Thursday, December 29, 2005

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Silent Night, Holy Night

The gifts have been given, the cards handed out and the presents unwrapped. Colorful wrapping paper and ribbons are strewn about, with the leftover food packed neatly into little plastic containers and a half-finished bottle of sparkling juice residing on the dining room table. The festivities have ended, the party over; and the bony, wrinkled finger of a work-week now beckons in a sadistic curl-like motion.

I look back longingly on the days which have gone by with a strange emotional blend of happiness, fondness and tad-bit of sadness. Happiness because Christmas was never meant to be spent alone, and I thank God that He has blessed me with so many family members and friends with which to celebrate this joyous occasion....

Fondness for all the good memories which this season has bestowed upon me, from the hectic rehearsals for the Christmas Musical, to the Christmas Reunion, Countdown, Dinner and so much more....

And sadness because like almost all good things, it has to come to an end.

Christmas might have come and gone in a blink of an eye, but the memories it left will last a lifetime.

A Wondrous Gift

We were practicing for weeks for this Christmas musical. Dance steps had to be rehearsed, lines had to be remembered and scene transitions ironed out. As with most rehearsals, there were loads of fun to be had, along with the odd moment of stress here and there. In the end, on those 2 special nights, everything was made worthwhile. Lives were touched, people were ministered to, and souls were saved! Of course, there were mistakes here and there, especially the one involving the basketball...hahaha, but all in all it was truly amazing.....

(above: The cast of all-greens)

(above: These 2 people were trying in vain to land a part in the new Zoolander movie.....)

(above: ...I say 'in vain' because the part was finally landed by Norman, with his superb constipated-model look)

(above: Yi-Ki & Liang acting as Mary & Joseph. Btw, did you know that Joseph in the bible was a hip-hop luvin, Fubu wearing Homie? our musical at least)

(above: A word of caution, if you ever feel the urge to flash your undies......)

(above: ...You will suffer the consequences!)

(above: Dan the Man thought that he was supposed to play the part of an Ashen Zombie in the Christmas musical, thankfully someone showed him the correct script minutes before the play)

(above: Just to show that I'm alive and well)

(above: Yikes!! The Ashen Zombie is trying to rip Joseph's face off!)

(above: Give a bunch of guys make-up to play with and, well...this is what will happen. Scary *shudder*)

Christmas Eve Countdown

It's becoming something of a tradition. Every year on December 24th, my group of friends and I will gather at Chi Yen's house for a time of makan, bonding and gay-ing (this was only included this year due to the presence of a few 'disturbed' individuals...hahah).

(above: From left to right, Chi Yen, Janice, Hazel, Yi Yin & Sit Fong)

(above: From left to right, Angie, Alvin, Cindy and Chern Yuan)

(above: Ah yes, girls are always happy to see me *cough cough*)

(above: Jon Koo on the left may look like he is smiling, but in actual fact I think he just released some gas)

(above: Here are the aforementioned 'disturbed individuals')

Christmas Dinner

I starved myself silly before this dinner. The reason was because it was a buffett you see, and as all kiasu asians know, you can't go to a buffet on a full stomach. In fact, a true blue asian would literally have to be wheeled into the buffet hall on a stretcher due to grastro-intestinal pains brought about by starvation just so that he will get his money' worth (hey, are we descricing Singaporeans here?...hahah).

My friends and I had this dinner to commemorate Christmas. Around 16 of us got dressed up and headed over to LemonGrass in Shangri-La for a night of 'whining' and dining (Nope, it's not a typo. Some of my friends ended up whining coz they overstuffed themselves). After we were done eating, we all headed over to Q.Bar at West Inn for a night of salsa dancing. Thankfully, no toes were broken or limbs dislocated, and everyone managed to have a smashing time :)

(above: Dan the Man as his manly self as always. Janice in the foreground)

(above: The girls tried to pose for a 'mentally insane' picture. They look better here than in their normal photos IMO...hahah)

(above: Yegads! The disturbed individuals are at it again!)

