Monday, March 31, 2008

BKK I: Back to Bangrak


collageBKKDay1
Swiped from williamnyk.
It's been nearly two and a half years since my last business trip overseas and I broke the dry spell with a short 3-day visit to the Kingdom of Thailand. Went with my boss for a demo at a local bank and come to think of it, my presence wasn't exactly necessary and doesn't quite justifies the cost. But he dragged me along anyway and it effectively stole five man days from my current project (don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. :P). Upon arrival at Suvarnabhumi Airport, we took a cab down to Sala Daeng for a meeting with our local counterparts. Had to lug my luggage up and down the BTS station (I think the height is more than two storeys!) because my boss had forgotten on which side of the road the office was. Pengz. Saw the same faces from long before and some of them actually recognize me from my cicak kobeng ah beng phase! Amazing.

After the meeting, we flagged a cab to Centerpoint Serviced Apartments. A nice place just a short walking distance from Saphan Taksin BTS and directly-connecting Robinsons. The place had been renovated and I couldn't recognize it. A great upgrade from what I experienced 5 years ago.

"How come no female receptionists?"

"Sorry sir, all work morning shift na..."


The answer from the obviously queer receptionist really disappointed my boss. Heh. Our rooms were great-- kitchen area, washing machine, dining area, bedroom all rolled into one. Cost THB2000 per night at corporate rate. Had dinner at the nearby food court-- seafood stir-fried noodles. The stall operator had flames licking the ceiling and I was surprised that it wasn't burnt. Spent the rest of the night online with KH in my room. No hanky panky. Stay tuned for the next 2 days of non-action!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Paper Chase


MCTS
Swiped from williamnyk.
Finally the certificates that I earned after passing the Microsoft exams I took in October have arrived in the mail. One certificate is for my induction as a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) and another is for the specific paper that I took. Both are "signed" by Bill Gates. Lame. In the package is a welcome note, a 20% discount voucher for purchases from the MCP site (geek stuff no doubt) and a member card that has no use whatsoever except for the number that is on it. With the number, I am able to access the MCP site for information and it also contains my transcript. My current MCP status is also useful to my company as it is currently hungering for points to maintain Microsoft Gold Partner status. But you know what, I only contribute a measly 1 point. :P. Anyway, this is just the first step as I plan to take more exams to make myself more relevant and to pad my resume. Might as well take advantage of the current leniency in company policy to take technology certifications. There are a few paths that I can follow and after having a long discussion with my Burmese counterpart, I have decided to look further into attaining Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD) status. Time to look at the possible exams to take and once again pore over pdf textbooks.... arghhh...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Suneo & Maxine


Suneo & Maxine
Swiped from williamnyk.
Ever since I brought Suneo under my wing last October, he has been living on my colour box. It was good, for a while. As time went by, Suneo became withdrawn. Even the surprise visits from Mr. Gnome had failed to lift his spirits. Something was wrong, very wrong. Food went untouched. Porn left unplayed. The bed lay in a mess of sheets, the sign of fitfull sleep. I was nearly at my wit's end when one day I found Suneo walking on the edge on of the colour box, toying with death. I caught him just in time, or he would just another scatter on the parquet of my room. He was desolate. The solitude and lack of companionship had cracked his fragile soul. I did not know what to do. I felt helpless.

However, the funny thing is, the solution to problems sometimes presents itself without us needing to find it and it came to me in the form of a teddy bear, Maxine. He came to me during Chinese New Year, an ambassador of love from the land down south. He used to ride on a wooden flower cart, going from HDB flat to HDB flat, spreading love to everyone who would be willing to accept it in their hearts. Having felt Suneo's pain from miles away, Maxine parted from his partner for a spell to be able to mend poor Suneo's heart. Ever since he arrived, Suneo has noticably brightened. The smirk I so missed had come back. His hair had regained its point-iness. He had found back the will to live.

And as far as I can tell, Maxine seems to have lost his wanderlust for the moment. And all is good...

