Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Showdown The Movie: The Teaser

Anticipation is building up as Showdown was featured prominently during the Anugerah Drama Festival 2015 on TV3 this past weekend. For the first time, a teaser was screened, and the actors/dancers then proceeded to open the awards show with a scintillating performance. Here it is again, in case you missed it...

Thursday, March 19, 2015


An all-out war erupted a couple of days ago which started with a tweet (but, of course). Comedian Harith Iskander tweeted a joke (as he normally does) about Legoland. The same tweet was COPIED AND PASTED by another twitter user and sent out to the world, effectively passing it off as his own original thought.

OK, let’s pause for a while and basically evaluate YOUR own reaction to this piece of information. How do YOU feel about it?

I related this to a Gen X mate of mine yesterday during lunch, and his jaw virtually dropped.
Of course this wasn’t so with quite a number of people on twitterverse who basically thought Harith was being childish and, er, “old” about things. One of the tweets I picked out was: “Tak nak tweet kena copy, tak payah la main twitter”.

This tweet alone shows why we are doomed in so many ways. At this point, the younger lot out there are already thinking that this is another, “listen to us, we’re old and wise, and you’re wrong” rant.
Well, it might be that. Haha. But apart from the generation gap, what’s more serious here is the “VALUES GAP”.

You see, after picking my mate’s jaw off the floor, we went into the subject proper and basically said in unison that we’d never dream of doing such things cos “WE HAVE ETHICS”. It’s not really even about how you “main twitter”, but about how we negotiate through life with honesty, and respect for others. Pretty basic expectations in any culture and upbringing, really.

It didn’t help that others piled on the disrespect with “dah tua pun nak kecoh” tweets, when he merely asked the dude why he did not simply retweeted his tweet.

I don’t really have an earth-shattering conclusion, just that maybe we could do better with re-instilling these values amongst those in our circles first. It’s getting chronic out there with people sending out job resumes through their jantanidaman@yahoo.com emails, refusing to spell properly (or CAN’T spell properly), and basically having no regards for intellectual integrity. And, no people, there’s nothing “biasalah” about all these things…

Monday, March 16, 2015

GUA.COM.MY: The End Of An Era

A few weeks ago I tried accessing gua.com.my and got a “under maintenance” message. Then I was later told that gua no longer exists and has now been rebranded “tonton extra”. My heart sank. Never thought I’d see the day when the brand goes under.

It was in 2007 that we first started building this portal from scratch. It began with a strategy by Media Prima and its then-GMD Dato Rahman Ahmad. I was tasked with looking into building a new brand in the lifestyle and entertainment space.

I worked on the concept and built the portal’s content, piece by piece; thinking of each and every part of it and how to make it different and compelling (I went for a similar concept to Entertainment Weekly with witty lists and good interviews). As we also started building the team (I was the only fulltime new media guy in the beginning), the idea started to turn into something we could launch.

We outsourced the design and programming and on the morning of September 11th, 2007, I went on The Breakfast Show together with our head designer Nic, and announced the arrival of gua.com.my (although we had in fact revealed it during an event for clients a month earlier).

We also had a big do at Maison the same day and history was made. It was really some of the best years of my working life; giving birth to and nurturing this baby to something that became the talk of the town. I learned a lot myself about brand-building, creating content for the digital platform and a whole lot of technical stuff that went behind something like this (we were mostly traditional media people).

The forum became popular quickly; and for this I have to thank that special group of loyal gua supporters; some of whom are still my friends to this day.

But of course the biggest win for us was the online drama content. “Kerana Karina” is still remembered till this day, and we continuously broke new grounds with content that pushed the boundaries, be it in drama, horror or even comedy.

Then there was also the fun of promoting gua.com.my and going on roadshows, including Jom Heboh. A year after gua’s launch too, we unleashed guamuzik.com.my, a music download portal ahead of its time. We even had a massive show, the “Guamuzik Supergig” at Bukit Jalil which was indeed a special milestone for all of us.

Indeed I was the guy who was always in a gua t-shirt, speaking at press conferences and talkshows (I appeared on MHI so many times that they ended up offering me to host it!) Together with an awesome team, we lived and breathed the brand. We were “small” in the context of the Media Prima group (especially in terms of revenue), but we brought a certain value to the company.

