Monday, June 30, 2008

Today tonight around us

Being away for a few days, now that I am back, I was compelled to quickly scan the headlines of some major papers, now that lunch is over and I have cleared the pressing and urgent issues. A few that instantly caught my eye are below. Let's reflect on what we were doing, went through the last few days. We are often so caught up in our own myopic worlds, we lose track of what else can be happening around the world, that there are real people out there who go through what we do, who we both are not aware of the others' existence. Anyway, bad English aside, let's move on...

This article is about companies that handle daily mundane tasks that people outsourced to them, tasks that people either can’t, won’t or do not have the time to do. 1 such task was breaking off a relationship and another task involved a man asking someone to clean his ears for him. Seriously, you can’t find the time to do THAT? But on another note, it got me thinking, and there’s really a lot of stuff that could be done that way, for example, if I’m out doing some grocery shopping, and someone in my neighbourhood needs to get his laundry, and someone else needs to pay his phone bill, I could, en-route home, do their tasks for them, and get paid to do so. This reduces the number of cars on the road, thus easing traffic jams and petrol usage for everyone, saves time, and gives me a little pocket money earned that required not much effort at all. However the article goes on to say that people could outsource tasks like booking a restaurant, researching a holiday…I think stuff like that should still be done by us. It retains the ‘personal touch’, and makes romantic gestures that much more meaningful, as well as allowing for greater control.

In another article, I read about a
Vogue model who committed suicide and died. Now, the article does not state why she committed suicide. But it just reminded me of how the constant striving for what society deems aesthetical beauty is really going too far, and is not only affecting very normal, healthy, good looking young girls, and spoiling girls’ self images, and making them insecure about their looks or unable to recognize it when they are in fact pretty, but it has now come to the point where it pushes people to extremes that now include not just anorexia and bulimia, but also death. I really hate how society does this to otherwise perfectly pretty girls with absolutely wonderful bodies. They just can’t stop thinking that they look less beautiful than what they really are, and it can be quite frustrating. To some girls, in the bid to make them more beautiful, they end up going too far, even to the extent of sleeping around just to attain the reassurance that they are desirable. Admittedly, such girls’ behaviours are the manifestation of a deeper psychological problem, but this affliction also infects girls with stronger constitutions than that, just in different ways.

How many of us really believe that there is freedom of choice in today’s world and that we are all completely in control of our own behaviour? IF you think you are, then you are deluded. Everyday, there are many instances where what we think/do are subliminally controlled or influenced by the environment around us, cleverly manipulated and designed by marketers or lobbyists. For example, I strongly believe that smoking is a personal choice. And given that some people do not like cigarette smoke, it is correct to gazette smoke-free zones. But you can’t take this too far. Why not let entertainment establishments decide for themselves whether they allow smoking in the joint or not, and trust that people can choose to decide for themselves whether to patronize the joint or not? I hate it when anti tobacco lobbyists, in their overzealousness and whatnot,
ban smoking here there and in pubs and bars. What makes them think they know better than the people themselves what is good for them? Let people choose, give us freedom of choice! If you are going to ban tobacco smoking on the grounds that it harms others, well, why not ban alcohol as well? That affects far more people, from spousal abuse, familial neglect, rowdy behaviour, being nuisances, broken bottles in public places, drunk driving and its associated accidents etc, and the list goes on.

A lot of us have the same thought of going backpacking. We have all entertained ideas of making like those Canadians, Europeans, Aussies, and go backpacking around the world on a shoestring budget. The closest I’ve done to that is gone to Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef with Sze. I must say it was a nice experience. But I’ve hardly ever read about tourists’ backpacking experience in Malaysia. This is 1 account. I’m sure there are many more. It does make me wonder, perhaps I could start a back packer’ establishment here in Malaysia, with reasonable rates. After all, for a tourist, what better than an English literate, honest, local guy who can give you some good recommendations, and who is just an internet click away, and who won’t lure you into some dubious tourist scam?

Post Redang Blues...

So, finally, we are back! From Redang.

It was a wonderful trip, full of scholarly jokes, laughter, fun. Haven’t laughed that hard in a while. That’s what happens when you throw the 9 of us together.

The first 5 hours in the Innova was choc a bloc with great songs, singing at the top of our voices, while we sped along the East West highway in the middle of the night.

Usher just gets better and better, and he has done it again with In This Club. Jet as well, with Shine On, has made it to the top of our Must Sing list. Another tune for humming along to is Jesse McCartney's latest. But the staples, as usual, were U2, Jet, Keane, Snow Patrol, Linkin Park, MCR, Muse, just to name a few.

