26 January 2007

Kenny And KL Clubs

I spent the last two nights out at one of KL’s hottest spots - Asian Heritage Row. The main purpose was to accompany a business associate from Singapore who was in town and staying at Sheraton Imperial.

Being around the same age, it only made sense that I took him to some place I would go myself. My first thoughts were that since this fellow clubs in Singapore, he’d probably be keen to check out the KL clubbing scene too.

As it turns out, his many business trips to the many places in Asia over the past year have never found him at any clubs outside of Singapore. Apparently the people who entertain him are of a much older age group, and they do their entertaining at a very different scene – spas, karaoke lounges or bars. Even on personal trips up to KL he’s never experienced our KL clubs first hand.

Wednesday - The whole idea to club was a spontaneous one. It’s been quite a long time since I’ve done this on a weekday, so I wasn’t too sure which of the clubs to introduce to Kenny. And of course, he was even more clueless than I.

“Ladies’ Night” came to mind so we walked along the street to see which spots were attracting the gals. We wound up at Loft since Kenny prefers R&B. He says it’s easier to dance to R&B. I can dance to anything, even Negara-ku (just to be a rebel), so it didn’t matter much to me.

Loft, although Ladies’ Night, was quite quiet even past midnight. After two rounds of drinks, we moved next door to Cynna Bar which looked a lot more promising. Although there were a lot more people there, it still didn’t feel like the usual KL club scene. We called it a night at 1am since both of us had to work the next day. My boss wouldn’t approve of me causing Kenny to be late for their appointments.

I have too much pride in my country and its nightlife to concede such a dull introduction to a Singaporean clubber. He was here for one more night anyway, so I suggested we try again, different club maybe, on Thursday. And that we did!

Thursday – my boss took Kenny straight to Renaissance Hotel for spa & dinner after a full day of appointments. While waiting for them to finish, I met up with some friends who happened to have dinner plans at Asian Heritage Row. Most of them left after happy hour was over, before Kenny arrived. The few who were still around had further plans to join some other people at Maison, a stone throw away. I hadn’t been to Maison before, but it was Ladies’ Night there on Thursdays and at the very least I’d have more company than just us two guys.

Proud to say, none of us were disappointed with what Maison had to offer. The place was crowded from the time we got there till late. The music was nice, and my friends’ friends did a good job keeping us entertained. It didn’t cost all that much either!

We didn’t leave till 2am (only because we all had an early day ahead), and I didn’t get to bed till 3am. I was feeling so zombie-ish in office this morning. Too much to drink and such a late night, and then an early start to the office – bad combination. My head still spins when I close my eyes to doze. And there’re more activities with friends down in KL tonight. Die!

The following (very discrete) conversation with my boss took place over lunch…

Boss: Eh, you got enough money or not? (Obviously referring to last night’s damage)
Me: Yea, still ok.
Boss: Remember to submit claims.
Me: (wtf? Clubbing claims???) It’s ok la. Just treat it as personal outing.
Boss: No, don’t worry. Just pass me the bills. I’ll give you the money and claim from company later.
Me: (fark! No receipts) Where can? I was with my friends and all ma. Where can claim? Besides, I don’t have the receipts.
Boss: Oh. Next time just claim. Two or three hundred Ringgit is fine. Just quietly pass to me and I’ll settle it for you. Your friends there also ok, just don’t go announcing it to your colleagues.
Me: (shittttt… why didn’t he tell me yesterday!!!!) Urh… ok.
Boss: And remember to claim mileage too.
Me: (wtf???? Mileage sommore???) Yes boss *sinister grin*

My boss damn cool! It would probably be a lot more interesting if he wasn’t grounded - currently expecting his first child.

23 January 2007

3 Weeks Into 2007

The goals I’ve set out to achieve in 2007 are going well so far.

