31 August 2008

Marhaban Ya Ramadhan

Woke up at 3.00am for sahur. Here Imsak is at 4.26 am.

Switched on the telly while having my meal.

As in the previous years, most TV stations carry live programs at this hour (8 channels to be precise). The majority are comedy with interactive quiz thrown in.

Dan yang aku herannya... with live audience. Yupp.... audience ngan muka yang tak cukup tido. I heard they were paid by the TV stations.

Yela... kalo tak di bagi insentive rupiah, who in their right mind would want to go to a TV studio at 3.00am?

Anyway, my brother sent me a pic of my nephew who at six months, is yet to meet his Indonesian domiciled uncle.

Last night I dreamnt I was back in KL seeing him for the first time. Hmmm... Can't wait to be back for Raya.

And it's only the first day of puasa.

28 August 2008

Poor Rich Kid

Last tuesday there was a meeting between the company I work for and our local JV partner.

The attendees of the meeting were the board directors of the JV company and moi, the only small fish. However one director was missing and had informed he would be running late.

This "running late" director was appointed to the board by virtue of being the son of a director of a toll road company that had given our JV company the billboard concession along an elevated highway in Jakarta.

Confused? Don't worry. Understanding the above is not a pre-requisite to continue reading.

He's a young chap. Only 26 years old. I never could get along with him since the beginning. But of course, the "pelakon sinetron" in me takes over everytime we meet.

"Bapak ****, wahhh... udah kurus ya sekarang. Sering fitness ya? Bertambah cakep. Pasti ceweknya seneng"

"Bener? Bapak bikin SPT perusahaan sendiri? Wahhh... untung ada direktur yang pinter" (SPT is the annual corporate tax filing).

Berlakon. Nak hidup. Lihatlah Dunia!! (sambil imagine pegang award).

Occay. Almost an hour after the meeting convened, came in the young director clad in long sleeved batik. He sat himself at the head of the table.

Almost immediately, he started babbling about the JV company's changes in M&A. He took out a file from a paper bag full of documents (yes, he carried a paper bag into the meeting) and continued talking.

He had just hijacked the meeting, I said to myself.

I thought I was the only one who didn't understand what he was saying. When I looked around the table the other directors had the same baffled look on them.

So my eyes were back to this young director. I carefully studied him. Tenung tajam le kata orang kita.

His lips were quivering. His voice a bit shaky. He was slurring at times. Tremors in both hands.

Everyone's attention was fixed to the chap sitting at the head of the table, trying to figure out what in the friggin world he was talking about.

I just could not believe not even one of the other directors tried to stop this young director and ask what he was trying to say.

Fortunately, my boss managed to end the meeting in no time. My boss stood up and almost instantly everyone else stood up as well. Errr... except for the idiot at the head of the table, of course.

Well, my suspicion was right. This poor young man was high. He probably had taken it the night before and still had the effects on him.

Hmm.... macam cerita Yusof Haslam pulak. Anak orang kaya yang addicted to illegal substance. From the outside nampak happy but he's lonely and felt ignored by his parents. Tak cukup kasih sayang.

What's next? A. Galak come bursting in our next meeting to apprehend the suspect... Hmmm...

Sorry... My imagination on the loose.

27 August 2008

Losing The Inches

This maybe petty to some of you but this is my blog, about my life, so, three words ... suka hati aku.

I've been trying hard to burn the fat on my lower abs and "love handles" but don't seem to be able to get rid of them.

Treadmill, stepper, weights, crunches, leg raises. You name it. Done it all.


Then I came accross this article on the net. Here are some excerpts:

"There is only one way to lose fat in the so-called "stubborn areas," and that is with the correct combination of proper diet, aerobic exercise, abdominal training, and weight training."

Proper diet? Udah try. Aerobic exercise? Udah jugak. Abs training and weight training pun udah!!.

"The first thing you need to realize is that it is impossible to "spot reduce" fat from one specific part of the body."

