Friday, January 30, 2009

In My Mind

When we are bored, lonely or wu liao, we may contact certain people
to improve our situation or entertain us. And then we forget them.
Who is the person who is always on our minds even when we are having
loads of fun or too busy with our schedules?

--
Regards,
William

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ox-y


CNY20092
Swiped from williamnyk.
It's the year of the Ox, and that makes my brother 36 this year. Already his 3rd cycle. How time flies. As I age, I notice the Lunar New Year being increasingly "faraway". The significance eludes me at times. I guess its true that festivals are really for the kids. However, this is not to say that I'm indifferent about the occasion. I try my best to absorb the atmosphere or if there is a lack of it, try to create some. Ever since my dad and grandma passed away and my sister got married, things have been getting simpler and simpler. No more annual pilgrimages and perayaan besar-besaran. Reunion dinner is normally just an affair between my brother, mum and I. Although its a small gathering, mum spares no effort in preparing a big spread. But as I age, my mum advances in age too, and I can see that her stamina has decreased and she finds it harder to organise things. I try my best to help her, but I find it best to always let her have the last say in how she wants things.

misc71-1

A surprise guest joined us for Reunion Dinner this year-- SK. She had decided not to enroll herself into the Forced Labour Camp back home in Kuantan this year. After mass, we got home and prepared for dinner. Mum cooked up a storm as usual-- stewed fish maw and mushrooms, drunken prawns (lotsa drunken laughs), fried fish, thai-style fish, steamed pomfret (excessive excesses! :P), healthy vege platter with fake foie gras (for SK's special dietary needs), chinese lettuce, old lotus root soup and mixed vegetables. A surprise ang moh dish made it to the dinner table this year-- herb roasted chicken, with me as the chef. jeng, jeng, jeng! Food was accompanied by Johnie Walker on the rocks.

CNY20091

On CNY1, woke up early and dressed in new clothes to wish my mum and brother a happy new year. Later, we went to church for the special Eucharistic celebration. Everything was decked out in red though it was Ordinary Time (plenty of cam-whore opportunities). In addition to the usual liturgy, there was a ceremony of ancestral commemoration that never fails to raise eyebrows whenever I tell people. After that, there was a red packet and mandarin oranges giveaway with lots of Lunar New Year songs in the air. Outside, there was a lion dance complete with choi cheng. Usually, the lion enters the "house" to pray at the altar, but that part is ommitted. Lunch was yesterday's leftovers, but for dinner, mum made chapati and curry chicken. Yummy! Argh, fat, fat, fat, fat! Oh yeah, I missed the eclipse but it was supposed to be a bad omen anyway, so no loss.

CNY2009

Monday, January 26, 2009

Art Class

Hi people! I'm sure you're all enjoying the CNY holidays, stuffing
your face, watching tv, sleeping, gambling, and running about town in
the sweltering CNY weather. I'm not here to blog about my CNY yet for
fear of ruining my tardy image. I'm just here to make a random
observation-- did you know that if you pee into a cistern that uses
toilet blue, the water turns green. The mixing of prime colours!
That's all for our Ox Year Art Attack! You can now get back to eating
that last piece of bak kwa. :)

--
Regards,
William

Sunday, January 25, 2009

HCNY

There isn't any CNY-themed men's underwear in department stores this
year! Preposterous! What a mockery!

That aside, here's wishing all my readers a Happy Chinese New Year
that's sprinkled with all things good and if some bad things do slip
in, hope that they're easily reversed.

Lou sang with Wagyu beef, anyone?

--
Regards,
William

Friday, January 23, 2009

Last Rites


I am grateful for the prayers, thoughts and concerns that were expressed in response to my post. My aunt finally breathed her last breath in the presence of family members last Thursday. Her suffering has ended and a new journey has begun for her. Mum and I left KL for Bagan Sungai Burung on Friday afternoon. The drive there was quite horrendous during the last leg as the trunk road leading from the PLUS exit to Sungai Burung is really bumpy (worse than Kuching by a factor of 3) and eerily devoid of vehicles. By the time we arrived at the village, it was around 6:00pm. Went to pay my respects and proceeded to make myself useful by folding paper offerings.

