Life For The Past Week Or So…

I have to admit, I’ve been facing a bout of writers’ block lately and that wee bit of laziness thrown into the mix. That should answer why I’ve not been updating this blog for the past fortnight. Anyway, life’s been rather mundane and routine, so nothing much is worth updating except for what happened over the weekend.

This past weekend, even though it was raining almost throughout, I still managed to spend quality time with family. And what better way to spend it whilst watching the beautiful fireworks by the One Fullerton mall??? The annual Fireworks Festival went on on Friday and Saturday (22 & 23 August 2008) and as you all know, being the fireworks suckers that we are, it wasn’t an opportunity we were about to miss so easily. Anyway, this could be our last Fireworks Festival as we’ll be taking a break for about 4-5 years down the road, seeing that Ramadhan is slowly making its way into August. Unless the event happens before Ramadhan next year, I foresee that we won’t be able to enjoy them till Ramadhan ends before National Day. As they say, we’re just enjoying it while it lasts…

Anyway I don’t understand the rationale behind paying $25 just to sit by the floating platform at Marina Bay to enjoy this event, or spending $50 at Esplanade just to qualify from a lucky draw to watch it from its rooftop. The best things in life are meant to be free and this definitely ranks as one of the best in my life. The incessant downpour turned out to be a blessing in disguise. For one, I believe, it turned off many people from coming over to view the fireworks display. Surprisingly too, when I scanned my eyes to look at the crowd, it wasn’t that many as in previous years when even Esplanade Drive was closed and people would pack all the way to the Padang just to view the fifteen minutes’ display. Sure, people stood along the pavements of Esplanade Drive but traffic was still flowing and the road was not closed to the public. Maybe it has lost its essence???

The first night, only AidaSyahindah and me went. It was a great experience for me as I have not taken the MRT along the North-East line for a good 2 years now ever since I had a car. I seemed to forget how fast and efficient it is to get to the city minus traffic jams and ERP gantries. I think I should do this more often so I would save on petrol and rising car park fees, not to mention the ERP as well. Syahindah seemed to attract a lot of attention from train commuters. They can’t help staring and smiling at her, and she was just being her, sitting quietly on her stroller. The fireworks??? Beautiful!!! But we had to wait for 25 minutes or so before they were fired into the sky. Naturally, Syahindah grew afraid during the display due to the loud booming sounds emitted, but she still enjoyed it and clapped when the crowd broke into applause the moment it ended.

We went again on the second night, this time joined by my parents-in-law and maid. Syadiyah was left behind at my parents’ place as it was raining, even when we left home. This time I drove instead of taking the MRT. Thought of parking at the Esplanade but it was already full, likewise at One Fullerton. As it was drizzling when we reached, I dropped the rest at One Fullerton before moving off to park at the NTUC Income building further down the road. There were a lot of parking lots available, even the view to the floating platform was clear, had it not been blocked by the construction works next door. This time round, we came armed with a picnic mat and Pizza Hut delivery menu to while the time away. It was about 8:20pm that we reached the place (the fireworks came on about 9:10pm), so the time spent was best used to have dinner. Syahindah was still quite afraid this time but not as bad as the previous day since she had her grandmother carrying and cooing after the fireworks with her. The good thing was, even though she was afraid, she did not cry or bawl like other kids around us. Maybe it’s in her blood already to appreciate one of the beautiful things in life and she’s had ample training when she was still in her mother’s womb.

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Sunday morning was spent with my maternal family. As I had mentioned a few entries ago, my cousin Ezaad had a supporting role in “Kallang Roar The Movie” currently being shown in local movie theatres. So to lend him our support, we had a family outing just to watch the movie at Downtown East. There were about twelve of us plus two others in the theatre (it was a 10:50am show), so literally we had the cinema to ourselves. I told the rest that when the scene where Ezaad, who acted as Nasir Jalil, scored the equaliser for Singapore, we should stand up and cheer and cheered we did. I jumped up and down my seat and went over to rub his cheeks. The stranger behind us could only watch and grin.

