Monthly Archives: March 2005

Lively Directed?

Just a quick thought blog that came from one of my sister’s email a few weeks ago..

Some of you who fanatically follow American Idol might have noticed that the advertisement on the telly goes something like “Screen times…4.30pm Wed…Direct via Satellite from USA!”

Question is, does the term “Direct via Satellite”mean the same thing as LIVE, as in LIVE football, etc.?

According to my sis, it doesn’t feel like LIVE, because if it IS, then it would either be roughly about 4.30am US time (Eastern) or 12.30 midnight US time (Pacific).

Are we bringВ short-changed here, or does “Direct via Satellite”mean something else? Hmmmmmmm….

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Number of the Day:

430 – estimated deaths confirmed so far onВ  the islands ofВ Nias and Simeulue off the coast ofSumatraВ after yesterday’s earthquake.В Indeed another sadВ disaster aftermath in Indonesia. God rest their souls.

(Originally posted on allandog.multiply.com)

Reel Review: Lemony Snicket – A Series of Unfortunate Events

Have been quite busy to catch any movies of late that many good ones have already come and gone. Sigh. So, I was rather thankful that I was still able to catch this movie last night, which happened to be one of a ‘must-see’movie on my movie list this year.

With a trailer featuring (one of my favs) Jim Carey, Jim Carey and Jim Carey!, a tagline that reads “not everything ends with a happy ending”, and a gothic, colourfulesque feel to the movie, who can resist right?

The movie details the lives of three orphans following a mysterious fire who swallowed up their homes and their parents with it. Three of them have a special gifts. Violet is an amazing inventor, Klaus is the knowledgeable bookworm and Sunny (the most adorable) is a little ‘Jaws’ and speaks a language only her siblings can understand. They are then escorted to their next of kin, a filthy-no good-money hungry-scum-villainous uncle Count Olaf (Jim Carey), who takes them into his care, with the hopes of landing himself with the wealth left behind by the children’s parents. Thus, begins a wonderful journey and adventure for the children as they try to escape from his devious plans, meet their other ‘relatives’, and try to solve the mystery of their parents’death.

Was I disappointed? Definitely NO! This was perhaps one of the most refreshing and entertaining movies I have watched in a long while.

It was grim, yet entertaining. Dark, yet bright with talented performances. Sad, yet happy at the right moments. Funny, yet serious with the message it carried.

The dialogue was crisp and complements the mood of the movie. I especially liked the script for the narrator (Jude Law), which was read out beautifully. Jim Carey was slightly over the top (reminiscent of Ace Ventura) at times but then again, that’s just him. All the children preformed remarkably well – their ability to hold a straight and shell-shocked face probably won it for them during the auditions. However, perhaps the most under-rated performance par excellence would be the cinematography. The way the cameras handled (or rather owned) the set was simply breathtaking. The facial close-ups, attention-to-detail shots, long range ‘whoa’clips. It was like watching a truly grim fairytale comic book brought to life in the most remarkable way. I also read somewhere that the writer has plans to write 13 (nothing puzzling here) books in this series. So, here’s hoping for more installments of this series to make it to the silver screens!

Summary:
Go watch it only if you are sick of watching all the goodie-goodie happy jolly feel-good movies. No lah, just kidding. Do go watch it before it ends its run in the cinemas. Highly recommended. It’s really entertaining and worth the fun and adventure. I certainly did. 😉

Rating: ★★★★★

(Originally posted on allandog.multiply.com)

CEO Treats

Our PM just shared during a gathering of 650 chief executives that there are SIX (6) traits needed to become CEOs. Here are the six and my personal interpretations:

1.В Flexibility to adapt quickly in a changing and highly uncertain globalising world – Able to point fingers of fault very quickly; also able to disappear for a holiday at the exact time that a crisis hits the company.

2. Building resilience in his company – Constant missles and fire spewing from the mouth that eventually builds (charcoaled) characters in the company.

3.В Developing leaders within his organisation and executing his company’s short- and long-term strategies – Developing close friendships and drinking buddies to ensure strategies are carried out ‘within the family’.

4. Need to have a balanced outlook – Blind to our good effortsВ but magnifying the mistakes

5. Highest level of ethics and integrity – Able to keep to strict diet during countless makan sessions

6.В Honesty and sincerity – Scored an A in SPM Moral paper. ‘Nuff said.