The funeral was quite unique. To me, it was kinda like a party with a buffet line. It's amazing that a funerary post like this can turn into a food post. Well, dinner was served at 7:00pm-- stewed duck, fried duck, fried suk yu (blanched and salted Mabong), stir-fried vegetables, Kung Pao cuttlefish, baked catfish, and seafood soup. Soon after dinner, the ceremony started. It was by a "troupe" from Penang. The members were multi-talented as they could all do prayers, chanting, opera and play musical instruments. Quite skillful but not very professional. Halfway through a ceremony, the guy's handphone rang with a cheerful CNY ringtone, and he just left the kneeling family members there to take the call!

As the chanting went on, food was continually served by the funeral parlour staff. It started with soya bean tong sui followed by char siew pau. Then came the chu cheong fun with chicken curry. Later was bubur cha-cha + black glutinous rice + red bean tong sui. By the time the fried bee hoon with fish curry came, I was stuffed. The ceremony was kinda like a show. Opera was infused into the liturgy. At certain points, they would act out scenes of filial piety, putting on their saddest facest and crying in order to make the family members wail even louder. At one point, the was a kejar-kejar scene around a 4-exit paper gateway. And during the bridge-crossing part, there was a very impressive portrayal of the Earth Treasure Boddhisatva and Chung Kwai. And the whole time, I was munching on peanuts and downing 'em with Carlsberg.

In the city, these things normally only go on till 11:00pm, but for my aunt's case, the rites only stopped at 1:30am. After they burned the paper mansion, car and other offerings (the tongues of flame reached up to the height of the electrical poles!), me and my mum went to find a place to get some shut eye. We slept in a dilapidated house across the street and boy, I was too tired to care. The next day, chicken rice was served for breakfast together with the leftover food from yesterday. More rites ensued and my aunt was buried in a cemetery nearby. My uncle donated some of the pak kam to MCA Youth, Wanita MCA, PKR and DAP. I have no idea what his political inclinations are. At the end of it, the funeral guy announced:

OK people. It's done. Go for tuo chiak!

Yes, people. More eating. This time it was at a seafood restaurant. Had steamed prawns, thai-style fish, fishball soup, mixed vegetables, and vegetable curry. The drive back was smooth and we somehow still found the energy to go shopping at Alamanda at night. :P. I found my "bottom" too, a pair of Esprit jeans. Hehehe.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Gimme Gimme Gimme

Months have passed since my birthday in October and you know what? I have yet to finish blogging about it (QueerR, choke or not?). Quite an injustice to the loved ones around me as all your gifts are precious to me. Time to reveal the final gifts:
  • A Nokia 5220 cellphone from KH-- We talk everynight on the phone and my old Samsung SGH-X700 was a bit giler according to him. He could hear a fan-like noise in the background and it irked him to no end. Therefore, he bought me a new phone! Love its music playback quality. Thanks again, baby!
  • A scrapbook from SK-- With lots of love, she made a scrapbook from scratch, highlighting events along the year of 2008. A very thoughtful gift. Thanks dear!
  • A Japanese procelein rice bowl from Jaded Jeremy-- For some reason, I love eating out of Japanese rice bowls and for that same reason, he got me one. KH lugged it back to KL for me. Arigato, JJ-kun!
  • A Braun Buffel half-rim spectacle frame from Apollo-- Chosen out of his personal collection, it is truly a useful gift for me. An alternative from my usual rimless style. Thanks, Apollo!

  • That about wraps it up for Project Birthday 2008. Until next year...
    BDAY2008Xenri1Collage

    Tuesday, January 20, 2009

    Fai Zhai

    In my company, there's this guy who joined my product team last year. We shall call him FZ. He had zero business and technical knowledge of the product, and yet my Fatty Boss pushed him up as a Team Lead. This irked Lan to no end. According to Lan, his only purpose was to sit in on meetings (blindly passing requirements to the technical team), writing e-mails to tai chi responsibility and gain credit for reporting project statuses, Facebook, Facebook and more Facebook. And recently, Fatty Boss even introduced him to my JellyfishHead Project Manager as his assistant in overseeing all the implementation sites. I nearly choked on my water. Well, FZ recently sent me an e-mail asking for technical training material. I conveniently ignored it after my collague told me that he is so useless that even after giving him a sample document, he expects you to change it to suit his context. Later, he added me on GTalk. I rejected that too. I wonder how long before the jig is up. :P.

