Monday, February 26, 2007

Probably Not A Cultural Desert...

Listening to: Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out Of This Country


I was thinking of writing about my trip to see M Ward in San Francisco last Feb 3rd. But then, several things have been going on recently, that I think I oughta to write first...

So Matt... you'll just hafta wait... sorry

One of my friends just left Penang for Singapore... after six years on The Island she needed a different environment and a new change in her life. Penang was becoming too stagnant for her after six years... especially in the A&E field. To me, Singapore may be cooler when it comes to the arts, but when it comes to political stuff or things that encourages the masses to start thinking critically... it remains rather sedated, forcefully.

I've lived here for just over a year, and I had always found it to be snail paced and underdeveloped when it came to public transportation and entertainment, given its large population. Last Saturday, I had a chat with a painter/art-gallery manager after joget-ing with a 50-something Nyonya in a slinky kebaya at some exhibition of Penang Chinese cultures near Armenian & Chulia Street. His frank opinion was... that the Penang crowd aren't very appreciative of art, despite living in among the most historical and culturally richest cities in Malaysia. Given the large throngs of locals at the event, I could not agree totally... but I felt some sense in what he said. He wasn't the first person I had met in Penang to bitch about the scene... or lack thereof...

For an island-city of 1.5 million people, there's surprisingly little demand for entertainment aside from commercialized pop music (English, Chinese, and Malay), film, and theatre. GSC-Gurney is nearly empty when its screening non-Hollywood/Hongkongwood/Bollywood foreign movies and indie local flicks. And according to a friend, USM-Penang once had a film club that did screenings. But it died out due to a lack of interest amongst the students. An on-campus film club going bust because no students were interested?! Now that's a shock.

PS: We have our own little society (started last November) near Weld Quay that shows alternative foreign films via projector onto a white wall. If you're interested, email me.

I wonder sometimes if KL acts like this giant vacuum cleaner... sucking in all the A&E people from all over Malaysia (including Penang) into it? Kuala Lumpur offers better opportunities, a better appreciative crowd, and a bigger pool of fellow filmmakers, artists, and musicians that you can draw support and influence from.

Or maybe the people are there, but they're all scattered among the island with no idea of finding folks with similar interests?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Finally, A Putera UMNO Idea I Support...

Listening to: Deathmole - Pavement Were A Bunch Of Lazy Wankers [mp3]


Call the Royal Malaysian Airforce and ask if they've picked up any flying cows on radar... Because Putera UMNO has finally proved itself potentially useful. After the past few years of keris-waving, race-baiting, threats, and fascist rethoric they've been spewing onto the Malaysian political landscape, they've finally come up with a plan that would potentially benefit all law-abiding Malaysians.

Mat Rempit to jump at North Pole

20 Feb 2007

KUALA LUMPUR: Ten Putera Umno members, mostly Mat Rempit, will attempt a free fall jump from an aircraft over the North Pole in April.

Led by its chief, Datuk Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim, the team will also be accompanied by TV3 personality Hazran Mohammed and three skydiving instructors.

The participants, aged between 18 and 25, were selected from 100 youth tested all over the country.

Malaysia is the only Asian country, along with New Zealand, United States and United Kingdom, to participate in the jump on April 18.

The event is also being held in conjunction with the 50th Merdeka celebration this year.

Can you believe how fucking cool this is?! Instead of racing to death on the street and almost getting mangled in my Oldsmobile's wheel-well, you can now parachute from a transport plane at several thousand feet over inhospitable terrain perpetually covered by snow and ice, where the nearest form of civilization is several hundred miles away in a form of a research station or Inuit settlement. Did I mention the Government is paying for all this?

I reccomend that Putera UMNO expand this expedition to send more Mat Rempit's to the North Pole. Heck, the Government should step in and make this mandatory for all Mat Rempits. Gerakan and MCA can also join by sending large numbers of Ah Bengs and Ah Longs captured by Michael Chong. Hishamuddin should also go along as a squad leader to lead by example...

All you Greenpeace/WWF-types bitching about "damage to the Artic environment" shouldn't worry. The harsh environment and hostile fauna (like polar bears) should work itself and remove all traces of the expedition members' presence in a short period of time.

If you don't support this expedition, then you are not patroitik. That goes for you too, Uncle Lim!

SMS Your Views

> Dr Mahathir's nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

Cngrats 2 DrM 4 dis. Hope u get it. u make Malaysia proud and proud for all malaysian.