Yea ker?? Idak le teman tau Bang Haji ooii.

"Fat loss occurs systemically, meaning that you can’t control where the fat comes from. When you burn fat for energy, you will draw it from all areas of the body, and the first place you tend to put it on will be the last place it comes off."

In accounting, this is called FILO (first-in, last-out).

"Training the abdominals every day with hundreds of repetitions will certainly tighten and tone the muscles, but it will do almost nothing to remove the fat obscuring the muscles."

Laa... buat penat je aku buat crunches bertubi-tubi. Dah macam tenggiling rope aku masa buat crunches.

"Contrary to popular belief, the best way to burn the layer of flab from your midsection is not to do more abdominal exercise, but to do more cardiovascular exercise."

Dah buat la weiii...

"During the first 20 -30 minutes of aerobic activity, glycogen (stored carbohydrates) is the primary fuel source. If you stop after 20 minutes, you’re only getting half of your workout done! You get the cardiovascular health benefits, but you don’t get much fat loss. "

Err... yea ker??...

"The key to maximum fat loss is to work out aerobically for 30-60 minutes continuously per session. You should do this at least three or four days per week, but five, six, or even seven days a week will take off fat at the fastest rate possible!"

Adehhh!!... cabut lutut den. No wonder, I normally do only 30 mins of cardio, max.

You can read more here.

By the way, pakcik tomato, I think your 3-months is up a loooonnnngg time ago.

26 August 2008

A Special Tribute

November last year, I received news on the passing of Hazlishah (H), a friend from university days.

A couple of weeks ago, I was told by a good friend of mine that H's wife has a blog.

I eventually found the blog last week. H's wife made a heart wrenching entry two days after H's passing.

You can read it here.

When I first arrived in Portsmouth back in September 1994, I was temporarily put up in a university hall of residence, QEQM.

I had to find a house. Being in a new place, what better way to get assistance if none other from the seniors. I recall walking almost 3 km with a fellow Malaysian student, Mustaza, from QEQM to a house in Prince Albert Road, the lodging of the president of Malaysian Student's Society.

And it was there I met H for the first time. He was staying in that house as well.

By the 3rd day, I checked-out from QEQM and H and the rest of his housemates were kind enough to allow me to stay in their house until I found my own lodging. H gave his room to me and Mustaza. A very kind gesture from a very generous soul.

It wasn't until a week had passed that I finally found a house (through the help of another senior whom I shall never forget, Izhar). The house was located not far from Prince Albert Road. 17 Empshott Road.

I remember it was H who led a group of juniors (yours truly included) on our first ever trip to London (well, first for me). Ijal if you're reading this, we spent the night at Amy's friend's, didn't we? H took us to Picadilly Square and Petticoat Lane market.

Over the two years our paths crossed many a times. More so during the final year. H was staying in a flat in Lumsden and I was squatting in a nearby flat. Ijal's flat to be specific.

I remember H as a very warm and friendly person. The kind of person whom you'd feel comfortable approaching.

A good man with an extremely kind soul.


25 August 2008

Bali - Day 2

After lunch at Sari Batur, I dozed off in the car. I had no idea where Nyoman was taking me but I did remember asking him to take me to a nice beach.

I lost track of the time too. Holiday mode maaa...

Nyoman woke me up soon after we arrived at Tegallalang. It's a place where you could see terraced paddy fields. I didn't like the place because it was too "touristy". Locals selling handicrafts would swarm you and pester you to buy their merchandise.

Luckily there was a group of Japanese tourist at that time. So I was let off the hook. Yen more valuable than my rupiah, yesss?

While on the subject of Japanese, I watched on telly the other day Olga Syahputra playing the character of a Japanese girl. When a fellow actor asked her Japanese name, he (yes, Olga is a he) said,

"Nama saya Moo-ka-mu Koo-bedaki"

Macam p*n**t (here, this word is not vulgar you know).

