06 July 2009

10 International Live Acts Caught

Deprived in my own country. That's how I feel when it comes to attending international live concerts from the west. Many top acts have been to this part of the world in Asia. However they simply bypass us in Malaysia. Due to countless restrictions our authorities designed specially to keep themselves busy and powerful. Not to mention the many layers of red-tapes and approval the concert organisers have to put up with before the show is allow to go on at the very last minute. By the time the many levels of authorities are 'taken care of' to 'protect' the concerts, there isn't much left for the organiser. This was a fact told to me by a marketing manager friend Bryan who was once in charge of live acts sponsorship when he was with a renown brand company.

If you are an organiser, it will be quite an expensive ordeal since your investment will be decided by the wimps and fancies of the hungry power that be. So its never a question of whether the artiste can sell tickets. It is always whether you are allowed to sell them in the first place. Due to this, many organisers would think twice before bringing any pop stars to our local shore.

But that's only half of the nightmare. There is also the religious counsel to be content with. The overzealous counsel members seems to have alot of man-made rules to keep themselves morally superior too. So they sat Gwen Stefani down last year and told her to cover her arms and legs before she can take to the stage. She humbly did so. I wondered how her make-shift wardrobe looked like. I bet it must have been a total malfunction!

Then a year later, they demanded Beyonce to revamp her costumes to suit their self-righteous hang-ups. But Beyonce said, 'Screw you. I am taking my act to the largest Muslim country in the world. Which is totally not as insecure and uptight as y'all'. Indonesia then welcomed her with open arms and minds.

Here are the odds. Can one night of concert attended by just a tiny fraction of the young generation be able to corrupt the minds of the entire population? Funny how Beyonce and Gwen continue to show their skins all over Malaysia on TV and no one seems to be complaining. Dear members of the counsel, go figure.

So by some strokes of luck, I managed to catch 10 international live acts over the pass fifty odd years. I am not even talking about my top 10 list of concerts. I don't have the luxury of choice to put up my favourite top ten. Ten concerts are all there is I managed to attend in my entire life. So far. That works out to one concert in every five years! Some are not even concert size. Deprived? You bet I am. However the following are the 10 acts I have attended that should calm my deprived music driven soul. Here in the order of my favourite:

1. Linkin Park : Merdeka Stadium
Easily the best concert I have attended so far. The thought of attending a concert by my favourite rock band is like a dream come true. Yes, I got to see them live and loud. Mike Shinoda rapping as he paced about the fully imported mega stage. Chester Bennington screamed through his songs and left us all in a state of shock and wanting more. He actually screamed just like he would in their CDs for the entire concert. No audio tricks. Every monumental rousing song send us into a head banging frenzy. From beginning to the last encore. The ultimate in live rock concert experience. We were all fully charged and totally pumped.....I was so numbed.

2. Michael Jackson : Merdeka Stadium
The first time I saw MJ in concert was in Singapore. I was on the ground level in the middle of the stadium field. That was a big bad idea. If not for the giant video wall, I can only see a pin size head of Michael bopping about from where I was standing. The crowd was too tall for me. Or was I too short? A few years later, when he was to perform in Kuala Lumpur, I got smart. I bought a side terrace seat which is not only cheaper than those standing ground, I had a grand full view of the stage with Michael doing everything including his famous moon walk. Yes I saw him for real. Twice. The sound system was crystal clear and thumping even though it was an open air concert. It dawned on me that I am witnessing a first class international act from the mesmerizing king of pop himself with precision choreography to superior audio and visual technology. What a treat.

3. Duran Duran : Putra World Trade Center
By the time I got to see them live on stage, they have already past their prime with only 3 original members remaining. Well, at least I got to see Simon Le Bon, Nick Rhodes and John Taylor. When they took to the stage, the absence of Andy Taylor and Roger Taylor didn't matter much anymore. Simon had the Malaysian crowd lapping up every dated hits they dished out. I paid a good price for this show and ended up very close to the stage. Mainly because Duran Duran has been my favourite band during the 80s. I went with Kutie a colleague who is totally crazy about them. Naturally we had a ball and can't get enough. After the show we were still hungry like a wolf.

