Infolinks In Text Ads

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Old Is Gold

To all you old fogeys in your 30s out there, when you flip through your old photo albums, have you ever wondered how you ever survived your childhood, teenage years, college and 20s?

If you’re lucky enough, some of the horrible ensemble you wore back in those days are making a comeback just about now and you’ll be thinking to yourself “Hah! Been there done that. You young ‘uns are lucky that back in my day we thought of that first”

But 99% of the time, your “rad”ensemble rarely made the comeback list and you sigh a prayer of relief that social media was not invented at that time. Because what dwells in those dusty photo albums should never, ever see the light of day, ever.

As Malaysia is always uniquely defining themselves at every corner of every fashion revolution that comes to our shores, here are some significant fashion faux pas that we never want to ever be reminded of, again :

1.  Fluorescent shorts. Whether you’re at the beach, playing tennis, or queuing up at the nasi lemak stall. You were green, orange, yellow. And so was everybody else.

2. Shoulder pads. Your girlfriend dances to Rick Astley and shoulder pops from side to side. You get turned on because she looks like a hot female commander from the Death Star

3. Hypercolor T-shirts. Changes color via thermal fibre technology. And everyone knows your man boobs sweat something fierce. You end up looking like someone spilled Clorox over you.

4. The Chicano look. Buttoned all the way up to the collar in a checked shirt, wandering around Lot 10 and Sungei Wang. You were a gangbanger on the mean streets of Kuala Lumpur. But still had to take the pink bas mini home. 

5. The GQ look. Baggy, print shirts. Slacks in horrible shades of brown, purple and maroon. Buckled belts. Shiny leather shoes. Middle parting hair. Just describing it makes me cringe.

6. Mom Jeans. It’s hard to imagine that back in the day, our babes used to rock mommy jeans, where the waist was actually at the waist. And, the t shirts were tucked in.

7. Denim dungarees. Bad enough there were mom jeans around, on special occasions, our fair maidens were also new jack swinging to denim dungarees.

8.  Snowcaps. To complete our ghetto ensemble. But in this weather, complete with rambut bau hapak and soaked with your peluh and dandruff. Nice.

9. Boy London caps. Why, oh why, did we have to have a steel plat embedded on our caps, on our heads. And who the hell was Boy London???

10. Windbreakers. Mind you, it was hard getting cool Nike or Reeboks in Malaysia. So we had to settle for Forest, Antioni or Schwarzenbach. But we still felt like Tupac. Straight out of Compton. Which in KL speak was actually Salem Power Station in Lot 10.

So will these ever make a comeback? I highly doubt it. But if they do, at least it justifies our age group finally getting to show off and acknowledge our past with pride. But so far, the fashion cycle has crept up to recycle as far as the 60s and 70s fashion trends with skinny jeans and slim cuts. Hopefully by the time we’re in our 50s the cycle will finally reach the dreaded 80s and 90s. And by that time, the bragging rights will rightfully be ours, my friends.

And when that time comes, I hope it will never be a combination of fluorescent mommy jeans. God save us all.


Malaysians love our food. So much so that we declare international warfare on rights to the Chilli Crab as well as Penang Laksa’s rightful throne on the top 10 list.

We love food so much that we compile them from lands far away, Malaysianise them and serve them 24 hours a day. Whether it’s roti canai, dim sum or nasi padang, Malaysians have made it accessible to everyone at any time of day. ‘Cause that’s how we roll, homie.

It helps that we’re a melting pot of cultures oozing with flavors. There’s always a reason, and there’s always enough time set aside to makan.

But lately food has started to annoy me. Not food per se, but food channels. Suddenly everyone’s a connoisseur. Simple pot luck events now turn into Iron Chef Battle Stadium where people around you start scrutinising how Jamie or Nigella would’ve done a better job than Auntie Sally on that lasagne dish she just brought.

And has anyone actually noticed that the License To Grill guy only has white friends?

Food channels are a conundrum in itself, confusing me to choose between eating more healthily with leaner cuisines, or whack that steak recipe from Tyler’s Ultimate. One day I’m out buying fresh organic vegetables and the next day I’m loading four cheese mix onto my home made enchilada.

And don’t even get me started on amateur foodography. But perhaps there really are some of us out there who really gives a toss about what his friends and family are having for dinner on Monday night.

