Sunday, May 30, 2010


... over the Rainbow,
Way up high -

There's a land that I heard of
Once in a lullaby...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Both Sides of the Story

Often times we're too apt to believe everything we hear. In fact, some tend to perceive what they want to perceive, rather than what they were really being told. Too frequently this tendency leads to great amounts of unnecessary misunderstanding, pain, anger and in the case I am going to relate, fear.

From one side:
A man, let's call him Anon1, stood alone in the corridor in front of the lifts. It was late and the corridor was empty and ghastly silent. He waited impatiently; one lift was on its way, but it took its time. He watched the floor numbers change on the display. It arrived. The doors started sliding open and in that instant, the most horrifying shriek filled the space all around him, pierced right through him and sent shudders to the very core of his being. It was loud, shrill, tortured. Anon1 did not wait to take a clear look into the dimness beyond the still-opening doors. He turned and took off as quickly as he could, pulse racing and hands cold and clammy. He was sure the banshee-cry he heard did not belong amongst the living.

From the other side:
A woman, let's call her Anon2, went into a lift with her two young sons, let's call them Lil'un1 and Lil'un2. Anon2 and her sons had just returned from shopping, and each child had in his hand a brand new toy. As children usually do, they bickered. Their mother, shopping bags in hands, tried in vain to hush them, to reason with them, to tell them to play nice. It was at the floor right below theirs that the lift slowed to a halt. At that moment, Lil'un1 snatched his brother's toy from him. Lil'un2, indignant but powerless to fight his older brother, screamed at the top of his lungs. It was long, loud, high-pitched and very passionate. Anon2 could only roll her eyes. The doors were wide open, but no one stepped in. She took a quick look outside - there was no one. The doors closed, and they were on their way once more.

True story?
Why, yes! In parts, at least, it is true. I was personally in the lift with Anon2 and her little ones, and witnessed the bickering and the screaming. But in reality, when we looked outside the opened doors, we saw the shocked faces of 2 grown men, agape and dazed. It took them several heartbeats' time to realise it was a little boy screaming, and to regain enough composure to raise their hands to their chests, as if to calm their shaken nerves. They did not enter the lift, and the last things we saw as the doors closed were the men rolling their eyes and grumbling.

So, in reality, all was well - there was actually no need for both sides of the story to make the complete, accurate picture of what actually transpired. But take a moment to consider what would have happened if the incident were exactly as I described in the two separate sides. Anon1 would have been convinced the building was haunted, and the story would have been propagated. Consider the many who would probably thereafter take the lifts in fear; the many who would probably be alarmed over the slightest sounds or sights, and let their imaginations run; the many who would then propagate the inaccurate tale further, with additional twists and distortions - and all because the story was missing the other side.

Yet, we are all too apt to believe everything we hear. How many of us would fain to accept that there is always a side of the story we need to discover, to contemplate, to include into the big picture? No doubt, it serves our personal agendas much better to simply see what we want to see, believe what we want to believe, and present tales in manners to achieve the effects we want to achieve. It is something everyone does, but would never want to admit - such as propagating a thrilling "ghost story".

I am glad we didn't need both the sides this time to ascertain that there are NO banshees in the lifts.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Songs in My Head

Whenever I traveled by public transport, or had to spend time waiting (for trains / people / whatever), I always wished I could have, in addition to my usual reading material, music that I like. Therefore, for some time now, I had wanted a portable music-player.

At one point, about half a year ago (gosh!) I wanted this:

It was pretty, just so pretty! I could choose one in this bimbotic pretty pink, or the bimbotic shade of purple that I love. But, being an Apple product meant it was made specifically for bimbos and show-offs, besides being grossly over-priced and restrictive in certain aspects (you'd have to use iTunes, for example). Most importantly, the cheapskate in me couldn't find it in her heart to part with RM700+ for a spur-of-the-moment lust (not that I abhor being a bimbo that much...).

Recently, we got this:

No, the cheapskate in me didn't change her mind about being a cheapskate. We redeemed it using credit card reward points.

Let it be known that the last portable music-playing device I owned was a walkman, back in the mid-90's. Since then, I've never had earphones stuck into my ears when I go about, and although the discomfort of sticking things into my ears might take some getting used to, I like it! For fear of ruining my normal hearing, I usually turn the volume down to moderately low, so it's really nice to have music playing in my head, while I could still hear everything around me, and even hold decent conversations with others...