Redang photos coming up.

But for now, it is back to the hellish grind and bustle of daily life again, back to the grinding mill. Work work work.

Back at work with a slight tan and a lobster-red face.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


This job of mine, which I’ve been doing for the past 6 months, is not bad for the work in itself. It involves lots of number crunching and statistical analysis, and you can spot trends and stuff, which is pretty cool.

The problem is, the effing problem is, that it basically involves me sitting at my table for the entire day, the only exercise being the clicking of the mouse.

Now, anyone who knows me, will know that this is just not me. I made my name here as a dynamic, active person, always on the move, on the go, on the ball, and scooting around the production floor, marching from machine to machine, inspecting things and talking to people.

Now, I basically sit at my freaking desk, and people who walk past and see me here, always come up to me and express their sympathies. And everyone says, it is just so not me. Which I totally agree! Everyone thinks it’s a waste and a pity that I am slowly wasting away here, in this inactive state.

I hate walking in, pulling out my chair, and staying rooted to the same spot, and not moving throughout the entire work day, and just sit there. Which is why reading my basketball news online occasionally is so important, as it is my only way of tapping into something that remotely resembles sports. And sports is in my DNA.

It’s tough, it really is. This makes me really look forward to my basketball sessions, my (trying to re-kickstart it) gym sessions, and most of all, being able to just chill in the sun. That’s all I want, is to lie there in the sun, and chill, and feel the heat on my back. Really, and read a book.

I can feel myself becoming weak and falling sick. I can feel my myscles atrophying. This is a slow painful death. You might as well just slowly start stabbing me to death with a dessert fork. I NEED an active lifestyle.

Old CDs...

This morning, dug out some of my old and oft listened to CDs to bring to work to listen to while working.

Started off with one of my all time fav Beyond CDs.

Now conjuring up images of me walking around campus defiantly, or at the gym, or trudging around in the cold and dark…I love that solitary feeling, me against the world, holed up in my own virtual reality and secluded by my earphones.

Love it.

Citybaths memories tumbling down now.

Scholars Road Trip, 2008!

The countdown begins!!!

It is now 10am. In approximately 36 hours, will come the 2008 edition of the multiple-yearly scholars’ trip!

This is so exciting I am shivering and can hardly wait. Finally, after much hoo hah, after being postponed from last year to this year, after much ding donging and tick tocking, we have finally managed to confirm and book things.

Initially it started out as a very ambitious long distance road trip involving 1 van and 9 guys, to Vietnam/Laos. However, due to logistical issues, mainly attributed to the inability to obtain the required leave duration, we scaled it down to just Bangkok. However, as the duration available was shortened even more, we scaled it down again to just Haadyai. Eventually, some got wimpy and pointed to various security concerns, and ultimately, it came down to just 2 nights at Redang.

But it is still better than nothing!

Not much else beats this…surrounded by my 8 fellow scholars, 3 days of no work, no thoughts, no pressures, just me, friends, sun, sea, sand, surf, kayaking, snorkelling…can just bask in the warm sunlight, read a book, and since I am on the East Coast, watch the sun rise.

Only something like PLR with the gf can beat this. Or any other holiday with her, for that matter.

But for now, this is really something I am looking forward to.

Monday, June 23, 2008

A versus B

Besides boyfriend girlfriend, how else can 1 describe one’s that person?

Not yet married, so not spouse, nor partner. Then…?! BF/GF is too … does not do justice to the relationship, since so many shallow relationships are labelled as such.


In the eternal question, it seems to be increasingly people are confronted with choices of whether to choose boyfriend/girlfriend or career/lifestyle.

Invariably, it seems that at this age, the latter usually wins. Perhaps when people are older, have had more under their belts and all that’s left is to secure a good future with the former, that is when they are more ready to settle down. There is difficulty in choosing a certain path, and then when people choose a path, if their minds are not settled, they’d forever be wondering what if what if.

It’s better to let em go, let em pursue their dreams, and if love truly exists between both, then they will wait.

Is that right?

I think I’m the sort of dude who prefers to settle in one place. I’ve got feet of clay.

It’s not fair either to clip her wings and force her to stay beside you though, right? What IS fair, what isn’t fair? They say all is fair in love and war. Fairness versus rightness.

OK, a bit distracted…I think I better get back to work.

What does it mean...

…to be a modern man?

