Sunday, December 31, 2006

Another Year Over

One more day before.... the year 2007.

The year 2006 is ending, but the trauma is not.

To be honest, I have not done any new year resolutions ever in my life before, and I am not planning to do one this coming year. I still remember back in secondary school, when my teacher asked us to write an essay about our New Year resolution.. and I stuck my hand up and embarassingly asked "Teacher, what is resolution?" I guess half of the class cracked back then.

I have nothing against resolutions. Like I have nothing against being nude walking around on the beach. I just feel that there is no need for me to have a list of things I want to accomplish, knowing well that I would jot down stuff that I only wish I could do but in the end ended up achieving nothing. Would that not look bad and unmotivating? There is also the question of lack of discipline and drive in determination. Nevertheless, I admit one of my weaknesses is not being able to look far ahead. Short-sightedness has caused me great deal of problems.

Like everyone else, I have dreams. Beautiful, and wonderful dreams. Much imagination power was invested on living the dream, rather than planning and making the dream happen. I live the day as it is, grasping the moment, seizing whatever opportunity that comes by, but never really plan that much further than that. We cross the bridge when we come to it. On the brighter side, there is no poiny worrying so much when there is nothing much I can do, but in reality, pushing aside worries and procrastinating can very well lead to grim consequences.

I appear to be rather happy looking kind of person, cheerful always, and care-free in all occasions. I am genuinely happy if you caught me laughing, and I am truly sincere when I do smile, though people have mistaken me for faking my smiles all the time. However, I am nothing, but just an ordinary boy. I can get hurt too, I have my worries burdening me wherever I go, and I fall down from time to time. The fact that I appear to be ok and happy all the time has blinded most people around me to notice the sadness and difficulties I am going through. Most of the time when I fall, everyone thought I would be ok, so they kept on walking on and leaving me to get up by myself and catch up with them. I do not mind actually, but what if I was hurt so bad that, I could not get up on my own, and I was terribly left behind that no one even saw me faltering? Would I drown in my own pool of blood and be it too late when people start to realize there was something wrong?

The point is, I do have my issues, I have my problems. Some very troubling ones. Heck, everyone does, and I choose to brush them aside, when I think I do not have to deal with them. There is no point showing the 20 cents face and sulk all day long, while venting out the negative emotions, as if the world will end soon enough. I choose to be happy for everyone around me, and I do every little and simple things that I can to show that I am happy, and share it. No, I am not being pretentious, I am just doing what I think is best, and generally wise. The dissapointing part is, people have taken me lightly. I do not expect much sympathy or attention from anyone, but sometimes, I really need understanding.

In the end, when all the worries and problems that I set aside/procrastinate come back to find me, I could be struck down just like that. And no one seems to care.

The new year is coming, and I can sense that all those traumas will be repeating themselves again. It happens again and again... and I am starting to get tired of being the victim all the time.

This coming year, something has got to change. Something has got to give way.

I will end the trauma, one way or another.


Happy New Year 2007 to everyone !! May you all have a good and blessed year ahead !




Side Note: People will make some noise if I do not get some of my pending entries up soon. There were the bloggers meet with Merv Kwok, meet with Wuching, and also, the coming New Year Eve Countdown celebration. I shall do my best to update those entries soon.

Friday, December 29, 2006

The Living Room

Rewind one week back, when my university friends decided to gather up suddenly and chill out at some where fresh and new. We went to the Living Room, a recently opened place not too far from Bla Bla Bla, but and next to Havana that has not sparked much reputation yet, but thanks to Wei Thien, I knew the place and been there twice already, once in this initial meet, and another on my birthday treat which I have blogged earlier. This place is a must-go-and-see and there is much to be desired than hate when you have actually already been there.





At the entrance, many have missed the prominent sign-board, that oddly hanged not on top of the main ancient wooden doors that seem like they would fall off any minute, but at the ceiling over-head the walk in area. Maybe they were trying too hard to stand out of the crowd stereotyping the usual sign conventions, but to me this method of distinguishing themselves is rather, unattractive. Yes, they are different and unique, but how many people have missed the sign? Thankfully, for a boy who looks up to the sky, I looked up the ceiling and noticed the words. Hahhahaa, pun intended.









The entire place was stretched quite a remarkable length from the front to the backyard, where a pool of water with mini-waterfalls and funky lighting fill the much needed space. I seriously do not know what is up with Kuching folks and the rising trend of having water in café/restaurants, they just do not make sense ! Alright, they look good, but I do not expect to see water every single new café/restaurant I walk into !! Name it, Bing, Tao, Bla Bla Bla, and now the Living Room… some even have fish swimming in it. Perhaps all these were designed for Feng Shui purposes, but too much practice of it defeats the original uniqueness and wonder.






