Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Showdown in Cinemas 7/4/2016! #showdownthemovie

It has taken a pretty long while, but Showdown will be in cinemas 7th April 2016! Yup, finally! I started writing the screenplay some three years ago, and after several revisions, shooting started in mid-2013. So it's been quite a wait for everyone involved :)


But anyway, a couple of private previews had been organised these past couple of months, including one at One Utama recently.


With producer Tengku Iesta and legendary rap trio, Nico! (Yes, that classic Nico tune is featured in the film)
With director Khai Bahar and Hafiz (who plays himself in the film)

With super-talented 14-year-old Benladin who also gets to strut his stuff in Showdown

Two guys trying hard to be hip-hop. Haha. With Esma Daniel

There was also another preview a couple of months back at Basecamp studios in Ampang. That was the first time I got to see the cast and crew again after such a long while.



Stay tuned for more updates and in the meantime, do spread the word!

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Monday, October 12, 2015

Saturday, October 10, 2015

And The Fitness Journey Continues...

It's Hari Sukan Negara today (10/10/2015), so I think it's only appropriate to further share my refreshed fitness journey which began in 2011 when I caught the running bug after signing up as one of the "celebs" to promote and run the first-ever ntv7 Feel Good Run.




The following year, I started a community running project "Larian 40 Taman", which I heavily promoted on the show I was co-hosting on TV3, "Malaysia Hari Ini". The project was a successful one (if I may say so myself), and all 40 runs were completed in a year, which took me to 9 Malaysian states, as well as to Singapore, Melbourne and London.




Apart from my own Larian 40 Taman, I also started taking part in events all over the country, and slightly overseas we well :)




But from 2014 onwards, I decided to do more weight training. I was a lean 77kgs after all the running excursions (which meant I had lost some 15kgs), but my goal was now to add some muscle mass and continue with some cardio. These past two years, I've entered like 2 events annually only, but yes, I do miss the adrenaline and camaraderie of running together with a few thousand other people. 

But weights are my passion now and I hit the gym 3/4 times a week; weekdays at the condo gym and weekends at Fitness First. 



For me as well, that often-heard advice "listen to your body" is something I adhere to. It can be too hectic at work, and the daily commute sometimes takes up to 3 hours, to and fro, so when a good rest is needed, that's exactly what I'll do. 

Also, there are problem areas for me; like my abs. But hey, since I'm not training to compete in any "body cantik" competish, I am down with that. Plus, I try to eat clean most of the time, but that doesn't mean I'm all broiled chicken and broccoli. Still love my burgers and chips!



But yeah, I do feel fitter, Alhamdulillah. I seldom come down with anything, and I just feel better overall. So, if you're still thinking about it, get on the bandwagon right away! It's worth it, I can assure you... : )

Monday, October 05, 2015

M. Zul Reviews...

So, I just started a new web series called "M. Zul Reviews..." where I'll be (surprise, surprise), reviewing stuff including films, music, TV shows, food etc.

For the first ever episode, I review the film "Everest". Thanks for watching and do subscribe!

PS: I'm still working on a lot of things including an opening montage and basically the whole flow of the show. Gimme a couple of eps, ya...

PPS: My daughter Tia actually helped me to edit! :)

Friday, October 02, 2015

Bon Jovi In Kuala Lumpur 2015

So, anytime someone asks me about the best gigs by international acts I've seen on Malaysian soil, I always rattle out the same list:

3. Deep Purple at Shah Alam Stadium (can't remember the year, but it was the first time they were here)
2. Bryan Adams at PWTC (1993/94)
1. Bon Jovi at Shah Alam Stadium (1995)

Indeed, that Bon Jovi gig was truly a memorable show and was special in every way. 50,000 fans (paying RM50 each, ONLY), thronged to the stadium to welcome the hottest band in the world then. Local act Lost Souls played the opening set, but when Bon Jovi appeared on stage with the volume turned all the way up, it totally blew my mind.