And the music simply goes on, in its separate little thread, right there in my head! I really like it! Feels kinda like a schizophrenic!

Oops. The next time I hear songs in my head, I'll check to see if the earphones are there, and if the player is turned on...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

West Side Story

In a gist, for the benefit of lengthy-posts-haters, I loved the set design, the costumes, the choreography; really liked the music and arrangements; not crazy about the dialogs and the singing. For the otherwise, read on:

The day started with some (unwelcome) drama... oh wait, this post is about the musical! Pardon me. The evening started with dinner at a premium-pork-butcher's-plus-restaurant, Sanbanto, at SS2. Many a time I had said that I am, unfortunately, not a food blogger, so I'll just leave you with some photos of what we had, with minimal food-related descriptions:

Salad with deep-fried pork belly. Sno said this was so sinful. The Man of the Evening asked why. She replied that we'd be eating deep-fried pork belly! He contemplated that seriously for a moment, then said he still didn't know what was wrong with that. Sigh, I want to be a man too! However, once we'd sunk our teeth into those crispy, juicy, extremely flavourful pork belly bits... well, eat first and... well, just eat.

Pork liver pate. I like pork liver! I like 'em in my porridge, pork noodles, stir-fried with ginger and spring onion, etc. - but pureed liver is simply too outlandish for me. They say it tasted a little like foie gras; though, not that I would know, for I've never tasted it, and will never want to have it, anyway.

This is the weekend special! I can't remember what exactly the name was... (real food bloggers, if they chanced upon this, might roll their eyes so hard the eyeballs risk being turned inwards permanently)

In short, dinner was grand.

Then, we headed towards Istana Budaya.

The crowd was amazingly huge - given the not-exactly-affordable ticket prices - but not too unpleasant, if there ever could be "pleasant" crowds. The musical-lovers were mostly demure, soft-spoken, gracious and very well-dressed. Sno and I did, at first, wonder if we might be overdressed, in dresses and shawls. In that crowd, however, we fitted right in, perhap a little underdressed, compared to the more dolled-up.

The show was scheduled to begin at 8.30pm, and seating began a little after 8pm. From the main entrance, we had to take an elevator up two floors to our entrance (that's for buying cheap tickets). The moment we walked into the theatre, the altophobic in me surfaced. It wasn't just me, though, for both of my musical-mates halted in shock too. We were so high up, my legs turned wobbly looking down at the stage. Having to maintain balance in high heels while taking the next few steps to our seats didn't exactly alleviate the trembling. Once we found our seats, we realised that the cheap tickets didn't just get us to a great height, but also a skewed view of the stage, with a corner totally blocked.

Fortunately, the stage was still near enough that even without my specs, I could see the cast members' faces, expressions and cleavages sufficiently well. I guess I have no complaints of my view, for the price I paid.

When the show began, the first thing I noted was how very vibrant the dancing was. I truly enjoyed the choreography, even though some might think the dance-fighting moves funny and/or lame. I found them clever enough, for it was a stage, afterall, not the dojo or something. The music was lush enough and very engaging. Then, one of the Jets started singing...

It wasn't that the singing was bad - but when he started singing, I actually thought he hadn't yet caught back his breath from the demanding dance routine he did just minutes before. No, it wasn't that the singing was bad, just that I expected it to be better. I thought perhaps the two leads - Tony and Maria - would stand out, but they didn't either. Some songs were great, others left me wanting better. Plus, the fact that I thought Maria's accent was overdone didn't make the songs sound better. The Man of the Evening thought her accent sounded Indian. I simply thought it sounded odd.

I also couldn't understand half the dialogs - as in, I couldn't get what they were saying at all. The words simply tumbled out at me in torrents of jumbled-up syllables, especially during scenes with arguing. At first, I thought it was just me, but later, my companions told me they felt the same. We wondered if the other audience members actually caught every line, for there were unintelligible parts during which there was laughter! We concluded that either we were too stupid to decipher what was being said, or they were ... (well, I guess if I continued on to the "else" of this, I'd again seem arrogant and obstinate, and offend people - so I won't (well, I don't really care about offending people I don't know and don't care about, but still, I don't want to do it too often))

All in all, still, I enjoyed the musical very much. Photography was not allowed, so I had to hide my camera and stealthily steal a few (terrible and not-worth-mentioning) shots. But here they are:

Failed shot (this is what happens when you don't-look-just-shoot):

Slightly better one:

Another slightly better one (with people in it):

The best of the awful lot, taken during the curtain call:

Further reading:

Next: Adam the Musical!