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Number of the Day:

8.7 – Quake magnitude measured which rocked tiny Island of Nias of Indonesia last night. Initial reports have the death toll in the hundreds. An electricity blackout also happened around the same time in the area of Serdang. Was it due to the tremors? Or just a coincidence?

(Originally posted on allandog.multiply.com)

Theatre Joke of Rules and Conduct

Kudos to Istana Budaya (IB), our Ministry of Arts, and whatever parties involved for starting to bring in quality theatre shows into Malaysia. In recent times, we have been treated to the likes of Cats, Fame, Saturday Night Fever, Carmen, etc…just to name a few. This is truly great not only for all the art and theatre lovers, but also for Malaysia in general, who seems to be finally opening itself to the theatre realm.

While this movement in the right path by all the powers-that-be ought to be applauded, I personally feel that certain areas still needs to be improved for these theatre stuff to be truly enjoyed at its optimum best. Having attended a few performances at IB, I’ve noticed that not much effort has been put into improving the organization or conduct of logistics at the venue itself. My recent experience during the Sound of Music even brought proof that their conduct (or mis-conduct rather) has become worse!

Although the items below didn’t really disturbed or distracted me from following or enjoying the show, I strongly feel that they are items which should be looked into before our efforts to bring quality theatre performances into Malaysia be seen as a joke and gone to waste. Some of the boos boos which caught my attention:

  1. Staff recruitment – The ushers couldn’t converse in basic English and even replied an Answer B when queried with Question A. Suggestion: Perhaps all staff recruited for productions like these have to undergo intensive TV viewing for 2 weeks before getting the permit to work at IB.
  2. Unprofessional Ushering – Let me try to describe how we were ushered to our seats that night. Our row was B, which was located near the balcony railings. When we showed the tickets to the usher at the door (about 10 rows away from row B, cascading down some steps), she simply whipped out her lightsaber (torchlight) and flashed it in the direction of our row as if there was some kind of deadly virus on the loose there. No proper ushering. No proper “your row is the second one from the railing, sir”, etc. Sigh. IB might as well just give all patrons free torchlights to find their own seats.
  3. Toddlers Permitted – Ticket rules clearly stated kids below the age of 4 are not allowed to the show. Couldn’t keep track of how many of these kids with their shameless parents coming into theatre without any fuss at all. IB might as well just build a playpen for the kids right within the theatre halls if they are to continue to permit these strict rules from being broken everytime.
  4. Silent Announcement – During the intermission, there was no announcement whatsoever of how long would the break be, what time do the patrons need to be back at their seats, or even heck, that the show has not ended and it WAS only an intermission! I wouldn’t be surprised if some first timers left IB at that time! And when the second part of the programme resumed, there was again no announcement whatsoever that the show was about to resume, etc. Was the show THAT boring till the announcer went to sleep?
  5. Recording stuff – Although it was in the rules and it was also announced (surprise here!) that all recording equipment, especially flash cameras were prohibited during the show, many patrons still brought in their cameras and I could have sworn there were flashes every now and then. I’m just thinking….is this a rude Malaysian phenomena? And what could be worse? The organizers not doing anything about it. ‘nuff said. And this has happened in other venues as well – Riverdance, those whatever-on-ice shows, etc. Perhaps some tips can be learnt from a particular City of Entertainment, where I once witnessed a patron who was snapping photos during a circus show being escorted out by the show guards.
  6. Security – After the show, we decided to take a short cut using the theatre back doors to avoid the human traffic going out the normal passages. To my surprise, the back door led to many passageways accessing to IB’s control rooms, server rooms, office rooms, etc. without a guard in sight! There was absolutely zero security! The group of underaged toddlers could have played tag all over the office compounds and no one would have even known!
  7. Unregistered Numbers – In January, there was an ad the newspapers who requested patrons who had purchased the tickets to call up a certain telephone number to verify the tickets. I tried calling them during a working day, lunchtime, evenings, etc. and there was no response. Maybe the announcer also moonlights as the helpdesk operator. Sigh.
  8. Latecomers – Rules stipulated latecomers after a certain time will not be allowed into the hall. I remember in Spidey 2 where Peter was not allowed to go in the hall to see MJ’s play because it has already started about 5 minutes into the show. However, in IB, latecomers can seemingly come in as they please, with the ushers (this time) happily flashing their lightsabers to the exact row of the latecomers, completely distracting other patrons who are already seated and with the show already started.