But let's focus on the present. When I first heard about their possible date here, I was like, "Damnit, it's been 20 LONG years! Forget them, I'M the one who's old." Haha.

But yeah, immediately I knew I had to be there. Of course there were questions about if this could be as good as that last concert, and if the band would have enough in the tank to blow us all away yet again. After all, Jon Bon Jovi is now 53 years old! But then again, JBJ is not your ordinary rock star...


So when the day came, we were all pumped up for a rockin' good time. I was in a black tee and jeans, and as it turned out, so were 10,000 other guys of all ages who made their way to Merdeka Stadium.


This time, there was no opening act. 8.30pm and bam, Bon Jovi was on stage! Everyone screamed and the rockin' out began. Stage design was pretty simple but the decibel level was that of a legendary band's. The big screens on both sides of the stage gave everyone a closer look at the band members, and naturally JBJ always got the bigger ovation. (And maybe Dave Bryan, who hasn't changed his hairstyle in 30 years)

Of course everyone was also wondering about what kind of set list it was gonna be like. The "purist" that I am, I was hoping for more of the earlier stuff, but looking around as well, I knew most of these guys would totally explode at "It's My Life".

As it turned out, there were more of their "later period" tunes and more of the mid tempos, stuff that JBJ could still handle. No, this is not a criticism at all! Just an acknowledgement of human limits : )



So it was a pleasant surprise when they broke into "Raise Your Hands", taken from "Slippery When Wet". And Instinctively I also knew what was coming next... "You Give Love A Bad Name"! The crowd expectedly went wild with appreciation. And you know I rocked out as well lah.

And the crowd proved to be responsive throughout the night. Every time JBJ asked for some raised hands, or a chorus singalong, he always got the reaction, even though I sensed most were just basically waiting for "Have A Nice Day", and "It's My life".

Highlights for me were when Bon Jovi went ol' skool and blasted "In These Arms", "Keep The Faith", "Bad Medicine" and "Wanted Dead Or Alive".



But no, the band refused to play their monster ballads. You know which ones I'm talking about; "Always", "I'll Be There For You", "Never Say Goodbye".

I thought there was some chance of that when they returned for an encore, but that didn't happen too. Nevertheless, they closed a fine show on a real high with "Livin' On A Prayer" (there could not have been any other song).



Overall, it felt a bit like a reunion gig, seeing them again after 20 years. JBJ didn't really talk much, but they did demonstrate yet again why they'll always be one of the all time greats...

Monday, September 28, 2015

Kuching Marathon 2015

For the second year in a row, I flew all the way to East Malaysia for the Kuching Marathon this past August. It's also my second event after the Reach Out Run 2015 just before Ramadhan; which probably means I've reached my annual quota. Haha.

Anyway, this time around I had some other drama that pretty much ruined the whole trip for me. I had booked a room at Pullman (a hotel I really like because of the convenient location and service standards), but as I was driving to the airport, I received a call from their staff to say that they had "technical issues". She was spouting something about water supply being disrupted, but as I eventually found out, these were just LIES to cover up the fact that they had overbooked the rooms.


So their proposal was to transfer my reservation to another hotel for the first night only. I protested and tried to look for other alternatives, but I just couldn't find better options. As such, I had to put up at another hotel, which wasn't that bad, but was in the middle of nowhere. So after my arrival, I could only stay in the room watching TV and later on had my "carbo-loading" meal at a mamak place. Ugghhh.


Anyway, the morning of the event, Pullman did send a van to pick me up along with my stuff to the hotel. After leaving my bag at the concierge, I walked to the Start line to see a good crowd waiting for the 10km to start.




Overall, the run was more or less the same as what we went through last year. The weather was good, and the route was pretty flat, except for a bridge or two.




 I did a decent time, and the medal was definitely nice and unique.



After the run, I went back to Pullman, BUT they couldn't check me in yet, and I still had to wait till 2pm. Double ugghhhh.... I went to the pool area for a shower and with aching limbs and all, had to go out to "jalan-jalan" and kill time before I could get a room.

