December 2003 Archives

Happy New Year 2004

Here's to a Happy New Year 2004 to everyone (and to myself!). Some may say its just another day, some may say its a chance for a new beginning. Either way, its symbolism shouldn't be underestimated. A lot of new things will be happening for a lot of people this year, me included.

Goodbye 2003, hello 2004.

Sydney, oh Sydney!

After an incredible round trip of more than 2000 km in a car, i arrived in Sydney two days ago. Watched LOTR yesterday (it was good, but not as good as people say - a bit too melodramatic for my tastes), and did some serious shopping. Everything is on sale here, and, unlike back home, when things are on sale here, they really are on SALE. Lots of deep discounts on everything.

Going to the City today. Plan to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge, walk around King + George Street (major arteries of the city), settle down on a park bench somewhere, read a book and have a good cigar.

A sunny Gold Coast

I'm THIS close to being sunburned. If not for the liberal amounts of sun screen lotion i've applied, i probably would be already.

Walking along the sands of Surfer's Paradise here along the Gold Coast is a humbling experience: watching the magnificent sea beat its waves against the fine white sand, just makes me wonder how small i am in the scheme of things. A dot of light in a universe of darkness, surrounded by countless other dots of light.

The people here are friendly, most will say hello to you before you can say it to them. The food here is outrageous -- for a person with my palate (tak boleh makan pedas sangat lah), its gastranomical heaven. A bit disappointed about the babe watching along the beach. Don't think i've seen so much flab concentrated in one place ever before, mine included, of course. :)

I'm happy. That's important, i guess. Missing home already, and the special touch of that special someone.

The Great Barrier Reef

It was a fantastic experience. Whatever wonderful things you've heard about the Reef, its ALL TRUE!

Had the good fortune to actually scuba dive along the Hardy Reef shelf today, and that was an experience. Breathing underwater was a bit weird at first, but i got the hang of it fast enough. Went quite deep (about 15m), fed the fishies (one was HUGE - i thought it was going to bite my hand off!), and marveled at the living coral, close up and personal. It was almost sad for the dive to have to end.

*sigh* I'm hooked. Time to get my license when i get home (didn't need a license for a guided, recreational dive today).

Whitsunday, Queensland

I'm at Arlie Beach, Queensland right now, after a long 2 day drive from Dubbo, NSW. Today was a blast - visited Hamilton Island, swam in the clearest blue water you can imagine and had the most delightful ice cream. Drove around the island in a golf buggy (hahahaah!!!), and even spent some time shooting guns at the guns range. Real guns (the stuff police use, H&K 9mm) with real bullets (but pretend targets!!).

Tomorrow promises to be even more special. A 2 hour boat ride will take me to the Great Barrier Reef, one of the 7 wonders of the world. Going to spend the day there, snorkelling among the fishies, soaking up the wonder-amazement of colours and sea life.

Ahhh... its good to be alive!

But i do miss someone very, very much back home. Wish you be here to share this with me, my darling Baizura.

Greetings from Dubbo!

Made it to Dubbo, Australia today after a very eventual flight here from KL. The front tire of my plane, MH 123, as it was taxiing out of KLIA, burst in a loud bang. Can you imagine it? I suppose even plane tires get blowouts -- thank God it didn't happen while take off or landing!! This delayed the flight by two hours and nearly made me miss my connecting flight after arriving in Sydney. I litterally ran the length of a foreign airport to make the connecting flight. * Puff, puff *

dubbo-city.jpg
Welcome to Dubbo, NSW!

Swimming-pool-small.jpg
Soaking in my pool

But all's well that ends well, i suppose. I'm here safe and sound and will be travelling to the Gold Coast tomorrow. It'll take 2 days to get there by car! This country is HUGE.

I'm off Down Under

The reason why i wrote this post has finally arrived. Today is the 19th of December 2003, and i'm off for my annual vacation. Guess where?

Flight.jpg
My ticket outta here!

Time off is best spent with family. So that's where i'll be: with my family. See ya Malaysia! I'll write from there with tales to brighten the young of heart, and stories to frighten the faint of heart!

Inadequate

Women make all sorts of little comments. Most times, they don't mean to complain, or sound dissatisfied, or in want of something they don't have or in disagreement with a current state. But these little comments do play on the minds of men, especially men who care for them beyond the normal boundaries of friendship.

