiang, China

These were where I ate the whole time I was in Lijiang

Oldest band alive

Lijiang is so lovely, I was speechless. I spent 2 days there wandering around the old town, climbed up the hill and watched a Naxi Orchestra and I still feel like it wasn't enough. Nonetheless, I think It'd be lovelier if it wasn't so touristy. Looking at Lijiang, one could tell it could never sustain itself if it wasn't for the influx of tourists that it's getting, the town thrives on tourism. Hence, I think the best time is actually around dawn, before the flocks of tourists swarm into it, btw, I'm talking about the old city. As for the new city, there's nothing special about it.

I'm leaving Lijiang today, Yunnan province as a matter of fact. I'm currently on the train bound for Chengdu that departed at 655pm from the Jinjiang station in Panzhihua. (Panzhihua can get you to Chengdu without going back to Kunming, just as mentioned in the Lonely Planet, but it failed to mention that the train station is so freaking far from the train station). To get to the railway station, you will need to take the red/yellow bus and go around the town for almost an hour before it gets there. The good news is that that only costs 3yuan.

I've been in China for 5 days now so far, but there are several things I find rather annoying. If in Malaysia, regardless of how hot it is, we just bear with it, here, the men just go topless. Doesn't matter where it is, on the streets, on the train, at the coffee shop..... hmmmmmmmm, if only those topless men were young, well-built hunks, now that would be a sight for sore eyes.... too bad only mostly the old ones do .

Another thing is their spitting habit. Here, everybody spits, men, women, young girls, they all do it. I can tolerate it when do it on the streets, but when they spit on the bus.... yuck !

Another annoying thing is their smoking habit. Now I'm not surprised why the country releases so much smoke. Look at how they smoke.... everywhere and all the time.... The worst is when they do it in a confined space, i.e bus, buildings. Come to think of it, this sure is related to spitting. I'm not sure how, but I'm sure it's related.

Ok, one more surprising/amusing thing I find in China, is children peeing in the middle of the city while everybody else just looks on.....

And then, it's the communal toilet. If what they say about you getting an eye cyst (ketumbit) everytime you see people taking a dump is true, by now, I probably wouldnt be able to close my eyes 'cos I've seen wayyy to many of them in action .

Last but not least, are the women. If your imagination of Chinese women is of grace and softness, then you are just as twisted as I was before I came here. Here, I keep getting yelled at by them.... maybe that's just they way they talk. I don't know, Some are nice, but those in the cities... adoiiii.... Malaysian Chinese are wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy more polite and most importantly, they never spit in public.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Lijiang, China

I've just settled into my room here in Ancient Stone Bridge Inn. The room is small, but cute and complete, and at 80yuan, I think it's a bargain.

Ok, now my first impression of Lijiang. It's a theme park!! Except that people actually live in it.... and I'm staying the night in it too . Ok ok, it's not exactly a theme park, it really is a very old town, which explains its appearance. The new town, however, is just like any other modern town, and it's situated on the other side of Lijiang.

The old town is typical of what we watch on Chinese period drama series... the streets are narrow, the weather is cool, the building's made of cobblestone and if you're alone and you try to find your orientation, well, you better go and get some help!

I was extremely lucky! The girl and her family who slept next to me on the weird sleeper bus last nite helped a lot. They were just as lost, looking for their GH, but nonetheless, but confidently she 'pulled' me along with them in search of mine. I didn't get their names, but I'm really hoping to see them again. Ok, I'm gonna get out now. I wanna check out the town before it gets dark.

Saw a Muslim restaurant earlier, need to confirm it. Need to eat !

Monday, September 12, 2005

Kunming, China

Nothing much happened today, bought the bus ticket to Lijiang, now hanging out at Nanjing Story (???), a posh coffee shop (my chocolate milk shake costs 12yuan ok? that's posh by my current standard), waiting for my bus that'll leave at 8pm tonight. It's raining, I'm cold, I'm stranded here..... I'm bored

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Kunming, China

Now, if anybody asks me what my first impression of people of China is... I'd say, I think they're crazy. They spit everywhere, they smoke like chimneys, they throw garbage all around and they stare shamelessly at you and mothers do not mind helping their children pee right in the middle of Jinbi Square, where the poshest of posh hang out.

If that ain't crazy, I don't know what is... but then again, I am not exactly the most rational person alive, thus, I ain't going back yet. Instead, I wandered around Kunming City, visited the Yunnan Provincial Museum, visited a Masjid, had lots of 'sate' which was spicy like hell and dined at a restaurant that was located along the stretch behind Shengxing Supermarket.

Now, I've always wanted to enjoy Chinese food, halal ones are rare and expensive in Malaysia, so I went to China. So there I was, trying to finish the noodles and the dumplings (??) while being entertained by Nasyid songs in Middle Eastern rhythm that was playing next door.

Now who says Chinese food is bland? I don't know what I had came from which part of China but boy, it was so hot and darned spicy, so much so that water dripped out of almost all orifices you can find on my face....hahahaha, yuck !