After finally checking in, I was just too annoyed to enjoy the rest of the stay. I watched a bit of footie at night and by the time I reached the Top Spot seafood place, the stalls were closed!

Ah well, I guess it's time to "retire" from this event. Thanks for the memories, Kuching Marathon!

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Three Years Ago Today... #ThrowbackThursday

I simply love the Facebook feature that feeds you "on this day" memories on a daily basis. They usually put a smile on my face, followed by "where did the time go?' musings.

And today, Facebook fed me the photo below...


Reading people's comments about me looking like an "innocent" student really made my morning. It was three years ago today that I started doing my certificate in filmmaking at Central Film School in London. It was a big decision, really. But with my family's support, and a grant from Mdec, I applied for time off from my job at Media Prima, and just basically did it.

And it was a great experience, really. Going back to class, taking notes and having group discussions and stuff. And being in London was not to shabby, either. Haha.

Every morning, I would walk from my apartment to the school in East London that included crossing the famous Tower Bridge.


And this was practically my breakfast almost every other day. : )


I left Media Prima about six months after coming back from the course, and since then I've done a couple of different things, including production full-time. And since then too, I've had two of my scripts made into feature films, executive produced one telemovie and three series, and co-wrote another two.

And recently, these works earned me two awards (for the whole team, not personally though), at the Anugerah Lawak Warna 2015.

Not too shabby indeed. So, thanks for reminding me of those "good 'ol days", Mr Zuckerberg!

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Liverpool In Malaysia 2015

I still remember that day from four years ago. It was Liverpool's first visit to Malaysia and Match Day was what everyone hoped it'd be. The Bukit Jalil Stadium was packed to the brim with 90,000 die-hard Reds. The atmosphere was simply electric with constant cheers, loud horns and of course, heartfelt renditions of the anthem You'll Never Walk Alone.

I remember having to park the car so far away from the stadium. But it didn't matter to all three of us. And we were rewarded with a truly memorable day.

And so, when it was announced that Liverpool were coming back to KL, I did wonder if that experience could ever be topped. Must say that I doubted it for many reasons. The country's undergoing a strange phase now, having just been hit by GST, and with the match scheduled for just a week after Hari Raya, I knew tickets wouldn't be snapped up as fast as the last time around.


But you know that yours truly just had to be there. Hehe. No ifs or buts. Gerrard's no longer around, and the way we ended last season was something to be forgotten, but come on lah... we wouldn't wanna be like other "fans", would we? : )

The stadium was only half-full on match day, but it was still great to see so many other Reds that day, all in good spirits. We cheered the players on during the warm-up and broke into You'll Never Walk Alone again before the game began.



Brendan Rodgers fielded a good first eleven, and we got to see the likes of Milner, Clyne, Ibe, Lalana, Origi and captain Hendo in action. Malaysia meanwhile fielded a number of foreigners and did well to take the lead. And as you already know, Ibe scored a screamer of an equaliser and things were tied 1-1 at halftime, Which was also how it ended after 90mins.


I must admit that the game was only played at half-pace and didn't deliver the same kind of excitement we got from the 6-3 win four years ago. Maybe the fact that it was the Reds' last game on this Far East tour had something to do with it. The lads must already be thinking about home at this point.

But here's the best part; the new season is only days away now! And I must say that I'm optimistic it will be one with a lot to cheer about. Here we go!

Monday, August 03, 2015

Happy 200th Issue FHM Malaysia!

Happy 200th issue, FHM Malaysia! I also got the chance to share my favourite moments as the editor, back in the day (been a while since my byline appeared here, hehe). Still remember putting together the 75th issue with Lindsay Lohan on the cover; my favourite issue of all time 😄 But really, editing the world's biggest men's mag was indeed an incredible journey. Met a lot of cool people, and had a blast putting together each and every issue. Cheers FHM!


Friday, July 17, 2015

Selamat Hari Raya!