Once upon a time ago, food was as good as the love and commitment put into it. A dash of pretentiousness and a sprinkle of superficiality was not required to make it any more tastier than it originally was. Maybe that’s why Nasi Lemak Antarabangsa never made it as a swanky franchise.

But you gotta love how Malaysians are also doing the opposite on things though. The art of Malaysianising are making foreign foods gerai-worthy.  Like how your local burger bakar tastes much better than Old Timer at Chilli’s, or how Melawati Kebabs can run circles on Hadramawt. And who can ever dispute the burger daging special cheese when it comes to Malaysianising the West at its best.

It never amazes me on how we manage to take something and enable it to fit snugly into our uniquely ironic Malaysian culture, and we have never stopped doing it from generations before, and hopefully for generations to come.

But in the meantime, please steer clear of the dismal performances of our amateur chefs on Masterchef Malaysia in my opinion. Aunty Sally will be very offended. Because they got nothin’ on her secret mee kari recipe. ‘nuff said.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Kopirights and Kopikats

Coffee used to be such an uncomplicated affair. Growing up, coffee was the grown-up’s drink. Hard and grunting in the office when black, sweet and inviting when served to guests  with sweet, sweet, sweetened condensed milk.

How many of you have fond memories as a kid of being served coffee as a novice, by only being allowed to sip on it from a small saucer?  Coffee cups and coffee mugs were only for those grown up and mature enough to handle a proper drink.

How many of us also remember trying out the tried and tested method of burning the midnight oil when studying for your SPMs by crunching in spoonfuls of Nescafe straight from the container to stay alert and awake for that final cram? I sure do. It was cheaper, safer and much more legal than syabu. And it works, too.

But coffee has changed now. He’s no longer a purposeful chap. He’s lost his way somewhat. An identity in crisis and crying for help. I don’t know him anymore. I still see him around, nearly everywhere I go, but he seems like a distant stranger. Blending in, going both ways, upside and downwards. He’s everywhere, but nowhere. Somewhere in between but lost at both ends.

Coffee has become chic lit, Chanel sunglasses pushed up on hair with blonde highlights. Coffee has become deep muses, buried under netbooks and cigarettes. Coffee has become cold at heart, spun around high speed blenders and Eurocentric. An African blended wolf in Italian clothing.

Who the hell are you and when did you get here?

Yet this stranger in our midst sits right at home. Nudging himself in between our subcultures and pretentiousness. And he fits pretty well too.

Little do we realise that there lies a richer, deeper history of himself within our souls. From the days of our grandfather’s grandfather. When times were either tough or joyous, we used to call it our own.  A time when there was no grande or venti. When equal portions were for everyone. When even two words from different worlds collide and created a whole new universe. Malays and Hokkiens united in Kopi-tiam. Our heritage, shared commonly and proudly as far as the regions of Malaysia, Singapore and the Riau Island could see.

The places you’ve belonged to have been copyrighted and trademarked, 53 different ways.  The most exotic ways to gain pleasure from you includes being excrementally produced by a monkey-squirrel hybrid from the jungles of Bali. You’ve been manipulated and fallen into the retro-chic faux pas. You are kampong-avant-garde, privately-owned and literally in Bali, full of shit.

I despise you but need you. You’re the candy man in a sickeningly lethargic urban jungle. 

Here’s a toast to our Kekasih Gelapku, the humble yet currently misguided frienemie, Mr. Kopi. Though we feel disgusted at the sight of your slutty ice blended attire last night, we’ll still come knocking for more first thing in the morning…

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Secret Affair I've Been Having With Bad Music

The rockin’ soundtrack of my life never really comes with a rockin’music video. This is because underneath this seemingly manly exterior, lies a Pop Diva.

And I know there are a lot more like me out there. We walk amongst you. Undetected. A side kept so secretly away from anybody and everybody, that even our parents don’t know. Nor our girlfriends. Or wives. And in many cases as well, not even our (gasp) buddies.

But we exist, people like me. Leading a despicable double life. Unfaithful not only to the people who know us, but more dastardly, to ourselves.

Yet there’s twinkle in my eye everytime I ended up having a go at it. It’s a drug like nothing else can fulfil. A rush of euphoria everytime I get a fix.

