Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My Favourite Stuff Of 2014

So yeah, 2014 was not quite a vintage year for so many reasons. But I’ll leave the recapping of the list of horrors to the others and just share with you lot some of the stuff I enjoyed from the year. And yes, bring on 2015 already!

Live Show
WWE “Live” In Kuala Lumpur

It took the WWE some 12 years to return, but the divas and superstars put up quite a memorable show at the Putra Stadium this past October.  Hey, it even made Tia a wrestling fan now!


I keep complaining that this does NOT look like the future yet (where are THE FLYING CARS?), but Waze has made me a believer (somewhat). An app that tells you how long it’ll take to get to somewhere and show you the best route? So simple, yet  undoubtedly a precious gift to all of humanity (especially if you live in the Klang Valley and need to negotiate the evil LDP).

X by Ed Sheeran

12 weeks at no 1 on the albums chart and deservedly so. Sheeran is truly one of the most consistently good pop artists out there today.  Or shall I say, “storyteller” instead?


Sure I had some complaints about it, but it was also the only movie that haunted my thoughts (and dreams), for a good few weeks. And just thinking about it now still bugs me a whole lot!

Of course, I also have to mention Mamak Cupcake, the first film I wrote for the silver screen. And considering how brutal the local box-office was in 2014, it managed to make quite a bit of money too : ) Do look out for my next film, “Showdown” (working title), out in cinemas in 2015!

TV Show
The Walking Dead

What a great year for TV. So many great shows, so little time. Thanks astro for the PVR function (which I’m paying through the nose for, incidentally). And my pick of the lot was again TWD, which has turned out to be gorier (burning zombies, woot!) and more complex than ever. Best part? The season still ain’t over yet!

But I do have to give shoutouts to the likes of  Sherlock, Newsroom, The House Of Cards, The Voice, The Big Bang Theory, Brooklyn Nine Nine, Game Of Thrones, Masterchef (!) for a year of awesome TV.


Back to burger basics! Yup, we frequented a lot of the same places we love this year, but Killer Gourmet Burgers  (in Bangsar and Mid Valley) is our favourite "new" burger joint at the moment.

Vacation Moment
Whales In South Australia
Look closely for whales :)
We went to Adelaide in late May and took a drive down to Victor Harbor where we saw some whales from the coast. Yup, free whale-watching!

London Moment
Walking On Glass (Literally)

I’ve walked across the Tower Bridge hundreds of times, but never thought of going up, until now. It’s not that far up, but walking on glass over the Thames is probably not for the faint-hearted : )

Run Event
Kuching Marathon

Spent more time in the gym this past year, so I ended up running in only ONE event. But Kuching was nice and pretty. If only I didn’t finish that far behind. Hehe.

Have a Happy New Year, folks!

Just Because...

Monday, December 29, 2014

Tia's London Vlogs

So, I was a keynote speaker at a private U recently and we spoke about Gen Y and Mediapreneurship. There were loads to talk about, but in my opening anecdote, I told the audience how my daughter, Tia, was diligently filming our recent holiday in the UK with her Canon camera.

She basically had a plan. Which was to film the best bits of our trip, come home, EDIT the videos and upload them on her YOUTUBE CHANNEL. Yup, my 10-year-old daughter is now a YouTuber. Along with most her best friends from school. Mostly they upload Minecraft videos, but personal stuff might also pop up.

So peeps, do enjoy these vlogs; filmed, produced and edited by Tia Sofia M.Zulkifli (also known as TSMZ04 in the YouTube realm) : ) (And like her channel too, while you're at it. Thanks!)

Monday, November 10, 2014

Interstellar: A Sort Of Review

From my FB status:

So I watched INTERSTELLAR on IMAX a few days back.
Initial random thoughts...

It's almost 3hrs long, but it didn't feel like it to me. That's mainly because I love long movies... Dances With Wolves, Titanic (ahem)...

IMAX is the way to watch it. The cinema literally shook each time a space shuttle was launched... (but after the first launch, it is recommended you do NOT go to the toilet, or you'll miss some important Michael Caine mumbo jumbo).

The robots weren't as cute as Twiki (80s children would get this), but definitely wittier.
There were times when I thought, "M.Night Shyamalan finally got his shit back!" Only to remind myself it's actually a Nolan film (no hate mail pls. I do love Nolan)

In the end, it didn't feel like a film. It felt more like visually astounding sequences that required you to see and solve through mental deductions, BEFORE you are allowed to move on to the next stage. At some points, you might even be tempted to whip out your calculator, and those "useless" add maths lessons might finally come in handy!