    Sunday, January 18, 2009

    Pay Up

    Bah! The Borang BE 2008 has arrived in my postbox. The deadline is the
    end of April, but perhaps they are trying to take advantage of the
    Chinese custom of clearing their debts before CNY. :S

    --
    Regards,
    William

    Thursday, January 15, 2009

    NZX Revisited


    Yup, I was at NZX again, but not to repeat that fiasco at Full House. I was there to meet some ex-classmates from my Kuantan days and since one of them lived nearby and SK wanted so much to see the Disney thingy there (we ended up taking pictures of the tarps they use to cordone off the exhibition area). Kit brought his wife, kid and cousin (my dar pinged immediately!). Kit's baby took an immediately liking to me, but later switched to my other classmate, Ko. We hypothesised that it was due to his moustache. Ko came with Rene (his future wife) who also happens to be from the class next door. And SK was all clingy-clingy and feeding me stuff at the dinner table, so that kinda makes it look like a reunion of 3 couples. Sure to cause a stir in the rumour mill. The ones married with kids have their family to worry about. Those planning to get married have all the preparations to stress over. SK and I merely nod.

    We were supposed to eat at 7:00pm, but it was delayed for an hour due to tardiness and indecisiveness on the makan venue. Straight guys also so pengz one. Finally, we decided on a kopitiam entah apa nama at the side of the NZX square. It had an amazing selection of food ranging from usual coffeeshop fare to other oriental and continental food. Food was OK, but drinks sucked though. We had cajun salmon, spicy clam soup, garden salad and mango lolo. Since Kit's kid had refluxed his whole bottle of milk out all over himself, we decided to move the reunion to his place. We left a little before 11:00pm to let the busy parents wind down. Once again, I left NZX with a t-shirt from Tee Diet (caught them on the last day before they move to Kota Damansara). I love their designs. And just earlier, I bought a deep v-neck jersey from Topman. Come to think of it, I have 5 more new t-shirts from my BKK trip. I have enough tops already, time to get some bottoms!

    Wednesday, January 14, 2009

    Telephone Etiquette

    A hypothetical question ;P :

    You're in your room doing a review of the latest Japanese exercise video to hit your download folder. Nearly at the end of your workout, with your target heart-rate nearly achieved and you're all wet and sweaty, your boyfriend gives you a call.

    In such a situation, what would you do?

    Tuesday, January 13, 2009

    Prayers for the Sick

    My mum's eldest sister has been suffering from fourth stage liver
    cancer since last year. It has metastasized. She is now on her
    deathbed awaiting the final release. I pray that her suffering will
    end soon. Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy.

    --
    Regards,
    William

    Monday, January 12, 2009

    So You Think You Can Dance

    Have you ever heard of the Tiong Hua Dance Festival? If you have not, let me explain. It's actually a dance competition organised by the Anxi Association of Selangor and Kuala Lumpur. For 21 years, they invited various primary schools, secondary schools and dance troupes to take part. This year, it was held at the HGH Convention Center in Sentul. Of the 3 days, I attended the second day, which was dedicated to the secondary school category. 13 Chinese schools participated with 1 absentee. I was quite impressed with the performances. Most had good costume and music, but some of the choreography sucked. Actually, I was expecting traditional dance, but contemporary and modern dance influences had a big showing that night. I guess after 21 years, everyone wanted to try something new to get the judges' attention.

    My favourite was the second contestant, a school from Petalig Jaya. The music was haunting and the costumes were ghostly and wispy. The dancers seemed like the were gliding across the stage.The first part of their routine started out normal. Towards the second half, they had gradually slipped into a frenzy of epileptic movements ala Madonna's "Nothing Really Matters" music video. It was superb. Some others were yawn-worthy. Some were downright annoying due to monotony and bad score selection. A boys' school tried to do something reminiscent of Hands Percussion, but kinda failed because their movements were erratic and their energy not focused. The worse was co-ed school who had the guys flailing around with giant bat wings. Talk about lame. Another boys school did a rendition of "Stomp" and failed miserably. They were too worried about losing their deposit for damaging the stage I guess.

    I don't know who won in the end as I didn't stick around for the tally. But perhaps I sould have. One of the judges did get me 'dar pinging. Hehe...