New Glasses
I’ve already ordered my new specs. I decided to go with something less fancy. Being brand loyal and all, I was going to go for my usual Hoya multicoated lenses. The total would have come to RM260. But my optician was being quite adamant on selling me Essilor lenses for a mere RM50 extra. I had earlier informed him that my budget was around RM300, so I guess he was trying to make every last buck out of me.

Never really heard of Essilor before, but I figure it must be pretty big in the market if he was willing to hard sell it like he did. He finally gave in and quoted RM300 for the overpriced lenses and a pair of cheap frames – big discount -.-".

As it turns out, my power isn’t that high after all. I wonder why my doc said I should get specs.
Right: -0.25 / -0.50 X 115
Left: -0.25 / -0.75 X 65
I don’t understand any of the above. If you do, please explain it to me.

Weight Gain
It’s going a bit slow, but at least it’s moving. I’ve gained about a kilo since my medical examination. But I’m not even sure if it’s due to the active changes I’ve made to my diet & lifestyle.

Since signing up with Fitness First, my food intake has grown drastically. I pile my plate during the 3 main meals each day, and I've added between-meal snacks with a lot of focus on protein and carb. I’ve also started taking some powdered nutritional drink formula for weight gain purposes. No obvious results so far.

My gym exercise routine has evolved a lot since first registering. It started off with daily cardio workouts. I then learnt that I could only lose more weight that way so I adjusted the routine to 2 days on cardio and every 3rd day on the weight machines. I don’t think this is working out either, so now I’m going to skip the cardio and just go for the weight machines once every 3 days. Hopefully there’ll be obvious changes within the next month.

Commencing Masters Degree
This may take a bit more research and enquiring. I can't say I know many people who have done their Masters, so advice is hard to come by. So far the Internet has only given me basic facts about courses available here, which cost anywhere between RM15k - RM50k. Even the local price tags are so extreme that I've decided against sourcing for overseas or online courses.

There are so many fields available in Masters it's kind of hard to decide which to take. With Masters in Business Administration being the most common, I'm tempted to not be a victim of 'fashion' and do something else instead.

But then what else is there? I think I will need to go sit down with a guidance counsellor, and maybe with some of my more successful uncles to see what advice they have to offer.

More updates will come when they come.

16 January 2007

Scary Stories

Seems some people have gotten into blogging about some of their freaky, eerie, scary experiences. Just felt like joining in the hype before it dies down. You first need to know that I'm really not much a believer in such things. Anyway, here goes...

It was a dark and stormy night (why do they always begin this way?). Ok-la, my case wasn't so classic. It was just the average night in my old house in Sec 19 PJ. It's a semi-D (probably with 20 years or more history) with lots of garden at the side. I'd lived there for only 3 years at the time... who knows what kind of history was hiding within its walls.

At about 1am, I was still sitting in front of the PC as I always do. The rest of my family were already fast asleep. My PC shared the same room as the dining hall downstairs, with the sliding door to the side garden just to my right. I had the curtains shut of course.

The flourescent light above me & the upstairs hall lights were left on for me. The rest of the house in complete darkness. The only other light source in the area came from my PC screen.

Out of nowhere, the light above me started to flicker, while my UPS system (Uninterruptable Power Supply - backup supply for PC) was flickering on and off. I paused from my tapping at the keyboard and turned my head to scan the rooms around me - nothing. What got my mind wandering was that the light coming from the upstairs hall was constant the whole time.

A couple of minutes later, I noticed the light from upstairs flickering from the corner of my eye. Strange, because the lights downstairs and my PC were both fine. I ignored it once again and went back to my chatting.

Suddenly, the light above me died. 2 seconds later, my PC went dead together with the UPS (Unreliable Piece of Shit). Great! The whole downstairs was in darkness and I only had the light from upstairs to get around.

First thing that came to mind - go check the fuse box. Before I even had a chance to get up from the chair, the upstairs light went out too! KNNCCB. The whole house was in complete darkness and with my eyes still numb from staring at the PC screen so long, it couldn't adjust to the pitch black setting. I was completely blind!

