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RANDTS will last a thousand years.

- Albert

It took me a moment there to realize that I was suddenly involved in an dialogue. My friend, Michelle and I were invited by our lecturer/friend to be volunteers in the 7th Melakan International Youth Dialogue (MIYD) held in Melakan International Trade Centre (MITC) Ancasa Hotel from the 25th to the 27th of June 2007 by World Assembly of Youth (WAY). The topic at hand was Youth Tourism; and I had no idea about the whole concept of this event and the background of the organization holding this event. Delegates from various countries were involved were namely from; Hong Kong, Korea, Indonesia, Thailand, South Africa, Yemen, Libya, Bosnia and Hezergovina, Gambia, Namibia, Kenya etc.

As they say, the rest is history and I would very much conclude that it wasn't a wasted effort spending and slogging 3 days in a sub par "international" hotel. Mind you, MITC is supposed to be an international hub for Melaka, located in the "Cyberjaya of Melaka". Okay, perhaps this isn't a very good start to this entry, seeing me give cynical comments on the hotel; but indeed it was rather shabby and did not potray a good image for such an international event. The organization was a bit, as I would say, disorientated; but everything took a rather cool and calm, friendly approach to people.

Skipping the sequence of events, there are a few things that I actually managed to realize during these 3 days. I would like to firstly state how grateful I am that I have Malaysian tastebuds. Throughout this event, I got to know African people and observed that during lunches and dinner, they could not eat much because their tastebuds were not accustomed to many types of different food. They did serve foreign food and we Malaysians merrily had our very own share. Asking them, they told me that the food was too salty, too spicy, too sour, too sweet. You may have never realized this, but we have the upperhand when going for international events. We just take whatever food thats comes by to us (not the Fear Factor kind though) and we don't have much of a problem adapting to eating different things.

Another one thing I realized was the importance of Sejarah or History, that we studied for many many years in high school. Gosh, you have no idea how all that studies came in handy during the 3 days there. Questions ranging from, "Why is Malaysian so diverse?" or "How did Malaysia come about?" or "What is the significance of the Red Square in the middle of Melaka?" to "Why was A Famosa built?" And it didn't stop there, at every question, there were little branches. It was a constant pop quiz. I was hyper, so I knew more people and more people knew me, I put myself in the spot vulnerable to questions, but I was okay. I loved it. I loved showing the uniqueness of my country, I loved telling them about the historical sites and our nature reserves. There was so much to say and too little time.

The event's objective itself was to come out with a declaration for the role of Youth in the field of tourism. I was volunteer as well as participant at the same time. During the discussions, I really loved the fact that there foreign delegates were people representing their countries. Not any random people who you pick from high schools or youth organizations, but leaders, and members who had eloquence and stood out. Every foreign delegate had pride in their country. They spoke with confidence and assertiveness and that brought me to question whether I would be a person worthy of representing my country in more international events.

I think it was great, the whole experience I mean. Being able to step forward as a Malaysian and tell people what Malaysia is all about and our culture and history. When in the moment, the urge to say, "my country is beautiful and unique" will just definitely come by. Also, you feel very proud when you clad yourself in traditional attire. I know I felt very Malaysian on the last night's dinner. The whole event wasn't "very much" international, but enough to give me a taste of how things can be in such an event, and I like it.

I feel like taking this one step further. I don't just want to volunteer in these events, I want to represent my country in international events. The pressure is high on you when in the moment because your country's reputation falls on your shoulders, your English, your manners, your dressing, your ethics are all under scrutiny, but in the end friendship is built, knowledge on various countries increase and finally it is all worth it.

Here are some pictures :

Mini Malaysia, Ayer Keroh, Melaka

A hand at dancing

From Bosnia, discussion about Cultural Tourism.

Ms. Memory from Zimbabwe.

At the Chief Minister of Melaka's house.

South Africa and Gambia representative.

Batik Designing.

From Hong Kong, Yemen, Korea and Malaysia.

They got too hyper.


[


“Move! Move, move, move!”

The Terran power armor pilot yelled over his loudspeaker as he waved on the Factory techs. As they ran helping their wounded co-workers make it to the Safety of the bunkers he briefly considered helping them in but his training kept him right were he was.

“Damn it!” He spat looking at them as indecision gripped him.

They were wounded and trying to hobble and carry their friends into the building to safety. Private John Collins knew they weren’t going to make it inside in time. His Samaritan thinking was at work again. He failed to excel as a pilot because he lacked good worldly judgment. His face contorted in anger as he watched the techs and other laborers moving as fast as they could to reach the safety of the bunker. Why were they moving so slowly? He turned to face the oncoming Mechs. They slowed to fire at the gun emplacements as they popped up at them from the “Boulevard of pain”. The Boulevard ran the length of the open test fields outside Zurich and was used to check tracking and other Mech and vehicle system. The Blakist Mechs were on a rampage. John knew if the techs could get inside the bunker they would be safe. Safe until the Terran defenders could engage this breakthrough force of enemy Mechs and drive them off but their time was up. One rocket barrage or pulse blast and they would be destroyed.

All his life John Collins had succeeded but never excelled. His size was the only reason he had made it into the power armor project and that by only the thinnest margin. He was the right size but lacked the skills the project looked for. The recent civil war had created a need for power armor pilots so into a suit he went anyway. His mother demanded he avoid the liquor, smokes, and drugs that were readily available in this life. It was this discipline that got him in. It was his indecision that nearly got him kicked out, but today was different. His stout Christian upbringing hampered him in decisions just like this one. He felt a strange sense of emotion wash over him as he watched them running helplessly to the bunker. He was sent here to play traffic cop in a flurry of commands given out when the Factory compound was attacked. He ran here to watch over the techs and wounded as they headed for the safety of the bunker.

They ran so slow.

It was like the world around him was in slow motion, everything was unfamiliar. Even the ground was different. The blood ran in swerving streaks towards the bunker from the wounded and dying. He had to do something, his heart demanded it. Then, for the first time in his life, fate reached down and touched Private John Collins. His face smoothed and a sudden moment of clarity came over him. He spoke quietly,

“Today is a good day to die.”

The loudspeaker and radio carried his voice over the entire infantry and Mech communication grid. Sara Hamillton heard him as he spoke, unaware that everyone else on her grid heard him too.

”Commander Davison,” she yelled as cannon blast struck the new two-man Mech on its left arm, “you must hear this!”

Even through the roar of the missile strike Davison had just let go from the Streak launcher her voice carried through the huge cockpit and his ears heard her voice and the mike feed it through his earpiece at the same time.

”I’m busy Hamillton!” He roared in response. “Enemy Mechs!”

”Commander,” she repeated, “listen!” She played back the recording of his voice:

”Today is a good day to die.” It fed across the command net and repeated. “Today is a good day to die.”

”Who is that?” Davison demanded.

”Private John Collins, piloting one of the new Archangel power suits, number 13.” She winced. Army soldiers were superstitious and this would be another battlefield reinforcement of those superstitions.

”What the hell’s gotten into him?” Davison asked. “Where is ‘our’ resident Christian?”

”He’s on the map 120 meters in front of a set of bunkers listed: ‘Special Projects’.” She said with a creeping sense of fear in her voice. “Commander, four of the Blakist Jihad BattleMechs have broken through and are closing on the ‘Special Projects’ bunkers. The Factory personnel are taking refuge there.” There was a pause. “Brianna Hoffmeier just radioed to me that they are not secure. Repeat. Not secure! They have personnel still outside the bunker!”

”My god Sara, they are going to kill them all!” Davison said. “Dispatch the closest, fastest units we have in that area now Girl!”

”Two Mercury scout Mechs being pulled from the south flank position, ETA; four minutes best speed.” Her heart sank. Four minutes and everyone there would be dead.

