Thursday 31 January 2008

What’s with the awareness fuss?

Last week, I received 2 request to blog about certain topics; one being the body snatching saga and the other being the lost of life for an individual with tremendous potential in a bus crash tragedy. I do not need to link to the relevant site, I am sure you know about them already. If you don’t; unless you’re overseas, you’re an oblivious idiot.

The call for bloggers to blog about such tragedies carries with it the intention to create awareness. Awareness? Do we still need awareness if I may ask.

Honestly, aren’t we all fully aware of how fucked up things are? Just mentioned terms such as ‘tape’ or ‘rasuah’ or ‘korek-korek-korek’ or ‘religious freedom’ or ‘protest’ or ‘election’ and that’s enough to set our mouth and ears on a long road towards talk-cock-orgasm. Once climax is reached, we finish our teh-tarik, go home… and that’s it.

So what is the big fuss about creating awareness?

What is the purpose of asking why and why and why this and why that when deep down inside, you already freaking know those questions will not be answered. Worse, why ask when you yourself freaking know the answers!

And I definitely want to question the timing of the why-s. Do you suddenly feel compelled to bombard life with all these questions; or you only do it because reality hits you?

**paragraph deleted after due consideration**

I’ll tell you why… and this goes out to all of us out there, including myself… it’s because we will only feel the pain and act on it the shit hits the fan and fall on our lovely face. Chinese say… you’ll don’t feel the pain until the needle pokes your flesh.

Then there is this bus tragedy who claimed the life of a soul with a bright future. Indeed, it’s a sad thing. But wait, isn’t there a bus tragedy not so long ago? Did you blog about it? Why is there a call to blog about this particular one just because a person with a bright future is a victim? The victims of previous tragedies have got no future and not worth mentioning?

And c’mon… how many of us will forget about this tragedy by the time we have our teh-tarik next Monday?

If a person like Jeff Ooi asked me to blog about an issue which I believe in, I will do it. If Nat Tan asked me to blog about an issue I feel strongly about, I will do it. If Pinkpau asked me to write about a social issue, I will do it. But if someone who has been blogging paid post and how lovely life is but suddenly went gung-ho about creating awareness and making a change simply because the ‘needle pokes your flesh’… harap maaf.

And to all those who got high in this awareness-orgy, I want to ask you this question. If you are 21 and above… have you registered to vote? Have you fulfil your responsibility as a Malaysian? Are you aware of the awareness you are spreading?

If you answer is yes, well done. If otherwise, I must say I truly do not understand how people can spend hours blogging about such issues and hours complaining about such issues and hours talking-cock about such issues and yet… not willing to spend a few minutes at the post office counter to get yourself registered.

And for goodness sake… please vote if you’re registered.

The situation is this… the shit has already hit the fan. If you have been trying to make a change and have fulfilled your responsibility as a Malaysian and yet the shit hits you… well, life sucks; and it’s probably there are tonnes of us out there who are still living under the fan but has yet to taste the shit.

If you have been doing nothing but enjoying the breeze under the fan or afraid to do anything so that you and your family can continue your lovely life or you think that so long as you stay away from ‘danger zone’ you will not be hit by shit and … SUDDENLY!... the shit still hits you… well, I hate to say it but… serve… you… right. That’s why they say… shit happens.

They all live in their own comfort zone in the name of ‘protecting-my-family-and-myself’ or ‘I-need-to-make-a-living’ until someone’s body got snatched or someone they know got raped or someone got killed and then… they come out with all guns blazing. Even that, I wonder how long it will last before they all go back to their little comfort life. So what’s the fuss about creating awareness?

There is only one way to change things and the whole freaking country knows it but yet, the majority of the whole freaking country doesn’t give a damn about it.

And hey… if you don’t know what is the thing that you can do to make a change… you’re so fucked up I tell you…

I know this entry is rather blunt and to a certain extent… brutal… but this is certainly… as zewt as it gets.

Wednesday 30 January 2008

Chick on Chinese

A guy who called himself Michael Chick really cracks me up. He wrote an article and it was published in the ever famous Malaysia Today which carries much truth and written without withholding any attempt to be tactful. Some of the brutal honesty quotes includes…

“…these brain dead Chinese proudly pat themselves on the back and proudly call it “Manglish”, while their idiot Singaporean cousins proudly call it “Singlish”…”

“…You claim economic dominance. But in reality, are you really in charge?...”

“…What future does your child have, being raised by foreign maids?...”