The way the lights went out was more than enough to get anyone scared, me included. Even though I'm a disbeliever, the mind tends to play tricks on you when you're tired.

But it wasn't like I was going to just sit there and scream for mommy and daddy. I'm a big boy, I can take care of myself. So I headed for the kitchen stove, 20 paces away from me. Lit the fire which gave me a slight sense of comfort.

From there, I made my way to the storeroom under the staircase where I remember last seeing the emergency light. Beyond the storeroom door was heaps of junk. Neither the light nor I could get past the door. Not that I really wanted to go in there anyway, given the circumstances. I just squatted at the entrance and started waving my arms around openly until it bumped into the emergency light.

The extremely stale, musky air from deep inside the storeroom caused the hairs on the back of my neck to rise. A sudden chill ran down my spine and goosebumps all over followed. I was hoping and praying at the back of my mind that I wouldn't find "anything else" in there. It seemed like an eternity before one arm bumped into the emergency light which was hiding in one corner next to the door. Thank goodness that was all I bumped into.

And thank goodness also the light was working. I took a quick stroll around the house to check on things. The fuse box was fine, and there was light coming from the house across the street. Means only my house blackout - weird.

I went back to take another peek at the fusebox to see if I missed anything. While staring blankly at it, the upstairs light came back on. A few seconds later, the downstairs light came back on. And then my PC & UPS (Useless Plastic Stool) beeped back on.

The events which took place that night was the spookiest incident for me. It never happened again after that, nor did I ever figure out how & why it happened. Any one care to "shed some light on the darkness" for me?

14 January 2007

Travel 2007

The first two weeks of 2007 has gone pretty well. Apart from the many outings with great friends, and also getting started with my weight-gain program and going to the gym, I have also begun plans for this year's many travel vacations.

Here's a skeletal plan so that everyone, including me, can keep track of where I'll be going, how much money I'll be spending, and how much fun I'll be having.

Trip 1/2007 - Redang
Date: 13-15 April 2007 (Fri-Sun)
Duration: 3d/2n
Objective: Diving - PADI Advance Open Water Diver Certification
Est. Budget: RM1,200 (airfare not included)
PADI Open Water Diver Ceritifcation
- Shona (confirmed)
- Chui Yin (confirmed)
- Grace (unconfirmed)
- Jeffrey (unconfirmed)
- Yen (unconfirmed)
- Tomomi (unconfirmed)
PADI Advanced Open Water Diver Ceritifcation
- Mervyn (confirmed)
- Soon Yean (confirmed)
- Andy (confirmed)
- Federica (confirmed)
- Robert (unconfirmed)

Others interested to join are welcome. However do note that there are currently no more cheap seats on AirAsia. 7 from the above list have been booked onto AirAsia. The rest will likely travel by car or bus. Leave me a message if you are interested. I'll sort out the necessary arrangements for you.

Trip 2/2007 - Penang
Date: 1 -3 June 2007 (Fri -Sun)
Duration: 2d/2n
Objective: Leo Forum
Est. Budget: RM400
Remarks: Crash the Leo Forum without signing up as a delegate, maybe help out a little.

Trip 3/2007 - Lang Tengah
Date: 16-18 June 2007 (Sat -Mon)
Duration: 3d/2n
Objective: Diving
Est. Budget: RM700 (airfare not included)
Remarks: Just tagging along on Soon Yean's family trip for the opportunity to dive, and maybe let go the sausage on Soon Yean.

Trip 4/2007 - Kota Kinabalu
Date: 24-27 July 2007 (Tue-Fri)
Duration: 4d/3n
Objective: Climb Mt Kinabalu
Est Budget: RM600 (airfare not included)
Remarks: Still planning. Others are welcome but must inform Robert within this week.

Trip 5/2007 - Sipadan
Date: November/December 2007 (TBA)
Duration: 6d/5n
Objective: Diving the world's greatest dive sites
Est Budget: RM2,500 (airfare included)
Remarks: Aiming to go during fullmoon. We'll cross this bridge when we get there.

