A few weeks ago, my favourite cousins Ezaad and Julie, held a Tahniq ceremony for their newborn prince, Eshaan. It was quite an event, almost resembling a wedding reception with the gifts for the guests as well as the reception being done at the void deck. With a guest list that numbered 300, the void deck was a logical place to receive the guests and yours truly helped to double up to entertain friends and family members who came. The little prince himself was in his best behaviour, oblivious to the surroundings and just doing his own thing. He’s a good boy and he’ll grow up to be an even better man, Insya-Allah.
As usual, whenever there is a wedding reception or any form of gatherings within the family circle, my dad would be entrusted to make his signature drink specialities – his fruit punch and his carbonated Bandung. He has passed down the knowledge of brewing his signature concoctions down to my uncles, cousins and me but I still need time and more practice to master doing up the fruit punch. If some of you had attended my wedding, you might remember that the fruit punch was served to the guests but it was done by my dear uncle, since Dad had to receive the guests. I dunno if I should list down the recipe to this carbonated Bandung that people have come to love and remember every time we hold gatherings at our place. If you guys want me to share it with you, just leave your comments and I’ll share it in my next entry.
On the same day as Eshaan‘s Tahniq ceremony, Singapore played Malaysia in the 2nd-leg semi-finals of the ASEAN Football Championships. Thanks to Eshaan‘s grandfather, ex-Singapore international Mr. Dollah Kassim, I got complimentary tickets to watch the match at the National Stadium that night. I went with my distant cousins Faizal, Shahran and his wife, Rafidah. I had wanted to go since I had lifted a personal ban on not watching any matches as long as Singapore was kitted by “Tiger Beer“.
Now that Nike has taken over the kitting of the national team (even though I am an Adidas freak), it would lend a lot of credence to a team from a developed country with sporting aspirations. Honestly, being kitted by “Tiger Beer” is a laughable prospect for me, cos a team like Singapore deserves to be wearing internationally-renowned sporting brands. The alcoholic beverage company behind Tiger Beer, Asia Pacific Breweries, should just stick to churning out what they do best. Which is why I read a weekend report in the papers that said sales of the previous jerseys were low compared to the orders for the current jerseys which are still not out in stores.
The view of the stadium from the North end…
Also, I had wanted to go as I missed being part of a 55,000 strong crowd from the days of the Malaysia Cup. Back then, I was at almost every match and modelled my playing style on the pitch to the likes of David Lee, Sudiat Dali, the late Borhan Abu Samah, and Fandi Ahmad, depending on which positions I played in. Against the auld enemy Malaysia, you can bet that the National Stadium was going to be packed to its brim, with the fans sensing a victory on the cards and since afterall the English FA Cup took precedence on cable television with Manchester United playing at 1.15am, Chelsea and Arsenal playing the next day and Liverpool being out of it (I love to rub this in!!!).
The Kallang Wave being executed…
I thought I could get a good parking space but I ended up in a massive traffic jam all the way from the Pan-Island Expressway to the National Stadium. By the time I got a parking space at Jalan Benaan Kapal, near the Kallang McDonald’s and KFC outlets, it was already 15 minutes into the match. And I got in at 8:30pm!!! It was a good thing that there were no goals at that point of time and I managed to locate my distant cousins at the North side of the stadium behind the Malaysian goal where Singapore scored the equaliser through Ridhuan Mohd.
A clip of the crowd awaiting the start of the 2nd period of extra-time…
It was fun reliving the past, with the Kallang Wave going round the stadium (spoilt only by the unsporting Malaysian fans’ unwillingness to do it), and all the chants printable or non-printable. I feel that only at the stadium can one get away with shouting expletives, especially the favourite 2-syllable word that means “in need of something” in Indonesian. Not that I condone it especially with families and small kids around, but I gotta admit I too am guilty of joining in the bandwagon when things did not go well on the pitch but I try to tone it down by saying “Button” in Malay instead of that favourite 2-syllable word.
