Sunday, 26 December 2010

2010 - A Look Back, Part 3

Merry Christmas, everyone. Hope you had a blast.

Now, where was I? Ah, yes, the much-awaited, eagerly anticipated, oh-I-can't-hold-my-pee third and final post of 2010 is here. Keep holding that pee, this is going to be a while.

After the tumult that happened towards the end of last year what with me ending my association with my first "real" job post 2010 was going to be the year. Yes and hell no. Yes, because people finally know me for me.

On the professional front, I no longer feel trepidation was up against senior ranked individuals, in fact, I view them as equals. When people throw flaming emails at me I don't baulk and back down, no, I throw it back, adding a little acid to burn the edges a little quicker.

Patience and anger can come together at the same time, believe you me. For instance, I don't mind looking for a parking lot during peak hours but if I see a douche taking forever to get out of the bay, I will utter certain words that if printed here would scare off nuns from Jamaica.

Me is not complete without RM. Quite possibly the toughest mineral known to humankind, my RM has been the cornerstone of the success of 2010. Naturally, we have had our ups and downs but we've managed to pull through every time. And that's just our body weight. Adverse times were dealt with pouts and the deafening silence of indignation but in the end we'd overcome them with love and a small tub of green tea ice-cream.

All in all, 2010 is meaningless without her. Thank you, RM.  

This was not a lacklustre year. Heck, the lustre has been pretty good (and downright pricey). What can I expect of 2011? That's another tale to be told.


Hope your 2010 was a grand blast and here's a warm welcome to 2011.

This is Chris, signing off.

P.S. Okay, all right, it'll be told next week. It's so hard being so well-loved by all of you.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

2010 - A Look Back, Part 2

First up, TRON: Legacy put me to sleep. Not even the delectable Olivia Wilde and her absurd bob could've kept me awake. Was it a bad movie? Nah. Was it good? Nah. I'll leave it at that.

As promised, here's part 2 of Chris's 2010.

I'm glad to know I can still call a few people whom I know won't hang up on me thinking I'm trying to sell them Amway. I try to leave a lasting impression (it helps when asking if they know of any vacancy somewhere) wherever I am. Glad I've made some pretty good acquaintances this year.

Over the years, I've always maintained to be a rugged individual. A man's man. A shorts and tee guy. Give me a suit and I'll give it back to you. My Caribbean-inspired shirt will rock the house down. Urm. Yo.

Not anymore.

Gone are the vagabond stylings of my past. In comes designer articles that could feed entire villages for a week. And that's just the belts. There are some things I think I will graduate to in a long time to come:
  • Undies
  • Socks
  • Ties
  • Handkerchiefs 
  • Combs
I added the last one just to make it a 5-numbered list because 5-numbered lists look cool. Right?

Hobbies/Likes/Being a dude
Basically, this is me being a dude. I guess the most significant hobby/like/whatever of the year has to be horology or to be more precise, watches. I still know no nuts about a lot of things but I'm slowly becoming more knowledgeable. Or at the very least, not so dumb-sounding when up against seasoned watcheroos.

Next week will be the third and final 2010 retrospective. In the meantime, stay naughty.

This is Chris, signing off.

P.S. Santa doesn't exist. Ho. Ho. Ho.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

2010 - A Look Back, Part 1

It's been a good year.

Because I don't really remember 2009 nor the one before that. 2007 and before? I went through all of that? I must've coasted by those years because the memory sure is fuzzy right now. In all seriousness, this year has been a good one. So starting with this entry I'm going to recap (to the best of my recollection, naturally) various aspects and events of what has transpired the last 12 months. In no particular order except what came to mind first:

I've changed two positions this year. The first was a highly promising and exciting post that made transformed me from a lackey doing support work to a big-time Charlie undergoing projects and helping to sell the company. Could it have gotten better?

They told me all of that after I resigned.

Then the second opportunity came and immediately I was taken by the prospect of being the boss. Who could say no to that, right? Turns out I was going to be the boss, the lackey and general garbage collector. Did I hit the jackpot? You bet your Irish bailout money I am.

Truth be told, there was a tiny chance of striking it the third time.

Final judgement to come next year. Stay tuned.

Angus beef? Absolutely and delightfully delicious. Wagyu beef? Wow. Who knew cow fat could taste so good and make me, the Phil Heath-wannabe, eat it knowing it packs an enormous amount of calories? Or what about having balaclava in Melbourne, thinking its name is cool but it's sweeter than eating a spoonful of sugar? Those are some of the firsts of mine and certainly won't be the last time. I've become more open and ready to eat and try anything at least once in my life.

It's been a wonderful gastronomical ride and I can't wait to sample more.

Though, I think I'd rather down a spoonful of sugar than have another go at balaclava.

The current most liked song is Linkin Park's Waiting for the End. A week ago if you told me that I would've taken a spatula and hit you on the head 3 times and wish for a new spatula. Have I gone to the dark side? Or is this precursor to something more sinister?

Fuck no.

I guess I'm slowly starting to be more receptive to other genres besides my beloved heavy metal. I've always been open but I find that I no longer am excited by the latest br00tal as heck death metal band who can play at 260bpm in every damn song.

What's next? Justin Bieber? Kill me if that ever happens!

As you most of you know, I am a gym freak. From being a lard of tub to a tub of hot, the past year has been a brutal year. But having said that I reckon I still am about a year or so from achieving my ultimate goal. I've accomplished two things this year: 110kg deadlift and 300kg leg press. Not bad for a guy who couldn't walk properly 3 years ago.

Look out for part 2 next week where I will discuss friends, fashion and what's it like to be a ballet dancer.

This is Chris, signing off. 

P.S. Note to self, no tutus next year.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Honestly? Don't be too honest.

I won't lie to you. I'm a really nice person once you get to know me.

All right, all right, another lie but a soft one.

I'm not a totally honest person. There have been times when my frankness in some situations have let me down, I admit. I can be brutally honest when it comes to criticising certain things, people's way of going about their business, people's parking skills ("WTF! Argh! C'mon, asshole, I need to pee!), people's way of doing their work ("WTF! I told him to stop the system not kill it!").

At work, it's better to be upfront right from the get-go when you've erred so that it can be rectified soon without it descending into a potential bureaucratic nightmare more so if you've got a lead that kowtows at every damn whimsical request. But when the matter is close to heart they are tougher because it involves emotions that if you were to let it loose in the boardroom might cost you that pair of Bally shoes you've been eyeing.

It kills me every bloody time someone says they are the most honest person yet when honesty comes by their way they'll get into defensive mode and start the pointing accusatory finger you of being unfair, like you've stolen their teddybear away, threatening to disembowel it of its cotton insides. This are insecure individuals that masquerade behind their persona of no-nonsense when their sense if full of non. Yes, if you can decipher what I've just said then you are definitely brighter than me.

I appreciate honesty, I really do. It's good to know your mistakes or how you've been to others as it will improve relations and makes one a better person. But if the honest remark is borne out of something you have a personal vendetta against and you tell me you don't like it? Shove it. Shove it where the sun doesn't shine and if still does it, shove it some more. There comes a time when shutting your mouth is the best possible thing you could do.

Sometimes lying is the best form of honesty.

P.S. It'd be darn great if you could read people's faces and their body language just like how Tim Roth does it in Lie to Me. It sure is a useful talent when playing poker, that's for sure. Po-po-po-ker face, anyone?

P.P.S Upon completion of this post I realised that this can be related to Wikileaks. The same as above applies. It's just better to not know.

Sunday, 28 November 2010


LCCT sucks.

The country's Low Cost Carrier Terminal has been a blessing from the skies, pun intended, for a lot of people who never thought they could fly to China so many times within 6 months. 