I genuinely think that the atmosphere Living Room produces is somewhat not too far apart from preceding similar themes places. Very, very dim lighting, with candles doing the minimal lighting, comfortable furnishings with many, many soft pillows and cushions, and expensively priced drinks. It is a place to go to if you want to stay long and have a lengthy conversation over the whole evening. There was even a platform, first in Kuching places I think, to mimic the Japanese sitting/dining style, with shoes being left out of the platform. There was certainly comfort in the ambience, and maybe I was just being overly tired and worn out, it made me kinda sleepy. I tell you I could sleep right there and then, if not for my wonderful friends.



From Left to Right....

Me...

Chun Chow
Whom I think you guys have heard and seen too much in this blog.

Sarah
The girl who generously cooks laksa in Perth for us, and she claims herself to be a promiscuous girl. Hmmm.. What a bold claim, but who was I to disagree?

Wei Thien
The guy who first taught me how to play DOTA, and we played much ever since, even more during especially stressed out times in Uni. (I miss bored aussies) He asked me a very, very disturbing question.

WeiThien: So, you have met Kenny Sia?
Robin: Yes, I went to his birthday thingy not too long ago..
WeiThien: Ahh I see… so, is Kenny F A T T E R than you?
Robin: Say…WHAT??!!

I almost chocked to death on my watermelon juice.

Click here to see for yourself. Jesus, I need to lose weight.


Another Photo of us before we left....




If any of you reading this from Kuching have not been to the Living Room, you should give it a try. There was nothing over-ly special about the drinks, and I really think they were overpriced, like other newly opened similar places as well. Nevertheless, you go to these places and you pay for their atmosphere, and I can say I enjoyed myself there.





But seriously, what Wei Thien said earlier….

Cannot sleep can die dot com.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Sweet Birthday

Oh dear, I hope I did not bore anyone to death in my previous unintended super long entry. I only realized it was that long, after I hit the publish button and re-read my own entry, and by then I was too tired to make any more changes. I know I should have broken it up into two separate entries for easier and simpler view. Mistake made, and learned, and shall not be repeated in the future.

If you guys think that the celebration ends there in the previous entry, think again. Christmas may be over, but the following day was Boxing Day. So some may say, what is the big deal with Boxing Day? It is not even a recognized holiday in Malaysia, since “you know who” has stripped the status off the national public holiday list !! Let me tell you something, Boxing Day is an extremely special day for me, it could be very well more special than the main Christmas and even New Year itself.

Boxing day, is actually, my BIRTHDAY.

Screw the gahmen for taking the holiday away from me. Alas, this is another good reason why I should consider moving out and work away from this nation. Boxing Day, my birthday is actually a well celebrated and respected event everywhere, elsewhere, from Malaysia.

How was my birthday celebrated?





With a group of friends from college/university, we had a simple and stomach filling dinner at Hai Pa Wang, one of the famous seafood restaurant situated not too far from the “happening” district, Travillion. The entire dinner was a treat from those generous friends, and we enjoyed the food while shooting endless rockets (verbally attacking each other with half-jokingly sarcasm) and recollecting some old memories. The group was kept small, celebration made simple. It was indeed something I strongly prefer over anything else.

The food that we had..

Fried Noodles in Tomato Sauce



To replace the typical must have birthday dinner tradition: Long life noodles..


SharkfinFish Lip and Crab Meat Soup





Crispy Lemon Chicken





Tofu in Dunno what sauce/style




And Sizzling Stir-fry Deer Meat.





There was another one dish I did not photograph because I was obviously too hungry to think or take any more pictures. I live to eat, in case you have not noticed.

This was my first visit to that restaurant, and I would definitely say that the place is enormous, housing loads and loads of people in two-level indoor and open-space dining area. All the waiters and waitresses seem to be in such a rush that we were never able to complete our request/orders each time we got one of them to our table. The speed of food preparation was indeed slow, and could not catch up with the huge demand of the large crowd. There was one family, who arrived before us, and obviously they have placed their food order and unwillingly waited for quite a while. They gave up waiting and stormed out of the restaurant, leaving their half finished Chinese Tea behind. I believe the restaurant kitchen was seriously shorthanded. Other than that, I think the place was awesome, and the food was rather delicious.

For the friends who made it there and gave me such a wonderful treat, I give you my sincere thanks.