4. Daryl Hall & John Oates : Stadium Negara
They came to Kuala Lumpur during the peak of their fame. Maneater were to be one of the best album they have ever recorded. In fact it was this album that made me comb through their back catalogs and own most of them. But how would they sound live? I must say it was a gem of a party. The songs were danceable and hip during that time. Everyone was into it. Daryl's mullet hairdo was a rage. His signature voice rang out unmistakably around the stadium only to remind me that I am watching the maneater himself. At one point he even directed a guitarist back to his spot when he has over done his solo. Alas the diva in Daryl was showing. Throughout the concert, John Oates was very much to himself singing a few numbers with occasional harmony.

5. Santana : Stadium Negara
My first ever concert experience in a stadium. The euphoria I got from the crowd was something that cannot be felt from watching any concert on TV. I was not even on drugs. Never had anyway. Watching Carlos in real life, frying his guitar with his signature closed eyes was enough to get me high. I don't remember how I got to the front of the stage. If I can recall well, the pricey ground level wasn't packed and we were allowed to join the sparse crowd about 20 minutes into the show. So I ended up right there under his guitar spell. I jumped, clapped, shouted and head banged with total lost of inhibition. That embarrassing sight came complete with a paisley head-band on my forehead emulating Carlos. What was I thinking.

6. Paula Abdul : Stadium Negara
The most memorable part of the act was her entrance. I remembered she just appeared and rocketed towards the ceiling of the stadium with cables. While she was up there at the center peak of the stadium roof, she pivoted and danced in mid-air. It was so high up there I just couldn't comprehend her lack of fear for heights! The upward gazing crowd was in awe and went wild. I haven't seen any appearance like this since. The rest of the performance was very colourful due to the video wall I saw for the first time. Goes without saying, the dance routine choreographed by Miss Abdul herself turned the whole concert into a party.

7. Bee Gees: Universiti Malaya Auditorium
The Bee Gees I saw was way before Saturday Night Fever. They were already casted off as has-been before they reinvented themselves with the disco beats. They were so uncool that they couldn't even command a stadium crowd. To be booked in a university hall in Malaysia says alot about their popularity then. I did enjoy the mini concert. Mainly because I got to see the real Gibb brothers doing all the songs I knew by heart. Oh yeah, Robin Gibb was already singing with a hand covering one of his ear then. It's also before he got his face fixed. Barry has not yet discover the frenzy he would create with his medallioned hairy chest later in his career. But he looked so much better then. They were all so young. So was I. I went home singing to their songs cupping my ear with one hand.

8. Dionne Warwicke : Harlequin Ballroom, Merlin Hotel
No I didn't spell her name wrongly. Dionne put the E at the end of Warwicke thinking she could revive her post Bacharach career. Instead she ended up singing in a hotel in Malaysia. For 3 nights she entertained the crowd with her then newer songs. But it was her Burt Bacharach songs that really got the crowd going. Its clear that she can't do away with her collaboration with Burt. The Harlequin Ballroom is not exactly a concert hall which is just perfect for an evening with DW. Very intimate. Very lounge. She charmed the dinner crowd with her warm rapport. I felt her eventhough I was sitting far back as a non-diner. At one point her mic was not working half way through a song. She gamely encourage all of us to continue for her before another mic was fixed for the next number. So professional she was.

9. Blood Sweat & Tears : Kuala Lumpur Hilton Ballroom
During the early 70s Jazz Rock was one of the IN thing in music. Blood Sweat and Tears was just right up there with Chicago. With hits like Spinning Wheel and You Make Me So Very Happy, I have been a faithful fan when it comes to buying all their black vinyl. By the time they made it to the KL Hilton Ballroom's stage in the early 80s they were already a has-been band. What I got to witness was just half the original 8-piece band fronted by the original singer David Clayton Thomas. That was good enough for me. His sexy gravel soulful voice was still recogniseable all except his obesity. It was a sit down concert and the crowd was well behaved. At the end of the show, the Malaysian crowd didn't know how to call for an encore. The band didn't return either. Quite an odd ending I was thinking to myself.

10. Sting : Stadium Negara
He appeared on stage unceremoniously in a black tee-shirt backed by his musicians also dressed in black. Very simple. Very honest. For the next one and a half hour, he was to sing from hits to hits standing on the same spot with his guitar without addressing the crowd only but once. Typically, the crowd would wave lighters whenever Sting does a slow number. It would be a great if the venue was an intimate one. One of my ex-colleague Agnes whom I went with was drooling at the sight of Sting. Just because he was her type! For me, I wouldn't have miss a thing if I was at home listening to his CDs. Its the same. Believe me. I love him and his songs but live? Eh, I don't think so. However now I can claim that I have seen Sting in person. No big deal really.