“…Furthermore, all you care about is about FOOD…”

I would strongly recommend all to have a peep at the article, which Michael Chick titled it as
“Malaysian Chinese are Stupid”. See if you agree. Even if you don’t, I reckon it will be a good laugh.

**A year ago today, zewt wanted you to
Guess the tail of these tales**

Monday 28 January 2008

The 4 here and the 4 there

Now, for those who don’t know, there are currently 4 top accounting firms in the world where an abundant of students are willing to sell their soul to. Joining these big boys is already in most accounting students’ head before they even graduate. Be an auditor and your future will be guaranteed… they say.

In Malaysia, it is irony at the highest magnitude as all of these students know that they will have to work their socks off when they enter these firms but regardless, they will still join. There are a few readers of AZAIG who fall under this category.

I think the main reason why students will join the Big 4 in Malaysia is the eligibility of ‘study leave’ and ‘sponsored study’. Yes, having a degree in accounting doesn’t make you an accountant. One must study a professional paper such as ACCA or CPA in order to qualify as an accountant, provided if you pass.

Of course, that is also on top of the fact that one must also obtain 3 years working experience in an accounting firm to have the ‘qualified accountant’ and being in a Big 4 is an added advantage. Anyway, that’s not the notion here.

Because of this exam + experience requirement, most accounting grads in Malaysia will join these Big 4 firms to ‘make it big’. These firms will sponsor their professional paper and they are usually given 2 weeks study leave for each paper when exam looms. Of course, whether you can actually take these leaves with a peace of mind to study is a different thing altogether.

When they pass these professional exams and spent 3 years slogging their lives in the world of auditing. I shall not go into the details of the work but let me tell you something. Due to the immense work commitment, there are people who fail their exams again… and again… and again… and again… and again… and… ok la, they will eventually pass.

What happen to these people? Well, the usual consequences are non-promotion and a comparatively lower salary. The more times they fail, the more difficult it gets as they will become more and more experience in the firm and workload will increase making. And the longer they stay in their quest to pass, the more they are stuck in these firms.

So basically, an accounting grad joins an accounting firm to obtain an accounting status via sponsored exams, study leave and certified experience. If you fail, you have an option to resign or try till you succeed. That’s Malaysia.

Today, KT brought me up to his office to have a look. He is currently working with one of the Big 4 here in London and the office is situated in Canary Wharf, arguably the heart of corporate offices here. Check out the office that I took in KT’s office on a Saturday afternoon in the midst of a peak period.
Notice something? Yeah, there is absolutely… nothing! Totally empty on a Saturday afternoon… during peak period! Do you know how the office will look like if it’s in Malaysia?

Anyway, I had lunch with KT and his colleague, Richard; who both are currently working for one of the Big 4 here in London. I had a ‘lamb hotpot’, absolutely yummy-licious! We talked a bit about life in Malaysia and London and Richard asked about how I know KT, the usual stuff.
If was then that I found out something very peculiar. Do you know that an accounting degree in some crap university will not land you a place in one of the Big 4 in UK? All the new recruits who KT is handling are non-accounting grad. They have degrees in music, social science, geology, basically all non-accounting related and yes, they are all recruited into Big 4 accounting firms here. The difference is… they are from very reputable university.

“You have got higher chance of getting in if you have a degree in sociology from a university like Oxford than an accounting degree from Xxx University” Richard said.

Interesting isn’t it?

How do these people learn about accounts then? Well, they have to pick it all up through on-the-job training and learn up the theories via their professional paper, which they have to take in full as they don’t have an accounting degree.

And you know what the best part is?

If you fail your exam in the Big 4 here, you’ll be sacked. So basically, you can only join a Big 4 firm here if you’ve got an incredible degree; pick up the traits and pass your exam or else, you’ll be sent packing.

What a big difference huh…?

Friday 25 January 2008

You pee, I pee, he pees, she pees

I celebrated the millennium here in London and I will always remember how it went. It’s a very fond memory not just because I spent it in a foreign land and watching fantastic fireworks in the chilly winter night; but also because of a very peculiar thing.

I remember the evening started with me and my uni-mates all stuck in the tube as there were delays everywhere. Not surprising considering the amount of people heading to central London at that time. Our arrival in central London was greeted with a barrage of people. We don’t know where were heading, we just followed the crowd.

It was after about an hour that some of us began to feel uneasy… we need to take a piss. Now, those who have been to London will know that there are 2 things which are akin to treasure in London. The first is a dustbin, and the other… toilet. Yes, you hardly find these two things in central London. I heard it was a measure to prevent terrorist placing bombs there.

