Sunday, July 31, 2011

Negaraku Terhebat!

At the National Stadium Bukit Jalil on Thursday, 85,000 people sang the national anthem. What an awesome moment...

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Food, Glorious Food!: July 2011 Edition (Ben's General Food Store, Brisik, Bali Thai, etc)

OK I know, Ramadhan is just around the corner, so tak baiklah nak cerita about food right? But the thing is, I've skipped this "Food, Glorious Food" post last time around, so just bear with me now lah. Haha.

In fact, a couple of these places, we actually went to the month before, so I do apologise for the lack of details. I'm not an elephant who remembers everything lah, for God's sake.

Anyway, the first place to highlight is this Indonesian restaurant Brisik at Jaya One. It's not our first time there, so we kinda knew what to expect.

Being an Indonesian joint, naturally we had to order... salmon with pasta! Haha. Well, it's what the little one wanted. And what she wants, she gets...

As for the rest of us, we ordered a couple of set meals. And no, I can't remember what they're called, but ask the waiter and he'll tell you what the more popular sets are. There are different sets with lamb, chicken, fish etc. And each one comes with ulam, sambal, tempe and tauhu. What I remember tho, is that they're worth our money, really...

Next up is another one in the chain of Ben's awesome joints: Ben's General Food Store at Bangsar Village I. Let me tell you right off the bat, that I love, love, love the food here. Nothing too fancy schmancy, but perfect for our Sunday makan-makan. And here's one definite MUST-TRY: the banoffee drink.

Seriously, as I took a sip of the banoffee, I felt like I was drinking a glass of awesomeness. I felt like it was unfair for Ben's to have something so delicious. It is THAT good. I can assure you.

We also ordered a couple of other stuff that was simple, yet satisfying: the meatball pizza, and the garlic bread. Best, best, best.

OK, now on to the international front with a couple of places we went to in Singapore.

The first is Bali Thai at Suntec City. I've been to this place before with some colleagues a few months back and was suitably impressed by the food and ambience. And it didn't disappoint me this time around as well.

I remembered that the appetizer platter was really good and so we just had to order it. The combo of satay, fish cake, rice cracker and samosa was the perfect starter. Everything's fresh and good, just like the first time.

Then the tomyam came, and boy, what a heavenly bowl of sour and spicy goodness it was! Truth was, we were STARVING when we walked in, so even a piece of stick would have tasted delicious, but the tomyam was actually REALLY good.

We also ordered the honey chicken and some vege, but nothing could beat the tomyam. So yes, I'd definitely recommend this place if you're looking for a good halal Thai place down south.

Meanwhile, near our hotel was this nice little cafe called Canele Patisserie Chocolaterie (yeah, try saying that without fumbling!). And we only had one thing there: MACARONS!

We ordered six and were so impressed that we took home another 12. Enuff said, right?

And finally, another Indonesian joint, this time at The Heeren, called Desa Kartika.

We actually walked in after we couldn't find anything else to eat, so expectations weren't so high. But it was a not-bad experience, really (although the service staff could have smiled a bit more, I mean, nak jadi macam Malaysia ke?)

We started off with the good 'ol gado-gado. Nice.

Then we had some beef rendang, which was quite good, not too spicy with the meat being nice and tender.

And also the ayam masak lemak; which was a bit too subtle though.

So that concludes this edition of "Food, Glorious Food!" and on that note, I just wanna wish everyone a very blessed Ramadhan!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Malaysia 1 Singapore 1 : The End Of A Dream

So in the end, we simply weren't good enough and got knocked out of the pre-World Cup campaign by arch rivals Singapore, 6-4 on aggregate. But we did go down fighting; fans and players alike.

I arrived at the National Stadium, Bukit Jalil at around 6.30pm and it was a relatively smooth journey for me, as I knew a couple of tricks and shortcuts. But I did have to wait around for a bit as I waited for my MHI colleagues to arrive. It was then that a couple of bus drivers said hello to me and informed me that they had ferried some Singapore fans from down south for the game. 9 buses full of them, in fact.

Around 7.30pm, my MHI posse arrived, and the scene outside the stadium was terribly exciting, with thousands of fans clad in either the blue or yellow of Harimau Malaya.

