Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year

Whether we're happy or not, it comes anyway. So let's be happy :)

Happy New Year 2009 everyone!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Mamma Mia!

I (I believe I seldom start a post with I because it sounds so self-centered) caught the Smash Hit Musical, Mamma Mia...

I'd wanted to go the moment I read that it would be playing in KL - without having seen the movie, nor any idea what the musical was all about (it is a smash hit, afterall, and there must be a good reason that it is one)

It was my first time at Istana Budaya (I think...). The size of the crowd was impressive, considering that even the cheapest tickets cost over RM150 (for seats that were so high up that Mee Mee said they were not for the altophobic). I saw families, complete with pre-teen children, and I can't help thinking if it was worth it to spend 1 or 2k for a family of 4, 2 of which were perhaps too young to had even heard of ABBA. But then, many are not as stingy as (and a filthy lot richer than) me. There were so many people that we had to take turns to pose by the huge boards there.

The show was scheduled to begin at 8.30pm. Slightly after 8pm, the doors opened and people took their seats. It was very dark inside and impossible to get any proper, nice shots.

We basically sat right next to the wall, but still got a tolerably acceptable view of the stage, at a tolerably acceptable distance (I could see the cast rather well, down to the details of the costumes and cleavages - but not their facial expressions, perhaps due to my not wearing my specs).

Right before the show began, an announcement on the prohibition of any form of photography or recording during the show was made, and Mee Mee and I got our cameras ready (surely the reader didn't expect us adhere to that).

"You take the stills and I'll take videos, ok?"

And I agreed most gleefully!

The show began and the usher who showed us our seats earlier stood right at the top of the aisle, between the sections of the rows of seats. Fine, we would start up our cameras when he left. He never did. In fact, he was more diligent than the regular lecturer would be during a final exam invigilation. I saw him stopping others from using their cameras once or twice, and decided it wasn't worth the risk. I ought to just concentrate on enjoying the show.

The band was beneath the stage, in the orchestra pit, with their conductor in the open space, where he could see what was happening on stage, and conduct the musicians accordingly. The lighting, stage design, prop and costumes were overwhelming enough - include in the music, the singing, the dancing - the musical was simply intoxicatingly marvellous.

Towards the end, the audience were worked up enough to be clapping to the beat of the music. During the last few numbers, some of the ladies in the audience were so caught up in the mood they got off their seats, and danced on the aisle - not the crazy, unruly, disco-style dancing, but the I'm-seriously-enjoying-this swaying and waving. It felt great to just be a part of an audience with such spirit.

"Shall we stand up too?"
"Come, let's!"

We got to our feet; we tapped our feet, we stepped side to side with the rhythm; we waved our arms in the air; we sang along; we enjoyed ourselves so much we didn't want the show to end (nevermind that our men sat like stones all-throughout, probably folding their arms and yawning).

What a great show it was! It lived fully up to it smash hit reputation, justified fully the sold-out shows status. Justified too, the ~RM1k the 4 of us paid, for the 2+ hours' performance! :)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Russian Film Festival Trauma

Oh, the film was great - I wrote about it here. As I had promised Bee Ree that I will not write nasty / negative stuff on her blog, I would have to keep this here. If you had read the post I wrote on Bee Ree's blog (or if you hadn't, just try to keep up), Miss M and I expected the movie to last till perhaps, 9.30pm - or 10pm at most. How foolish! How presumptious!

It began more than half an hour late, and lasted nearly 3 hours. It was past 11pm when we got out of the hall. Panic striked, and pretty hard too, because I had to catch a KTM train back home, and there could be NO MORE trains at the hour! Yes, LRT has trips all the way till midnight, but I vaguely remember that KTM's service lasted till 10+pm only.

Well, don't think so much yet, Miss M said, just get ourselves to the LRT station first! Boy, did we rush. I never knew the KL Convention Center was that far from Suria KLCC, and the LRT station inside was so far from the entrance! I ran half the time; in my 3.5" heels! By the time we got the to station, there was a burning sensation in my chest! GAH!