The "fun" stuff out of the way, let's get serious with some SPOILERS....

So, what happened at the end?

Popular theories include:

1. Dude actually died, and the whole final act was just his immediate afterlife dream (seriously, how do you survive being ejected in deep freakin' space lah. No, not even space. Deep freakin' BLACK HOLE).

2. Love really CAN conquer it all. Which should give us all hope. I mean, even when our world is about to end, and we get lost in space, LOVE will propel us into another dimension that (here's the best part) has ALL THE BEST BOOKS in the whole damn world.

I would go with theory 1. But 2 also can lah.

The fact is, I'm still stuck at: "Did the top actually stop spinning?"

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The #WWEKualaLumpur 2014 Experience

After a 12-year hiatus or so, the WWE juggernaut returned to Malaysia for a couple of shows on 10 & 11 October, 2014. Personally,  this would be my 3rd WWE "live" show, having witnessed "No Mercy" in Albany, New York in 2000 and the show in KL a couple of years later.

If you've known me for a period of time, you'd know that I'm a huge pro-wrestling fan, and that I've met up with and interviewed quite a number of WWE Superstars including the late Chris Benoit, Tori Wilson, Big Show, FBI, Scotty 2 Hotty etc.

Over these recent years, I've probably missed only a handful of PPV shows, but my favourites have remained the dudes from the Attitude era. Which kinda meant, I was excited about WWE coming back to KL when I first heard about it, but I wasn't too over the moon by the roster slated for Malaysia.

Having said that, there was no way I was gonna miss the show. And after giving it some thought, I decided to bring along my 9-year-old daughter, Tia, for the ride. BEST. DECISION. EVER.

Yup, Tia was genuinely puzzled when I told her she'd be coming with me, but guess what? As the first match on the second night began with John Cena's entrance theme blasting through the speakers, she became an instant fan!

She was screaming and cheering, and yes, booing too at the obvious bad guys : ) We had pretty good seats at the lower-tier section, and so the wrestlers were clear in our sights as they entered the arena.

Apart from Cena, Tia's other favourite was also the Big Show. She couldn't believe how huge the main was and basically couldn't fathom how he could even possibly lose a match!

I must say too that virtually all the matches were really entertaining. The superstars sold their moves well, and gave the crowd what they came to see; the awesome finishing moves. The matches also had a good amount of humour and flair, and the good guys won.

And oh, the crowd was awesome too. Led by the enthusiastic lot of PGM (Persatuan Gusti Malaysia), the chants and cheers were loud, and showed just how knowledgable the Malaysian fans were.

The only disappointment was probably that the stadium was not exactly full, although close to 20,000 people turned up over the two nights, according to reports.

But I'm pretty sure those who were there, left the arena feeling they got their money's worth. Including this father/daughter tag team : )

Monday, September 01, 2014

Malam Gala Mamak Cupcake

Pretty late posting this one, but better late than never! The gala premiere for Mamak Cupcake was held on 21/8 at Cathay Cineplex, e@curve and it was a full turnout by the excellent cast.

Amir Jahari performed one of the songs from the film, "Selalu Ada", and the crowd also got to get really up close and personal with the film's stars. The evening was hosted by Maria Tunku Sabri.

The same week too, I went on a couple of interviews to promote the film, at two of my former companies. Hehe. The first was for ABNXcess's "Red Carpet With..."

And of course, I just had to make a grand return to Malaysia Hari Ini...

Friday, August 15, 2014

Mamak Cupcake Di Pawagam 28 Ogos Ini!

Yes, yes, yes! After a long, long wait, "Mamak Cupcake" has a release date and will be in cinemas beginning 28th August 2014!

Friday, August 01, 2014

Mamak Cupcake (Script Excerpts)

Don't worry, no spoilers! Just a little sneak peak from an early draft. And yeah, Sam's name was later changed to "MJ". Just hit me up if you have questions about the writing or movie itself : )

(Mamak Cupcake is hitting cinemas 28/8/2014)


A guy is standing by the drinks dispenser and is holding two TIN MUGS. He’s in the midst of making teh tarik. From his nametag on his uniform, we know it is HUSSEIN.

