Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Mee Jawa


MeeJawaInt
Originally uploaded by williamnyk.
I'm really not a fan of Mee Jawa, but I made a right choice when I decided to try out Mee Jawa at Plaza Puchong (it's not a building, just some shoplots, beats me why they call it that). The first thing one notices about this new eatery is its signboard. Not just for it's simple
and straight-forward name, but for the fact the words are senget and it has a thatched roof out front. This Chinese-owned halal food establishment has an overall Malay village feel to it with bare cement floors, bamboo and ropes used liberally in its decor, unshaved and untreated wooden doors, chicken baskets as light hoods and woven trays hung on the walls bearing the names of the local delights served. Wow, that was a mouthful. Anyway, the place has a killer "Prawn Mee" and "Assam Laksa", but the signature "Mee Jawa", "Rojak", "Mango and Squid Salad", "Char Kuey Teow" doesn't quite cut it. Also try its "ABC" and "Kedongdong Juice". I was there with company so we managed to order all the above dishes. We passed the dishes around, ala Russian Roulette.

Go there sometime, but be warned, it closes at 9:30pm, even on weekends.

MeeJawaBasin

Monday, October 30, 2006

No Me Ames


no me ames
Originally uploaded by weerat.
Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony's No Me Ames has struck a chord with me recently. Prompting me to be interested in all things Spanish. Spanish Fly, Spanish Inquisition, ... Anyway, my colleague LC and I have gone to the extent of memorizing some of the lyrics, much to the chagrin of
my other colleagues:

Me: Dime porque lloras (Why are you crying?)

LC: De felicidad (Because I'm happy)

Me: y porque te ahogas (Why are you so choked up?)

LC: por la soledad (From loneliness)

You get the idea. The cute thing is that LC does it in a nasal Parit Buntar Hokkien twang. Hehe. From the music video I saw (you have my permission to roll your eyes), it seems that Marc Anthony's dying and doesn't want J. Lo to love him anymore, hence No Me Ames (Don't love me).

Check it out, people.

PS: If it ain't Spanish, feel free to flame me. I was too lazy to check. Foreign languages aren't really my forte. Wanted to take tagalog as an elective during uni days, but that plan fell through. :(.
PPS: Took a cue from Daniel, he and his prolific music posts.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Nocturnal Band-Aid


ed
Originally uploaded by williamnyk.
Note: SK's been bugging me to put this up because she wants to read the article. So here it is, ahead of the other posts sitting in my post cache.

For the uninitiated, I'm a "banana" who can't read Chinese. I can speak pass-able Mandarin, but it has a Cantonese twang to it and stumble for the words at times. However, this didn't stop me from finding this little gem in the Chinese daily Guang Ming. I'm making an educated guess here, so please comment if I got it wrong.

Apparently, the guy in the photo is holding some kind of erectile dysfunction test strip. It has some cute cartoons on it, and I'm sure it's simple enough to figure out.
1) Take the strip, afix it to your flacid penis
2) Go to sleep
3) Results in the morning

If the strip broke, Hallelujah! Your equipment is in tip-top condition. If the strip just teared a little, beware... Lastly, if the strip is as it was from the night before... jeng, jeng, jeng. It's the Penile Retirement Home for you.

After reading this, don't get some smart ass ideas and try to make one for yourself. A papercut in the nether regions ain't pretty. :P

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Muffled


leemuffler
Originally uploaded by williamnyk.
A short one today.

Snapped the pic with my trusty camera phone while waiting at a traffic light at Jalan Puchong. It's the wall of an exhaust service center apparently owned by a Mr. Lee aka Mr. Muffler. Sounds more like an assassin to me. Heh.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Good Evening Bangkok


GoodEveBKK
Originally uploaded by williamnyk.

In addition to Amarin Heavenly Thai and Bangkok Expresso, Good Evening Bangkok at One Utama is the third restaurant I have visited from the SEA Cuisine restaurant chain and it does not disappoint. I was there with a bunch of colleagues to celebrate HSW's (bubbly girl who never fails to look 3 8 in her photos. Hehe.) birthday. Actually, we didn't decide on Thai food initially, we wanted to get a table a Chilli's. We didn't book a table and the lousy treatment we got from the seating staff made us decide to take our business elsewhere. The staff was really brusque: I cannot guarantee you a table for 10. If got table also ar, need separate one ar.

