Monday, July 31, 2006

Local Movie Scene

I think most of you had probably heard about the movie Dukun starring Umie Aida whose character is based on Mona Fandey. Encore to that! Finally a local film that we all could forward which is not a love story. I say we had enough of that lovey-dovey sap stories. I say kudos to the new direction our local movie scene is taking.

I know many wouldn’t believe me on this but I’ve always said that the Mona Fandey story should be made into a film since she was first caught by the authorities. But I’ve always suspect that it will come across many obstacles, mainly protests from the victim’s family and, of course, the censorship board. But things are looking promising. I just hope it’ll be good because I’m sure it will generate a lot of hype and I hate to be dissapointed. The last thing you want to do is to ruin a movie which already has a solid storyline. But the title does sound a little dodgy. But, then again, I don’t have any better ideas for an alternative title.

While we are on the subject and to add more weight to my future claims, I’ll give some more suggestions on local events that should be made into movies. I mean, anybody who reads this and decide to claim the idea I lay out here as their own, hey, it’s fine with me. As long as they have the resources to turn them into a feature length film, I have no objections.

First up is the Highland Towers tragedy. But the plot just shouldn’t focus much on the event alone but add a little courtroom drama in the aftermath when every possible authority was sued. Kind of like those John Grisham adapted movies or Erin Brokovich. But as to who should direct such a movie, well, that’s the hard part. I’ve never actually seen a locally made courtroom drama movie before. Have you? But I fear this too will receive a lot of opposition because we’re talking a whole lot more families involved. But, hey, if United 93 can be made, than I don’t think it’s that impossible.

Another kind of movie that I have yet to see our movie makers attempt is a political thriller like Thirteen Days or The Interpreter. And what better base to do a movie about it than the Anwar Ibrahim story? I mean, do this right, it could be an epic. A three-hour long movie which would attract the attention not only in Malaysia but also in the Asean region and probably even more. But in hindsight, it could undermine Tun Dr Mahathir and that wouldn’t be a good thing. Nevertheless, you have to agree it’s an awesome idea.

Relating to that, let me ask you, have you ever seen a local movie where an actor is playing the part of a Malaysian Prime Minister? I mean, look at Hollywood and they have countless actors playing as the President. We saw Harrison Ford as tough one in Air Force One. Michael Douglas as a love-roving one in The American President. Kevin Kline as a corrupt one in Dave. Bill Pullman as the inspiring one in Independence Day. The closest we’ve ever come to is Dato’ Rahim Razali in PGL.

But good news is they are making a movie based on Tunku Abdul Rahman even as we speak. Marked improvement if I may say so. But in the future I do hope to see more movies with fictional Prime Ministers in them. It certainly would be fun.

That’s it then. I’m leaving the office.

The Topic Is 'Women', Yet Again

What a glorious Monday, isn’t it? A little dark, a little gloomy, add a bit of rain and voila, more than half of the workforce arrived late to their offices this morning. Myself included. Fortunately for me, nobody noticed.

Another brand new week, another fresh new challenge waiting to be conjured. So who will it be this time? Well, I don’t have much of an idea now. No Najua, definitely. She’s been occupying my time for nearly the whole month of July. It’s time for find someone else. For this week at least.

One fantabulous news, of course, is the return of Aritha to Malaysia. Her 2 months stint at Chennai has finally ended. And the first thought she had when she made her first phone call to me since arriving back was to ask about the cite hot between Najua and me – at 1.30 in the morning. Well, I can tell you she didn’t get much for me. I was quite unresponsive because I was asleep when she called. I even had trouble remembering Najua’s face. But finally, out of annoyance, I think, she said she’d just read my blog instead. Then suddenly my phone batteries went dead (a strange typical scenario every time Aritha calls me) and I went to take a leak. My phone rang again while I was still in the loo but when I got back, I was too drowsy to make any return calls, or even text her. Sorry, luv, the bed just looked too tempting.

Moving on. Now, about Eiwa. I think I made that call to her around this time last week. Yes, it was definitely last Monday. Well, I think today would be perfect for that little tête-à-tête we agreed on. I could even pick up the latest copy of Esquire when I’m there as well. I just hope she isn’t busy.

As for tomorrow, well, thanks to my muse, Sasa, I’ve already got plans. We’re gonna go to Starlight Cinema. They moved it to Sentul Park this year and for you who’s never been to Sentul Park before and are asking questions like ‘Why Sentul?’, let me tell you that the place is b-e-autiful. I first went there to see Harith Iskandar doing stand-up-comedy at KLPac and I too was quite skeptical at first. But when I arrived I was so amazed that I couldn’t believe I was still in Sentul. It has lakes, trees and filled with little green hills. It’s a bit like a miniature Lake Garden. Hey, we do have decent parks her after all! Anyway, it’s so far deep that you don’t hear the commotion from Jalan Ipoh. Even Harith made a humorous comment about it during his show.
“You’re probably excited about the show, ‘Yeay, we’re going to see Harith Iskandar! Where is it? Ha? Sentul? Is it safe, ah?’. But wouldn’t you agree it is actually a beautiful place?”
‘Yay’ to that.