”Set my guide marker!” Davison yelled. “We’re going there Girl!”

”Marker set!” Sara yelled at her aged commander. “If you can move this heap we can make it there in 2.8 minutes.”

”Better than that young lady,” Davison yelled as he let the 95 ton war machine start falling forward. “We’re taking the express!”

As the command machine toppled forward Sara screamed at her insane commander. It was worse than every rollercoaster she had ever been on in her entire life. The ground was rushing up to fill the cockpit windows and then the Mech bobbed up again. Davison howled in the pilot’s seat as he then lifted the right leg and unlocked the arms into gyro-swing mode. The foot landed with a 95 ton concrete shattering ‘boom!’ as the machine began, of all things, cart-wheeling! He made a headlong charge to the south along an invisible line drawn straight to John Collins’ position on the map leaving the burning remains of the Kurita Marauder lying on the ground.

”Hold it together Lewis” he whispered to himself, “hold it together.” His brow furrowed with concentration and the sweat trickled down his cheeks as he forced his steed, this colossus of fire and brimstone fury, his BattleMech, to speeds well above its design envelope.

Back at the bunker as the last techs ran past his position on the boulevard, Private John Collins prepared himself for the last minutes of his life. They needed time. Every second he could give them saved a life. They were finally pouring into the building dragging the wounded and the dead alike inside for protection, not knowing if their friends were unconscious or dead, they didn’t care who, they took all.

One tech, and older looking man, kept running back out to grab others who had fallen. John knew him only as Able Manski; the crazed engineer who outfought an elemental in augmented hand to hand combat. Even the others among him all had some glorious personal history before being employed by the Factory.

They were brave. John steeled himself as he watched the incoming enemy. A light lance of Blakist Mechs raced towards him. He mentally identified them without the HUD on his open visor. He had seen these types of machines before all classic Blakist Jihad machines. He heard the sound of the techs dragging their screaming friends into the bunker behind him.

Then it happened.

In every man and woman’s life a defining moment occurs, for some it is in their childhood, others their graduation from college or high school, for some it is marriage or the birth of their children, still others never have that shining moment that gathers their life’s essence into one point and propels them to greatness.

For the first time in his life he knew, exactly, what to do. John reached down and slapped his leg. The override command appeared in the open visor above him, questioning his action.

“Command override, Collins.” He spoke into the mike. He then swooned in his one ton suit as the med-pack punched his blood full of painkilling and rage maddening drugs. He breathed deeply as the powerful live-saving chemicals rushed through his veins. He smelt them, his ears rang, and his brow firmed.

“Command-visor.” He hissed.

Without a second of hesitation the faceplate snapped shut and sealed as Private Collins shook in his suit. Not of fear, not of pain, but of anger, blood pounding hate.

”Curse this life!” He screamed as his voice became a roar inside his suit. He was twisting from the drugs powerful influence, counting the distance between himself and the approaching Mechs counting, blood boiling, heart thundering, furious.

His rangefinder spun down, down, down as the lead Mech reached just the right distance. John screamed a violent ragged roar and he ran franticly towards the 20 ton war machine. Blood boiling, heart thundering, soul burning, furious.

”Get inside move it Anna!” Able Manski yelled to the astech as she limped forward with a wounded comrade clinging to her.

Thundering weapons fire roared in the not so distant distance.

“They are coming, quickly.” He said taking her burden and checking to see if she could make it herself into the bunker.

The attack was well timed. The bomb. The infantry shooting into the crowd with needle rifles, and now the BattleMechs racing across the Factory grounds like crazed killers, it struck him as too much. These Word of Blake Mechs came here to kill them not to attack the Terran unit getting an upgrade and refit. If it hadn’t been for them and their unexpected visit Able would be dead right now along with piles of the other Factory employees there in the main compound.

”Mister Manski?” The wounded man said delirious from pain as he looked at his lower left leg in shock. “I can’t find my foot!”

”Don’t worry Christopher; I am sure Brianna will find it later. Now work with me, we have to get inside now.” Able said as tears welled up behind his eyes. “It was a good foot, with lots of blood in it.” Abel’s voice trailed off as he looked at the smears of blood following him up to the bunker. “Damn it.” He swore under his breath as he handed the tech to another just inside the bay door who yanked a cable tie around his leg just below the knee to stop the bleeding. Able quickly turned to head back outside and help the last few stragglers into the bunker but he slipped in all the blood and fell to the floor. He landed with a bone jarring thud on his knees and hands on the smooth slick concrete.

”Able!” Brianna Hoffmeier screamed as she saw him drop to the floor. “Oh my God, are you alright?”

Able turned to her from on his knees and slashed his blood covered hand at her wildly.

”Get away from the doors!” He screamed almost crazed at her. “I told you child to stay in the back of the bunker! Damn you Brianna do as you’re told for once!”

Rushing, running, stomping, John Collins streaked towards the incoming enemy BattleMechs as they charged forward. The lead pilot watched as the single suit of power armor sped towards him carrying the infidel pilot to his doom. He would send him to hell where he belonged. The MechWarrior aimed his missile launcher spat twin missiles at the armored infantry man. The Incendiary payload the Inferno missiles carried would make a nice little oven out of the Armor suit, all but roasting the foolish little infidel within. Better give him a taste of Blake’s hell before he gets a chance to visit it. The insignificant infantryman would be consumed in Blake’s flaming wrath and burn as so much brimstone.

John ran wide eyed and with his mike open. He charged at the machines that would end his life today. It took all 25 years of it for him to come to the knowledge that his life was, in the end, truly not his own. He was a solider, a guardian of peace, and an avenging angel of death for the just. His religious upbringing seethed into his words as he tried to fortify his will for his last act.

”Human wrath serves only to praise you, when you bind the last bit of your wrath around you!”

He primed the jump jets mounted on his back.

“Make vows to the Lord your God, and perform them; let all who are around him bring gifts to the one who is awesome,”

A single bolt of light from the Mech’s pulse laser struck his shoulder but the drugs had long ago ended his ability to feel pain.

“who cuts off the spirit of princes,”

The Inferno rounds burst in front and above him dousing him with flaming chemicals.

“who inspires fear in the kings of the earth!”

He fired his jump jets and launched into the air burning head to toe with napalm.

“I am your instrument! Strike through me!”

As Private John Collins shot through the burning cloud of napalm the MechWarrior inside the Mech looked into the eyes of the flame shrouded, roaring angel of death.

And screamed.

John collided with the cockpit window of the Mech. His armored knee plate smashed a divot into the multi-layered ballistic glass. John slashed out with his clawed hand and snagged armor plate. He scrambled up the chin of the Mech’s head as if he were followed by the legions of Satan himself. The flames heated his suit but served only to fuel his wrath and fury.

Crazed by his initial dose of the med-pack, John began pummeling the cracked windshield repeatedly until he had punched a hole in the window. He shoved his flamethrower barrel through the hole and filled the cockpit with fire. The Word of Blake MechWarrior inside was screaming his faith as the cockpit lathered with flame. His screams were lost to John; the blood was pounding like war drums in his ears.

He was overwhelmed with pain as the suit was scalding him while it burned. The auto injector fired another dose of drugs into him. John squealed as the potent mix hit his muscles and he felt the veins bulge out on his neck. The drugs burned in his brain and he leapt off of the Mech firing his thrusters to cover the distance across the way to the other two.

As a volley of missiles reached out and lasers seared the sky, he overshot the dome shaped cockpit, hit the ‘neck’ platform of the machine, and crashed into the heat exchanger behind the cockpit hatch. Dazed but enraged he crawled across the neck of the machine as the pilot fired his missiles mounted above John again in some vain effort to dislodge him.