At the "Good Evening Bangkok", the service was really good. The head waitress attended to us and she was very helpful and humourous at all times. Our dinner consisted of Mien Kam (an appetizer of some kind of herbal leaf, chillies, dried shrimp and garlic which was really nicer than it looked), Som Tam (papaya salad), tow varieties of Tom Yam, asparagus, Kai Lan and mixed seafood in chilly oil. Our dinner party was really boisterous (drunk vikings?), and I must say sorry for ruining the ambience of the other diners. And the end of the dinner, we had cake-- a Banana Chocolate from Secret Recipe. Having stashed the cake in the restaurants chiller on arrival, I requested a waiter/waitress to retrieve it for us. He/she was really androgynous, we couldn't decide. My colleagues made a remark that the way I was talking to he/she was kinda dripping with honey and my eyes were practically leaking "electricity". And our close proximity didn't help either. Well, all that suspicion about me trying to seduce the staff didnt get us a a discount or bigger portions, but my HSBC credit card did get us a 15% discount.

When the serving staff brought the cake over, the knife they provided us with was really scary. I think it was nearly one feet long with a pointed end. The kind that has an evil glint to it. It wouldn't be hard to imagine Lorena Bobbit clutching it in her hands. A knife that could make your balls shrink. We sang the customary birthday song and I must say I was bad for accidentally blowing the candles before the birthday girl got her chance. *sheepish grin*. One colleague even sang one buddhist chant version. We all went home happy that night, and in case you were wondering the waiter/waitress didn't slip me his/her phone number. Hah!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Choking me softly...


haze
Originally uploaded by williamnyk.
Note: A little late, but not *too* late, right?

A nice hazy view from the 14th floor of a apartment block in Serdang Perdana. One can just make out the el cheapo fairy lights decor at Mine's Wonderland below. Though I spent a year in the choking smog of Jakarta, the haze still irritates me. It's different from the wafting smoke from clove ciggies and the uncontrolled emmissions from vehicles that should have been "put to sleep" years go. It's a different type of suffocation. In Jakarta, one can look forward to going home to KL for relatively fresh air, but if the problem is back home, mana lagi nak pergi? 15 years back, when my family used to travel to KL from the east coast during school holidays (I remember visiting Hankyu Jaya and Yaohan as a really thrilling experience), I found the air burnt. Today, I can't really tell the difference between fresh air and city air. Still, the haze is too filthy not to notice.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Wet Seeds


SSLStage
Originally uploaded by williamnyk.
In just one month, I have visited Taman Titiwangsa twice. Don't get me wrong, it's no after dark, sordid cruising in the bushes, but yet another community function. This time it was an inter-faith prayer session to build a loving and caring society cum anti-crime campaign launch. The whole show was run by Buddha's Light International Chapter / Fo Guang Shan with the help from the Catholic Archdiocese, Taoist Association, Sikh Council, Hindu Sangam and 22 NGOs. Among the dignitaries were Dato' Tan Chai Ho and IGP Tan Sri Musa Hassan. Overall, the whole thing was quite a flop. Obviously, spreading the seeds of love isn't exactly how most urbanites plan to spend their Sunday evenings, and the horrendous rains and flash floods just before the start of the event was an extra nail into its coffin. Anyway, after braving the rain and floods, I arrived on time to see that there was no crowd (The Star reported 3,000 attendees). There was definitely more crew than visitors. Those assigned to sell merchandise cruised the meager number of visitors over and over again, trying their luck. If you happen to soften up and loosen your purse strings, the other vultures will swarm in, pushing buns, car stickers, CDs and booklets in your face. The event started promptly at 6:30pm, but by that time, it was still drizzling and I was surprised to find that the stage had no roof. The prayers went on anyway-- Muslim, Catholic, Taoist (in a very journalistic Hokkien), Hindu, Sikh and lastly Buddhist.

