Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Selamat Hari Raya!

GUA dilayar setiap hari,

Mencari video dan bahan bacaan,

Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri,

Maaf Zahir Batin kami ucapkan!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Spirit of ECOBA (Will Save Malaysia)

For the 6th year in a row, my ECOBA (English College Old Boys Association) brothers and I had a Buka Puasa gathering here in KL. And the turnout was good as usual, as about 30 of us from KL, PJ and JB congregated at Enak Restaurant at the swanky Starhill mall.

And the mood, as always, was cheery and fun. Even when we’re taking jabs at each other’s appearance (not everyone can look as good as me at our age – ahem), it’s done in the spirit of brotherhood. And having gone through everything imaginable together over the years, that’s basically how we regard each other – as brothers, and not just old school friends.

I mean, how can it not be that way when some of the sweetest memories in our lives were shared during those wonder years of high school? We played together, kena rotan together and even discovered (and got punished for) porn together (hey, I’m being as truthful as I can here, ok?).

And while there were periods of lost connectivity post-EC, the last few years, we’ve been tighter than ever; sharing the good and the bad (mostly good – ahem) of life together.

What makes it even more special is the fact that the ECOBA brotherhood has always been colour blind. Look at the picture above and you will see what I mean. Indeed, race and religion have never been a factor with us. And we’re all truly thankful that we grew up in such a tolerant and wonderful environment.

And I can’t remember that this ever became an issue. We accept each other for what we are, and we’re forever bound by the spirit of our school.

So you could imagine how indifferent we are to the current racism “issue” the country is facing. I mean, don’t we all want peace, harmony and enough money to afford us lives filled with cool stuff? And how else could we the people of Malaysia achieve this apart from pulling up our collected sleeves and working with and for each other?

That’s what ECOBA is all about, and there’s no doubt in my mind that the 30 people in the picture above would definitely make an awesome cabinet. Yes, I’ll be in charge of the Ministry of Entertainment & Pop Culture. But no, we won’t be legalising porn. Well, maybe.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Hi My Name Is Zul, And I'm A Magazine Addict... (Part I)

Yes, it’s true. I can’t get enough of the stuff and I’m afraid there’s no real cure in sight. (Not that I’ve seriously looked for one)

It started more than 30 years ago when my parents constantly purchased for me a variety of comics, local and foreign. Can’t recall all of them, but Bujal and the Jungle Book do come to mind.

Then I moved on to pop culture and footie rags, including Weekend, URTV (yeah huh!), Shoot!, No1 and Smash Hits. Being an only child, magazines were my loyal companions, apart from my Star Wars and Majorette collection lah.

And I guess the addiction was what pushed me to start writing myself. Which then meant the mags would become my source of ideas and reference. This was during the dark days of Pre-Internet (yes, humans used to live without the Internet, believe it or not), where if you were looking for a quote, you had to literally go thru tons of mags and books, flipping each page manually with a coloured marker in hand!

And the thing is, whatever I collected, I've kept. So if you were to ask me how extensive my collection is now, I’d say it’s big enough to open up my own MAGS FOR LESS store.

And apart from the titles I’ve mentioned above, the collection also includes Guitar World, Metal Edge, Tiger Beat, Teen Set, Sports Illustrated, Match, FHM, GQ, Details, Esquire, Men’s Review, his, EM, Journal One, Monsieur, Tone, KLUE, etc, Hooters, Autocar, Entertainment Weekly, Maxim, WWE, Blender, Spin, Mojo, Writer’s Digest, Reader’s Digest, Conde Nast Traveller, Hot, OK!, People, US, Men’s Health, Time, Newsweek, Asiaweek, Far Eastern Economic Review, Wired… ah, banyak lagi lah!

So you can imagine how difficult it was for me to actually throw away some stuff during one spring-cleaning session a couple of weeks back. It was torture. It was hell. It was virtually impossible.

But somehow I did manage to throw away RM5 worth of stuff to the old newspaper guy. Although I think I cried a little. I mean, I’ve spent virtually 70% of my pocket money over the years on buying up all these mags, so it was like throwing away money for me.