11. Muse: Stadium Negara
Oh ok, so its 11 acts I have attended. Not 10. But this one doesn't really count. You see, a friend Raymond got us free tickets. 20 minutes into the concerts, we were still not singing along with the audience. I didn't know Muse well then. I didn't know their songs. I begin to realise this scene is not for me. We all walked out and pass our 4 tickets to some Malay boys who were contended with just listening to Muse from outside the stadium. They were so thankful. Speaking of deprived.


01 June 2009

10 Most Annoying Trivial Situations

Have you ever get caught in a situation where its so trivial but it still makes you go nuts? After more than 50 years of observations and personal experiences, I realise I cannot expect things to be fair all the time no matter how trivial the matter may be. But as much as I try to control my emotions over such imperfections, they still do get on my nerves once in a while. Here are my top 10 most annoying trivial situations I found myself in at one time or another. If some of them sound familiar to your own experience, you are not alone.

1. Hopping onto an escalator only to find its not moving.

2. Waiter serving food to another table even though you arrive earlier.

3. Getting caught behind a slow car in a fast lane.

4. Queueing on a long line towards 20 counters with only 1 opened.

5. Waiting for people who are late. (This one's a classic)

6. Holding the lift door for people without getting so much of a thank you from them.

7. Parents carelessly ignoring their own little brat's antics in public.

8. The bright glare of someone's mobile phone in the darkness of the cinema.

9. Ignorant people walking between me and the person I am photographing.

10. After washing my car to showroom condition, it rains. (Nature's fault this one LOL)

Have your own irritating encounters too? Do share them with me.


19 March 2009

I Was Wrong About Hong Kong

Its exactly one month ago today that I step foot in Hong Kong. It took me more than 50 years of my life to discover that it is an interesting country after all. I have been to many other countries but I deliberately choose to avoid Hong Kong for various reasons. For one, my idea of a vacation abroad must be filled with sight and sound of a totally different kind. I am Chinese so I thought it made no sense to go to another country where everyone speaks the same language as in my own city. As if I didn't fly out at all. I have also heard alot of unpleasant stories from friends who have returned from a Hong Kong holiday. The rude people being one of them.

On one account, a friend who complained to a restaurant manager that his waiter was mopping the floor under her feet while she was still half way through her lunch, was bluntly told that its alright for him to lose her bowl of business but he cannot afford to lose his staff! She was asked to finish her lunch quickly and leave! Another classic one was not to ask to touch and feel a product from a shop if you don't end up buying it. You will most likely get a earful of insults from the sales attendants.

Maybe that was many years ago when I gather those grouses. But now and after my visit to Hong Kong on 19th of February 2009, I have nothing but good things to remember about the intriguing and fascinating country.

Top ten most memorable moments I will always cherish about Hong Kong in a satisfactory way.

1. The Over-Hanging Street Signs
The most characteristic feature of Hong Kong. A clear reminder that you are right in the heart of this vibrant country. That's the first thing I encounter when I step into the streets of Hong Kong. Gave me such a thrill to realise I am no longer staring at any postcards but for real.

2. The Unique Food Taste
Dim sum and wanton noodles are totally out of this world unlike the ones we have in my country. Here is where you get original dim sum and wanton. The land that created and perfected it. Of course you have to know where to find the better restaurants. Thankfully we have HK friends to take us there.

3. The Reliable Public Transport
Trains, ferries or buses, they are always on time. We were never worried about being delayed or get caught in a traffic jam. Come to think of it, despite HK being a crowded city, I haven't seen any traffic jams. Amazing.

4. The Vibrant Harbour by Night
One of the most colourful skyline in the world captured with my own eyes. Needless to say any tourist like me will not miss the dancing neon and lazer light show by the harbour. The lazer show was not as impressive but the fact that I laid eyes on the most recognisable skyline is a sight to behold.

5. The Warm Hong Kong Friends
The Hong Kong friends are warm and friendly in a matter-of-fact way. Taking time out to meet us and one kind HK pal even throw an open-house party and invited us to join them. We were fortunate enough to be invited and caught a glimpse of how they live their lives. The picture above show us walking towards a condo. Rare occasions I cherish.