With that out of the way, speeches by the VIPs. Dato' Tan was his usual self of bad Malay and shouting. . Clap, clap, clap. Yawn. Next was the IGP. His speech writer was very inspired, so it dragged for quite some time. I loved the whole "...dibelenggu social problems... phrase. As it was nearing waktu berbuka, he stepped it up a notch. After all that, a fire was lit to represent the "fire of love in our hearts". A few songs were presented by Fo Guang Shan and the Catholic Youths. Finally, everyone was given lit candles and more singing went on, namely the theme song "Spread the Seeds of Love" (kind of catchy actually). A prayer was also made to Buddha, Allah, God and all the other pantheon of gods for those who have violent tendencies. Too bad there was no crowd, and even with the rain, spirits were not dampened. Perhaps it did do some good.

Speak good words, do good deeds, think good thoughts

Inspired?

SSLCameraMan

SSLCandle

Friday, October 20, 2006

The Price of Vanity


mask
Originally uploaded by williamnyk.
As I mentioned in my birthday post, SK bought me a facial as a birthday gift. Yes, folks, my face has been de-virginized. She couldn't stand the blackheads that have taken residence on my nose since my adolescence, so she decided to issue an eviction order, by force. Warned of the pain, I was given a small vial of sebum-suppressing gel to use ten days prior to the appointment. Truth be told, I don't think it helped alleviate any of the pain, or maybe I have a low pain threshold. We drove me to South City Plaza and she ushered me into the Cellnique beauty salon. I was told that they normally don't do male clients, but since I'm considered a "trusted" friend of a regular customer (SK), they made an exception. Upon looking at my skin, Janet (the beautician), decided that the "Renewing Facial Package" would be most suitable for my skin. I just, "Uh, OK"-ed since I wasn't paying. Being the uninitiated skin center visitor, I had to be told to remove my sandals and don the one's they provide. They had to tell me how to lie down, yadda-yadda-yadda. SK wondered if I should remove my shirt since for ladies, the treatment usually reaches the shoulder portion. Janet was flabber-gasted: "What do you take me for? I don't do the shoulder area for men. I'm a beautician, not a....". Apparently not a beautician who does the shoulder portion for men. Heh.

The facial consisted of several steps. Some seaweed cleanser, a papaya-pineapple enzyme mask (which was supposed to be tingly, but due to my thick skin, I didn't feel a thing), some AHA thingy that ended with a cooling rub from a pair of mini crystal balls with handles and lastly a purifying mask. The last mask was kinda like a mud mask with gauze over the face and breathing holes so that I don't suffocate under the whole thing. From the pictures, it was kinda like Darth Vader meets Swamp Thing. However, the highlight of the whole treatment, was the manual black head removal. With an evil little metal rod, Janet would prick, poke and scrape her way across nearly every inch of my face. All the while she was talking about how her boyfriend had not talked to her in two days. Damn! I was grimacing the whole time. Brought tears to my eyes, especially when she worked on my nose. I thought she was trying to give me a free rhinoplasty. Goodness. The amount of grime and oil deposits she removed was disgusting. I walked out of the place feeling refreshed, but my face was a bit red and angry. At the office the next day, a colleague remarked:

"Hey Will, what's with the Jackie Chan nose?"

That facial sure paid off.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Dehydration


Dehydration
Originally uploaded by williamnyk.
In the picture, you see a framed glass vial. In that vial is ashes. And you know what? It's supposed to be art. I snapped the photo of this piece of art at an exhibition themed "Water and the Environment". Just below the frame is a plaque explaining the artist's vision. According to the plaque, the artist drew a sketch of running water on a piece of paper. The artist then burnt it and put the ashes into the vial. The concept of this piece of art is "dehydration".--the removal of water through heat. It's supposed to show the fragility of our water supply and create a play between art and science.

Does it make any sense to you?