(above: Smiles are out. Smirks are in for 2006)

(above: Norman doesn't look this weird all the time. Honest)

Monday, December 19, 2005

Of Annual Dinners, Babies and Guitars

I'm feeling lazy today....

The title of this paragraph says it all. I'm too lazy to compose a proper post today so I'll just cobble together a bunch of pictures which were taken during the past weekend and voila!...instant cheapo post! (I can just about picture all the serious, avid bloggers out there shaking their heads in disbelief. How dare I desecrate their sacred medium. Well, too bad eh...hyuk hyuk)

Horwath Annual Dinner 2005

My company had its Annual Dinner last Friday night, and guess who was 'brutally-forced-using medieval-torture-methods' to be the emcee for the night? Sighh, yes, yours truly....and I have the scars to prove it! We also had an orientation session for the newcomers. I know the word 'orientation' might conjure up images of camaraderie and hospitality, but in actual fact it is just a fancy way of saying 'we're gonna embarass you tonight so please bear with us'. We initially wanted the newcomers to do some dance, but we thought that might be a tad bit too cruel ... lol. In the end, we had them sing a couple of songs. See? Aren't I kind hearted. Anyway here are some pics from the night.

Pervert Lee's Birthday Bash

Last Friday was also the night where we had a belated birthday celebration at Poppy for Pervert Lee, my old school buddy. His real name is Eugene actually, but everyone calls him Pervert. How that nickname came about, I have no idea...but I do think it suits him to a tee. I mean c'mon, just look at him! :)

(above: A photo of me and the birthday boy at poppy. As you can see, he is very perverted)

(above: Pervert Lee was caught red-handed making calls to the 1-800-SEX number again)

Baby Caitlin

On Saturday, I found the time during one of our band practice sessions to play around with Baby Caitlin, the daughter of Sean and Karen. Ain't she adorable.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Proton is the Best Company Ever!

Would you buy a glorified Waja for RM138,000?

I mean seriously, would you? Sure, Proton has tried to shove drivel down our collective automotive throats over the past 2 decades, but at least we could solace in the fact that it was drivel that was relatively cheap (I know that this is due to our country's protectionist policies, but I won't get into that). Lets face it, we Malaysians really don't have much choice when it comes to cars which cost less than RM70,000. In one corner of the sub-RM70K ring, we have crappy Malaysian cars and in the other, we have crappy Korean cars. It doesn't really matter which one you pick because you will still end up with, well, crap.

Now some of the heads of Proton must have been thinking, perhaps we could take the same crap that Malaysians have been buying all this while, polish it a little, elongate it a bit, add some gimmicky features here and there, throw in some fancy wannabe name and sell it for double the price. You could almost picture a little light bulb flashing above their wrinkled noggins as they hatched this 'brilliant' business idea. They must have been smoking some serious shite during the meeting which gave birth to this monstrosity.

Chancellor Facts

For those of you who are unaware of this grandiose scheme of Proton, here are some basic facts.

1) The new Proton Chancellor will basically be a Waja with a Perdana Engine
2) It will be slightly longer than a normal Waja however (similar to those Perdana Executives and even *shock horror* the Saga Limousines)
3) Its parts, components and interior items will NOT be sourced from Proton's current vendors but from more reputable, high-quality vendors (Proton must have finally realised that its current vendors are a load of hairy bollocks)
4) The Chancellor will cost RM138,000. Sure, Proton says that it costs so much because they reengineered the entire platform of the car to make it longer instead of merely cutting the existing chassis and welding on some extensions like how they did in the Perdana Executive. Frankly, this is like having some hawker sell you a bowl of maggi mee for RM20 because he now actually cooks the mee instead of just dipping it in some sewage-choked water and calling it done.
5) Oh yeah, it will also look like this..........