The thing about it is that it takes the Low Cost part and translates it to Low Mentality. From the way in which the public transport is setup to the way it looks, the low part of the name is taken rather seriously. The same also somewhat applies to security. The whole experience feels like I'm in a South American prison; line up, environment around me is dim and dank, reach counter and girl behind counter is about as polite as a rat entering your home at 0339, then boarding into a plane vast enough for a sheet of glass to pass through. Of course, I'd have to go through security. First, I get screened. Then, it beeps. Without any consent or words for that matter, I am pulled to the side, get frisked rapidly by a pimply, sweaty-smelling young man and I'm on my way. Duration? 8 seconds. I think. Was my dignity damaged? No. Did I feel violated? No. I don't give it much thought because if I did, I wouldn't be flying in the first place.

It's a necessary evil. But compare it to what the Yanks have to go through with their innocuous-sounding TSA (Transportation Security Administration) ours seems like a damp squid. The TSA has been getting a lot of coverage lately especially after the tragic events of 9/11 where security became the sacred word. New measures have taken place with regards to security and I'm pretty sure you know what they are. Everything is scrutinised when you fly.

I've been reading a fair amount of personal accounts of the TSA and it did bother me slightly. Being Asian, touching others' skin makes me uncomfortable. When I'm in the train even a slight brush with open skin delivers a tiny quiver. So I took that feeling and multiplied it by a thousand-fold to imagine what the people had gone through. Pleasant can never be associated with it.

Now we have "enhanced pat downs" which sound absolutely dirty. It's like an old perverted man with a stronger dose of Viagra. Guess what? I can now touch your crotch and then some. All this because a boy with terrorist links decided to have his butt be the centre point of an explosive plane ride. (I've always known that my underwear had special powers but it stopped short at being explosive.) Bras and underwear? I've to check them, sir/miss. Oh, what's this? Ah, genitals only. Next! That's what you get if you don't choose door number one: indeterminate level of radiation to x-ray your clothes and then voila! a nice picture of your supple body in all its naked glory. 

The furore has divided everyone, even the old lady who had her boobs pointing upwards back in the day but are now in danger of mopping the floor, doesn't feel all too thrilled knowing a young girl with ponytails is going to grope her for dangerous items. Yes, the only dangerous thing is her having a heart attack. There are stories from the TSA officers themselves. Sounds pitiful, I admit. But do they deserve it? Think about this: if you hate your job, quit. I for one believe that if the job sucks, quit. If you wake up with hatred towards your cereal in the morning before you go to work, quit. Yes, the American economy is in the dumps right now but you complaining about how nasty touching or viewing scrotums and vaginas all day doesn't make for compelling cases for sympathy. In fact, it's tantamount to stupidity. Stay and be subjected to virulent name-calling, snide jibes from friends and knowing that you have to do what you've been told to or you can leave and nobody will look down on you.

It's a very fine line that's being tread on now. If you don't the checks and if something happens you can bet your x-rayed arse that the TSA will be pilloried to no end. For adults, I think we have to just bite our lips and hope it gets done promptly with no issues. But I don't agree that you have to frisk children and old folk with the same fervour. It demeans them. Yes, I know, looks can be deceiving, but, really? C'mon, this isn't Gitmo, it's an airport.

If I were in their position, I'd just comply with it. Not because I'm subservient or I don't know my rights, I just comply because I just want to get to my destination and that's that. If someone wants to feel me up, go right ahead. Want to wank to my pert Asian tush? Wank away! It'll be great if they could review the processes and fine tune them to be less invasive instead of saying, hey, let's shove this camera down their throats to be extra cautious. Security isn't meant to strike fear into people. When that happens, the terrorists have indeed won.

LCCT doesn't seem that sucky after all.

This is Chris, signing off. 

P.S. I wouldn't mind wearing armoured undies. Happy flying all!

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Forgive and forget. Who came up with this crap?

When someone does you wrong, what do you want? Will an apology suffice? How about a simple yet profound word, sorry? Will that right the wrong?

What happens if the wrongdoer is someone you hold dear to your heart? 

Forgiving someone is a noble act indeed. What about forgetting the incident? Are you capable of purging the offending memory from heart and soul? So many questions, so many different answers. If you're a happy-go-lucky person, you'd just shrug your shoulders and move on. If you are one of those people that don't shrug shoulders but just do an Eeyore, you are holy. Or are you the type that hold grudges, only letting go when divine retribution has been mete out to the person who made you cry?

As I get older (and impossibly handsomer), I no longer am bothered by things that would have sent me into bloodlust. I look at the situation, assess its causality threads and hammer a decisive nail into the coffin of consequence. Sometimes, a surreptitious uttering of fuckinguglydonkey in the general direction of said mammal will put the world back on its axis.

The verdict depends on the crime. Cross me lightly, I'd drop it then and there. No point even reminiscing it. Do me wrongly badly, we have a issue here. If malice was part of the plan then we need to talk it out. Face to face. No hiding behind the keyboard. I think people are becoming less and less responsible and seriously lacking a ball or two. 

A good friend of mine once said to me, "Why are you apologising? We're friends and friends don't say sorry to each other." To which I replied, "Fuck you, just accept my apology, damnit." Just because we're friends doesn't mean thank you, sorry or whatever should be omitted. Things like that should never be a tacit agreement, they should be used when they have to be used. With family we tend to take for granted those words. It's like a thorn in our side if we have to say sorry to them. But we have to. It's the right thing to do. Say it and move forward.

Forgive and forget is over-rated.

This is Chris, signing off.

P.S. Emma Watson in HP7 made me wish I had a wand. Wait, I think I do...

P.P.S Apologies for the change in design again. The last one made my PC dribble like an incontinent cat in heat. Let's just forgive and forget?

Saturday, 13 November 2010

I do it because.

But, it really sucks doing it.

Here I am, 945PM the clock shows. It's a Saturday night. A friggin' Saturday night. I'm behind two computers, yes, one for this blog and the other is for work. Work on a Saturday night? Blimey!

This shouldn't be that surprising to those working in my line. It's not uncommon for system administrators to perform their work when all are out partying or stuffing their silly faces with pastries. This is necessary to avoid you, yes, YOU, the person who is out partying or maybe stuffing your face with a silly pastry from making a complaint as to why you can't seem to key in your timesheet when you really should have done so on Friday.

I don't complain. Much. It's part of the job. I do it because I have to. Do I want to?

I'm still here.

This is Chris, signing off.

P.S. Harry Potter next week! Emma Watson, wait for me!

Monday, 8 November 2010

What goes fast, faster and FASTER?

The day was tiring. And I didn't even do anything. Funny, eh? You're more tired doing nothing. I guess that's what happens when you're bored and lazy at work. My mind was a blur of thoughts during the journey home. Where am I heading to in my career? Things have slowed considerably the last few months. I no longer look forward to going to work. But that's another story altogether. I just wanted to get home, eat my mom's food and sleep.

I start the car as usual, came out of the parking bay, and with rapt attention maneuver the car through the haphazardly parked cars. There's a hill that's on the way home so I press on the accelerator harder but the response was about as exciting as a tepid jolt from an electric eel. Homeward bound, I thought of nothing else. The car moved slowly up the hill. Usual stuff since it came back from the nearby mechanic's some time ago. Once we cleared the apex of the hill, I took my foot off the accelerator, as I usually do when descending this hill. A weird feeling came to me, this is really odd, my foot's off the accelerator but is the car, what in the world?, accelerating?

What followed next was probably the most surreal driving experience as the car was speeding up on the highway. I did my best to keep things under control, breaking now and then to slow down the car (it's an automatic), and telling my sisters that everything's under control. I've always said that there's no point in having panicky people so it was quite a challenge to keep the car from not hitting the front car whilst telling them it's just a minor problem. For 8 minutes I tried to find a way to stop the car in the safest way possible. As we approached our neighbouring housing area I quickly made the decision to stop the car at the side of the road. Relief came all over me. Danger had been averted. Though, it could have been so much different if it weren't for the calmness of everyone.

The car's all right now, we had it repaired the next day. It wasn't a near-death type of experience (it nearly became a inside a ditch type of experience) but it could have easily been if it weren't for the subconscious mind. I thought of a lot things; keeping the car steady, the safety of my sisters, other motorists, our car, my mom, my RM, my life, the car's repair bill, it all came to me in one go. The mind is truly capable of a lot of things. I'm glad it thought of the right things at the right time.