And secondly, I have in my possession a number of Premiere Issues and no-longer-in print gems that I think would make me an e-bay millionaire sometime in the future…

Coming up: Part II

Monday, September 15, 2008

GUA Anniversary Buka Puasa Pics! (Part II)

Appreciation for the media
The cast and producers of Luna Fantasiku

With Nu Muzik's Johan and Kamal

Duit Raya!

Norman and us are working on something special for 2009. Tunggu...

With the ever-supportive GUA members
With funnyman Douglas Lim. He came cos he "hadn't had dinner yet"
With GUA host Sarah Lian
Another one for the album...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

GUA Anniversary Buka Puasa Pics!

Fedtri Yahya and Melissa Maureen hosted the do. Not sure if they've collaborated before but the pair did an awesome job in keeping the audience entertained

It was a full-house alright. We even had to ask for a few more extra tables!

Singer and actor (and star of GUA's new TVC), Nabil Zamanhuri & mom

Iz OAIM with Aishah Sinclair

The yummy cake, sponsored by The Grand Millennium Hotel
The newly-remarried Aziz M Osman was also in the house. But why so serious?? : )

Handing out some duit raya to the children from Persatuan Anak Yatim Kg Medan

Of course there was a speech!

Malaysia's Most Wanted Woman Sarah Lian, Ben Ibrahim & Kenji

Receiving a special cenderahati from GUA members. Aww, you guys...
Candid mah!

Imran Ajmain all the way from Singapore sang a couple of tunes

Farah Asyikin also belted a couple of songs

With my school buds. We've known each other for 30 years! Friendship rocks!
Cake-cutting helped by the celebs

The GUA family!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Amazing Anniversary!

Oh what an anniversary it turned out to be! We promised a great do, and I think we more than delivered. But what a bummer I only have pre-event pics now. Will post up event snaps as soon as I get my hands on 'em.

Anyway, for starters, the whole set-up at Nelayan Restaurant looked grand yet so very warm. And guess what? We had a more than full turnout! Which was just simply awesome for us.

And although there were other Buka Puasa dos all around town at the same time, we were definitely not lacking in star power. Emceeing the event were Ahmad Fedtri of Malaysia Hari Ini and Melissa Maureen, star of GUA's latest drama, Ceraiya.

And among the celebs who were in the house included Farah Asykin, Imran Ajmain, Akasia, Infinatez (who all performed a couple of songs each), Norman Hakim, Aziz M Osman, stars of Luna Fantasiku, Aishah Sinclair, Chelsia Ng, Douglas Lim, Iz OIAM, Riz Ainuddin and Nabil Zamanhuri. And of course my Media Prima peeps were also in the house!

Guests were given goodie bags which had the latest 'GUA Dah Setahun' T-shirt and a special GUA mug, while there was also a special appreciation presentation for members of the media.

We also had children from Persatuan Anak-Anak Yatim Kg Medan who added to the kemeriahan of the event. And of course, some 40 GUA members also turned up as promised and I'm pretty sure they had the time of their lives.

Lucky drawas were also part of the agenda and we gave away a camera, DVD players, and a 40" LCD Samsung TV!

I've got no more fuel in the tank at this point in time, but man, it was all worth it. Thanks again to all who came and made it a memorable evening. GUA dah setahun beb!

PS: Looks like Sensasi Selebriti already has a post on the event. Click HERE to read. Check out members' pics HERE.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Gua Turns One Today!

It’s 11th September and GUA.COM.MY has officially turned One! Yup, 365 days ago, we launched GUA to the world and hoped for the best. And guess what, it has all been worth it for every one of us at Alt Media. The hits have been good and we’ve even made history along the way.

But it’s not been an easy ride I can tell you that. Being mostly traditional media practitioners, we basically learned on the job, but pure passion and dedication basically kept our drive at the absolute maximum 100% of the time.

Today, GUA is a leading Malaysian new media brand recognized by consumers and advertisers. And we’ve also become a platform for the creative lot to express themselves beyond what they’ve done before. I can’t tell you how much that makes us feel good…

But we would also not be here without the support of our media friends and business partners. Thank you peeps!

