13 December 2007

mistletoe & wine

I know I'm not the only one feeling that the year went by faster than the previous one. However, I'm eternally grateful for 2007. Work, love and life, to sum it up in one word, fantastic! Looking forward to closing the year and ushering in the new one.

And yet, we live in a time of unrest, adding to the already strained society trying to find a comfortable balance. The fluffiest of fluff makes it to the cover of news, sometimes washing over the important stuff that matters.

So, where does that leave the individual? How can I claim what is right for me when I have to dismiss my dreams and join the unrested thousands and grab what is right for all?

These days, I feel we're not asking the proper questions. Questions that have answers. An acquaintance asked me what I thought about our recent government-tagged upheavals. I said we're thinking too literally. It's time to spread out and go lateral. And we forget we're not a western nation. We live in a region going through a materialistic phase. The rest of the world is in post. For us, it's all about gain and it's dirty.

My suggestion: Play the game but join it with intention to unlevel the playing field. Play fair and make it smart. Nobody likes to sprayed with acid.

Which brings me to this time of year. A season of giving. So give it your best shot.

9 December 2007

burger me senseless

The Daily Grind is now open for business! This is a shameless promo for a dear friend's brand new F&B outlet. Juicy burgers and killer milkshakes. Where? Bangsar Village.

We were there last night, beers all round and stuffed. My burger craving is finally satiated. I've been waiting years for a good burger in Kuala Lumpur. Now it's here, I have no need to have a burger the first thing after arriving in Singapore.

I've also posted some shots of the delectable food over at my Flickr page. Go have a look, salivate and make your way to The Daily Grind.

Burger yourself senseless!

*virtual subliminal message: Kylie X is now in Malaysian music stores. BUY!

28 November 2007

let me serve you

This part of the world is currently enjoying an expensive consumer lifestyle. We're slowly but surely being given what the rest of the consumer world recognizes as customer service. But with all the staff training sessions and plethora of new(?) products, do we really care if service is with a smile but the product doesn't live up to advertised quality? Will we part with wads of cash simply?

Yes. No.

I'm a sucker and I spend. My latest acquisition, a new broadband service. 2 to be precise. Maxis Broadband and iZZi. I got a full refund for the latter after only 24 hours. I must admit, iZZi is more cost conscious but reception is slower than Streamyx. I live in the middle of the city where there are 4 antennas covering a combined 53km radius. When I returned the wireless modem and get my refund, the sales staff asked if I lived in a condo cos the higher you go, the better the reception claiming the antennas are placed on hilltops.

I'm sorry. Pardon? RM98 a month. 12 months paid upfront + activation fee. Came home with the modem and CD-ROM. Couldn't install. Drive back in traffic only to be told I needed to download a driver which was not included. Got it. Came back home. Plug and no play. 100kbps was the fastest speed I got for living ground level.

So, I decided to sign an 18 month contract with Maxis Broadband. RM138 a month. Only needed to pay RM100 activation fee. No problems connecting. All sorted in 20 minutes of signing up and logging on. I'm now clicking an average of 650-800kbps at home. 2 Mbps around the city centre. Blazing (for now.) But 18 months, you know?

iZZi and Maxis staff smile a lot. Very friendly. Great.

So how?

We're suckered into a snappy lifestyle.

Slowly but surely, we're losing the battle.

THEY are winning the war.

Let the buyer beware. Blue pill? Red pill?

21 November 2007


November has seen me emceeing several 10th Anniversary events. I just came home from one.

I thought it was funny but then, you know the universe has a way with things. I realized today that 2007 marks 10 years since I decided to return home. 1997 must've been quite a year.

What happened then? Let's take a short walk.

1) I graduated from Uni. A political scientist (really?)
2) Tony Blair is appointed Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
3) I failed my final auditions to enter The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art AND The Guildhall of Music & Drama
4) I played Macbeth in Germany (maybe that's why i failed to get into Drama school)
5) I retire from acting, packed up and came home.
6) President Bill Clinton bars federal funding for any research on human cloning
7) I get a job as Research Manager for a production company
8) Diana, Princess of Wales...gone
9) Mother Teresa too
10) Hong Kong returns to China
11) I'm asked to join The Instant Café Theatre Company
12) Stock markets around the world crash because of a global economic scare
13) The term "weblog" is coined by Jorn Barger
14) I decide to stay and not go back to Europe
15) My career as an actor in Malaysia begins.