So what do you do when a guy needs to go? Well, a guy will go when a guy needs to go. So a bunch of us made our way to the side of the road, headed to the back lane, behind all the tall buildings and you know what? That part of town turned into some giant toilet with so many people taking a piss! And… there were girls too. Hell, they didn’t really care… just pull down their pants and do what a girl needs to do when a girl needs to go.

That was not it…

As we walk further… and drink water as we walked along, the urge to go came again. But this time, there wasn’t any building we can go too as we were really at the heart of London and really nowhere to go. It was then that a friend of mine spotted a bush not too far away.

And so, we squeezed our way through the crowd and headed to that bush… quite a big bush I would say. It’s one where you can actually duck and walk into it, which was exactly what we did. And guess that… just as I walked in… I was greeted by 3 girls… squatting there… doing their business… and you know what they said to me?

“Hello dear… you gotta wait for your turn…”

Wednesday 23 January 2008

A very safe 'X'

Though I am thousand of miles away, I still keep a close watch of what is happening back in what we all still call, our homeland.

One which caught my attention was when a friend highlighted to me about the recent incidents where Christian books were confiscated as it was claimed that “the illustration of prophets in the Christian children’s books are said to offend the sensitivities of Muslims. This is of course, following the ruckus surrounding the usage of the term ‘Allah’ which honestly, I don’t know what is the conclusion as I am too fed up to follow up with it.

‘Fed up’ would be the best word to describe most of us. But what I find annoying is when people can go on and on and on and on about how horrible things are and yet… they are not doing anything about it.

Most of such people claimed that they have got a family to look after and certainly would not want to ‘get-myself-into-any-trouble’. I have to say that is absolutely absurd. Why?

I strongly believe that the notion here is not about taking to the streets and singing anti-establishment chant… the notion here is not about joining political party… the notion is not about being an activist… the notion is not even about blogging about politics and social issues which many think such act is life-threatening.

My friends… the notion here is about fulfilling your divine right as someone whose salary is paid net of tax… as a citizen… as a person born into this land you call home. The notion here is about taking a small trip to a place called polling station to place an ‘X’ on something which you believe in.
It may be an ‘X’ for the current bunch who gives you high blood pressure every time you read the mainstream media; or it may be someone else whom you think can make a difference. Whatever it is, you have to know that placing that ‘X’ is your divine right. Don’t let yourself take that away from you.

And that my friends… is hardly life threatening… will not put your family in danger… and I am pretty damn sure it will not land your ass in ISA.

Are you ready to move your ass and act on your ‘X’?

**A year ago today, Zewt began his first post on “modern slavery”**

Tuesday 22 January 2008

The weekend gem

For some strange reason, I have been waking up relatively early compared to normal. Back in KL, I would set my alarm at 8am, and it will be snoozed till at least 8.40am before I actually get up. But here in London, I have been getting up at 8am. And you know what? I have been preparing breakfast! Twice I had cut pears with yogurt… absolutely yummy-licious and gosh… sooooooo healthy!

Anyway, a lot of people have been asking me to blog about the working culture here in London. Trust me; this topic is something I will definitely touch on. But ya know, I think it is too soon to actually talk about the working culture here after just 1 week. All I can say is that everyday is a learning experience… everyday, I see more and more differences between the working life here in London compared to back home. I will blog more in detail perhaps next week.

But there is one thing I noticed by just being here for 1 week. Weekends are very important for the people here. I have blogged about the evolution of weekends to us modern slaves but to the people here, it is certainly a whole new level.

For a start, people have big plans for weekends; and working is definitely NOT part of the plan. People will take time to travel around during weekend. For more of us back home, working during weekends is is pretty normal, though not to me. Talk about weekend usually starts from Thursday lunch time.

Come weekend, when I went out with my friends and bump into come familiar faces, people NEVER talk about work. Weekend is a time away from work… like totally away from work. Those biting about bosses and how you cannot meet deadlines and how Monday will be a dreadful time… such things are non-existent in people’s mind here.

Oh, I went to a nice bar by the Thames last Saturday with KT and had this beer called Cider. With a distinct apple taste, you can drink it easily. But after a few gulps, you will begin to feel its effect. Another good drink I must say.
Anyway, come Monday; everyone will certainly ask you how your weekend went and everyone has a story to tell and it makes you wonder… was it a weekend or was it a whole week off for these people.