But we were completely blown away by what we saw INSIDE the stadium. 85,000 people were at hand, and all (well, save for the 300 or so Singaporeans) were behind our boys 100%. The atmosphere was simply electric!

Not only most were wearing the jersey, they came prepared with banners, confetti, headbands, wigs, vuvuzelas, etc, to lift the players' spirits and basically burst the noise level. We were no exception!

When the Malaysian players came out to warm-up, all hell broke loose. It was simply defeaning! Equally loud were the boos for the Lions. People were also chanting "Lo-ser, lo-ser", which was pretty dodgy and unoriginal in my mind though. Haha.

But the highlight of the pre-game must be the singing of "Negaraku" by 85,000 people. I had goosebumps and had to hold back tears. Will upload the video in the next post.

To be honest though, I had a bad feeling right after this about our team. We weren't about to walk on to the pitch and be HANDED a 2-0 win. There were still question marks about our defence, and I wasn't sure if the big crowd would be 100% a motivating factor or a pressure inducer.

When the game finally started, we looked nervous and true enough, the defence was sloppy. Without captain Safiq Rahim who was red-carded in the first leg, the midfield had no anchor and creativity. And if it weren't for goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi, we would have been a couple of goals down by halftime. Meanwhile upfront, Safee Sali had too much to do all by himself and only managed to suss out one clear chance.

But at halftime, I thought we'd still make it if we scored one quick goal. The crowd was very restless indeed. And everyone was talking about the shaky defence.

Restlessness then turned into pure joy when Safee slotted in the ball beautifully in the 57th minute. The place went berserk! The noise was out of this world as thousands celebrated the much-awaited goal. Giler ah!

With that, we were in for a grandstand finish. Score another one and we'd go through on goal difference. Was this our destiny?

Unfortunately, the defence failed to hold ground, and Singapore scored in the 71st minute through one of their "naturalised" players, Jia Yi. This time, the silence was defeaning in the stadium. And it knocked the wind out of our Harimau Malaya, really.

But something even more upsetting happened after that. The Singapore players decided to ditch the spirit of sportsmanship and basically dived and faked injury at every opportunity. This stopped the game every few minutes and disrupted Malaysia's tempo.

Really, I thought it was totally uncalled for, and it reminded me why I hated the Lions when they were part of the Malaysia Cup all those years back. To sum it up: memang macam sial.

And with that as well, part of the angry crowd turned unruly and started hurling stuff on to the pitch. A sad sight, nevertheless.

The game ended 1-1 and we we out of the pre-World Cup. The goals never really did come and the defence didn't deliver. BUT, everyone could see that the players DID play their heart out, despite the shortcomings. And for that, you have my RESPECT Harimau Malaya!

And instead of remembering the heartache, I'd like to leave you with this video, shot right after we scored that goal... (please don't mind the angle)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Irony In The Lion City

So, we spent the weekend in the Lion City, you know, for fun, and a spot of shopping. Of course people were wondering if I was in town to catch the Malaysia vs Singapore Pre World Cup qualifier, but it was all a coincidence. I DID watch the game, but it was from the comfy confines of our hotel room. Didn't make the result easier to swallow though.

Anyway, like I said, it was a fun weekend trip for some consumption of wind (makan angin lah) : ) Before that, we did the whole self check-in at LCCT for the AirAsia flight, and the experience was rather mixed. The checking in using the kiosk was quite a breeze. BUT if you had baggage to check-in, you'd need to drop it off at the "Baggage Drop" counter. WHICH took ages to process. Which also means, you don't really save time, ultimately... So AirAsia, looks like you need another round of brainstorming to sort this out.

It was our first time as well at the Royal Plaza at Scotts Road. And the experience was really good. Location was awesome, service was above-average, it had free wi fi (very important these days), and there was even a coffee machine in the room with some complimentary fancy coffee provided. We had no complaints whatsoever. Well, getting free newspaper in the morning wouldn't have hurt actually, haha.

No need to tell you guys where we went to buy stuff (we DID stay at Scotts Road), but we did get some really good deals, seeing how the Great Singapore Sale was still in full swing.