To be sure if I should head on to KL Sentral to take the connecting KTM train from there, I called a friend, who then confirmed that the last KTM train would had already left the terminal. @#$%#! It was almost 11.30pm, and I was effectively stranded! There were several things I could do:

1. Follow Miss M back to her place, and get her to send me home - but she was afraid to have to drive back all the way alone, post-midnight, after sending me :(

2. Follow Miss M back to her place and spend the night there - but I didn't have anything with me! And I don't want to leave my car parked at the KTM station overnight :(

3. Follow Miss M back to her place, make her pack a few things, make her drive me back home, and then make her spend the night at my place - possible, but it had to be the last, LAST resort :(

4. Get off at the LRT stop nearest to home and catch a cab - robbers, kidnappers, rapists, murderers.... :(

5. Get off the train at a strategic location, and call someone to fetch me home - my mind went blank, there was no one I could call! :(

There was no one I could call! That first thought haunts me till this moment. It was a moment of desperate need - an emergency, and I could not think of anyone I could call for help. After calming myself down, I thought of ST, my big-eyed girl friend. The deterrent - it was almost midnight, and she would had to drive out all the way, alone, to get to me. I had to call a guy friend.

I could not think of any guy friends I could call! Oh woe! Miss M and I were forced to decide on either option 2 or 3. We didn't like both. I considerd option 5 again - but who was I to call?!

"Think... think!!!" Miss M said.
"I have no boyfriend..." I wailed.
"I have no boyfriend too....." she wailed, almost as loud, if not louder than I did.

Argh! We were already in the train, and the train was running along. I needed a destination! OK, calm down. In my mind, I ran through the list of single male friends I have. (I figured the single ought to be considered before the married - but especially the married who have screaming babies to mind.) None seem suitable enough to summon in the middle of the night. Then I thought of a person - I wasn't confident that he'd be willing, but I should try anyhow. I searched for the number, then made the call. It went straight to voice mail without ringing. I tried again, with the same response. I was about to give up and resort to the other options which I didn't favour, when all of a sudden, I thought of my coffee-loving friend, Mr Kopi.

"Eh, can wor!" Miss M said. "Try calling him now. Try!"

I did. The call got through, and he answered on the 3rd tone or so. I asked him if he was free (duh... it was >11.30pm, of course he'd be free - to go to sleep!). He said yes - why? I told him, and he said OK. HE SAID OK! He'd pick me up from the LRT stop most convenient to him, and he'd send me home! Thank heaven, thank earth for Mr Kopi! Miss M and I almost cheered in the eeriely empty LRT train compartment. Then, we realised, in our hurry and panic, we had boarded the wrong train, which would shortly be going in the wrong direction for us.

Ah, pettiness! Compared to what I'd just gone through - getting off at the next station and waiting a while to catch the right train was less than a piece of cake. And thanks to Mr Kopi, who went all out of his way in the middle of the night to get me, I got home safely in 1 piece. He is sooo going to get a BIG lunch treat from Miss M and I next week!

Now, I am seriously thinking about founding a For neil Emergency Response Team, so that the next time I land myself in similar (similar - NOT same - for I am never going to rely on public transport for late-evening movies, ever again!) predicament, I'd know there'd be friends who I can call, and who wouldn't say NO to my request for help, unless it couldn't be helped. Would anyone be willing to join this team?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Breast Encounter

To ascertain you are old enough to read this post, please flash your driver's license across the screen before proceeding

I was on the train, it was very crowded, and I hung on tight to the 1 pole within reach. At the next stop, many more boarded and a young couple pushed towards where I was standing and tried to take over the pole to which I was holding on. I took a step further from them, but kept 1 hand firmly holding the precious pole. I had on 3.5" heels and I wasn't going to give up the only upper limb support I had in that jerking-from-side-to-side train.