I'm sure the sketch of running water was very nice.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Putrajaya Nights


Jambatan Seri Wawasan (?)
Originally uploaded by williamnyk.
After many months of futile scheduling, I finally had dinner with KK and Cla on a Saturday. KK suggested Putrajaya Lake Club for the food and scenery. We agreed since he said he would drive, woohoo! We arrived around eight, and found the place bustling. According to KK, that was abnormal. Bad sign. Walking in, I found that we were the only Chinese there, sesatlah katakan. However, we ended up not eating there, because during the fasting month, the only thing available at night is the Ramadan buffet. Not wanting to subject ourselves through serving after serving of sambal, lemak or curry, we decided to switch venue. There isn't much choice really. Nothing much else for miles around. Practically a ghost town at night. The only logical choice was Alamanda. Ended up eating at Cozy Corner. The food is decent, mainly western and local delights. I ordered "Baked Seafood In Shell". I thought they had mixed up my order because it suspiciously looked like "Baked Crab in Shell" as the shell they used was none other than a crab shell. I triple-confirmed before digging in. I also ordered borscht (I prefer Kim Gary's). Strangely it looked like alphabet soup. I tried to spell "FUCK", but I gave up after a while. Cla's treat. Another woohoo! One thing I have to mention though, the staff are not very good. Perhaps it was buka puasa rush hour, but the place looked like a hurricane had hit it and one the waiters kept on dropping plates and utensils. One unlucky diner got splashed with ice water. Risk it if you're in the vicinity. Heh.

After dinner, we went off to the Sri Wawasan bridge (I think that's what its called)). Out of the seven bridges in Putraya, it's the most impressive one. A skewed, purple cable bridge. Upon reaching, we had the sesat feeling again. Most cars were stopped at the side of the road, couples all staring across the lake towards Putrajaya mosque. Some quietly holding hands, some hands more active than others. I whipped out my trusty digi cam and only managed to get some shaky night photos. I failed to capture the nocturnal mating habits of indigenous mammals in the bushes below the bridge. Hmph. Before calling it a night, we stopped at KTZ, Citrus Park. I ordered a "Double-boiled Honey Dew and Gingko Nuts". Very nice and soothing. I failed to psyche Cla into ordering supper. Seems that his days of "Em, roti telur, mee kari dan teh tarik. What are you guys ordering?" are over. Slowing down, watching what we eat... Dah kes serius ni...

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Typical


warung KL
Originally uploaded by jangan takut.
Have you noticed that roadside eateries have a homogenous look to them? Forgive the stereotypes:

Ethnic Malay Joints:
1) Name: Usually is Warung something, or Tomyam. Normally comes with the owner's name, e.g. Haji, Kak.
2) Decor: Wooden or bamboo fance. Lampu lip-lap. Multi-coloured fluorescent lights. Quranic verse plaques or Kaa'ba pictures.
3) Special Mention: Garish colours

Ethnic Chinese Joints:
1) Name: Kee, Ah, New or Sun something, or the more trendy numero-madness of 88, 388, 777 and whatnot.
2) Decor: Altar. White lighting. Smoke stained walls. Stainless steel counter tops. Beer posters. Last year's CNY decorations. Tiled walls. Toothpicks and soy sauce on tables, steaming bao's out front.
3) Special Mention: Migrant workers. Where are the owners?

Anything to add?

Monday, October 16, 2006

Towards Three


marriot-tiramisu-macro
Originally uploaded by williamnyk.
Last Monday, I celebrated my 26th birthday. Past 25, I can't help but think it's a downhill tumble to 30 and beyond. But then, I'm just being a bit dramatic. Looking back, I wonder I've achieved after a quarter of a century on this earth.

I didn't:
1) Come up with a new internet protocol that would've revolutionsized cyberspace
2) raise USD3,000,000 for underprivileged children in third world countries
3) have a tumultuous love life that was ridden with sordid side-affairs
4) start a cult

I did:
1) finish school
2) get a job
3) spread some love for family and friends
4) find some spiritual direction

Time well-spent, or time down the drain? It has brought me to where I am today. Who knows what will tomorrow bring. Enough of this self-reflection and philosophical. Let's move on to the festivities. This year's birthday was kinda like the past years-- Cake, dinner, hooker. Standard fare. OK, ignore the sex for cash bit. Instead of eating out, this year my mum whipped up a home-cooked meal. Doubled as a get-together with my sis and bro-in-laws. Some special dishes. Red Wine Chicken with Mee Suah and Brandy Chicken Wings (SK's recipe). After dinner was dessert, yes you guessed it, birthday cake. A tiramisu from Marriot, Putrajaya. Not quite like the one at Alexis. Celebration with friends was done over the weekend, before the big day. Had lunch with Swell Mel at Melaka St., SS2. Nice place for nyonya food (I dunno if it's authentic, but it's quite good). I recommend the mango kerabu. She got me a nice Braun Buffel leather wallet. Sweet. On Sunday, SK treated me to a facial (a creative gift! I'll blog about this later) and dinner at Cheras. Roadside steamed fish head near Payathin Foodcourt (don't ask me why it's called that). Not recommended. Sorry SK. :). In addition, she got me a bedsheet. A good birthday. How time flies... Sigh...

