Tuesday, October 9, 2012

WC, Hysteria And Plastic Hats.

Graduated. Back in Malaysia. Not going to say anything about the 1-year absence in this blog. Except if you stumble across this post, well done, you have pretty much nothing else to do too. Which can be good.

I was having my daily dose of intense-remote-control-assault up and down the channels on the Astro satellite TV when I stumble upon a movie that believe will strike, stir and sabotage the heart (and possibly liver) of every KL-ite. It was a movie that would induce WC-defying scale of nausea in those poor homosapiens who spend their precious hours sitting in their cars at rush hour waiting for the driver sitting in the car in front to coax their 2-tonne steel-mobile a few inches forward. It was a movie that would bring one’s internals to experience laughter, sadness, hysteria and 230 different idiomatic expressions all at once. It was none other than THE VIRAL FACTOR, and man, how you feel like eating a pot of fire extinguishers for lunch upon watching the opening where some dude lands in KL International Airport and reaches KLCC in less than 2 minutes. In broad daylight. In smooth traffic. In a city, where you aren’t expected to tolerate congestion, but prayed to embrace it someday. Messy.

To the uninformed, nope, Kuala Lumpur isn’t one of those Bangkok-style traffic jam postcard nightmares, or the super-psycho Marco Polo boat queue of Venice (I’ve been there, and used to believe that boats cannot parallel-park). But all automotive mayhem breaks lose during rush hour, and believe me, you gotta service your in-car Bang & Olufsen more than your out-car, cos in a 2-hour standstill, it’s the only reason you wanna inch forward instead of following the direction of the sun. And into the drain. Smokey.

And the reason behind the curtain of reasons is in fact quite simple: the nation’s workplaces are too clustered and packed-together-intimately close that no single absolute real defined number of lanes can save the road artilleries from congestion diseases. Don’t believe me? Open up Google maps for Malaysia and randomly search for any big-name firms you StumbleUpon (pun!) and its either located in KL city (financial district, shopping malls, random horse-racing turf) or Shah Alam (industrial area, Made In Malaysia, chicken rice) or Putrajaya (government offices, that’s about it) or Klang (port of entry, port of exchange, port of exit) or Singapore (which is not part of Malaysia). And not to mention the gigantic number of smaller towns between these big-4 areas that locates your 40-floor serviced condo-partment and 2-storey garden terrace detached unit and high-end ultra-exclusive guards enclaved in your housing area and you get roughly 2 million sets of combinations involving suits, shoes and plastic hats commuting across town every day. Flashy.

Which is why, you will encounter massive head-banging amount of stationarius n. not-movingnus if you head down town at 8am mayhem-time, but do the same at 6pm dinner time and guard-forbid, you thought you have arrived in a different country. And you can dinner yourself to 7pm, and head back into the jam out of town. Hungry.

Solutions? Personally I think that this is a highly controversial question mark, as many people finds congestion a nuisance (Not that nasal internal one, it’s the external road congestion that’s bothering them). There are those relentless weekly letters to the newspaper and messy-media suggesting how more trains and buses and expensive cars can reduce the use of the personalmobile. Then there’s the pothole gang members blaming poor road conditions and meteor craters for slowing things down. Then the funky speedheads will blame it on speed limits that limits speed. Suggesting a solution will be as tough as cracking a nut full of bolts, strictly because nobody can tell whether the afore-mentioned suggestions by the afore-mentioned addressees actually work, without physically dumping lots of $$$ to test it out. You can say that public transport works in Singapore and London, so it’s a defi-solution, but have you sat in congestion in either places? I have, cos Singapore’s main highway, the CTE jams up at 10pm for some reasons (in your face) and the M1 in London rarely gets a peace-and-quiet at 5pm on weekdays (in your double face). And to add another double to your face, trams in Prague run into traffic with the rest of traffic, and getting stuck in the autobahn in Munich in a twin-turbo BMW 335i at 5pm is kinda something like KL. I can raise you with my stories in Oslo and Rome and Beijing, but what the helm, you get what I mean. The idea is, congestion, like Crocs and Take That, are here stay, and its no-doubt difficult to get around it. Hardly.

Which brings me back to the movie. I had to work especially hard for this review, in order to ignore the level 5000000 coincidental fact that two brothers (played by multi-talented Jay Chou and multi-award-winning Nicholas Tse) can both be so good looking, yet have make ends meet with a gun, and not a microphone. One also has to delve deep into psycho-inducing self-calming nature to watch a criminal (its you, Tse) buy train tickets but jump the ticket barrier shortly after. But the most impossible of all impossibilities is for both hunter and huntee to race from Putrajaya to Bukit Bintang shopping district to KL Sentral train station. All in what seems like 10 mins. With or without traffic congestion. In a Perodua Myvi. Crikey.