Imagine - me, standing admist the crowd, one hand outstretched, clasped tightly around the cool metal, at an arm's length so that I could hardly see it - rumbling forward. All of a sudden, something warm, smooth, firm and flesh-like pressed upon my knuckles. Without looking in that direction, I took a moment to reflect - it had damn better not be what I thought it had gotta be!

I looked, and I saw it - the young girl, standing right next to the pole, had leant onto it, her left breast strategically at where my hand was. I do not have as many nerve-ends on the back of my hand as I probably do on my palm and fingertips, but to my horor, each time she moved, I could feel the shape of her breast through her bra, the smooth lining of the bra, even part of the underwire on the side. For the whole time, I was wondering if she realised what she was doing, if she could sense that there were knuckles on her breast, but if she did, she sure acted like she didn't mind.

I kept considering the option of retracting my hand - which would leave me wobbling in that moving carriage with nothing to hold on to. Risk wobbling on 3.5" heels, or pretend there wasn't a breast pressed onto my skin? Pretend it was. A stop later, she shifted her position and the "asset" on the back on my hand now felt different. I looked again - the peak of her breast was directly over my clenched fist. I felt violated! Stop forcing that part of you onto my hand! GAH!!!

The breast and everything else that came with it got off the train at the next stop. Thank heaven, thank earth. Now you know why you needed to flash your driver's license - this post is disgustingly 18SX.

Friday, December 5, 2008

You Know He Is Drunk When...

1. He comes to the table, spots us with Chinese tea, declares, "Ehh, this one must drink! This one must, MUST!!!" adds whiskey into the tea itself, and makes us drink it... "YAAAAAAAAAAM Seng!"

2. He forces a lady to accept liquor by exclaiming, "You can drink what! YOU'RE NOT PREGNANT!!!...... YAAAAAAAAAAM Seng!"

3. He hugs his buddy, declares in high-decibel vocals that they have been buddies since primary school, repeats it again and again, right before they "YAAAAAAAAAAM Seng!" again and again.

4. He walks around red-faced, slightly disoriented, and insists "You think I'm drunk? I am NOT DRUNK!!!..... YAAAAAAAAAAM Seng!"

5. His father, mother, wife and friends all shake their heads and murmur "He's drunk..."

Friday, November 28, 2008

Wedding Up North

For having written the past 7 posts without any images at all, I am going to compose this one with photos, and as little words as possible (I hope). Last weekend, I went up north to attend the wedding of a good friend and since I wasn't part of the ji muis, I sort of had the freedom to squeeze myself in-between the crowds to snap photos.

The guys at the hotel, before departing to the bride's house. There were 8 heng tais, including the bestman, and if I am not mistaken, they outnumbered the girls. However, being the most sporting and gentlemanly troop that I'd ever seen, they didn't bully the girls in any ways.

We arrived at the bride's home a little earlier than expected.

The professional photographers were busy snapping away, not realising that a little kepoh here got a shot of them at work.

"You're too early. The bride is not ready yet..."

"Fine. Fine. We'll wait."

5 minutes later, they were still waiting. 10 minutes later, they were stilllll waiting.

"Come brothers, let's just go. We'll go and have a second breakfast."

"Wait! We're ready now..."

The "tasks" provided by the girls were by no means hard, nor demeaning, nor humiliating, nor involving pain / horror. The groom had only to answer a series of questions, and his supporters eat some disgusting stuff.

"Question 1: What is the date that you first dated your bride?"

"Yikes..... think, think, think!"
Luckily he got that one.

Conventionally, the girls will prepare food items comprising of the 4 basic tastes - sweet, sour, bitter, hot - to represent the ups and downs in life that the married couple will face, and overcome together. So the first food items were these slices of raw bitter gourd.

The girls said the groom's men could share out the lot, but one of the guys stepped forward, "There is no need. I shall eat all of it!"

And he did. Very quickly. In fact, he was so quick to gobble down those raw bitter gourd slices that I only manage to take this one shot of him doing it. This was the precise moment I realise that this ragging session was going to proceed at high speed.