So how did I find the movie??? It was certainly an eye opener for me on what actually happened all those years ago, how our footballers played for the country with pride, without thinking of cash and fame like how certain professional footballers go about living their lives these days. One does not need to serve National Service to feel pride and patriotism, hearing the inspired speeches by Uncle Choo Seng Quee (played by Lim Kay Siu) being delivered were enough to make tears welled up in my eyes. All the more when he gave those speeches knowing he had gangrene. The cast was a riot and even if certain parts were exaggerated, the movie’s substance and essence were kept intact. The intricate homework done by the director Cheng Ding Ann was admirably applaudable. Who would expect him to relive the way the late Dato’ Mokhtar Dahari (played by Rafaat Hamzah) used to celebrate after scoring a goal in this movie or included the Milo tin as a poignant reminder of how Milo was a proud sponsor of the national team in years past before a certain beer brand came along???

Us conquering the theatre… And that’s the star giving us the peace sign…

Anwar Hadi, my junior in polytechnic, did a tremendous job acting as my uncle Dollah. Even if I didn’t know that my uncle was such a joker as portrayed in the movie, the physical resemblance was simply uncanny. In the words of my aunt Faridah, his wife, Anwar really looked like Uncle Dollah back in his heydays. Come to think of it, when Ezaad was much slimmer, me and my friends used to call him “Saiful Apek” and Anwar himself looks like Saiful. Both Ezaad and Anwar can easily pass off as brothers, but of course you can tell the difference.

After the show, we all had lunch at Fresh Bulgoggi, a Halal Korean restaurant situated on the first floor of the new E-Hub Downtown East building. While I did not enjoy the food, the company was great. Aida and I shared the same table as the new star in our family and his wife Julie, who incidentally also had a non-speaking role in the movie as Samad Allapitchay‘s wife and their son Eshaan appearing as Samad‘s son. It was kinda surreal to see the guy I grew up with being a movie star now but his down-to-earth persona made sure that his feet are kept firmly on the ground. Ezaad interviewed me and Aida and asked what were the unbiased and biased scenes in the movie for us. The biased one for us was definitely the pep talk given to him by “Uncle Choo” as it made him one of the leading players in the movie, even though he was not one in the first place. He said that scene was inspired by watching all the World Wrestling Entertainment shows. You should watch the movie to get an idea of the facial expressions he did in that scene. See, who said wrestling was all negative??? As for the unbiased scene for me, it had to be all those powerful speeches being delivered. Felt as though the dead man came to life to inspire us all over again. Over lunch, Ezaad and Julie also shared interesting anecdotes and experiences filming the movie. It was most definitely a learning experience for both me and Aida

Julie ordering food from the touch screen… Cool…

P.S. I would like to take this opportunity once again to thank sis Nona Kirana once again for taking the time to interview Ezaad on RIA 89.7FM last Thursday when she was on duty, in turn helping to promote a local-made product. Me and my family appreciated it very much!!!

Rewind.Pause.Forward – A Fashion Showcase Promo…

Surprised by my sudden interest in fashion showcases??? Don’t be, cos I’ve always been intrigued by such events, not for the models though, but the constant creativity that fashion designers are able to churn out with every design they create cos there seem to be no end to that. Anyway, I am just helping a friend out promoting this event to my kind readers out there. Reading through the press release, it kinda interest me to attend the event, moreso since I had received an invitation, but alas prior plans made with the family for this Sunday takes precedence. Still I hope you guys reading this would be interested to go and support the event, since afterall, it showcases part of our rich Malay heritage on the runway…

If you are interested, and the info above is kinda vague due to my unprofessional editing (and I sincerely apologise for it), basically you need to get in touch with:

Contact: Syed Muhd Hafiz (Co-Event Director & Marketing)

Mobile: +65 9489 6495

Email: syedmuhdhafiz@gmail.com

or

Contact: Muhammad Lutfi Bin Abdul Ghani (Co-Event Director & Sponsorship)

Mobile: +65 9060 4434

Email: mlutfi2006@business.smu.edu.sg

HURRY!!! SEATS ARE LIMITED & RUNNING OUT FAST!!!

Of Principles & Friendships…

Have you ever had a friend you have not met or contacted in a long time suddenly appearing out of the blue and asked to have a meet up, to the point of planning your meeting time etc??? I’m sure some of you have. Do you suspect anything fishy, like why the sudden interest in the meet up or you just think of it as a sincere reunion of sorts to catch up on old times???