Saturday, May 15, 2010


You turned and walked away from me! How could you? I knew I caught your eyes! I saw them lit up when you first cast them on me; I saw them transfixed, unwavering, even as you made your way to me. I saw the admiration, the passion, the want in your eyes; I heard the words of praise as you observed me more intimately; I felt the soft brush of your fingers and the sigh which escaped your lips as you did; I felt the passion you have in you.

I am certain it was love at first sight - and yet, you walked away from me! You had, time and time again, loved, desired and made yours others simply because they were pretty. So, why not now? Why not me?

You felt extremely strongly about me, I know as much - so what right have you to leave me? What right have you, to carress me, to give me hope, and then walk away? Just what right have you to act so cruelly? I am devastated. Yes, I still harbour hope to, one day, meet my true love; but meanwhile, let me mourn.

Friday, May 7, 2010


It is probably universally known and acknowledged that invigilating an exam is very boring. Therefore, perhaps, certain very empathetic individuals took care to provide some form of distraction, of visual delights, for the rest of us. I am talking about the fully made-up faces complete with perfectly-lined eyes and fake eyelashes, the blouses so form-fitting and low-cut cleavages can be seen from 10 tables away, the pants so low-cut all can tell the wearers' favourite branded undergarments, and well, the occasional mini-skirts.

I am also talking about a certain individual who wore elegant make-up, a cute little black dress which reached waaay down to perhaps 3 inches above the knees, with sheer material covering the chest, shoulders and back showing off the sexy black straps underneath, and a pair of glossy black 4-inch heels. For a two-hour invigilation - three, if you take into consideration the reporting for duty 40 minutes before the exam, and the 20 minutes of scripts-counting and tallying after the exam. Fantastic.

Thank you, all of you, for providing such pleasing sights for us!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Tokio Hotel Live in Malaysia

Somehow by fate misguided..... I ended up the proud owner of a pass to Tokio Hotel Live in Malaysia outdoor concert on Saturday evening. I never knew Tokio Hotel before I heard they were coming, and had never attended a rock concert before. However, the idea of going for one which didn't cost me a bomb was somewhat appealing. The fact that the usually prim-and-proper people I'd be going with wanted to go with eyes painted like Bill Kaulitz's added to the appeal. So there I was.

And there we were, with overdone eyes like ghosts in horror films, "queuing" up with a huge (and I mean really huge) crowd of over-eager teens at the gates to the square which I suppose is Central Park Avenue. It was drizzling, people were pushing or being pushed onto me from all sides, and I was worried about how terrifying it would be when the gate opened. My friend warning me about how we'd have to run like we're running for our lives towards the stage to get as near as possible to the front, and to not lose sight of each other in the madness only added to my anxiety. On top of that, being in a crowd that dense meant it was very hot and stuffy, so like everyone else, I was sweating - and worried that my make-up might simply melt away in all that rain and sweat. As if that wasn't enough, I had to put up with random chants from groups of impatient fans - "Open the gate, open the gate!", and "Let us in, let us in!". Some of the more creative ones went "Break the gate, break the gate!", "Kill the guard, kill the guard!" and "TM sucks, TM sucks!". A group standing directly behind us was so loud so often, shouting stuff so stupid they irritated me to no end. It was no use telling them off, my friend said, so I could only roll my eyes.

The concert was scheduled to start at 6pm, but they only started letting the then-extremely impatient concert-goers in at about 6.30pm (or even later - since I wasn't wearing a watch, I couldn't note the exact time). The moment there was movement at the front of the "queue", people started pushing, and those being squished in the middle started screaming. Apparently, the guards were checking each person's pass at the gate, so it was very slow. The slower we moved, the more impatient the people got, and the harder they pushed - and then, the gate gave way. I couldn't see what happened - all I knew was, one moment I was being squished, and the next, I was running as fast as I could, following my friend, along with the mad crowd, all the way towards the stage. It was probably the craziest 50m dash I'd ever made in my life. We got to the edge of the group around the stage, and still people were pushing from the back; some were elbowing others around them, trying to wriggle their way to the front. It was terrible - people being pushed shouting at those pushing not to push, and those being shouted at shouting back that they were being pushed by those behind them.