This is one thing very apparent here in London. I can see the joy in all my friends’ eyes when I met up with them over the weekend and they are just so happy working here. No one seems to have any plan to return home, at least not in the immediate future. Even if they do, they intend to work in Singapore, definitely not in the Malaysian modern slavery kingdom.

And hey… one is eligible to apply for residency after 5 years working here… and I have a gut feeling that most if not all of my friends will be applying.

** A year ago and 5 days ago today, Zewt blogged about “They said it’s just a number”.

Monday 21 January 2008

Experiencing Hillsong in London

Cooking rice yesterday was a challenge as my apartment doesn’t have a rice cooker. So KT came over early in the morning today to drop me his spare rice cooker. Thereafter, we headed to Tottenham Court Road station via the Central Line. As soon we went up exit 3 from that station, it was right in front of us… Hillsong Church London.
The church is currently based in a theatre, so it was quite dark. When we reached, the service has already started and it took a while before we found empty seats on the right side of the theatre church.

I have never been to a Hillsong service before; but the praise & worship (“P&W”) was just like what I have expected… very vibrant, very energetic, very passionate worship leader and… very concert-like. I have never sung any of the songs before but it doesn’t take long to pick it up. Sorry God for not concentrating during the P&W as I was busy snapping pictures along the way. It was awesome.

After P&W, there was a short time of prayer and then it was offering time and a dude came up to give a testimony about how his debts were wiped off after he tithed; pretty normal. After that, they prayed for someone who was about to get married. I think that someone, whose name is Grant (I think) is a youth pastor or something.

Then, I heard something really… different. A guy (dunno who he is) came up and talked about the forthcoming Valentines Day. He also called it the “Singles Awareness Day”. In conjunction with Singles Awareness Day, the church will be organising a party in a place called Passion… a local dance club. No kidding… the church is organising a clubbing party in a dance club… called Passion… on Valentines Day! How cool is that!?!?!

KT said it’s pretty normal. Clubbing is a form of celebration. I wouldn’t disagree. But I wonder if there will be alcohol and all. It would be interesting to attend as all, singles and attached (and married) are invited; but I don’t think I will be making it as I will be Paris that weekend. And you know what? That youth pastor Grant, who is about to get married… met his soon-to-be wife in the Valentine Clubbing session last year! Man… he is fast!

The pastor’s name is Gareth; if I am not mistaken and the message today was a continuation from last week’s message which I didn’t attend. But I think I managed to follow through and it was quite a simple and yet powerful message.

One point dropped into my take-away bag as I find it very relevant. He said the church is the body of Christ; and are people coming to know God because of the church?... Or are people staying away from God because of the church. A very simple point but yet, it is just so relevant in today’s world. I find it very relevant to the current Malaysian church arena, particular in the Klang Valley.

Anyway, I am not about to summarise the whole sermon here so… when the service was over, I went to the toilet and it was then I noticed a sign said… “cameras prohibited”… Opppsss… but KT said it should be applicable only during plays in the theatre, not the church… Phew…

Overall, it was quite a pleasant experience and I would certainly come again, if time permits. If you are staying in London and is looking for a more open minded church, this is certainly a place to be… I mean, clubbing organised by the church! What more you want? *grinned*

After church, we headed to Portobello Market. The actual market was not opened today (Sunday) but there were still a lot of shops to provide an interesting view. That will be a story for another day.

Saturday 19 January 2008

London Friday night out

If you think the Friday bug is strong in Malaysia, think again. My first Friday working experience has been quite amazing. I have been told that the people here leave right on the dot on a Friday and this is relatively true. I managed to leave at about 5.15pm, but that’s probably because I already completed what I needed to do. That’s one thing here I like more… if you’ve finished your work, you’re free to go.

I already made arrangement with 2 of my buddies, KT and KK to have dinner and hang around town for the night. After changing to more comfortable clothes at my apartment, off I go on the famous London underground…

We decided to go for dinner at the infamous “Wong Kee” in Chinatown. This place is famous for its appalling customer service, sometimes outright rude. But then again, hordes and hordes of people will flock to this place to have a meal. Reason…? This place is one of the best if you want value for money.

A quick look at the menu and I think it has not changed since I last came 7 years ago! Anyway, we ordered the following dishes…

Stir fried ‘choy sum’ - £4.
Fried ‘tofu’ with minced pork - £3.50.
Roasted duck with assorted vegetables - £8.

The food is not too bad; certainly edible. For this price, you can't complain. Check out the price. Imagine if you earn £ here, don’t you think the food is cheap?