chickenwings

prezzies

Friday, October 13, 2006

Du-Bye


Tekka Udon
Originally uploaded by williamnyk.
Had a farewell dinner for my colleague the other day as she was leaving for Dubai. Earlier in the day, some bosses already organized a farewell lunch for her as well. The lunch was predominantly non-halal as they were preparing her for the 'dry season' in Dubai. Enough to make you swear off meat for a month. Dinner was held at Matsuba, Desa Sri Hartamas. I ordered my usual, the Tekka Udon set-- Udon on ice; maguro maki; misc. sushi; misc. sashimi; and a salad. We were boisterous as usual. Lotsa gossiping and being nonsensical. At one point, we even whipped out our laptops for a Happy Tree Friends viewing. It was after dinner, so no worries about losing appetites, just perhaps concerns of keeping dinner down.

I hear that Dubai's a land of ridiculously-starred luxury hotels and a shopping paradise. The sales are genuine, especially for branded goods. I wonder if I can expect a souvenier from Hermes, Ermegenildo Zegna, Prada, Salvatore Ferragamo or Hugo Boss.......

Just a few days after that, we had a farewell lunch pulak. You could say that the dinner was a pre-farewell deal. Heh. Well, lunch was at Neway, One Utama. Yes, you may groan, more karaoke. Compared to Redbox, Neway gives a slightly better experience. The food is much better (taste and portion-wise). The software allows for fast forward (but is less user-friendly). Some rooms have attached bathrooms. The furnishing is classier. Another thing I have to say about the food is that the portions are obscenely large. The fish plate my colleague ordered looked like it took a whole piece of frozen dory to prepare. And it had at least two scoops of mashed potatoes on the side. You gastric juices try to find their way back into your stomach lining on sight of the dishes.

A colleague of mine once remarked that every other week, someone was either resigning, giving birth or leaving for another project. And with occasion, we'd treat it as an excuse to splurge during lunch. It isn't very healty for the body, and the wallet.

newayfood

PS: The title of this post actually rhymes with one of my previous posts. Vengelyne would likely remember...

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Fwaaah!!!


The Colonel
Originally uploaded by adampsyche.
I have finally found the most annoying radio ad-- KFC's Hot and Spicy Xtra. The chicken is supposed to be so spicy that you'll go fwaaaah! when you eat it. I feel like fwaaaah-ing the idiot who thought up the idea over the head. The radio jingle is fantastically creative. It uses Jay Chou's theme song for "Fearless". In the original, our lazy-tounged singer uses the surname "Fok" repeatedly in the chorus. In the ad, "Fok" is replaced with "Fwaaaah!". The result-- an annoying little jingle that makes you feel that someone is clawing the insides of your brain. Fwaaah Fwah Fwaaaaah. Tada!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Qaseh


1eja
Originally uploaded by williamnyk.
TV3 has done it again with Seputih Qaseh Ramadan. This series was specially poduced for the
fasting season and is currently airing 3 days a week. The story revolves around Qaseh, an ex-convict who was separated from her husband and children by her diabolical mother-in-law. For unknown reasons (can anyone enlighten me?), her husband Riduan remarried-- a b*tch of a wife named Maria. Maria's the loud-mouthed type who loves to go shopping, high teas with Datins and conspiring with her mother-in-law, Ummi. This adds contrast to
Qaseh's character who is resilient, pious, soft-spoken and loving. After searching for years for her lost family, Qaseh finally meets them, and Riduan begins to try to mend things with her (apparently he's still married to her). There are other difficulties abound, namely Johan who is smitten with Qaseh, and Qaseh's adolescent son who is quite uncomfortable with her status as an ex-con. Her son carries off the "stick-up-my-ass" look quite well. Watch it for its entertainment value, Maria's exaggerated dialogue and wigs, Ummi's get-away-from-me-peasant attitude and Qaseh's patience in the face of adversity. Will Qaseh get back what's rightfully hers? Stay tuned, folks.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Mood