The finalists lining up before the game…
I repeated going to the National Stadium again for the first-leg final against Thailand, this time sitting at the grandstand along with my cousins, Ezaad, Julie, Jid, my elder sister and Julie‘s younger sister Kyla. Singing the National Anthem has never been done with gusto but I felt the back of my hair standing at the pride being shown. I even had a red Adidas jersey on which I customised myself by sewing the national flag on it and my name and favourite number printed on it. I must have shocked quite a few people with my jersey since Singapore is sponsored by Nike.
The Thai mascot gamely posed for the cameras…
I don’t think I need to describe what happened during the Thailand game as it had already been widely reported and discussed in the local media. But what I want to point out is that Singapore, under the tutelage of Raddy Avramovic is a boring team to watch. We have flair players like Khairul Amri, Itimi Dickson and Shahril Ishak who are all mostly kept on the bench. We tend to play the long ball game and hope for the best. Watching Malaysia and Thailand running rings around us was painful to watch especially when they played a one-touch game.
Celebrating Noh Alam Shah‘s goal…
Aide Iskandar is also past his best. He was caught out God-knows-how-many-times that following his good friend S. Subramani, who recently retired the international scene, would have been welcomed. The coach needs to have more faith with Baihakki Khaizan who I felt was one of the stalwarts in the 2005 edition. Not playing for long resulted in the drop of his form when he stepped onto the pitch. And I dunno what’s the fetish with playing Shi Jiayi when he’s no more than a headless chicken running aimlessly on the pitch.
Clearly Singapore‘s style of play was reminiscent of Euro 2004 champions Greece, whose soak and strike strategy paid off against the big guns. With the championship retained, no one is gonna complain about their style of play but imagine if they were to lose??? People pay to watch attractive football. The only thing I can give credit is the boys’ never-say-die attitude and their rate of turning what few chances they got into goals.
2 days after that, again along with Ezaad and Julie, Aida and me attended the live telecast of Sinaran Hati, the charity show on Suria channel in conjunction with the Tabung Amal Aidilfitri. I dunno how long this charity drive runs cos we’re well away from the last Aidilfitri which was a good 3 months ago. I attended the event since I had received an invitation from a good friend who is working for Eaglevision. While the items were forgettable, the efforts put in by those who had performed like the four actresses (Huda, Fizah, Nurul and Farah) who opened up the show with the dance item was commendable as it took great effort to come up with a performance like that.
The introduction to the show with Nurul, Huda, Fizah and Farah doing the dance item.
Coupled with Hazlina‘s ever-improving hosting skills, it made watching an average show turn into something which one would appreciate and feel for those whose problems were highlighted in the show. Iskandar Ismail (Eiss) proved once again, he has the vocal prowess to upstage his fellow performers when it comes to hitting the high notes. I still dunno how and why this guy’s market value is still not going upwards compared to the younger counterparts like the Idols and the Anugerah Boys. We don’t have a dearth in talent, that’s for sure, but people still value overseas singers compared to our own breed.
The Anugerah Boyz minus Syed Azmeer with their own rendition of “Ikhlas Tapi Jauh“.
I had wanted to stay back and take photos with the performers and congratulate them for their hard work and efforts but since the rest looked as though they were tired and hungry, we left immediately after the show ended. So where did we go for dinner??? Well, we went to the latest Mad Jack Cafe outlet at Jalan Kayu, which is near our homes. Food was good, especially the salmon fish and fries set. But what was more enjoyable was the company. I’ve always cherished whatever time spent with close friends and favourite cousins. Wished that we could have more of it in future.
I took a walk down memory lane last Friday to my old home at Toa Payoh Lorong 8. You see, I was there to service my car at the Tan Chong Motor (Nissan) Centre. The building so happens to be a stone’s throw away from my old block (230). So whilst waiting for my car to be serviced and cleaned, I took a slow walk towards Lorong 7 where my late paternal grandmother used to live (Block 9). Lots of things have changed over the course of 21 years since I left the area. Even though I had schooled at Beatty Secondary which is also in the Toa Payoh area, I did not venture out to reminisce the memory of staying at my old place.
The Lorong 7 market was one of my favourite places as I always accompanied my mum to do her marketing on Sundays. It is here that I always bought my favourite Putu Mayam at Block 18, an Indian seller putting up a makeshift stall to sell his foodfare.