6. The Efficient Restaurants
From small cafe to fancy restaurants, they are always crowded but service is consistently efficient in as far as I have encountered. The waiters are alert and always quick to take orders. The food arrive fast and steaming hot. More importantly when you are especially hungry after a full day of touring.

7. The Cool Cold Peak
We took a tram up to the top of the peak over looking the entire Hong Kong captivating harbour. We were there at the right time to experience the cool winter breeze right at the top of the peak but didn't get a very clear view around due to the cold mist. But we got the idea.

8. The Unique Cantonese Sound
Everyone in Hong Kong speaks cantonese as if they are straight out of a Hong Kong TV or movie show. It's their intonation and the way they express themselves. I speak cantonese too but not as accurately since my cantonese has been mutated in a Malaysian way. So in a country where cantonese are used so skillfully from sales attendants to friends, I decided not to embarrass myself and converse in English instead. What a shame.

9. The Disney Experience
A whole new world. Check out Mickey Mouse speaking in cantonese when you are there. Never fail to amuse. Going on a Monday is a wise thing to do. That's because its not as crowded and we don't have to wait in line for any rides or entertainment. Even then, I have some younger friends who dashed from one rides to another giving me an impression that one full day is not enough in the land of Donald Duck.

10. The Pyjamas Party
After every exhausting day of wondering around Hong Kong, its nothing like hanging out with friends in the comfort of pyjamas. Sharing our life experiences and reflecting on the day's accounts complete with wine all round. It all boils down to one thing about this trip. Friends who travel with you make alot of difference in making a vacation more satisfying.

A Movie Sum Up of My Hong Kong & Macau Adventure:


03 February 2009

Long Attention Span

Say, you bought yourself a CD. Pop it into the player and cranked up the volume. Less then two minutes into the first song, your hand assumed a mind of its own and reached for the remote. With a casual click, the first track unceremoniously cut off and the second filled the room again. This went on until sampling of the last track is done. Then back to first song and this time, you let it spin on. However you got up and went about your homely chores while you let your $40 worth of music acted like background soundtrack to your preoccupied life.

If this ritual sounds familiar to you, welcome to the world of short attention spans where patience is getting shorter by each Beat Per Minute.

So have you actually lie down, close your eyes and absorb in the entire CD's serving? I must admit some CDs are so infectious, I sat through the whole production. That goes to show every song in that album is a gem. Here are some albums that made me pay full attention. In no particular order, they are...

Linkin Park - Hybrid Theory
The album that did all the screaming for me and my own pend up frustration. What a relieve.

Tears for Fears - Songs From The Big Chair
All the fine details and texture of each songs sound different on every listening

Queen - A Night At The Opera
Creative and dramatic.

Lighthouse Family - Postcards From Heaven
Should have rename the album title to Voice From Heaven.

Led Zeppelin 2
Never close your eyes listening to this album. You will feel as if someone squeezing your lemon.

Jody Watley - The Makeover
This cool classy R&B lady is my favourite girl of all time. I lap up everything she dished out!

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young - Déja Vu
Their tight 4 part harmony just makes me replay the whole album over and over again.

Paul McCartney - Chaos & Creation
One of his best solo album to date. Very moody and consistant on each track right up to the end.

Pink Floyd - Dark Side Of The Moon
This one plays tricks with your mind. You just want to be led to a place bordering on insanity.

Elvis Costello - Painted From Memory
A Burt Bacharach collaboration that saw to each song drift timelessly.

Duran Duran - Rio
If I have to pick one album to represent the New Romantics 80s period, this has to be it. Dance away!

Amy Winehouse - Back to Black
She sounded like she's been around for a long time. She is only in her 20s and I can't get enough of her.

Deep Purple - Fireball
The first rockl music I ever heard. I was so hooked into this, for a good earlier half of my life I went heavy metal.


15 January 2009

How I suffered

It wasn't too long ago as the whole world celebrated the crossing from 1900s to 2000s. 2000 was not even the new millennium as most people thought. Year 2001 was officially the new millennium since the calendar did not start with year zero. But the number 2000 seems too important to ignore. No longer do we refer to the year starting with nineteen anymore. It was a huge celebration televised live as the clock struck twelve from country to country . I remember witnessing it on telly as the earth rotates.