Of course, for those who find it difficult to tolerate with our Malaysian ethics at the theatre for musicals, there’s always an alternative – Saturday Night Comedy Drama theatre at your local stadium showing Super League soccer…

(Originally posted on allandog.multiply.com)

One Guy Didn’t

An interesting poem to reflect on for the Easter weekend…

ONE GUY DIDN’T

Three guys were tried for crimes against humanity.

Two guys committed crimes.

One guy didn’t.

Three guys were given government trials.

Two guys had fair trials.

One guy didn’t.

Three guys were whipped and beaten.

Two guys had it coming.

One guy didn’t.

Three guys were given crosses to carry.

Two guys earned their crosses.

One guy didn’t.

Three guys were mocked and spit at along the way.

Two guys cursed and spit back.

One guy didn’t.

Three guys were nailed to crosses.

Two guys deserved it.

One guy didn’t.

Three guys agonized over their abandonment.

Two guys had reason to be abandoned.

One guy didn’t.

Three guys talked while hanging on their crosses.

Two guys argued.

One guy didn’t.

Three guys knew death was coming.

Two guys resisted.

One guy didn’t.

One.

Two.

Three guys died on three crosses.

Three days later.

Two guys remained in their graves.

One guy didn’t.

-Unknown

Was it the nails, O Saviour,В That bound Thee to the tree?
Nay, ’twas Thine everlasting love,В Thy love for me, for me.

Have a blessed Easter everyone! See ya all back next Monday!

God bless.

Allan.

(Originally posted on allandog.multiply.com)

Sound of Music (Theatre Musical)

Category: Music
Genre: Broadway & Vocalists
Artist: Theatre Musical

One of the world’s most loved and well-known musicals from the silver screen brought to life in theatre form. Hmmmmm. When I went to Istana Budaya last weekend to watch this transition take place, I didn’t really carry with me much hope that the theatre version would outdo (nor even come close to) Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer’s hit movie. Besides, they couldn’t really replicate the hills on stage, could they?

I found the first half of the show to be truly crisp and well choreographed. The songs were clear and managed to connect itself with the audience. I have to stress here that the connection was extremely important because almost (if not) all of the audience would be upon reflex be comparing what they saw on stage to what they remembered from the movie.

“Eh…how come this scene come first one..?”
“How come never sing I Have Confidence one?”
“Where’s the boat in the river scene?”

So it was great to see the audience settle down and accepting the theatre version. The children were also equally adorable and the production team even managed to thrown in a couple of new songs which were not heard in the movie version. An inclusion in a Special Edition Director’s Cut DVD in the near future perhaps?

After the intermission however, I just felt Maria’s voice was starting to sound a little flat. Wasn’t as strong as clear in the beginning but this was the half where Captain Von Trapp sort of took over the mike and carried it. Although this theatre version provided some variations from the movie version (eg. Rolf’s ‘assistance’ at the end, wedding scene, Maria leaving for the abbey scene, etc.) it was a great watch overall with splendid performances from the entire cast.

The only cons I had about the entire show would probably be some bad policing of the theatre rules by the organizers. There were a couple of boos boos but generally my enjoyment wasn’t affected. I shall mention those stuff in a future blog. Meanwhile, you may want to read what my sister (who seemed more affected by the organizer’s incompetence) has to say in her strong letter to The Star (published today)

Summary:

A definite, wonderful show to watch. Worth the moolah too since this one clocked in at close to 3 hours flat, inclusive of the 20+ minutes of intermission.

Rating: ★★★★★

(Originally posted on allandog.multiply.com)

Kermit Suicide

Three nights ago, I got another shock in my life when another creepy crawly invaded my home! And this time it was extra freaky because I was the apparent target and it came up to me in bed while I was sleeping!

In the middle of that frightful night (approx. 3.30am), I suddenly felt something alien hopping on my back (or front coz I can’t really recall) and immediately woke up and shook my body like during a rock concert. Usually I won’t be awaken so easily but it was just something about the movement of the frog….Yes, a frog somehow managed to hop into my room, found its way to my bed, hopped onto it, onto me and was already heading straight for me head. No kidding. I then switched on the lights and saw it scampering away to the ledge of the head of my bed, which was backed against the wall. Although it wasn’t like moving at warp speed, I failed to catch the little fellow before he jumped off the ledge of my bed to the floor behind my bed.