While on the subject of p*n**t, I received a guest from KL just last week. We were in the car and the sopir was negotiating the car into a tight parking space. Then the parking attendant shouted from the back,

"Masukin p*n**t-nya dulu mas!"

Needless to say, my guest laughed like mad.

So occay, from Tegallalang we headed to Padang-Padang. Ohh.. I have to mention that just ahead of Tegallalang paddy fields, there were miles after miles of souvenir shops. I did not stop. I guess you could get a good bargain for souvenirs here.

Padang-Padang is a stretch of beach popular among surfers. There's just a short strip of sandy beach. While the rest was mostly rocks. But if you venture 150-200 metres to left from the main beach spot, you'll find a longer strip of sandy beach.

And on the way you'll encounter an abandoned ship.

This place is a must I tell you. It's unlike the crowded beaches of Kuta and Legian.

Last on my itinerary for the day was Kecak Dance at Uluwatu. I've been to one a couple of years back (at the same venue) but it's worth a second experience.

The Kecak Dance at Uluwatu is actually performed in the grounds of a Pura. This time around, the spectators were nearly double than my previous visit.

The Kecak Dance with the sunset in the background was just mesmerizing. However this time, Hanuman came from the back and sat next to me. Kalo akak Raja sure udah melatah gila babs punyer.

I'm already planning for my next trip to Bali. Air Asia has started its promo again. But the problem is, should I get the KUL-Denpasar or CGK-Denpasar return ticket....

Life is so full of uncertainties.

Bali - Day 2

This entry a bit basi.

2nd day in Bali. I woke up at 5.45 am. I must be early for the morning jog. Or so I thought.

When I reached the beach, I could see joggers young and old were already ahead of me. Gosh.. what time did they wake up? 4.00am???

Alright... you might ask who in their friggin mind would go for an early morning jog on their holiday? Well.. MOI!! I might not do it if I were in other places but this is Bali we're talking here.

Armed with my Canon digicam and my Ipod, i started my jog from Kuta beach then to the beaches of Legian and Seminyak.

The serenity of the morning sky. The sound of waves. The beautiful Balinese people. Ahhhh.... I wish I was rich enough to retire in Bali now.

By 8 am, I was waiting for Nyoman at the hotel. He was punctual, as usual.

Our first stop was Pura Tirta Empul.

They had a religious ceremony on that day. According to Nyoman, that day was the day the Balinese would go to the Pura to cleanse themselves at the Pura's spring water pool.

Saiful with goatee would look exactly like the man on the right

Inside the Pura was this pool where they perform the cleansing ritual. Yeahh.. everyone was properly attired, of course. Yang perempuan berkemban and the guys pakai sarong.

If not for a handful of other tourists who were also there, I would have looked like a pervert snapping photos of people in wet sarongs.

Stephanie would come at any cost for a sight like this

Our next stop was an eco farm. Well, that's what it said on the entrance's signboard. More like a tiny weeny farm to me. But there I had my first taste of Kopi Luwak (Civet Coffee). For a non coffee lover like moi, it tastes like any other coffee. Or was I cheated and given a normal coffee instead?? Hmmmm...

Then about an hour later, I was at restaurant Batur Sari which had the best view of Gunung Kintamani. It was really cool and I had no jacket or fleece with me. A couple of Taiwanese girls were only in their tank tops (with jeans la ). Menggigil sakan deme.

Bertuah tul si Nyoman nih.. aku suruh amik background Kintamani tu kat tengah

Had lunch at the restaurant in a gazebo facing the majestic mountain. The food was not that great. But the view more than made up for the mediocre food.

Continued in my next entry....

24 August 2008

Ramadhan Is Around The Corner

In Malaysia you know the holy month of Ramadhan is near when the moment you switch on to Era, the first thing you'd hear is ,

Yousooofff Thayyooobbbbb.

