Wednesday, April 27, 2005


On Monday I had an “Oh shit! What time is it?” morning. My day usually starts at 7.30am should my class begins at 9.30am. I give myself ample time to get ready in the first hour and to travel in the second. All this include buffer time which means time to go view the morning KL skylight from my bedroom window and to enjoy Eurosport while sipping my morning coffee before driving off with Valerie. So even though I woke up at 7.45, there is still no cause for alarm. But on Monday, the answer to my “Oh shit!” question was 8.25am. There was certainly a cause for alarm.

Everything had to be done double-time. ‘Make haste’ as one would put it. That would be the reason that I was almost panting and beads of sweat were rolling off my forehead. Even though 10 minutes late, I kept my cool in taking my seat. And then I realized I forgot to shave. I now looked like Keanu Reeves on the Tonight Show. Naturally good looking but lack of facial hair care just put people off.

As for today, it is the second time for the past 3 weeks I felt sleepy during class. The first time was yesterday. When this happens, my mind and focus is about 70% of its sharpness. As you’ve may guessed it, this is not good.

Well, there is a pretty simple explanation to all this. It is lack of sleep.

The thing is, I already spend my whole weekdays going to class. During the night I do the assigned homework. I usually finish around 12 or 1 and that should be a peachy time for me to go to bed, right? Wrong. Well, at least for me I think. This is when I catch up with the primetime reruns on TV that I missed earlier. When that finishes, it’s time for live football matches. Now those I could not possibly miss. If I miss those, I would wake up an unhappy man the next morning. Only then, I would doze off…usually with the TV still on (my mother hates it when this happens but that’s a different story). So if I’m lucky, I would get around 4 hours of sleep.

The amiable solution would be to recover during the weekends but come on, the weekends are the fun part. This is when you go out and spend leisure time. At night? Well, if you’d check out the latest ad by Astro promoting its sports channels, the tagline says, “From dusk till dawn”. And it’s beautifully true. 7 to 1 is the English Premiership double header, 1 to 3 is the Italian Serie A coverage and the Spanish Primera Liga took over from 4 to 6.

I know this is medically unhealthy. Only recently I heard on the radio that an adult needs to sleep at least 6 hours a day to reduce the likelihood of getting diabetic. This, of course, came from a study done by a group of overseas university students. I did not take the information wholly but it did make me stop and think.

But one thing that bothers me most when I don’t have enough sleep is dreams. You see, based on my personal experience, when you sleep when your body forces you to i.e. your are so tired that the body just shuts down to recharge its batteries (this usually happens when you fall asleep when you are not planning to) which is what I’m experiencing right now, it is very much likely you would not experience any night dreams. My theory is that the brain has used up all it energy (well, not all because then you would be braindead) that it becomes incapable to generate dreams anymore. It just focuses on revitalizing itself. I’m a firm believer in this because when I decide, “Alright, I’m going to bed”, I wake up the next morning with a memory of sweet (although sometimes weird) dreams. Just like last Monday when I became so frustrated with my inability to complete my homework because I was stumped halfway through I decided to call it a day. Although my nightly adventure feels very similar to John Constantine’s life where I was battling demons with the coolness of expression it was still a proper dream.

Ah, here we go…insomnia - chronic inability to fall asleep or remain asleep for an adequate length of time. I think I have this. Oh dear, the word ‘chronic’ doesn’t sound too good does it? Well too bad because I still haven’t done today’s homework and there’s a test tomorrow. Later on Chelsea will be entertaining Liverpool in the Champions League Semi-final first leg. Oh the inhumanity!

For the readers, please note that the author is now giggling uncontrollably and it is unclear whether this is caused by a surge of excitement or a clear sign that he is on the verge of insanity.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Fine Dining

Allan and Barbara Pease pointed that men (as opposed to females, not extra terrestrials) need a certain amount of “fire-gazing” time after a long and tiring day at work. The Peases also said that nowadays fire-gazing is no longer, you know, gazing at the fire per se, as in the stone ages. The variation has evolved but the ritual is still the same which is to do a form of activity which would effectively detach the mind from the day’s earlier commitment and doing it so in utter silence. This could be achieved by watching the TV, read the newspaper or checking e-mails. Of course, being a male, I indulge in some of these activities myself. After a whole day of listening to lectures, upon arrival at home I treat myself to the knowledge of what’s happening to the world at large by browsing through the day’s newspaper and flicking through the sports channel on ASTRO. If I have any extra energy, I would poignantly make myself a nice drink. And all this is done without a single word ever leaving my mouth. At this point I thought, I am feeling fine and fabulous as all my fire-gazing needs are fulfilled. That is until today’s lunchtime.