    Sunday, January 11, 2009

    Day V: Broken Promises


    Kuching200813
    Swiped from williamnyk.
    Since our flight out was at 1530, we couldn't do very much that day. We slept in a little and did our packing. POD then brought us out to Top One Foodcourt for a very good Sarawak Laksa. Great rice noodles and gravy so fantastic that you want to lap it all up. After a little more last minute shopping, POD sent us to the airport. Upon arrival, we found out that our flight was CANCELLED. The staff claim that they had notified all passengers. A check on their CRM system revealed that they had sent KH an e-mail. KH receive neither SMS nor e-mail. But anyway, who the hell checks e-mail on their holidays! No guarantee for cancelled flights, only for those that are delayed. Our complaints were ignored. But I think Air Asia is not making good on their promise with all the irate letters I see in The Star lately.

    Seeing that we had 4 hours to kill, POD brought us back to his place for lunch. His mum had cooked up a storm! Stewed pork, chicken and eggs, fried mini fish (crispy little buggers), soy sauce prawn, mixed vegetables and chinese sausages. With lunch out of the way, we followed POD blazer shopping for a while. His mum then brought us to her relative's stall for dessert. KH got to try Meitahon (kinda like White Lady, but without the milk) and the rest of us had cendol (I didn't quite like the lack of palm sugar). She also ordered for us pan-fried glutinous rice coins with green bean paste (very fragrant) and char kuey. Both very delicious.

    Our second time to the airport successfully saw us onto the plane. The rain had caused a bit of a delay. SK picked us up at LCCT and brought us to dinner at Duck Wang, Serdang. A little-known restaurant in a light industrial area. A simple and delicious meal of steamed siakap, beancurd with minced meat and some vegetables. We then dropped KH at his home and headed back...

    It was really a fantastic holiday with KH-- The company was great (cheers to POD and Nic); I got to spend quality time with my baby (;P); The food was superb; The pace was good (neither too rushed nor boring); The places were interesting (there's so much more of Sarawak to see). There was talk of a second trip back to Kuching next year... we'll see... we'll see...

    ...THE END...

    Kuching20088

    Friday, January 09, 2009

    Orang Memberi, Kita Merasa


    Way past XMAS, but what to do. I'm tardy. :P. My "eldest" di's favourite food joint is Yuen Steamboat at Sunway. If I'm not mistaken, I've had three dinners there with him and Takashi. As usual, we loaded up on prawns, but didn't bother with the BBQ chicken wings this time. Managed to catch up with him and the boyfriend regarding work and stuff. I finally managed to pass him his belated birthday present (MPH vouchers) and we exchanged Christmas gifts. They gave me a Body Shop gift pack consisting of olive, shea and strawberry soap. I wonder if KH would appreciate "little William" smelling of strawberries... :P. For Takashi, I bought him a Santa Claus-themed papier mache box, perfect for keeping condoms and lube. :P.

    I also had a gift exchange at the office. It was a simple affair at Old Town, The Pavilion (more expensive!). I gave away a pair of Skinxwear bikini briefs and received a cute illuminated glass nativity scene from Memory Lane. Apollo gave away glass angels, reminiscent of the of the ones I received from Chester last year. They're now a happy family of angels. For Chester, I finally bought him that Johann S. Lee book that he wanted.

    SK surprised me with a silver Thomas Sabo Casette charm which I now attach to my onyx bracelet (Note: as of time of posting, the clasp broke!). I passed her the brochure some time back and she actually bought it! Next year I'll be sure to pass her a brochure from Tiffany's. She also bought me several Lat first day covers and stamps. I love them! A little off-topic, but she also got me a zebra-striped scarf as pre-CNY thingy. Talk about Dear privileges. Jangan marah ye...

    Thursday, January 08, 2009

    Beware of Falling Objects


    Shoddy workmanship seems to be the norm in the construction sector these days. If you want "better quality" (read: standard), better be prepared to fork out another 100k. Talam is the poster boy of sub-standard developers. The current house I'm living in is a great example of their commitment to "quality". So far, my family had to deal with cracks, uneven windows (more trapezoid than rectangular), leaking roofs, lousy plumbing and haywire wiring.