If liek this, then oso Saddam can get? Maybe shud nominate Bush also, since Dr M can.

> Mat Rempit menace

Now Putra umno want use mat rempit as police? wat next, send mat rempit to north pole?

> Air Asia vs. MAS

Price war is good for all Malaysian. Low price means i can go Kuching-KL back very cheap. Now only RM59.99

Air Asia service sux. Cannot change flight easily. Very dificult. 44 min before flight check in mean you cannot get on. Screw u Tony!

I take the train anyways. Like to see the countryside. Not applicable 2 me.

> Vijay_d_deejay6485 is gay

Vijay is a faget. After sk00l im gonna bantai you muthafukka. u wach out!

> Fake bomohs

Every day got people trick by fake bomoh n monk. MCA pls do sumting!

> Potholed roads

Chulia Street in penang very bumpy. MPPP pls do something

Gelugor roads very bumpy. MPPP please do something

Got big potholes in downtown KL. what is DBKL doing?! Pls do something

No more clean underwear, help. Goverment pls do something

> SMS your views expensive

Y sms is RM2.99 per msg?! cheating! Should report to CAP!!

> Standard of English declining

Evry day English gettng bad 2 worse in country. ppls use slang. Govermen pls do something!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Back In Penang.... Back To Work

Listening to: Cat Power - You Are Free


You come to work and find the parking lots to be unusually vacant. The office space is empty and quiet... nobody's around, except for the occasional colleague who pops into your cubicle asking how's your New Year been. He'll be leaving for home after lunch...

Looking outside, you see the Bkt. Jambul expressway to be empty... perfect for a Mat Rempit vs. Ah Beng racing duel. Airport taxi driver said Georgetown, Ayer Itam, and Tanjong Bungah was congested, however.

You get some work done, but since most of your colleagues are on leave and they have the parts, it doesn't go as far for the day as you wanted.

You're done for the evening. Already the Oldsmobile is the only car standing in the middle of the lot. Usually at 7 its still half-full.

The day after Chinese New Year...

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Predictions For The Year Of The Oink

Listening to: Interpol - Turn On The Bright Lights


Selamat Sejahtera saya ucapkan kepada para-para hadirin sekalian, Latuk-Latuk, dan Tan Sili yang hadir pada majlis yang amat mulia sekali...

Chinese New Year is a time for celebration and reflection for Chinese folks the world over. To the Malaysian Chinese, it is no exception... where come tommorow, we will gather with our relatives for dinner and visit each other in this yearly ritual, this time to welcome in the year of the pig. Ang pows will be given or received, orange cordial will be poured, yee sang will be tossed, fireworks will be lit before the cops come, and questions will be thrown on why you aren't married yet at the age of 23.

To answer that last question, show them this pic of your galpal, who models for Chromebags...

Hopefully that'll keep them quiet for awhile...

Anyways, the Year Of The Fire Pig is gonna be a turbulent one, according to experts in today's papers. Reknowned Feng Shui Master Lillian Too has predicted natural disasters around the world. Wonderful. For a second opinion, I visited Master B, my hometown's most reliable feng-shui and Shi-Fengshou expert. Master B's predictions have always come true. Just ask Dato. Ng, who after ten years of building his house to face Klang's Dragon Tiger Unicorn Gate now has a big McMansion with Grecian pillars, lots of glass and a curly curly Venetian-style gate. Perfect for Malaysia's humid tropical weather. Dato. Ng also has 3 Merciless Benz's, and two mistresses.

Master B's prediction for the Fire Pig year was dire. In addition to natural disasters, Kuala Lumpur will be attacked by a giant Fire Pig with laser eyes. Our only salvation is to combine the powers of Earth, Fire, Wind, Water, and Heart to summon Captain Planet.
But for the individual, our fortunes will depend on which animal-year you were born. Read carefully my dear readers, and learn what to do and what to avoid for good fortune and prosperity. For these are the wise words and visions of Master B...

Rat - It will be a good time for you to open your new biotech company. Even though you have no clue on which biotechnological sector to focus upon, just do it anyway. After all, EVERYONE is talking about biotech nowadays. Face your chair in the Southeast Direction 35'25'' to get good Fart from the Three Big Elephants. Buy 9999 for your license plates to protect you from a fiery death in your Kancil when chasing the Heavenly Shell Petrol Tanker.

Ox - Never eat anything bigger than your own head. Summon more ziggurats. All their base will belong to you if you start the battle with artillery fire and advance your tanks and troops under a creeping barrage. Your coathanger factory will see big returns provided you align your management desk facing the water dispenser and move your meeting room to center of the warehouse, next to the forklifts.