It’s a beautiful Sunday afternoon. The sky is clear and no Hindustani movies on TV. After yesterday’s night out with the family at Sri Hartamas until a little bit past midnight I woke up understandably late today. It was half past 9 and it’s not really late but my father thinks otherwise. Anyway, after lingering around the house with only one eye open I finally managed to prep myself and got treated to a late breakfast. Out of no definite purpose I stumbled into the kitchen and there I saw on the cooking table was a whole fresh siakap (as I understand is Australian Barramundi or just sea bass in English). This to me was a welcome sight. I always refer the siakap as a delicacy. To have one later that day is enticing enough. However, 5 hours later when lunch is served I looked upon the perfectly prepared steamed siakap on the dining table and I felt no excitement. It felt weird and so I took a bite. The taste and texture was gorgeous as usual and yet I felt drab. It was troubling because there I was and not enjoying my meal. There had to be some sort of explanation. Then it occurred to me. I was bored with my food. And the solution wasn’t that hard to figure out. It is fine food.

Recalling my life for the past few months I haven’t been to a fine restaurant for quite some time. This is fire-gazing need. My “long day at work” was having home-cooked meals and the occasional roti naan at Haji Tapah. Somewhere in between is the Colonel’s recipe for fried chickens and a double layered burger called the Big Mac. At this point how much I miss the calming experience of dressing up for dinner and sitting in a relaxing ambience where the waitress or waiter stood by your table, soft spokenly introducing themselves and recommends the day’s chef special with a welcoming smile accompanied by a classical music in the background. As much as I miss the Renaissance or the Regent, I must say the place I miss most is Chili’s. Even though there’s neither calming ambience nor classical music vibrating through the air, the food is just awesome and the service is top notch.

The irony is the reason I no longer have the opportunity to dine at these wonderful places is time. I just don’t have enough of it. I’m in KL 24/7 and yet no time to enjoy the city. When I was at UTP, 240 km away from KL, I would come back at least once in two months and have a very enjoyable meal at a fine restaurant with a few of my friends. I had less time back then and yet I managed. Now, and here, it isn’t so. How come? One obvious reason I could think of is since my usual suspects of friends are now full time employees of various companies the only time to go out and have fun is during the weekends. And, I know you all agree with me on this, the weekend crowd at KL is no fun. During the varsity years, I would come back during the semester breaks and my outings are usually done during the weekdays when the rest of the worker bees are tucked nicely in their respective offices. I used to laugh at them. Now it seems less funny.

There’s only one way out of this. I need to fulfill this urge. I refuse to use the word ‘mengidam’ because I do not want to be in the same category as a woman who is 5 months pregnant. Sadly though, it already Sunday evening and still have a few assignments to work on which means this nuisance will trouble me for the whole of next and the next should I not do something about it. Haih…I tell you this indulgence business really can be bothersome but when you get your hands on it, bellissima, mucho magnifico.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

7 Days of MICPA

It’s late evening here in Gombak. The sky is clear and although there is no sound of birds singing nor children laughing, the ambience is of comfort and somewhat reassuring. After spending my whole weekend doing accounting homework I’d say it’s a very welcome setting.

It is now about a week since my CPA programme has started and you know what? I love it. Absolutely giddy. Really, I do and I don’t mean it in a sarcastic way.

Well, for starters, it’s nice to have something to look forward to when you wake up every morning. For the past 3 months, the very first thing that pops into my head when I wake up is, “What’s for breakfast?”. Nowadays, it’s back to, “What time is it?”. Or when I think I overslept, it's "Oh shit, what time is it?". Only then I think about breakfast. The classes starts quite late too, about 9.30/10.00, and it does help to avoid the morning rush hour. Back in the internship days I used to love driving off with Valerie in the still of the mornings. With minor traffic along my way, it was indeed pleasant. Now it’s even better. I get morning walks. Albeit it is in the vicinity of KLCC where the air comprises more of exhaust fumes rather than healthy fresh air. But what makes this all more intriguing is what actually happens in class.

You see, since my high school days, I was never considered a talented boy when it comes to accounting subjects. That’s why I avoided the 10th optional subject of accounting during my SPM years despite people all around kept saying it’s senang. Same thing happened again during my study at UTP. A minor in Financial Management or Corporate Management? As I always associate the words ‘financial’ and ‘accounting’ together I opted for corporate. 2nd year it caught up with me again. Business Accounting was the subject and as predicted, I sucked. I did not fail but I sucked. Years later, here it is yet again. But this time I said to myself, I am trying to be an accountant so that means knowing accounting stuff and by hell if that is what it takes, then I’ll give it my best shot? And guess what? I no longer sucked. As a matter of fact, I’m breezing. I am enjoying doing accounting stuff. Now who would’ve guessed that? Same thing with Business Law. Facts are actually sticking in my head. And taxation? I understood it so much that thoughts of arguments are popping in my head. To tell you the truth, I could hardly believe this myself. I know it’s still too early and everything but with the state I’m in right now, things are looking promising. I, for one, couldn’t help but feel optimistic. The only sad so far was that I had to sacrifice my weekend to do homework. It’s a bit frustrating but in order to achieve that long term goal, I guess I could cut down on some of my funtime. Besides, having fun was what I was doing for the past 3 months.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

The First Time We've Met?