"Gosh, that Tiffany ring looks marvelous, doesn't it?"
"I wish i could drive that car."
"Did you know: her husband gave her a house for her hantaran (wedding gift)."
"I'll never get a chance to visit Rome."
"Wished we went to the play; everyone else who went said it was fantastic."
"I heard the food at restaurant X is magnificent."

Passing such comments, perhaps in jest, perhaps as a casual observation, perhaps in the course of normal conversation during shopping or while attending someone's wedding is actually perfectly normal.

But for a man to hear them, it conveys a specific message: this is something she wants. And this message transforms into a specific action: this is something i must give her because if she wants it, therefore, if she were to receive it, it will make her happy.

This is actually a good thing most of the time. Men all over, myself included, grouse that they often don't know what women want because they never say anything. The logical course of this knowledge is that the man will do his best to provide for that want, to provide happiness and satisfaction. After all, a man's role is to be the provider (yes, some may consider this role outdated, but, sue me, i'm a firm believer of this).

Problems occur when the want is beyond the capacity of the man to provide. Then a deep feeling of insecurity and inadequacy surfaces. What good am i if i'm unable to provide the comforts my loved one seeks? Its a pretty low feeling, and one that's terribly unwelcome. No man i've ever spoken to enjoys feeling inadequate.

Personally, i work as hard as i do (and perhaps i should work harder still) to ensure my family will never have wants i couldn't satisfy. I want to be the husband and father (one day, insyallah) who will be able to provide materially and spiritually for my family. Success, to me, is the ability to scratch every itch, satisfy every want, provide every comfort, and protect my family. I would rather go hungry than to see my family in want.

Murder Part II

The earlier posting i made on the unfortunate death of Noritta has drawn a disproportionate number of comments. It seems that people have many, many things to say about her.

Some attack her character, some defend her, some preach patience, others spread rumours and half-truths.

Pepatah melayu

This is one of my favourite pepatah Melayu.

"Bila jolok baru jatuh."

I like this saying so much i've added my own snippet to complete it.

"Bila jolok baru jatuh, lebih baik naik balik pokok."

Hahahahahahaha...

Taking charge

Its just not because i haven't seen them all in a long time, but having the whole Cheong-ka family clan together in one place, sharing a meal last night was more enjoyable than i thought it would be.

Later, as we walked back to the car, my cousin in his wisdom said something particularly poignant:

"Our parents are getting older now; its up to us to keep things together."

Yes, cousin. It is up to us now to carry the family flag.

Brilliant video

Baizura can be quite brilliant. Its either that or all the other (men) who were there that night with their expensive digital cameras were just stupid.

Everyone (including myself) who came to watch "Master Cigar Roller, Hamlet Jaime Paredes":http://www.mycigarblog.com/blog/archives/000104.html ply his trade brought their cameras. While the rest of us contented ourselves with taking still photos of the event, Baizura had the presence of mind to use her camera to take a video recording of the Master Roller at work.

Using her spanking brand new iBook G4 and the quite amazing iMovie software, she stitched together the various clips she took into a 3 minute video, complete with a soundtrack and music-video-like title!

Is there any wonder why i love this woman? Watch the "fruits of her labour at My Cigar Blog":http://www.mycigarblog.com/blog/archives/000103.html. Its worth a look -- the video is very, very well done.

Sex

What's the one thing that everyone thinks about but no one talks about?

How ironic it is our culture can be.

Incredibly sweet things

There are times in this life when doing an incredibly sweet thing for a loved one is the most natural thing to do, and also the most heart-wrenching.

I'll be leaving soon. I've got 8 days to allow nature to take its course.

National service cock-up

Dinesh Nair of Alphaque.com fame is really having a go at the technological stupidity surrounding the recently launched National Service where 485,000 of our youths have been called up for indoctrination.

bq. Anxious kids wanting to know if they've been selected for brainwashing National Service could use a few ways to find out. They could call a special hotline, send an SMS or do what any other kid of the Internet generation would, use the Khidmat Negara website. However, those who believe in the national ICT aspirations and the Multimedia Super Corridor were deeply disappointed because the website was truly unreachable during the whole period. It keeled over and just died like the dodo.

Good reads here and here.