So yeah, it’s pretty sad, personally, that something else pops up when I type in gua.com.my. But at the very least I could really say that I truly had the time of my life…

(To my former team members, contributors and all those who had supported the brand from day one, I just want to say, Thank You from the bottom my heart)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Food, Glorious Food!: March 2015 Edition (Stacks By Las Vacas, Crab Factory, Red Lobster, FIQ's Gastronomy)

This was meant to be a February post, but it's been a hectic couple of months on the work front, thus the lateness of this instalment. Anyway, it was sometime in January that I had a sudden craving for Ravioli. Well, maybe it was triggered back in December when we paid a visit to London's Borough Market and this Italian stall had fresh Ravioli that instantly had me salivating. But we were there much too early and we left without me getting a bite of it.

A month or so later, the craving came and so I had to scour the net looking for tips on the best places that serve Ravioli. Search punya search, we decided on FIQ's Gastronomy at SS19 in Subang Jaya. It was slightly tricky to find, but Waze got us there.

We quite like the decor; simple and bright. Then we looked at the menu and... found that RAVIOLI WAS MISSING FROM IT! I called the waiter and enquired and was told that they had stopped serving Ravioli cos it was difficult to serve it fresh. I felt the world crashing on me. Well, maybe not. But I was majorly bummed. Arghhh. But I was determined to still have a good time and ordered the best they had to offer, including the Risotto, which was slightly above average.

We also had pasta with soft-shell crab and the duck breast. Must say that all the dishes were well prepared and we'd give an overall rating of 3.5/5.

We ended dinner on a sweet note with the Smores. Yes, yes, we wanted more! I mean, just take a look at the pic lah...

Onwards now to a couple of (high-end) seafood places. The first of which is the Crab Factory, located in SS2! (Yeah, not so high-end, I know). In fact, walking in too, you won't be wowed by the decor, although it is rather nicely done.

The story goes that the owners went to Louisiana, USA and got inspired by its melting pot of cultures, including the creole and cajun cooking. Another thing that you must know about the place is that it features communal dining, which means you and your family could be sitting on the same long table with others. Now check out the prices...

Yup, a bit on the high side. With a minimum order of 500gms for most of the main seafood offering, you should come prepared with more than just that one credit card. Haha.

But it really is a cool place with above average food. And here's how you do it: Choose the seafood, then choose the sauce (and how spicy you want it to be), then choose the side (potatoes, sweet corn etc). Next, put on the plastic bib supplied, wait for the food to arrive and get cracking (literally)! And oh yeah, the food will come in plastic bags, like so...

We've been there a couple of times and so far, we've had no real complaints. We'd recommend the scallops (although it is a tad too much for a small party to gobble down half a kilo of scallops), the prawns and of course the star attraction, the crabs! And as you can expect, the whole experience will be rather messy, especially if you order the extra spicy sauce; you won't have enough hands to crack open the crabs, eat, and wipe your hidung meleleh.

And what about the damage you ask? All of the above plus a few drinks, came to RM377. (I still choke a little just thinking about it). Oh, before we forget; you MUST call to make reservations as they don't accept walk-in customers.

If you fail to get a table there, you can make your way to Red Lobster at Quill City Mall (Opposite Sheraton Imperial KL). This is the chain's second outlet after Intermark, and we went there on the second day of its opening (As an aside, my office now is right smack in central KL and is only a stone throw's away from Quill City Mall. Loads of great makan places, especially local, so will be sharing more!)

Anyway, when we got there, we were swarmed by their army of waiters! Yup, there's so many of them and so eager to please. We started things off with the complimentary Cheddar Bay Biscuits, which were pretty darn good. No, we didn't turn down their offer for more : )

For appetisers we ordered the Coconut Shrimp and Clam Chowder. The Coconut Shrimp was a tad too sweet for our liking, but the Clam Chowder was out of this world. A definite must-try!

For the main course, we ordered something with lobster, naturally; the Bar Harbour Lobster Bake (RM109.90) which came with linguini, scallops, shrimps, mussels and of course, lobster.

It may not look much, but it fed the three of us well. The linguini though was under-seasoned, but everything else was cooked perfectly. Although somehow the lobster didn't taste extra special.

