Lilypie - First Birthday

Monday, July 30, 2007

Spider-pig



Spider-pig, spider-pig
Does whatever a spider-pig does
Can he swing, from a web?
No he can't
He's a pig...


~~~~~~~~~~~


So cute!! But, I fell asleep watching The Simpsons - Movie :(

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

World Music Festival 2007 - Penang

It was raining throughout on Sunday - at times, cats-and-dogs; at times, a drizzle; but nevertheless, neverending.

Leonard had managed to persuade me into accompanying him for the Penang World Music Festival, and since I managed to get 30% off the tickets, we went together, happily equipped with raincoats, flip-flops, stools and a huge Maxis golf umbrella.

We arrived at the Quarry Gardens a little after 7.30p.m.; Leonard's friends Shalini and Clara were already waiting for us at the entrance. "We are mad people!" I exclaimed to Leonard amid the downpour; I was eager to experience for myself what Zhiwei deemed as "terrific" and what James predicted to be a "World Noise Festival".

Armed with high-spirits and umbrellas, the four of us scurried down to the front of the stage where the first band - Asika from West Malaysia was already playing its first gig. Many people - mostly Malays, Chinese, and the occasional foreigner - were already cheering and dancing to the joget rhythm. My baba boy, upon hearing this familiar tune, also broke out in a similar dance, with a gleeful smile upon his face. ^_^

Holding hands, we danced all the way till the next group Khaled Arman from Afghanistan came on. However, we didn't manage to see them on stage because we didn't know there was a second stage to the left -_-''' And so I couldn't get to fulfill my vision of actually seeing Afghans in person.

Dizu Plaatjies' Ibuyambo

Next up was like something out of National Geographic - Dizu Plaatjies' Ibuyambo from South Africa. This was the group I enjoyed the most because of its peculiar instruments and their very singular way of singing - in a language very unknown, but extremely sweet and melodious to my ears. Leonard said maybe they were putting spells and curses on us or praying for more rain to fall but we were still cheering. I liked seeing them dressed up in their native African garb; the lead singer I guess was particularly rich because I saw him also wearing a flashy watch. I guess he's quite a phenomenon because he knows how to play so many different, old-as-time instruments from all over the great continent of Africa. And his sister can really shake her booty, too!

And the group kept on playing so many songs until Leonard started to worry that all the other bands had chickened out due to the rain. But luckily this was not the case as the 3-man UK band Mas Y Mas came on soon after, with their guitars and their (cello?), playing some English+Spanish music. Not wanting to miss 2nd stage performance again, Leonard and I trudged hurriedly through the ankle-deep mud to reach the open space in front of the stage. I liked the last song with the guy singing about his girlfriend that broke his heart. Again we danced a little, fiesta style!

Wicked Aura

Wicked Aura from Singapore came on stage next, with their >30-strong percussion band and enthralling performance (plus lovely, lovely biceps! ^_^). It was, indeed, wicked, the way they played their drums with rapid, breakneck speed and hypnotic rhythm. Kinda reminded me of that scene in the Matrix where everybody was dancing in the Cave. I enjoyed the beat, but I didn't really like the leader who kept on raising the crowd in a typical Singaporean, domineering manner. Besides, I didn't think it was all that special because even the Malaysian 24-seasons drum could have easily topped their performance.

I also wonder howcome there were no bands from mainland China, Korea or Japan performing. What's the selection criteria actually? I guess music from some of the ethnic groups in China, Mongolia or Tibet would be equally pleasing and eye-opening.

By the end of Wicked Aura, I was already quite tired from standing uncomfortably, shifting my feet from one to the other on the uneven, muddy ground. And not to mention I was drenched from top-to-toe, despite my poncho on. And some of the revellers, in their excitement, had kicked up quite a lot of mud that stuck like a wet blanket to my legs. I felt so relieved when Leonard so thoughtfully said that we should leave before the traffic starts... so we left just after the Foghorn Stringband from USA started.

If only it hadn't rained... I guess we would have enjoyed ourselves even more. Overall, the Penang World Music Festival was a one-of-a-kind experience for me, for on usual days, I wouldn't even dream of listening to ethnic music, not to say turn on RTM1 for some Malay joget. But for a festive gathering of musicians from all over the world, I would say, this experience is a truly enriching and powerful one for me.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Overpriced

I feel so fed-up seeing all the hoo-hah between major bookstores and hypermarts selling the Harry Potter book, both in Malaysia and abroad alike.

Since when has childrens' books become such a commodity?

In light of this whole saga, I can just come to one conclusion: that books sold in those so-called reputable bookstores are really highly overpriced.