This is Chris, signing off. 

P.S. In other, happier news, Liverpool beat Chelsea!

Monday, 1 November 2010

Life, as we know it.

I reckon Katherine Heigl should really play other types of roles other than being the atypical ditzy blonde who just wants to be loved.

It was fun the first time around. Now, not so. Why? Because this is the 53rd time. Find another role already.

Her latest cinematic jaunt, Life As We Know It, sees her playing a hot blonde who can't seem to get a decent date who along with Josh Duhamel have been entrusted with taking care of their best pals' daughter after they perish in a fatal accident. Their first reaction was to offload the child to a relative which was a pointless exercise since the parents were the only decent human beings in the family. The relatives? Losers. Heigl and Duhamel now have to set aside their mutual dislike for each other for the sake of the little cretin. In due time, they fall for each other, yet, smother their feelings. For the baby's sake, of course. Then by the 100th minute, they admit to each other and voila!

Instant family created.

If only life was that easy. What struck me about this movie was that the baby was not the central figure, it was the couple's bumbling attempt at raising the girl and eventually falling in love. Sure, they did things for the girl but she was made to be an accessory rather than being the driving factor in the grand scheme of things. But, then again, this is popcorn fare, not an indie drama that would've probably left me in tears. 

Contrary to popular belief, I love children. Abhorrence is reserved for those I find vexatious or resemble little trolls. It made me think of the day I become a parent and nominating my closest, most trustworthy pal to be the godfather of my child. (Man, he's going to flip when he finds out.) As for me, if I'm made godfather, I'd be honoured, too. In fact, I can imagine these things:
  1. Shock. Yes, I'd be shocked and speechless. 
  2. Disbelief. Me? ME?
  3. Fear. Will I be a great godfather? Oh, shit, I hope I don't drop the baby.
  4. Like. Will I even like the baby? What happens if it looks like a troll? (No disrespect to the parents but some children have turned out looking...different.)
But the movie raises one important question: raising a child is one thing, but someone else's? Your best pal's one and only child? In the movie, the two protagonists take little Sophie under their care because they are indebted to parents because the parents helped them. Sounds like repaying a favour, doesn't it? In all honesty, I don't know what I would do if I were in that situation. My concern is how am I going to love a child that's not mine. For the life of me, I don't see how I ever could.

Life, as we know it, is never easy.

This is Chris, signing off.

P.S. It was an all right. Red was all right as well. Helen Mirren with a giant machinegun is a sight to behold, indeed.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Home is where the heart is.

For some, an 8-hour flight can be quite a daunting challenge, more so if it's on AirAsia. Highly notorious as it is famous, the low-cost airline is now making travelling, especially for Asians, a less pricey affair. A caveat: with cheaper prices come cheap seats (them seats were hard as bricks, indeed).

But I didn't see it as a challenge. I saw it as a necessary measure to get to my destination. Being with my RM throughout the journey made it so much easier. Especially 8 hours on me delicate tush.

Coming home from Melbourne after spending four days of unpredictable weather (I adore the cold), rows upon rows of sumptuous fresh food (chicken souvlaki!) and experiencing the niceness of the people to stiflingly hot-like-hell weather, unappetising fare that's about as fresh as last month's socks topped with the cream of the crop of the most inept customer service really got on my nerves. People here just don't know how to treat their customers. But the thing I took away from the trip was something I thought I'd never say:

Melbourne's my kind of place.

For the longest time, I've always had an aversion to Australia. This stemmed from the fact that I grew up hearing horror stories of constant racism and oppression of Asians. Things have changed a whole lot as Asians are no longer perceived as the enemy. Maybe there are a few quarters that bear a grudge but things are looking better for Asians in Australia, especially Melbourne. It is said that Melbourne is cultural capital of Australia and also the most family oriented. I find it not surprising that Asians strive here and strive pretty good from what I can see. Yet, there wasn't any air of discontent, not even a whiff of it.

Over there, people saw each other as people, not by race.

Everywhere, Asians can be seen, even in little housing areas outside of the city. It's the sign of the times, folks. Heck, minutes upon reaching the CBD (Central Business District), I swear I heard a couple of Malaysian colloquialisms. It has to be said that Asians with a predilection for hairstyles that resemble certain poisonous fungi coupled with silly clothing will bring their motherland's culture wherever they are (blond(e) makes Asians look like cheap products, by the way). It is a microcosm that is unhealthy, to be honest. It's the same everywhere; I see Koreans and Chinese here thinking it's their homeland albeit with browner folks. These are privileged people yet their only concern is what am I going to eat this kimchi I got from grandma with. I would miss my hometown, no denying there, but to be in another person's country and replicating everything back home is rude, tantamount to insult even.

But not all are as myopic or close-minded as the above. The people of various ethnicities have a vice-like grip on their roots, akin to the most stubborn of barnacles, yet, they embrace their adopted homeland's generosity and warmth wholeheartedly, without question or fuss. It's something that is truly remarkable. These people were not told to do so, they just knew what needed to be done and they did it. I really felt the warmth of the people as my welfare was taken care of with genuine feelings. Back home after just one day, I had derisive looks from my country's ethnic majority just because I was the only one of my race at the train station. And these were from teenagers. Teenagers that have no clue as to what their actions will lead them to. I pity them for they have no future that is of any consequence. Their attitude towards me has left me questioning the government's efforts in promoting racial harmony.

How come I felt more welcomed in a country that's a couple of thousand miles from my own? 

Now that the country I call home is not what it seems, I'm beginning to wonder, where do I belong? I know it's with family but does the location matter? I've mentioned that we are way off the pace set by Singapore, what more countries like Australia? When RM's friends asked how is Malaysia, I had an extremely tough time trying to come up with something profound, something pertinent, but all I could muster from a tiny rictus of my mouth and said, "Well, we have KLCC." Can you imagine the quiet shame I endured by mentioning the former tallest building in the world as the thing to see when one is in Malaysia? When people visit a country, it should always be about the country's history and its natural offerings, never its artificial attributes.

Going to Melbourne has made me realise how much I am of an outsider in my own country. What with the direction it is taking, it angers and saddens me that in 2010 we are still so far behind in a lot of things. It is a pity that while others have moved forward we are still in a quagmire of our own doing. We may think we are advanced but we are not. We are so wrong.

Crime is still rampant here. I mentioned in my last post that I walked in a park at 3PM and saw families? Well, I walked in a park with 2 other girls. At night. No other soul could be seen. I felt safe and not once did I think my safety or of the two girls were at stake. How can I raise my family here knowing I can't even go to the damn park for fear of thieves and murderers lurking behind some bush. Shops closed at 5PM and while it gave me and RM a culture shock, when we found out that reason was so that people can spend more time with their families, I thought to myself, this is incredible. While it's a bit of a hassle if need new undies at 6PM but putting family above others is something I can only dream about. Malaysia giving such flexibility? Pfft. Not going to happen. It's like saying the races will get equal opportunity.

Dream on, Malaysians!

I hope and pray that one day that we can achieve what others have but it may not happen in my lifetime. I thought I'd never say this but spending the rest of my life in Melbourne or somewhere else for that matter doesn't seem to scare me anymore.

Damn, I really do miss the chicken souvlaki.   

This is Chris, signing off.

P.S. I've never used so much of never in a post. Never.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

I'll be seeing you later, mate.

The skin on my face still resembles an albino rabbit's bum. Pink. Beads of sweat trickle down the side of my face where only a day ago I was trying to find a thicker jacket to fight against the cold of morning. Hands feel clammy as I type this. Funny, two days ago I couldn't feel the fingers attached to them when I was out in the city, on a chilly, windy, rainy afternoon. When I walk out I smell cat poo and rubbish. I miss the cool breeze, the crisp zephyr, its freshness a welcome sensation.

I hate to say this, and I really do hate it, but I miss Melbourne.