This past weekend, a childhood friend of mine whom I’ve not met in ages and not have any close contact since school days, sms-ed to say that he wanted to meet me to catch up on old times and *quote* “to discuss something” *unquote* with me. Out of friendship’s sake, I didn’t mind meeting him but I felt kinda disturbed by that second part about discussing something. More often than not, when people say something like that, they are bound to discuss some multi-level marketing or sideline business with you. If they are financial planners, all the more I will not waste my time hearing them out as I’ve already have my policies in place.

So I replied back and said as bluntly as I could that there must be a catch somewhere if he wanted to meet me out of the blue. I added on and said that I did not mind the meet up but I am not keen if he wants to share or sell anything, if that was part of his agenda. True enough, he replied and said that he agreed with me that whenever an old friend wants to meet, it is usually to his benefit, and that I can stop him anytime if I find the conversation not beneficial.

Even though I was feeling peeved by then, I still tried to remain cordial in my subsequent reply. I told him that I have principles and one of them is never to use my friends, no matter how close I am to them or not, for my own benefit or leverage. Subsequently I apologised to him for stopping even before we’ve started any conversations.

I have this thing about being very protective of the people in my contact list, no matter how close I am to them or not. Personally I am the kind of person who hates multi-level marketing or whatever stuff that pertains or is associated with it. That is why perhaps I am not cut out for a job in sales and marketing. For me, if you say you want to meet me to catch up on lost time, I will be more than glad to accede to such requests, but if you have other agendas up your sleeves, then I suggest you keep it to yourselves. And if someone were to ask me to ask any of the people in my contact list to support their businesses, all the more I will not give as I do not want to make use of my friendships with them for others’ benefits.

This was not the first time that I have experienced such scenarios. It made me think how far would a person use friendships for his / her own personal advantage. I know that in this day and age where businesses and sideline incomes are sprouting everywhere, such scenarios are common place and that my rants are misplaced. Some of you might even think I’m being uptight and aloof. Honestly I don’t mind if such promotions are done on a public basis, like an advert or in a blog rather than a one-on-one affair, since afterall, you have the liberty to buy or not. A one-on-one affair usually means that person has high expectations that you would part your cash out of supporting an old friend. It kinda leaves quite a sour taste in the mouth thinking that you’re being made used of for someone’s own monetary benefit and that to me makes sincerity thrown out of the window and friendship a mere decoration in name…

Pulling The Plug…

In life, there is a tendency to overlook things and making that odd oversight from time to time. Going through the Malay papers today jolted me out of my slumber when I saw the various advertisements on celebrating Nisfu Sya’ban this coming Saturday night, 16th August 2008. My initial plans to attend the Rentak Singapura concert at Downtown East on the same night suddenly didn’t look enticing anymore, even though I have good seats and considered premium ones.

I am not religious, neither do I claim to be one but, between earthly matters and preparing for the Hereafter, I have to draw the line somewhere and show some respect for this blessed night. One can attend entertainment shows anytime down the road but one also can’t say if he is fortunate enough to meet the next Nisfu Sya’ban, since Death waits for no one. Which is why I have decided to pull the plug and not attend the event, even if it means wasting the two tickets that I had already bought sometime in May. So for those who will be looking forward to another review by me, I apologise in advance for not doing one.

If anyone thinks that I blame the organisers for not doing their homework, no, I believe they might have been in the same spot as myself and overlooked the date. I still remember how APM2002 was brought forward as the original date to hold it clashed with Ma’al Hijrah. Maybe if this event was to be brought forward to Friday, then perhaps I might be able to make it, but I’m not expecting any last minute changes at this short period of time.

Yes, I still do support local acts, and I really really do want to be there to lend my utmost support for them, but I really have to apologise as I am unable to compromise my own principles…

Kallang Roar The Movie Teaser…

(Photo courtesy of Kallang Roar The Movie Official Website)

I am usually not that excited about watching local-made movies, simply cos not many of our Malay actors / actresses get the opportunity to do so on a national level. And whoever is a regular reader of this blog knows, I have never made any movie reviews before. I am most likely NOT gonna do one on this, but I am compelled to help promote this movie as I feel it has a Singaporean touch to it, thrown in with a mix of nostalgia. And tomorrow being our country’s 43rd birthday, the timing to screen this movie couldn’t be more right to stretch our annual nationalistic fervour right through the end of August (which usually ends when the last fireworks explode for most people, me included).