Imagine RM109.90 for a childrens' book. How are the less-wealthy parents going to afford the long-awaited book for their children? Has J.K. Rowling herself forgotten how it must have felt like to be penniless?

Surely RM69.90 sounds like a reasonble (but still, hefty) price to pay for such a best-seller! It's good that the price-war has led to a discount in the book in the bookstores... this will surely benefit the customers. Haha... even more stupid that they decided to boycott during the first few days of the buying frenzy... incur more losses...

As for me, I'm so happy that my friends managed to dig up an e-book for me. Now I can sit in my bean bag and read Harry Potter with a handful of candy, happily detached from the price-war...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Norah Jones - Thinking About You

Yesterday I saw the sun shining
And the leaves were falling down softly
My cold hands needed a warm, warm touch
And I was thinking about you



Norah Jones - Thinking About You lyrics

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Bad luck comes in threes...

I can't believe my season of bad luck is here!

Yesterday I had to climb 17 floors up to my apartment again because BOTH the damn Thyssenkrup lifts were out of order. Can you believe it?! I waited and waited for half an hour for the repairman to get them fixed... then he said he had to wait for another foreman to come fix it! So I climbed my way up, with one laptop pack, one luggage bag, one heavy thermos flask, and two big plastic bags filled with fruits and foodstuff! I almost fainted when I reached the top.

And today I cut my finger. I was taking some Primrose Oil out from the glass bottle when it fell and shattered. While picking up the shards I accidentally cut my pinky finger.

Darn it. And they say bad luck comes in threes. I can't anticipate what's the third thing that's gonna happen to me (tomorrow)... *shuts eyes!*

Monday, July 16, 2007

Bangkok! 2007 - Part 1: Shopping

It's at times like these that I suddenly feel like blogging. To chronicle the journeys I'd taken; my footsteps in a foreign country. To re-live the feelings I had when I set foot on lush, exotic, unknown territory. To fight that feeling of boredom and that small, throbbing feeling I have in the back of my brain after I'd slept too much while traveling under the hot sun and watching five episodes of Grey's Anatomy in a row.

My trip to Bangkok early this year succeeded immediately our departure from the capital of Cambodia - Phnom Penh. I'll blog about that other capital another time cos it would take an excruciatingly long time for me to recover from the horrors of that country if I were to recount it in my current mental state. What I intensely remember though, was my cry of angst/agony to my brother in that tight, cramped little motel room above the bustling traffic of Phnom Penh, "I wanna go back to civilization!"

And there I was, relieved to find myself, slightly more than one hour later after the flight from Phnom Penh, standing in the glaring lights in the fresh, modern space of Bangkok's brand-new Suvarnabhumi airport of Thaksin's legacy. After gathering our baggage, we hailed a cab that took us all the way to the hustle and bustle in the thriving heart of Bangkok.

Hustle and bustle of city traffic

Bangkok - City of Life, City of Angels!

BTS/ Sky Train service

The first real impression I had of Bangkok while riding the cab to our destination was that WOW... Bangkok is much, much more developed than Kuala Lumpur with all its beautiful, wide highways and skyscrapers compared to KL. I think Bangkok city is larger because the high rise buildings extend much further outwards from the city center. And it was the first time I sat in a comfortable, clean, Camry cab!

Pastel Camry cabs

Bangkok is a colourful, vibrant city with all the positive, pumping energy you can get. It just makes you feel so alive! I mean, especially, the SHOPPING CENTERS. Boy, can I ever get enough of them??? Before I arrived in Bangkok, really, nobody ever told me it was a shopping haven! All the impressions I had before that about Thailand were negative, think - illegal drug trafficking, prostitution, monks swathed in robes walking around asking for alms, and bombings. (However, the bombing part is true, we'll get to that later.)

Here, everywhere, you can see foreigners, either sober or non-sober, walking around with their Gucci sunglasses down to their tropical island flip-flops. Twenty-something yuppies in office-wear slinging either fake or genuine LV merchandise. Slim, pretty university students dressed in their custom black-and-white uniforms and trendy makeup, bags and heels.

Shopping malls galore!

We stayed near MBK shopping complex

Siam Square's cute & youthful interior

Christmas decoration outside Siam Paragon

The Siam Paragon

The interior beats Suria KLCC & Starhill anytime!

Foodcourt - I make a pledge to eat there the next time I go to Bangkok!

IMAX in Siam Paragon

Erawan high-class shopping centre with all the Guccis and Pradas you can imagine

LV flagship store in Bangkok

Central World - We hung out for quite a while at its Kinokuniya

Nutcracker on guard

Cartoon parade outside Central World

Simply lovely...

Hahaha... the girls and metrosexuals must be bursting to get there now!