You know, all these talk about Najua recently almost made me forgot about Kat. A woman who would actually call me back if she ever promised to do so. Unlike some people! Anyway, she called me sometime during the weekend and one thing I noticed during our conversation was that we have shifted from the ‘aku-kau’ to the ‘I-you’. Hmm, interesting development. It could be just on the phone but it could also mean something else. But I am reluctant to make further advances because at the moment she does have a boyfriend. And I have seen him, picking up Kat for lunch once. And he looks, well, tame and harmless. He looks like the last kind of person you’d want on your side in a brawl. I know Kat would certainly have much more fun if she’s with me but it makes me feel sorry for the guy if I should ever decide to come between them. Well, there’s plenty of time for Kat in the future. No rush there.

All this women talk is beginning to tire me. I’m gonna talk about something else in my next entry.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

An Evening With Najua

I once admitted that I produce my usual best in blogging when I write with emotion. But I refrain from doing that this time around because I want to be very sure how I felt about what happened last Thursday evening. Yes, the date with Najua.

As you may have guessed, things have gotten a bit awry that night. It was too bad, really, because it had started off so promisingly. Let me tell you what happened.

The venue was Secret Recipe, Ampwalk. The time agreed was 8.40 pm. It was strange actually because I had asked for a drink and the time was suggested by Najua. I was anticipating along the lines of 6.30 or 7, maybe. But 8.40 at night? Some people even call this dinner time. Anyway, I, somehow, quite unintentionally, managed to arrive slightly earlier than her. As I sat at one of the small tables overlooking Jalan Ampang, the waitress was probably thinking what a sad and lonely life this fellow is leading. Having cake and coffee all alone at this deserted place at this time. I say this because I noticed the surprise look on her face, almost amazement, when a stunner like Najua came to join me. I have to admit I felt pretty smug.

As she took a seat beside me I just couldn’t believe how I’ve managed to arrive at that moment. I was actually having a date with Najua. It felt like a fantasy come true. Well, my fantasy involves a little bit more than just cakes and coffee but let’s not get into that now.

We began to talk. She just came back from dropping her brother at his school, Victoria Institution (VI) which would explain the exhaustive look on her face and the slight delay of her arrival. It turned out she was familiar with this place. She usually comes with her friends whenever they feel like having Secret Recipe cakes. They never went to any other outlets. I didn’t ask why. She also told me that she no longer will be pursuing ACCA but instead will be taking a course in shipping which is more relevant to her job, according to her boss. Well, there goes my hope of ever being her classmate again.

The night progressed pretty well. The place was quiet so it was perfect to have a decent conversation. Interrupted only by the occasional mat rempits.

As I said, everything was going pretty well. That is, until Paul came.

Paul is this late 30s Caucasian male who once reside in London. He’s a family friend to Najua’s family and even now, works for Najua’s uncle who owns an oil & gas company located at, voila, Ampwalk, just upstairs. Najua even explained that both the Quattroporte and red Diablo parked at the front of the complex, which I had eyed enviously the whole evening, belongs to her uncle. Well, it’s under the company’s name but, y’know, kind of meant the same.

Anyway, Paul was working late, and he was coming down to get a fresh pack of cigarettes. He wouldn’t have noticed us when he passed by if Najua hadn’t called out his name out loud. He acknowledged, went on to buy his pack of ciggies and promised to come back and join us. A few moments later there he was – all 6 feet of him – at the table. Well, you know what they say. It takes two to tango and three’s a crowd. Unavoidably, Najua’s focus is now on Paul. She had known him for years. Even Ity and Sandra talked to him on the phone while Najua took a morning shower during her time at UTP. Plainly put, Paul and Najua are pretty close. She even described his apartment at Seri Maya at Jalan Jelatek as her refuge during the weekends. And being British he couldn’t help but have this sarcastic comment about everything. Probably the only thing I like about him. I know I sound like I don’t like the guy but you know what? There’s nothing wrong with Paul. He is a nice bloke, really. A bit of a generation gap there but otherwise quite okay. It was Najua who I was worried about. I was now slowly drifted into the shadows. I had become unimportant by the minute. Even the plates on the table garnered more attention than I did. Najua was suddenly turning ga-ga, and sadly not to me.

Paul stayed with us for quite awhile and had to leave to finish things up at the office. Probably the best thing about that encounter was that he took care of the bill. He pulled out RM30 like some loose change. When Paul left it was unavoidable that we spoke about him. And the fact that it was near closing time didn’t help. I tried to salvage the last few moments by diverting away from the subject but with little success.

As we walked out as the last people to leave Secret Recipe, I thought, well, at least now I have her all to myself. But I assumed too soon. At the main steps of Ampwalk, without even giving me a glance, she scurried over to this parked Silver Audi by the road. It was a mature lady at the wheels and judging by the way Najua’s reaction she’s probably family. I thought it was just a quick hello and how-do-you-do? So I just stood there studying the curves of the huge Italian supercar in front me, waiting. Then I realized they were now chatting for quite some time. Now I felt rather guilty for not going there and introduce myself. But when Najua finally came back to me I felt a little relieved. That is, until she spoke.
“You balik dulu lah. I nak cakap dgn auntie I sebab dah lame tak jumpe,”
I was suddenly left speechless. She was blowing me off, yet again. This wasn’t happening. But, then again, what am I supposed to say? Screw your auntie and stay with me then? I did what was expected – I bid goodbye. We shook hands and that was it. While I couldn’t believe how the night had awkwardly ended, Najua on the other hand couldn’t wait to get back to her aunt. As I walked back to the car I noticed even Paul had come down and joined the chat. Looking back, I felt like an outsider who was never welcomed in the first place. I tell you, the scenario bothered me more than I thought it could, but it did.