P.S.: Maxine and Suneo hump non-stop every night like chem rabbits so I have moved them to my brother's room.
P.P.S.: Yes, I've lost my marbles.

Monday, March 24, 2008

5th Anniversary

On the 3rd of March 2008, I celebrated five years with my current company. I even did my industrial training there and just 3 days after I took the last paper of my semester, I joined and I have been working since. It didn't hit me until an ex-colleague of mine sent me an sms reminder. I was given plenty of exposure, with regular trips to Jakarta in the early years of my employment and in addition to that, I was given the chance to visit Bangkok for a short stints. The regional experience was valuable, and there was the monetary factor as well. Most of the people that I have known have left. From junior, I am now one of the old faces and have moved in to fill those voids in the organisation. I see opportunities before me, but they are quite a double-edged sword as well. Within my company, there is much flexibility, but with it, comes chaos as well. I guess have I have grown a bit accustomed to such an environment and I feel it isn't that healthy. But in all things, there are pros and cons. As with Alex's recent rant, there is the question what loving one's job. To be honest, on more than one occasion I have told myself that there should be better ways to make a living. And on the matter of living in monotony, stuck in a job that is sadly just a job. And it reminds me of a Giordano T-shirt I saw somewhere:

Life is not a Job

Somethings really not right when you feel that you're in some kind of endless cycle of suffering. Kerja pun mampus, tak kerja pun mapus. Perhaps I should listen to Jaded Jeremy and find my cheese elsewhere. Happy Anniversary to me. Yay.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Le Bouchon

A double birthday celebration in the month of February. In the afternoon, I celebrated my sister's belated birthday at Melaka Street Restaurant, SS2. Forever the direction-less dolt, I forgot how to get there again, and made some rounds around SS2. Ordered quite a fair bit of spicy stuff. All the usual favourites and something else I had not tried, "Chicken in Foil". Seared chicken wrapped in foil and fragrant gravy make a very good appetite stimulant. Non-spicy and juicy. Recommended.

Later in the evening, SK celebrated her belated birthday at a French restaurant in Changkat Bukit Bintang, named Le Bouchon. Joined by Apollo, Jason Jr, Kenzon, Rich and KT. It's an expensive place and the only reason we dared to venture there was because I had a 50% discount voucher. Hehe. Anyway, before dinner, we grouped in front of Lot 10 and from out of nowhere, a group of dashing male models in tuxedos strutted up to the elevator outside. Very dashing, except for one who had a sequined scarf hanging in front of his crotch. High fashion perhaps? Entahlah. KT met us in front of the restaurant and we had a chance to glimpse her ex-love interest, Mr. Pink. This gor does not really approve, but what is a brother to say in matters of the heart? :P

Cam-whored a bit before we walked in and was greeted by Phillip Le Francois, the owner.

"Bonjour!"

"Reservation for Cheryl."

"Oh, the one with the voucher."


Ishhh... paiseh-nya the way he put it. Anyway, the waiter showed us to our table that was quite deep inside. When we arrived, only two other tables were occupied. One by a lone woman enjoying wine and another a family of three. Our arrival kinda shattered any exquisite dining experience they were having. Hahaha.

"Any wine?"

"Hell no."


The waiter promptly removed the wine glasses from our table, most probably muttering cheapskates under his breath. Must admit that I was quite baffled by the table setting. The salad fork, the dinner fork and the dessert fork. The layers of plates. The soup spoon. The waiter just removed whatever we did not need. We ordered six main courses which you can read at Jason Jr's food blog. I would just like to mention that it was my first time having foies gras and it was quite a great experience. The taste is quite special. Nutty, in my opinion. And having it seared gives it a really different and fragrant flavour altogether. The beef medallions with blue cheese sauce was also pleasing to the palatte. Really tender. The crispy salmon was also very aromatic as we immediately knew it when the other table ordered it. The aroma is unmistakably wonderful! The Jaylex Foundation joined us after dinner for post-dinner drinks and dessert.