When I hear a song I like, I normally play it over and over (the repeat function is so handy in such situations). I will listen to the song ad nauseum. Then I will just chuck it aside. My current favourite is Massive Attacks's Future Proof. The song is very moody and dark. And it has been used to good effect in several TV series. Here's an excerpt of the lyrics:

Borderline cases
Reinforced glass
Absent friends
Passport photos an elastic past

What the hell Robert Del Naja is mumbling about you may ask? I don't know either. Enjoy.

PS: I splashed loads of water on my laptop yesterday and thank God it's still alive. Supposedly clear traffic on Tuesday (Nuzul Quran), and I chose to jam on Old Klang Road. But I'm cheerful as heck anyway. Heh!

Monday, October 09, 2006

A Wedding in June or a Whale Meat Harpoon?


Rose Petals & Tea
Originally uploaded by williamnyk.
Over the weekend, I attended my ex-housemates' wedding. The apostrophe is not in the wrong place. I know both of them from Jakarta. It was held at Crown Princess Hotel, Jalan Ampang. Dinner was to start at 7:30PM, and I only left at 7:25PM. You know what, I made it there before 8:00PM. And as expected, dinner only started at 8:30PM. So, being fashionably late paid off. Before I get any angry tirades about the vicious cycle of tardiness among KL folks in making it to wedding dinners, I waited for my ride since 6:30PM.

On to the review- the place is quite nice. Each table was strewn with rose petals. Normally, I see that on the floor, but hey, anything goes. Its staff is attentive. The food is of hotel standard, but I think the happy couple chose an above average dinner set. Among the items were a lobster starter (complete with exoskeleton), shark fin with scallops, cod fish and sea cucumber. Wine was flowing freely. I think around 80 colleagues turned up, so it kinda looked like my company's annual dinner. The colleagues were more worked up than the relatives. Throw in liquor into the equation...... you can imagine the rest. It seems that it's the season to get married. With the 7th lunar month (and the 7th leap lunar month) a distant memory and the 8th month in full swing, people are rushing to get hitched. I hear stories of 4 wedding invitations in a week and back-to-back banquets. One can only go through so many chinese wedding banquets . And with red packets involved, one can easily lose the shirt off one's back. Better start setting up a fund.....

PS: The title of this post makes no sense. I remember it vividly as a joke from the show "Hey Vern, it's Ernest!". Ernest was showing off show pretty funky hairdos.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Caltrops and Yam


Horn and Yam
Originally uploaded by williamnyk.
During my childhood, the Mid-Autumn festival was a time of cheap mooncakes (those that came in stacks), nightly lantern-toting sessions and playing with candles. Now, city kids only eat mooncakes that cost more than $10.00 per piece. Gone are the simple flavours of read bean, lotus paste and mixed nuts. Buying mooncakes these days is a confusing affair of brands and 'innovative flavours'. Many new manufacturers are joining the fray now. 10 years ago, KLT and HWT were considered premium brands. Fast-forward today, you get many new players from bakeries, hotels and restaurant out to grab a piece of the mooncake market. Flavours are also getting stranger and stranger by the day. Durian, green tea and chocolate used to be special, but now we get wolfberry, ginseng, black sesame, dragon fruit, haw flakes, ginger, spirulina, mochi, tiramisu, coconut, cheese, berries, cofee... you name it, they've got it. In addition to the flavours, packaging has also gone a little overboard. From simple metal boxes, we now get plywood boxes, cloth pouches and other fancy styles embellished with chinese knots and gold trim. It has become a headache. Eating mooncakes is no longer fun. I now find it too sweet. Our tastes change as we age, I guess.

Other than mooncakes, another staple during the mooncake festival at my home is the mini yam and caltrops. The mini yams would just be steamed and eaten with sugar and caltrops boiled in salted water. I love the starchy insides. I don't know if caltrops is the right word to call it, but I saw it on a sign in The Store. You wouldn't want to put the 'other' caltrops into your mouth.