He got his suit sprawled across the narrow distance and grabbed the handhold next to the hatch. With a now mindless roar, Collins began ripping at the door until he peeled the armored hatch up at an edge, then began yanking at it till the shaking and bucking Mech jumped into the air and came crashing down hard to shake or dislodge the insane infantry man from it’s back. The remaining Mech pilots began firing at their compatriot in some misguided attempt to kill the infidel Terran warrior but did little other than harm their own lance mate. Blood burning, skin sticking, mind exploding, heart thundering, furious

Lewis Davison thundered his Command Mech across the deserted grounds of the Factory Mech facility. He went in bursts of speed in a way no engineer intended for the machine to move. He was tipping the Mech forward and dumped the reserve power into the reactor core. Heat was building up. Lewis Davison had felt that kind of heat many times before in his career as a MechWarrior. It was the reassuring sensation that the steady rise of hot, soon scalding, air was coming from his heat exchanger and that the Mech was generating way more heat than simple running would ever produce.

He had sprinted before, in lighter machines. This was one of the heaviest Mechs ever built; it didn’t get any more frightening than this for a MechWarrior. Lewis Davison was in heaven. Now he was trying to stop one of his men from making it there prematurely. As he rounded the building Sara Hamillton yelled out a warning:

”Enemy battlemechs two o’clock, three o’clock, and center point on my mark.”

Davison slid the 95 ton behemoth from between two storage hangers, long unused this far out on the grounds and sparks shot from his toe cleats as they dug ruts in the concrete parking lot. The vibrations shook them in their cockpit as Commander Davison raised the twin ER PPC cannon held in the right arm and aimed at the remaining last remaining Mech.

”Hello ladies!” He called out over the open channel as he fired.

The Blakist mech was just turning to get a better look at the cloud of dust and sparks that had arisen to his left. Just then the spinning double Cannon bolts connected with his Mech and blew the right torso apart and severed the left leg. The Mech went down with a crash and Davison charged his laser batteries while he armed the Streak launcher.

The pilot of the Mech Collins was attacking was praying to Blake. He kept trying to shake the madman off his back but could not seem to dislodge him. When the hatch ripped open he knew his time had come. He reached down to his holster, pulled his Pulse laser pistol, and fired over his shoulder at the demonic warrior.

The last mortal thought he had was interrupted as the demon clawed his face and collarbones apart and swiftly yanked his neck back. He then pulled the ejector lever for the dead MechWarrior. His dead body rose on a pillar of flame.

Private Collins exited the access hatch of the Mech only to an end. The other Mechs seeing their lance mate eject from the stricken machine opened fire on John. The only laser to hit severed his right leg.

The launch of four missiles zipped past him with only one rocket striking his chest plate and blasting him off of the devastated Mech. As John descended, the med-pack fired a different drug into him this time and he heard angels sing as he slammed down to the ground.

His body and suit shattered, he lay there looking up at the sky as the suit sealed his severed leg and filled him with detox.

A second injection slowed his heart rate and placed the warrior gently into a coma. He felt the cool breeze of the heat exchanger draining away the heat from inside his suit. It had stopped burning somewhere back on top of the second Mech but John Collins didn’t care. He was complete.

As he lay on the shattered concrete with his airbags burst and his armor cracked and smoldering, except for the cold fingers of death preparing to take him, John felt at peace. He even smiled with four knocked out teeth. He was numbly aware of the med-pack trying to inject him with yet another dose but was unable to, he had used that dose at the beginning of all this. Now was his time to die. He resigned himself and closed his eyes.

As the next few days went by, the wounded recovered, the dying were saved, and the dead buried. Brianna Hoffmeier recovered too. She sat alongside Able Manski and over a hundred other techs in the bunker and she cried into his chest as he held and comforted her.

They all asked about Private Collins, and after seeing the devastation he wrought and that which was wrought upon him, few wondered to his predicament. It was much to everyone’s surprise that Private Collins was transferred to the Granger Park district hospital in critical condition.

Four weeks later John lay still in his private room. His eyes flickered open. The matter had been wiped from his eyes countless times by the attending nurse and others. He woke with his hair combed his face shaved and he peered out over the room with bleary eyes. Feeling the sting of injury, he quickly took inventory of himself before he cared to look about the room. He was lying in a bed, he wasn’t in any real danger, and your enemies don’t tuck you in before zipping you.

With a groan of sadness he realized things were missing from him. His right leg had been removed up in his hip; he was sans three fingers, one on his right and 2 on his left hand. He had burn dressings on and tubes running out of every, wait, belay that, almost every orifice of his body. He was breathing through a tube and it looks like he had been eating through one for a few weeks too.

As his vision cleared he looked about the room. It was a cluttered mess. There were Mylar balloons and vases of flowers all about the place. Gift baskets were set about the room in general disorder by the nurses as they needed to reach the injured warrior during his recovery. On the table in front of him was a pair of what looked like stainless steel toy Mechs, both complete with busted up cockpits.

On another table sat a plate of steel from the armor of a mech. It was etched with a single word: Awesome.

He lived.

After fumbling around for a while he found his nurse call button and in rushed his three nurses. All of them were talking to him, smiling, and calling other people. The word miracle may have come up over the next few days but regardless of the source, he lived. What appeared to be the entire surviving staff of the Factory Mech production center came to visit him at predetermined times throughout the days.

John beamed with life again as his new fingers and right leg parts were fitted to him a few days later. The scars would take longer to heal and the blur of drug induced haze could be pierced by some relevant battle videos in a while. He grew strong again quickly and learned to walk in a few days more. Soon he was able to pick up things without breaking them with his new fists. In two weeks he was released from the hospital. At his return party he received no quarter from the grateful techs and workers, even his own unit commander was happy to see him this time. But when that older technician and his Factory cohorts wheeled something into the hanger they were celebrating in on a forklift, John was thrown off a bit. They all stood around smiling.

”What’s this?” He asked innocently.

”Take the cover off young man.” Abel Manski said as he stopped next to a middle aged woman in fine clothes and she took hold of his arm.

John reached up and grasped the tarp covering the front of the forklift. He paused before pulling it off. His gaze was fixed on his new hand, just for a moment. Then he uncovered it. Standing before him was a suit, his suit, of Archangel Battle armor. It was clad from head to toe in burnished chrome. Only the rainbows of light that reflected off of its visor’s slit shown any difference in hue.

”We know it’s a bit gaudy and possibly in bad taste, but we were hoping you would keep it.” Abel Manski said as he wiped a pair of fingerprints off of its left hand. “Oh, and you should have these too.”

Another tech handed him a set of four titanium nuts on a braided chain necklace.

”What are these for?” John asked turning them over in his hand.

”Well we figured since you neutered those two Mechs, that maybe you should keep their nuts.”
Abel’s second in command smiled as he shook John’s hand and the four nuts with it.

”Technicians.” John shook his head, smiling.

“I’m alive.” Life was welcome and new again for him.

Later in the evening John managed to break off from the festivities and head outside for some air. The party was going full steam inside but he needed a moment alone. He walked out of the hanger and looked up at the starry sky. The night was warm and a breeze was blowing. His gaze fell eventually to the four BattleMechs on guard duty outside the hanger. He chuckled to himself, had there been 4 Mechs there to stop the imposter Blakist strike force, none of this would have happened the way it did and he might never have had his moment of clarity. As he stood there smiling at the back of the Guard Mech nearest him he heard the scratch and crack of high heeled shoes walking towards him on the gravel littered parking lot.

He slowly looked over his shoulder at a beautiful dark haired woman as she swayed her hips while walking up and standing next to him. She was beautiful and the strange flecks of foil or glitter in her hair were still sparkling in the light of the distant hanger.

”Good evening, hero.” She said with a smile as she sipped her diet soda. “Not very gracious of your hosts to let you escape the party like this.”

”More than gracious, this whole night is wonderful.” John said with his best manners. “I can’t believe all this has happened to me.”