....hmmm, it looks like a Waja, feels like a Waja and even sounds like a Waja. Wait, but if you squint hard enough you will notice that the rear doors are slightly longer. Oh what the heck, this car IS a bloody Waja with an additional few inches of legroom for crying out loud! Also do check out those extremely 'stylish' sport rims. Phew..and I thought that Proton was going to rip us off by equipping the car with some crap JRD rims. Oh wait, it just did. Bummer.

Dilbert-esque Management

I don't get Proton's management. What is it with them and their fetish for rehashing old designs and technology? Why do they insist on giving each new model of theirs a new name, with no continuity in their line-up whatsoever? Is it so that they can delay phasing out their old models, allowing them to peddle the old turd alongside the new? The last point doesn't seem so far fetched actually, seeing as how the Iswara (a car which was launched when bell-bottoms were still in vogue) is still on display in certain showrooms.

Good volume car manufacturers (ie, every other car company) rely on continuity and clear model differentiation when it comes to their line-up. For example, BMW has several clear categories with regards to its cars. It has the 3 series which is aimed at young executives, the 5 series for senior management and the 7 series for Russian Dictators. It has stuck with these model names for decades simply because, people know what these models stand for. When you hear of a new 3 series being launched, you don't pause to ask who its target market is or even its price range. You know straight off that since it's a 3 series, it will be a sporty driving machine which is targeted at young executives, and that it will be somewhere in the region of RM300K. Simple. Honda follows the same strategy (with its Civic, Accord etc), Mercedes (C-class, E-Class and S-Class etc) and even Porsche (Carrera, Boxster etc).

Proton on the other sees it fit to give every single one of its cars a new name. Maybe it wants to follow Ferrari's footsteps (which is pretty silly since Ferrari is not a volume car manufacturer and hence can afford to position its models the way it does), who knows? The one thing I know is that with each new model launch, Proton is increasing the complexity of its already jumbled line up. Take the wira for instance (which is still for sale, mind you). Its a 4-door car in the price range of RM40-RM50+K and it's clearly targeted at medium income households with a family of say, four or five. Straightforward right? Not so. Proton also has the Waja, which is also a 4-door car priced around RM50+K and is targeted at...ermmm...medium income households with a family of four or five. Hold on, it gets better, there is also the Gen.2 which is ANOTHER 4 door car priced around RM50K and is targeted at....*drumroll*....medium income households with a family of four or five...sighhh. You see what I'm getting at?

Now with the new Chancellor, I wonder just how bad the situation will get. Proton's join chief operating officer, Datuk Kisai Rahmat said that the Chancellor would not affect sales of Proton Perdana becase "each has its own appeal". I guess he is right. The Perdana will appeal to Malaysians who are looking for a decently sized, mid-level executive car, whereas the Chancellor will appeal to Malaysians who are looking for a decently sized, mid-level executive piece o' trash. Now THAT's clear differentiation!

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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Who needs Friendster when you've got a pet dating site?

To all lonely souls out there, there is hope!

My office colleague recently launched this web-site and I thought I'd feature it in my blog because, well, how often do you come across a pet dating website?...hahah. Basically it works like this, if you're worried that your pet pooch will spend the rest of its life in a state of lonely-doggy misery, have no fear. With the use of this site, your canine will be able to network with bitches from all over the world in no time!

I think it's safe to say that your dog will be hooked. No longer will it have to resort to sniffing around the buttocks of a strange dog in order to find a mate. Thanks to the wonders of technology, doggy-style is literally just a mouse click away. So if you ever come back in the middle of the night and find your PC turned on, with drool stains all over the monitor and keyboard, you'll know who the culprit is.

PS: Lonely single humans who've had no luck with normal dating sites need not apply, you sick %^@$#%s.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

A Thousand Horses = Heaven On Earth

Vision of a deranged petrolhead

This car was the brainchild of Ferdinand Piech, the former boss of Volkswagen who bought Bugatti and got his team of engineers to come up with a concept car. He had only 3 criteria for his engineers, the first, the car would have to look sleek and muscular. Second, it must produce 1000 horsepower, and last of all, it must be capable of hitting 400kmh. No big deal right?