It used to be easy. All you had to do was (i) Take spear go out, grab a few male relatives, go kill mammoth, har har har, split mammoth between hunters, play dumb joke with tusks pretending to be male anatomical parts, har har har, club a guy softly on the head with a mammoth paw, take mammoth portion home. (ii) give all meat to wife n daughters to store away. Sit down, eat food that has been cooked. Draw on wall about today’s hunt. Feel masculine for being successful hunter. Hence…(iii) go to wife. Poke her shoulder. She turns around. You grunt. She nods. You retreat to back of cave. Blow out fire. Sniff her a bit. Paw at her a bit. Ravage her. [Censored].

From there, we evolved into this that this that and then there was honour there was gentlemanliness blabla.

Just 50 years ago, we had the tough macho man, he who never winced/cried/felt emotion. The guy who stoically goes about building cities, homes, butchering meat, who fixes things at home. Then we got the namby pamby new age guy (who later turns out to be a closet gay), the dandy, then all these terms get bandied about, metrosexual, SNAG, blab la. So what the hell?

I guess the best barometer is to be true to yourself, operating by an objective set of standards that is not reliant upon societal definitions of what it means to be a modern man. But when you are so, and then it is pointed out to repeatedly that what you are is not right, it’d a bit bullheaded and foolhardy to doggedly pursue this line of character. OK, I get it. So there are aspects I need to change.

But heck, what if there are issues that I have, and it really is bugging me, and it is stuff that is quite normal and I might not be big hearted enough to deal with it.

Annoying stuff, this.

I wonder if women have to deal with this stuff. I’m pretty sure they do. Just as it’s hard to be a man nowadays, we are expected to put up with what our gfs wear, what their hobbies are, how they think and approach certain things, to bring home the bacon, and a lot of it too, be strong, be smart, be sensible, be wise, be handsome, be mature, be forgiving, be well built, be brilliant at work, have lots of free time, can fix everything. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it’d be a tough job. Similarly, it must be tough to be a woman. You gotta be able to cook well, look good, know what to say, know how to act, be a great mum, an understanding gf, a filial daughter, compete in a world where men are paid more, have a good body, blabla.

Why is this so? How come in prev generations this wasn’t so?

Maybe it’s the media influence, the proliferation of various bits of media that constantly pounds into us this is good that is good, and raises societal expectations, play along people’s greed to have it all and have it now.

The best thing as far as I’m concerned, is to have zero expectations, have it fair, and (if you have a good parent), use your parent as a starting point role model, and then, things will be rosy and peachy.

Just the basic: understanding, sweet, kind, gentle, looks healthy, sense of humor, quite intelligent. Tat’s good enough.

Monday, June 09, 2008

That kind of day

Well, it’s been THAT kind of day.

You know, the truly fucked up type, from morning til the afternoon. Tried to stick on a good face so as not to treat the undeserving with undeserved behavior, very tired now, must be the long weekend, but just received another shocker.

I hope I’m not ‘all the king’s horses and all the king’s men’, couldn’t patch back together the shells of a broken egg.

But it’s ok. I will keep trying.

Blog more later.

Friday, June 06, 2008

On Blogging...and the end of Chronicles

It used to be that last time, I looked forward to and enjoyed blogging, and when I didn’t blog, I felt an itch that needed to be scratched. At times, I poured out my emotions through my blog. In the past almost 1 year, I have been blogging very intermittently and sporadically. There have been moments, I wont deny, that I have had the itch to do so. But the itch is gone very soon, and thoughts that I wanted to blog about but has escaped me does not make me feel weird until it has been blogged down. Basically, not blogging makes no difference to me.

I think I might be growing out of blogging. I’m not so partial to venting my emotions here anymore, coz it is more productive to just handle the issue, and not talk about things. That’s my style. I think when I get married I will stop this.

Reading my old, old posts, I actually get embarrassed at how I handled things and how I felt. Moving on I think my emotions and moods are stabilizing, where the extremes are not so extremes and are better handled. When I read blogs I previously used to haunt and stalk, I see that many of the blogs I used to read are still the same, talking about the same things.

It seems that in this time, the person hasn’t really grown much or developed much. We should use blogs as a reference path down memory lane and then can chart our progress and what else needs to be done. Seriously, in life, there’s a lot more to it. And a lot of our problems are dramaticized, exaggerated by us. I think there is a part in all of us that likes to taint our life with a touch of tragedy sorrow and injustice.