On Saturday, most of the excitement was centred around the match and Harry Potter. Yup, the Shaw Theatres had re-opened, and we were all pumped up to watch HP in 3D IMAX.

But as it turned out, Malaysia got trounced 5-3 and the IMAX tickets were sold out. But we did catch a regular 3D screening right after the match and I must say the concluding film was absolutely brilliant!

What wasn't so brilliant was the headlines in the local papers the next morning.

But OK, we're not dead and out of it yet. And come Thursday, I am confident Malaysia will roar back to win the tie with sufficient goals. Provided our defence don't play like shit, lah.

OK, I'm getting a little emo here. But the game didn't really spoil the whole mood of the trip. The weather was pretty good as well and we basically got the stuff we were looking for.

And oh yeah, here's a tip. If you're going on a short trip, it's better to park at the airport carpark instead of taking the taxi. For 52 hours of parking, I only paid RM85. Taxi would have cost me RM160!

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Men's Health & Shape Night Run In Putrajaya

To tell you the truth, I've slowed down in my running after achieving my original goal of completing the ntv7 Feel Good Run earlier in the month. I know, I know, not good at all. BUT I did sign myself up for another run as the above. I had missed the entry deadline, but some peeps helped to put me in touch with the organisers, and so I'll be running the 5km this weekend. My first night run as well, so this should be pretty interesting.

Here's more info on the event:

After three years consecutive years of success, the much-anticipated Blu Inc Media’s joint Men’s Health & Shape Night Run ’11 presented by GNC Live Well is back with a bang!

The event will once again be hosted by Putrajaya following positive feedback and raves on the scenic routes comprising beautiful lights, buildings and the cool night-time breeze. Open to all Malaysians, Singaporeans, foreigners with Malaysian Permanent Residence status and expatriates with a valid Malaysian work permit, aged 18 and over – this exhilarating run has garnered a tremendous following.

The Men’s Health & Shape Night Run ’11 presented by GNC Live Well comprises a 5km Fun Run for both men and women and several competitive categories (12.3km): The Men’s Open, Women’s Open, Men’s Junior Veteran, Women’s Veteran and Men’s Senior Veteran.

The Men’s Health & Shape Night Run Carnival will kick off from 6.30p.m. onwards with lots of activities, fun and games for all those present – made merrier with deejays from FLY FM – the Official Radio Partner of the Men’s Health & Shape Night Run ’11 presented by GNC Live Well. Expect a night of fun & excitement as there will be discounts, great product giveaways from our sponsors and a carnival atmosphere! In addition, there will be some of the hottest performances around and as well as warm-up exercise demonstrations by trainers from True Fitness.

The Men’s Health & Shape Night Run ‘11 presented by GNC Live Well is organized by Men’s Health Malaysia & Shape Malaysia. The event’s main sponsors are Reebok & Spritzer, co-organized by Twenty First Century Sports and sanctioned by the Federal Territory Amateur Athletics Association (FTAAA). Fly FM is the Official Radio Partner, while Life Inspired TV is the Official TV Channel.

Click HERE for the post-event report...

Friday, July 22, 2011

40 Things To Do Before I Turn 40

Believe it or not (just play along lah), I have less than 4 more months to go before I hit the big 4-0. To tell you the truth, it doesn't bother me one bit. Seriously. Well, it bums me out that I will no longer be classified as a "belia", but I feel good, and things are going quite well for me in the overall scheme of things...

But just for the fun of it, allow me to do a checklist sorta post of the stuff I want to do before I turn 40 and the status report. Let me just say that I'm leaving out the religious stuff, cos that's simply too personal to share; so don't be a judging me, fools...

Anyway, here goes:

1. Get a book published
Status: Done. And I'm still getting royalty cheques for "Punched Lines: Sit-down Comedy From Southeast Asia". Google it.

2. Watch Metallica 'live'
Status: Missed them in Australia last year, damnit. Still hoping they'd swing by this region sometime soon. If not, maybe Europe in December?

3. Attend the final of a Hollywoood reality show
Status: Done. Went all the way to LA to catch the final of "Rockstar: Supernova" in 2006 and what a blast it was! Met up with Tommy Lee, Jason Newstead and Gilby Clarke and I even got to hangout with the finalists at their mansion. Totally awesome.