Across the road is Block 12. This block is famous for what had happened in early 1981, when 2 kids were murdered by a Chinese medium, his wife and mistress (see report). The Adrian Lim case is still remembered till today. His apartment is on one of the upper floors. A famous blogger known for his wit also stays at this block (identity will not be revealed).
This view is from the lift lobby of Block 9, my late grandmother’s block. Before, this basketball court was not fenced up and a lot of events were done here like weddings, funerals, mass-viewing of movies on a giant screen, getai shows, community events, you name it, they’ve done it.
From what I’ve observed, old blocks have been demolished and new ones have replaced them. The open-air carparks behind my late grandmother’s place and my old block have been replaced with multi-storeyed ones. The big playground with a big slide and sand where I used to play with my cousins, have been replaced with an even bigger one sans the sand. Old shop tenants have also made way for new ones. I still remember the few “Mama” shops there where I used to buy crackers, small toys and comic books. The two wet markets at Lorong 7 & 8 have also been given facelifts and still bustling with activity.
The home with the clothes hung outside was my late grandmother’s home. I presume a Malay family is staying there. One of the old neighbours is still staying there after all these years as I still remember the photograph of Jesus being hung at the door. A lesser-known trivia is that famous Malaysian movie director Aziz M. Osman and his family stayed at this block too and knew my paternal family. In the past, this walkway and hedge was just a grass patch where we kids would play catch or football outside my late grandmother’s home.
The old playground with sand and a metal merry-go-round have been replaced by this new and bigger one. I wonder why they’ve done away with the sand nowadays.
This walkway linking block 232 of Lorong 8 and block 9 of Lorong 7 brought back some sweet memories for me. Before, this was a steep slope and there was a staircase and slide on this slope which I will never fail to slide down whenever I return from the market. Behind this block, before this new one was built, there was a grandmother who was famous for cooking Mee Rebus and Mee Siam and my mother always bought them from her. God bless her soul if she’s no longer around. I still remember what a kind lady she was.
This multi-storey carpark never existed before. It was just an open carpark where we had a clear view of the shops opposite and yes that point block on the right was where I used to live and my home was facing the shops.
The East Payoh Secondary school which was notorious for its bad hats back then have been replaced by Pei Chun Public School, whose original building have been taken over by MUIS. Even though the area looks new and well maintained unlike the past, the smell of cat poo still lingers fresh, which made me a little dizzy. My old block has also been given a facelift. The lift now stops at every floor and there’s a CCTV monitor at the lift lobby. As a resident, I believe I would feel safe with such security measures. I went up to my old place and saw that a Chinese Christian family had bought over my old place. I thought of knocking at the door and wanting to go in and see cos I missed it a lot and was sad when my family wanted to shift to Hougang in 1986.
This block where my old home is facing was where I did my mini shopping of crackers, comic books and stuff at the Mama shop. If I’m not wrong, the second shop on the left was where it used to be. This block was also used as the scene where the sitcom Police & Thief was filmed.
The lift lobby of my old block. First time I notice such security measures cos I thought only condominiums have it.
The view from the main road. This mini park was just a grass patch in the past. My father taught me how to play football and fly a kite here. There was no walkway linking the two point blocks too. Amazing what changes they’ve done to the place…
Walking along the area, seeing the new things that have replaced the old, made all the past memories flood back into my mind. Naturally, I felt all nostalgic and sad that how I wished I could rewind back all those years and be a kid all over again. A lot of my adolescence were spent there and things that I did wrong and got away with murder were all done there. And I also wonder what had happened to all those friends and old neighbours I used to play with at the playgrounds. I felt a lump in my throat as I remembered what I did back then and seeing the changes…
Speaking of the past, sometimes what you did before would leave a lasting impression on others. I recently caught up with an old poly-mate on MSN. Actually I’ve known her since primary school as her best friend was my neighbour. I had a crush on her back then cos we regularly meet during Inter-School Malay Language competitions and I even taught my younger sis who was 3 years old then to call out her name when we were shopping for groceries with our respective families at the neighbourhood NTUC supermarket.
