Friday, May 30, 2008

Bali Day 3

On day 3 we went to this "Barong and Keris Dance" in Batubulan. This is a story of the battle between the good (Barong) and the evil (Rangda). The play was very abstract and even with the brochure explaining the storyline with us, we had trouble understanding it. The story began with a monkey and a tiger becoming good friends and then three men appeared and their children were killed by the tiger and they got angry and attacked the tiger which was helped by the monkey and one of the men got his nose cut off by the monkey. I have no idea what is the whole point of this beginning act and what it's got to do with the whole story. But hell, all myths have weird beginnings, like Ling Yue said.

Anyway, the real story then began. It was all very confusing with the many characters like Dewa Kunti, Patih (prime minister), Rangda, Sahadewa, God Siwa, Kalika, Barong... Oh yeah, and their servants. So first the servants of Dewi Kunti wanted to meet Patih and the servants of Rangda changed into a witch and entered the servants of Dewi Kunti and Sahadewa came up and Dewi Kunti wanted to sacrifice Sahadewa and a witch entered Dewi Kunti and another witch entered Patih and Sahadewa became immortal... Erm... Let's not talk about the detail. In short, Barong is good guy, Rangda is bad guy, Barong killed Rangda. There!

We also went to place called Kintamani. It was a hill situated opposite of one of the volcanos in Bali - Batur. We had lunch and took a few pictures.

The volcano Batur. It's only sleeping...

There was a lake beside the volcano. And some houses.

The people there were very scary. They would approach you, pester you, beg you, do anything to make you buy their goods. Here is one picture of Ling Yue having no mercy and ignoring the poor souls.

All the entrance to their buildings are like this. Very narrow and as if it's chopped into half.

This is... erm... another temple which is don't remember where. They all look the same to me. From left, Keng, Zi Lin, KC and Lao Ann.

I would highlight that if not because of Lao Ann the great entertainer, we would be bored stiff during the long hours of bus-rides. And also, credits should be given to his co-entertainers such as ChouDe, YoYo, XiaoMing etc etc...

Lao Ann looking like Conan from the Detective Conan comic.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

coincidence

It's amazing how coincidences can happen sometimes. I just discovered that all the Chinese singers that I like have a lot in common.
Jay Chou
Justin
Gary Chaw
Khalil Fong
  1. They're very talented and are song composers. (Of course, I wouldn't like them if they aren't.)
  2. They can sing live almost flawlessly. (Do not doubt Jay's ability in this. He's proven it in his latest world tour.)
  3. They are shy and do not know how to connect with people. (At least that's what I think they are.)
  4. They are known to everyone else as ugly and not physically attractive except to me. (ShinYin despises them for being ugly.)
  5. Three of them like Michael Jackson. (Do a lot of people their age like Michael?)
  6. Three of them like Jet Li. (Now that's coincidence.)
  7. Three of them can speak excellent English.

I discovered these weird coincidences these two days when I had nothing better to do than to watch YouTube videos on Khalil Fong and downloading his songs from sogou. Many nice songs he wrote. I especially like spring breeze, shu li zhen, can we or can we not, love song... Can give him a try if you like R&B.

Bali Day 2

Second day in Bali was supposed to be a free-and-easy. But we had requested the tour guide (forgot to mention, his name was Ri) to arrange a rafting activity for us. It was rather expensive, Rp300,000 (about RM125). We got up early in the morning and had a 1-hour drive to a river where rafting would take place. After getting all dressed up - helmet and life jacket, it was another 10-minute drive to the river upstream. We had to climb down a highly dangerous and steep staircase to the bottom where the river was. By the time we got down there, my legs were so soar I couldn't stand straight without effort. From there we divided into 3 groups, 1 raft for each group and the exciting journey began. My group consisted of Yoyo, Ling Yue, KC, ERic and me. The river was very dangerous and if it weren't for the instructors, we could've drowned. There were moments when our raft nearly tripped over, and when we nearly fell into the water (mind you, there were no safety belts strapping you to the raft or any of that kind), and also moments when we nearly died (yeah, right!). But there were also a lot of water-splashing, shouting... and many so-called "critical" activities among our groups. We bumped into a group of 4 Koreans and unlike us, they were all dry! And of course that didn't last long cause we wouldn't allow that. So a lot of water-splashing and shouting took place again and the Koreans would probably think that we're nuts. Nevertheless, I think they had fun with us.

After climbing another staircase we were almost dead. Lucky we didn't have to walk anymore. We were drove to a place to take bath and have lunch. Considering the wet and dangerous conditions, we couldn't take pictures during the rafting. Very much like any tourist spots, we were sold the pictures that were taken by them for the price of Rp45,000 (RM16).

In the afternoon we went to the beach and saw a lot of un-cool, beginner surfers (some had great bod though, hehe...) and yeah, some topless women. The waves were suitable for beginner surfers and thus they were HUGE. Ling Yue, Julian, Meng Yee and I nearly drowned and washed away by the waves.