Our love for drama and theatrics needs to be infused with a healthy dose of reality, and we should learn to recognize this trait and separate the actual situation. Then we don’t confuse truth and fantasy and end up messing things up more. When we try to view our lives through rose tinted glasses, there are actually many worthy roses to smell, and things are never as bad as they seem.

Beyond beyond beyond!

Wow, it has been a Beyond fever fortnight.

At work, everyday has been mind numbingly, frighteningly full of figures, numbers, Excel, SAP, DWH, formulas, etc. Normally what gets me through the day is being able to very quietly listen to my beloved Beyond.

Top 5 rock bands in the world. Ever.

But my new colleague YP has turned out to be a v v knowledgeable and enthusiastic Beyond band as well, and she knows all the old songs as well, even songs that r terribly obscure that no true Beyond fan would know. So I’ve been able to ramp up my volume a tad, which makes for a good working environment. It’s always good to work with someone who also likes the same songs you listen to while working.

Then I found out that for one of the videos they used on Astro to raise money for the earthquake victims, they used a Beyond song as the theme!!! They just changed the lyrics, and all the HK artistes, the notable who’s who, all sang in it, even those who were criticised incessantly by Beyond. And this is 15 years after the demise of WKK.

Talk about lasting effect right? And then the other day, my friend who don’t really listens to Chinese songs, smsed me telling me he caught himself actually listening to and bopping along to and humming to a Beyond song on radio.

That was awesome. Converting friends, and knowing that even today they still play their tracks on radio. Very warm.

Reading character at the gym

So now with sports events all coming up, with the way I am wired, I am becoming more antsy and the adrenaline is pumping again. Unable to actually play those games, yesterday night I decided to pop by the gym (my first time in like…many months).

[Beat L.A! Beat L.A! the Boston Garden is alive! The parquet floor is shining again!]

So, everything seemed quite familiar. It was nice to soak myself in the familiar and the known, and I rather liked dispensing my energy in this manner, attacking the weights with gusto and working myself up into a sweat. It also reminded me a lot of a certain phase in my life, which I really enjoyed. And comparing now and then, it was disheartening to note that I had not progressed much. It was a soul searching moment (how many guys do that in the gym!?), during which I had to deal with certain resolutions I had failed to keep and that I must now kickstart vigorously and with gusto. But, in remembering an article I had skimmed through very cursorily earlier, I observed something noteworthy.

They say you can identify the type or character of a guy by the way he works out, and I think this is very true. Of course, this is not THE barometer to be used, but it does help if you are a female on the prowl and your jungle is the gym. Actually, you shouldn’t be doing that.


Guys who spend a lot of time at the free weights area are vain. No ands ifs or buts about it. They usually primp and prone a lot, and are often observed ogling at themselves. If these peacocks strutting about are so preoccupied with their looks, you can rest assured he ain’t gonna be think about you much. These are the insensitive pricks. And lo and behold, a chance to test my theory came into play. The guy beside me dropped his ring, which he didn’t realize. I helpfully picked it up and passed it to him. He took it from me, did not look at me nor grunt nor assent nor say a word, put the ring on, adjusted it, and then picked up his weight and continued lifting and grunting while not taking his eyes from the mirror. Wow.

In the course of working up a genuine sweat, you are bound to occasionally let out some sounds or grunts. That’s fine. But there is a line that one should not cross. Maria sharapova sounding like she is having sex on court? Fine. Mr Big arms+Big belly-in-tight-shirt-with-popping-veins-bulging-thighs-in-undersized-tights-dripping-sweat sounding like he is in the middle of orgasming? DEFINITELY forgivable if someone (maybe me) decides to “accidentally” drop a 55lbs dumbbell on his crotch. These are the look at me types, who want the world to know what they can lift. They are normally loud dressers, who like to boast about their achievements, and who attain material things as status symbols as well. Fancy a boyfriend like that?

Then there are the quietly competitive types who keep sneaking peeks at the people around them to gauge how far ahead/behind of their competition they are, to either feel better, or to increase their weights. These types usually load more than they can lift. You can notice these because they spend a lot of time sitting watching and not doing much, and their weights seem too much for someone their size, and they lift just a little bit. Cant move it much. This is the sort of guy who will bite off more than they can chew just to keep up with the Joneses. Very risky to have a guy like that, more preoccupied with his self esteem and self conceived inferiority issues to feel secure enough in himself to focus on you.