Ta-da! 10 years on, I know who I am and accept the joys and pains the universe has showered on me.

Yes, this is a feelgood post. We live in a bad place now and we need to unlearn and relearn the lessons we learnt so many years ago. Things will always change and we must change with them. How else can we walk freely forward?

Stay locked and stubborn if you wish. Your choice. I made mine.

13 October 2007

Eid is now!

Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri! It's been a whole month of fasting and facebooking. Ramadhan is like Lent, you give up (some say sacrifice) a certain number of things to prove to your God that you have, are and will continue to be a good person. Did I fast (give up food??) Did I only log on to Facebook once a day? A big fat no. I ate more than ever and you know I poked all day long. But I am a good(ish) person.

However today, we celebrate all that is good and wish each other the holiday greetings. I sit back and thank the Universe and the memory of my late father for all the joys they have given me so far this year. 2007 is moving fast and I'm riding the wave as if channeling Kelly Slater's spirit.

What do I have to celebrate? I'm directing a play with 2 incredible actors, I'm dating someone, I've already been booked for 2 huge shows for 2008 and next week, I perform in my 2nd Jazz show. Positive thinking is definitely the way to go.

My friend's have told me of this book 'The Secret' and I think it's fabulous how some people have started to sort themselves out from just reading it. I have no need to read it. I believe enough to know there are no secrets when it comes to my life. It's whether I choose to accept the answers that stare me in the face. Or ignore them cos I'm too damned blind.

And best of all, Kylie Minogue returns with her best album to date to give me the tunes to dance as I close the year. Kylie X will be released November 26. Mark it!

2 months to go. 2008. Hell yeah!

12 September 2007


I really must slap myself for not only succumbing but being a bad crack-addict on this thing called Facebook. Why oh why is it so good? I really should be doing things like ironing out the details of the play I'm about to direct, wash my filthy car, eat...

So, here I am taking a break from it.

The traffic in the city has become unbearable. The heat is unbearable. Though blue skies are a comfort to see. No hazy hazy. I was a near a damsel in distress at class today. If the temperature went up by one degree, I would've fainted and my students would've stomped all over me.

I'm speaking nonsense. It's not that hot. My students were very well behaved today. And they actually finished their homework. A first for this class.

This heat is making me loopy.

25 August 2007

the week before it began

Independence Day is less than a week away, and as traffic begins to swell on the city's one-way roads, the nation is in full celebration swing. Which poses my question: what are we actually celebrating? Do we even know the actual history of how our nation was born?

Everyone has their own song to sing. The lyrics change with each interpretation. A mellow beat warped into a shrill scream, unheard.

As I sit here, waiting for a batch of laundry to go into spin cycle... Spin cycle. Wet things spinning around until every juice of water is drained from every pore of material. Once its done, I chuck it all in a bucket which I take out to the drying line. Then I wait again. For everything to dry so I can take it to the ironing board. Press. Steam. Everything is fresh as new.

Is that what we're celebrating? The change of the times, the lack of historical truth in our textbooks, what?

Raise a flag. Feel proud.

Where will your flag be in December?

17 August 2007

2 Nights of Jazz

And so, the nights finally arrive. I make my debut at the Top Room, singing 6-8 Jazz numbers. Together with Malaysia's best female jazz vocalist, Junji Delfino, lost now found blues mamma, Shantini Venugopal, and musical theatre songbird Maya Abdullah, we'll take on some standards and showcase an original number or two. Friday 17th and Saturday 18th, begins 9:30pm.

I'm singing! I'm Singing!!

Check this out!

12 August 2007

another year arrives

I turned 33 yesterday. Still a young man I am. A few people were surprised. Many expected me to be in my late-30s. I'm not surprised. Looking at my usually worn and tired face, I don't blame them for thinking me older. I also take it as a compliment knowing I'm seen as someone who knows and has done a bit more than that boy down the road. With that, I say thanks from the bottom of my shallow heart (shallow only because of my age, not my superficial need of owning my umpteen pair of Crocs!)

My birthday came round this year not with bells and whistles but with a dose of what needs to be done for me to grow a little wiser and play a little smarter. Past birthdays, and parties, have always left a bittersweet feeling. I used to ask why I bother throwing parties and celebrating. Always very hesitant but went ahead with it. The next couple of days after would see me wallow and question nearly everything that hadn't even happened yet. Yup, I was that kinda guy. Never completely happy to simply enjoy the coming of the years.