That was year 2000. Now with a blink of the eyes, I found myself in year 2009! The earth sure rotates very fast. Yes do you know if you are on the equator like me, you'll be rotating at about 1000 miles per hour? With such dizzying speed, no wonder technology has come a long way. I can still remember a few dead lifestyle changing ways since as early as 30 years ago. Top of mind:

Pen Pal
Chat messaging and emails do effectively change how we make friends around the world. In my younger days, we have pen pals. For those who have no idea about what pen pal is, its a term we used when we befriend someone far away by communicating with postal mails. Yes in order to 'chat' we literally drop the envelope that contains our handwritten messages on some fancy paper into the mail box at the post office. It will take a week or so before my friend from UK gets my message. If I am lucky, I will get his reply in about a month if he is not too busy. You have no idea about the joy of receiving a pen pal's mail posted personally to you. Its like receiving birthday presents from afar. You would read them over and over again, scutinized it, smell it, you name it. Now who needs pen pals when we have chat messengers. Instant communication wherever you are in the world. Just logon and you are there expressing yourself without having to lick any stamps. How I suffered through those snail mail ages.

Audio Cassettes
Before audio CDs, we had audio cassettes. That wasn't too long ago. Upon recalling, the first thing that came to mind are those hissing noise when one listen to music. Then the next thing is to buy a better cassette deck with all those fancy buttons with fancy technology just to cut down the hiss. Then as if not enough, the audio cassette gods, offers a range of cassette tapes catering to different types of hiss reduction levels. They also come in all sorts of fancy names. Like chrome tapes or metal tapes just to get you to think it will give you a better high fidelity. I spent more time trying to find ways to reduce the noise than to actually sit down and enjoy the music. Give me CDs anytime. But hold on to your iPods fellas. The digital downloads are taking the world by storm as I write. How I suffered through those hissing years.

Video Tapes
Being able to watch a movie at your own time on telly was made such a big deal when video tape was invented. However if you want to look for a particular scene in a movie, press forward and go pee. Because by the time you return, the tape will most likely be speeding forward still. If you have a better video tape player, they will stop on track for you. But it will still take time. Want to watch the movie again. Press rewind and wait till kingdom come. Don't even get me started on the picture quality. Not to mention the money I wasted on all the bulky tapes thats collecting dust in my old house. DVD is a big leap forward. With Blue-Ray at the helm, there is definitely no rewinding back to those VHS days. How I suffered through those dark years.

Almost everybody owns a mobile phone these days. Just dial..eh..I mean key in a number and you can reach anyone anywhere. 30 years ago, I have to rush back home just to wait for an important call. And while I am on the line, I have to make sure I can only walk around from as far as the telephone cord allows. I was also born in the era where you actually dial a number. Yes, no push buttons but stick your finger in any of the ten holes of corresponding numbers and turn the dial clockwise. its oh so analog. Now I don't even push buttons. I push glass. Yes, the iPhone glass panel that display the image of a phone pad. Not only can I make calls with it but I can also watch movies on my phone. Oh, have I also mention that I can walk anywhere while I am on the line? Cordless! Its unimaginable at that time. How I suffered through those analog years.

Camera Film Roll
Anyone remember film roll? No? I can't blame you. Our photos are all totally digitized now. In my jurassic years, in order to view what I have taken in my camera, I remembered I have to rewind the negative film back to its small casing and carefully remove it from the camera. Because if its not fully wound back, the negative film will be exposed to the light and all that was shot will be gone forever. With the film roll intact, I would send it to a photography shop for developing. Meaning, going a professional process that I cannot do at home just to get the images from the film to photo paper. It will take about 7 days during the primitive years. But later years, about a day before we can get to marvel at all the photos taken. There is also no guarantee what was taken can be satisfying enough since there is no check back like in the digital camera. That was only about 15 years ago. I am still amazed that there are still film rolls around for sale. I wonder who buys them. How I suffered through those negative years.

If you are reading this, be thankful.

03 October 2008

Hundred Percent Juice

Advertising never lies. At least under the watchful eyes of authorities. However advertising can stretch the truth. That's right, a deception that blinds you into a shopping binge that defies any logical explanation. Yes I have been in advertising for more than 20 out of my 52 years to know how it works. And it's pretty shitty. To make it worst, the authorities can't do much because they are perfectly legal. So if you want to be a wiser shopper from now on, here are 5 deceptions (out of many) to watch out for. See if any of these sounds familiar.