Tiger - Big money coming your way! Never forget to reply to the niece of the late General Alusun Abacha of Nigeria and follow his every order. If you do, you will be rewarded with part of the millions he's planning to smuggle out of Lagos. Avoid sleeping in a southerly direction or the monsters under the bed will eat you.

Rabbit - Do not silflay on days when the moon's full, or the Four Black Knights of Chao will spear you for their dinner. Consider moving to Watership Down if asked.

Dragon - Its a good time to get married and have children if you are between 19 to 24, have M$22,456.53 in credit card debt, living in Kuala Lumpur, and still paying off the loan to your pre-owned Kelisa. And the rent's due. Remember, your aunties are nagging you that you're getting older and they're not paying for your expenses to raise your children anyways... right? Eastern directions are always good during the first half of the Chinese year, especially if it faces the goat farm.

Cat - What cat? There's no damn cat! Get lost Stimpy!

Snake - You may be abducted by aliens on the 3rd day of the Lawyer.. I mean Lunar Snake month and experience an odd sensation as they install a satellite dish up your butt. Turning to your side, you may see a rotund, foul-mouthed, fat, cartoon character undergoing the same fate. You will awaken on the floor of a Bukit Bintang disco playing shitty trance music and come to your senses as your friends ask you're alright through the haze of XO and feng-tau pills.

Horse - Avoid travel in any Northwest direction, especially towards Kuala Pilah. Insist on travel in any direction except Northwest. Oh, that means walking too.

Sheep - Welcome the God Of Happiness on the Eight Day of the Chinese New Year. On the first day, get a pear tree and a partridge. Second day... two turtledoves. Third day... whoops, sorry. Thats for Christmas only! Anyway, avoid all metallic objects. Even cars. So you're gonna have to walk to work, but look at the bright side... you're getting exercise man!

Monkey - When the loan sharks/Ah Long's come to collect their cash, it is wise to put on a beard and a pair of glasses and talk in a deep German accent. "Miester Mah Jung? Orh nein! I haaven't seen 'im art ahl". Offer them Weiner Schnitzel and Becks beer and that should convince them your last name's really Schmitt. August will be an auspicious month to visit those skanky hookers near Petaling Street.

Rooster - You will be forced to defend your spherical space station against the forces of idiocy. You will fail and crash on a planet that looks like rural Turkey. You will be subjected to the stupidest antics ever and can't wait till the year is over. Patience, for millions of Chinese are in the same situation as you. To minimize your pain, hang crystals in the Eastern direction of the room facing the Twin Peaks of David Lynch.

Dog - Fire dogs should be a bit wary this year. Fire dogs are normally Dalmatians. So you should always be on top of your company fire engine as it whizzes down urban KL to rescue a damsel in distress before the God Of Fire consumes her. Unexpected success should be expected. You may also be abducted by UFOs and awaken with an 80-ft satellite dish sticking out from your butt.

Pig - Well, it IS your year. Spend your money on cheap heroin, shitty beer and hookers, as its time to celebrate the year of the pig amidst the worsening global situation. Also, to make your record sell jillions, fake your death. After all, most musicians make it big after they get "killed". Just ask 2Pac who is now lounging beside Kurt Cobain on some remote uncharted Polynesian island owned by the Music Industry.

* * * * * *

Anyway, Gong Xi Fatt Chai to you all! Stay sharp and Maholo!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Meanwhile, People Are Dying In Africa...

Listening to: Nothing


Perhaps they're right... the world is going to hell.

Anyone remembered the Berita HAIRAN broadsheet where Siti Nurhaliza's wedding announcement got frontpage while the earthquake in Indonesia that claimed over 600 lives got pushed to the bottom right?

Monday, February 12, 2007

Time To Say Goodbye To Yankeeland

Listening to: The Thermals - More Parts Per Million


Mission accomplished, my job's done in San Jose and I'm on the plane back to Bolehland. A 3 hr. layover in Hong Kong, where the airport is space age, and the duty free electronics are more expensive than what you find at Best Buy. At least I got 7 hrs. sleep on the plane. Those earplugs I pinched from the machine shop sure came in handy...

My project & work schedule there didn't give me much time to update this site as much as I wanted, especially about the show's with M.Ward & Neko Case. But I'll do that later.

Right now, I gotta catch my connecting flight to Penang. Stay sharp and Maholo.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

I'll Be At "The Blank Club" Tommorow...