SARAH




WEI THIEN aka DJ AH THIAM




CHUN CHOW




A-BRA-HAM





After dinner, we headed to the Living Room, a new café opened recently, situated next to Havana and not too far from Bla Bla Bla Café. And so the conversation and rocket shooting session continued on from there. This was my second visit to the Living Room, and I shall blog more about the place in the coming entry, so do come back soon.




As usual, birthday is the time of the year for me to reflect and look back on the incidents that happened one year ago since my previous birthday, and of course the fact that my birthday is actually at the end of the year, nearing the New Year celebration made this even more an appropriate time for gathering reminiscence. How far have I traveled? How much have I grown? Who or what have I become? What have I achieved? What failures were there? What are my blessings? Birthday is the time for much spontaneous heavy thinking and all the time, it ended with a long, satisfying smile.

Here is a short list to summarize the events that took place since my last birthday…

I have successfully completed my first level tertiary education, and managed a much sought after Distinction for my Final Year Thesis.

I have taken blogging seriously, and made plenty of new and real friends from Perth, and also in Kuching.

I have found even more friends when I joined Overseas Christian Fellowship (OCF) in WA, whom I have shared much joy and pain with, and learned a great deal about Christianity. I have grown significantly in faith.

It was my first time, to have a friend who baked a cake for me with my name on it, for my farewell.

I went to SEXPO Perth 2006, oh yeah, how could I miss that out? And there was a short-lived email exchange with one of the hot sexy pole dancer.

I fell in and out of love, which I have never mentioned in this blog before, or to anyone else, even those who are close to me. This is still a sensitive issue which shall remain silent, and I know I will recover in time. Don’t worry, I am doing well.

For the first time in many years, I felt that I have real friends. I shall do more to appreciate this blessing.

And the most important part of all, I am no longer left behind.





Thanks so much for all the birthday wishes, smses, handshakes, gifts, and treats. I truly appreciate them all. This time it has been a good one, and I am indeed happy.

And I still accept belated wishes and presents. Better late than never right? So, what are you waiting for?


Monday, December 25, 2006

Warm Christmas Rush

Christmas season has always been the busy time of the year for me, it has been more of a closed family celebration, nothing grand, just keeping it simple, brief and sweet. Hence, the lack of updates recently for this blog. Nevetheless, Christmas is always something that I look forward to, and the festival itself carries many significant meanings in my life. However, this year, little did I expect that my Christmas was a little out of the ordinary, and right at the end of the day, I returned home with nearly zero energy left in my overspent body.

The Christmas day started with church attendance, playing my role in a normal Christian family, this has become a routine every year. I attended St Thomas Cathedral, my home church in Kuching, specifically the 8.15am processional service, where the worship/mass was conducted in a more traditional methods, providing an original spiritual feel of what Christian worship was all about. Grand organ playing old Christmas Themes in Hymn version, brought to life by a group of really superb church choir.. it was indeed the best start of Christmas, guaranteed from an Anglican church that preserves the tradition and true origins of Christianity very, very well. It was a refreshing morning, rejoicing the birth of Christ with hundreds (possibly thousand?) of fellow brothers and sisters in the same faith coming together in worship. Here is a short video of the final number presented by the church choir.




Right after the morning Christmas mass, I left my family to go on my visiting quest for the rest of the day. My dear friend Alan, travelled all the way from his house situated far across the river, just to meet me up at the waterfront, and from there he brought me across the river again, and to his house, the first house I visited on Christmas day. This is the first time I took a sampan ride with a digital camera with me. I used to take sampan across the river during Hari Raya visitings, since I have quite a number of Malay friends staying at kampungs across the river, and transport across the river would be much faster, nearer and more economical in comparison to land travel which would take a much winding and longer route. I can't help but take more and more pictures during this rare sampan (boat) ride !!

Here is my dear friend Alan I have know from high school !!

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The Sampan (boat) ride...

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The view from the other side of the river is nothing short of breathtaking. There was only one thing missing, for such blue sky, it was just plain wrong not to have the blueness being prominently reflected on the clear waters. Ok, the water was not so clear, and the cleanliness can be seriously questioned, but other than that, I believe the view was simply awesome.


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We took a ride on a "van sapu" (illegal/pirate taxis) which took us directly from the jetty to the street of Alan's home. I was rather amazed by the serenity and peace of life away from the city. Though Kuching is no where near the city itself, but the congestion and fast pace life that have taken much of the central business district somehow creates a yearning in me for something slower and more peaceful in nature. Just take a look at the road covered with well planted trees covering the top forming a canopy along it. It was just beautiful. A beauty cannot be found in a city, but somewhere far from it.