But it’s time to confess. Come out of hiding. To stand up and not be afraid of being judged, or ridiculed. To live free of guilt and expose my torrid secret affair with music:

1. Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation always made me feel like dancing. And the track Black Cat made me feel like a dangerous man.
2. I used to think Marky Mark and The Funky Bunch was really badass.
3.  I could never resist singing along to Eternal Flame.
4.  I practiced how to say miggedymiggedymigeddymiggedymack really fast.
5. I learnt how to play Now And Forever on the guitar, and sang to myself, imagining I was singing to my crush. For many, many nights.
6.  I harmonize to S Club 7 and N*Sync in the car
7.  I had a Ronan Keating CD in my car for 2 years. And I sang to them. Mimicking his voice. Complete with slight Irish accent.
8.  I sing duet songs in the car, and sing the female parts as well. In falsetto.
9. I never really liked Katy Perry’s songs. But I like Katy Perry’s music videos. I like Katy Perry in Katy Perry’s music videos.
10. Anuar Zain songs makes me want to love and respect women.

I’m sure we all have our deep dark relationship with music. Whether it’s the way they make you feel inside or the way they move you on the outside.

But as Bob Marley puts it, “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain”

Even if it means clenching your fists like Brian Litrell when you’re belting out the bridge of “All I Have To Give”during that traffic standstill on the KESAS. Let the music move you.  Have those sweet, secret affair moments.

After all, Marky Mark and The Funky Bunch knows that it’s such a good vibration. It’s such a sweeeeeeet sensation-o-o-on.


Monday, May 28, 2012

The State Of Our Nation's Creativity

Creativity comes from a conflict of ideas.
-         -  Donatella Versace

Aside from the fact that some of us may be astounded by such a profound quote coming from the heavily -botoxed lips of Ms. Donatella, it does sort of have an ironic ring to it when you think about it especially considering Malaysia’s current state of affairs.

I would rather not expunge my thoughts on how creatively impinging our country’s socio-political environment is, especially when any conflict of ideas is either shunned upon or beaten to a pulp with a baton. But there’s this nagging feeling inside of me that Donna may be right after all, despite her taste in designing men’s clothes. But what are the proofs of this? In hindsight, some of the most creative ideas really were born out of conflict.

Tiger Beer capitalised on the never ending conflict of warring tribes of BPL supporters in KL by organising one of the most continuously successful and beer-filled annual campaigns in Malaysia by harnessing conflict into drunken camaraderie, and a chance to ogle at scantily-clad beeristas (I came up with that one myself, teeheehee).

One of the most creative forms of music, rock and roll, was derived from racial and religious conflicts in the ‘50s, where this form of music was once even called the Devil’s music. And today, rock and roll has given birth to some of the most creative minds in music. Heck, even conflicts within rock and roll has spawned splinter groups from heavy metal, white rock, death metal, speed metal, emo rock, grunge etc.

Peter Parker was conflicted by Uncle Ben’s death and decided to be Spider-Man. A web-slinging, web-shooting vigilante. Who would’ve thunk it?

Opposing political parties in Selangor were conflicted and now we get free water. A creative move to win the hearts and minds of voters.

Are we having western or Asian for dinner tonight? And voila, Domino’s offers you a Spicy Sambal pizza.
Think the product is shite? Out comes the best ad campaigns for the world to be satiated.

So how creative are we as a nation you may ask? With all the conflicts that we’ve been seeing, hearing and shouting about, I would say by right we should be a really cracking creative bunch by now.

Maybe we are, but we probably settled somewhere in between public butt exercises and making the tarik in space.
Labor Day 2012

The Evolution of Work

Since the beginning of time, mankind has been cursed to never be able to walk on God’s green earth without the burden of work. Even theological history dictates that our very being in this realm was merely a form of punishment with a life sentence that reads : Lifetime imprisonment, with no parol until….Armageddon. Evicted from a potential life of bliss in heaven, to serve time until time immemorial.

And so it began with our first batch of ancestors who had little else to do but figure out a way to eat, sleep, procreate and survive. Market demand was quite basic, and supply was abundant. And there began the set up of the first 2 departmental positions known to man. Hunters and gatherers. The Job description was simple, focused on specialised. Of course this was also the beginning of the term “being pigeon-holed” as there was not much room for interdepartmental secondments. Unless of course a decline in hunter personnel due to the basic occupational hazard of being eaten alive by a Velociraptor.

Fast forward to the dawn of enlightenment in ancient Mesopotamia and by this era, choosing your profession was next to impossible, as ancient Mesopotamian or Sumerian Kings dumping you into lame positions like ‘giant rock puller’ or ‘sacrificial lamb’ and sometimes, if you’re lucky, the princess’ eunuch. The concept of a decline letter was unheard of, since the head of affairs usually hold the trump card of being proclaimed God On Earth For All Eternity.