With my current passions, the lack of commitments, my crazy friends, and my youthful energy, I can expect 2007 to be one heck of a year. Let me know if you'd like to be a part of any of it!

11 January 2007

Samsung Pendant

Even joining a gym gives me an excuse to shop...

Since signing up with Fitness First and starting last Saturday, I have spent at least 1 hour there working out everyday. With my newest activity well on its way, I decided to go take a look at the market for MP3 players. I’ve never really paid much attention to such products before this, all this while thinking “what for?” Well, working out isn’t exactly the most interesting/exciting way to spend my time. So maybe having some music of my choice playing might help the experience.

As with all other I.T. products, the best place to browse & shop is at Low Yat. Most of the players on display were nifty little MP4 players. There’s really a lot to choose from, varying in size, color, specification & price. None really caught my eye, nor my ear. MP4 player… “What for?”

Some more walking around and browsing led me to come across the Samsung Pendant. Gorgeous little thing in an elegant shiny black. 512MB retails at RM349 while the 1GB one costs RM399. Upon trying it out for size (audio quality), I was amazed. Samsung’s DNSe technology brings a fantastic 3D effect. It’s kind of like listening to music on a high-end hi-fi system in a small room. I decided immediately that I just had to have it.

I didn’t want a mere 512MB MP3 player. A little bargaining brought the price of the 1GB model down to RM380, a miserable 5% discount. They didn’t have the 1GB model in black, so I settled for the silver/white one. Like I said, I just had to have it. Silver/white is just as gorgeous actually.

For those who haven’t really had a look at what’s available out there, there are some other lesser known brands of MP3/MP4 players out in the market today. Competition is strong and they go for as little as RM100 to RM300 and beyond depending on specs.

I could have settled for a simple ciplak brand which still supplies decent quality music to my ears, but being me I’d never do that! LOL! I wouldn’t want to wind up using it for just one week before throwing it aside for a much better brand/model. I guess the same applies for my love life, and why I’m still single.

07 January 2007

Bored? Join A Gym!

More on my resolutions for 2007, I have since decided that since I'm on my way to gain a few pounds, I might as well get in shape too. Not to say that I'm in bad shape or anything, but there's still a great deal of room for improvement.

When I did my medical in November, I weighed in at 54.5 kilos. Being 175cm tall, that makes my BMI around 17.8. Anything below 18.5 is underweight. The "normal" range for my height is 56.7kgs - 76.6kgs. That means I need to gain at least 3 kilos. But of course I won't just stop there. I'm going to aim for 65 kilos or more and try to maintain it around there.

Since it's on my list of 2007 resolutions, I'm determined to make it happen. And I figure 10 kilos gained can be put to good use. As such, I'm one of Fitness First's newest members.

As always, it was one of those really impulsive things. I went to work in the morning like any other day. Then the idea popped into my head sometime late morning. I spent the afternoon browsing for some information online. After work, I headed straight to Fitness First @ The Curve and 45 minutes later, I was signing the forms.

Questions you might ask me:-
Q: Why Fitness First?
A: Because I want the flexibility of moving from one gym to another depending on where I am, and where I'm heading.

Q: How much are you paying?
A: I signed up for a year's Passport membership which is costing me RM140/mth.

Q: Are you mad?
A: Do you really have to ask?

Q: So how often will you be going?
A: The current plan - everyday

Q: Are you mad?
A: I don't know. Am I?

Q: Where will you find the time?
A: Well, weekends are easy, but my weekday evenings are seldom available, so that leaves mornings. I start work at 8.30am, whereas the gym opens at 6.30am. That gives me approximately 2 hours to work out, shower, and then make my way to office.

Q: Are you mad?
A: I'm starting to think so.

Q: How long do you think you can keep it up?
A: Hard to say. But I'm definitely not lacking in enthusiasm at the moment. We'll see.