After I was done, I asked for permission to take a photo of the guys grilling the 'sate'. They refused, instead, one of them offered to take a photo of me with the other guy. I gave him my camera, he even asked me to flash the "V" sign, I did just that. He 'supposedly' took it, heck, he even took a photo of another man who was resting there... I thanked him and left. Later, when I checked my camera, there was no photo, ceh, he obviously operated it wrongly but never mind. I already quietly took one with him in it

Before retiring for the night, I stopped at the massage and sauna center next to my hotel building. I figured, hey, I'm in China, I might as well have a Chinese body massage. After all, it was only 50yuan/45 minutes. Not bad eh... except that the masseuse, unlike the previous ones that I had, was a man ! Aramak, segannya!

Imagine my surprise, when he arrived at the room... embarrassed, I asked if there's a female masseuse, and all I got was a blank look, ok, he obviously did not understand me.... oh, oh well, tawakal je la....

Although it was kinda weird for me. He was professional, well, he should be, he's got the 'technical expert' name tag on. I was lucky no undressing was necessary. He even pulled down my shirt when it accidentally slipped up. And that was by far the best one I've had, yang tak bestnye was he asked for a tip... but since he did a good job, I didn't mind that at all

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Vietnam-China Border

It was 515am that we were dropped at Pho Lou(?). I was scared I'd be the only one there, but thank God, Tom, Nhung and this one couple were there with me.

The train station really screwed up this time. They told us there was a problem with the railway, and hence, we'd have to get off at Pho Lou and a car would be waiting to take us to Lao Cai.

But that was old news, and the railway had been fixed, and there was no car . Furious, the guys started making some calls and in about 30 minutes, a 4-wheel drive arrived.

Despite it being a hassle, I guess it was indeed a blessing in disguise, as the driver sent me directly to the immigration center. But of course, it was also thanks to those stranded with me. I'm grateful that it was them that were stranded with me for they were educated, English-speaking friendly hoteliers who made it all very easy for me.

Right after I crossed the border, I was greeted by the most unhelpful bunch of people. Never mind that they didn't speak English at all, the worst part was that they didn't even care to help, despite my endless pleas. After some confusions, I made it to the bus station and took a bus straight to Kunming.

The journey was long, more than 11 hours in fact and it stopped once for a mere 20 minutes. The roads were bad, they weren't tarred, they were plain red earth. Occasionally, the bus would stop, and the passengers would get off to push aside some big rocks that were blocking our way....huhuhuhu, scary. I was hungry the whole time, survived on one large pear that Tu gave me, rationed it carefully so that I wouldn't have to declare 'darurat' and pig out on what could probably be pork.

630pm, I finished my pear and the bus stopped again. This time, it's for dinner. I was growing nervous about what my tummy might dictate me to consume. I cant go and join that big group and eat at that restaurant, only God knows what they were eating. Still hungry, I looked for some junk food. Couldn't find anything good... matila macam ni, like literally, matilaa !!! bored and HUNGRY, I wandered around, who knows I could be lucky (like that time when the bus stopped on the way to Pai). I walked and walked around the bus, and then I saw some familiar Arabic characters on a signboard. I looked down and saw a small dark kitchen, "eh, just the kitchen? where are the tables?"

I greeted the cook, asked him if everything was halal, "yeah, yeah, muslim, yeah yeah", er "yeah yeah"? eh, I haven't finished my question, and all he kept saying was "yeah yeah", oooookay... I kept pressing on, he kept "yeah yeah-ing" and in the middle of it, I suddenly caught the word "Hui", Oh ok then, I'm going in!

In the kitchen., confused, I pointed to the raw material, and before I knew it, the cook went straight to cooking it.... aramak, do they even know how I want it cooked? whatever la......

In what felt like just 3 minutes, the girl (probably his daughter) motioned for me to go to the adjoining room. There I saw 4 small round tables. One occupied by the lady bus conductor and her friends, one by the cook and his daughter and one by me.And there on my table, a bowl of rice and 2 dishes, one was minced beef and the other some white radish-like thingy. I took a taste, and immediately loved it! I ate and ate like a horse, and suddenly, I heard the bus engine being started up... Oh no I still got a lot more to eat (despite being already full). And so I gave up, that's just too much to eat, I'd have to be a Japanese hot-dog-eating champion to finish it, now I just hope I have enough money to pay for the food. I signaled the conductor to get the bus to wait for me. Instead, she asked the cook to get the total price of my food. Oh ok, that's even better, all the while praying that I'd have enough yuan.

She showed a note from her pouch, kinda asked me to pay that much to the cook. Eh, only 10yuan? I must be dreaming..... hehehe, I smiled, paid, and quickly left, afraid that he will call me back to pay more, but he didn't. So i guess it really was that cheap!! hehehe and thank God for that, I made it to Kunming at 1130pm safe and full .