We walked around Leicester Square f.k.a. Chinatown after dinner. The place was bustling with activities yesterday, just like how it was 7 years ago. I guess Chinese are also populating this place at an incredible rate. There was a long queue in front of a particular restaurant. It is one which I will pay a visit when Jules arrive… the duck specialist… Four Seasons; who opened a branch in Leicester Square.

Those who have been in London will know this place offers arguably the best duck in the world. The second best, to me at least, is Sunrise in Sea Park, Petaling Jaya.

We walk around Leicester Square and Covent Garden. Walking around brought back a lot of memories. The feeling of hey-I-have-been-here before was quite apparent.

I noticed something when walking around...that a lot of people crowding around outside bars instead of inside. KT said that bars in London are smoke-free so all the smokers have to go out to smoke. Smoke… Free… Bar!!! This is so cool.
After a while, we decided to find a place for a drink and to continue our conversation. KT brought us to this place called Meza Bar. It’s a more up class kind of bar, with people from the professional world making up the crowd.

This place is famous for cocktails. After me and KT had a beer, we decided to try some cocktails. Noticed the bar tender kept making this particular drink. A quick check with him and found out that the hottest drink of the night was ‘Mojito’ (pronounced mo-hi-to). I gave that a try and KT ordered something called ‘Old Fashioned’.
Verdict: Mojito was very nice and Old Fashioned was very… strong!

The conversation revealed that there are easily 30-40 people whom I know who are currently working in London. From the way I see it; plenty have decided to return to Malaysia... NOT! Why? Cause some of them have actually bought properties here. Yeah, propertIES. I guess the brain drain problem in Malaysia is really worsening by the minute. And honestly, I am very happy to contribute to that. Can't wait to be more accurate.

The crowd began to come in at about 11pm but we decided to leave as we do not want to miss the last tube. We made our ways to the nearest tube station and went our separate ways. I was greeted by a busker in one of the inter-change station. The air in the underground is as filthy as ever but it’s the most efficient way of travel so… can't complain.
Will be heading to Hillsong Church which has a branch here in London this Sunday. Exciting!

Thursday 17 January 2008

A quick pick so far

The last time I was in London, I was a student. Most of the time, I was with my uni-mates, who were mostly Malaysians and we hardly mixed with the Brits. To a certain extent, I experienced London and yet, I didn’t experience London.

This time round, it is totally different. So far, I have only met 1 Malaysian since I touched down 4 days ago. He was my friend and we went to Chinatown for dinner yesterday. Besides that, I have been dealing with Brits, Indians (they are everywhere!) and a Pakistani.

It has been 4 days since I used the word ‘la’ in my daily conversation. The English accent is beginning to sink into me and honestly speaking, I am trying to pick it up. Seriously, if you speak Manglish, the Brits will just look at you and say… “pardon me?” I have been enjoying speaking good English. Those who read AZAIG long enough will know I am a supporter of good English.

The weather has been cold, but not cold enough. I can still walk around wearing only my shorts in my apartment and I actually woke up in the middle of the night feeling rather… warm. The winter usually picks up towards end of January and I hope to see some snow by the time Jules gets here.

A first hand experience on the working culture here has been an eye opener. I have heard about it talking about it, I am sure you did too. But how exactly is it? Are they really laid back and all? Will certainly be blogging about it very soon.

Finally, groceries shopping and cooking has been fun… thoroughly enjoying every bit of it. I know, pictures right? Not for this entry, pictures will be coming real soon.

Tuesday 15 January 2008

Professional mistake level 2

As most companies close their book in December, January is the month where slaves in the finance department a.k.a. accountants slog out the late nights to produce the relevant numbers for the year. Before I left for London, I had to go through a week of such torture, right after my wedding.
This is my 2nd year end reporting with my current company and I must say this so called peak period, is indeed the peak of the ‘professional mistake’ accountants make. While those who have read my entry on professional mistake will accountants are the ultimate modern slaves, going through 2 rounds of year end reporting further strengthen the notion.

So what exactly is this year end reporting period, or year end closing; or peak period, whatever you may call it? To me, the entire process can be summarised into 3 main processes.

The first is the time where accountants have to clean up the mess in the accounts. And yes, it’s ALWAYS in a mess. Who causes the mess? Well, some are made my accountants themselves but most are made by people from the operation department. Stuff like expenses wrongly classified cause some salesman treat some customers to some hookers but came back and call it ‘meals for customers’ or some sales which the customers promised while screwing the hooker and after screwing, decided otherwise but sales were recorded in the accounts. Ya’ know, stuff like that.