Hussein pulls the tea in an impressive manner, not usually seen at other mamak restaurants.

When he’s done, he pours the tea into a medium-sized plastic bag. The camera pulls away and standing there, is a single OLD WOMAN in baju kurung.

Hish, lama betul buat teh. Aku ada meeting ni lah.

The woman just shakes her head in disgust. Hussein stands there, “tergamam”.

He then walks over to the cashier counter. The restaurant itself is only half-packed with customers, mostly office workers and senior citizens. Other MAMAK WAITERS in their matching uniforms are attending to the customers.

Hussein then flashes a warm, yet tired smile when a young BOY approaches the counter and picks out a couple of SUGUS candy from a bottle.

Berapa sen ni bang?

30 sen, dik.

The boy hands 50 sen over to Hussein and waits for the change. When it doesn’t come…

Mana duit baliknya bang?

Duit baliknya...

Hussein reaches out to the boy and touches his ear and a 20 SEN COIN appears. The boy smiles; delighted by this bit of “magic”.

TIMELAPSE and the clock shows it’s now 9.40am. Hussein is anxious. He signals to one of his staff, ABU to sit at the cashier counter. Hussein then looks around and leaves.



Hussein lies on his bed and stares at the ceiling. He then sits up, and slides out a SECRET CHEST from under the bed. He unlocks and opens it, and takes out a BOOK entitled ‘CUPCAKE-MAKING 101’. We also see other books in the chest, including ‘ART IS LIFE’ and ‘THE BEST IN INTERIOR DESIGN’. Hussein is not the typical mamak.

He flips open the pages of the cupcake book, looking at the beautiful illustrations.

Suddenly there’s a knock on the door. A slight pause then the door opens; it’s Mohammad.

Hussein hastily chucks the book back into the chest.

Mohammad enters. He gestures to Hussein.

Hussein, ikut appa.

Hussein is puzzled but follows Mohammad out of the room.


Hussein and Mohammad are in front of a locked DOOR.

Dalam ini, hadiah kedua kamu, Hussein.

Hussein is surpised.

Wah... selama ni, saya ingatkan ini cuma bilik stor. Tempat simpan hadiah, rupanya...

Mohammad suddenly flips open a set of KEYS. In a fast-forward manner, Mohammad opens 8 different locks. Hussein is even more impressed.

Mohammad pushes the door open, and suddenly a beam of LIGHT comes shining through.


Hussein walks in slowly while Mohammad follows behind.

Once inside, we see the walls are adorned with PORTRAITS of prominent Mamaks with gold-rimmed frames. The lighting is spectacular.

(pointing to the portraits)
Hussein, ini semua nenek moyang engkau. Sejak bertapak di bumi Malaysia ini lebih 200 tahun lalu, kita telah berbakti dengan mengisi perut orang ramai dengan makanan yang tiada tolok bandingnya.

(whispering to himself)
Dua ratus tahun...

(pointing again at the portraits)
Kadeer Best Nasi Kandar 1876.

INSERT: Kadeer receives a trophy from a BRITISH GUY in 1876. Kadeer looks exactly like Mohammad.

Itu pulak, Nasser Teh Tarik Terbaik, 1942.

INSERT: Nasser receives a trophy in 1942 from a JAPANESE GUY. Nasser looks exactly like Mohammad as well.

Itu, Mahbob Rojak of the Year, 1962.

INSERT: Mahbob receives a trophy in 1962 from TUNKU ABDUL RAHMAN. Mahbob also looks exactly like Mohammad.

Mohammad, Mamak Cemerlang, Gemilang, Terbilang 2005.

INSERT: Mohammad receives a trophy from PAK LAH.

Hussein touches his face as if wondering if he’ll turn out to look like all of them.

(pointing to a picture-less frame)
Yang ini pulak... Untuk gambar engkau, Hussein. Pewaris Mohammad Nasi Kandar.

Hussein is surprised.

Er, t-t-tapi macam mana dengan abang Ali Deen, yo yo yo?

(suddenly turning angry)
Rapper kelas ketiga tu? Muzik Muzik semifinal pun kalah. Buat malu keturunan!
(starts ranting in Tamil, then continues...)
Hussein, appa nak kau janji.

Janji apa, appa?

Janji yang kau takkan malukan keluarga kita. Janji kau takkan kecewakan appa macam si Ali tu, dan majukan lagi bisnes kita ini. Ingat, jangan sesekali lupakan asal usul kita. Inilah misi kita di bumi ini. Bukannya jadi artis hip-hop. Cit!