”Well believe it hero. That drug induced, crazed, speaking-in-tongues thing you did really scare the crap out of the rest of the attackers and they thought the Christ had come to judge Blake himself.” She giggled. “They ran like water.”

”Word of Blake fanatics?” He asked of her as she nodded in agreement. “Why?”

”They hate us.” She said plainly. “Ever since they tried to purge Terra of everyone NOT Blake everyone is in a panic over their little Jihad and we show no respect to the robed psychos.”

”What is your name beautiful woman?” John asked with his new smile. “You have me at a loss, you know who I am but I don’t know you.”

”My friends call me Brianna; the rest of the company calls me Mrs. Hoffmeier.” She said with a soft snort.

”You’re the owner.” John said as his eyes traveled up her leg to her shoulders. “And you’re married.”

”You are a very observant boy John Collins. Owner yes, married no.” She smiled through the pain on that one. “He died on Huntress serving the Prince. The official term is widow.”

”Oh, I,” he stammered for a second, “my other name is: stupid. Forgive me.”

”I see it now, hero.” She turned on him. “You thought that if you hurt my feelings you wouldn’t have to sleep with me when I ask you to take me home after the party.”

John’s jaw fell and he blinked. This one was full of surprises.

”Always the clever tactician,” she stalked him like a panther, “thought he’d just save my life and the lives of my people and just gets away Scott free with no gratuitous sex reward from the rich, sexy, unmarried, and excited owner of the company, did he?”

She had been poking each word into his chest as she advanced on him. John in a state of shock worse than what the med-pack had done to him just stared at her dumbfounded.

”Your father is that head tech guy, isn’t he?” John said back pedaling as she slowly continued to walk straight at him.

“He, um, might not approve of you just, you know, just doing this to me.”

”TO you!” She wailed at him. “Oh that’s it buddy! You insult my father and then you whine like a baby about what I’m going to do TO you? I swear. You keep this up and we’re gonna end up doing it right here on the foot of this Mech.” She smiled grabbed him where it hurts and laid the longest kiss of his life onto his lips.

”I don’t have a car.” He said breathless to her as she released him.

”I do and it’s only a short walk over there.” She pointed to her sports car.

”You’ve got to be joking, right?” He said looking at the diminutive auto.

”Well I’m not riding home in that Mech, big guy.” She said with a wink.

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Get it?

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La question d'argent

I read a reader’s opinion in The Star today with much interest. In it, Bobby Chan (the reader) opined that Petronas should be sponsoring a Malaysian racing prodigy by the name of Jazeman Jaafar. According to that reader, Petronas should be sponsoring Jazeman’s team instead of sponsoring some other mid-card team.

Good argument?

Allow me to put this in perspective and take Formula One as an example. If you were a driver with great ambitions and I gave you a choice between McLaren and BMW Sauber, which would you choose?

Would you pick McLaren (for their race-winning potential) or would you pick BMW Sauber (just because Petronas sponsors it?).

Fact: Jazeman has a lot of potential
Fact: He got his FIA C License earlier than Lewis Hamilton
Fact: He's already sponsored by the TM Group, YTL Corp and PLUS, to name a few. All his current sponsors are big companies, I assure you.

Why, then, does the reader feel that there is a need for Petronas to sponsor the 14-year old?

Or is he suggesting we shower Jazeman with money and spoil the guy even before he makes it to the big stage (like we have done to a majority of our our starlets)???

I sincerely hope the reader didn't bother to check on his facts before writing in...

[


The picture below shows two of the three wind chimes hanging in my house's veranda. There is something accumulating on the red butterfly wind chime. Guess what it is?

Well, it's actually an unfinished nest of some sort of weaver bird. Any birders here? Please help me identify its species. My mom mistook it for a hummingbird because of its long beak and fast flapping wings. A search on the WWW also has been fruitless so far. I feel quite stupid for not knowing what bird it is.

The bird has been diligently trying to build a nest since Sunday. A twig, a leaf or a thread at a time it slowly weaves a home. Only one piece is brought in at a time because of its small beak, then it's off again in search of new piece. Such diligence should be emulated by us! Imagine if everyone puts in that much effort in serving the entire world. Think about it.

For a bird to willingly choosing my home as a nesting is truly an honour. RANDTS will be given constant updates on the progress of this bird's sacrifice.

P.S: The photos were taken by a noob photographer using a bad camera.

~multum in parvo~

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Journey of Life

Who decided your future? You? Or did you take up something that satisfied your parents' wishes?

Be careful of whom you aim to please with your actions. As Eries said,

In the end, I do not know if I’m happy because I truly am or I am trying to make people happy. Is making people happy, making oneself happy?

As much as your parents want you to succeed, make sure you yourself have an interest in what you will be studying. You do not follow a future others dictate - not even your parents - simply because they prefer you take it.

Take the time to go in-depth into what you plan to do later on in life. Study places to further your studies in your chosen field, find out what your course will be about, look up possible career opportunities. The Star newspaper offers occasional supplements about institutes of higher education in and out of the country.

Most importantly, don't go about making uninformed decisions, i.e. choose to be a singer merely because you want to be rich and famous like all of them on TV. If you can convince your parents that you truly have a passion for it, that you know your stuff and the possible risks, they will be more than happy to let you go for it.

~verus rara avis~

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As my travels for this year came to an end, I reflected upon it and realised how much I actually long for home. For even though in many ways the pastures seem greener elsewhere, I couldn't help but eager to feel the warmth of my own bed rather than enjoying the lavishness that I enjoyed in Haikou and Guangzhou for nine days.

I figured that I couldn't sleep unless I write up this post. For some reason I am still very much energetic (although the bed seems so appealing; yes, I am home). As I write this post, for some reason my stomach fluttered and there is an empty feel in me. I was happy to be able to get things off my mind while travelling in China, and I'm equally happy to be back home. Yet, what is this melancholy that lingers at the edge of my eyes?

Never before have I felt so disconnected from my friends whom I have not been contacting.

Thankfully, it has been a rather enjoyable trip to China. This trip to Hainan Island and Guangzhou has indeed opened up my family's eyes. Various lessons have been learnt, especially when dealing with the Chinese people. Yes, although this sounds rather racist, believe me, we Malaysian Chinese are somehow far better than the Chinese in terms of ethics, humanity and many more. I will tell you more later.

As I landed at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), memories begin to flood my mind. I began forming a list of names whom I would contact upon my arrival. And sure enough, I gave them either a "missed call" or a short message or even both the moment I stepped into the terminal. Never before have I felt so disconnected from my friends whom I have not been contacting. Before I went to China, I have been trying my best to keep in touch with all my friends, both from university and from my school, either via MSN Messenger or even Friendster. I felt a sudden need to contact them, and I felt the same upon my arriving at KLIA.

It is also for this reason, I suppose, that I am so eager to write this post. Although I have stated in the chatbox that I am back, it seemed so insufficient.

My travels in China were just a temporary leave from my worries and my dilemmas. Now that I'm back home, I feel the days drawing closer for me to address all my problems once and for all. Soon enough, there will be at least one heart that I have to break by pouring out the truth, and that one heart is actually so tender and so dear to me that I feel so reluctant to do so. Yet, I shudder in terror to think of how even more badly shattered that heart would be if I delay matters.

There have been people whom I have not stopped thinking about while I was in China: my parents, my friends back at home, my friends in university, my one friend in Suzhou (China) and... a crush of mine.

There is a mixture of various emotions running in me: relief, joy, anguish, concern and so on. As I sign off now at 0530 hours, there is this one thing I look forward to.

My day of breaking that one heart. Very heartless of me, I know, but it's for the happiness of the future.

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Grand Door

This is a little piece of insight I received from the PERMATA (PETRONAS Management Training) camp I recently had in Casa Rachado, Port Dickson, from the 18th to the 22nd of June, 2007. Tell me what you think about it.