So yeah, accountants will have to hunt down all these mess in the accounts and rectify them. Who created those mess and gets to probably share the ‘meals’ with the customers? Those people in operations, ya’ know; those who don’t have professional qualifications like accountants. And who has to work their ass off to clean up the mess? Who else but accountants?

After cleaning up the mess; and it’s usually not fully cleaned; then comes the time to beautify the accounts. This means, if targets of certain departments are not met, accountants will have to make the numbers look as though it’s met. When certain expenses exceeded the budget or when a company spent dodgy expenses (remember the hooker meals for customers?), accountants are to make such expenses valid.

Yes, this is the time when accountants do the very thing they are employed for… to work their magic.

After the mess have been cleaned and the relevant numbers beautified ‘made to look reasonable’… then comes the time for accountants to con-vince the external auditors that the figures shown in the accounts are ‘real’. External auditors for big corporations are usually hopeful graduates of magic school and they are supposed to audit and certify that the relevant numbers are ‘real’.

As such, accountants in the said company will have to make sure the un-cleaned mess are not found and the ‘magic’ performed are not ‘overly excessive’; thus begins a game of hide and seek. Of course, auditors will sometimes find out all the ‘hidden’ things but with the said company being the customer of the auditor; the company is always right.

The beautiful thing about this process is that this is the time where auditors will learn how to clean up the mess and work the magic. This is crucial because… after all, auditors are future full fledge accountants. See the link?

Finally, when the auditors are con-vinced, the numbers are finalised. This usually happens after accountants have gone through after days and days of late nights, skipping lunches, eating unhealthy food for dinner… basically treating themselves like thrash in doing what they believe is ‘something only smart and intelligent professional people can do’.

Why is this the next step of professional mistake?

Because at the end of it all, the company will show an ‘excellent result’, and the people duly rewarded for those excellent results are the operations people. Those who couldn’t make it to become accountants or lawyers because they are not smart enough and ended up doing sales… these are the people who will get a fat bonus because the numbers have been cleaned and made reasonable by the smart people.

What do the smart accountants get then? They will be picked on the mess which were not cleaned, the magic that were not done properly, the parts where the auditors were not con-vinced. Basically, accountants will be told that they didn’t do good enough.

Isn’t this a new level of professional mistake?

Monday 14 January 2008

The flight

Note: This is more like a personal journal and not a regular AZAIG type of entry.

I have read about people doing it; I have wanted to do it and now, I finally am doing it… I am blogging while onboard a flight. It’s quite a good feeling I must say, particularly when you’re on business class.

Speaking of business class, I am on a flight to London and you know what? There is no ‘gwai-lo’ in here; at least not on my side of the deck. In fact, I am the only Chinese here; the rest of the business class passengers here are all Malays. I am not trying to be racist here but really, who said Malays are poor? And no, they are not on business trip; I can tell because there are a few kids here and are frantically playing with their portable PSP.

Anyway, I am really not quite used to this preferential treatment. The stewardess; Lathia, has been going “Mr Zewt, would you like to have this…?” and “Mr Zewt, would you like to have that…?” and “Mr Zewt, anything I can get for you…?” and “Mr Zewt, can I help you to a cup of coffee?”… I have never heard my surname being mentioned so many times in the space of 2 hours.
The view from my seat is pretty amazing. I managed to grab this shot just as we were passing through the Indian Ocean. Though this is not my first time on board a plane, I am always amazed at the amazing view from the window and the beauty of flying.
I just had my meal. It was a combination of ‘Satay’ plus the ‘Coriander chilly prawn’ and appetiser with ‘Grilled monk fish with spaghetti’ as the main dish. Didn’t ask for dessert as I am not exactly a dessert person. Besides, it was coconut cheese cake. I mean… coconut cheese cake??

For all the hard work and torture I have to put up as a modern slave, I must admit that I feel I am being duly rewarded at least for these 13 hours. I wonder how my apartment will look like. The pictures based on the internet looks pretty cool but then again, looks can be deceiving. By the time I post up this entry, I would have known the condition of it so… I am hoping for the best.

The apartment is simply amazing. I was given this kitchen.

And I naturally produced this with whatever that was available in the kitchen.
Cheers… and Jules, I miss you already!

Saturday 12 January 2008

I am off...

Just a short note to show you my work permit...

... and my flight e-ticket...

Will be in London in less than 24 hours. Those who are in London, if you see me, don't be a stranger. Last but not least, thank you all for your congratulatory wishes.