Taken

Was featured in Flyingchair.net today, but perhaps for the wrong reasons. Phil (the site owner) is running the Asia Weblog Awards and some friends from PETRONAS (the place where i work) has been voting for my blog, the VOI. Unfortunately, on Phil's logs, it seems as though someone has been cheating by voting for me multiple time since all the votes have been coming from the same IP address, 170.38.99.120 (which is the PETRONAS address in the Twin Towers). But in reality, friends from in PETRONAS have been voting for me, thus the multiple votes from the same IP.

Don't blame Phil - there is no way for him to be able to tell the difference between a valid and cheat vote which comes from the same IP address, short of emailing back the people who voted to see whether they really did.

Oh well. Best intentions tend to go awry once in a while.

Armpit

Someone made a comment about my armpit hair today. I was asked, do i shave it off? I answered with a firm negative.

Since then, i've been wondering: i don't believe i know any man who shaves his armpit hair, or any any part of his body for that matter save his face. Why is that? Why do men care less if they've got a forest growing on their chest, underarms or legs?

Why is it that women go through great pains (literally) to be as bodily hairless as possible? Thousands of dollars are spent on "feminine" razor blades (what the hell is the difference anyways?), those self-help hair remover machines which promise silky smooth results, and thousands more on waxing and hair-removing chemical treatments? What truly mystifies me is the lengths some women go to shape the hair on their body (ever heard of bikini waxing?)!!

Not a stray hair in sight
Not a stray hair in sight

So much effort spent on what is primarily excess protein from the body. All in the name of beauty and smooth, hairless skin. God fobid a hairy armpit and a misplaced hair along those bikini lines.

Just me?

Is it just me or has Streamyx service today been very poor? While trying to surf international sites, access seems to be terribly slow and intermittent. A bit unusual; even Yahoo! takes a while to load today.

Murder

I've been reading about this young lady, Noritta Samsudin, a lot lately in the media. Its unfortunate that her rise to fame has been under such tragic circumstances. Al-Fatihah.

One of the thoughts i've had in connection to her murder is how her murderer felt killing her with his bare hands. If the newspapers are to be believed, she died as a result of strangulation (perhaps some S&M gone awry?). Killing someone in this fashion is extremely personal and horrific; at every moment the killer would have been staring into her eyes as he (or she) extinguished the life from them. She would have struggled, pleaded without voice, choked and thrashed about in a desperate bid to escape. Conceivably, the killer would have straddled her between his legs, on top of her, looking down upon her as he squeezed harder and harder, his hands and fingers around her neck, perhaps pressing his thumbs into the front of her throat. Near the end, she would have emitted a final gurgle of pain as her windpipe was crushed, and the arteries in her neck burst from the strain of trying to get blood to her brain. What a terrible, horrible way to die. And what a terrible, horrible person it would take to kill in this fashion.

Killing from afar, from bombs and bullets or the blast of a nuclear missile - that's just like a game. Often you don't even know the person you've killed, sometimes you don't even see the death and suffering, safe as you are in a military complex thousands of miles away from where the bomb explodes. But killing with your hands? Strangling your victim to death? That's something else altogether; it requires a cold bloodedness uncommon in most. It sends shudders up my spine.

Resounding success

The 5th Cigar Dinner held last week, on the 5th December 2003 at 18th-20th Century, was a resounding success. Thanks to all who came and made it happen.

Full pics can be found in Visuals.

Istaq

I know this fellow, Istaq is his name. A couple of years my junior, he's a someone i'm particularly impressed with - an ideal representative of the young, Neo-Malay. Smart, cultured, polite, pious (without being religiously ultra-conservative), amicable, and full of positive thoughts.

He has one quality that truly shines: he's progressive and mature enough to understand that success in life is a progression of many baby-steps rather than a giant leap forward. For example, while waiting for his application to the Foreign Service to come through (and they would be really silly not to snap up this young talent), he's not been idle. He found a job in Citibank, took it, and although he puts up with a ton of crap from his bosses and customers, he's soaking up the experience like a sponge when others may have quit. Instead of turning and running when the going gets tough, like so many other young Malays (yes, i'm singling out my own racial group for criticism), he sticks with it.