At night we roamed the streets of Bali. There were a lot of branded shops along the streets, but the tour guide told us that the stuffs were fake. Good quality but fake, so-called "aspal" - asli tapi palsu. What the hell... But I doubt his words.

In the McDonald's near our hotel I saw this surfing Ronald and I thought, so cute!
It was Ling Yue's birthday so we celebrated in a lounge. Nicely-decorated, friendly waiters, reasonable price and quite happening.
They even had performances onstage and some of the performer came among the tables and gave away gulps of free liquor.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Bali Day 1


When the plane took off I wondered whether I have fear of flying. I grabbed on to the seat handle at both sides and felt the sensation at the exact moment the plane leave the ground. This wasn't my first flying experience, though. My very first was to Langkawi Island with my mom and aunt when I was... maybe 7 or 8. I don't remember having this feeling at that time. In fact, I don't remember the experience at all. It was clear sky all the way to Bali. When I looked out the window, the view was amazingly beautiful. Despite that, it was a 3-hour journey and the seat was very uncomfortable. It was very difficult to sleep because we had to sit very straight and there was limited space to stretch your legs. There were no free meals on plane - you had to pay for it (though the price is considerably reasonable).

After hitting the ground and getting out of the airport, what we saw was a friendly-looking Indonesian holding a cardboard paper with Poh Leng's name written on it. For some reason it just seemed funny to us. After dropping us off at the Harris Hotel in Kuta, which is very near to the airport, we went straight to our first destination - Uluwatu. It was a Hindu temple by a cliff. In order to be able to enter the temple, we had to have a piece of cloth around our waist and if your pants were above knee-length, you had to cover up your legs. And it was funny looking at the guys dressing as if they're wearing long skirts.

The temple was full with monkeys who steal. Yes, steal! Before we even enter the temple the tour guide already warned us about the stealing monkeys. He told us to take off our caps, spectacles, ear rings and other accessories. We did not take his warning seriously and it turned out that the monkeys were really good and talented thieves. So Poh Leng's glasses were stolen and broken, costed him Rp9000 (about RM3) to repair it. And Keng's and Lao Ann's glasses, which he put into his pocket, were nearly stolen. One of the monkeys even managed to rob the strawberry key chain out of Ling Yue's backpack. After these incidents the girls hang on to our purses so tight a grown man would have difficulty trying to grab them.
Despite that our possessions were in threat, the scenery by the cliff was breath-taking.
Dinner was seafood plate which consisted of a whole fish, half a crab, two oysters, two prawns, rice and soup. The taste was unexpectedly good and we found out that the price was considered cheap, around RM40+. In fact, the food and souvenir (including in tourist spots) in Bali is cheap compared to in Malaysia.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Wing's Music Cafe

The first time I went to this Wing's Cafe in Equinne Park, I thought this place was pretty cool for a hangout place. It's like a high-class mamak stall. But after checking out the menu, and discovering that a small glass of coke would cost me RM4.90 (exclusive of tax), I decided to order a plain diamond filtered water, as written in the menu (lol). The Heineken too, I noticed, was double the normal price in any 7-eleven outlets.

There were two guys singing on the small stage (if you can call that a stage). One of them was playing the keyboard and the other guy was playing the guitar. So we went on chatting among ourselves, oblivious to the guy singing and I personally found that the sound system was a bit too loud. Although the atmosphere is open-air but it was like the sounds couldn't escape and I was finding it real hard to catch what my friends were saying and I had to raise my voice.

Suddenly I noticed a girl's voice, singing Heaven Knows by Rick Price. I turned and wondered whether there was a female singer on the stage. Then I discovered, it wasn't a female. It was a male singer. The keyboard player, wearing a cap. His voice was high-pitched, but in a good way, something like Jeff Chang's, and a little like JJ Lin Jun Jie too. The way he sang Heaven Knows and Xin Bu Liao Qing (by Wan Fang), oh my god, can take your breathe away. My friends and I were so impressed by him that we dedicated a few songs and wrote on the dedication paper, specifying him, the keyboard player, to sing them. He sang a few of Jay Chou's songs and some new Chinese songs, all were great!

Ever since that night, we went there a few times again. All on Friday nights. Because that guy (we didn't ask for his name) only sings on Friday nights. There was once Lao Ann requested to sing onstage. He picked a Jay Chou's song, Black Sweater (Hei Se Mao Yi). He's a pretty good singer. We had always envied him and forced him to sing solo during karaokae outings. They had even recorded a video of him singing onstage, with the assistance from the keyboard player. The one on the left playing the keyboard is the cafe singer and Lao Ann is the one on the right.
video
p/s: Courtesy to ShinYin who took the pictures and KokChiang who provided the video.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A Spot of Bother

The newly released novel by Mark Haddon, author of "the curious incident of the dog in the night-time". It is a gift from a friend. I am a huge fan of Haddon's previous novel so I'm pretty much putting up very high hopes for his new release.