Next entry will probably be from the plane.

P/S: I think I might miss the next general erection election. Hmmmm....

Thursday 10 January 2008

The fairy tale march-in

Last Saturday, I achieved 2 of the things which I intend to accomplish in my life. The first was to get married before I am 30, the latter is to get married before I am bald. I have to thank God for making those dreams come true.

Another thing which has always been in my mind is to have a very unique entrance to my wedding dinner. And once again, I must thank God that what I planned turned out perfect and pun intended, too bad I only get to do it once.

The first task was to search for the right song. It must not be an over-played tune; one where the guests go “this song again?” as soon as it’s played. I want the guests to ask and wonder…”what song is this?” when it’s being played. After a hunting time, I stumbled upon one which fits the bill.

So after getting the song, I planned the rehearsed the dinner march-in in this manner…

The emcee went up the stage to give her welcoming speech and proceeded to ask the guests to stand to welcome the bride and groom. My comrade, who was in the control room immediately turned off all lights in the ballroom. This gave me the opportunity to sneak into the ball room unnoticed and blend into the crowd.

The music began… those who saw me standing in front was wondering what was I doing there. The aren’t-you-supposed-to-be-there-at-the-entrance hand signal was too easy to decipher. Well, I just ignored them…

The 1st verse of the song came on and nothing happen… the 2nd verse came on and the spotlight got on and focused on the entrance. By this time, quite a number of people already know why I was standing in front… but anyway…

The 3rd verse came into play and the bride began to come in, she was walking in with her dad. It took the time of 3rd and 4th verse for the bride to walk from the entrance door to the middle. It was also the time where I was slowly walking from the front to the middle of the ballroom. After the 4th verse, there was a 26 seconds instrumental interval, perfect for me to get the bride from her father.

You must be thinking… what is so special about that? Well, it is special because…

I was the one singing the song all these while.
When I lifted up the mic and began to sing at the front, I could see the surprise in the faces of all who saw me. When I was slowly walking to the middle of the ballroom while singing the song, I heard a few “oh my god, he is the one singing it”… my plan to divert all their attention to the front and surprise them by me being the singer… worked!

The 5th verse of the song allowed me to walk with Jules from the middle of the ballroom to the main dinner table. Once there, I went up the stage to complete the song by singing the last verse…
Perhaps I will put up the video in YouTube; I shall think about it.

I thought of writing and composing the song myself but I think the timing of the song I chose was just perfect. So I managed to fulfil my dream of having a unique and fairy tale entrance for my dinner, to me at least. I do wish I can do it again… with the same bride of course.

Other parts of the wedding were perfect too, but that is a story for another day.

Monday 7 January 2008


Trust is a sacred thing. It is something which we try to gain from others and at the same time, we also put our trust on others. In most cases, it is the very element which holds friendships, relationships or even marriages together. If we have trust, we don’t need to see it with out own eyes.

From the perspective of placing our trust on others, I think there are 2 distinctive approaches.

The first relates to those who trust people rather easily. This group of people function based on what I call the depreciating-trust-mechanism. When a person from this group meets a new soul, the person would easily trust the new soul 100%. Some tend to brand this group of people as pure ‘na├»ve’. However, these are the people who are generally very optimistic about things and are able to see the bright side even in the darkest of hours.

Why depreciating-trust-mechanism?

Well, since they give a new soul 100% trust, the new soul can only lose it. Failure to live up to expectation will result in a lost of trust. As we live in an imperfect world, the 100% trust placed on the new soul will slowly but surely depreciates over time. This would probably means that people within this group will usually have their heart-broken rather easily.
The second group of people are those who function based on what I call the appreciating-trust-mechanism, the opposite of the former. Naturally, this group is one who does not trust people easily. They are sceptical, pessimistic and always suspicious. Earning trust from this group of people is a challenge for you will have to meet certain standards before you can be trusted. Even that, they might not trust you entirely.

Why appreciating-trust-mechanism?

Appreciating, as the word suggests; means the level of trust goes up as trust is earned. A person from this group will not trust a new soul entirely; perhaps only trusting a new soul 20% after the first meeting. But as time goes by, as the new soul begins to prove that he or she is trustworthy, the level of trust also increases. In a nutshell, people in this group will grow to trust people more as time goes by. Because of the nature of this group, they are not easily disappointed or hurt as they already know… people can't be trusted.

No matter how you decipher the above, we all are swayed towards one of the group one way or another. Subconsciously, we are either depreciating type of the appreciating type, both carry different sets of pro and cons.

