Saturday, February 21, 2009

Every step I take away from you...

I'll be two steps closer to your embrace.

Or something like that.

Puteri Gunung Ledang The Musical was supposed to start at 8.30pm. But for me, the drama started at 8.04pm.

As I drove into the grounds of the theatre, I was pleasantly surprised to see the traffic controllers move away and ask me to drive right through what seemed to me to be the VIP path. The cars in front of me had been ushered to take the less privileged route, to park in the boondocks I believe.

I was driving a borrowed car, which was slightly bigger and more imposing compared to the standard car... well, if it came with certain privileges, why not bask in it? It looked like my colleague and I were meant to arrive in style for this musical!

I soon realised that the path led to the lower lobby of the theatre. I saw a couple of doormen waiting, and I thought I'd ask them where in the lower lobby I should park. As I slowed the car to a halt, one of them opened the passenger door to let my colleague out, and the one on my side, wait a minute... was going to open the back door... but why?? No one at the back woi...

Cheh... they thought I was chauffer-driving the car!

10 minutes later, the both of us were making our way to the theatre, having parked in the boondocks.

The play was… nice. A little less rousing than I expected… but I’m glad I caught it just days before it was never to be staged again.

I was intrigued by the Micheal Jackson ‘Thriller’ sequence - when the nenek kebayans were facing off with the 7 warriors in the jungles of Gunung Ledang...

Some of the lines were quite corny… when translated into English. In Malay, they sounded poetically mesmerising…

Talking about lines, during the break, I saw the longest line to the ladies toilet I've ever seen in my life. So the horror stories floating around KL about these toilets were indeed true. And just before the start of the second half, I overheard a guy, coming back into the theatre, asking the lady sitting behind me, "Hi…. How’re you? Hmm... How's the view from here?” Sigh... I pity the guy. Small talk is not easy.

Sultan Mahmud of Melaka was one of the characters in the play. This Sultan Mahmud must have been one helluva guy – every time I see this character portrayed in a play, he’s always gatal.

I too once played the role of Sultan Mahmud in a stage play. Naturally, had to be gatal. The scriptwriters (Naz and Haz) gave me some pretty awesome lines to use to court the Princess:

Princess wanted seven trays of mosquito hearts:

Haha! Seven trays?! Why not eight?
This is going to be easy,
To prove my love to you Princess,
I will keep my servants busy.

Then Princess wanted seven pitchers of maidens’ tears:

Again you’re extremely kind Puteri,
A simple task for me no doubt,
Every maiden in the land will hear of my marriage,
They will soon be crying their eyes out!

Then she went infrastructure, wanting a bridge of gold and a bridge of silver linking Melaka to Gunung Ledang for eternity...:

Hmm… I will have to consult my Bendahara,
This would cause a huge dent in my treasure,
But not as big as the hole in my heart,
Should I fail under pressure!

And Sultan Mahmud’s immortal words before Princess’ final request…:

Render me poor for all I care,
Failure to have you is something I cannot bear!

And then she asks for my young son’s blood, a bowlful of.


I wonder if these lines would work in real life.

Monday, February 16, 2009

I feel I just graduated from...

High School!


I slowly opened my eyes, wondering why in the world I said that.

As the grogginess disappeared, I could make out.... Prof Bart!

Shucks. I was in an Operations Management lecture.


"Redundancy..." I muttered under my breath, still not sure why the heck I was saying that.

"Sorry, didn't get that..."

You're not the only one prof, I don't get it either.

"He said 'redundancy'...." a classmate offered. He, like the other 30-odd people in the class... having no idea what was going on.

A few eyes were transfixed on me, waiting for an explanation.

"Transportation", someone else answered.

"Aha that's right..." Prof Bart finally giving out that super big grin of his, glad that he could understand someone now.

There is an art when one wants to fall asleep in lectures. I had it mastered pretty well, most of the time I looked like I was in deep thought, as opposed to in deep slumber.

There are two dangers though. The first is the one like above. One's own mouth.

The second one? Friends. (How do I know I look like I'm in deep thought while sleeping? Friends with camera phones in lectures. And I thought phones were not allowed in lectures.)

I was in one of my slumbers towards the end of the first half of a Management Information Systems lecture. I got up due to the normal commotion caused by people getting up for the break.

20 minutes later, back in the lecture theatre, I realised that we were given a group assignment cum presentation for the break. As I had nipped off for coffee during the break, in addition to the fact I was not awake in the lecture, I didn't know much at all about this presentation.