The story only started to get interesting when one of the main characters, George began losing his mind, which is towards the middle of the 400+ pages novel. Only then that I had sped up my reading. Haddon had managed to portray vividly the mind of mentally-disturbed people, in both his novels. It is nice to know what crazy people think.

"A Spot of Bother" is a story about the process of an old, retired man going insane, bearing the stress from knowing his wife's affair, his skin cancer, his daughter's marriage to (in his opinion) the wrong man, giving a speech on his daughter's wedding... The story was told in various points of view, all from him and his family.

Very much similar to Haddon's first novel, "A Spot of Bother" has a mentally-disturbed character; and it has a... what I would call, a 'hanging' ending, which doesn't land anywhere. But I would say that this book ends in a rather abrupt manner, though I cannot give any suggestions on what to be added. Overall I think this is a good book, but not one of the my best, highly-recommended. And as usual, one's first novel is always the best.

Cinta

It is indeed, a story about love, all kinds of love. The movie gives me an impression that it's copying "Love, Actually". (Great film. Those of you who love romantic movies, it's not to be missed.) There are five stories and everyone is inter-related in one way or another. Some stories are great and some are just purely stupid. I would say the best (and my favourite) story would be the old man with Azheimer disease. At the beginning of that story, there was a false indication of a possible romantic relationship between the Azheimer old man and Robiah (haha...) which disgusted me a little. But as the story progressed, it developed into a surprising and moving ending. The worst and shall I say, stupid-est story would definitely be the most eligible bachelor cum director/founder of a magazine falling in love with the MPH bookstore salesgirl. Being a rich bachelor and the owner of a big magazine coorporation I suppose he can do whatever he wants, date whoever he wants. But for some mysteriously unknown reason, he behaved like those young idol artistes denying his relationship with the MPH salesgirl when the press found out about that. So that the girl can have a reason to be disappointed and angry with him, and that he'd have a chance of performing a melodramatic scene in the LRT train proposing to her on his bended knees just minutes before she is off to the airport leaving the country forever.

Besides, there are also some irrelevant points in the stories. For instance the guy with some kidney failure disease, couldn't they just perform dialysis treatment instead of having to make his sister donating her kidney for a transplant. And why in the world would his sister died after the transplant? I mean, there would be a greater chance of the kidney failure guy dying (having a foreign organ in his body) than the organ donor dying, wouldn't it.

However there are still some points worth complimenting, such as the realistic, very Malaysian-ised settings, some moving scenes and lines, some originality... I also like that they filmed random people at the beginning and the end of the film. It creates a... warm feeling and it reminds me of what Julia Roberts said in "Notting Hill"... "Some people really do spend their whole lives together." Overall "Cinta" is a fair film for a local malay movie and if your expectations weren't high, you may even find it good.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

macaroni bolognaise

Today is a memorable day because I had cooked a meal for myself for the first time (other than instant noodles, of course). My recipe was macaroni with some tomato mushroom flavoured sauces.

Ingredients:
macaroni
Kimball (or any other brands) spaghetti sauce
onion
garlic
chicken meat

Procedure:
  1. Prepare ingredients by chopping the meat, garlic and onion into small pieces.
  2. Put oil on frying pan.
  3. Wait till oil is hot.
  4. Put garlic in.
  5. Add in onion.
  6. Add in chicken meat.
  7. Add in spaghetti sauce.
  8. Fry till fragrant. Then the sauce is ready to be served.
  9. Put macaroni in boiling water.
  10. Cook for 9 mins. (This depends on the brand. Look for the instruction. It is very precise. 9 mins means 9 mins. No more, no less.)
  11. Pour the sauce on macaroni.
  12. Ready to be served!
*Special thanks to Shin Tien who guided me along with the procedures. :)

the wrong thought

There are some things in life that can't be changed. Once you did a wrong thing, made a wrong move, said the wrong thing, had a wrong thought (and people know about it), you just can't take them back. People will forever remember you for the things (and the thoughts) that you've done (had)...

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Forgotten

I realized how freakishly easy it is, to isolate myself from my friends. Just vanish like that, into thin air. All I have to do, is to change my handphone number, create a new msn account... That's it. I don't even have to have new email addresses or new friendster/facebook accounts cause I can choose to just ignore the messages and the emails from friends. The idea of disappearing scares me. Of course, at the beginning my friends will worry about me, call each other up and check if they had hear any news about/from me. But they can't find me. They don't know where I stay or work (even if they do, it'll be too troublesome to come knock on my door). So in the end, I'll become a person they knew a long time ago. When they have gatherings and one of them happen to mention my name. They'll say, "Ah yes, ShinLoo... I wonder what happens to her. She used to be my close friend." Maybe they'd remember how funny, how weird I was, and how much they enjoyed being with me. But still... I'm just another person who once crossed their paths. And time will make them forget...