That's why this year was surprisingly different. No worries, no questions. The same friends and a few new ones. A fabulous dinner with a bellydancer and lots of whiskey manipulating my every move on the dancefloor. Doesn't sound very different from past years. However, it was and is.

I'm still a bitch. So, I've been told. But I don't care anymore. Work is great, friends even greater. Why on earth should I be worrying about things like boyfriends and money? That's a question not worth thinking and mulling over.

I had a fabulous party. I mentioned that, didn't I? Two great shows coming up. And very possibly a trip to Cambodia by year's end.

Lots of stuff to look forward to.

4 June 2007

a little chick has flown the coop

I received a phone call today. Not a very pleasant one. Shocking and left me speechless.

A wonderful little person whom I had the pleasure of meeting and hanging out with has suddenly left us.

Valerie Tay. You will be missed and I pray that a flight of angels will sing you to your peace.


23 April 2007

one month

Ooh, I didn't realise a month has passed and I've not posted here. April is a week away from it's end and what a month it's been! A widow whose late husband converted to Islam after marriage has had her child taken away from her by the Islamic authorities. This is the second time something as ridiculous as this has happened in this great country of mine. Elsewhere in the world, namely the USA where anyone can own a gun, a stressed-out Korean student goes on a rampage, kills 32 people and then himself. The French elections saw one of the highest voter turnouts in their recent election history. More flooding and dying flashing on our TV screens and in our newspapers. In the past few days, we've learnt that schools in the UK have decided it best to stop teaching about the Holocaust and the Crusades. What?!?

How can I even begin to enjoy the gifts I have received? Well, I have. It helps to ease the tension of the nonsense. Yes, I call it nonsense. Someone is not doing their job. And that's nonsense.

I have been blessed to have been given the chance of working with a group of individuals that show me, on a weekly basis, that life should and must be enjoyed and celebrated. Every waking moment. No matter what. They continue to show me that innocence can never be lost.

Tomorrow, they'll continue to surprise me.

22 March 2007

that's the way I've always heard it should be

The weather's dreary these days. But does that reduce the possibilty of enjoying yourself? I think not and I know you'll agree.

It's been an eventful week so far. It all began when I met a friend for lunch and we decided to browse the new Borders after. Sifting through the jazz section of the CDs, I found some absolute rare gems that no other store had. I was whooping with excitement when in my hands were 3 Sarah Vaughan albums I'd been hunting for what seemed like forever. These were albums she recorded for the Pablo label, considered by many to be some of the best stuff in her career. I couldn't agree more. She was in her fifties and her voice had lost none of it's virtuosity but developed a deep resonance that was remarkable. Sarah Vaughan's musicality and superb craftmanship of interpreting lyrics IS second to none.

Here's what I found:
1) I Love Brazil! (Jobim and Nascimento on this album!)
2) Copacabana (nothing to do with Barry Manilow ok?)
3) Linger Awhile: Live at the Newport Jazz Festival 1957 (bloody fantastic!)

These albums kept me company while I made my way to judging a college drama competition. Good job kids! Kept me entertained for 2 evenings.

Yesterday, I bought, online, the ultimate Sarah Vaughan album, her 1973 concert in Japan. Digital download. No need to wait for the postman. I was in paradise for 2 hours!

Today, as I was about to leave home for a recording of my own, the postman tooted at the gate. I had a package. From a friend in Singapore. He sent me a CD. Mark Murphy's new album, Love Is What Stays. Brilliantly produced by Till Brönner (very sexy German trumpeter!)

Yay! I've been enjoying the traffic.

Went to watch Frank Miller's 300. I see now why people have been telling me I'm Xerxes. But really, would I wear that much jewellery? Good to see Gerard Butler without his Phantom mask.

Tomorrow is the final round of the above mentioned drama competition. I'll be in traffic again, which usually gets me in a foul mood. These kids can count themselves fortunate that the CD changer in my car will keep me in a swinging frame of mind.

ps. Melinda Doolittle is the next American Idol. And Blake Lewis is strangely sexy.

9 March 2007

come on down

I'm feeling better. Not down and grumpy. Why? Because 1: I helped a good friend buy her DSLR (and her first few shots are fantastic!) and 2: I'm getting out of KL for a couple of days. Going Down Under, Singapore that is. Going to chill with some kids and watch other people get creative and all theatre-like.