Aside from the timing/congestion issues, which were very very hard to ingest and expel, its actually quite an entertaining movie. Yes, for once, a movie gets a “Quite Entertaining” in this dying site. You get a good dose of Blackhawk-Down shooting scenes, excellent Fast-and-Furious cinematography of those guys destroying Pavilion shopping mall to bits in their Land Rovers and Land Cruisers, and impossible-to-film helicopter scenes yet to be found in other movies, in which this movie will become a benchmark for. And ultimately, this movie makes a pretty good Visit Malaysia advertisement for both tourists and filmmakers, showing off how dedicated the nation is in promoting our hottest destinations (and ultimately driving through everything) and the police response and, well, pretty much how big KL citytown is. Ignore the crazy plot, forgive the shot-thrice-but-still-alive acting, and all you get is a filtered-down, well-conceived story of the real KL life. Down to the hawker centre, the train station, the cars, the houses, and the city scape. I’d recommend it if you got 2 hours to spare. Yippy.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Butler's End, Grating Cheese and Expensive Lettuce.

Year 2. Final week.

Another 4 more days before heading back to KL.

And as I had jinxed in the previous post, this post took an eye-popping, cheese-grating, water-boiling, chicken-frying 3 months to arrive, which is much much worse than the previous post to the previous previous post. And I’ve ran out of words to forward my apologies, but don’t say didn’t try: an apologetic cross hand handshake if you need some.

So, where has all the toothpaste been flowing in the past 3 months? Well, there was an Easter break in April in which I spent most of the days trying to analyse my ceiling and the paint on the wall. I’d also pretty much managed to understand why 4 is the most ideal number of legs a bed should have (mine has 5 though, the more the merrier). More importantly, I noticed somehow that the lettuce no longer costs 88p; dis-deflationary inflation, fancy tax, depleting dinosaur fossil fuel and the apparent fact that we cannot eat the infinite supply of grass by the side of the road ultimately meant that prices have to double eventually.

Easter swiftly passed like a trolley loaded with squirrels, and in comes the exam season sending the “Study! Study! Study!” frenzy crashing through every door in Leamington, Earlsdon, Cannon Park, Canley, Liberty Park, Toll Bar End, Binley, Butler’s End (no, I did not make the last one up) and every single conceivable nook and cranny in UK. And so, like a cherished Bugatti Veyron Louis Vuitton Edition production number 001 that’s parked up in the uncle of all basements and hardly see light and hardly hear chickens, we all nicely parked our limited edition bossoms on benches, cushions, sofas, hardwood, shit-lined grass and pavement trying to understand transmission mechanisms and Harrod-Domar models and Shepard’s Lemme. During the exam period, Facebook had little else going on besides friends reporting on the crowd size in the library. And the occasional FB hijacker posting shameless posts like “I am cute” and gender-bending ones like “I like pines” (note: I switched the vowels so that this post don’t come out first in search engines when people search for those kinda stuff).

And what’s happening right now? I’m still moving things out of the Pentagon into, guess what, PENTAGON 2.0 . nope, I’m not kidding, as I mentioned in the last post, I’m moving few doors down the road and got the same exact room. Yes, the one facing the much dreaded “why can’t you extend the kitchen all the way to the property boundary” garden and railway track. Well, supposedly, I was to get the room twice the size of the pentagon, but then, like how you catch a duck and turn it into London’s best Chinese dish, things changed, and hence the decision. The Pentagon 2.0 isnt much different from its predecessor in terms of shape, but as for the furnishings, its galaxies apart. There’s a few hitches in the 2.0, as it lacked wall mounted shelves, which meant that I gotta figure out where to mount my fluorescent tube lights. The table is also much smaller, which also means a smaller footprint, which means that I don’t think the printer will fit underneath. But on the bright, bright side, its got a queen-sized double bed. Overall, its like parking a Aston Martin V8 in the room; the car will fit, but I’ve only got an ant-sized amount of space to move. And, still considering whether to rename the new room, as there’s plenty of walls to choose from.