Sasa just forwarded me an interesting link to a Berita Harian news article. It’s about a UTP student who had just gotten married to his chatting partner. I can tell you 2 things what I think about this:

1) I think it’s cute that there are people out there who actually find their life partners through cyberspace.
2) I also think it’s quite sad.

Just think about it. How do you answer when your first son or daughter came up to you one day and asks, “So tell me, dad, how you and mom meet?”

For starters, you can’t lie to your children. So I imagine the response would go somewhere along these lines:

“Well, we were introduced by a mutual friend,”
“Really? Who?”
“He was my roommate,”
“Cool. So what happens next? You asked mom out for a date? Where’d you go?”
“Erm, no where,”
“What do you mean ‘no where’?”
“Well, we chatted and …”
“Of course you did. That’s what people do on dates. They talk…,”
“… in cyberspace”

Your final words trailed off and sounded distant. By this time you have come to realize that your child’s face expression has turned into disbelief. This is due to the fact that his/her mind had gone numb. When you finally decided to reopen your mouth, your son/daughter had apparently left the room.

You see, I don’t want to tell my children that the first time I met their mother was a full 2 months after we started chatting with each other. Quite honestly, I think it’s rather embarrassing. One day, when I receive such a question, I would very much like to reply, “I met your mother on a train journey to Toulouse. I saw her gazing out of the window into the silent night. Thinking it would be a sin to let a beautiful woman like her sitting all alone in the corner so I decided to offer her a little company. The rest was magic”.

Or something like this, “I was driving home late from work at night and I saw this young woman all crumpled up by herself. Obviously cold from the pouring rain. Sympathizing, I offered her a ride home. She never had to take the bus again after that,”

Now that is how you’re suppose to tell that magical story to your first kid. Although my personal favorite has to be, “… I was caught sneaking in your mother’s house when she cornered me in the stables. We got off to a sword duel and, naturally, I won. Just for the fun of it, I snipped off her dress so that she wouldn’t run after me as I was making my escape. I think she was caught breathless after the experience. ‘Vigoruos’, I believe, was the word she used to describe me,”. This, of course, would only happen in small town in Mexico and the father was apparently local town hero that goes by the name of Zorro. Do that in this modern age and time, it could only lead to breaking an entry and sexual harassment charges in court.

Well, back to the original couple, I guess it’s fate that ended being with each other. No matter how they met in the first place. As one old Italian man once said, when asked what does he think about fate, “Destino?” while taking a puff from his old pipe. He then said something in Italian which he immediately repeated in English, “… it is written in the stars,” pointing to the night sky with his worn out cane. “Capische?”. Agreeing, I nodded, “capische…”

But I really do hope I don’t end up in that chat-friend-cyberspace-IRC-messenger-ICQ nonsense. Oh crap, I guess that rules out Siti Nabilah doesn’t it?

Dated April 3rd, 2005. taken from
Apparently, this stuff is real. No shit.

Perkahwinan abadikan adat Melayu-Pakistan
Oleh Fadzlena Jafar
TIDAK ramai yang memandang serius hubungan di ruang internet yang bermula dengan sembang atau chit-chat. Tanpa mengenali suara dan wajah rakan sembang itu, sesiapa saja boleh menyamar. Oleh itu, kebanyakan pengguna ruang berkenaan sekadar `bermain' atau bersembang kosong untuk mengisi masa lapang.

Namun, berlainan dengan Nursuziana Zulkifli, 24 dan Mohd Amin Mohd Din, 25, yang membina mahligai bahagia selepas berkenalan di ruang siber lebih setahun lalu. Ikatan yang termeterai kukuh pada 13 Mac lalu itu pada asalnya bermula sebagai rakan sembang sebelum masing-masing mengambil keputusan untuk melafaz janji setia.

"Kami diperkenalkan oleh rakan sebilik saya sekitar Ogos 2003. Ketika itu saya masih belajar di Universiti Teknologi Petronas. Tetapi kami tidak pernah bersua kerana perkenalan hanya setakat di ruang siber. Namun, selepas dua bulan berchatting, kami dapat merasakan ada keserasian antara kami.

"Oleh itu pada Oktober tahun sama, saya berkunjung ke rumah Suzi untuk berkenalan dengan lebih rapat. Berani? Tidak juga<--May I just say that to me, this is the most amusing part of the article. Walaupun kami tidak pernah berjumpa saya dapat rasakan dialah wanita idaman saya. Jadi, saya tetapkan hati untuk bertemu dia," kata Mohd Amin ketika ditemui pada majlis resepsi yang diadakan di Hotel Radius International Kuala Lumpur (KL), baru-baru ini.