I drove home with lots of questions on my mind. I even turned the stereo off just to think. Just what the bloody hell happened? The matter of fact was I went out a date with Najua and that was supposed to make me feel happy, thrilled, proud like fuckin’ peacock but yet, it didn’t. I felt something was amiss. Something went wrong. It wasn’t a disaster. It wasn’t perfect either. Clearly something didn’t go according to plan.

I thought about this for a few days and I came to the conclusion that I was disappointed. I think it was M. Night Shyamalan who said that you can have a bad beginning and a bad middle but you’ll always have the ending. I guess it’s true too when you turn it around. You can have a good start, a good middle but a bad ending, will leave a sour taste in your mouth.

As much as I hate to admit and I once even thought was quite impossible to happen but the truth is, I was disappointed with Najua. It wasn’t really her fault actually. It was all circumstantial. Too bad for me, I guess. It was a bittersweet experience. I could finally add Najua’s name to the list of women I went out with but in terms of fun or was-it-worth-it?, I couldn’t rank her that high up. I even had a better time when I went out with Ara a while back. Wait, that was last year. Oh sod it.

Now I’m actually having second thoughts about asking Najua out again. I even contemplated asking Eiwa out ahead of schedule just to mellow my disappointment. But I know better not to. Eiwa is a whole different chapter.

It’ll probably take me some time to even consider having another go with Najua. Should that happen you can bet that I’ll be taking her somewhere far from Ampwalk, that’s for sure. Oh how it could’ve gone so wrong? It should’ve been awesome. Everything was perfect. The night was perfect, Najua was perfect but the place, oh, the place. What an ambush that was. It was a shame, really. You see, Najua is like Cameron Diaz in There’s Something About Mary. She has this vibe which garners so much attention from the people around her that it can be very frustrating for a man to get close to her. I’m sorry to say this but if this one of the things that drove her ex-boyfriend nuts, then it’s understandable. But asking her to change is like trying to change what makes Najua her and no one has the right to that but Najua alone. Besides, changing that would change the Najua we all know and, well, love.

I’ll end here by saying this – it would be very, very difficult to get Najua. By ‘get’ I mean tackle, ngurat, adjust, whatever. It’ll take a very brave and patient man to sweep her off her feet. Will it be me? Well, I have to come up with a thought out game plan first if I plan to proceed. Najua has now become a delicate issue. It has to be handled with care. In the meantime, however, as the saying goes – there are plenty other fishes in the sea.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

I Told You So

It makes me feel guilty about being happy today. People around are generally sad with regards to the death of Sultan Ahmad’s half-sister and not to mention the Hani Mohsin story. And today my life is coupled with the news that one of my good friend’s father has passed away this morning. My condolences but, as cruel as this might sound, life moves on.

So, today, well, more like yesterday, has been a joyful day for me. Two things happened.

First, remember when I was bitchin’ about the firm not paying my half-month salary for May, when I first joined them? Did I blog it? Hmm, I couldn’t remember. Anyway, matter of fact is, I did bitch about it - constantly. But, as it turned out, they did pay me. It was in the form of a cheque, which I didn’t know of its existence until yesterday. I tell you, tears were running down my cheeks when I held that piece of paper in my hand. It was so beautiful. And I have become instantly rich. Joy~

Second, which is the biggie, happened around 4 pm yesterday. I had nothing much to do back then and was getting sleepy, and all the while trying to figure out what am I going to say to Najua when I make that phone call (hopefully) later that night. Then I had this sudden urge to take out my phone and, voila, I have a message. I didn’t realize it. So, I opened it and, I’ll be damned, it was from Najua. In it, she said how sorry she was she couldn’t entertain my calls lately and she asked if there was something important that I want to talk about. Well, hell yeah. Our dinner plan. Well, more like my dinner plan. But I thought carefully before replying this time. I have learnt my lesson. Probably asking for a dinner date is a bit too ‘big’. So I tried a more subtle approach – a drink. And she said ‘yes’. Oh yes! What did I tell ya? Just what did I tell ya? Once again, Faizad has emerged victorious! After we sorted out the finer details. It’s on Thursday night, if you have to know. About when and where, like the hell I’m going to tell you! Probably after the date itself, I’ll put on something about it. That is, if every thing goes well. If not, then,… er, I’d rather not think about it.

So, ladies and gentlemen, I have a date with Najua. Now, who said the life of an auditor is boring?

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Date

The answer is ‘no’.
Last time I was buoyant about the prospect of having a romantic dinner with Najua. But, no, that didn’t happen. But it wasn’t because a lack of trying though.

The Friday before (14th), I decided to give Najua a call right after office hours. I figured the timing would be just nice. The transition period between the end of the week and the start of the weekend. What better time to ask for a date? So after packing my stuff into Valerie, I sat on the passenger side of her, overlooking the playground and dialed Najua’s number. It was an adrenaline rush juts waiting for the call to connect (one of the best parts about the dating game if I might add) but guess what? I got her voice message. Disappointed, yes. Beaten? No. Apparently she was busy enough to actually turn off her handphone. Either that or she didn’t want to deal with the poisonous unwarranted calls from the boss so late in the evening. Oh well, since Maxis came up with this brilliant thing where you get an SMS telling you that someone was trying to get through while your handphone was off, I decided to redial. So that she will receive a notification of 2 missed calls from my number. 1 missed call would look like a mistake or unimportant. 3 would appear like an emergency or desperation. 2 would be just nice. Sure enough she returned my call while I was inching my way through Sprint.