4 days in the capital of Victoria, whilst an absolute drain on the bank account, was a fulfilling and rewarding experience. Not to mention it was also a much deserved break from the gruelling hours at torture work. Even a week would barely cover the city's offerings but me and RM did our darndest best to canvas the surroundings, from main roads to little lanes with their hole in the wall restaurants. As each turn becomes more familiar the more enchanting it became. Collins Street with its sibling, the aptly named, Little Collins Street, charmed us with their modern and chic boutiques, the solemn-looking Victorian era buildings providing a certain majestic quality to proceedings. We were thoroughly enamoured with Degraves St and its busy yet quaint eateries that were packed to the brim with hungry patrons. 

Love immediately befell onto Queen Victoria Market. Remember that dank, constantly foetid wet market that you hated going to but you needed lamb for your roast? You won't find it here. Clean is an understatement. Fresh doesn't even cut it. The meats and seafood were so fresh that any fresher you had to kill it yourself. Walk on over to the other side and you'll find yourself in the gourmet section where cheeses and sausages of any flavour are sold. African spices mingled with the aromatics of coffee and tea perfumed the air. Want a taste of the food? Just ask and you'll get a morsel with genuine smiles unlike here where if you asked to try a tiny piece of food you'll be met with a smile that wants to poison you and leave you with gangrene on your ears. 

Melbourne Zoo was all right as it rained the entire duration we were there. Wait, it rained the entire day. For the first time, I felt what it means to be cold. I did not show it but it was there. I'm finding zoos to be sad institutions where animals are no longer free to be. When you see a bear going in circles you know it isn't right. However, zoos are a necessary evil as it's the one place where children will be exposed to the plight of the animals. If 1 out of 100000 manages to see this truth then it's good enough. And, folks, if you don't see gorillas in the open then just head to the food preparation area and sure enough you'll be greeted by one. A ginormous silverback sitting at the edge of the room, staring at you like some insignificant fly. Melbourne Aquarium was a lacklustre jaunt that had penguins crapping all over the artificial snow and seeing giant stingrays.

The picture doesn't do this handsome fellow any justice. It was really freaking huge.
Have I forgotten about the food? Of course not, mate! We tried as much to not repeat a cuisine and we somewhat succeeded. Gourmet sandwiches here in Malaysia represent our best offerings with choice selections of fillings. Over there they're just sandwiches. But they taste fantastic. RM had the best lamb souvlaki ever. Greek baklava while gorgeous to look at was hellish to eat as it was the sweetest thing I've ever eaten. We had Korean barbecue that had the best-tasting beef and pork you could find anywhere. Here's a tip: never order Japanese food cooked by Hong Kong people at place called Monkey Bar near the Melbourne Aquarium. I also had the best Italian food, eating Papa Gino's pizza. It was so good the old man beside us had his carbonara dribbling all over his face.

Green tea. And larvae?
Albert Park is where I think I would spend a lot of time if I were there. The park was simply amazing, be it for jogging or taking your family out for a stroll. The thing I loved the most was that people were out in the park most of the time on Sunday. Can you imagine going to the park in KL at 3pm? You'd be baked alive and not to mention you and your family would be a target of thieves. This goes to show the forward thinking of the Australian government and its respective states handling of their own areas. 

It was sad when we were packing our things. Even though we were there only 4 days it was the most satisfying 4 days of 2010. We will never forget how the people and their kindness* they showed to the two of us. This was our first trip and it's certainly not the last.

G'day, mate!

This is Chris, signing off.

* - Thanks be to the old woman who gave us 5AUSD for tram ride to the zoo. Bless her soul.

P.S. This is just the holiday recap of the trip. Please check back soon as I'll be writing about my real thoughts of the trip.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

You're the top dog. So stop acting like a pussy.

Being a leader is a thankless responsibility.

When things go well, everyone's happy. When shit hits the fan, the shit hits the leader (and, possibly, the fan if the shit is heavy enough). The leader is the first in and the last out. While the rest of the team get to go back right on the dot, the leader stays back and makes sure things are running fine. It's a thankless responsibility, all right, but people respect you when you say you're the one in charge.

Or do they?

Respect is never given, it is always earned. This is a never truer statement when it comes to being a leader. I will only be impressed if the person has really done something remarkable. If one climbs up the ladder the conventional way, good for them. But if one uses kiss ass tactics by being a sycophant then do you deserve respect?


Though, never kissing ass to go up the ladder is about as rare as finding a sober Lindsay Lohan. Deep down, there is always an ulterior motive; you want an increment, an improved job title (to impress your classmates), to be given choice pickings when it comes to work. There is also always an element of wanting to appease your leader; kind of an implicit I scratch your back, you give me bonus deal. You hope to gain their trust so that you can get a promotion and get the heck out of there to become a leader at another place. If you're contented with how things are going then more power to you. I am not one to rest on my laurels (I don't even know where they're at). I want to be the boss and I believe I have what it takes. After being led by leaders with distinctive styles of leadership, I can safely say I will try as much to not fall into the typical leader pitfalls. But that's a pipe dream. When you're a leader of a team, you have to appease your team and your superior. Therein lies problems, awaiting to be unravelled, to test your resolve. Do well, you win, onto the next battle. Fuck up, the entire office will know about it.

Sounds like mad fun, right?

There comes a time when the best offense is more offense. Certain leaders will employ the I-go-above-you-by-going-to-your-leader's-head tactic. This tells me one thing, you have no balls (also applies to women because a vagina doesn't exactly equate to braveness*). Non-confrontational behaviour in leaders is wimpy. When someone impugns your capabilities and that of your team, you don't back down and say sorry (I know sorry is cheap but don't use it to cheapen yourself), you rip their faces apart. Show them that that you're no pushover. Of course, if your team did commit an irrefutably bad snafu then by all means rip their faces instead. Worse is when people start pointing their chubby fingers, demand for an explanation, yet when it's presented to them they don't accept it. So what do you do, top dog? Do you back down, become a pussy or do you do the right thing?

A leader does not smile when his authority is being undermined, he gets up and rises to the challenge.

Boss, if you're reading this, this isn't meant for you.

This is Chris, signing off.

P.S. Don't you just hate it when someone who is odious, contemptible and you know isn't right for the job, gets the job?

* - Or, does it?

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Daddy, where did I come from? Ebay.

What will you tell your children when they want to know, you know, where or how they were manufactured*? Do you answer them truthfully ("well, it was on a rather hot night, so...") or do you look at them sternly (to cover up your inability to explain) and tell them it's bed time? Or if you're balls are in a knot, go ask mommy. 

Sex has never been talked about so freely than ever before these days. TV shows in the past would just insinuate sex. There'll be lots of raised eyebrows, maybe a chorus or a simple bridge of public outcry. But now things are more liberal, some shows are full-blown (I am going to pun when I don't intend to pun) to the point of showing nearly everything. Edgy programming? A sign of the times? Or a ploy to draw in the ratings? Whatever it is, it's making sex seem as ordinary as Manchester United drawing games when they should've won easily. Don't get me wrong, it's still taboo but no one shields their eyes away whenever there's a kissing scene. In fact, censorship of kissing scenes is viewed as archaic, such scenes snipped by old men who pop Viagra every so often for, you know, health.

Growing up, I discovered marriage, babies and sex all by myself. All of that came from, ironically, from watching TV and movies. It never shocked me that I didn't come via a packaged deal carried by near extinct storks. When I found out that babies came as a result of some ahem action it just settled in me. Many of my peers went through the same, I'm sure of it. I guess my time didn't necessitate the talk because we were allowed to grow up and find things out ourselves. It also helped that information wasn't exactly readily available as certain things required the usage of a library or the legendary media format, VHS. But things have changed. A whole friggin' lot more. It surprises me that my little cousins know so many things including them topics but are nonchalant about it, almost not caring about it, preferring to blast aliens on the PS3. Good for me, I don't want to explain the meaning of holes and prevention to them when I'm buying them ice cream.