How many doors are there in your life? Think about it. How many doors have you seen in your life that you can think about? Perhaps you remember the crib door from your youth - or the great big glass doors at the office where your dad worked. Or that ominous wooden door that leads into the examination hall where you did your SPM.

Think about all the doors in your life. Perhaps when you entered varsity life from high school, the change of pace came to you as a liberation. That's one door - the door to a new stage in your life. Or maybe you made a change in yourself one day, something for the better - another door, the door to positive change.

What is a door for? What is its purpose? Most would say security, or privacy. It guarantees your safety (most of the time). When the lock is broken, it feels as if even the merest wind will push it open. You can't sleep at night, knowing your privacy is not as guaranteed as it was before, when the lock worked.

A door might also serve to restrict access sometimes, and also to provide a first impression to new visitors. When a wooden door is old or broken, some people use it as firewood. Others use it as a raft. More creative people draw and spray it with graffiti, giving it new life as an art canvas.

For all that it has done throughout its life for you, it meets its end in a way that is cruel and uncaring.

Then think of what we normally do to doors. When we're in a bad mood, we slam the door. At times we release our anger on the door. We punch, kick, bang, bash, hammer, scrape and tear at the door. We clobber it relentlessly till we need to catch our breaths and take a look at the damage we've done. Then remorsefully, we step away and return to our lives, slightly less pressured than before.

Think of the one door in your life. The one door that provides you with security and comfort. Privacy, even. The one door you can't sleep at night for, knowing that it doesn't work as well as before, or is slightly spoiled. The door that protects you despite everything you do to it in anger.

Think about it. When you were young, one door bore you into this earth, and watched with tearful eyes and radiant smiles as it cradled you for the first time. This door ran its fingers over your head, cooing gently as you gazed at this new world around you. And somehow, your instincts told you this door was the one responsible for your life.

The door watched as you learned to walk and talk. It gave gentle encouragement to you every step of the way, and protected you fiercely from that which might harm you. In the dark of night, when a lone mosquito sought you as prey, the door did not just chase it away, but crushed it that it may never return to hurt you again.

As you entered school for the first time, this door fawned over every inch of you, fussing over your uniform and books and hair. You cried when the door brought you to this strange new place full of other children just like you. And though the door might not say anything at times, it prayed for you silently each time you were away from home. It prayed that you may find new friends and gain much knowledge. The door waits for you till you come home, cupping your cheek and helping you with your bag. It asks, "How was your first day at school?"

Gradually you grew bigger and bigger. The door continued to look after you as you progressed from primary to secondary. How proud it was of you! It shuttled you back and forth, providing you with the best things it could give - all for your sake. You grew into a useful person, learning more and more with each passing day.

Soon, the door realizes that time has passed so quickly, and you move on to the new daunting world of varsity life. How would you cope on your own? it wondered. It cried as the day drew near for you to leave home for the next stage in your life. The door watched as you left, tears brimming in its eyes and fear and worry lodged deep in its heart.

And everyday you were away, whether you were studying or hanging out or even blogging, this one door prayed for your safety and health. It prayed that you may aspire to even greater heights, and that you may continue to receive all the best things while you were not home. It prayed for you, and even in the wee hours of the night, the door woke to lucid dreams, sweat beading on its forehead, but it still prayed even as it wept as it realized you were not home, but away in your new place.

And it is this same door we kick and punch and scream at when we are angry. We hate it at times for not understanding us. We slam it when the mood strikes us. And when this door grows old, we throw it out with the trash, some people even using it for firewood. For all that it has done throughout its life for you, it meets its end in a way that is cruel and uncaring.

By now, you would have realized that this door is actually symbolically representing your parents. Think about all that the door has done for you. Think back about what you have done in return. And think about all that you will do for this door in future. Will you savor and love this door for all eternity? Or will you consign it to the bonfire and leave it to burn by itself in the night?

Think about it.

~verus rara avis~

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A friend of mine recently told me some things interesting about the African guys studying in our local varsities. With all the hidden prejudices he said that an African guy will only be your friend (applies only to guys) if:

  1. He wants your money. - In my experience the few Africans I talked to seemed to have a strong affinity to money. My friends also talk about how some African guys are so interested in borrowing money.
  2. He wants to know your girlfriends (not in the passionate sense). - It's a fact that some African cultures are offensively misogynistic.
  3. You are African. - What do you expect when the idiom "birds of a feather flock together" almost always holds true (at least not for me).
  4. He wants your backside (another friend added in a "racist" manner)

~multum parvo~

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Referring to the title of the post, I would like to inform all of you that I've decided to work on a project named "The World We Live In: A Portrait of Life and Death" starting from today onwards.

Basically, as the title suggests, I'm challenging myself to portray the world we live in, its inhabitants, scars, inner beauty and whatnot in portraits (not necessarily in portrait form, but you get what I mean, no?). In other words, I'll be painting what I see in photographs taken by my camera (or equivalent). I'm still unsure how things will go as the idea hit me while typing the title of this post not a minute ago. Hence, I'll be thinking over this, and will resume the normal habit of excessive photo-taking whenever, wherever and however.

Ah yes, it would be smashing if any of you RANDTSters, or non-RANDTSters, drop me some suggestions or opinions. Thank you.

Example of photo that will be taken under this project:

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As for the photo above, I took it on the same day as the picture of the Volvo Amazon (posted under Vintage on Wheels). I was waiting for a friend in the Titiwangsa LRT station, when I saw this. It was a sight to behold, though the subject isn't very beautiful, or spell-binding. It's not very inspirational too, but heck, it's reality, not surrealism.

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just got my computer *big grin*

so okay, get this.

Friday 6th July @ 7:30pm
Venue: Toscani’s @ Waterfront (To Be Confirmed)


All food and drinks are at your own expenses, as the ultimate purpose here is to unify bloggers based in Sabah to come forth, intermingle and go bananas!

Kindly confirm your attendance by 28th June 2007 by contacting Gallivanter -

more info here.

question is, should i or should i not go?

im totally down to it and have been thinking about it for ages. and when its finally here, im all hyped up. but im still not sure about going though.

+ what should i wear????????? BIG problem.
+ what if i be all akward there?
+ what if im the youngest?
+ money :p

but i wanna goooo… but then, im not sure.

help me!!! should i or should i not go???? i never been to these things before, and im all hyped about it, but then again, im just not sure if i SHOULD go. urgh.. what should i do???

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Trip Updates

While Haikou is a very impressive city in Hainan, it is utterly sad that I cannot say the same for Sanya which is located at the far south of Hainan. I had the impression that as both Haikou and Sanya have airports, they should be equally developed and on par with one another.

However, that is strictly not so. While Haikou is very much developed into a big city, Sanya is still lagging behind quite badly (except for a few streets with high-rise buildings). While the people in Haikou are more ethical and more well-behaved, you have to be more careful about your personal belongings if you are in Sanya (that is one of the reasons why I did not take many pictures in Sanya). While the 4-star hotels in Haikou are quite OK, 4-star hotels in Sanya are comparable to those of 2-star hotels. But one thing both have in common: the mentality of the people are still quite poor. I shall explain about it more detail when I return to Malaysia.

There isn't much to see in Sanya, and there is almost nothing special about Sanya. We joined a local tour and it was indeed a regrettable experience. In Haikou, the people are still very honest. In Sanya, in order for the people there to survive, they must resort to cunning tactics that are utterly deceitful, which is in a way a trademark of the Chinese people in China. I'll tell you about my experiences in Sanya later.