"Who's presenting for this group?"

And in one of those moments that will be greatly difficult to forget, my four soon-to-be-ex-friends-for-the-day, unanimously, pointed at me.


They had been plotting the whole time!

I was sucker-punched!

I pride myself in being the master of practical jokes and gotchas. This was difficult, but I managed to weasel my way out. Ask a question about the Greater Manchester Ambulance Service project, and Prof went on about it for about 15 minutes.

Sepandai-pandai tupai melompat, akhirnya jatuh ke tanah. I know.

There are many people out to get me, but until that happens, I will continue with my practical jokes and gotchas :-)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Trip over love, you can get up.

Fall in love and you fall forever.

No idea who said that, but it was obvious these two were on a date.

And I was quite sure they were on their first date.

They were seated on the table next to mine, so I could not help but... notice :-)

The boy was what I would call a wreck.

He was seated, yes, but in a very uncomfortable position. After helping the girl sit, he sat down, but did not pull up his chair to the table quite close enough. In fact, his chair was at an angle to the table... and instead of correcting the position of the chair, he sat crookedly for the rest of the meal, unable to rest properly on the back of the chair.

What was his opening line?

"So... err... why did you choose Madam Kwan's?"


Bro, if the girl chooses the place, just bring her there, don't ask why. Yet.

Anyway, the date thus began.

He had this permanent grin on his face. The whole meal, that smile of his never vanished, and everytime she looked at him, she would see his row of pearly white teeth.

It was there all the time, that even I got irritated.

It did mask one thing though - he was very nervous as I could gather from the constant shaking of his leg.

I really wanted to go up to him and just push his chair in a little - I was sure if he was seated comfortably, things would be much better. For the both of them... and for me. You see, good posture is important for many things - driving, at your desk, sleeping, when you're in a spaceship and when you're on dates.

They got to the end of their meal...

"Would you like a Mentos?"

Huh? I could swear I didn't see that on the menu.

I looked over stealthily, and I saw the girl offering the guy a mentos from the pill bottle-like container. Goodness, where in the world did she hide that?

Now, no matter how disastrous or uneventful a meal may have been, it is always useful to have a good closing. Lets see how our man performs.

He asks for the bill.


The girl offers to pay. He politely says that it's on him, and the girl happily relents.


The bill comes, and he cooly takes out his credit card and gives it to the waitress, acknowledging the waitress with a smile.


It comes back, a cursory glance to ensure everything's in order, signs the chit, and the deed is done.


And we're all happy.


I have a feeling that, despite a few misses here and there, he will get another date on Valentine's Day if he asks her out.

But that grin...

Sunday, February 1, 2009

If you have been there in recent years...

chances are that you will never forget the reality that is Saigon.

How true.

It was quite hot. I had started the day before sunrise, barely slept during the flight, and had battled through heavy traffic to get to the hotel. It was 5pm going on to 6pm, and having just checked-in, our meetings were to start at dinner. This was the blind-spot of times, where there was nothing much that could be done.

I thought I'd take a shower then. It was a very nice looking hotel room, and I knew I'd be very busy for the rest of my time in Vietnam, so I thought now was the time to have a leisurely shower or maybe even a bath.

I got ready for the shower, as one would. The towels in these hotels are usually big and fluffy and comfy, and I made my way to the bathroom to get them.

As I walked the short distance, there was a sweet knock on the door.

"Turn-down sir?!" The voice from the outside said.


Then the door began to open. I realised I hadn't latched the chain!

Shucks. Does 'what' mean 'yes' in Vietnamese???

I turned around, dived across the bed, taking the comforter with me as I flew over, landing on the floor on the other side of the room, with a 'kedabup'.


I peeked my head over the bed, and one of the room-service ladies was standing there, in my room, smiling.

"Turn-down sir?"

What the bloody hell is 'turn-down'?

"No, thank you."

And she left.

That was a close-call.

As I sat there contemplating how disastrous my opening evening in the glorious former Saigon could have been, and debating with myself the concept of privacy in communism, I got a phone call.

"What are you doing?"

"Nothing really."

"Ok, lets do some quick shopping before dinner."

Looks like I was never meant to take this shower.

I got dressed and went down to the lobby, after making sure my door was locked.


Turn-down, I figured out the next evening, is when the hotel prepares the bed for sleep, where they remove the comforter and fold over part of the duvet etc., and sometimes leave some chocolates on the pillow. Good stuff. Usually.