4.Walk on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Status: Did it during the same trip above. Overrated, IMHO.

5. Own a big bike
Status: Call it mid-life crisis, but yeah, I have dreams of owning a big bike. Thought of buying one last year, but the desire subsided. It might come back again!

6. Write lyrics for the country's No 1 singer
Status: Wrote THREE songs for Dato' Siti Nurhaliza. One got into Anugerah Juara Lagu final. Check.

7. Host a talkshow
Status: It took a while, but am now a regular on Malaysia Hari Ini. God's rezeki can never be predicted...

8. Direct a movie
Status: Well, I would settle for just being a screenwriter now. And yes, a couple of my scripts WILL be made into movies very, very soon!

9. Get manhandled by a WWE superstar
Status: See photo.

10. See the Pyramids
Status: Zero attempts so far but hey, with AirAsia heading that way, it might just happen sooner than expected.

11. Grow my hair long
Status: Kept it that way for a couple of years during my publishing days. How do I look? Hehe.

12. Shave off my hair
Status: Done that as well!

13. Send a criminal to jail
Status: Came with the job as a magistrate. Can't say I enjoyed sending all those people to the Big House.

14. Record an album
Status: Released a couple of demo albums during the height of the alternative DIY movement. That should count, right?

15. Run a marathon
Status: Well... I WAS in this year's KL Marathon but I guess running 5km doesn't count, huh? Don't think I'll ever run 42km, although 21km might happen in a couple of years. Watch this space.

16. Meet the tallest man in the world
Status: Ijaz Ahmed of Pakistan actually came to the MHI studio a couple of weeks ago! He's 8'4'. Gila tinggi...

17. See the tallest building in the world
Status: The record-holder keeps on changing, but I HAVE seen the KLCC, Taipei 101, and the Empire State Building. And oh yeah, I had a look at the Burj Al Khalifa from the Dubai airport. Does that count?

18. Go snorkelling
Status: Yup, off the coast of Phuket a few years back. The very spot got wiped out by the tsunami though. Sad.

19. Fly a plane
Status: Oh, man. Think the opportunity will be there if I want it, but not so sure lah...

20. Play the percussion for an audience
Status: I basically hentam-ed only. Haha.

21. Drive around the Sepang F1 Circuit at 250kmh
Status: Not yet, but I do know people who might be able to help me out with this...

22. Meet Yusuf Islam
Status: Got to do an exclusive interview with the man last year. It was an inspiring 20mins for sure.

23. Pet a kangaroo
Status: Because you just have to! And yes, I have :)

24. Pet a snake
Yes, at the Sunway park. Hey, it's a big deal for me who's a reptile non-lover, OK?

25. Jam at Hard Rock Cafe
Status: Played some Green Day and Offspring some 15 years back at HRC KL... I tell ya, the gals were suitably impressed :)

26. See the Eiffel Tower
Status: Saw it last year.

27. Come face to face with the Mona Lisa
Status: Pun dah.

28. Make an entrance like The Rock
Status: Oh yes, check out the video!

29: Watch an NBA game 'live'
Status: Have not even come close. And that sucks.

30. Ride the biggest rollercoaster
Status: Pass.

31. See the inside of a submarine
Status: Yup, at the Maritime Museum in Fermantle, Perth.

32: Be on the cover of a magazine
Status: Twice!

33. Get groped by a Pussycat Doll
Status: Look at the photo CAREFULLY...

34. Act in a TV drama
Status: Well, I have a small part in an upcoming Ramadhan drama on TV3. So, that would be a "check". Unless they edit me out!

35. Launch a website
Status: Done.

36. Attend the World Cup
Status: No opportunity as yet :(

37. Go to a strip club
Status: No comment.

38. Be on a "power" list
Status: Was in KLUE mag's "Top 40 Under 40" list three years ago.

39. Climb a mountain
Literally, not proverbially. And no, I haven't :(

40. Visit Anfield
Status: Incredibly, I've never made my way there whenever I'm in the UK. BUT, gonna be there again this December... and that might just be the most fitting present for my 40th!


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