Now, what do you say to snorkelling? Yes, I have had the experience of snorkelling here in Hainan. It was indeed a wonderful experience diving underwater at the South China Sea to see all sorts of marine life, from corals to various types of fishes (clownfish, lion fish, etc.) and dangerous species such as the spiked pufferfish and sea anemone. Thankfully there was no jellyfish. Although I'd like to have a picture of me snorkelling to be taken underwater, each picture of it costs RMB35 (which is equivalent to RM17.50). That's expensive! I'd rather take pictures of me snorkelling in Australia or even Pulau Redang!

I've got so many funny stories that have good moral lessons behind them during my travel especially in Sanya and one in Haikou. As my schedule on the Internet is quite tight, I can't write them all here. With that, I shall sign out.

P/S: Brian! OK, I'll take pictures of the food in Guangzhou. Perhaps I'll even get something from Guangzhou as souvenirs for you!

P/S 2: Another eye candy from Blogger. I've changed the settings of my aunt's computer to Dutch, and this is how the Blogger Dashboard and New Post pages would look like in Dutch:

(Bragging "unintended") Did Henry ever mention that he understands some Dutch as well? Well, he can! =p

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It’s that time of the year again when public universities announce the placement of students in their various programs. As usual we here the good news of students getting their course of their choice in the university of their choice but at the same time we here stories about those who failed to get their place of choice or worse, those who failed to get a place at all. A couple of years ago the plight of the one hundred plus straight A STPM students who failed to get a place in medicine was brought to our attention.

My reason for writing is that I feel that it is pertinent for our universities to work harder to ensure our students get to the study the course of their choice. While it is understandable that universities try their best to take in the cream of the crop for each program it seems as if too many students are not getting into courses that they would like to pursue. While intelligence and academic excellence is certainly an important determinant in university placement, some emphasis needs to be put on the idea of passion and personal choice as well. Students pick certain courses because they feel that they excel best in that field, because they are passionate about that particular field of study, because they enjoy doing work in the related field. Certainly passion and interest count for something. If our students are not getting into courses that they enjoy pursuing then it is certainly going to affect their levels of productivity when they enter the workforce in the future.
Public universities are packed to the brim with students because they are affordable and to an extent offer quality education, yet more places need to be provided so that people get into courses that they are passionate about and interested in. If that is possible then maybe the government should raise the bar for entrance to Form Six and Matriculation and as an alternative provide more diploma courses in polytechnics and community colleges so that so many aren’t denied courses of their choice when applying to public universities.
While I am big on academic excellence as the main criteria for university entrance and placement, more and more I see that passion and inner desire can compel people to achieve great heights. When people are allowed to play to their strengths, they shine brightest. Let’s try harder to get our students into courses where they feel they can play most to their strengths.

[


Spotted this vintage car along a small alley in Pudu. I've added filters to make the pictures look more nostalgic, haha. They're of the same car, and they're of the same composition, just that the colours are different. I wanna know which brings out, screams out, shines 'Vintage' more than the other? The first, or the second? Comments and criticisms are welcomed.

DSCN5143 copy

DSCN5143 copy 2

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you that I took this shot from the hip, so the composition of the pictures wasn't exactly planned. Glad I didn't cut out parts of the car, haha! By the way, does anyone know what car model is this?

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Yes thats right you heard me. The The Juggernaut has been stopped dead... (ironic innit? ;P) But fear not my darlings for i shan't abandon thee so easily... Just to occupy u guys in the meantime check this out! Here are some songs that i currently like/am listening to/are on my playlists... ;D

Enjoy! ;p

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i have this new photo-editting software, so i decided to do some fooling about. i got inspired by the colors in huiwen's pictures in the previous post. so i decided to do some color effects as well.

not much. but quite okay i guess.

anyway, guess who wrote me back? Daphne Iking! if you dont know her, well, she's a model cum host cum emcee cum everything else. haha. she hosted THE BREAKFAST SHOW in NT7, used to host MONEY MATTERS and EXPLORACE. and a few more, but i forgot. but yea.

i love her work and hope to be like her one day. she's such an inspiration.

go to my blog to see what she wrote to me. :)

till then, take care y'all!


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Hello, people! Henry signing in from Haikou (海口) within the Hainan Island in China! I'm currently staying in my aunt's villa and she has a laptop and an Internet connection so after she is done with her business transactions, she let me use her laptop (it's a JVC laptop measuring about 11 inches from the corner of the screen to the other corner).

How has my trip been so far, you ask? Well, it's nothing short of enjoyable and breath-taking. Let me state this frankly. Haikou, or more specifically Hainan, went through rapid development for the past three years or so. Before 2004, much of Hainan is still rural. Now, skyscrapers fill the air-view. Highways wider than our Malaysian highways are everywhere. New houses are sprouting from every corner. In fact, there are more high-rise buildings in Haikou than Kuala Lumpur! Within a year or two, it can be more advanced than Kuala Lumpur! This is totally the opposite from what we initially expected.

Hainan is an island that is about 600 kilometres away from Guangzhou. Only three years ago the people here were still in poverty. But now, surprisingly very few beggars are seen on the streets. Cleanliness is comparable to that of Singapore although the people's mentality needs some changes (will talk about it next time). The people here are polite and the food is just as good as our Malaysian food! In fact, their taste is very similar to ours!

Communicating with the people here isn't a problem at all for me. I put up my apparently Beijing accent (that Joe and Melissa agreed on) and I did manage to fool some of the locals here. Some guessed I am from Beijing, some thought I am from Shanghai or Hunan. They were surprised when I told them we are from Malaysia. The people in Hainan speak Mandarin which is influenced by the Hainanese dialect accent. Nevertheless, their intonations are clear although the pronunciation may run a bit.

I wonder where Brian's (Gungrave1988) hometown is. He is a Hainanese and here I am, Brian, in Hainan! On the 21st of June, I'll be travelling from Haikou to Sanya (三亚) which is three hours away, so you can imagine how big Hainan Island is generally. On the 23rd, I shall be flying back to Guangzhou (广州) where I shall stay for another three days before flying back to KLIA on the evening of 26th. For those who don't know, Guangzhou is the FOOD HEAVEN of China. In fact, the best food can be found here in Guangzhou. The Malaysian Chinese food that you taste locally are heavily influenced by the Guangzhou taste because the great majority of Malaysian Chinese originate from the area of Guangzhou (formerly known as Canton).

Well, I shall be updating you all soon about my overall trip. I shall be posting up pictures as well then. But here's an eye candy and some information for you. You see, in China, Blogger blogs are blocked from being viewed (so even though I can post this I can't view it!), but surprisingly I can log into Blogger to post this! And best of all, by default when I browse into Blogger, everything is in Mandarin! Here are some pictures of the screenshots that I took:

Fortunately I can understand all that is written in Mandarin (although I'm not Chinese educated!). Otherwise I'd have some troubles trying to post this in the first place.

That's all for now. Cheers! Remember, I can't check on how my post would turn out to be. I'd like to ask for assistance from the administrators if my post turns out wrong, as in looking strange or something like that.

[


Taking off

After much of a hassle and trouble in Kuala Lumpur a few days ago, it's decided. Henry Yew is going to take off (double entendres intended).

The first "take off" started when his aunt from the Netherlands called him up and asked him to go to Hainan Island (in China) for a vacation. However, although he is keen to have a vacation, he wasn't so keen to go to Hainan because it is very hot there now that it is summertime. And as Hainan is an island which is currently under development, there isn't much to see.

As ungrateful as it may sound, he decided that he would want to go and his parents agreed to go together. Therefore, this began a series of troubles which Henry Yew would not want to discuss here. More can be seen elsewhere (mark that). Nevertheless, long story short, there were many shortcomings and in the end just three days ago Henry Yew and his family were in Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur at Plaza OSK to have the Chinese Visas done. As everything was done in a hurry, a hefty sum of RM510 had to be paid for three visas instead of RM90.