That aside, lets do a bit of news. Well, its Wimbledon season here in UK, and while people go to great lengths to try to watch the event live in London, all I did was go to my new house, flick of a button and watcha!! Live on TV. Enthusiasts might compare it to, say, watching the philharmonic orchestra live instead of having it pinch through the miserable 10 watts speaker on your Samsung, but then again, centre court tickets are like a billiardsesamestreet pounds, while pressing a button only costs me 2 seconds. Plus, I can cook noodles and grill chicken and chop expensive lettuce and still cheer for Sharapova when she gains a point.

Also, the 2012 London Olympics is starting to hype up here. All tickets are apparently sold out, which came as a small little disappointment to my gang of Hong Kong friends who intended to stay for the games and cram-lodge at my place. Good luck trying to get them on Ebay. Even with that, I’m still waiting for official Olympics merchandises to flood the sports stores.

On another note, news did report that the country can anticipate a mammoth-scale teacher’s union strike which would affect 5000 schools. The reason behind the strike is textbook-standard: low pay, long hours, pension issues etc. well, looks like its Easter break all over again for the kids.

To end this post, on a more thoughtfully thoughtful note, I occasionally ponder about where this blog is heading to. No, its not about the readership, more of like what’s the underlying idea behind Under Where. I’ve read a couple of successful blogs in the past, and they all share something in common: they have a very concise topic of discussion and target very specific readers. There’s blogs on how to modify your Skyline R34, fancy chess moves, sensual movies, illegal hawker food, latest electronic gadgets you don’t need, crazy shoes you don’t like, houses you cant afford, places you can never reach (I mean the space exploration jargons), every single conceivable things you can possibly lust and desire. Under Where, on the other hand is switching back and forth between living in the UK, to buying headsets that go missing, to analysing sounds that ducks make in the morning, to news that become outdated in the matter of breaths, to pure unadulterated random cack nonsense. Any comments on this perhaps?

That’s all for now. Apologies for the low quality language, its obvious I haven been doing this often enough. Will try to update more often since it’s the holidays, though no guarantee when will the next post arrive. Zing.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

How To Choose a Roof.

End of Term 2. Holidays.

Time certainly flies, and it does so at Mach 3, I presume, given that the post right below is already dated nearly 2 months ago. Well, some things just cannot be said out loud, such as the last line of the previous post: it’s almost exactly, uncannily, coincidentally, humorously close to 2 months. Scary.

Anyways, a quick update on the past 2 months then. As usual, nothing much that’s worth a mention, although it’s safe to say that term 2 is a term filled with, erm, social events. WEEKLY social events, to be precise. There were all sorts of gatherings, from society dinners to house gatherings. Kinda cool term.

It’s also a term filled with work though. Just like the end of term 1, a mad rush to complete 2 tests and a mega essay in a span of 1 week nicely replicated itself just before this holiday too. Who says history doesn’t repeat itself.

Anyways, once again, it’s the HOUSE-HUNTING season. Yep, time for the first-years to look for their own shelter, and for second-years, to decide on a roof made and maintained by strangers or the Uni. Just like, erm, I dunno, Pokémon season(?), you know the season is here when people starts asking you where you gonna land your behind next year. I’ve got mine already. How about you? :)

For those unfamiliar with house-hunting season (yeah, I’m talking to you, you guys who’s roof belong to your parents), I’ll just jingle you through the process. Before looking for a house, of course you have to have your heads counted, you know, confirm how many are going to live in. Well, there’s no tip for choosing the right housemate – it’s not like buying a car or choosing a hat, mind you – though it would be nice to live with someone you know.

Once that’s done, just crash into housing websites or the nearest housing agencies, tell them what you are (5 of us), what you want (a roof, some walls, preferably stones), where you want it (over there) . They’ll come back to you with some pictures and lots of words, but what you really want is to see the houses themselves. Go check it out, make friends with the current tenants, ask (quietly) which room is the best and which is junk, those sorts of things. Some top tippety-tip: count the bathrooms, so that you guys don’t end up collecting queue numbers to take a dump. Anything more than 4 heads and some hair, its best to opt for cribs with 2 bathrooms. Also scan the kitchen and roughly visualise it at peak hour, maximum capacity, everyone’s trying to roast duck, bake cake, squeeze orange and chop banana all at the same time. If your visual turns blue screen, it means that the kitchen might just be a smidge too small for all of you.

Other relatively-unimportantly important things to look out while searching for a cave is to spot the nearest bus stop: you wouldn’t want to take a cab to the bus stop every morning, it’s annoying. And also check if the bus goes directly to uni: if you have to transit, might as well take a cab.

If all’s well, then you’re good to sign the contract and start paying some cash!