My past two days at the gym has been quite an experience. I've only worked on my cardio so far though. Will start on weights tomorrow with the trainer. And hopefully he can help me build a decent workout plan.

Will definitely keep you guys posted on progress and updates. I'm sure many of you are already placing bets on how soon I give up. Good luck with that! And whoever wins, feel free to buy me a meal or something... for my efforts if nothing else. :o)

By the way, if anyone is interested to try out a gym, I've got three 1-day passes for guests. I don't exactly know what to do with it, so feel free to take them off me. I won't even charge you for it.

03 January 2007

2 Weeks Of Partying: Christmas

The end of 2006 was marked with a week of partying. The beginning of 2007 seems pretty much the same - another week of partying. With one event following another, I've had nothing short of an awesome two weeks so far, and there's still more to come!

24 December - Xmas Party
The line-up began with the Christmas party on Christmas eve. We crammed 30+ people into a 3-room suite at Crown Regency Service Apartments in KL. The evening started with steamboat prepared by some of the gals... and guys too, I think. I was too busy with mahjong to notice.

Didn't eat much either because of the lack of space. It was just too much of a hassle to squirm my way through the crowd to get to the food. Whatever food I got had to be served to me.

The party only really began when we made our way downstairs and up the street to Bintang Walk. There was a fair crowd there as expected, all eagerly waiting for something to happen when the clock struck midnight.

My group of 30+ were as high-spirited as could be, and we hadn't even had a drop of alcohol yet. At least half of us had Christmas-themed outfits, the most common being Santa hats...

...and reindeer hats too!

We also equipped ourselves with a few canisters of foam to spray each other, but held back until the countdown. Alas, there was no countdown, no performances, no fireworks, no nothing. Other than the crowd, all was quiet.

Having a big group of party-goers has its advantages. It took 3 of us to start counting down from 10, 9... the rest of the group was in for 8, 7, 6... and the whole street was with us as we went 5, 4, 3, 2, 1... MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!! Even the cars honked with us (or at us... hard to tell).

And off went the confetti and party sprays. It didn't take long for the spraying to get out of hand and turn into an all out war. Some families nearby even joined in.

Kids a 3rd my age had started spraying at us out of nowhere. Soon Yean and I were getting most of the attention, and then all of the sudden, Soon Yean was nowhere to be seen. So it was me versus 4 little brats. Good heavens!

I had three major disadvantages... 1 - I was outnumbered 40 to 1 (ok ok it was only 4 to 1, but they were coming at me from every direction). 2 - I hadn't the stamina to keep up (I'm 24, it's excusable!) 3 - I hadn't the ammunition (while the kids just had to run back to mommy & daddy to get a fresh canister).

No points for guessing who cowered in defeat.

And when I looked at the parents of these devils, they looked right back at me, faces gleaming with pride. I could almost read their minds - "look at our kids, all grown up and bullying the big ones... I'm so proud of them". Amazing! Ish!

After catching my breath and getting back to the safety of my group, there wasn't much else to do... but to start carolling. We rolled out the first - Jingle Bells unrehearsed. It wasn't all that bad, and we even the the crowd clapping and singing with us. Truly a Kodak moment. Strangers even came up to us to have their picture taken. Weird indeed!

We did another number, but choked a little with the lyrics... unrehearsed ma! On our 3rd song, we didn't even get past the 2nd verse, and all decided to quit and go back. That was so funny I can't remember who laughed harder, us or the crowd.

After the gathering at Bintang Walk, we went back to the apartment for a break and the gift exchange, and then a few of us took a break from the crowded room and headed over to Ruums which was a stone throw away.

This place used to be Warp. Recently given a face lift, it looks pretty good now. And the crowd seemed alright, although a bit young. Maybe it's just because we're so much older. But the contrast was enough for us to take note.