Listening to: The Thermals - More Parts Per Million (Yea, download their songs here...)


So if any of you are in San Jose and is reading this (O RLY?), you'll be seeing me there. Don't worry... the goths there won't hurt ya... unless you yell out "BAHAUS SUCKS!"

I heard Dr.M will be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Funniest thing I've heard this week.

Monday, February 05, 2007


Listening to: Catania vs. Palermo; 1:1


Didn’t do anything but sit back and relax on a lazy and cloudy Sunday. There was a motorcycle show downtown, but I had burned my weekend budget on beer, a concert ticket, second-hand clothes, Berkeley-ian souvenirs, and CDs. The admission was U$15, and I wasn’t really much into chopper and cruiser bikes, and it would be (according to a US colleague I talked to last Thursday), just motorbikes. No classic cars.

Parking is hell at any small to large US city if you’re unfamiliar to the place. And in college towns like Berkeley – it becomes worse. You’ll have students zooming around on bicycles, mopeds, scooters, and skateboards. And a big number of them will do all sorts of stupid shit like run through red-lights, go the wrong way, cycle on sidewalks, and lock their bikes on the library stair railings. I know, cause I was once one of them…

So I parked my car in the Fremont Station and caught the BART to downtown Berkeley.

The place is just like Madison, where I used to study. Its your typical college town. State Street’s bigger sister would be Telegraph Avenue here. As I said later to someone… if Madison and Berkeley were similar types of beers, Berkeley would be the one with more alcohol…

I’d probably fit in nicely in Berkeley, despite the high number of arch-leftists amongst the population. Yep, there’s scores of folks here who still think governments worldwide should convert to the communist model, even though China & Vietnam are getting out of that phase (Vietnam as you know, recently gave a hero’s welcome to the “evil” American capitalist Bill Gates when he visited. Gates did what McNamara couldn’t).

Speaking of ultra-leftism, there was a shop selling Che Guevara, Mao, and hammer n’sickle shirts for U$18+tax. Hm, I should’ve worn my “Fuck The Revolution” tshirt from Komtar as a counter-statement.

Me too...

Obligatory shot of the gate...

So I spent the next few hours of remaining daylight walking up & down Telegraph Ave., buying clothes (including a nice 2ndhand Elliot Smith shirt), shot glasses as souveniers for me and my colleagues & pals, and until I stopped at audiophiles heaven… where music listeners who’ve been good go to when they die:

Score! What I have been looking for!

Next was to checkout Rasputin’s and compare their selection. But then I got sidetracked when I met this pair of girls selling button-badges on the sidewalk, and who both looked like the duo from Camera Obscura. University students, definitely. They had their own nifty stamping machine which they used to make the buttons, just place, stamp, turn, and stamp again. Bingo… a button which you now can sell for 75 cents…

Anyway, I had a nice little long chat with them for almost an hour… and learned one of them’s probably going to the Neko Case gig in Oakland next next week.

There are two places, at least, to hangout if you wanna hear some decent music in this college town; Blakes, and the Starry Plough. The two gals claimed Starry Plough would be better, but there would be a German death metal band gigging there tonight.

Not my type of music, so it would be Blake’s instead. Tonight’s show would be a Bay Area Band… called the Micheton’s.

The show started at nine, but I hadn’t eaten yet… so I went to silflay at the bar above while the band and their fans rocked out in the basement below. Blake’s allows us to take pictures and recordings (which I think every place should), so I snapped a few...

The fans got me pinned next to a pillar...

The Micheton’s sound pretty much like a 70s-style group in the likes of Led Zeppelin, but with a punk rock influence. And I mean punk as in “The Clash” and “Ramones” punk, not those Blink182 bullshit they pass for punk-rock nowadays. Not big yet, even by indie standards, but the Micheton’s had their own horde of fans who’d crowd the front stage. Like everyone else there, I was shoehorned into the crowd with 1 square ft of standing and breathing space.

Not exactly my type of music, but they have a nice sound.

And they have a MySpace too… like every damn band today.

After that was a college band named “Cold Hard Crash”, but I only stayed for three songs as the last BART was leaving at 12:30.

Anyway, here are several more pics…

"Hey ladies, I ...err... work for Under The Radar... Well,
I think The Decemberist's latest album is umm... ok"

Cold Hard Crash in action...

I wonder how my colleagues are doing now in Disneyland?

I got back at 4:30 in the morning and crashed into the bed. I didn’t get up until one…