Nursuziana berkata, mereka menjalin hubungan jarak jauh menerusi internet kerana ketika itu masing-masing masih belajar di universiti, iaitu beliau di Universiti Multimedia Melaka, manakala Mohd Amin di Tronoh, Perak.

Begitu pun, Mohd Amin yang kini bertugas selaku Jurutera Perisian di sebuah syarikat di ibu kota menganggap pertemuan beliau dengan Nursuziana sebagai takdir memandangkan mereka mengambil tempoh yang singkat sebelum mengambil kata sepakat untuk mendirikan rumah tangga.

Menarik mengenai perkahwinan pasangan sama cantik sama padan ini, majlis perkahwinan mereka dirancang begitu rapi bagi menggambarkan pertemuan dua budaya berbeza Melayu-Pakistan. Ini kerana keluarga Mohd Amin berasal daripada keturunan Pakistan, manakala Nursuziana Melayu Pulau Pinang.

"Saya mendapat idea untuk meraikan ikatan dua hati ini dengan mengadakan majlis perkahwinan dua budaya. Kami mahu pastikan majlis ini menjadi kenangan seumur hidup, jadi setiap perancangan dilakukan dengan teliti.

Di Pulau Pinang, tema warna majlis ialah kuning keemasan dan di Kuala Lumpur pula, merah hati.

"Oleh itu, tema yang kami pilih ini membabitkan semua sekali iaitu daripada barang hantaran, pakaian pengantin hinggalah kepada pelamin dan hiasan. Hantaran saya disediakan ibu saudara, Mami Norjan dan anaknya, manakala sebelah suami pula digubah ibu Amin, Sakena Anvar," kata Nursuziana yang kini bertugas selaku Eksekutif Perhubungan Awam di Hotel Radius International KL.

Pihak pengantin perempuan menyediakan 14 dulang hantaran dan lelaki pula sebanyak 11 dulang. Selain itu, turut disediakan wang hantaran berjumlah RM10,000(despite all the convenience of the Internet, this gal still cost a hefty 10G) dan mas kahwin sebanyak RM200.

Jika di Pulau Pinang, majlis yang diadakan mendapat sentuhan butik andaman Nani Puncak Kasih, tetapi untuk majlis di sebelah pihak lelaki busana lengha dan sherwani diimport khas dari New Delhi.

Majlis resepsi yang diadakan di Kuala Lumpur turut mendapat tajaan HWH (M) Sdn Bhd bagi hiasan pelamin, bunga, hiasan meja dan bilik pengantin. Malah, pasangan berkenaan juga bernasib baik kerana beberapa kemudahan seperti kek pengantin dan bilik mempelai ditaja pihak hotel yang juga majikan Nursuziana.

Nursuziana berkata, pada majlis berkenaan pihaknya turut mengadakan beberapa adat unik yang kini jarang diamalkan dalam perkahwinan masyarakat Islam Pakistan. Antaranya, sebaik mempelai keluar dari kereta bapa pengantin lelaki membaling duit syiling ke arah pengantin sebagai tanda restu.

"Adat berkenaan juga melambangkan bahawa bagi keluarga pengantin lelaki wang ringgit tidak lagi berharga jika dibandingkan dengan kegembiraan untuk menerima menantu mereka. Adat ini semakin dilupakan oleh masyarakat Islam Pakistan hari ini, jadi kami cuba mengembalikan suasana itu.

"Selepas itu, apabila pengantin duduk di pelamin, ibu pengantin lelaki akan membuka untaian kalungan bunga yang menutupi muka kedua mempelai lalu menyuapkan titisan susu sebagai manisan. Ini juga satu adat yang penting dalam budaya Pakistan," katanya.

Satu lagi adat menarik masyarakat berkenaan yang dipertontonkan pada majlis perkahwinan itu ialah acara merebut cincin di dalam sebalang air berwarna keruh yang juga dipenuhi barang lain. Bagi masyarakat berkenaan sekiranya pengantin perempuan yang berjaya mendapat cincin itu, maka beliau akan menjadi pasangan yang lebih dominan. Tetapi jika sebaliknya, dipercayai rumah tangga yang baru dibina akan sentiasa harmoni.

Majlis itu diserikan lagi dengan kehadiran penyanyi tempatan yang terkenal dengan irama Bollywood, Hassan dan tarian banghra. Bagi memperkukuhkan gabungan dua budaya, santapan yang dihidangkan untuk tetamu turut mengambil kira konsep berkenaan iaitu nasi minyak, aloo gobbi, acar buah, ayam madu, daging kurma, dhai (dadih sayur-sayuran) dan pemanis mulut pula krim karamel.