Since housing is mentioned, I should update you that THE PENTAGON is doing well. I’ve been doing some spring cleaning in it, and the room now looks, erm, just like it always does.

Some news, and it’s not doing any good in Japan. The tsunami has left a really huge footprint behind, and I can only be thankful that my 2 Japanese friends are doing okay. There’s a donation drive around uni these days, and lets lend these volunteers our support for their continuous effort.

To end this, I was actually planning to do a product review for my next post. But then again, its a long-overdue plan, and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ35 has been succeeded by the FZ45 recently; the Sony Ericsson C902 is about a year old now; and the iPod Shuffle is stolen, together with a bunch of other things. Got to figure out something else eventually.

So, a relatively short post for now. Til then, bing.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mountains, Ketchup and Confusion.

Week 2. Term 2.

The past 2 weeks didn’t go too well. It was mountain after mountain after mountains of work. Notice the plural I used at the last mountain to hint that more mountains will come after the current ones.

And that’s about the only things I’d like to say about the 2 weeks. Let’s keep it this way; it would be much more pleasant for everyone.

So, back to this blog. Hello, and long timed none seen. And I believe that anyone of intelligent you with half a peanut and some ketchup will notice changes that takes place in this blog once every 2 months. But, if you are nice, you can look at it that it takes me 2 of your power-ranging, money-changing, penny-farthing months to produce enough materials to write this piece of masterfeast out. However, you can be kanye west and say that I’m late for the post again. Your choice, my guess.

Anyway, let’s get the ball smoking and get to today’s topic: Confusion. I’m pretty sure everyone goes through phases of anxiety and confusion. No, not the one when you’re 12 years old. Or maybe 6. Something like that. I’m talking about now, you know, times when the weather forecast tells you that it will be happy and sunny and funny all day, but once you step out, you start looking like some hitchhiker, all drenched and looking miserable as if the whole world owes you something. But can’t blame the forecast though, just like how you can’t blame your ex. Things change over time fast. Really fast. And I’m fast to clarify that the ex thing is just a joke.

But anyway, confusion is a big thing. Even I’m confused too. Not with my own writings, but I mean come on, those guys who used to be introverts, pineapple and disgusting in the horoscope is now bright, orange and Jack Sparrow. Or maybe not.

But regardless, I’m pretty sure the weather is just as confused as I am right now. It’s apparently winter now but the only wintery about this winter is the look on us students face: white, dusty and filled with ink smeared from the previous test. With the occasional rain turning the dust into dirt. And camouflage us nicely with the carpets on 2nd floor. It’s almost as if I’m lying to people every time someone asks me how I am enjoying winter and I reply, “err, broken cheese.”

So what causes confusion? Boredom, for instance. People ask me what’s surfing in my past 2 weeks in uni and I tell them, “nothing much”. Nothing much, honestly. It’s so terribly "nothing much" that while my friend and I were watching some Englishmen building the new science block next door, we asked each other if concrete takes more time to set here or in Asia, and taking into account the temperature, humidity, air pressure, pregnancy period, weight of donkeys........we just wonked it and got into class. Confused.

Sometimes, simple things that are overly simple also confuse us. Apparently the VAT tax has risen again. I can’t confirm that with other goods, but on the bus, single journeys now costs £1.60, while a day pass will demand £3.40 from you. But as you would see, once confusion sets in, an analysis between me and my housemate show that: it would be cheaper to take a single journey if you take a single journey. If you take 2 journeys, it would be cheaper to take 2 single journeys. But if you take 3 journeys, it would not be worth to take 3 single journeys because you are taking 2 single journeys and 1 single journey. 4 journeys will not be worth 4 single journeys, as it would be worth 2 double single journeys, which meant that the day pass is worth 4 single journeys plus 2 double single journeys. We also came up with an equation, that if p is a single journey, and q is a double journey, then p+q=piu. Confused.

In that case, what is the cure for confusion? Well, the only way not to be confused is to be not to be confused. What does this confusing statement means? Leave a comment J

Will stop here, and posting some photos for your own consumption while waiting for the next post to come. Hope it wouldn’t take another 2 months. Zing.

Big Ben. Really Big.

Outside of Harrod's.


RM30++ Yong Chow Fried Rice. After conversion, that is.....

p.s. photos taken with the Sony Cybershot, mixed results. Still working on how to upload picture bigger than 5MB from my proper camera. Help somebody?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

My House, My PENTAGON?

End of week 5.

How is it hanging out there? Hope it’s nothing like a cough and things start smelling like bacon. The weather is like the trains on the railway track these days: clouds come, then go, then the next one cometh. And before you know it, you’re soaked.