Then there is the sort who do their workout, but constantly goes for drinks, reads magazines between sets, type messages, etc. This type does not have mental stamina and staying power to complete a task, and is the worst sort of employee or boyfriend. Once he loses interest in you or decides he does not want to push himself to meet objectively reasonable and admirable standards, he will bail. Is not persistent, not determined, so hence after a long time in the gym, you will see that they have not made much gains. They are not focused, not mentally tough, and easily give up. In a boyfriend, you want one who faces adversity head on, and rises above circumstances, not get sucked in by them.

There is another type, who is very disciplined. They go about methodically, never varying or changing their routine. You see him coming in at similar times, and doing the same workouts, in the same sequences. He diligently writes down his sets, his reps, keeps track of and monitors his progress, and even if it is absurd that a guy his size is lifting something very light, he is not afraid to do it. This is the type who is very disciplined, but without much creativity. They are very conservative, and are afraid to take risks or step out of line. They are hardly ever rich, but are never mediocre either. They are also sticklers to plans and schedules, and do not embrace spontaneity or unpredictability, and are not very flexible with their plans. But they do have several good traits.

The last type, is the best type. This type is embodied by me, but hey, that’s a story for another day, and besides, self praise is no praise.

Sports sports sports

Fittingly enough, in my first post back after a long hiatus I will be talking about sports and more precisely, the NBA Finals. Now, as most people who know me reasonably well can tell you, I am a rabid sports fan. I love intense thrilling competition, being involved in something exciting, adrenaline inducing and balls shrinking. In short, I am a testosterone junkie. While other like minded souls who are wired the same way would get their indulgences from racing cars, living life dangerously and recklessly, womanizing, I get mine almost exclusively from sports. The thrill of being in a tightly contested game, where the score is tied 10-10 and the first team to win by a 2 basket margin wins, and everyone knows what everyone is going to do, and everyone tries their best to pull out all the stops to stop everyone else, and then, in spite of them trying their utmost to stop you, you still do what it is you do, and then you beat them, and rip their hearts out in the process. That’s what it’s all about.

The mental state that I can get into while in the midst of a furiously paced, action packed, physical, toe to toe, evenly matched basketball game is addictive, is high and often times, an aphrodisiac. Hmm… if I can’t get my sports, I also like to get into adventure sports, with a fair amount of unpredictability and muscles involved, like white water rafting and abseiling.

But I digress…the most exciting event in the yearly calendar is back!!! Ladies please excuse your boyfriends for a bit. It is the NBA Finals, where the best of the best, the world champion, is truly decided. In this year’s historic matchup, we have the Boston Celtics against the LA Lakers. Now, I won’t expound on this too much, but c’mon, does this not evoke in one memories of Larry Legend and Magic? It’s too exciting! I miss my Astro. Reading about the espn online account of the games was enough to evoke goosebumps and enough adrenaline to send me soaring. I am itching to play, right now. The drama, the subplots, the matchups, the deserving Big 3, and I hate LA!!! Beat LA…goes the famous Boston chant, now taken up fervently by me.

Best sport in the world

On a slightly different note, how can people say football is better than basketball!? Well for one, if you want excitement and unpredictability, ok, then maybe football is more exciting to watch because the games hinge on just 1 game. The outcome is decided in just 1 game. But in basketball, the champion is decided over a series, with the first team to win 4 games taking it all. Isn’t that fairer, and a better way of establishing unequivocally who the BEST TEAM is? I mean, when you are trying to decide the best team, obviously winning 4 games will really require that you ARE the better team, and hence, you are deservingly crowned champions. Whereas, in football, the winner is only who was the better team that day.

So flukes can determine the winner. And that is not how we should determine the BEST TEAM. One has got to sustain their winning ways to be a champion.

At any rate, in a recent poll that espn conducted, and let us be very clear that ESPN screens about 22 times more football programmes than basketball programmes, the results indicated that among professional athletes themselves, they rated basketball as the more demanding sport, and as the sport with the fittest athletes. There you go!

In basketball, you are literally sprinting up and down the court for the entire game, with no rests. In football, the players around the ball are the ones mainly involved in the action. In basketball, you have only 5 players on the court from any team. That way, your contribution is vital and every move is critical, and any mistake magnified.

Anyway, Euro 2008 is starting soon, and I am getting caught up in the fever of it. Laid my bets. The 4 semifinalists will be Germany, Spain, Netherlands and the last one is a toss up between Portugal (if Christiano is on form…watch out), Italy (no Cannavaro) and France (dark horse).

It’s great to live in the world of televised sports!