Hussein just looks down and doesn’t say anything.

Dan bila kau sudah kahwin nanti dan ada keluarga sendiri, kau akan jadi pemilik penuh Mohammad Nasi Kandar!
(a beat)
Hussein, kenapa? Kau pun nak kecewakan appa?

Mohammad starts touching his CHEST, like a heart-attack is coming.

(while forcing a smile)
Tak. Tak, appa. Saya janji. Lagipun, saya lagi suka rock daripada hip-hop.

Mohammad suddenly feels better now and smiles. He puts his arm around Hussein. They look at the portraits again together. Hussein has his mind on something else.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Jalan-Jalan Adelaide

We had to think about it quite a bit. It was a matter of going back to Melbourne, or Perth, or having a go at a new Aussie destination. Tia has been counting the Australian states we've been to and told us we're missing three; Tasmania, Northern Territory and South Australia.  But fikir punya fikir, we settled on Adelaide. FB comments were mixed, but hey, nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?

And so, to South Australia we went! This was probably a trip I did the least research. Extreme busy-ness coupled with the desire to just take things easy meant we were gonna leave things pretty much very open.

We arrived at Adelaide in the morning and the weather was pretty chilly, as it was just a mere couple of days before the winter season was to start. And it took us about 20mins in a taxi to reach our hotel at Frome Street. I chose this place as it's within the CBD and very close to Rundle Street, the most happening stretch of road in all of Adelaide.

We left our luggage at the hotel as it was still early and made our way to Rundle Street, which had shops, malls and all sort of interesting cafes. Yup, Adelaide's is pretty well-known for its cafes with plenty of pastry and interesting coffee choices.

We also stumbled upon a few halal makan places along this road, especially in the malls. And there's a variety of cuisines, including Middle Eastern, Malaysian and Indonesian.

And now for some of the other highlights:

Glenelg Beach
A must-see destination. We took the tram (fare was about AUD3 per person) that went straight there. The beach was pretty awesome and we were told that you could swim with dolphins during the summer.

 There's also a big amusement park with mini golf, bumper cars, video games and other rides.

Adelaide Hills
We rented a car after the second day there and drove up to Adelaide Hills, which wasn't actually too far away from Adelaide city. But do a bit of research as there are quite a number of towns to visit up the hills. We drove around cluelessly for a while until we referred to a brocuhre and headed out to Hahndorf, a German settlement as old as Adelaide itself.

There, we had some coffee and visited the interesting shops. Quaint and picturesque, it's the perfect place if  you're also into German cuisine.

We also passed by a couple of other towns including Bridgewater and Striing, all with their own unique charms.

Mount Lofty
Throughout our stay, we actually went up Mount Lofty three times! It's the most famous lookout point, and on normal clear days, you could see Adelaide in all its glory.

So, the first time we went up, it was in the evening and rather misty and we didn't see anything. But we did go to the Cleland Wildlife Park nearby, which was pretty awesome.

The second time we went up, it was again too foggy to see anything. It was only during the third try that we finally saw something to write home about. The sun was setting, and coupled with the chilly air, it was one of my own favourite memories of Adelaide.

Road Trip to Victor Harbor
So, we were determined to go on a long drive somewhere as we've always enjoyed the Aussie countryside. We waited for my cousin Bernie and her hubby John to arrive from Sydney, and off we went to Victor Harbor, which was a pretty random choice actually.

It was a beautiful day and the drive was smooth and picturesque. We took that time to catch up since we've not seen each other in ages, and even stopped at a couple of places for pictures and also, tea and scones!

When we arrived at Victor Harbor, we stopped by a park at one of its beaches just to chill for a while.

But lucky us, we actually saw some whales all the way from the shore! We later found out from the news that the sighting was rather rare although it was whale migration time. So really. lucky us!

Victor Harbor's views were just breathtaking, especially with the clear skies. We had some fish and chips, walked around and drove to a couple of look out points before returning to Adelaide.

We also did a bit of shopping in Adelaide as there we some pretty cool shops around the Rundle Mall area, which included a sports store with all the Under Armour stuff I've been looking for! Harbour Town also had some good deals, but we did go home without bursting our luggage allowance : )

So, Adelaide. Check. Tasmania next? Hehehe...


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