Sex education, to me, should be done by the parents because our tutors will deliver the subject in a robotic manner, failing to understand that it should be dealt with, pardon the pun, by injecting life, to proceedings. At what age is it appropriate? There is no such thing. There's only ever an appropriate time. When your child exudes intelligence then there's your cue. Just don't do it before an episode of Desperate Housewives. Also, children tend to believe what the tutors tell them and when you try to explain things they'll snort, that's not what Mr. Contraceptive said. What tutors should do is to compliment proceedings by further explaining it in a more scientific way. Leave the human aspects (read: horny tendencies) to the parents. It's also a good tool to freak out the children and stop them, for the time being, of delving head on into, you know, stuff.

Sex education doesn't have to be dirty. I think it's very important that parents speak to their children and be open about it (not spread eagle, no). A child's curiosity knows no bounds. So don't be surprised or feign shock when it happens because what are you, stupid? You and the missus did do some pretty hot stuff on a rather hot night.  


This is Chris, signing off.

* - This the iPod generation, you think they will know words like conceived?

P.S. If you're wondering what I would do? I'll make some tea, get the children all comfy and tucked, then tell them what I found out when I was their age. "You see, there are birds and there are bees..."

Saturday, 25 September 2010

The biggest loosah will be BIG.

Watching TV these days is a tedious affair. Shows of yesteryear were witty without trying hard, edgy but still conservative enough so that your parents and you can watch through an uncomfortable scene together, but most importantly, they were good simply because they were done with real passion. Now shows just want to hit you with wave after wave of in-your-face skits where you'll gasp, close your mouth, say OMG a bazillion times, then nod your head in utter agreement.

"Reality" shows are in a lone category; it's called scripted (hence the cleverly-placed quotes). In the beginning it probably would've been real but now not so. Things are predictable, you just know things will pan out a certain way; the vampy skank will sleep with the good boy who will then feel guilty and tell his girlfriend, break-up ensues = more drama OMG!

There won't be any vampy skanks or naive good boys in this show, though. No, you're going to get lots of skin. But not the kind you think you know. Or that kind. Or want to think. The Biggest Loser Asia (The B.L.A) has just kicked off its second season with a big splash (caused by a single person, I kid you not) by being bigger (I'm on a roll!) and smarter than before. So what's my verdict? After watching just half of the show (I wanted to watch something else*) I reckon I have a fairly good idea of the tone for this season. I will try to recap what I saw, I can't promise verbatim but I'll give you the gist of it. You know, the big picture.

The start of the show sees the trainers, a fit as heck Aussie chick and a horse jockey (what, he's pretty darn slim and slender), who will be screening potential Losers. They visit 5 South-East Asian countries and screen various people of varied shapes and sizes (nope, not going to make this even remotely witty). Part of the screening involved getting to know the people, much like American Idol without the clinically insane. What I don't get is the Aussie trainer's predilection for asking potential contestants to do jump squats. She does know that people of a portly disposition will exert more pressure on their spine by doing such exercises?

The people who attended were rather mild mannered, and frankly, have characteristics of a sausage. There's this guy from Jakarta who says whenever I put my mind on something, I will make it happen. Funny, still fat. A black woman who came via Hong Kong blames (more or less) her dead brother for her weight gain while a Thai woman said some things but there was too much tom yam in the mix speech. The Singaporeans have rather strong Singaporean accents (that's just the Chinese, the rest have it stronger) but as usual fall flat with textbook kiasu personalities (yeah, Malaysia vs Singapore proudness still alive, yo!).

16 hopefuls were chosen and here we go. The contestants were made to perform their first challenge immediately after arriving at their base of operations. Guess who made a fuss first? A Malaysian, naturally (!). But who will be their host, their own Ryan Seacrest, the person that will be their bridge to the outside. We have been graced by the one and only Marion "Look at me I'm just as epileptic as Giuliana Rancic" Caunter. I swear, her movements are a carbon-copy of Giuliana's, right down to the E.T. smile and seizure-like gestures. She is an imitator; not a single presentation skill of hers feels natural. And instead of wearing a track suit to support the contestants, she wears a shoulderless dress that really smacks the faces of the people running about.

I wonder why some of these say they have the willpower of giants yet are dwarfed when faced with a 5lbs pink dumbbbell. I used to be a chubster myself. I was the fat guy in the group. Incessant teasing about weight was dished out (see, I pun when I don't even realise it) constantly to my face. I hurt. I never wanted to be out of breath after running a minute or be rejected because I wear 38-inch trousers. But I've turned my body the other way round all by myself. I guess some people need more motivation than others. The show has me divided: on one hand, I commend and salute the contestants for braving themselves and baring their all to the world. I am not a fan of the methods employed, though; tough love and brutal exercises don't gel with me. 

The keys to losing weight: diet, exercise and, most important of all, discipline. All must be adhered to otherwise you will fall by wayside. Stop thinking that just one slice of cake, another glass of Coke and you're on the treadmill the next will be enough because it isn't. You are cheating yourself. When you cheat yourself, then you deserve to be in the rut you put yourself in. Once you've schooled yourself properly then you can allow yourself the occasional pancake slathered with jam. I can understand the hopefulness of this show. It really does want to help people. Anyone who wants to lead a healthy lifestyle gets a good pat on the back from me.

Pass me another biscuit, please. I'm famished...


This is Chris, signing off. 

* - Chelsea LOST!!!

P.S. All the best to the contestants. I really do wish them good luck. Marion, please, please, please stop aping Giuliana. You are tremendously terrible.

Monday, 20 September 2010

He. He. He.

Credit to the person who created this. This is just utter brilliance.
This is Chris, signing off.

P.S. Berba's second goal was just sublime. Pure class. Champion.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

You've got the bag. But you've not got the class.

The woman with the big, bright red Louis Vuitton bag was looking at a book. A book for children. About snakes. Its cover was that of a cartoon snake that resembled the snake from the Jungle Book. Why would she pick that book out of a thousand others remains a mystery. Her child took one look and ran away.

Then she yelled in Mandarin. It voice was piercing, like two cats quarreling at night over who gets the little dead rat. Her child came towards her, yelled back, mom grabbed his arm, more yelling and off they went. They continued to talk at the top of their lungs. My inability to understand Mandarin came in handy after all. But the annoying decibels coming out of their mouths was grating all the same.

The sudden increase in the middle class has given rise of the wannabes from every imaginable nook and cranny, specifically the Chinese race. It is used to be that the Chinese would adopt English names, mispronounce it and look all smarmy about it. Then it morphed to creating names by combining existing names or changing the spelling of it. Still mispronouncing it, though. Then, as luxury brands started asserting themselves in the market, the Chinese took to them like vultures to a dead horse.

So take those two things and you have the new breed of Chinesedom: Chinese-er. Yes, I made that up. Imagine, if you will, a Chinese person who is more Chinese than ever. It's funny that as the world is becoming more accessible the Chinese as a whole are regressing. Yes, they embrace Western culture with open arms that haven't been shaved in ages yet they have not a clue to differentiating the two. They take what they see, if attractive, keep, throw the rest. It is precisely this reckless abandonment of the senses that bewilders me.

The thinking hasn't matured much, they equate luxury as the benchmark they have to live up to. It would be a travesty if they didn't keep up with the Chans. Immature thoughts of beauty still taints their minds, big eyes and pasty-white skin is beautiful. If a girl is not stick thin, then they're fat (chubby doesn't exist in their dictionary). Males have to have their hairs in asymmetrical styles are the norm these days. Of course, looking like your pet schnauzer makes the bond between man and pest stronger, right? 

Chinese males are increasingly becoming less male and resembling their sisters. If they had any. Shudder. This androgyny is seriously starting to alarm me. Where have the real men gone to? These girly boys run on the treadmill for 20 minutes at a speed my grandma walks and they're panting for breath. Skinny jeans can be found in the drawers next to their slim fit singlets. It seems that having legs where they appear to be like chopsticks are a-okay. I used to be wary of shaking a girl's hand because my grip is firm but these pansies are worse, like flaccid carrots. Whatever happened to the likes of Chow Yuen Fatt? He was cool as can be. Now, now we have girls like Jay Chou as their inspiration.