Today itself, something happened that threatened to cancel one of the air-tickets. This drew Henry Yew into a mad fit of rage. His rage rectified the problem immediately and everything was in proper order again. Therefore, it has been set. Henry Yew will take off to Hainan on the 18th of June 2007 at 0820 hours to Guangzhou first, before transiting to Hainan at 1450 hours.

As he shall be away for nine days (in Hainan for five days, then Guangzhou for four), this is the second "take off". From the 18th of June onwards till the 26th, he shall be taking off from RANDTS temporarily. Upon his return, he promises that he shall post pictures (that will be taken using his Nokia N70 phone) of his visit in Hainan and Guangzhou.

[


This can actually be found in my Archive. But I thought I'd post this here just for fun.

I found this in Reader's Digest (Can't remember the year it was published though. Sorry) A DJ from Germany came up with this idea to come up with nouns to identify and categorise the people around us. So here are the nouns he came up with. And the ones in purple are the alternates.

Anecdultery = The moment when you are halfway through telling someone a story - acting in the know and exaggerating like crazy - when you realise it was their story in the first place. communitake, theminiscing

Binfidel = A person who sneaks his rubbish into your bin once it has been put out on the kerb, so there's never any space for your last forgotten bag. binfiltrator, coup d'etatrash

Boastbuster = A person who, when asked to guess how cheaply you bought something or the size of your pay rise at work, always pciks a figure so extreme that your story falls completely flat. anecdope, pestimator

Buckstop = The space left between the person using an ATM and the first person in the queue behind them. PINcushion, dough man's land

Cosmetic Perjury = The tactful response required when you meet an acquaintance who has proudly changed their hair, face or body in a failed attempt to improve their appearance. fake - lift, undiscretion

Edgehog = A train or bus passenger who hogs the aisle seat so that you have to climb over them to get to a vacant spot. yobstacle, AisleBeRightMate

Eyesberg = The icy look a teenage boy gives his mother when he wants her to stop talking to his girlfriend. off - peek, frigidglare

Hope - couture = The item of clothing you keep for years in the vain hope you might fit back into it someday. wishfits, martin - luthers (as in, "I have a dream...")

Lovestuck = The moment on a first date when both people want to make a move but are scared of getting a knockback and as a result, nothing happens. pre - sensual tension, ankissipation

Flaparazzi = Someone who is always in the background of a live news report, waving stupidly at the camera. telepathetic, vextra, eyejacker

Knack - nickers = Someone who can't leave a hotel room without taking every tea bag, sugar sachet, complimentary shampoo etc. artful lodger, kleptomarriott

Teararist = A person in the cinema who seems to take ages to unwrap their sweets or open their chips then eats them one by one, oblivious to the noise. tornmenter, weapon of multiplex destruction

Piece de resistance = The last bit of food left on a plate because everyone wants to be polite. gluttanot, remorsel

Moanotone = The faltering voice you use when you ring work to tell them you're sick. ARGGGHcent, phlegmbellishment

Shinterjection = At a dinner party, the sharp kick made under the table you give your partner to indicate that whatever it is they're saying, they must stop saying it right now. shin dig, toed rage

Tortune = A catchy yet awful song that you just can't get out of your head, even after hearing it playedjust once. ABBAration

Suffermore = A person who is always sicker or worse off than you. If you say you are a bit tired, they are exhausted. If you are snowed under, they tell you to try it with six kids. And when someone runs up the back of your car, it is nothing compared to the accident they had in the summer of 1984. hurtuoso, sickophant

Veriflycation = That involuntary movement of checking the fly made by all men as they re-enter a public place after leaving the bathroom. heflex action

So there. Hope you guys enjoyed it.


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It's rather funny to be inspired when you're in deep frustration. But that was what happened to me on the 28th of May.

I thought of quitting photography- to banish my dreams and hopes, and to journey as far as possible from the grips of it, but something called inspiration struck me right at the core. Instead of flinging my camera to the wall with fury, or plainly ignoring it, I took pictures with it. And... though I didn't think much while pressing the shutter button, I'm quite glad with the outcome of the pictures (and even more so after I've post-processed them in Photoshop just for fun).

DSCN 5334 copy

That's the core of a guava rested on the back of my law notes, which were used to cover the surface of my journal. Looking at this picture after some time, I came up with the decision that it looks scary. It seems like the poor guava core is undergoing some sort of postmortem surgery in a fruit morgue, and the colour filters I've layered on the original shot certainly didn't help to turn things brighter... Made the atmosphere more sinister, it did.

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Quite sickly looking colours I've chosen, but I like the shadows on my arm and hand.

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A play of light and shadows. This one reminds me of shadow monsters and their allies of things that go bump in the night...

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It was so difficult to take the picture of my legs. I had to lie down on my bed, place my feet on the wall, position them next to the light source, and keep still while I press the shutter button (the shutter lag obviously didn't help). As a result, my legs look shorter and stumpier, but I got the (sort of) shot I wanted. Additionally, I've chosen green-blue filters, as this brings memories of mermaids and their tails, haha. So the green-blue filters to represent the colours of the ocean...

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Before taking this shot, I switched the white balance of the camera from 'cloudy' to 'incandescent'. This picture has been rotated clockwise, and saved in Photoshop after a minor adjustment of Curves. The lamp looks like a moon here, and I have this picture displayed as the 'avatar' in Windows Live Messenger currently...

Interestingly, Joon-Wye commented that my fingers formed a heart. I didn't notice that until he told me so... =) Also, he noted that I like to take pictures of body parts, haha. But I don't think he's right.

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I shot my foot. 'Nuff said.

It was certainly intriguing to know that whilst dwelling in frustration and teetering on the edge of depression due to photography, I took part in it. I wanted to pause the process of taking photographs out of inspiration, habit and fun, but I failed to surrender almost entirely. It's as if I can't escape from the field itself.

I do believe it wouldn't be easy to let go of all of this. So do I, or do I not, persevere? This question has been lingering in my mind for weeks, and I chose not to give much thought to it since too much thinking often results in a melange of headaches and heartaches. Even though negative thoughts swirled in my mind and hazed it with confusion, one thing was made astonishing clear. My greatest enemy was, and always will, be me, myself and I.

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It’s so difficult to be yourself sometimes. We hear this very famous myth of individuality. The ones who know its importance and strive to achieve it find it so difficult to reach the level of having our thoughts not swayed by people around us. However, parallel to individuality comes fitting in.

I’ve always strived to be independent in making decisions involving my own life. Time and again I try my very best to give reasoning in my very own perspective of things; but, caught up in the middle of all that confusion, I always find myself being affected by people and their opinions and wants. In being individualistic, at the same time, I take importance in trying to listen to other's perspectives to make them happy. In the end, I do not know if I’m happy because I truly am or I am trying to make people happy. Is making people happy, making oneself happy?

You might have gotten yourself confused in the past sentence but I do not blame you for the confusion in your mind. It is as confusing as it sounds.

Just a few days back, I was questioned regarding decisions I made in life. I do not know the person’s perspective of questioning me in such a manner; but to me, every single action I did was questioned and I felt like I had to doubt my very own decisions to place them in comparison to the expectations of others. Friends exist to advise, no doubt. However, I think that there reaches a point that we should not impose our opinions unto others, no matter how strong our stance is; especially the matter does not involve health or money related issues like taking drugs or borrowing money from loan sharks. (That kind of imposing is understandable.)

Sometimes, people around us think that we can do better. They tell us, “This will look good for you,” or, “that looks superb on you.” Sometimes you very reluctantly say, “Yes” because you care about the opinions of others more than yours… I know at this very point, people think that I am weak in my opinion and that I am unable to assert my perspective of things. I do not think so. Fact is, I do so in so many things.