Lanterns used to be just the collapsible paper or coloured-plastic-over-metal-wire variety. But now, we see plastic, battery-operated lanterns. Stuff in some batteries, flip the swith, and voila-- flashing lights and some annoying muzak like "Moonlight Sonata". Takes the fun outta things. Anyway,

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Butterfly Lovers


Tan Soo Suan
Originally uploaded by williamnyk.
Let me start off by saying that I'm no fan of romantic movies, romantic ballads, romance novels and any of its ilk. So if that confession somehow cuts my chances of snagging any of my readers who may be smitten with me, so be it (come on, a guy can dream and it's my blog). As you can guess, my review of Dama Orchestra's Butterfly Lovers: The Musical might be a bit biased due to my lack of appreciation for such storylines. However, it is a classic and it features the talented local soprano, Tan soo Suan, so I had to get tickets. She caught my eye ever since I saw her in September Tales: A Tribute to Theresa Teng sometime last September (in case you don't know, Theresa died in September). As usual, this Dama performance was held at the KL Performing Arts Centre, Sentul Park. The place is fantastic. A great place to take photos (I forgot to bring my camera, so I had to resort to my cellphone). A haven in the city. Thanks to YTL.

OK, on to the review. For the benefit of those who do not know this tragic love story of forbidden love, it's about Zhu Yingtai, the daughter of a wealthy landlord and Liang Shanbo, a poor scholar. Sounds like a Bollywood script, right? Anyway, Yingtai is very extroverted and wants to go school, but her father obviously is not happy with the idea (FYI, her father's costume is a cross between Chinese period clothing and a Roman toga). Anyway, she dupes her father into allowing her to go to school dressed like a man (ala Mulan, and as usual the people are too stupid to notice, a recurring theme in many period dramas). So, on the way to school, she meets up with Shanbo, and they both become quick friends. Fast-forward 3 years, Yingtai falls in love with the idiot (as the narrator, Edwin Sumun likes to call him because he doesn't realize her true identity). Yingtai's mother fakes an illness and manages to get Yingtai to go home only to find out that it was a ploy to get her married to Ma Wencai (Edwin Sumun), the Mandarin's playboy son. So, blah, blah, blah, Yingtai drops hints at Shanbo and after a lot of beating round the bush, Shanbo comes to realize the truth. By the time he comes to ask for her hand in marriage, it's already too late as Yingtai's already promised to Wencai and obviously a penniless scholar is not exactly "The Bachelor". He goes away dejected, coughs blood into a hankerchief (another favourite of Chinese period dramas) before kicking the bucket. On her wedding day, Yingtai discovers that her love is 6-feet-under. Determined to send her father to an early grave, she demands that her bridal entourage includes mourning lanterns and joss money throwers. She also asks for a stopover at Shanbo's grave before heading to the groom's place. At the grave. she's overcome with grief. At this point, Tan Soo Suan sings with much feeling, with tears and crying in between singing. Very convincing. A storms blows out of nowhere and she jumps into the grave. After the storm settles, two giant animatronic butterflies fly out.... The End.

The story is simple and is perfectly complemented by the music and score. The costumes are interesting, with platform shoes and giant tasseled curtain tie-ups. The students' headgear resemble mortar boards and let us not forget Yingtai's dad's toga. The sets are simplistic, with cartoonish colours and minimal details. I felt that they could have done better here, but maybe bajet tidak mengizinkan. The stage is a modular construction, with several different platforms on castors. The students act as backup singers, extras and stagehands who move the pieces around during different acts. Very well done. Reminds me of Cirque du SOleil's Quidam where the extras who set up the stage and carry the props are an act of their own. The actor who played Shanbo's servant, Four-Nine was also very convincing, playing the clueless country bumpkin man-servant to perfection. He sported a Chun-Li hairdo for the part. Fantastic. It ends on the 8th of October. Go watch it.

An excerpt:
Girls who are extroverted are an embarrasment to the family...