The thought of spring cleaning my dirty bed basement flashed before my eyes….

Nahh….I’ll just leave him there…what harm can it do now anyway, right? In the morning, I thought I felt the frog on me again, so I wriggled furiously as I woke up from a dream (or nightmare rather). Mental note to wash my sleeping T-shirt. Suddenly I saw the frog near the ledge of the window by my bedside! This little fellow actually managed to hop and crawl and whatever back from the floor up to the window side! Wow! It was actually trying to escape through the window panes but unfortunately I have a mosquito netting there which proved that the frog was shortsighted. So there it was, slimy and dirty, covered with dust and cobwebs, trying to squeeze itself thru the closed windows. The sight of it really made me cringed. Ewwwwww. Mental note 2: bed basement needs lotsa vacuuming. Then, when I tried to catch it again, it sensed me coming and ‘commited suicide’ off the window ledge to the base of my bed again.

I needed to get ready for work as well, so I thought heck, I’ll just leave my room door open wide and hope he manages to find his way out somehow. Left a note to my roomie to warn him of the frog before I left.

Post: Didn’t hear anything froggy for the past two nights so I assumed he managed to find his way out of my room but it could still be in the house somewhere. Oh man…my house has really turned into a jungle. Wonder what’s next?

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Number of the Day:

3 – Italian clubs are through the last 8 of the Champions League after Inter knocked out the defending champions Porto 3-1 last night. Many thought they were pasta prime but results so far this year shows that they seem to be getting back strong.

(Originally posted on allandog.multiply.com)

Simba Samba

For all those working in Cyberjaya, you may have heard loud drum noises, clanging cymbals and other humdingers coming from MDC about 2 hours ago. No. the Walls ice-cream man wasn’t having a stock clearance. That was my company’s ‘very late’ Chinese New Year gathering, complete with lion dance and all….just came back from stuffing myself silly with roast lambs, roti canai, rojak, satay, ABC, char koay teow, etc….strange, not many chinese-like dishes also….hhmmmm. As a matter of fact, it looks like the same menu as most of our other gatherings!….Sigh…wonder how much was the caterer’s contract and for how many occasions…sigh…

Speaking of food, BBC came up with an interesting article about Malaysians embarking on a project to ensure Malaysians in space can still enjoy some home-cooked food. Dunno how authentic is the article, but here it is..

Malaysian scientists have already conquered most of the technical hurdles involved in sending someone into space. But one major obstacle still needs to be overcome. (Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/2/hi/asia-pacific/4331979.stm)

No self-respecting Malaysian is likely to leave the planet to spend a week on the international space station without a good meal when he gets there.

So now Malaysia’s National Space Agency has announced a programme that will make sure its astronauts can enjoy their favourite food while in orbit.

The joint US-Malaysian research project is designed to decide how best to handle traditional South East Asian delicacies in zero gravity.

The programme is called roti canai in space – named after the flaky griddle-cooked pancake that Malaysians love to eat for breakfast.
Scientists will be sent to America, and put to work researching the best way of delivering roti canai and other dishes like coconut rice, fried noodles and of course teh tarik, literally “pulled tea”, to its intrepid explorers.

However, they may have to remind their spacemen that though they weigh nothing while in zero gravity, they may end up weighing rather more when they return to earth, if they eat too much.

Meanwhile religious scholars will be asked to tackle other problems, such as finding ways to help Muslim astronauts face Mecca as they pray while in orbit.

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Number of the Day:

2.5% – Increase of STPM students/candidates passing four or five subjects this year, from 23,458 to 29,877. My passing shot: Is it just me or does the percentage always increases or performances always improves every year? Or is it just due to the fact that number of candidates increase every year? Hmmmmm.

(Originally posted on allandog.multiply.com)

Laugh of Bread

An old classic bread joke…

One day there was a knock on the Pope’s office door. When he answered it, the salesman said, ‘Hello, my management team would like to discuss a proposal with you.’ After taking a seat in his office, the salesman said, ‘I am with Kentucky Fried Chicken. We would like to offer you a contract to the church if you can change the Lord’s blessing from ‘Give us this day our daily bread’ to ‘daily chicken’.’