“Sape ni?”, she asked.
Apparently, she didn’t have my number. Not really a big surprise. So I told her I am her knight in shining armor ready to whisk her away to paradise and beyond.
“ni Faizad,” I answered.
It turned out she too was stuck in a traffic jam. Ideally, this was a situation I’d like to avoid. Firstly, because she couldn’t give…, wait, no. Make that, firstly, because it’s unsafe and secondly because she couldn’t give her fullest attention to the conversation. I mean, normally people who receive phone calls while they’re driving prefer the conversations to be quick and straight to the point. Asking for a date has to be a smooth process of inquisition. Conflict of interests here. Rushing it increases the probability of receiving a negative answer. But I had no choice. I tried to prolong the conversation asking about how things are (the original plan) but she was ready to hang up at one point. So then and there I asked her. Her response?
“Dinner? Sape lagi?”
Suddenly it has taken a new direction which I had hoped earlier was the last thing to happen. But it did, so I replied,
“Kite dua je lah,”
“Eh, betul lah,”
“Betul lah kite dua je,”
3 times she called me a liar. So much for the power of persuasion. I must admit, things were suddenly beginning to look bleak.
“Kite ajak lah sesape lagi. Marina ke, Sasa ke,” she suggested.
It has become clear to me that she had no idea that I was really trying to ask her out for a date (well, I never did mention the word ‘date’ during the whole conversation, to be fair. That would be a bombshell)
“Macam ni lah. Nanti I tanye Sasa ke, sesape kalau diorang nak join tak. Kite go out next week ke… I’ll call you back later, ‘kay? It’s a date, then”
As I could only muster an unsure ‘okay’ myself, she hung up and I was left wondering,
“What the hell happened?”
Apparently her version of ‘date’ with me includes her band of entourage. I was supposed to ask her out for a one-to-one dinner date. Not a group excursion. Not that anything’s wrong with that but that wasn’t the plan! As I replayed the conversation in my head I had come to the conclusion that my fate was left in the hands of Sasa. If she agrees to the group hang then my efforts would be ruined. If she could recall and figure out that my only intention to ask Najau out for dinner is to get an intimate moment with her, then I’m saved. Coincidentally, I had dinner arrangements with Sasa later that night at Parkroyal.

Dinner with Sasa was just a spontaneous act made earlier that day. I virtually had nothing to do that day so I sent a few SMSs here and there with the words “Buat pe?” Just mysterious and childish enough. I even sent one to Nebu. It ended with a dirty joke, of course. But Sasa was the only one who asked me back ‘kenape ye?’ Almost instantaneously I decided asking her out for dinner. Well, since it was ages since I asked her out, she answered back quite harshly, “Ape mimpi kau ajak aku gi dinner ni?” She probably figured out it was just a nice gesture, I think, because she agreed in the end. But now it brings together a new perspective.

So there we were at Chatz Brasserie being probably the two most animated couple in the whole restaurant. We did our usual thang. We talked, we laughed and I had the best grilled Cod in my whole life. We were even the last people to leave the place. After that we had a little walk down Dubai Walk, I mean, Bintang Walk, as Sasa wanted to burn off a few calories after that luxurious dinner. I had to admit I’ve always been the one ruining her diet every time she goes out with me. Little did she knew I had a futsal game later that night. A little walk was probably a bit frivolous for me but I had a pretty good game that night. Maybe it was because of the oysters. Anyway, the point is never once did the name ‘Najua’ ever popped up. I don’t know why. Maybe I was scared of the repercussions. If Sasa said ‘yes’ then she would have the upper hand on the negotiating table. If she said ‘no’ then it would trigger a whole load of inquiries. The gossip ball would just roll. But maybe….maybe I prefer to leave it to chance. It is certainly more exciting that way.

But back to Najua. That phone call? That return call that she promised me? It never came. All the way ‘til Sunday when I decided finally to ring her rather than waiting for it to happen. As luck would put it, she was driving her grandmother to somewhere when she answered, which meant I caught her at a bad time and incidentally led her to promise me the second time, “I’ll call you later, ok?” I stood there motionless at Sunway College’s parking lot. That’s twice. At that point I could only hope she keeps her promise this time around. But it was not to be. Sunday passed just it had came.

Monday (17th) breathed a whole new week. A fresh start. It felt weird embracing a Monday but I did. The new plan was to get the date scheduled by the end of the week. I had 5 days to work it out. It won’t be easy though. God knows what tricks fate had already lined up for me. But somehow, in the pursuit of that goal, I managed to score a dinner with Jes. That, too, came out of a spontaneous act.

I had dinner with Jes at San Francisco Steakhouse at KLCC. This was also one of the places I had always wanted to come. I had a few escapades at Santini’s located downstairs but have yet to step onto the upper floor. The ambience was expectedly warm and nice while Jes was singing along to the musical hits from the 60s and 70s which were playing softly in the background. But the most surprising and exciting part was I have finally stumbled upon the place where they serve Wagyu beef. Or more popularly known as Kobe beef. The best meat money can buy. I never imagined I could have the opportunity to dine this legendary delicacy. The price is exorbitant, of course, but, wow, I mean, it’s here. I’ve always thought that to get hold of this one-of-a-kind would require a trip overseas and a reservation at a world famous restaurant 10 months in advance. But, now, it’s just a trip down to KLCC, man. It truly is everything under the Sun. But sorry to say, I didn’t order it. Simply because I wasn’t that hungry, I didn’t have enough cash and I thought the experience should be reserved for a better occasion. Instead I just a normal steak and chicken breast. The chicken was typical as always but the steak was excellent. I could only imagine if it had been Wagyu beef. Jes, meanwhile, ordered salad. Well, I couldn’t blame her as she has a tennis tournament coming up next (this) week. I guess it’s true then - women never eat on dates (Jack Nicholson, Something’s Gotta Give). If you haven’t heard about Wagyu or Kobe, try surfing the Net about it You’d find out how rare and special it is. Dubbed the ‘foie gras of beef’, it just goes to show the high regard it demands.