The style here is heavily borrowed from the Taiwanese, which they borrow heavily from the Japanese whom we all know borrow massively from the West. So what we have is a style that is bastardised to high heaven. There is no identity specific to them. What they see on TV is bible to them. Music videos, or as they're called MTVs by these troglodytes, sends them into a fit, wanting to copy the style right away. I go back to the woman and her Louis Vuitton bag; it doesn't immediately make you classy, it makes you oblivious. It further proves the fact that people are sheep, powerless slaves to what the media glorifies.

Do the clothes maketh the person? Or does the person maketh the clothes?

Try telling that to the woman. I wonder what she will yell if the book was on schnauzers.

This is Chris, signing off. 

P.S. This angry post was brought to you by a guy who doesn't wear skinny jeans. Or jeans of any kind for that matter.

Monday, 6 September 2010

The only interesting thing that happened, nothing.

Please check back again. Brain under construction.

This is Chris, signing off. 

P.S. Seriously, brain under construction. For real.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

To all you ignorant HK people, wake up.

You can never imagine such a thing could happen to you. You think it only happens in the movies. You see it in the news and you go, oh my God, then you change the channel to something less sad. But when it happens to you, paralysis sets in quick, your heart stops and your mouth is wide open in disbelief. You just can't believe what you are seeing on the television screen. The feeling spectrum runs its gamut in you; fear, sadness, anger, vengeance. You pray and pray that things will get better. Then the rescue mission commences and you freeze in your tracks. Oh God, please save them, please.

The dust settles. Smoke is everywhere. Glass shards can be seen. When the smoke clears, you see a body lying on the ground. Lifeless. Police race towards the scene, frantic and hopeful. They quickly survey the scene, making sure that it is safe to board the vehicle. People can be seen standing up, then impatiently pushing each other to get off. Nations breathe a sigh of relief, the nightmare is over. Tears of joy run freely down reddened cheeks.

But not for you. You've just lost your loved one. Forever.

The recent tragic events of last week which occured in the Philippines has triggered an avalanche of critiques and whatnot, from the way the police handled the whole situation to how Jackie Chan is now a leper in his own country.

Yes, the Filipino police were inept. They made a lot of mistakes. This could have been prevented if only things were done properly. But this is hindsight talking and it is extremely easy to sit behind a computer typing out things like, "They should have done this. Wait, they should have done that." But to vilify and denigrate an entire nation is beyond absurd. It is embarrassing and morally wrong.

Before any of you start to conjure up ways up of disemboweling my already bloated stomach, hear this: I can't fathom what the family of the victims went through. I can only imagine and even then I would have barely skimmed the surface of your grief. However, wanting to cause harm upon innocent Filipinos for this tragedy will not bring back the dead. You are besmirching their legacy by pointing your accusatory finger when you should honour their deaths by cherishing the times they were alive.This could have happened to any a nation's people. It just so happened to be a bus full of Hong Kong tourists who came to the Philippines to have a great time yet found disaster. Do you, HK person, would give a shit if it happened to a, say, Japanese?

My sincerest condolences go out to the families who lost their kin. May they rest in peace.

This is Chris, signing off. 

P.S. I support you Jackie Chan even if your movies have been crappy lately. 

Sunday, 22 August 2010

When you pick up a can of tuna, spare a thought to the British girl who cleaned it.

Grocery shopping is an art.

And like art, sometimes it looks like a beautiful sunset on a beautiful mountain with a beautiful significant other. Or it could look like Sarah Jessica Parker. Some people take ages thinking and slow picking the stuff they need yet end up with nothing at all. There are some who go in, know which shelves hold their fave items, take what's needed, pay and head home. Others pore over every nutritional fact of a product (that would be me) but will take the cheaper yet nutritionally suspicious alternative because it is, well, cheaper. But how many of you actually care about the product you choose to purchase, for yourself, to feed your family? Care in the sense of where it came from, how it was produced, how did it get to the supermarket. Do you take the time to research on the things you need from there?

Most of you couldn't care less even if you cared at all. And I'm just as culpable.

There's a show called Blood, Sweat and Takeaways that was shown on the Asian Food Channel not too long ago. It followed the lives of six British young 'uns who traded their comfy cushions for damp cold floor. The whole premise was simple, take six Brits with diverse backgrounds, dump them in the unsavoury areas of South-East Asia, make them go through what the locals go through just to survive and hopefully when they get back they'll be able to tell the difference between an Indonesian and a Thai. Never seen dead fish before? Here's one, go and gut it. In 5 seconds. How about decapitating prawns (shrimps for you Yanks out there)? Decapitate 100 of the little blighters in 5 minutes, don't talk while you're at it. All for a daily pay that is enough for no one let alone a family of 6.

The six have different personalities since having all six with the same characteristics would just be ennui. There's farmer boy who dives into any work with nary a complaint. Killing a chicken was as easy as lifting mud cakes weighing 20kgs. Did you say brunette? Yes, there's one. I don't remember what she does. There's the token Asian who's forgotten his roots and loves fried chicken. The necessary blonde in the show is atypical of her upbringing; that of a snooty princess who eats more processed food than my family does in a year. What's a show without a kind-hearted portly fellow who complains about complaints yet does his darndest best. Lastly, the participant that wants to change the world whilst wearing a thin blouse. Of course, there'll be one that feels the need to change the world and she'll do it. Believe me, she will and she'll make you believe in wanting to do better for the people who put rice on your plate.

Their mission was to live with the locals, do the work they do, get paid at the end of the day and ruminate on what transpired. Conditions were appalling, destitute and saddening. You really feel for the locals, not the participants, because they'll get to back whereas the locals would have to carry on. Did I feel pity for the Brits? Nope. Why should I? Did I feel bad for them? Yes. Even I wouldn't want to do what they did. What this show has also highlighted is the sheer horrid conditions the people from this part of the world are in. No proper sanitation, abominable work conditions and the lack of birth control. 

The show also highlighted the plight of prostitutes in Thailand. Since the show wasn't called Blood, Sweat, Takeaways and HIV, it was a short segment yet profound in its message. Though, I'm not sure it the Brits back in the motherland would care. After all, it is them and their continental cousins who keep the flesh trade alive.

In the end, the six Brits came back with a new-found perspective on life. They all are actively campaigning to their mates that, hey, did you know that South-East Asia is not just Singapore? Guess what, all our fast food and packaged stuff are from there! I commend them for wanting to help change the mindset of their fellows.

Unfortunately, the show didn't convert me to be another crusader. But that doesn't mean I'll piss on some poor person's luck whose job was to help me have my fried cod. That's how life is. If someone was born with a silver spoon in their mouth you'll think of them as spoilt and undeserving. If someone came from some afar village and has a small room to call home you will pity them till the cows come home (not likely since the cows would have been slaughtered for burgers). Life's not fair. People at the bottom of the food chain are an important part of everyone's life. I sound harsh, right? Holier than thou complex going on as well, yes? Well, that's how it is, bub. Again, life is not fair. Somebody has to get things done.

Just count your blessings that it isn't you.  

This is Chris, signing off. 

P.S. I would have made an awful participant. I'm sure of it.

Monday, 16 August 2010

We are all Expendable.

Ever get the feeling that you're just another fish in the sea? Ever felt like that the work you do every single day is only appreciated by you? Ever experienced the sensation where your mouth is going sideways and you start to sound like Sylvester Stallone?

Scrap the last one. The first two are felt by most sitting behind a computer, work 10-hour days and eat fried food of the unsavoury kind during tea-time. I've always maintained that it is the little people make a company. Without us, higher management and other ass-lickers would not be able to sign off on lucrative bonuses for themselves. But they're the same as us little people, expendable. This brilliantly segues into the next paragraph.

The Expendables is a throwback to a time where the action was bigger than Mexico and it reigned supreme above all. The action heroes had improbable physiques and had monikers only a B-movie actor would have. The women were eye candy and of the variety where they will kick a baddie in the balls in lace nighties that have slits up to their cheeks. The storyline goes from point A-to-Z by skipping the rest of the alphabets. The script is limited to snarls and one-liners that sound cool but leaves you thinking wtf did I just hear? after you've left the cinema. Its attempt at highlighting the exploitation of South America was feeble and one doesn't require a PhD in physics to understand (you don't even need a high school diploma even, just basic kindergarten will suffice). The exploited General was nothing more than a puppet in the grand scheme things devised by a devious American (who else?) that only Eric Roberts could play it without looking like a fool.