As we live our lives in this brutal realistic world, I believe more and more people will move towards to the appreciating type as they suffer set-backs by practising the depreciating mechanism. At the end of the day, more and more people will become less and less trusting on each other. We are wary of each other. When people ask for help in public, we began to put up our defensive walls and walk away. Such is the direction of our society.

But for now, at this instance… which type are you?

Thursday 3 January 2008

Toilet tales

I already have my mind set on a particular topic today when I received a forwarded mail regarding a somewhat similar notion. Decided to share the content of the forwarded mail first…

Not too sure how many of you have been to the RedBox karaoke in Pavilion but apparently, there is something very peculiar about the design of the floor… it is very… reflective! And the best part is, there is no door to the female toilet.

Extracted from the forwarded mail:

“The toilet reflects images on its shinny black floor! She witnessed what the girl in the toilet was doing. Use your imagination... … She can see every details… from the colour of her blouse to her skirt to the pattern of her underwear. Also not to mention, whatever she was doing inside can be seen by everyone who walks past the toilet. There is no outside door, just beads curtain covering the entrance of the toilet.”

What made this piece of information authentic is that pictures were included; supposedly taken from just outside the female toilet. Click to enlarge.

The issue was raised and the management gave some really lame excuses. The most intriguing thing is that the management mentioned something about having cameras there. Hmmm… I wonder whether there will be a new series of clips hitting the market soon.

Now, back to the topic which I intend to blog about… very short and sweet…

Recently, I heard about families which consist mainly of girls practising a certain toilet manners. Girls dominated families mean families where most if not all the children are daughters. As a result, only the father and perhaps 1 son are the men in the house.

What is this peculiar toilet manners?

Some of you might have guessed it. The females in the family actually made the man (or men) in the house sit down to pee to avoid having remnant of male pee on the toilet seat. Yes, where you pull down your pants to your knee or ankle; sit down and pee. Of course, men might have to push our thing down, else it might still wet the seat.

Trust me, such things are happening!

So, anyone currently living under such legislation? Are you girls going to make your man sit? And most importantly… guys, will you sit?

By the way, when the big boss is at a stand still, I think it is virtually impossible to sit and pee. Don’t you think?

Tuesday 1 January 2008

Birthday and high plus low

Following the suggesting I made in my previous entry regarding sending a letter back to yourself, some has expressed interest but is concern that you are unable to find a trustworthy friend for the safekeeping and sending part. Well, I have a solution for you.

Since most of us prefer to type rather than write and keep the letter in the virtual world… what you can is to type your letter in a word document, password protect it and send it as an attachment to me. My e-mail is at the sidebar. I will send the mail back to you next year. Please do not forget your password.

I await your mails.

Anyway, 1 Jan 2008 is a pretty significant for AZAIG because… AZAIG is 1 year old! Can’t believe I have been in this blogging thing for a year now. Excluding post, I wrote 234 posts in 2007, quite a nice number don’t you think? What began as an I-just-want-to-write has now become an addiction.

Sitting down here trying to reflect on the year which sailed pass us like a flash, I just want to highlight my highest and lowest notes of the year instead of bringing the whole year into perspective.

Without a doubt, the lowest point for me this year is the
passing of my mom. Her sudden departure which led to us having to pull the plug was beyond painful. Ya’ know, if someone who has been there all the time suddenly just leave, the feeling is pretty daunting.

Nevertheless, the most important thing to anyone who went through or is going through a low point is to pick oneself up and learn from the experience. I believe I have learnt a lot from it and I am quite a different person compared to the me a year ago. Once again, thank you to all who supported me in whichever manner possible. Sorry if the entries during that period made you cry.

As for the highest note of the year, it is certainly my engagement and the accompanying wedding planning process. How was it? Stressful! If you think work is stressful, try planning for a wedding. But then again, I am always a person who sees lighter side of things so I can be pretty laid back… which pisses Jules off tremendously.
But amidst the laughter and arguments, it was also a very good learning experience for both of us. I think wedding planning is a good preparation for marriage. You learn how to meet somewhere in the middle and it is also a good time for friends and family of both parties to come together. So yeah, the engagement and imminent wedding is indeed the highest point of 2007.

I have a feeling 2008 will be a challenging year for me and most of you. You may read about how 2008 is going to be wonderful and all but I think the picture might not be as rosy. For a start, I am sure many will agree that our wallet will be hit badly in the near future. So let us all be prepared and make the best out of it.

Happy birthday to AZAIG and Happy New Year!