As Jes and I talked, I peered out to the view of the KLCC Park at night. It was serene and beautiful and it occurred to me - we lack parks here in KL. I mean, proper parks like KLCC’s that we can walk around, breathing in the cool night air under the trees without having to hear the noises of streets. That’s why I think the Central Park in New York is such a brilliant idea. If you watch every love stories that is played in New York, there’d always a scene involve a walk around the park and how lovely it is. Take Hitch, for example. Just like the scene after Will Smith had that food allergy episode and was high after having too much Benadryl. Then he and Eva had a nice walk around the fountains. It’s even better in England where they have all these little gardens. Just look at Notting Hill. The scene where Hugh Grant exclaimed ‘Whoopsy daisies’ and at the end where he and Julia Roberts were reading books on a bench enjoying the sunshine and Julia had her head on Hugh’s lap. (sigh) we definitely need more parks in KL. As for Jes and me, we didn’t take a walk (although it did cross my mind) because she was already looking sleepy even though the clock was only showing 9 pm. We did, however, went up to her room and had the most passionate night of our lives. She was continuing her work from the office on her laptop while I watched CSI:NY. Ba-dabing. It was still memorable though. You know, if Jes and I were married, that would probably be pretty much the typical scenario – the hardworker and the slob. Anyway, all that happened on Tuesday the 18th. Now, back to Najua.

I thought about asking Jes’ opinion about my current situation with Najua and any advice on what should I do next. But I thought, nah. I don’t wanna spoil the night discussing about another woman who wasn’t there. So, Wednesday.
Then Thursday.
Then Friday.
Friday came and I still haven’t had the guts to call her. What should I say? Do I make a point of her failing to keep her promise? Or do I merely forget it and act as if it was an honest mistake? Do I further pressurize her for the Ciao gig or do I tone down to a drink at Alexis? I had no definite answer. Or do I just call and leave it to the spur of the moment to decide? That was the most tempting but also risky. Problem is, I could only speculate her response until I actually call her. It’s a mentally tiring game.

At 11 pm that night I decided to dial her number. It’s kinda late but what the hell. It took 3 hours of my time to gain enough courage. Now or never.

The phone rang.
Still ringing.
Voice message.
No need to repeat the double-whammy. She already has my number. So I hung up, without leaving any messages, set my phone aside (praying for a return call) and started to open Goodnight Nobody. Just when I was trying to locate my bookmark my phone beeped, indicating an SMS has just been received.
“Please say yes. Please say yes,” I whispered to myself.
To what? I’m not sure myself. It was just a hopeless mantra.
Hi faizad sorry cudnt pick up im watching pirates otc with my aunties in there something u wanna talk abt?
Yeah, our dinner date. (sigh) just my luck, eh? I know what you’re thinking. So many blow offs she could just might be avoiding me. That’s probably true. But do you know the definition of “perseverance”? Continuing in a course of action without regard to discouragement, opposition or previous failure (Will Smith, Hitch).
But, this time I was the one who made the promise to call her back the next day. It’s now Tuesday. I haven’t made that call. Why, you ask? It’s because I’m nervous like shit. I know the longer this drags on the more awkward it’ll be. I have to make that call ASAP but what will I say? ‘Hi Najua. Remember I asked you out to dinner two weeks ago and we never actually got to talking after that?’ Oh I even called Sasa on the evening before I got that Pirates message from Najua. I asked Sasa whether Najua had made any recent phone calls to her. She said ‘no’ and, well she was driving then but I could imagine her bopping up and down in her seat asking me rapid questions on the nature of my inquiry. I intentionally didn’t tell her just to drive her crazy but here it is in plain writing. Come to think of it, I don’t know why I actually write this thing in the first place. Damn, I must be pretty bored at the office.

Anyway, yesterday (Monday) served up as a sort of a confidence boost for me. I called Eiwa. Oh yes, the old flame. The old flame who is still single apparently. Yesterday was the first time I called her in one and a half years. I thought I gave up on her. Wait, I did gave up on her. But somehow, with her working at KLCC I think it’s inevitable one day I just had to hook up with her. Problem was, I didn’t know her new number. Even though Nebu is her work colleague, I always forget to ask him for her new number every time I met him. Until the time I chilled with him at A&W before my dinner with Jes last week. So, finally her new number is in my possession and yesterday evening I decided to give her a ring. Her phone went unanswered the first time. Again I refrained from pulling off the double whammy like I did on Najua because chances are, she still has my number despite upgrading to post-payment.

It wasn’t until I was looking for Michael Crichton’s State of Fear at MPH OU that my phone rang. Without looking at the screen I knew ‘honey bunny’ was displayed.
“Hi Faizad!”
Well, she did have my number.
“You called me just now?”
Damn right, honey.
So we got talking. Thankfully I was in a bookstore so everything was quite. No need to shout or go “ha?” every once in a while. It was a brief chat but she sounded so excited on the phone. She was almost squealing. My intention for the call, of course, was to put her on stand-by for a future date. I only suggested a drink. A dinner date would seem too ambitious after a year and a half layoff. She agreed and Faizad triumphs again. Now, why is it so difficult with Najua? Demmit.