It was still drizzling and still hot and stuffy, being amongst so many people, and everyone was practically wet from rain and sweat. The air was stifled with awfully bad odours and everywhere I touched or was touched, I felt wet skin and/or damp clothing. Worst was, it was shoulders-to-shoulders AND backs-to-fronts for EVERYONE. So terribly disgusting! I never want to be like that, ever again, if I could help it. These thoughts were running in my head when a girl next to me started talking to me. She said her bra had come undone in all that being pushed around and all, and she would like me to help her hook it back. It was a very odd and awkward request, but in a place that packed, with her arms pinned to her front, unable to move much, I didn't think she had much choice. I told her I had to reach my hands under her blouse to do that, and she said OK. And so I did - and man, I found out doing up someone else's bra wasn't as easy as it should be for a woman! How odd!

It was so stuffy and cramped that before the concert even began, someone had fainted (no, it wasn't a girl). Throughout the night, several more did. It was way past 7pm before the show started, and it started with this DJ fella from Hitz FM talking rubbish and another DJ fella playing a bunch of songs he remixed. Then, it was one of the two local bands set to "open" the show - Bunkface or Pop Shuvit - I don't know which. They played 4 or 5 songs, which some of those in the crowd really enjoyed. There was a guy behind me, dripping wet with sweat, who was so high he was jumping and screaming and singing along. I wondered if he took Ecstasy. At one point, when the band's lead vocalist asked the crowd to jump and everyone around us except me did, he actually asked me to jump... "Come on! Jump!" Fine, fine, I'll hop a few times - now, you've seen a Chinese vampire - satisfied?

After the band was done, there were more talking, more remixes-playing, and then came the other local band. The crowd was cheering less by then. Someone actually held up a sign which says "SLOW". Till now, I have no idea how that person knew it was going to be slow-moving and managed to prepare that sign in advance. But slow-moving it was. The second band played several songs too, and in the midst of one of them, the PA system went down. It was so bad. The good thing though, was that I could tell they were absolutely playing live, for being so near to the stage, I could hear the non-amplified voice of the vocalist, drowning in all that rock accompaniment.

Eventually, they were done too, and then there were more talking and more music. The crowd was growing so impatient there were audible groans and boos. We could see the (presumably) Tokio Hotel touring crew setting up their equipment on stage and all, but all we had were more waiting. We had to suffer through around 20 minutes' nothingness. My feet were almost numb, my back was aching, and I'm so irritated by the people next to me, behind me, in front of me, I wondered if I should not have been there at all.

Then, they came on! The crowd went so wild and screamed so loudly I had to cover my ears. Tokio Hotel deserved every shriek they got, though, for they were brilliant. Vocally, Bill sounded good - though I can't tell just how good, because I couldn't really hear him so well, amidst all that noise the crowd was generating. Their showmanship, however, was simply excellent. The guitarist and bassist were so cool, the vocalist so pretty and passionate in his singing, and the drummer... well, unfortunately I only caught a glimpse or two of him. Perhaps they were really that impressively entertaining, or perhaps I got caught up in the excitement and enthusiasm of the probably thousands around me - when Tokio Hotel was playing, I no longer felt the sweaty, smelly grossness of all those around me, including myself, nor the fatigue, nor the pains and aches from having stood for so long and constantly having to tip-toe and strain my neck upwards to get some view of the stage. I was actually enjoying myself quite a bit! Amazing! I wasn't counting, but my friend later told me they played a total of 8 songs, including 2 encores. The poor fans let out a very loud sigh of great disappointment when it was evident the show was over. I don't think they could have enough even if the band played through the night.

So, did I enjoy my first rock concert? Yes. Will I go again? Well, chances are, no. I don't think there will ever be a rock band I'd like so much that I'd pay a full concert ticket price for, and definitely not if I have to take up the "free-standing" ones. I think, reader, if you know just how "tall" I am, you would understand why. I strained and stretched my neck up so much it might just have grown a little longer. But it was my first, free-standing rock concert, and the first time I'd ever been in such close proximity with the performers! How very grand. Oh, and though my ears were ringing the whole night after I got home, I still thought it grand! What an evening it was :)

*all photos courtesy of Miss M*