Overall, a strong 3/5, and we'll definitely be back again soon to try the other stuff (and also to see if they can actually season the linguini well!)

OK up next, is a new burger joint located at IOI City Mall. It's not just any burger place, but it's operated by my favourite steak people, Las Vacas. Ladies and gents, I present to you, Stacks by Las Vacas!

We were invited to its official launch and it was great to see some familiar faces from the Las Vacas clan. Hehe. But here's the thing; this is strictly a burger and sandwich place for now, so no steaks or ribs.

Of course this being a Las Vacas spinoff, you can expect good quality meats used for the patties and fillings. We managed to try the "Godfather" and one type of sandwich and they were both good.

However, when we went back there again a couple of days later, they forgot our chips, and a couple of the staff members looked rather blur. Teething problems, I guess. And oh yeah, their unique desserts are worth trying too. But again, do not ask for steaks, OK?

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Jalan-Jalan London 2014

It was Samuel Johnson who said: "When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life".

So yeah, with that in mind, our year-end 2014 holidays took us back to the familiar sights and smells of Lon-to the-Don. But before that, just wanna say that our flights to and fro on Malaysia Airlines were simply wonderful. Everything went on without a glitch, and the flights were calm and pretty quiet. Bravo Malaysia Airlines!

Of course our location of choice for accommodation was somewhere near Paddington, I.e.: The Darlington, Hyde Park. In fact, it was not more than a 7-minute walk from the Paddington Station to the hotel. The Central line station of Lancaster Gate too was not too far away, maybe add another 5mins or so. And yeah, being near Paddington meant being near to convenience stores and plenty of Halal makan places. So we were sorted on that front.

So, how different was our trip this time around? Well, we did the familiar; like spending time at Hyde Park which's always beautiful at the end of Autumn.

But we also went to Greenwich for the first time. The weather was good on that day, and so we had a relaxing time there just chilling out and enjoying the sights. Getting there too was easy via Bank on the DLR.

And yes, on the third day we were there, I took the fam out on a train to Brighton! Loved the place when I first visited it in 2012, but I was quite in two minds if going there at the beginning of winter was such a good idea.

Well, it was really chilly when we first got there, especially with the sea breeze. But the weather got better as the day went by.

From the train station, we walked down to the world-famous pebble beach, an experience the fam totally enjoyed.

Then we were over at the Brighton Pier where the views were simply breathtaking.

 Tia of course had a good time on some of the rides.

And we didn't leave without first buying some toffee apples and cotton candy!

Then we visited the Royal Pavilion building, which wifey said was simply magnificent.

But before we got back to the train station, we stopped by a cake shop, Catwalk Cakes, which served the best ever cupcakes and rainbow cake we ever tasted! Seriously dudes, menangis makan ok??

Back in London, we also did quite a number of things for the very first time. Over the past year, Tia had developed great interest in both Sherlock Holmes (through books and the Benedict Cumberbatch series) and Shakespeare. So naturally, we had to do both...

First, we visited 221B, Baker Street, The Sherlock Holmes Museum.

And it was really cool as we stepped into the actual house of the famous detective. And the souvenirs were awesome too!

On another day, we took the tube to London Bridge Station and walked all the way to Shakespeare's Globe after a short visit to Borough Market. The exhibition was really enlightening, as well as the tour which took us to the actual globe where the Bard's plays are staged.

But then Tia wasn't too happy when we told her that mama and papa had actually been to Shakespeare's house in Stratford-Upon-Avon a few years back. Next time, ok? : )

On the same day too, we made our way to Tate Modern and the Millennium Bridge.

The other "new" thing we did was the Tower Bridge; yup, the same bridge I walked across every single day when I was doing my filmmaking course back in 2012. So, I've seen it a thousand  times, but a couple of weeks before our trip, the Tower Bridge added a new feature; the glass walkway!

And it was indeed worth the walk over and the entrance fee. Not a fan of high-rise attractions, but this was not too scary lah. And the view of the Thames was, um, interesting. Also, it offered an awesome view of the rest of London as well.

Before we went back to Malaysia, we did more of the "normal" stuff like Oxford Street, Hamleys and Covent Garden.

And oh yeah, Tia also turned 10 while we were there. Another birthday in London for her! : )



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