    The latest incident involved a piece of decorative cement centrepiece fall off from the wall of the second floor. It crashed onto the awning (destroying the tiles in the process) before crushing the flower pots on my porch! That piece of cement could really smash someone's head in. On the way down, the decorative arch was also ripped off and boy was I surprised to find that it was just polystyrene and plaster (standard practise according to my civil engineer sister). Luckily I don't park my car there and my mother wasn't out gardening that morning!

    Another on-going issue is also the settling of the land behind my house. It seems to be sinking bit by bit and everytime it does, it drags my walls down creating some beautiful cracks in the process. The land at the back is like some kind of porous landfill. Even the Telekom contractors were surprised when they put in the telephone poles. Below the surface of the cement, was quite a whole lot of nothing!

    Buy Then Build? Build Then Sell? More like Buy Then Sell.

    Wednesday, January 07, 2009

    Pawns

    In my product team, there is a serious shortage of resources and talent after a series of resignations last year. As a result of that, certain seniors and team leaders are in hot demand especially when there are multiple projects going on at the same time. The movement of people can be very ad hoc depending on how things go. The term that is usually used is "fire-fighting". From this you can gauge that the situation is quite precarious, like the proverbial "egg on the edge of a buffalo's horn". Such a team leader was recently assigned to my project. We shall henceforth refer to him as Lan. Since his project was done and over with, he was "temporarily" assigned to my project to help "put out some fires". Everything was fine and dandy until his services were required elsewhere.

    To understand the problem, I must first explain the screwed up way my project is run. In reality, all the resources belong to my fatty boss. However, my project is managed by a psychopathic woman from my parent company who shall henceforth be known as Amy. Hence, when fatty boss assigns resources to Amy, she has the right to hold on to them for the good of the project. And so, fatty boss needed to pull Lan out for a new project that was being kicked-off. He called a meeting. During the meeting, Amy explained how "uncomfortable" she was with the way the project was going. In conclusion, she wasn't going to let Lan go without a fight.

    Fatty boss on the other hand came from an overall perspective saying that the big picture must be seen. Hence, a new project is always more important than an on-going project. In that whole exchange, Lan and I didn't say a word until finally, Amy suddenly gave in and consented to Lan leaving the project. On the next day, she sent out an e-mail outlining her understanding of the previous meeting. It was a complete reversal of what I had heard the day before. A deceitful woman. Fatty boss fumed. But he didn't vent it at her. He stupidly scolded us for not "backing him up" during the meeting. From our point of view, he did not even require backing since the meeting concluded the way we wanted. I shot this back at fatty boss, and he didn't deny it.

    He insisted that I write an e-mail to refute what she had written. I told him I would do no such thing as she was my project manager (she would make my life a living hell) and the conclusion was reached with him in the same room. If she had gone back on her word, then the bosses should go straighten it out, not push the small fishes to the waiting jaws of the big fishes. I don't know why bosses like to fight by proxy. Such lack of balls. Well, the issue is still there. Fatty boss is also playing the same game with Amy. If you don't keep your word, why should I keep mine? Oh, the headache.... At the end of the day, the "fire" will burn us all.

    Tuesday, January 06, 2009

    Full House


    For some unknown reason, Apollo asked for a lunch outing on Aidiladha. Everyone thought that he had something to announce. A new boyfriend? A new job? Struck 4D? Turned out to be none of the things I mentioned. He genuinely wanted catch up with everyone. Cheh! Haha. Just joking la. Anyway, it was at NZX. Changed quite a bit since I've been there. Many shops have closed down and many shops have took their place. Quite volatile. But in other words, quite fresh. DanielH suggested a boutique restaurant there called Full House. An all-white house, complete with balcony and vintage mini cooper out front. Everything in there cute-sy and for sale. The perfect place to camwhore if not for their horrible service. After waiting for 40 minutes, only 3 out of the 6 sets we ordered arrived. The hunger had thrown DanielH into a foul mood and by our third inquiry, we kinda had the last straw.

    Reminder to the waitress.

    Reminder to the supervisor.

    The supervisor came and ignored our complaints, without any apologies-- "Which set has already been served?", "What did you order?";
    (Extremely infuriating as it shows they do not even have such information at their fingertips)

    DanielH gave a 5-minute ultimatum.

    DanielH dashes down to see the manager.

    Flamed the manager. Named all the incompetent staff.

    Half the bill was paid and 10% off.