Purpose of going there was to meet Alison (the gal I met in Phuket). The plan was either she come up, or I go down. With the huge turnout upstairs, I didn't think having Alison and her friends come up was such a good idea.

Well going down wasn't too bad either. I got to go clubbing, something I really enjoy but haven't done in a loooooong while... since November if I remember correctly. LOL! Besides, Robert has been so looking forward to shuffling at a proper shuffling place, with proper shufflers, and proper music.

We left when the place closed at 3am and headed back to the apartment. I was so tipsy I could barely keep myself upright. And those buggers insisted on playing Twister. So, I had to open my gift from Robert & Grace for everyone to pass the time. Well they seemed to enjoy themselves. I was in for two rounds but the alcohol in my system was a huge disadvantage.

I finally gave up and went to bed, but not without a fuss! Hahah!

01 January 2007

Tripping Phuket: My First Tattoo

I have been wanting to get a tattoo since out of highschool. There wasn't any concrete reason for getting a tattoo, just being itchy backside as always. Like when I got my first piercing back when I was 17, and again when I was 18... and yet again when I was 20. Itchy backside indeed!

Do I still wearing earrings? Well, maybe 10 out of the 365 days a year. It's not so "appropriate" in my line of work, so to speak. Ok back to the tattoo.

All this while the desire was there, just that I hadn't a clue as to what to put under my skin and wear it around for life. A skull? A dragon? A snake? A spider? A naked girl? Those are the usuals for guys, but to me - kind of distasteful.

Then of course there are the less provocative ones... like Chinese/Japanese characters, my zodiac, the common tribal designs, etc. Nothing clicked.

Finally when I started diving this year, it chanced upon a little wooden charm carved into the shape of a sea turtle. I got it as a souvenir for my first dive trip ever, and now wear it around my neck every now and then. Since then, the sea turtle has been my little mascot.

A little more background behind the whole "turtle" thingy. Well, growing up with the name Gooi Hup led to many teases relating to turtles & tortoises since way back in primary school. Trivialities of being that age and from a Chinese school.

Highschool wasn't much of a change except for two things. What was once laughed about in Mandarin was now laughed about in Cantonese. I guess that's what you call evolution. And now in Cantonese, both Gooi & Hup together can be mispronounced to mean "turtle shell".

Identifying something which I could relate to that much was the hard part. Designing the tattoo itself, well we all know how artistic I am (not). Many tattooist around in the Klang Valley have huge selections of everything, except turtles. They might have tortoises, but not turtles. The few who do have turtles... well, I just didn't like them.

I naturally asked around for the artists to try designing something for me. Never worked out. Besides, it was way too costly.

And then came Phuket. As many of you know, certain things over in Thailand are cheap by Malaysian standards, and tattoos are one of them. There was no way I was leaving Phuket without at least browsing the little tattoo parlors at the corner of each end every street in Patong district.

I finally found one with an awesome tribal turtle design...

That's it when first stenciled onto my arm. Pay no attention to the sunburn and skinny body.

Filling in the blanks.

The completed turtle.

If you haven't been through such an experience, I'm sure you're wondering - does it hurt? The process is actually a little gun with a needle with about 2mm pertruding out at end to pierce and imbed the colouring beneath your skin. So yeah, of course it hurts.

But just a little at the beginning. And once the area numbs up, it's more like a ticklish sensation. And then at the end, they clean up your wound by pouring anticeptic solution and wipe it down. That burns bonkerz! And in my case, it was done twice because he had to touch up a some of the little areas which was left out by accident.

Given some time for it to heal, here's what it looks like a month later.

The artist - Tom

Obviously, he's Thai. And due to the language divide, the only advice on care I got from him was not to wash with soap for 5 days. I guess that was enough advice since it healed pretty well.

The entire ordeal lasted about 90 minutes. The cost - THB1,500 for a 2.5 inch one colour tribal turtle. Pretty good if you ask me.

I'll probably want to add a bit more to it later, or maybe even a second tattoo elsewhere. We'll see how things go.