Also, unlike so many other Malays, he's humble in his possessions - he knows what he wants, but he realizes that its better to start with something small within his means rather than overstretching himself. For example, he drives a modest little car; friends have trash-talked him about it, but even now when he could conceivably afford something better, he prefers to wait and exercise prudence. For him, a car is about getting him from Point A to Point B. It doesn't need to be flashy. The flash car, the flash house, will come soon enough, he reckons, with enough hard work and patience.

One day, this dude will lead our country in international negotiations with others. I'm glad it'll be him.

Coming around

I've been alive 27 years now and i'm sad to report that i've learned very few lessons. Not because there haven't been many lessons to learn, but because i've not been paying attention very much.

But i have learned one thing, one instransmutable fact of life: what comes around, goes around. What you do today will return with interest to you tomorrow.

Do upon others as you would want others to do upon you.

How true. How so very painfully true.

Crazy

Women ask, no demand, men to do crazy things sometimes. They know its unreasonable, they know it can't or shouldn't be done and yet they still ask. And when the man says no (as he rightly should), she sulks and spoils the mood and upsets everybody.

My question is simple: the end result is that the woman won't get what she wants because he just won't do it, and she knows that he won't do it because its completely unreasonable. Knowing this, why spoil the mood, why upset tempers by even asking in the first place?

Entertaining Bush

The "Leader of the Free World" is responsible for a lot of crap - but you really can't fault him for the entertainment he provides us day in, day out.

Thanks Baizura for the pics.

PPS Update

Its been a while since i last posted an update on the state of Project Petaling Street, but here it is (for the month of November 2003):

Total Hits 1036788
Total Files 1503852
Total Pages 87507
Total Visits 48129 (more than a thousand a day?)
Total KBytes 3643426

There are currently 388 registered pingers/bloggers to PPS. And some of the content you'll find of PPS is truly amazing (this and this are nice examples). Malaysian bloggers have some of the most outstanding content in the blogosphere and it makes me feel very proud to attest to that fact. Thanks to everyone who has taken the effort and time to contribute. It takes a bit of effort to use the manual pinger (or even to put up with the nagging occasional problems the auto-pinger entails), and i am grateful for the kind patience and support the Malaysian blogging scene has shown towards this project.

Blog logos

As far as great blog logos go, this one is excellent! Check it out.

5th Cigar Dinner!

The famed cigar dinner series is now in its 5th incarnation. This month's dinner promises to be something extra special with our host set to be the well-received 18th-20th Century. All those interested to participated in this exclusive event check out the details in My Cigar Blog.

Closing date for reservations to participate in this event is 4th December 2003.

UPDATE: 12 people confirmed already, from all walks of life, some cigar lovers, some not. It should be BLAST! A party is only as good as the company it keeps. If that's true, i think this will be the best cigar dinner yet!

Exposing myself

Having a blog this past year and a half or so is kinda akin to standing naked in the middle of Pudu Raya for a few seconds at a time. Just like a flasher would, i pull open my clothes at times when it pleases me, give anyone who's interested a peek, then just as quickly, button everything up again. To say the least, the exhibitionist in me is pleased.

But its often more than that, much much more. Its therapy, education and entertainment all rolled into one. Those of you who have been reading this humble blog over the past few months or even just the past few weeks, will probably know more about who i am than friends i've known for years. Those of you who've been reading since the beginning (perhaps good ol' Queen Blog), you probably know me better than my parents do.

Talking about the things that matter to me, about the things in my life is therapeautic -- i really can't find a better word for it. It always feels better to talk about something than to keep it bottled up, and where better to do than on your own personal soap box where you could have an audience of millions or an audience of none at all.

And when you write back, through the comments, or through emails to me, that's when you teach me something, that's when i'm educated -- educated to look beyond myself and share a bit in what is yours. Sometimes people insult me on my blog, sometimes people insult the people i love, sometimes i'm belittled or ridiculed -- that's ok, it stings occasionally, but its not all that difficult to get over it. Its all about accepting the territory that comes with blogging, and its all about balancing the cost and the benefit. By and large, what you say to me is just as important as what i have to say, sometimes even more so.

Its been a year or so (read my first ever post). I forget when the VOI began life, just like one day, i'm sure i'll forget the birthday of my children or wife (i'm sorry, i've just got that sort of memory). But i know its been a while. Its good to look at things again every so and so -- here's to another year of Interactions. Cheers.

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from December 2003 listed from newest to oldest.

November 2003 is the previous archive.

January 2004 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.