    Never there again, I guess. Full House = Belly Full of Fire. We ended up at the 100C Restaurant and had a nice steamboat. A quick and hot meal. But forget about their escargot-- tasteless. Oh yeah, the razor clams sucked too. :P. But they do have an interesting sauce bar that includes apricot and mustard-honey dipping sauces. Walked around a bit before going our separate ways. KH and I ended up at Little Tree Cafe, Kuchai Lama, while the SK, Pikey, DanielH and Apollo went off to watch Bolt 3D. Shared a banana split with the boyfriend before sending him home.

    Monday, January 05, 2009

    A Letter To My Son

    Wahai anakku Mohammad DanielH,

    Maafkan bapamu ini yang telah mengabaikan tanggungjawabnya sebagai seorang ketua keluarga yang penyanyang. Berkali-kali, saya telah mengecewakan kamu. Bermacam-macam alasan telah mu dengar setiap kali papa menolak pintaanmu untuk menghabiskan masa bersama-sama. Maafkan papa. Saya gagal mencurahkan kasih sayang dalam kehidupanmu. Saya gagal dalam membimbing dan memberi panduan hidup kepadamu. Papa amat kesal. Ibumu juga tidak mampu mengisi kekosongan ini. Saya akui bahawa ibumu juga bermasalah, seorang kaki botol yang asyik terbelenggu di dalam kemabukan. Segala ini Papa akan cuba atasi. Papa berjanji. Dengarkanlah lagu ini yang Papa pilih istimewa untukmu...


    Daddy, Daddy wasn't there,
    Daddy, Daddy wasn't there,
    To take me to the fair,
    He seems he doesn't care,
    Daddy wasn't there,
    When I was first baptised,
    When I was critisised,
    When I was ostrasissed,
    When I was jazzercised,
    Eating kidney pies,
    When I was modernised,
    When I was circumcised,
    Daddy wasn't there,
    To take me to the fair,
    To change my underwear,
    Daddy wasn't there.

    --Austin Powers--

    Saturday, January 03, 2009

    Nine

    I can't believe it's already 2009. The year kinda blazed through. The
    only thing that made me aware of the winding up of the year was the
    holidays that were piled up against each other. Nine was the day in
    October that I was born on. Nine was the number of the first house I
    stayed in KL. Nine is the number of images of my .... Well.... Lol. In
    terms of work, tings do not seem to have gotten better, but I have
    come to realise an important thing though- the power of delegation.
    But I am cautious of it coz when one gets to used to outsourcing one's
    'hands' and 'legs', it can be really tough roughing out yourself. My
    love life did not see many dramatic and emotional episodes. KH would
    agree that our two trips together were the highlights of the year. But
    more importantly, I feel that our degree of trust has increased.
    Health-wise, my acne has gotten under control and I am in the pink of
    health. However, I have begun to see the ravages of time. My social
    life is still in the toilet. I'm not meeting as many friends as I
    should. I have become the 'not attending by default' guy. Hopefully
    people will still remember me. On the homefront, the birth of Cyan my
    nephew brought much changes in perspective, focus and priorities in my
    family. I wonder what 2009 has in store for me... No specific
    resolutions this time round. I just hope to achieve balance in my
    life. Wish me luck. On an random note, according to Lillian Too, I'm
    supposed to buy a jade disc with an infinity symbol this year. Lol.

    --
    Regards,
    William

    Friday, January 02, 2009

    Faux Pas

    Please forgive the horrible mistake in the last post. It was meant to be an e-mail... NOT a blog post. :'(. Thanks Javier for the heads up.

    Thursday, January 01, 2009

    Sleeping Habits

    I asked Chester where he would be counting down the new year and he
    replied that it would be at home, on his bed to precise. Following up,
    I asked whether there would be someone else joining him there and he
    gave a positive answer- my teddy bear and my bolster. Well, both are
    technically hump-worthy, but that's besides the point. That sms
    conversation prompted me to ask this question:

    What do you have on your bed?

    I'm very minimalistic in this sense. Nothing more than a pillow and a
    blanket. And when the weather gets hot, even the pillow and blanket
    can go (and some clothes too). So, I eagerly await your feedback, be
    it a legion of soft toys or a couple of Antonio Banderas blow up
    dolls. Silakan... And oh yeah, HAPPY NO. NINE!

    --
    Regards,
    William