"Question 2: Where did you bring your bride for your first date?"
I forgot what the answer was, but the groom got it right again. And this time, the guys had to drink the little glass of rice vinegar. Again, the girls said they could share, but again, 1 fella insisted he would gulp it down all by himself.

And he did! And if you look at this shot carefully, you would see that the bitter-gourd guy was still chewing. This is a good indicator of how fast the ragging session was progressing.

"Question 3: When was your registration of marriage?"
The groom remembered the date and month very well, but almost stumbled on the year, because it was a year or two back. Almost. Pheeewww.

I dont' know what they put inside those mini sandwiches, but it was something sweet.

Then, it was time for the groom to sing a pre-agreed song.

He actually prepared the lyrics and also accompaniment in form of mp3 in his phone! Smart fella!

The final task: perform 50 push-ups. There were all in all 9 of them, so basically, each one would only need to do 5-6 times. Nothing could be easier, really. Surprisingly though, no one stepped forward to volunteer to do it all by himself, so the guys went down 2 or 3 at a time.

The girls kept count so they couldn't cheat. But who would cheat when asked to do only 5 push-ups each? I wouldn't cheat if I had to do 10 or even 20. If 30, then I would perhaps cheat a bit...

At the 40th push-up, the groom stepped up and told everyone to stand back. He declared that he would do the last 10 himself! The whole hall rang with cheers.

1, 2, 3, ... 9, 10!!!

The final "snack": mini sandwiches with wasabi in them.

The girls got their ang pau and ...

*count count count*

"Not enough wor..."
"It's the only 1 I have!"
"Errr... give a bit more la. Make the total a nice figure."
"I don't have anymore ang pau la. Seriously."
"Arh? OK lar... we accept. You can go in now!"

Like that also can. First time I saw such nice ji muis.

Woo hoooo! I got my wife! Thanks, buddies... let's take a group photo.

The wedding dinner was held in a chinese restaurant on the same day. I almost squealed with delight when I saw the wedding favour:

A cupcake! A very elegantly-wrapped cupcake!

Lovely, and very, very tasty!

The stage decorations were simple but beautiful.

The evening began with the marching in of the newly-weds and their parents and some important relatives. The bride's father is a somewhat VIP in the area, and some Orang Besar actually attended the dinner.

The Orang Besar and his wife were invited to sing a song for the newly-weds, and they actually sang in Chinese! I was so impressed! Although there were relatives of the bride who "entertained" the crowd with their singing, none was exceptionally awful, so I'm not going to be sarcastic about it here.

There was also a dance presentation. Extremely extraordinary, I must say, and very interesting.

The first dish - a combination of stuff, including that huge lobster. I am not particulary well-versed in describing food, so feel free to just feast your eyes on this and all the following photos.

A chicken which had probably been cooked since that morning, or afternoon, in that pot of soup along with chinese herbs. Extremely good!

Braised duck. I know you can't really see that it's duck, but it was.

Steamed fish in ginger sauce.

The 7-colour something something vegetarian dish. This one was the most extraordinary of the evening - extremely light and refreshing.

The huge prawns. To emphasize on how huge they really were:

That's a regular-sized soup spoon.

Glutinous rice wrapped in some sort of leaves. In the center were spicy dried shrimp sambal-like stuff. Well, I did admit I am no expert in food-describing.

Dessert was chilled longan with small pieces of jelly. Nothing special, but a nice, sweet end to a scrumptious dinner. While dinner was on-going, they also had the usual line-up for the newly weds.

That included the champagne popping and pouring, the toasting, and the cake-cutting ceremony.

The wedding cake was a REAL 3-tier cake. A REAL one! I don't think I'd ever seen a real wedding cake at any wedding dinner before. It looked so good!

At the end of the wedding, I couldn't stop myself from taking a closer look.

It was indeed REAL!

What a lovely wedding for a lovely couple. This dinner was hosted by the bride's family, and we'll be attending the one hosted by the groom's family this coming weekend. Why attend so many? Because getting married is once in a lifetime (usually), and 20+ years childhood friends are extremely rare :)