Some of you might have heard of this movie which is about to be released in a fortnight’s time or even saw the trailers if you’re watching movies at Shaw cinemas, or even from various YouTube clips. Heck it even has a Facebook group!!! So why am I suddenly interested to promote this movie you might ask??? Do I get paid for promoting??? Do I get free passes / special privileges to watch the show and receive movie premiums???

The standard answer to all those questions is a resounding “NO!!!“. From the vague idea and the short clips that I watched all these while, the movie brings us all back in time to the 70s when Singapore was a football powerhouse in the Malaysia Cup days. That was the time when football greats like Quah Kim Song, S. Rajagopal, Mohd Noh, Samad Allapitchay and my uncle Dollah Kassim, graced the lush fields of the National Stadium and brought in crowds of 65,000 to watch them beat our northern neighbour states.

It was unfortunate that when I was old enough to understand the game, my uncle had already hung up his boots and whatever opportunity I have to watch him play were just limited to the odd charity game or friendly here and there. And after hearing a lot of good things about the team that graced the National Stadium back in the 70s, I am drawn to watch this movie when it hit our cinemas in a fortnight. Yes, we will not get to see the real McCoys in action, but what will be depicted will be something similar to that. From the photographs of the movie that I have managed to see, the actors playing the roles of the main players actually have some resemblance to the actual players themselves.

Another reason why I want to watch and promote this movie is cos my cousin Ezaad, who is the son of my uncle Dollah, is also a part of the supporting cast. He will be playing the role of Nasir Jalil, also known as “The Crazy Horse“, and no, that nickname has got nothing to do with any penchant of watching that renowned burlesque cabaret that used to grace Clarke Quay not too long ago. Not only that, I have two ex-poly mates in Anwar Hadi and Hazriq Idrus playing the roles of my uncle Dollah and Hussein Aljunied respectively. Look out too for Suria‘s Nurul Aini as Rahimah Rahim and Rafaat Hamzah acting as the late Mokhtar Dahari.

From what I’ve seen so far, Anwar‘s striking resemblance to my uncle made my hair stand, cos my uncle was really thin and stick-like in his heydays with that afro-style hair being the craze back then. This is definitely his biggest break yet, for those who are not into theatre and stuff, you won’t understand the immense talent this guy has till you’ve watched the movie.

My cousin Ezaad has been doing a bit of countdown himself via his wife’s blog, with daily write-ups on the movie and giving interesting facts and trivias, which you guys might like to have a read. That should boost their visitorship for awhile. Other than all the facts that I have mentioned, you just have got to watch the movie simply because it is a locally-produced movie made specially for us, a birthday gift to the nation as we celebrate 43 years of independence and living together harmoniously regardless of race, language and religion…

Happy 43rd Birthday Singapore and to you my fellow Singaporeans

Back…

Apologies for being away a little longer than expected. I have been busy with work and contracting the flu virus from my daughters. Which explains why I felt extremely lazy to update my blog, even after my reservist had ended. I was a little surprised that my blog statistics jumped at the beginning of last week, wondering why the sudden interest in this blog since I did not make any reviews of late. Then it dawned on me that we just had THE Wedding of the Year (no prizes for guessing whose), therefore it was natural that people would look up this blog in case I updated anything on it or simply cos search results would reveal that the couple’s blog link is linked to mine. Nope I was not invited to the wedding (cos we dunno each other on a personal / working basis), so many apologies to those who had hoped to get some scoop on the event. Hoped that other blogs or sites would have painted better pictures for you. Anyway, here’s wishing the newly-weds all the best as they embark on their journey and new chapter in life as husband and wife…

This recent reservist call-up I had, was considered the best so far, simply because I was excused from going outfield. Which means, I did not have to control my bowels and not bathe for three days!!! It was heaven sent, even if I had to endure some pain along the way cos I re-injured myself the day before we were supposed to move out, straining my right shoulder where I had done a surgery on it back in 2001. Made some new friends along the way, most notably Had (or should that be SSG Had???) of Rancour fame. Didn’t realise he was posted to my previous company till we started conversing at the cookhouse. Word from the horse’s mouth is that their album would be released next year. So for those of you who are waiting for the group to come out with their debut album, that’s news for you…

Enough for now… Later…