But we all knew that.  

I grew up on the 80's and 90's, man. Schwarzenegger, Stallone, Willis, and all the guys in the movie were my action heroes (except for Jet Li, I'm more of a Jackie Chan fanboy). Whenever I think of big guns, bigger explosions and smarmy one-liners I think of these guys. The new generation can only name wimpy punks like Taylor Lautner and other children as they're action heroes. Just like Stallone and his ragtag team of golden oldies, we are all expendable. So let's just throw caution to the wind and let it burn. 

I love the movie.

This is Chris, signing off. 

P.S. Darn, Stallone still looks solid at 64. 

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Happy 1st. :)

Happy 1st Anniversary to the greatest girl on the planet. And some other planets.

You have given me a renewed reason in wanting to be the best man I can be. Thank you for everything you have done. I will do the same for you.

Sincerely yours till the end of time. I love you.

This is Chris, signing off. 

PS: This was not sponsored by Hallmark.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Do well and you'll be rewarded. But not this year. Too bad you joined late, eh?

Yet another P1 issue (it's my company's speak for The Shit Has Hit the Fan Big Time type of problem) arose after I had dealt with one the day before. The pressure was on. Time was of the essence. We had a 4-hour window before the first of the UK folks come in. We all know what they're like when things don't work; confused, try again, still doesn't work, agitated, log a ticket, why is this not working?, explanation given with a workaround, still not satisfied, complain, solution found, send to user for confirmation, no reply, chase for closure, close ticket after 3 reminder emails sent. Along the way, expletives flew everywhere, tempers flared, hope raised high only to be dropped like a sack of smelly potatoes after initial solution doesn't work.

The UK folks can be a bunch of fucked up pricks.

Life in the support lane is nothing but a way of making ends meet. Us support people don't get enough love. When we do well it's only us that know it. It will take a lot of good work before a pat on the back is received. But the slightest blemish will taint your reputation like blood in water. The sharks will encircle you and tear out the very flesh out of you.

Let's be realistic. We live to work. That's how we Asians are. We work late hours because going home on the dot is perceived as laziness. We also say yes when a no is the right answer. We give away far too much but receive too little in return. Our UK counterparts have low opinions of us, thinking we're not capable enough, when it is they that are not the efficient ones. They can't even get their grammar right. And why is it us that have to adjust our way of talking so that they can understand us? Some of their accents sound like they've swallowed a rat.

A job well done means a whole lot of nothing these days. So why bother?

This is Chris, signing off.

P.S. Joining a company which changed its review and increment policies a few weeks prior just plain fucking sucks.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

A welcome break.

It must be said that when you wear a favourite shirt your arms shouldn't feel like they're being constricted by a python. If that happens it means only one thing: your arms are big (duh!). It could be you're of the corpulent variety or it could be the product of doing heavy dumbbells curls and skull crushers. I'm in the latter category, naturally.

The same also applies to my legs, specifically my thighs. Everyone has a body part that responds well to exercise so well that even doing minimal work to them will yield results. I just need to run a flight of steps and I'm done. Built thighs that rival Beyoncé's in seconds.

Recently, I decided to take a week off from working out. (I was fully conscious of the decision I was making.) The last time I took such a lengthy break was when I injured my shoulder, which, was enforced rather than based on own volition. Prior to the break, I had been lifting pretty heavy weights, sometimes for days in a row. The reasons that necessitated the break were simple: 
  • To ensure joint health. Lifting heavy puts an enormous amount of strain on the joints. 
  • I was getting *gasp!!!* bored of lifting. 
  • Muscle mass was acquired quite significantly so much so that I had trouble fitting into certain clothing items I had no problems few weeks before.
  • I wanted to see if I could take the break and last one week of non-activity.
It's good to take a break once in a while. It is needed to recharge the mind, body and soul (some say booty as well).This applies to anything at all, from work to relationships. Sometimes the best thing to do is take a step back, reflect on the good and bad, and see where it will take you. If something unsavoury happened, talk it out (of course, if the parties involved were either in a straight-jacket or were the Hulk incarnate that would certainly cause issues) to find out the truth. Once the dust settles then things can go back the way it was and improve from there.

I feel stronger, mentally and physically, after taking the break. Fitting into your trousers back is a wonderful feeling. And very nice on the bank account.

This is Chris, signing off.

PS: The Malaysian Mega Sale is on. Yeah, with the lousiest of discounts seen. Pathetic and hopeless. 

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Good friends come and go. True friends remain.

What's a football fan to do when there's no football on the telly?


It's been a week since the Spanish defeated the Dutch in the just concluded World Cup. What an utter waste of time. Thankfully, I only watched the last half of the match. Sorry, the last half plus the extra bits that should not have been. Is it true the Spaniards the best team in the world? Yes and no. Yes because they are the World and Euro champions. No because they didn't beat their opponents with the utmost precision let alone conviction. The Dutch were absolutely brutal but a momentary lapse in defence saw them give away the game at the death.

But who gives a crap now, eh?

So here I am, still feeling full from ingesting 25 helpings of sashimi consisting of tuna and salmon with various side orders that ranged from deep-fried prawns to oily croquettes. My cholesterol levels have been better, that's for sure. But it was the company that made it all worthwhile. They say laughter is the best medicine, I agree, as I think that all the laughing we did helped us to somewhat curtail the saturated oils we consumed. The great thing about this group is that while 60% of us are no longer in the same office, we get along mighty fine with the other 40%, with no discomfiture experienced whenever there's a get-together. You know, sometimes when people have not seen each other in a while, they tend to get slightly edgy but that doesn't happen with this bunch. I am truly grateful that I can be a part of such company.

Sometimes you quarrel with a friend because of a disagreement. Sometimes it happens because one person does something that is hurtful to another but doesn't realise it. Sometimes friendships, even the supposed best ones, can break because of it. The most important thing to do is to talk it out. Get it out of the system and move on. The poison in you must be expunged from the soul. Then peace will come.

Just don't tell this to the Dutch.

This is Chris, signing off. 

P.S.: Mr Policeman, go and fark yourself. 

Sunday, 11 July 2010

In football, we trust.

The World Cup is about to draw a close.

About fucking time.

Don't get me wrong, I love the World Cup. I love that you can use it as an excuse for a lot of things. Say, you're in a meeting, and you've got English folk in as well, you can break the ice by saying, "Go, England!" (Of course, I didn't get to say that many times, because, well, the English team didn't exactly go far enough for me to say, "Go, England!" more than once.) But it has been an absolute bore. I can only say that some games were very good but none will be remembered as classics. It's a big shame, really. Because it's the first one I've been following quite diligently in spite of its general insipidness and fanfare akin to a Malaysian concert where the people sit down and clap vigorously because if you were stand up a fat guard will tell you to sit back down.

I'm sure as hell going to miss it. But not much. EPL starts soon!

Go, Dutch, Go!

This is Chris Van Chiam, signing off.

PS: Congrats to the German team!

Sunday, 4 July 2010

How do you say victory in German?

4 - 0.

Have a good week, people!

This is Chris, signing off. 

P.S: Finally, the World Cup ignites! Vuvuzelas be damned!

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Zee Germans are here!


This World Cup is...odd.

Odd in the sense that a lot of people are following it, even those not normally associated with anything football, just for the sheer excitement of it. To say it's been a joyride is a bit of a stretch. At most, it's been all right with the Uruguay versus South Korea being the most exciting for me thus far. The rest have been tepid and apathetic.

Which brings me to what I'm going through right now. Work's been great, busier than ever and me not complaining about wanting to leave after a week. Or the next. Thankfully, I've a holiday coming up in October and the thought of it keeps me sane during trying times in the office. Life needs to be about working to live, never the other way round. Being in Malaysia, well, it ain't impossible but it's surely as hell ain't easy either.

For some strange reason, I feel like eating a really good peanut butter sandwich.