It was a great night but towards the end, we had to cut it short as I had to rush to pick up my mum. So I kinda pulled a "2 fast 2 furious" on KT and Rich. Must have been shivering in their seats. Really sorry about that. :P. Great food and ambience, but the service kinda sucked towards the end (disappearing waiters and clanging of plates and cups). I won't be going back anytime soon, unless a sugar daddy brings me or I get another discount voucher...

Friday, March 21, 2008

Elections!

Marilah mari, Kita mengundi,

Tunaikanlah kewajiban, kepada negara.


Gotta love this song. A classic from Penerbitan Filem Negara Malaysia. Way up there with the classics like "Kurangan Gula", "Cinta IT" and "Alhamdullilah Syukur Nikmat", but I digress. Although we're not party members, I SK, HP and I voluntered to assist DAP as polling and counting agents at one of seven the polling stations in the Seputeh constituency. SK and HP were involved in polling, basically observing and striking off the names of people who came in to vote. SK got the oldest end of the electoral roll, whereas HP got the youngest end, so the latter got more eye candy! I on the other hand was the coordinator. Had to sit one hundred metres away from the polling station entrace under a small parasol. My job was to arrange relief agents, make sure that volunteers turned up for their shifts and to send food and water. In my spare time, I would help voters to determine their voting stream.

BN on the other hand had a nice, big gazebo, complete with electricity so they could set up a computer to check the electoral roll. I only had a photocopied book, but it was good enough. Mum, sis and brother-in-law came to help too. It was kinda fun, until the sun came out. Was really tanned. My poor face! Met all sorts of people. The people who avoid me like the plague are most-likely BN supporters or people who prefer to keep their votes close to their hearts, while some DAP supporters are overly-zealous. All sorts of comments:

"I want BN to die!"

"I will never support them! They're animals!"

"Rocket right? Good!"

"Eh, you people so poor ah? No PC one?"

"Aiyah, you look so bored, give you some work mah..."

"My eyesight not good la, do I cross the top or the bottom for DAP?"


Did notice something ridiculous about the election. Most of the rooms were located on the 2nd floor, causing much distress to senior citizens and the disabled. I had heard of a case where a voter stricken with polio was not offered any help by the whole bunch of EC people. They just stood there. Truth be told, I don't think one needs four or five people to direct voters to the correct room. HP was involved in the counting process and I had to wait around for all the counting agents to pass me the results. Upon receiving all the results, I passed them to DAP Tallying Center. Didn't wait around for the official results to be announced, but I was kinda shocked the next day when I learnt that she won with a majority of more than 36,000 votes and also clinched the Kinrara State seat. The end...

P.S: An interesting nugget of information about marking your ballot papers. It doesn't necessarily have to be an X, it can be any symbol on the space required, on the name, or on the logo! It's the intention that counts.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

True Colours

Some days back (now even), I was quite annoyed at work. I had worked lateand was quite tired. My phone had nearly run out of juice. Sis, brother-in-law and mum had fetched me from the LRT station, but they were not going home yet as they wanted to listen to a political speech at Seri Petaling night market. At around 9:30pm, my colleague called me to say that there was a problem with the demo system he was preparing for the monkeys at marketing. And of course, my phone died the moment he described the problem to me. I scrambled to the nearest bakery to whip out my laptop and plug my phone into the USB port. I called SK who happened to be there to lend me her phone. Due to some communication problem, she couldn't assist me in time. By the time I managed to called my colleague, he had left and expected me to pick up the pieces. Api naik kepala! By the time she arrived with HP, I flamed them both in my temper.