So things were going good as I made my way to Tower Records when I bumped into Kai Yin and KarYeng (not related). The two hot (and only) Chinese girls from my BITS class. BITS ended last week so now they were free, taking the opportunity lounging around shopping complexes during office hours. It was the second time I bumped into them at a shopping complex. The first time was at Bangsar Shopping Centre at lunchtime when I was just a week into Deloitte. “Kite macam ade jodoh la,” as Kar Yeng pointed out the coincidence. That was probably the nicest thing any girl has ever said to me this month. We talked a bit about what’s goin’ on with each other and the last day at BITS (which I couldn’t manage to find time to ponteng from work to attend). It was a brief chat and then we went our separate ways.

I continued my walk to Tower and then I bumped into another girl. It was Shima (or was it Syida? I always get confused) from my UTP batch. She was with I could only guess as her mother. She too is working somewhere in Uptown so it wasn’t a surprise to find her there. I even met her once during lunchtime. We just gave each other a friendly wave. I gave the Jack Nicholson playful wave. The one where you flicker your fingers plus that naughty smile on your face.

By the time I reached Tower, I think to myself, I still have that charm with girls. Now, why (again) is it so difficult with Najua?

Later that night (yesterday) I once again made the intention to call her. Problem was I fell asleep during Sportscenter. I didn’t even reach the part where they say Damien Duff signed for Newcastle. I only woke up at 4.30 am. I could only groan.

Now, Tuesday, back to the future. While all my side activities had gone well and looks promising for the future, my main objective still hangs in the balance - Najua, my Wagyu beef, my foie gras. Since when did this become so difficult?

So, next course of action – call Najua. It’s as simple as that. But what if ultimately she says ‘no’? I don’t think I can take that kind of rejection (Michael J. Fox, Back to the Future Part 1). Whoa, hey, wait, that ain’t me talking. The truth is, no matter what, no matter when, no matter who… any man has a chance to sweep any woman off her feet. Just needs the right broom (Will Smith, Hitch).

The journey, ladies and gentlemen, continues…

Friday, July 14, 2006

Crocs at the Wrong Places

I have loads of time today so that’s why you’re seeing a lot of nonsense entries today. Anyway, I was heading down in the lift and this Indian man steps is to join me halfway. He was about late 30’s, scruffy looking, worn brown trousers and faded blue checkered shirt. A kind of like the guy who would deliver your newspapers every morning on his motorcycle. But the thing was, he’s wearing Crocs! Even in pink some more. Quite dirtied a bit but that’s understandable considering his physical demeanor. But point is I know for a fact those babies go for at RM129 a pair. Sure they’re practical and comfortable (as the ads go) but seriously, they do look so feminine. C’mon lah, at least get them in blue or something. Not pink. If he has a teenage son (and that is very likely) I don’t what his reaction will be. Haiyoh~!


It’s a FlyDay! Not that it means much to me anyway. Weekend classes and all. But before we move on to more interesting things like Najua’s dimples let me just announce that I have declared July 9th as my second birthday for the next 3 years. Or July 10th. I haven’t decided yet. But it’ll be between those two dates.

So, tomorrow is the start of the weekends and there will be no football on the telly (live matches, that is). This provides a good and bad situation for me. Good in terms of that I can finally have a proper Saturday night out, preferably with a girl (preferably with Najua). Or just chill at Spicy. Bad in terms of if any of those fail to happen, I have nothing to fall back on. Sure I have a few DVDs laying around but that too would be equally depressing.

You know, I’m browsing through this place called Ciao. It looks very nice and very inviting. I have been wanting to go there since, well, forever. All these time I have been looking for the right occasion and the right partner (not to mention the right personal financial state) to go there. Come to think of it, y’know what, this could actually work. Ciao, Najua and me. I could give her a call, sometime later today, asking what she’s been up to lately. Is she still continuing with her ACCA like me, oh by the way, I was just wondering, there’s this nice restaurant I’m planning on checking out, would you like to come with me? Oh you do? Well, okay then. I pick you up at 7.30? Good? ‘kay, see you then. Ah, date firm and secured. If only things would go so smoothly. Of course, all this enthusiasm would go down the toilet if she has already made other plans. Wait, no, of course she got no plans. She would be absolutely thrilled to join me for dinner at a romantic Italian restaurant (positif2). Too bad Kat lives so far away and can’t go out at night. If not, dah bole (ish hot sial amoi yg lalu depan tadi), er, ehem, kalau tak dah bole buat double header. Ka- cha!
(kedengaran lagu Unfaithful oleh Rihanna di background)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

About A Boy (The Italian World Cup Story)

Let me tell you a story about a boy.

12 years ago, then a Standard 6 student, was about to head off to school. But before he left the house to the side of the road for the school van, he just had to watch the TV screen first. Neatly dressed in his uniform, school bag at the ready, water bottle snugged nicely at the side, he stood transfixed at the penalty shoot-out between Brazil and Italy. It was the 1994 World Cup Final.

Weeks prior, he never quite understood what’s the big fuss about football, and especially the euphoria surrounding the World Cup. He knows that the point of the game was to put the ball into the back of the net. Until to that point, he never cared who or which team did it, as long as it happens, he was conveniently happy. But as this spectacle known as USA ’94 came underway and the continued persistence of his elder brother dragging this little boy along to watch the games live with him just for the sake of having some company, he began to fathom the true depth to what football is all about.