This is Chris, signing off. 

PS: Go Germany!

Sunday, 20 June 2010

And on this day...

...I have nothing to say.

For the second week running, I am stumped. I had, like, 3 solid ideas for a blog post. No joke. All 3 of them were thought-provoking, profound, and bloody brilliant.

But I forgot to jot down the points thus leaving you lovely people with nothing more than a footnote of my absentmindedness.

Wish you could just do a Flashforward and see what's in store, say, in the next 6 months?

Stay healthy, people.

This is Chris, signing off. 

PS: This World Cup is abysmal and boring.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

What's round, has loads of fans, and is called football? Ugh. It's the World Cup!

Yes, folks. It is back. And it's bigger and badder.

I have nothing else to say. (Actually, I do, but I can't seem to articulate my thoughts just yet. Am just too lazy to do so this week.) Well, maybe just one thing. I have these teams vying for the ultimate prize:
  • Argentina
  • Brazil
  • England
  • Holland
  • Spain
Yes, I believe any one of the great nations will lift the World Cup. Call it intuition. Call it whatever you want to call it.

I'll call it wanting to recuperate my betting money!

This is Chris, kicking a Jabulani ball.

PS: USA drawing with England was a real stinker. Thank goodness I didn't wake up to watch it.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

You can't always get what you want...

...but if you try sometime, you'll find you get what you need.

I consider myself a headstrong person when it comes to keeping a tight rein in on my expenses. Many of you can attest to my now legendary parsimony; so much so that people associate penny pinching with my face. And they're right.

98% of the time.

1% goes to food. People keep forgetting that I love food. Yes, I can be an absolute Nazi at times; no fast food, no fried food, no sweet drinks, etc, but I really do enjoy food. The only time I indulge, and I mean, really indulge, is when I decide to let loose or to use a workout term: off day. I love pastries (red bean buns, anyone?). I love pasta (serve me spaghetti bolognese and I'll be your friend for life). I love the food that makes your heart scream, shout and eventually surrender in calories and cholesterol. I'd rather pay more for quality than settle for mediocre. And the other 1%?

I love to shop.

I've developed a rather reluctant affinity of spending my money in shops that cater to my ever growing list of things I like. The one time that I let go of myself (and the half-hearted loosening of my wallet) is only known to me. Which I never know. That's the beauty and curse of it. It's more of a curse but a damn lovely curse. You know the feeling you get what you've brought home a new toy? I love that feeling. Sometimes on the way home you think, damn, have I bought the right thing? Holy crap, I spent a bomb on that?! Then when you get home, unwrap it, smell it, feel it and look it you go hot damn! I made the right decision.

But there will come a time when all of that won't mean a thing. Especially when you're going to share your life with someone. If the two of you are wealthy and stable, good for you, but for the majority of people who are just above the comfortable line, myself included, dropping a couple of grand on a luxury item isn't exactly smart. Setting your priorities is paramount; bills need to be taken care of, accidents need to be covered, giving money to family. Those sort of things have to take precedence. However, never forget to indulge. You work so hard and to deny yourself pleasures, be it simple to the exorbitant, will only breed regret. Do what you think will give you satisfaction even if it were minuscule. What you want, what you really want, is something in your mind and you can shake it off. We live in a materialistic world where plastic and fakery is the new world order. 

It's up to you to make a choice.

This is Chris, signing off.

PS: If you're wondering if I'm referring to The Rolling Stones seminal classic, you are right. But if you're thinking of the original, you are wrong. I'm a Gleek!

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Half way there. Half way here. Where am I heading?

In two days' time we will be entering the second part of 2010.

Holy shit.

Earlier in the year, I was a like a happy bunny, hopping around with a carrot in my mouth thinking how great life was. I hopped and hopped then stopped. Stopped completely and utterly. Carrot finished. Euphemisms aside, what was supposed to be the gateway to a great career ended up nearly choking me. But you know the rest of the story so I might as well go on to now.

Now is very busy. Nay, now is very bloody busy.

Ever since I joined I've not had an easy day. I've had easy first half days but have yet to experience a full day of ease. Yet I wouldn't change a thing. I'm in charge of things. I'm the goto guy whenever there's a problem (it can be tiring being the goto guy but it feels great). All in all, things are going great.

Till the next time I bitch about my job, naturally.

On the life* side of things, it's been more than great. My woman and I have gone from strength to strength and it's it'll get, urm. strengther. The family has accepted her as one of our own; so much so that me ole grandma kept talking to her in own mother tongue even though R had no clue whatsoever what was being said. 

So what can I expect in the next six months? More work and more fun, that's for sure. But it's the unexpected things that I'm most looking forward to. After all, what's life without a little mystery, the unknown, what you never imagined.

I need to go to toilet.

This is Chris, signing off. 

PS: You didn't expect that, yes? :p

* Life = not staring at damn servers and whatnots.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Tarzan, you rock.

Seriously, people, hanging above 17 metres above the ground can either be the most exciting thing in the world or it could terrify the bejesus out of you.

This was a two-in-one thing.

Yesterday, 220510, was the official date of Chris Hangs on to Dear Life at Skytrex, located somewhere not near Kuala Lumpur city centre at all. (If you have GPS, please use it, you'll thank me profusely when it saves you and your friends from taking 10 U-turns and second exits.) It was a humid afternoon as it had rained, hard, earlier in the morning. This was a blessing as you'll find out. After regrouping with friends and ex-colleagues we all proceeded to gear up and be briefed on the horrors we were going to face.

The tutorial was easy, the guide explaining slowly and clearly on how to not die. With the harness slightly constricting my thighs, I went first and did the first of what would be the most terrifying set of obstacles I've ever done. (Now, I don't really remember all the obstacles as I was a) battling dehydration b) trying to put out the fires in my arms c) trying to not curse at every tree d) ensuring that my glasses stayed on my face) First up, a climb up a 3-storey high ladder. Pretty easy after the a while but the PVC pipes being your steps doesn't give off much confidence. Next, if I remember correctly, was a short flying fox to two obstacles. These obstacles turned out to be the most difficult and the most annoying.

It has to be said that smarmy college kids make the best stewards. As much as I wanted to hit them in the head for being jackasses, their nonchalance propelled me to get through the obstacles as fast as possible. One kid, in a nasally know-it-all tone of voice, repeatedly said, "Sir, it's like walking, one foot then the other." This obstacle in particular had pipes dangling where a misstep would certainly call your harness into action and immense embarrassment to ensue. He will do well in life, I'm sure.

Subsequent obstacles proved to be less annoying but no less taxing on the body. My arms were on fire as I used more upper body strength to haul my carcass-like body. Since I have about as much grace as a sumo wrestler on thin ice going the flying fox was a breeze, literally, as my heavier weight proved to be like a bullet speeding across the terrain. A bullet made of papier-mâché. I envisaged myself gliding through the canopy, the wind on my face, and landing beautifully on the tarp. It never happened. I kept spinning and my landings were all brutal as I hit full on the trees to stop myself. Lets just say the resulting sounds could be heard on a different continent.

Then there are some obstacles where you have to go through what look to be nets. Nets designed to ensnare wild animals. I felt like a trapped, endangered animal being roped in for a documentary on National Geographic. Zigzag obstacles were prevalent and, boy, did it annoy me. I had to ensure my hands didn't get cut off as I pulled myself forward (I know, I know, I'm supposed to not put my hand in front of the carrot binder thing), watch my balance and tried to keep my glasses from visiting the ground.

At the last big obstacle, a long flying fox, I breathed in, exhaled and told myself I'm Bear Grylls. That was before I hit the tree with a loud bang and an even louder curse. As the first to finish, I felt a ginormous sense of accomplishment. If it weren't for my gym training, I would be in a much worse condition. Calloused hands are cool. My glasses were safe. My crown jewels were intact. My ego still solid but body bruised.

Bring on the extreme trail!

This is Chris, signing off.

PS: A massive dedication goes to Ronnie James Dio. Thank you for shaping heavy metal. Without your voice, I wouldn't be here, really. R.I.P, Metal God.