Most of my friends would say that I smile a lot and have quite a pleasent demeanour (though mulut celaka a bit). They rarely see me angry. They rarely see the real me. For those who are very close to me, like SK and KH they have seen what I am capable of in times of stress. I do actually blow my top and only in front of people whom I dare to bare my soul to. In a way, it is quite unfortunate, as I would hurt the people that care for me the most. With SK, I can be very impatient at times. I can get very sarcastic. I can get cold. I can be brutally honest. I don't do it on purpose, and after each outburst, I feel terrible regret in my heart. With KH, I can get annoyed pretty quickly. I pull a face. I get moody. I show my exasperation. I love KH with all my heart and I hope that it won't push us apart.

"Baby, I notice that you get angry pretty quickly these days..."

"........."

"After being with you for 13 months, don't you think I know how to gauge your emotions? Try to control a bit, k? If we happen to be moody on the same day, then it would be bad situation to be in..."


Sorry to SK, KH and HP. I apologize for my outbursts.

And HP said it best, As long as you have the right friends, it is enough.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Campaigning

During the two-week campaign period, I merely attended half a Teresa Kok speech at Sri Petaling night market and a Carol Chew dinner at Happy Garden. Teresa stood on the back of a truck to deliver her speech, while Carol had a proper stage with three local ge dai entertainers to fill in the lulls. Carol is a fantastic speaker with a speech that reads like a Pengajian Am essay, while Teresa goes for a more down-to-earth approach-- fiery and sprinkled expletives. Hehe. Being the newbie, quite a number of MCA heavyweights spoke for her during the dinner. One speaker was most honest when he said:

"Don't let our Carol lose too many votes..."

I definitely clapped to that. At least they're not deluded. But they still pour out the campaign funds, just in case lar. In addition to that, they even had an ex-DAP member denounce Teresa. Many allegations and mud-slinging. Halfway through, it rained really heavily, and his voice was drowned out by the din of the rain against the zinc roof. When he stopped, the rain decided to let up too. Uncanny, isn't it?

My mother, sister and brother-in-law on the other hand were really hot on the campaign trail. Going out nearly every night to listen to opposition speeches around town. They even brought their own stools. Goodness. My unborn nephew may just end up being like the next Tian Chua with my sister listening to so many anti-establishment speeches during the pregnancy. Pengsan. Mum was also at the center nearly everyday helping to put posters in clear plastic bags and to make streamers. Quite standard campaigning material-- printed matter, posters, flags, banners and buntings. But MCA kinda upped the ante by putting up mini billboards with caricatures. One of them was deemed sexist and Teresa was quick to set up a press conference to condemn it, stating that woman was used to demean woman. Up next... the Election!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The First Salvo


perfect?
Swiped from Megan *.
Here's an update from the frontline of my war against acne. I recently consulted with a highly-recommended recommended dermatologist near Tung Shin hospital. Heard only praises about him and apparently SK also found someone raving about him on a blog. Lotsa patients and the weird thing is, appointments aren't allowed. Walked in on a Saturday at 9:30am and found that the doctor would only be in an hour later. So factoring that in with the fact that I was fifth in line, SK and I walked over to Wisma S&M to do some really EARLY DVD shopping. Only one or two were open, and I bought a couple of DVDs from the bargain bin at MYR3.50 per disc. Fantastic! Got myself "Hoyakashi - Japanase Classice Horror: The Animation", "Tales From Earthsea" and "Dororo". Believe it or not, SK got herself some anime with a busty girl in a bikini out front. :P.

By the time we got back, it was just in time for my turn. Dr Chang turns out to be someone with fantastic skin for his age. Though his jowls have not completely defied gravity and ageing, his skin is clear and smooth. Botox binge? Hehe. Anyway, I told him about my problem and once he shone the pendarflour light at my forehead, he went "Whoa, those are big ones!". He prescribed me two months of antibiotics and gave me a cleansing regiment-- moisturiser, cleanser and pimple cream that I suspect is Retin-A.

"I'll give you this cream. It will extract out the whiteheads and shrink the pores. It will make your skin fairer. Smoother. More beautiful."