1. Up to 80% Discount
How many times have you been tricked into entering a store with a big poster that screams 80% with a tiny 'up to'..next to it? Your first impression is everything in the shop is up for grabs at 80% off. But you are not that stupid. Uh uh. Only stupid enough to be drawn into the store hoping to check out what's up for 80%. You meandered round the store 5 times but still cannot locate the slashed price items. You gave up and awkwardly ask for assistance. She then point you to the bargain bin with just 2 items that are marked 80% off. You glare at the second-hand looking products with sheer disappointment. You look up and felt even more upset when you found yourself surrounded by a sea of 10% discount tags all over the store! But its too late. You are already at the cashier fishing out your credit card on something you don't need at 5% discount.

2. Only 2 Dollars A Day
The monthly statement you received from your credit card somethings comes with an extra bulk of leaflets merchandising products or services. They are called junk mails by the way. One of the common junks provided by the establishment is insurance. It's not easy to get someone to buy insurance these days. But the leaflet headline have a way of making you believe you can afford to buy up a policy and you won't feel a pinch. So the leaflet screamed..Hey You...Now You Can Feel Secure Forever With Only 2 Dollars A Day. What about in one year? Ok, you do the maths. Perhaps I should come up with an insurance scheme that says..Only 5 Cents A Minute.

3. Branded Frames only $10
'Yes its true sir' said the young but suspiciously unqualified optician. 'All these frames from Armani to Gucci are going for just $10 a piece. Please sit down and try some of them. I am sure one will fit your good looks' said the young patronizing girl. Seems like a great deal I thought to myself while adjusting a Guess on my nose bridge. I even suspect it may be imitation. But by the snug fit, it seems to rest comfortably around my ears unlike the non-branded ones. Anyhooo, to cut a long story short, I ended up paying $1200. No sirree! Not $10 but $1200! You see, what the Optical shops never include in the big posters are the prices of the lens. 'Oh sir, if you want high index lens, that will be extra $500. Multi-focus another $1000' said the cunning optician. (Me stretching the truth a bit here) Wink wink!
4. Best Buys
Don't be con by this one. If you see this poster hanging above some items, chances are they are not discounted because the store haven't yet apply for a permit to do a fancy store wide sales. They can only apply for it 4 times a year each time lasting about a month. So what is permitted is the word BEST BUYS during their quiet business period! Those 2 words does have an effect of a GOOD DEAL! But they don't. Trust me. I am in this ad business long enough. I know.

5. Aloe Vera 100% Gel
You heard about the healing effects of Aloe Vera extracts on dry skin or even wrinkles. You rush to a pharmacy and want to get something that is Aloe Vera based. But surprise surprise! You can't believe your eyes! You see a tube staring at you with a big word that says Aloe Vera 100% Gel. The price is also very agreeable. What more can you ask for? Its 100%. Totally pure. Right? WRONG. Read carefully. It says Aloe Vera 100% Gel. Still don't get it? OK, let me put it this way. It didn't say 100% Aloe Vera Gel. By law, advertising cannot claim that the gel is 100% Aloe Vera because it is not. They are a mixture of preservative compounds and artificial fragrances that forms the gel. However its not wrong to say that the mixture of gel is 100%. So the next time you want to reach out for a pack that says: Orange 100% Juice. You can be sure its not 100% Orange Juice.

There are lots more of these legal trickery but I'll let you tell me if you are observant enough. Happy shopping... Oops I mean happy spotting.


04 May 2008

Bangkok Revisited

Going to Bangkok seems like an annual affair for the past 6 years. Last year after returning from Bangkok, I told my traveling pals I dont think I will be going to Bangkok again anytime soon. At least not for a while. Not that I don't like Bangkok anymore. After all its one of the best vacation city in the world and its just right next door to Malaysia. But after 6 visits in a roll, stayed in the same street, ate the same (but great) Thai food, tour the same spots, there isn't much else to do. However encouraged by good company and cheap airfare, I found myself walking the bustling streets of Bangkok before I can finish saying 'Sawasdee Krub'.