During the Middle Ages, we started taking the work-life balance to an extreme level whereby your lifestyle (or religion for that matter) literally dictated on whether you land a good job, or whether your whole village gets burned down to the ground. Word also has it, that it was during this time that predicated the origin of the term “it’s my head on the chopping block”. Somewhere in Spain, the first Domestic Inquiry concept was introduced with outstanding results, known today as the Spanish Inquisition.

And so we trudged along through the Great Depression, a couple of World Wars, the rise of agrarian communities and the dawn of commercialism. At every step of the way with less physical burden on the common individual, leaving more to gain and much more to lose. The 70’s provided a brief moment of communal freedom of spirit and soul, but alas, only for a brief moment.

Today, as we look back at the concept of man’s relationship with the universe, we can’t and should not help but wonder if it all’s starting to make sense. The idea of savouring the fruits of our labour seems to be hugely disconnected and most times, we don’t even have the time to savour the fruit, since we’re so caught up labouring away for God knows what at the end of the day.

So what’s Labour Day to you then, my friends? If you start treating it like an annual conjugal visit within your life sentence, then you surely have gotten it all wrong, and perhaps, lost the plot. As for me, I’d take it with a pinch of salt and spend the day working on my ultimate master plan of how to stop working and start living, period. 

And while I’m at it, avoid going to KLCC or any malls for that matter. 
Earth Day 2012

Happy Birthday, Mom!

While Malaysia struggles with its NEPs, NKRAs, GTPs and ETPs, China’s 5-year plan which was launched in 2011, included the KPI of controlling the weather to artificially increase rain and precipitation in China by 10% by the year 2015.

Where do we draw the line, you may think. Is it wise to tamper with the old lady? Harnessing nature’s energy was relatively OK for Mother Nature, since it’d be just like dating the nerdy kid to get your project paper submission done on time. Things like taming wild, hormonal river tides to create electricity for us, capturing solar energy to generate virtually limitless power. Yes, we certainly got that far and it was A-OK, tree-hugger certified wholesome goodness for mankind.

But what if you start screwing around with the whole system then ey? Are we worthy of nudging her over to ride shotgun while we take the stick in the driver’s seat for a while? Sure, we’ve already been screwing with the system ages ago what with plastic bags, cigarette butts, oil spills etc. But those were sort of like running around the house with a football and knocking over a vase or something. This however, the desire to control the weather, or North Korea’s nefarious plan to pull the moon out of its orbit, or even cloning. Now that’s more like an armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon.

If Mother Nature was really a woman, we jolly well wooed her, married her and ended up pimping her for the whole neighbourhood to have a go.

But maybe that’s why we’re going through such crazy PMS-like rage in the past few decades. Hurricanes, tsunamis, volcanoes and not to mention weird stories like a pack of monkeys attacking a minister in India until he falls to his death from his balcony. Weird right? I know. She. Is. Pissed.

Since hell hath no fury such as a woman scorned, I’d be steering clear and way from her PMS induced rampage for now and the future. I could feel like she’s watching as I decide where to flick my ciggie butt to, or where I was going to put that empty can of coke, either in the dumpster or a recycling bin. Because nowadays, it’s like Mother Nature repays you back in cash, just like a pack of monkeys coming out of nowhere and literally backing you into a corner to your death.

Other interesting wraths by the old lady also includes:

·         In 1783 an Icelandic eruption threw up enough dust to temporarily block out the sun over Europe. Like one of her no-touchy-feely-until-you-know-what-you-did, mister episodes.

·         About 20 to 30 volcanoes erupt each year, mostly under the sea. Like stealthy, didn’t-know-it-until-its-too-late PMS.

·         American Roy Sullivan has been struck by lightning a record seven times. And just like foolish Roy, we still come back for more.

·         About 30% of Christmas Island is now owned by Yellow Crazy Ants, known to take up to 3 square meters of ant hill turf per day. They got there accidentally when some of the decided to hitchhike on a truck to the island. Like when she assumes total domination after getting a copy of “our” keys to the apartment.

So as we celebrate Earth Day this month, let us not only reflect on saving cute dolphins, or planting a tree with your neighborhood celebrity minister in front of the press. Let’s celebrate the true meaning of Mother Nature’s maternal instincts, and womanly fury.