Will be introduced to a young man, whom one friend wants for me to give him acting tips and another friend who says he's good-looking and swings on my side of the parade. Oh dear! I'm in for a spot of distraction. If I suggest for him to "feel it", he'll think I mean emotions and I'm thinking...you know what I'm thinking! I'll be wishing it's more than just thinking. I prefer to think out loud. Very loud. Yeah baby kinda loud!

Oh yeah baby! Have a great weekend!

7 March 2007

i should be so lucky

Hello Every Body! What a month has past! I missed celebrating most of Chinese New Year because my lower back acted up again which made me bedridden for the first few days of the festival. Then spent the rest of the time recuperating. Only got up on my feet last week. Had to do a show on Saturday. In 5-inch stilettos. Back in pain. Sharp pain shooting down my left leg. What the heck?!? All this at 33. I tell you, I think I should sell my house and retire. Go buy a hut in a village perhaps. This of course kills my plans to buy a bicycle. Can't pedal. I wonder if bicycles come in the one pedal variety?

I haven't taken a decent photograph. My mind is a mess. I can't remember appointments. Nor string a logical sentence together without some crass comment flying off my tongue.

Thank god for trance music. And Sarah Vaughan too.

Will be back with a smile soon.

13 February 2007


The girls and me finally got together. Not all of us flew over to Sydney for Cheng's wedding. But when the wedding came to KL this past Sunday night, we all got a shot in before we sauntered to the bar. Yes, we were pissed-faced! Good ol'fashioned headaches and stinky hotel room.

One thing is confirmed: A wedding is only fun when you're part of it. Not as guest cos it's bloody boring and tedious. How many times have you been to a wedding, as a guest, and couldn't wait to leave?

I also need to take a breather from my friends Johnny, Macallan and Dom. Soda on the rocks pour moi.

Class of '07 (l-r): Seows, Cheng, Wei, Candice, Way Cheng, Me & Shen (or Ivy to the boys!)

4 February 2007

a new leaf turned

And so I'm back, from outer space. I just walked in to find you here with that sad look upon your face. Well, don't fret my pet. I was very close to deleting this blog. Why? I don't have much to complain about nowadays. I've kinda let things go. In other words, I have other more non-trivial matters to occupy my time. Photography is one of them. I just came back from a wonderful holiday and took a lot of pictures. Even renamed one of my dormant blogs and turned it into a photoblog.

For the one reader that's been following this diva's footsteps (yes you WMW), you'll know that I've been spending my days over at KLDP. Now you can join me on my wanderings at Vision 20/20, see over at Mirrorball for the link.

Work also seems to be on the brigther side of things. This years looks set to be quite a busy one for me. I have a fund-raiser to plan for my company. I was fortunate to have HSBC in the Arts include Sumunda in it's sponsorship programme. Not very much but enough to get some balls rolling. So, if you have any ideas, please feel free to pass them over.

Now back to the luscious holiday I just came home from. Sydney in Summer. I went because a dear friend got married. In the park on a lovely saturday afternoon. Had a drunken night with another friend as we consumed two bottles of white in an hour while we flirted with the waiters. She was infuriated that one of the waiters touched my shoulders instead of hers each time he walked past. Is it my fault I'm the better flirt? The man was straight. The power I wield. Aaaahhh....

There were so many moments on this trip. Most of the spare days we had after the wedding, I left the girls to go mad in the shops while I sat on park benches under trees drinking latte after latte. I can't seem to get enough of Aussie milk. One day, my friend Pod took me on an early morning coastal walk which went from Bondi to Bronte all the way down to Cavelli. It was absolutely breathtaking views of the clear sky and crisp waters lashing against the rocks and sand. There was even a graveyard on one of the cliffs. All the tombstones faced the sea. Nothing spooky about it. There was a sort of serenity when I walked past. Of course, Pod and me stopped for a latte. Stupidly, I forgot my swim shorts. Luckily, the girls and me had decided the day before that we'd all meet at Circular Quay and head to Manly beach. I called them to pack me a towel and shorts.

Then whoosh! I dived into the cool water and the rest they say, was the best holiday I've had in my history.

I would like to thank Bills for the ricotta hotcakes and coconut bread. And Longrain for the Gin Sin and Stigmata cocktails. But most of all, thank you for waiting.

It's good to be back.

16 January 2007

I'm Back???

Zoë asked me whether I've abandoned The Diva Series. No no no, just taking a sabbatical, as all Divas must evry now and then. However, I have this feeling I won't be away for much longer. Any day now...any day.