The Pope said, ‘I’m sorry we just cannot do that.’ The salesman went back to his office where he discussed the outcome of the meeting. He returned to the Pope’s office a week later with the same proposal, only he had upped the bid to 4 million.

The Pope gently declined, again. The next week he came again and offered the Pope an offering of 10 million. The Pope said, ‘Let me think it over.’

The Pope then called a meeting with the elders of the church and said, ‘Well gentlemen, I have good news and bad news. Kentucky Fried Chicken has generously offered us 10 million dollars to change the Lord’s Prayer from ‘daily bread’ to ‘daily chicken’.

The bad new is that we will lose the Gardenia Contract.

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It is mentioned in the Bible that man shall not live on bread alone (Deuteronomy 8:3) but Jesus told us to pray for our daily bread (Matthew 6:11). Have you ever wondered how bread is made? Here’s your opportunity to find out!

KL Wesley Church’s Young Adults Fellowship is organizing a visit to the Silver Bird bread factory in Shah Alam. Silver Bird makes High 5 sandwich bread (among other products), as you can see at their website:

http://www.silverbird.com.my/daily_background.htm

The visit will be on 2 April, 2005 (Sat), 10.30am. The cost per adult will be RM8, and the cost per child will be RM4.

The tour is expected to take more than an hour. Upon conclusion of the bread factory tour, the next (yummy) item on the agenda is to proceed to Klang for a bak kut teh lunch.

Those interested, please send me a personal post for more details and registration.

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0 – Malaysian representatives in all categories of the recently concluded All-England 2005 finals. A friend commented: More of our tax money gone to waste…hmmm.

(Originally posted on allandog.multiply.com)

EntRATment

There is a rat in my house. You may think it’s no big deal huh? Well, the reason why I have a blog dedicated to this rat today is because this is simply no ordinary rat. This was a rat which over the past month or so, has shown mucho resolve and determination to escape our rat traps, while finding many refreshing ways to frustrate and confuse all of us humans. The way this rat operates was just dumbfounding and led us to even consider at various points in time that it may not even be a rat at all!..

Consider this: this little fellow has for the past month terrorized our home by chewing up at least 3 different plastic Tupperware covers, papers, bananas, fish food, dirty aquarium water, poison washing chemicals, etc.

And here comes the Twilight Zone part – everything that has been gnashed up ONLY belongs to my room-mate!

Imagine both our containers of food out in the open, totally inviting for the rat to attack, and it is not my container that was damaged!….all my foodstuff (eg. Sotong balls, CNY cookies, cereals, stack of papers, etc.) lying around and yet no casualties….everything and anything belonging to my room-mate, even when he put it as high up on the table, cabinets, etc. all kena gigit!…simply extraordinary.

So when we set up the rat-trap, at first we tried to use dried meat (bak kuah) as bait……nothing happened…then we burnt the meant, releasing its delicious salivating aroma into the open, turned off all lights…heck, I could even smell the meat in my sleep! And still, the rat didn’t bite!…..after a week, we changed it with a hot cross bun, relocated the trap to the inner part of the house…and still no bite. Frustrated, we just let both the trap and bun remain where they are for the next few weeks coz we were all too lazy to change more delicious bait, etc. Just think of how mouldy and rotten the bun had already become as of last night…what rat would actually fall for it now right? But like I mentioned earlier…this was no ordinary rat!

I was rather surprised this morning when I was getting ready for work and found the rat trapped inside! Halleluyah! It wasn’t as big as I had imagined it to be….yeah, after what I had seen it do to Tupperware plastic covers, it wasn’t hard to paint grim mutant sized vicious rodents in my head…

So, what are we gonna do about it now? Roast it in the sun? Set it free in one of the drains in Serdang? Keep it as pet? Hmmmm. Think I’ll leave it all to my already long-suffered room-mate to determine its fate. It was after all seemingly like a rat with a personal vendetta against him alone. 😉

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Number of the Day:

0 – Spanish clubs left in the Champions League following the aftermath of the Last 16 at mid week. Whoa. No thanks to Chelsea’s sly actions and Real’s aging stars. Sigh, what a weak looking quarter-final lineup.

(Originally posted on allandog.multiply.com)