Humans cling to others, so attached and unable to accept reclusion. We want to be part of something so bad that we are willing to bend some personal rules and personal opinions though they hurt so badly. I know it is inevitable, you know so too though on the outer you may stand up for individuality and asserting personal opinions. Now what I have in question: Where is the cut of point? How will you put your foot down after so long of playing along?

Now, comes the part you say, “Stay true to yourself from the beginning.”

Then here comes the part whereby I say, “Problems evolve, they don’t just happen.”

I’m sure that everyone is questioning about the dilemma I am in. It is not a dilemma per se. I am merely disgruntled in certain aspects of thoughts and decisions and opinions of people around me. I have my limits though my threshold is very high. I am hard headed, but sometimes people should watch their words. I am very open minded, but sometimes people just don’t talk about certain stuff; and when they don’t, don’t push it. Again, I am open minded about fitting in; but sometimes I want to be me.

This might not be the best article to kick-start my writings here; but listening to perspectives on things is something I like to do. Solutions may be hung on a string just before our eyes, but the human eye is blinded by so much ignorance, oblivion and plain stress.

Lastly, here's an old poem of mine. To tell you the truth, it was written for my ex-boyfriend. I think you'll be able to figure it out. But this article has nothing to do with him lar. The poem just fits.

His parody

A parody,
One about life,
She took it, and pasted it,
to humour and laugh.
When it ended,
The audience cheered.
If they only knew the tears,
to all that was told.

The stage bright and lively,
shone in pride and glory,
to what seemed a story,
about a man who never knew,
the word happy.

Never did anyone know,
or think,
how it'd feel being him,
something that real.

- eries 21.07.05-

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Fort Cornwallis's wooden gate. Unedited.

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Brigde made out of wooden planks. And my feet. Colours added and tweaked in Photoshop.

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Wednesday, June 14th, 2007 AD.
The shit hit the fan between a Malay dude and this here Furball.

Our college (KDU) I must first say has a very nice and reasonably well thought out canteen. Plus the food isn't half bad and the prices are reasonable. But this incident revolves around a particular section of the cafeteria - The Drinks/Desert/Breakfast Stall (yea I know but seriously thats what we all call it)

First off I will try and give you an idea of the configurations of this here stall, well actually i just want to point out that the stall has this glass divider/sneeze-guard thingy over the actual counter.

The incident happened in the morning (and i have changed the names of those involved to maintain anonymity) a friend of mine X was at the stall getting his morning caffeine fix. Nice guy, on the stocky side, stout as a wall and just as hard to arm wrestle... ;P So anyways...
Hes' at the stall see? And he was leaning on the sneeze guard thingy (common activity for most people who visit the stall and do note that this divider is constructed of tempered glass and so should actually be able to take a hammer blow without breaking) and I see him see? So I come over all friendly and give him a man sized pat on the back see?
And guess what? Lo and behold the damn glass slides of its rack and crashes (shattering into a gazillion pieces) on what appears to be a basket o' eggs and some bread ready for toasting...

So now were both like: "Holy shit! WTF Just happened??!"

("What away to greet a friend eh? -.-")

Obviously the canteen people call the "manager" right so we wait...
He comes on all friendly and assures us straight away that its all cool after we explain that the glass pane (get this) wasn't even secured properly in any way to the brackets in which it was placed...

Then he surprises us and goes: "Yea it's ok thats happened like three times" or something to that effect. Now i dunno bout X, or you guys but at this point I was like: " 'WTF??! It has happened three times and you guys haven't even done a shit about it? I mean tempered glass can cause some serious shrapnel if the fall angle is just right"... (Can anyone say Claymore Mine?)

But okay, whatever right, so I was about to walk away and guess what happened?

This Skinny ass Malay dude that looks like a damn motherfucking high school dropout goes like "You Bayar saja la sekarang apa mau bising bising lagi!" (Just pay for the damages now la why you making so much noise?)

And I was like *WTF??!?*

And he goes on like he fucking owns the damn place! And the manager as nice a guy as he seems, just stands there doing shit!

Then I was fuming at that point see? And dearest X has (wisely and i don't blame him for this one bit) faded in to the background. And Canteen dude was still holding me in his gaze see? Like he wants me to respond, I was about to ignore him but...

(Now i would also like to point out again that the "manager" had already settled that neither me nor X was to blame)

He gives me one more stab too many and goes: "You yang kasi pecah! You bayar la!" (You broke it! Now pay for it!)

And me being the Gentleman that I am, decided i was obliged to do so...
Very Very Very vocally (as only an angry Bhai can ;D)

So I gave the guy a thorough sounding see? In front of the whole Fucking canteen. Very nice performance if I do say so myself. And guess what!? He gets so fucking dumbfounded that i know MALAY! LOL!

So anywys that was over with now we fast froward a few minutes, still in the canteen;

Four of us are sitting together see.
X and two girls and myself.

The girls are still trying to calm me down (got this ' ' close to punching he guys head in).
X is going on about how I handled that badly and should have been more "diplomatic".

And the ladies start spilling stuff about Malay dude see. Apparently he's also a notorious pervert when at the cashiers to the point that most ladies in their circle of friends would rather avoid the stall than have to deal with him. (note one of the girls is also Malay)

Oh and heres X's side of the story just for fairness sake... (this is his unedited testimonial)

So I was in college for an extra class, and while I was walking to the drinks stand to buy a coffee, I saw Jas. Now, obviously you don't just say hi to someone you haven't seen in weeks, so I gave him a manly pat on the shoulder (read: I whacked the shit out of him).

After the obligatory "Cibai-motherfucker" from him, I went to buy my coffee. After placing my order, I did what I almost always do - leant against the glass barrier separating the counter from the outside. Suddenly, I felt someone crash into me and heard a loud crash.

For a moment, I was almost speechless, but at the same time, I thought it was really friggin' cool. I think the first thing I did once I got over the shock was laugh. My only worry was that me or Jas would have to end up paying for the damage.

Fortunately, as it turned out, the manager said he didn't blame us. I thought that was the end of it, but while we were talking with the manager, one of the staff told us to pay - I don't remember his exact words, because I wasn't paying attention to his diatribe, so the only word I recall is "bayar".

Jaspreet exploded at him, and embarassed, I retreated to the table where we had been sitting. I didn't see a need to antagonise them - if I were Jas, I'd have ignored the guy altogether and just asked the manager to do something about his rude behaviour and insubordination (I mean, if your boss says he's not at fault, and you ask the fella' to pay...there's not another word for it).

Unfortunately, I'm not Jas, and so as it turns out now all the guys at the drinks stand don't like him. A lot. Talking to them is quite awkward now, but I just nod and listen to them rant. I see their point of view, because nobody likes to have an angry bhai yelling at them, but at the same time, nobody likes to be rudely told off by some guy in direct contravention of what his manager had just told you.

In any case, that's what happened. I think it's seriously cool, and hopefully they won't spit in my coffee. I probably won't be spending much time there anymore, since my exams are almost over anyway. :D

So guys wasup huh? Anybody else think i should have acted differently? Are we that afraid nowadays to be vocal against AssClowns such as our very esteemed Bumiputra example?

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...who just had someone she fancied say bye to her right after school!!!!! *BIG smile*

one thing i like about my highschool is that, there is form 6. and when there is form 6, new eye candies would come :D ... hahaa.. eye candies. what a way to describe it.

to those who dont know what eye candy means, it means, in my own way of defining it, DROPDEADGORGEOUSGUYSTHATIWILLGOGAGAON. hahahaha. okay, so go on, laugh now. you already got the funny bit. ;)

but then again, the thing i dislike about highschool is that fact that...
a) everyone would know who you like/fancy,
b) stupid uniform that makes me look fat; and
c) stupid uniform that makes me look fat.

you just cant get tired with the uniform making me look fat thing. bleh!

but then again, who cares. at least, he said bye!!!!!

jasmine is haaapppyyyy.... you should be happy for her too ;)

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