Although he fell asleep most of the time he strongly remembers the brutality of Hristo Stoitchkov in front of goal, the magical chemistry between Romario and Bebeto, and of course, the exquisite touches of Roberto Baggio. His brother had told him that at the time, that Baggio was the best footballer on the planet. And he could see why. To him, Baggio defined football in that tournament. The boy was such in awe and admiration that he thought that Baggio had the divine right to win the trophy.

So when that morning came, and he saw his new hero, blasted his spotkick over the crossbar, he just couldn’t believe what he just saw. 12 yards out, one-on-one with the keeper, it was impossible to miss, but yet he did. Arms at the hips and a despondent look upon his face, Baggio looked on as the backroom staff of Brazil ran onto the pitch, carrying the Brazilian flag above their shoulders. Halfway across the world the boy watched and was left speechless. As if his heart was suddenly snatched away. That was that and he had to go to school. It was heartbreak and for a very long day he kept saying to himself, “That shouldn’t have happened. Baggio was supposed to win and lift the trophy,”. His earlier sadness had turned into frustration and almost anger. And with intent filled so truth and pure, he made a vow. “One day we’ll win it. Make no mistake about that,” Thus, began his undying pledge to the Italian National Team.

Two years had gone by from that day and at England Euro 96, another adventure began but Italy was so humiliating that they went out at the first round which included an embarrassing defeat to the Czechs. He moved on. At France ’98, it was déjà vu all over again as he saw, this time Di Biagio skyrocketed his penalty shot into the Parisian sky. The boy only managed to hold his head in his hands, but he kept moving on. At Euro 2000, Italy came so close. So close that it felt like a heart attack for to be shun of your glory with seconds to go and then suddenly stabbed by David Trezeguet with a golden goal. At 2002, it was a mockery losing to a pittance like Ahn Jung Hwan but then again, Italy did spurn their chances. Mistake after mistake that finally came to haunt them. Yet, the boy moved on. At Euro 2004, Italy never looked threatening and bowed out at the group stage, blaming on the existence of other teams’ supposedly conspiracy theories to oust them out while in truth it was Italy itself persistent failure to create and score goals that contributed to its poor showing. Then came 2006.

Italy were the least favorite among the past winners to win the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Talks in the media were mostly about Brazil’s magnificent amount of offensive talent at their disposal, Germany’s home advantage, England’s golden generation, Argentina’s array of exciting young talent and France’s mixture of youth and experience. Italy, meanwhile, came to Germany without any superstar player of international recognition. Totti was a prime example. Brilliant for club but poor for country. Not to mention the match fixing scandal that was going on back home. Things didn’t look promising for Italy. But as the truest of fans, the boy stuck to his team even though he himself had doubts about how far Italy can go this time around. He even identified Italy’s weak points that could prove a potential downfall. But when July 9th came and he saw Italy made it all the way to Berlin and after 2 hours of football emerged victorious, he was ever so glad to be wrong. Among the things he pointed regarding Italy’s flaws were their uncreative forwards. He was right to a certain extent. Italy’s forwards didn’t impressed much in terms of goals tally but when your strikers couldn’t score, get your midfielders and even you defenders to chip in. A feat almost unheard of Italian football. But tremendously satisfying nonetheless. The match itself wasn’t as good as the semi-final but at the end of it the boy was jubilant and dancing.

As the sun rises on the morning of July 10th, the boy was making his way to work. Even after a mere 3 hours of sleep, as he turned the ignition and his car, Valerie, roared into life, his feeling of joy was beyond words. Alas, what he had dreamt had finally come true – Italy are the World Champions.

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Fratelli d'Italia
L'Italia s'è desta
Dell'elmo di Scipio
S'è cinta la testa.
Dove'è la Vittoria?.
Le porga la chioma;
Chè schiava di Roma
Iddio la creò.
Stringiamoci a coorte,
Siam pronti alla morte:
Italia chiamò!

Noi siamo da secoli
Calpesti e derisi,
Perchè non siam popolo,
Perchè siam divisi;
Raccolgaci un'unica
Bandiera, un speme;
Di fonderci insieme;
Già l'ora suonò.
Stringiamoci a coorte,
Siam pronti alla morte:
Italia chiamò!

Uniamoci, amiamoci;
L'unione e l'amore
Rivelano ai popoli
Le vie del Signore:
Giuriamo far libero
Il suolo natío;
Uniti per Dio
Chi vincer ci può?.
Stringiamoci a coorte,
Siam pronti alla morte:
Italia chiamò!

Dall'Alpi a Sicilia
Dovunque è Legnano
Ogni uom di Ferruccio:
Ha il cuor e la mano.
I bimbi d'Italia
Si chiamano Balilla:
Il suon d'ogni squilla
I vespri suonò.
Stringiamoci a coorte,
Siam pronti alla morte:
Italia chiamò!

Son giunchi che piegano
Le spade vendute:
Già l'Aquila d'Austria
Le penne ha perdute.
Il sangue d'Italia
E il sangue polacco
Bevè col Cosacco
Ma il cor le bruciò
Stringiamoci a coorte
Siam pronti alla morte:
Italia chiamò!