So what’s in store for today? Well, I’ll be starting my day with a couple of TV interviews on Malaysia Hari Ini and The Breakfast Show. And in the evening, we’re having a grand Anniversary Buka Puasa do at Nelayan Restaurant in Titiwangsa, where we’re expecting some 250 guests to turn up and celebrate this momentous occasion with us.

On gua.com.my, you’ll see some cosmetic changes to the site as well as contests for our loyal members. We’ve also got a brand new TVC, which will be debuting today, as well as some new anniversary merchandise.

Thanks again to everyone for your support, GUA DAH SETAHUN BEB!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

From Photos to Music Video - Animoto Rocks!

So there's tons of applications on the web today, but something I just discovered today has got me somewhat hooked, ANIMOTO! With the tagline "end of slideshows", what animoto allows you to do is basically turn a bunch of your pics into a music video. Total awesomeness!

You can do a full-length video or a shortie. And here's my first attempt at the thing. Nothing fancy, just a clip of GUA's launch last year. But you can expect more from me pretty soon. Enjoy!

Singgah Sahur Rocks!

So on Sunday night, I went on an exciting and pretty enlightening trip with the SINGGAH SAHUR crew. For the clueless, Singgah Sahur is a show already into its fourth season on TV3 that follows the journey of its crew and guests to different locations to actually wake people up for sahur during Ramadhan!

Yup, over the years, many unsuspecting people have woken up at 3am only to see the face of a TV personality staring at them with "air liur basi" still dripping from the side of their mouths (the “victims”, not the celebs). Coolness.

And on Sunday, I was invited to be part of the entourage to do exactly that in and around the Klang Valley as part of the “management” quota. : )

With Media Prima chairman Dato’ Mutalib leading the pack, we left Sri Pentas at 10.30pm after a short briefing by the show’s host Ally Iskandar.

First stop: Restoran Ayam Kampung somewhere in Damansara Perdana. A “5-minute” stop stretched out quite a bit when everyone started digging into the Nasi Ayam Kampung and found it irresisitible. And sincere thanks to the folks from the joint who sponsored the food for us to distribute to our upcoming victims, I mean, recipients.

The next stop was Putrajaya where we were to surprise the cast and crew of the TV3 drama “Kasih Iftitah”. And after getting a tad lost, we finally reached the exact location. I must say Putrajaya looks pretty spectacular at 1am, but boy, I can’t imagine how much they have to fork out for electricity bills every month seeing how many light bulbs there were to light up pretty much empty spaces...

Among the stars who were there to greet us were Zizie Ezette, Julia Ziegler and GUA's “old friend” Norman Hakim.

We stayed a bit and witnessed a scene being shot before leaving for the next stop: Dengkil.

The journey to Dengkil was rather smooth until we had to go through a stretch of dirt road, which also constituted the most adventure I’ve had these past couple of years…

We reached the Pondok Bustamil Ariffin in one piece and got a very warm reception. The Pondok is a rehabilitation centre for those with various problems (medical and social) seeking treatment the Islamic way.

It was a real opener going into the “pondoks” where they lived. Conditions were less than perfect to say the least and I made a mental note to remind everyone I knew the next day of how blessed we’re all truly are. Nevertheless, the look on the kids’ faces when we woke them up for sahur was simply priceless. Plus, we were waking them up some 2 hours before they’re usually asked to get up. Sorry!

And after everyone was up, we congregated at the dining “hall” and had sahur “talam” style.

We left leaving everyone with smiles on their faces, which was simply a great feeling. Next stop: The Balai Bomba in Section 15 Shah Alam.

By this time I was only a quarter awake and believe it or not, this leg of the journey took close to an hour! We reached there close to 5am and after handing over the Carrefour hampers, our job was done.

Red eyes and all, we rejoiced, had a quick drink at a nearby mamak and made our way back to Sri Pentas. No doubt the 8-hour trip was a tad tiring, but I can tell you it was all worth it. Would I do it again? Err… Umm… Err…

Catch Singgah Sahur on TV3 every Friday 12.30am throughout this Ramadhan


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