So how was it this time around? I must say I thoroughly enjoyed myself because the huge difference is, I was traveling with a big bunch of great friends. All 8 of them out of which one a Singaporean and the other a Japanese. The joy of seeing friends enjoying themselves is rewarding enough since I played a small part in guiding the tour.

So there I was in the month of early March 2008, spending my first Thai Baht on my favourite bottles of freshly squeezed orange lime juice (see photo) right outside Swiss Lodge where we were staying. The bustling streets, the street food, the friendly Thais, the shopping malls, clubs and bars, the sights and sound seem all too familiar but set against the backdrop of great friends and laughters, its a whole new way of enjoying Bangkok all over again.

The bottom line is wherever you are, friends make a big difference in our lives. More so when they are trusting and supportive. Especially when one hit pass 50, good and caring friends are hard to come by. It shouldn't take a Bangkok revisited trip to realise that. Thank you my dear friends. You know who you are.


29 January 2008

Views from Mind's Eyes

A friend once asked me why I don't have a theme to my blog. Like gardening, cooking, exotic pets or automobiles. I told him how much more obvious do you want this blog's title to get. How to Monkey Around at Fifty? or Life begins At Fifty? I would be lying to my face if life is going to get any rosier past 50 years old. You will know what I mean when you reach my age. The constant aches on the back, the tired eyes. If you are already past this age, I am sure you can relate to my rambling. For those who missed what I am trying to spin, Half of My Life is all about experiences I encountered at this point of my life. Views from my fifty year old mind's eyes. Good or bad.

So wassup for me at this point of my writing? Its end of January 2008. It seems as though nothing much has changed since one year ago. If I don't analyze my life that is. If I don't analyze it too much, it feels like life has been kind to my face. But if I poke my nose around, I can see more scratched marks on my car. Wall paper started to peel from my room. Plants giving up on me due to lack of care. Rust crept in on my gate. Dining chairs losing their bounces. Seems like things around me are beginning to fall apart if I poke my nose around. However life isn't so bad. The car, room, plants, gate and chairs are still around me in fixable conditions.

So here you are dear friend, the one who havent yet figured out the theme of my blog, I hope by now you have. Sharing this Half of My Life with you. Have a good new year 2008 and to whoever is reading this too.

12 September 2007

Back To Mine

Just recently a friend asked me what songs will I choose if I am going to compile my very own BACK TO MINE Album.

In case you still haven't caught up with the current rhythm, BACK TO MINE are albums compiled by artistes who choose the songs based on what they would play in their own home for friends after a clubbing night out.

Can you smell the stench of another devious music CD marketing ploy specially designed to milk out more bread from non-suspecting music extremists? Fortunately for them, there are still some out there who are dying to know what their favourite artiste would spin.

Say, if you like Pet Shop Boys and you are dying to find out what type of songs they would choose to fill their designer loft with, now you can go out and grab a copy of BACK TO MINE by PET SHOP BOYS.

So when I was asked to list out my own BACK TO MINE album, it didnt take me too long to figure mine out. The simple rule is, just put together a personal collection of after-hour grooving song other than your own songs. Of course minus the devious marketing ploy. Mine compiled and designed just for my own personal kicks!

In case you are dying to know my personal collection, here's my BTM with cool grooves to make one feel sexy even if you are reeked with stale cigi smoke sweat straight from the clubs.

Come in. Chill out.

Care to tell me what's your BACK TO MINE?

20 August 2007

Club Five One

Today I turn fifty one. But how do I know without looking at my birth cert? Well, there are 10 things that will remind me of my new membership in Club Five One! If any of them sound familiar to you, welcome to the club.
1. Goatee turns grey faster (see photo). Have to dye it more frequently than before. Yes, I dye it!
2. Bigger spare tyre. I can be a right candidate if you like guys with tummy!
3. Staying clear of high cholesterol food or taking them in moderation.
4. Gets tired easily. Not enough exercise my doctor said.
5. Emptying my bladder more frequently than usual. Maybe a sign of diabetes. Must be careful with my diet.
6. New gout attack. Not since 5 years ago. Now the pain re-occurred like I kicked the wall hard with my toe!
7. Lifetime high-blood pressure pill popping.
8. Eyesight gets a little screwy to focus if I watch TV any later in the night.
9. Pain in the neck due to constant computer work and play.
10. My conversation centered around health and diets. I shall consciously avoid this topic from this day on.

OK. End of subject. Happy Birthday to me.