Struck a Chord

Before I post my Italy World Cup success story, I just had to put this first. It is now 6.32pm and I’m at the office. I just handed my work to my senior and as I was walking back to my place to pack things up, I passed by another senior staff, a Chinese woman who was sitting at her desk, intently watching the screen of her ThinkPad. Since it’s after office hours, she was playing some mini computer game, I assume, to pass time by. That wasn’t interesting. What was interesting though was that she was singing. It was ever so softly but since it has become so quiet around the office, I really could hear what she was singing. She went “…Sayangilah diri ini…Belailah jiwa nan sepi…Kelayuan~”
Man, she was singing Bunga-bunga Cinta by Misha Omar and I shit you not. I was so amused I had this smile on my face all the way back to my place. And then, of course, decided to blog it. Damn, man, I had to go check her out again.

(3 minutes later)

Ah demmit, she went home already. I guess that's my cue too. Arriverderci.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Italians, Sandra and 'Jake'

Oh joy! Italy are in the Final! Il Finale! I don’t care how the coaches sound so democratically to the media but I want a revenge. As a fan I want a revenge for that fateful Euro 2000 final. It was heartbreak in the Baram common room for me. A heartbreak that could only be surpassed by Bayern Munich fans during that ’99 Champion’s League Final. I have so much respect for Zidane and Henry but hey, I would like to see Cannavaro lift the golden trophy aloft his baldy head come July 9 at Berlin. Haih, I’ve never been so happy at the break of dawn since Wayne Bridge scored that angled slide goal against Arsenal in the quarter-final of the Champion’s League.

So, much to anticipate this weekend. I’m so psyched I think I’m gonna piss my pants. But sad thing though, come Monday and the 2006 edition World Cup will end. We’ll have to wait another 4 years for its return. 4 long years. By then I would be 28, achieved my ACCA qualification status, driving around town in my brand new silver BMW 330Ci complete with an AC Schintzer kit and busy getting married to Najua. Haha. Nah, just kidding. She and I would have been gotten married by then.

So it’ll be in South Africa 2010. And if my brief research is anything to go by, kick-off time will be around in the middle of the night too. Just an hour earlier than what we are experiencing with Germany now. Well, that’s the thought in 4 years time. In the meantime, well, Berlin. Forza Italia.

On to other news, last week I have quite effectively ended my social life for the next three years of my life. The story behind it? Well, after a brief break, my ACCA classes are starting again. And Deloitte is reluctant to let me (or the other Petronas re-skilling students) to stay on studying at PAAC because they have this buddy-buddy thing goin’ on with Sunway College. So, cornered and pressured to come to a quick decision, I opted to continue my studies at Sunway. Just because I simply don’t want to get into small unnecessary bickering with my employers. I have enough hassles in my life. Besides, they’re the ones paying for it (as pointed out repeatedly by them). So there you go, I’m currently a part-time student at Sunway College. I never saw that one coming. One of the pros of relocating to Sunway is that they do not have evening weekday classes because they know traffic is literally hell after office hours. Instead, which now leads to one of its cons, they schedule their classes on weekends. Saturdays and Sundays. The whole of Saturdays and Sundays. So, where does my own personal time go? I no longer have it. Well, not until mid-August. For now I still have a half-weekend, on Saturdays which I am free. After that, whoa, goodbye peaceful mornings. It’s going to be rush, rush, rush 24/7. But even now, do you know what it feels like to go to class on a Sunday? It’s downright nasty. I don’t have Sunday classes while I was at PAAC. And another thing, by leaving PAAC, I have lost my reason and opportunity to drop by at Jes’ place. I think I can handle the ghost town like atmosphere at a huge educational institution of higher learning but not being able to visit Jes once in a while after class really hurts. Well, as they say, shit happens. Now that Jacuzzi plan really has gone bad to worse.

Earlier today, I was on my way to Imbi plaza to check out how my PS2 is doing after I sent it for repair (sadly, not ready yet) and I was at the traffic junction near Parkroyal when an orange Gen2 pulled up at my right. Guess who? It’s Marina aka Sandra Oh and Azad! And since the driver’s side of Valerie’s power window doesn’t work, I had to open my door to have a chat. Talk about being unorthodox. They asked when I was going back to class and I said I transferred to Sunway and Marina, I mean, Sandra said something about joining me there. Well, I hope I heard her right. I could use some company over there. I hope Najua would follow suit. Didn’t really had time to ask further, you know what I mean?

Speaking about bumping into people, last Friday I came across Hadi and Ewok at Mid Valley. I decided to pay my beloved Jantzen a visit after work and there they were chit-chatting at McD as I was making my way up. It must have been quite some time since I met Hadi because he hugged me when I came to greet him and I had to give him that look, you know. Like, hey, we’re not Heath and Jake here okay. It turns out he has returned to Formis, alongside Tomok but have yet to meet him because Tomok is busy abusing the free phone lines at Celcom. But one person who is apparently turning into Brokeback Mountain-ish mode is Wakju. Rumours are, according to Ewok I presume (since she too works at Schlumberger) that Wakju now even dresses differently. Lots of those tight fitting shirts and recently he has taken up cooking and dance classes offered by the company. Okay, cooking I understand. Funny, but understandable. But dance lessons? I asked Ewok, what kind of dances they’re teaching? And she replied, “Salsa, for instance”. Salsa. Can you imagine Wakju doing Salsa? Well, I can’t. How about that, eh? Senor Wakju. From Silat Cekak to Salsa. Who would’ve thought. But I still have trouble believing though. No offense to Ewok but I have to see my own eyes this Antonio Banderas version of Wakju. Part of me want it to be true because, man, what a story that’ll be. Before you know it, he’ll probably bleach his hair. Disturbing yet fascinating thoughts.