When we were in polytechnic, some of the crazy stuff I did made people remember me for the wrong reasons. During the orientation activities, I had the audacity to engage the watching audience by celebrating extravagantly (making a gesture by cupping my ears and then doing a bow) after scoring in a game of Captain’s Ball, of all games, can you believe it??? She was of course part of the audience and I remembered her smiling and shaking her head at my antics. I’m sure all those crazy antics are still fresh in her mind as my conversation with her showed. She asked what am I doing for a living and I said I’m in the R&D line and she did not sound convinced. She thought I was pulling her leg. Naturally I wondered why and she replied, “You’re always up to your nonsense what???“
So there you have it. My past reputation precedes me in that respect and I dunno whether to laugh or be angry at the apparent disbelief on her part. I remembered being pissed off at the remark, but then again I’ve not met her since my polytechnic days so definitely whatever memories she had of me were the not-so-good ones. Out of courtesy I just replied, “One does not stay or be nonsensical throughout one’s life what???”. I still dunno if she believed what I said or think I’m still fibbing. Come to think of it, I should have replied, “Nonsensical does not have to include being a liar!!!“
Got my tickets to next week’s Pesta Perdana 9 event. Come to think of it, it’s the 9th edition, yet it’s only the first time I’m attending it, knowing how religiously I attend events like Anugerah Planet Muzik, Anugerah Juara Lagu and Anugerah Industri Muzik annually. I was fortunate I bought my tickets within two hours it went on sale. I noticed that there were less than 10 tickets left when I was paying for them. I’m still in a conundrum as to what I should wear to the event, seeing that it is a black tie / evening gown theme ala Broadway style. When your weight has ballooned up like nobody’s business, your wardrobe choice becomes limited. You must be wondering what has happened to my California Fitness membership???
I’ve been guilty of not going to the gym for the fact that I sprained and twisted both my ankles whilst playing football and just by walking normally. My ankle joints are loose already after years of wear and tear playing football. It’s frustrating to sprain it just by walking on a normal surface. It’s embarrassing when it happens in a public place and people see how gullible I am. So when you can’t do vigourous activities with your feet, you tend to let food be your source of solace, thus the weight gain. I decided to invest in ankle straps for both my ankles and I’ve recently returned to the gym after almost two months out. It’s a waste of my membership fees I know but there’s no reason not to avoid it anymore now that my ankles are on the mend.
Speaking of Anugerah Planet Muzik, it’s into its seventh year this year. As most of you know, I’ve been maintaining my record of never missing the event yearly. When talk was going round that the show might be brought over to Jakarta, I thought, “There goes my record…” cos really even going to the one in Kuala Lumpur in 2003 was such a rush and a hassle. I remembered saying that the event is our product and it should remain in our shores when the other countries don’t quite give a hoot about our local artistes. It’s one of the things we look forward to attending every year and going abroad means we lose that essence to have something to look forward to. Initial plans to do it in Jakarta would have meant having to pay for airfare, hotel accomodation etc. I’m not keen on going there after my first experience going in 1991 was filled with bad encounters with corrupted police officers waiting to cash in on very single opportunity.
So you can imagine my joy when I found out that they decided to do it here after all, albeit in June. Since its inception, the dates have constantly been pushed forward. I still remember the first one was on 20th January 2001 and then subsequent ones were in February and March. My only wish is that whatever points I raised, which resulted in the bad review I gave in this blog about last year’s event, will not be repeated. I know the good people at Mediacorp Radio knew about my negative review. Even without it, they would somehow have noted the shortcomings and strive to improve on this year’s event and subsequent ones. I know I am confident of a better edition than the last so here’s wishing them luck and all the best in planning and executing a product I’ve come to love and cherish, for the simple fact that it is our own local product.
I’m now basically a bloghopper who reads and seldom give comments unless I have to. I’m starting to become a bit like my readers who come in and read my blog and just go. Sometimes I feel like a voyeur, sometimes I feel guilty for trespassing someone else’s property and leaving unnoticed. Oh well, I guess this blog thingy is common behaviour already amongst us all. Till my next entry…