Butterfly End
Sentul Park
Entrance
Workshop Dog

PS: It's in Mandarin with English subtitles. The dog was in the prop workshop. So cute!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Charter


Storytime
Originally uploaded by Flamejob1.
No matter how tired I am after work, I find that my alertness increases the closer I am to my bedtime (I try to sleep before 1am, but it's usually 12:30-ish). Felines circle the ground the sleep on for a couple of times before dozing off, but I on the other hand like to read. Anything will do, but it's usually books or comics. And I have this habit of re-reading. Recently, I had exhausted my reading material cache, so I had to resort to digging up my boxes (untouched since I moved over from OUG so I practically had to wrestle them from the dust bunnies). I found many issues of graphic novels my brother (my source of reading material as I am too cheap to actually buy books) left behind coz his place was overflowing with stuff. Even his shelves sag in the middle. Good for me. So, I re-read issues of Lone Wolf and Cub, Preacher, Blade of the Immortal, Books of Magic and . But those didn't last me too long, so I actually went out and bought a book-- Lirael by Garth Nix.

A first for me actually. The story is OK, but I find that it's a frankenstein of sorts. Perhaps this is true for all titles. Little bits of stuff I've read here and there. In the centre of it all we have Lirael (duh!), a Daughther of the Clayr (a community of seers) Under-achiever that hasn't come into her power yet. An outcast of sorts among her own people. The world of Lirael consists of The Old Kingdom and Ancelstierre. In Ancelstierre, there's no magic. And the people there are kinda like muggles, like Harry Potter. Magic here is worked via Charter Marks, plucked from a unseen source and strung together. Reminds me of The Wheel of Time's One Power, where magic is worked by weaving threads from an infinite source. The story also includes the undead (main plot from Sabriel), reminscent of Wizard's First Rule's underworld. But then, I guess if one was to draw parallels, there would be much say about all the fantasy titles out there. Different authors, different angles. Sometimes, the same stories. Oh well, anything will do, as long as it puts me to sleep...

Fudge It

My source code / database / workflow server was moved to another location today and you know what? The OS died on me. F*ck!!!

Lesson: Don't move the server without first consulting a Feng Shui expert to make sure that the stars are correctly aligned. Anyway, the problem was solved. Turns out that the monitor resolution was too low to support the OS settings, hence causing the Windows 2003 Server to crash. Elegant, right?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Alma Mater


fsktmupm
Originally uploaded by williamnyk.
Here's a pic of University Putra Malaysia's Faculty of Computer Science and Information Technology. FSKTM in short. Specially posted for Vengelyne. For me, I had just recently visited University Malaya. It wasn't planned, I was en route from PJ to MidValley Megamall. A shortcut. Hehe. Didn't turn up to FSKTM, but I saw that the Economy Faculty has a spanking new building now! Bukan main futuristik lagi rekaannya. Not much changes overall really. Just that the speed bumps have gotten ridiculously higher (it's like they're trying to slow down monster trucks) and Dewan Tunku Canselor has stained-glass windows now. They also erected a 100-year anniversary thingy. Just another place to snap photos during convocation I guess. Kinda miss my undergraduate days, but that's history now... Even most of my friends from university days have disappeared. Both sides need to make an effort, but kalau dahlah mengada-ngada tu, forget it....

Monday, October 02, 2006

Sky Black Black


Sushi
Originally uploaded by williamnyk.
Karaoke madness again on Saturday at RedBox Sunway Pyramid. A solid 4 hours of melalak and melolong. Can't say I did much of the singing as my grasp of Chinese is quite sendirian berhad. The chorus has some English phrases?! Give me the mic! The highlight of the afternoon was a rousing rendition of yet another Therese Teng hokkien folk classic, Sky Black Black. Nearly brought the house down, and made some friends 'vomit batteries'. By the time we were done, it was raining cats and dogs. Well, I guess the Malay idiom Katak memanggil hujan has some truth to it.

In the evening, we were entertained by SK and HP's place again. But this time, most of the cooking was done by FK. Nippon ryori no less. She prepared several types of sushi (sake, tamago, unagi), maki, miso soup, salmon teriyaki and tempura (prawn, aubergines, ubi). Too much sushi rice. Couldn't move after dinner. Post-dinner was tea, mooncakes and watermelon. Ahhh, weekend glutonny.....

Wasabi in Soy Sauce