Well here, you'd notice supermarkets everywhere would start to prominently display biscuits. And not to forget cordials and dates (macam kat Malaysia jugak le).

Last night I was at Carrefour Permata Hijau (just accross my apartment) and right at the entrance there were cans after cans of biscuits stacked to almost 5 feet high.

Why biscuits you might ask.

Because it's cheap and apparently a must buy for the not so economically well off. To be consumed during iftar.

This Ramadhan will be my third in Jakarta. I still remember my first iftar in Jakarta in 2006. It was my first ever iftar alone. There I was at the dining table with all sorts of food before me. My thoughts were with my family back home. And my eyes welled up. Hey... it's really sedih you know. Never before in my fasting life I had to buka puasa alone on the first day of Ramadhan.

The second year was not as sad.

Ramadhan in Jakarta is not that different from home. However, it has it's peculiarities or shall i say uniqueness.

Here, during the month of Ramadhan, eating places would place a curtain on their windows to cover the view from people outside. The reason - so as not to offend passing muslims who are fasting.

My take on that? It's is sooooo insulting to me as a muslim.

One can put a plate of rice with ayam percik and sambal sotong before me at midday during Ramadhan and I would never be tempted to touch the food. Telan air liur tu most probably le.

Come to think about it, in Malaysia restaurant owners cover up their windows so as to hide from public view muslims who are eating in their premises. Terbalik purpose pulak.

So it's that time of the year again. Ramadhan. I'm going back early this year so that I'd have a few days to explore pasar ramadhan in KL.

Pandan Indah, Taman Nirwana, Desa Pandan and the mother of all pasar Ramadhan - at the back lanes off Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman.

Rindu le kat popia Desa Pandan.

22 August 2008

Grow Up, Please....

Recently a friend of mine bought a new expensive toy. And he sent a text message to let me know of his new purchase.

I just don't quite know the reason. Was it to share his joy or just to show off? Either way, I don't care, really. There's not an ounce of envy in me.

But, it's sooooo typical of him. You see, he has this penchant of telling the whole wide world about matters relating to his life. I guess keeping things to himself could slowly kill him.

But by letting it out he's killing others! As if people care about the story of his life. Believe me, the things he would tell others would make you roll your eyes instantly... and roll... and roll... and roll. And I dare not go into details fearing I would bore you to death.

Letihla melayan orang2 macam ni. Why lah I have to meet this kind of people....

20 August 2008

Truly Delightful & Enlightening Meeting

Ocay. I have to admit that my postings have been very few and far between. "I've been busy" excuse is so cliche. But it's true you know.

Let me tell you of an experience I had a couple of weeks ago. You see, the CEO (lets call him Mr EG) of the biggest media group in Bolehland was in town with his small entourage. The purpose of their visit - a business meeting with the company I work for.

The CEO made news headline sometime ago on his appointment to head a large GLC. And he was only in his early 30s then.

My personal view of him? Very humble and easy going. and does not have that Royal Highness attitude in him. Soooo unlike my Tan Sri Chairman.

Mr EG does not speak english with a British accent (well him being a Cambridge scholar). Just the normal Manglish (Malaysian english). He even uses an ordinary Nokia handphone. I think Peanutbutter's new Nokia is more expensive. Not Palm. Not Nokia Communicator. Not Blackberry. Not Iphone. Just plain and basic Nokia handphone.

I thought he would just ignore a small fish like me. But he made efforts to engage in a conversation and would really make you feel relaxed. And important.

Over the two days he was here, on three occassions he mentioned that he found it hard to believe that the last time I was back in KL was during last year's Raya holidays. Well Mr EG, offer me a job in your company at a higher salary then I would go back to KL every other month.

He did not complain when lunch was served late. According to one COO who was in Mr EG's entourage, his boss is really a simple guy. This was further attested by Mr EG's business friend during supper that night.

I guess Mr EG did not let success get into his head and has his feet firmly on the ground.