The taxi drove us right up to the doorsteps of our lodging - Reno Hotel - a tastefully decorated small little hotel tucked neatly away in the bustling area of Bangkok's high class shopping district. The hotel is situated near the MBK BTS, a mere 20-minutes walk to all the big-name shopping malls. As soon as we checked in, we couldn't wait to go sightseeing at all the beautiful malls! Although Christmas was over, the streets were still nicely decorated. Someone please tell me, does it look nicer than Singapore's Christmas? However, all Christmas celebrations were canceled due to bombings all over Bangkok city on Christmas Eve.

The Erawan, Siam Paragon and Central World were all the classy malls that sells things which I can ill-afford, while MBK was the ideal choice for me to get cheap clothes and accessories. One very unforgettable incident was that our backpacks and handbag had to be checked at the entrance to each shopping mall as a precaution against terrorists.

We also didn't miss the chance to visit the famous Erawan (四面佛) shrine at the intersection directly in front of Erawan shopping complex. Many times if you flip open a Chinese entertainment daily you'll see news of which Hong Kong actor/actress flying to Bangkok to worship the Erawan shrine. To suddenly see a place of traditional worship surrounded by so many modern, swanky malls... the feeling is simply indescribable.

A devotee lighting her joss-stick

Bin and the world-famous Erawan

Naturally, we were soon tired and hungry looking for lunch after walking around in a daze at all those wonderful malls. What else to eat in a completely foreign country? The Golden Arches, of course! ^_^ We ate the McRice Burger and Pork Burger which is non-halal in our beloved country.

Another thing I must mention is that the tropical fruits in Bangkok are super sweet!!! Maybe it was because of the heat and I just fell for something juicy... but it's so easy to be tempted when you see fruit-sellers with little individual road-side stalls everywhere along the road! And it's so clean, the way they sell it! With plastic wrappings and a clean cut with their sharp fruit knives... and the watermelons and mangoes just burst out in flavour you know...

Sawadee

A must-eat classic symbol of globalization

In the evening, we took a walk round Siam Square Soi area where the Hard Rock Cafe, Bangkok, is located. There are plenty of eateries and boutiques selling cute, funky stuff around that area. I think it's supposed to be a cool hangout sort of place for teenagers? However, we didn't dare stay long around that area because we were scared to go to places that were heavily populated with foreigners (Theory: More foreigners = more bombs!!). Also, that was also one of the reasons why we didn't dare stay at Khaosan Road (backpack heaven), though, I'm feeling a teeny bit of genuine regret because a friend just came back from Bangkok and he said that Khao San Road is a very INTERESTING place to stay! Wary of bombs and dragging around a very tired body, we retired back to our hotel early that night.

More to come, stay tuned! ^_^

Thursday, July 12, 2007

沉沦

我沉在那深深的海底
相信自己是再也到不了水面了
上面掠过那粉紫色的裙子
我知道
是她将我推入水中

我浮沉于海草之间
奇怪
死亡的感觉并不如想象中那样害怕
经过的黄色斑点小鱼对我微笑
我看着它粉红色的嘴唇
似曾相识

我感觉到我碰到了地面
我的脚趾激起了沙尘滚滚
原本清澈的海景
顿时朦胧起来
我看不见面前的海龟
只听见鳗鱼在我耳边呐喊

我慢慢让自己平躺地上
我的手不小心摩擦到旁边尖尖的珊瑚
头边那刺刺的家伙
应该不是黑炭
而是海胆吧
我看见鲜红的血丝从我的指尖萦绕而出
染红了海水

哈秋
好像有人从我背后将我狠狠地抽起
我不要离开海底
那种感觉折磨得很曼妙

我不由自主地浮到海面
我拨开水面上的垃圾
看见迎面而来刺眼的阳光
看起来今天的我还不会死

哈秋
原来只是一场梦
我发现到
我躺在自己的鼻涕中~

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Langkawi Revisited! Part 2: Pulau Langkawi

The four of us - Kelly, her friend Teck Loong, Leonard and I, took off at 9am on a beautiful Saturday morning from Bayan Lepas International Airport. The skies were blue and the clouds were clear... how I wished that this weather would last till the next day. :)

Firefly Airlines uses Fokker F50 turboprop powered aircraft which looks very cute like this. The propellers are black and white like a zebra and the snout looks as cute as a little dolphin's. I don't understand why they say they're "Malaysia's First Community Airline" though... I thought AirAsia was the first?

"Ready for takeoff!"