Selamat Hari Raya everyone! Here's a classic tune performed by Tia : )


Monday, June 22, 2015

Jalan-Jalan Perth 2015

The annual trip to the land Down Under took us back to Perth, Western Australia. The last time we were there was 4 years ago; Tia was still watching the Cartoon Network! Hehe. But yeah, we've had some pretty good Perth memories and knew we'd be going back one day. So it wasn't that tough of a decision, really.



Our MAS flight got into Perth close to midnight that day and by the time we got to the Baileys Serviced Apartment along Hay Street, it was close to 1am. But despite not having reception staff on standby, checking-in was a breeze. And I must say that our whole stay there was really nice and peaceful, and we had no complaints about anything whatsoever.




The morning after was actually our wedding anniversary (thanks to all who sent their well wishes!), and we spent the first half of the day just enjoying the cool air and blue skies. We took a stroll along picturesque Swan River and back up to the CBD for some window shopping and makan-makan.








Later in the evening, we hired a car and drove to Cottesloe Beach for the sunset. And man, it was simply breathtaking.







Then it was off to one of our favourite places (on the planet, in fact), Fremantle! As expected, things were lively, especially at the Youth Park area which has a Big Wheel now as well. We took a walk around the boardwalk area and had a nice seafood dinner at one of the restaurants.



The next day, we made a short trip to Watertown (formerly known as Harbour Town), before making our way to one of our favourite spots in Perth; Kings Park. It was a fine-looking day, although the skies grew darker later in the day. It must be said too that the temperature was rather moderate throughout our stay. It was early winter, and it rarely got into the single digit, except during the night and a couple of the mornings. So, jackets were rarely on :)










And for dinner, again we drove to Fremantle; this time for some crabs, squids and oysters! (We also had some delicious snacks at San Churro before that :) )





The following day, it was time to head out of the city. Despite this being our third time to Perth, we've not really ventured out too far before, although we did spend a day at Rottnest Island the last time around.

So this time, we decided to explore more of Western Australia, and that meant, heading to the world-famous Pinnacles! Slightly more than 200kms away from Perth CBD, we also decided to make a couple of stops along the way.




The first was actually unplanned. I saw the sign to the Gingin Gravity Discovery Centre and thought it'd be worth exploring, especially since Tia's into science so much.



And it was indeed an educational stop, although I wished I didn't go into this space pod that went round and round to the point I wanted to puke! : /


Next, was a stop at Lancelin for lunch. Having done no research whatsover, we just drove around for a bit, hoping to find a nice spot for some seafood lunch, and maybe just walk around a beach. On a hunch, I stopped at a cafe called Kerfuffle by the Jetty. And we hit jackpot!

As I parked the car, I could see that we were right by the beach. It was cold and windy, but there was no way we were not gonna go out for some pics!








Then it was time for our makan. We ordered fish and chips, and some oysters, and we weren't disappointed. The fish and chips was one of the best we've ever had, and the oysters were big and fresh! Highly recommended if you're ever in this area.


All the stops though meant we reached the Pinnacles only by 3pm. We had to pay AUD12 to enter and parked our car at the car park provided. You could also drive through the dessert but our car hire company already told us we're not allowed to do so with the Hyundai Accent. And so we walked on the marked path and the view that greeted us also took our breath away!


Honestly, I thought it was gonna be a small area like Stonehenge in the UK, but the Pinnacles spanned a very vast area. The weather was rather erratic, as the sunshine was interspersed with dark clouds and showers, but we were lucky when a rainbow also made an appearance!






But really, it did feel like an out-of-this-world experience, literally!

Other highlights include Hillarys Boat Harbour and also the drive along the Sunset Coast. We've been to Scarbrough Beach before, so this time we stopped by the picturesque North Beach.






I also did a bit of running along Swan River, and finally, we went for some shopping at Westfield Carousel where there's also quite a number of halal eateries. And oh, we also drove all the way to Rockingham, hoping to hop on to Penguin Island, but it was closed for the winter!




Another wonderful time in Western Australia no doubt, the only bummer being that it's too short of a vacation!

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