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By the time I arrived at Alan's house, I was famished. There was an array of good home-cooked dish being served. Mum's cooking is always the best, and so they say. I ate quite a lot bit and gulp the food down with much popularized fizzy drinks. I gotta tell you, all the celebrations in Malaysia are so alike, for example the type of food being served, that sometimes I could not tell whether it was Chinese New Year, or Christmas, or even Hari Raya !! So much for a short term memory loss...

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After ballooning my stomach with much good food, we relaxed ourselves, and lepak chatted on for quite a while, before we headed back to the jetty and took another sampan ride across the river back to the city. I complimented on Alan's mum's cooking, the braised duck was definitely the best I have ever tasted, and she said the she marinated the duck overnight before she cooked it. Nice family Alan had there, and I feel really honored being there, not to mention having Alan taking all the trouble to meet up with me, though he was busy serving his other guests on Christmas Day itself !!

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On the Sampan trip back to the waterfront, there was a group of "ang mos" on the same boat with us. They looked at me and Alan with a broad smile, and so I smiled back, and then a conversation was struck there and then.

Robin: Merry Christmas !!
Ang Mo: Merry Christmas !! It is a warm one, is it not?

She fanned herself with her hand, and by then I could recognize the heavy Australian accent in the English.

Robin: Where are you people from?
Ang Mo: Perth.
Robin: PPPPEEEERRRRTHHHH ???!!!!

Alright, obviously I was so excited to hear that word, and not meeting anyone much from there since I left the place months ago. They were startled by my response of course...

Ang Mo: Ohh !!! You were from Perth as well???
Robin: (I almsot said YES) Errmm, no no, I am from Kuching, but I was there for years, studying there.

Now how often does that happen? Being able to strike up friendly conversations, and exchange warm smiles with strangers, even on a sampan ride? Certainly something rather odd and rare in Kuching. This incident reminded me of how much I have fallen in love with Perth, and how much I have missed it being away for months now.

A blogger cam-whoring in the bus...

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Our next destination was Libren's house. From the post office bus stop, we took a bus all the way to Taman Desa Wira, far deep into Batukawah (even further than MJC) and from the place we stopped, we walked a significant distance for around 15-20 minutes, under the hot afternoon Christmas sun. Alan and I sweated and panted when we reached the doorstep, and we were greeted with more smiles and friendly people !! Of course food was already waiting inside.. and we cooled ourselves down with even more gassy drinks, and stuff our already stuffed stomach with even more good home cooked food. I have not met Libren for a year, and so there was much catching up to do... we talked and talked and talked, until our mouth went dry, and I requested even more drinks. I was truly happy being with those good friends of mine, and of course, I have missed seeing them so much !!

Alan, Libren and Me !!

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I guess I find it rather amusing, that I would still go on visiting with bus and sampan rides. Most friends and people I know at similar age with me would choose not to do so if they do not have a proper vehicle, like.. ermm, a car. Not many people would want to walk under the hot sun, and the waiting for the never-coming bus would be too much pain. To me, it does not matter how far they stay, and as long as there is a way to reach them, I will reach them, and what more appropriate than this auspicious event of Christmas? One of the magics of Christmas is briging people together. Not having a car does not stop me from embracing the true spirit of Christmas !!

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I returned home late in the afternoon, and reunited with my family. I took a quick shower, changed, and sat down for a while, before we all headed out and joined another close family/relative of ours for a special Christmas dinner. My cousin Adrian and his wife, Serene were back, and I was really looking forward to meeting them !! We went to Satay House at Rubber Road, and so the huge feast began !!

Here are some of the food...

Mixed vegetables..

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Braised Pork Leg

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And of course, what is Satay House famous for, if not their very own...

SATAYS !!!!

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I know Lorinda (click) would squirm when she sees this !!


Here are cousin Adrian and Serene (the rest of the family members/relatives shall be kept anonymous)

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I swore I ate so much that my stomach could almost explode.


On the way back, I received an unexpected call from Mike, making a Christmas night outing plan. Frank (click) came to fetch me, and off we went to Links at Civic Center to meet up with other friends. Driving pass the ampitheatre opposite the Civic Center, we noticed there were so many cars parking inappropriately, and congesting the entire surrounding area. Something was happening at the out-open space of the amphitheatre, and after Frank parked the car, we went off across the road to check out what was taking place there. We arrived early anyway.