Do we look like Firefly air-stewardesses? ^_^

It's quite tight inside a Fokker F50. There are only 50 seats, and Teck Loong commented that it was even tighter than a bus. A bit cheapskate, the air-stewardesses are only wearing T-shirts and PDI khakis, and even the menu is on photostated paper. However I felt the comfort level was still OK, moreover, it only took us 20-25 minutes to touchdown on Langkawi.

Our first stop, was of course, to the cable car station in Oriental Village (remember I pledged to take the ride in my previous post?) Siang Leng told me to go early to beat the crowd. Sure enough, it was a breeze through to the counter and, if you show your MyKad, you only need to pay RM15 for your way up!

Cable car dots in the sky

The cable car ride was way cool because it's scarier than the Genting one! (Can imagine Pik Lay screaming on her way up...) It's steeper, and there's a huge distance in between towers! It's also far more beautiful because of the mountains and the fabulous view of the sea and the white, sandy beaches!

No towers in between~

Sea or sky? That's the Andaman down there...

Telaga Tujuh

So many mountain peaks

Suspension Bridge!

There are two cable car stations. From the ground level, a cable car will bring you up to the first station where the first obersavation tower is. Then take another cable car up to the second station where there is a second and third observation tower. Upon reaching there, you can take a small path down the hill to the suspension bridge. It's about 600-700m above sea level and the whole bridge is just suspended from one supporting pillar!

*Friends*

~Scaredy cat in the middle~

*Love*

Upon descending from the cable car, we went to the petting zoo inside the Oriental Village to take a look at the critters there.

I don't know whether this is Bambee or Sang Kancil

Dirty vs clean... Looks familiar? Hehe ^_^

Wallpaper

Reminiscent of Anna & The King

Kelly said she want to touch it

Langkawi is Geopark now!

After the Oriental Village we went to The Loaf to look at Mahathir's buns again. Food there was pretty high-end, so we decided to eat at Pantai Cenang. On the drive there, Leonard kept on exclaiming "The drive is so smooth! There are no cars around! So nice!"... It was not until many minutes had passed until we realised that we had made a wrong turn and were heading towards Pantai Pasir Hitam at the north part of the island! -_-''' No wonder no cars...

No worries, after making a correct turn back at Pantai Kok (thanks to our navigator Teck Loong) we arrived at Best Star Resort and had our lunch at the Chinese restaurant beside it :) Price was reasonable, about RM10 per pax, albeit everything tasted similar :P

After dumping our bags in the hotel room, we went to Zon beside Underwater World to do some shopping. I MUST remember no matter what, to buy my Hershey's Extra Creamy Milk Chocolate with Almonds Nougats from there next time! Cos it's the ONLY place on the island that sells the Extra Creamy nougats.

Next, we went to Legend Park beside Helang Square to get a summary of all the legends of Langkawi. The Park was officiated by Tun Mahathir. If he were to take a walk in the park, I guess he would be sad to see, like most parks/ structures in Malaysia, the place was not properly maintained. The water in the ponds were stagnant, and the tembelang structure was, literally, tembelang pecah. Talk about first world architecture, third world mentality!

I wouldn't say the Legend Park looked ethereal, in fact, it looked a bit creepy with tombstone-like things at the avenue and gigantic hands suddenly raising out of the ground like some Michael Jackson Thriller MTV; however, it's really a nice place to be if you wanna read about all of the legends of mysterious Langkawi :)


Doesn't look like the Champs D' Elysees
Hey, why are you groping my wrists?!

In spite of the HOT weather, the skies actually managed to cloud over and rain in just a matter of seconds!!! Eerie! So we ran to the car and headed to the nearby Langkawi Fair Shopping Mall for some shopping (see Part 1 for our victories). When the rain stopped, we went to Eagle Square for some must-snap photos.

Lang Square

Dinner, we had seafood in a stall alongside the road in Kuah Town. Take the first trafficlight after Langkawi Fair and turn left. The local-recommended one was Wonderland, but since it was closed we ate at the next stall and the bill turned out to be RM50+ for 4 of us. Pretty fair for fish, sotong, oyster omelette and belacan kangkung.

Lastly, more chocolate shopping then we headed back to our resort for a couple of beers.

Kelly, Asahi girl
Me, Budweiser girl
Up, up we go!
Pretending to be at Okinawa

The next day we went for Pulau Payar (see Part 1) and departed by Firefly at 8.30pm.

Before departing, we had our dinner at Langkawi Fair in this nice ambience restaurant called Sunday. RM6.50 for a dish of Thai fried rice with pieces of chicken. And Kelly claims the coconut drink there is the best she ever tasted.
Little Buddhas
Lovely Dinner

What a fun-filled holiday! It's truly relaxing when you go on holiday with friends you are comfortable with :)

旅行,一定要和志同道合的朋友一起才爽 :)