It was like a commercial for the next wonder cream. I was sold. I've been using his stuff for a bout a week now and I must say that my forehead is no longer red and angry. There are outbreaks, but not painful. The only side-effect is some peeling. It looks promising. I'm supposed to seem him in two weeks time, so everyone... wish me luck coz I think I'm on the road to recovery. Just got to resist popping those pimples!!! Somebody get me mittens!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Cornered

It has been shitty this past week. Work has been overlapping between phase one training sessions and mock runs with phase two development. The timeline is so screwed up. And more ad hoc stuff like demos had to turn up. Stupid internal red tape and power struggles in top management, each trying to usurp resources for their own gain. Sigh. Pelanduk Mati di Tengah.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Nomination

The 12th General Elections results are already out and here I am talking about the nomination day for the Seputeh Parliamentary Seat that happened some Sundays back. Just a simple police-escorted procession from the Seri Petaling bean sprout chicken shop to Seri Petaling Multi-purpose Hall. Everyone wore white with a red-streaked DAP cap. Flags were distributed (not the pathetic mini flags but the broomstick-as-flag-pole variety) and they found that there were more flags than hands. Therefore, I ended up hoisting two (*&*@&^%*&*:). Everyone followed behind a Hilux laden with over-zealous flag-waving women and an AV set blaring the song "Together" (a political song calling for change). Even had a "leader" who would scream out slogans and the rest would follow. However, certain phrases were more popular than others...

"Vote for Change, Vote for DAP!"

"Teresa Pasti Menang!"

"DAP! DAP! DAP!" (yeah, I know. Bloody original ain't it?)


And some just fell flat...

"Jatuhkan MCA!"

"We Love You Teresa Kok!"

"BN Pasti Kalah!"


Guess people are still kinda reserved. Haha. Got much support and acknowledgement as we got around. People honked and gave the thumbs up, while some even joined us on the march. The hall had been cordoned off. One hundred metres from both sides had been marked with yellow Election Commission tape. DAP on side, and BN on the other. The support at Carol Chew's side was still quite pathetic. The low MCA presence was really conspicuous, circumstantial evidence of party in-fighting? Things only started looking up for them when they "imported" two bus-loads of UMNO supporters from outside. Even brought along there Wanita UMNO choir group, belting out "Undilah Barisan Kita". DAP promptly replied with the Hari Raya tune, "Balik Kampung". :P. The incumbent Teresa was represented at the nomination as she was making an appearance at the Kinrara State Seat nomination. From then on, it was a boring process of waiting for the nomination to be completed. Once done, the EC people came out to make an announcement and the names were displayed outside for anyone to make complaints within 24 hours. Next up, I'll blog about the campaign trail...

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Away

Hi guys. I'll be away in the hustle and bustle of Bangkok from Wednesday till Friday for work-related stuff. I'm going with my boss (UGH)and the schedule is tight, so I guess no naughty stuff can be arranged. :(. Anyway, I'll be home in time for election, and that will be another draining weekend to be blogged about later. See ya later.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Kluang


collageKluang
Swiped from williamnyk.
Nestled between Dataran Prima and Aman Suria is a cosy little restaurant called Kluang Noodle House. Just tried it on a whim. Aman Suria has become a weekly haunt for me since there are a lot of eateries there and the traffic situation is calm and parking is ample. What's their specialty you may ask? Hand-made noodles without preservative and what not. The noodles they make are slightly thicker than your japanese ramen, kinda like the Kin Kin Pan Mee that DanielH recommended. The texture is good and firm, without any floury aftertaste. Tried their Curry Tomyam Noodles (an interesting mix of curry and tom yum soup with a generous seafood toppings), Rendang Chicken Dry Noodles (a lemak-y, whole chicken thigh rendang served on dry noodles, minced pork and vegetables) and Ma Lat Noodles (Taiwan-style spicy noodles. I find it a bit oily due to the chilly oil used, but I guessed that can't be helped). Good food and big portions at a reasonable price. Do give it a try!