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Surpise surprise, there was quite a grand Christmas celebration being put out in the open on Christmas night. Alright, I should blame myself for not reading up on the newspaper that often, but even my parents, and friends who have read the newspaper have never heard of the event taking place there. It was celebrated in such huge scale, and it was indeed a shame not that many people of Kuching have known about it, and if only the event was properly promoted and publicised, I believe attending the event would be something on the list of to go places and things to do on everyone's Christmas plans.



There were stalls selling food and drinks and games...

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There was a stage performace..

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Open space with not so many people..

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Children playground....

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Sunken titanic?

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Such event taking place at such magnificent place, would have been a hit. I just do not know why the events in Kuching are not so accessible and made known to public. Maybe it is because of the "do not care/selfish" traits of the people here that are not so supportive of whatever that happens, unless there are free give-away stuff or extremely worthy bargains. I would like to believe in that, but it has always been an agreeable fact that most of the events that take place, just happened and more than half of us Kuching folks have no idea about them until everything is over. Garrrhhh, sadness indeed !!

And I thought bloggers would know everything in advanced.

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To cap off the night, we had a small chill out session at Links, on top of Civic Center. This time, lights were turned on, illuminating one of the very few tall structures standing out proudly in Kuching.

Here is a picture of everyone... except me, who took the picture...

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Chun Chow, Mike, Daniel, Alvin, Frank.

It was indeed the good way to end such a rushy and hectic Christmas day I have had. I had a glass of beer, with no knowledge forefront that it costed me a gigantic RM10 for just one glass !! What a rip off. No wonder the place was so empty, even on a Christmas night !! Putting aside, I have to give praise for the effort put in setting up the furnishings and interior of the entire place. Links bar is where you should go to if you truly want to relax, enjoying dim, slow paced and cool atmosphere, getting urself isolated from the crowd, and having too much money to spend on drinks.

My Christmas this year had been a looooong, tiring, but good one. Thanks everyone for your well wishes, gifts, smses and smiles. When there is no snow, and no matter how hot the weather in Kuching may be everytime Christmas comes around, the magic of Christmas never fails to happen. And I have my family, friends and God to thank for that !!

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Once again, I wish all of you, a Merry, Merry Christmas !!!


Side note: It is my birthday today, the boxing day, 26th dec, one day after Christmas. All good wishes, and presents are most appreciated.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Season Greetings

Christmas has always been a special time for me, and I always look forward to this once a year celebration. Churches would repeatedly preach the importance of acknowledging and prioritizing Christ’s birth on Christmas in opposition to modern day commercialized Christmas celebrations that took much away if not leaving out everything that was originally from the religion itself. People can interpret, and celebrate Christmas in so many ways. To me, Christmas is indeed a very auspicious event.



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Christmas has been widely commercialized, and in the holiday seasons, various business opportunities bloom just for the occasion, with once in a year money making schemes. Things are pretty much the same in Malaysia, though not so especially evident in Kuching, since this place is predominantly ruled by “you know what religion”. Fake Santa Clauses walking the street scaring the kids away and boringly fake Christmas trees with little attention and care put on the setup: are just not the best signs to bring out the Christmas spirits. People here do not really embrace the celebration. Even after buying something expensive from the gift shop, the cashier would just hand you your wrapped goods, change and receipt with such a sulk that even vinegar would taste sweet for a change.

The overly fanatic and obsessed with religion kind of people take this particular time of the year to “spread the salt and shine the light”. They would disapprove on anything commercial, accusing them of stealing away the true meaning of Christmas and depleting the roots of the religion. They would often remind the people of the “truth” and what Christmas should have been, with no snow, and no Santa and no presents. They go as far as striking full force and tricking converting new Christians on the Christmas day itself. I seriously think that those people should get a whack on their heads. If Christmas is really a seasonal holiday, being able to bring family and friends together, sparking magical moments, rejoicing in happiness and loads of cheers, and oh goodness, the joy of giving and receiving, I believe it is indeed something worth celebrating, considering all the good it brings, for Christians and non-Christians too. What better time of the year if not Christmas to share and love and care for one another?

That night after the Bandkuest Grand finale, I went off and happily maxed out my camera batteries and memory on the Christmas scenes around Kuching.

When there is plenty of golden sparkling light hanging around everywhere…


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When there are leafless trees with weird alien looking balls attached to the branches….


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When there is an orang utan trying to be Santa…


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When there is a snowman glowing in the dark..


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When there is a Blogger cam-whoring in front of a botak Christmas tree…


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You know that… it is CHRISTMAS !!!!

To all of my friends and family, blogger friends, and anyone who reads this.. I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year…

Tis’ a Season to be Jolly…. Falalalala…