It was a really busy busy week. Had an assignment, an ongoing assignment, an incoming assignment, and an essay for countdown to New Year. And since the sun set at around 4pm these days, it brings back the memories of working overtime back at home whenever I walk out into the dark in campus. Minus the driving. And the quick stops for supper at the coffee shops.

As mentioned in the previous, yeah, I’ve moved out of campus, and into a proper British housing area, but with lots of students. Think of it as the area surrounding UTAR: like 21 out of 10 houses are rented out to kids that flew ten thousand miles from home, with a couple of angry neighbours slipped in between.

So let me run you through the property first. Gotta 5 rooms; 3 toilets (2 dump, 1 drizzle, all mutually exclusive in their respective cubicles); a kitchen big enough for a Kelisa; a living room that can hold a couple of sharks and enough seating for our, err, jingles, all 5 jingles; stairs steeper than a chicken’s bottom; and a big, utterly useless plot of land known to man as the garden that sits as a constant reminder of why the landlord just didn’t extend the house all the way to the boundaries so that the toilet rolls wouldn’t disintegrate when they roll down the perpendicularly built staircase. But even with all these, one fact remains: that it is indeed a very nice house. Its gotta new cooking hood; washing machine that dries and a drier that washes; great IKEA sofas for 5 gigantic jingles; nice carpets; and the sheer number of locks on the front door that its right up there with Mr Bean’s, and is probably the best display unit on the variety of things you can possibly put up onto a door.

Let’s move on to the rooms then. The house layout is comparable to what you find at home; double storey terrace houses, with 1 room downstairs and the rest vice versa. The ground floor room is the biggest, and though unlikely to be able park a truck in there, it could maybe hold 3 years worth of old newspapers. Or roughly the size of a Hyundai Sonata 2.0. Full spec, not less.

Upstairs, the size of the rooms now can be properly illustrated on a bell-shaped curve. Except that it’s the bell you install onto your bike. Upstairs is where the extreme lies, very much like how a cute little roll of toilet paper sits next to the humungous kitchen wipes. There are 2 proper, rectangular-shaped rooms, both facing the main road, and both occupied by equally rectangular people, I meant bed frames. Ones got a window the size of a, err, small window; the other has got bar stools and a really high table to accommodate the heater underneath. No, it’s not the stools you make when you eat 15 burgers at the nearby pub, ‘tis those high chairs that are upright and designed to create epic proportions of discomfort to your jingles.

Then, on the other spectrum of kee-eee-ring bell, there’s the ‘reasonably sized’ room that will probably park a Smart, provided that the car comes with a sunroof for the driver to escape. But then again, the car will be blocking the room door, so he’ll still have to figure out a way to leave through the ceiling. Or just come in something else. An ironing board, perhaps. Anyway, swaying out of topic, an apologetic salute if you need some. So yeah, it’s a cosy room, almost squarish in size, but has a window that you can hang 3 weeks’ worth of laundry to dry. And still get light into the room. Big.

Last, but not least (in terms of size, of course) is my room. Positioned right in the middle of the bell graph, where metal hits a bigger piece of metal, it betters the rest of the rooms as my friend discovered recently; it’s got more walls than any other parts of the house. 10 to be precise, 5 if you start crying. Part of the chimney goes through my room, hence the few extra walls. And THE PENTAGON sits right at the corner of the upper floor, which is why I can only open the main door and the wardrobe one at a time. Otherwise, it would look like something out of Narnia, and people would start entering my room and walking into my socks. The window is also probably one of the largest, but with such a view out of it, I’d rather move the wardrobe there. My room faces the ultimate representation of extreme garden maintenance, and the railway track, so there’s nothing to surprise me every day, unlike the taekwondo wushu I-P-MAN ducks last year. But at least it’s quiet, and I’m pretty delighted about like. Unlike the heater that is installed right next to my bed that if I max it out at night, I’ll wake up looking like your typical English breakfast; ham&ham.

So there you have it, short post with whimsy ideas and queasy language. Anymore apologies you need, you’d have to YouTube it yourself. This is it, my house, my crib, my grotto, whatever you want to call it. I think I’d call it THE PENTAGON. Or maybe not.


My window. See, I'm not lying.....


Main Entrance

Sofa, baby!!

p.s. photos turned out weird on the blog, blame the 3-megapixel limit I'd used so that it would load on blogger. Otherwise, it'd be 12, and no photos will get uploaded.