So the engineers began tinkering in their laboratories and workshops like busy little beavers. Laboring for years on end to produce what you see here now. In fact, word has it that the engineers spent months and months trying to design windshield wipers that worked at speeds of more than 320kmh (You see, it's pretty tricky to get them to motor back down when you're barelling along in excess of 300kh, what with the gale-strength force of the wind and all) before somebody pointed out that who in the world would be crazy enough to do 300kmh+ in the rain? In the end, they decided that only lunatics would be capable of doing so, and that the world would not be worst off if there is one less psycho around. So screw the wipers!

Engineering at its finest

The development of the Veryon was no walk in the park, mind you. First of all, in order to create an engine capable of 1000hp (and which will not blow up after a few pedal-to-the-metal runs), VW's engineers mated two Audi A8's to create an 8 litre W16. Did I also mention that it has 4 turbos as well?

Such a combo however, generated huge amounts of heat - heat which had to be disipated through the use of not 1, not 5, but 10 radiators! That's enough radiators to cool a significant portion of the Gobi Desert! Enough to cool the Earth's core! Enough, you get the idea.

At its maximum speed of 403kmh, you'd be basically covering 370ft a second. That's the entire length of a football field, in one second, in a car! Madness! At those speeds, the force of the wind is phenomenal. 400kmh winds can knock over an entire modern city as easily as Godzilla on a bad hair day, so getting a car to be both stable and controllable at such speeds is no small feat.

So it has the power, but how quick is it?

This car is capable of going from 0-100kmh in 2.2 seconds. If that's not enough to impress you (you fussy bunch of people), just imagine this, in a drag race with a McLaren F1, you can afford to let the McLaren F1 hit 180kmh before starting and still beat it to 320kmh.

Mere mortals like us can't possibly comprehend what it feels like to be doing such speeds. The closest we can get is by huddling in front of a Playstation 2, with a copy of Gran Turismo 4 and a PS2 controller clamped in our balmy, sweaty hands.

Sure, there are critics of the Bugatti Veryon. Some people say that it is a totally pointless exercise in excessive engineering, that it will never be able to earn the company a single cent, that for its asking price you could buy yourself a track car, a drag car, a luxury saloon and perhaps even a light aircraft. To those naysayers, I have this to say....

The Bugatti Veryon isn't about sound business sense. It isn't about generating huge fat profits. It is about doing the impossible. It is about the triumph of lunacy over common sense.

It exists purely because it can. And for that, I'm thankful.


Friday, December 09, 2005

24 And Already A Doctor

An early birthday celebration

Here's a big pre-birthday shout-out to my old time friend, Valerie Heong. Or should I say, Doctor Valerie Heong *ahem*. I better start getting used to addressing her that way :) She is one person whom I've known since the ancient o' days, back when we were wee little kids annoying the crap out of the poor souls which had been given the nerve wracking task of trying to teach us bible verses in Sunday school....hahahah. Needless to say, most of these teachers didn't last too long. I wonder why...hmmmmm.

We celebrated her 24th birthday at Luna Bar after work on a thursday night. After a long day at work, I am sure all of us welcomed the chance to sit back and relax with a bunch of friends. Below are a few pictures I took, not many though because I had to adjourn at *cough cough* 10:30 pm. What are you laughing at?? I was tired okay! *sighh* I'm getting to be an old geezer.

(above: A nice group shot. As the only guy in the photo, I was relegated to the back..sighh)

(above: In Avenue K's Kim Gary. If i taste another strand of Nisin aka Maggi-Mee-In-A-Fancy-Bowl Noodles I'll barf!)

(above: Unveiling the birthday girl with her boyfriend, Lester)

(above: Valerie, Janice and I )

(above: Me, Hazel and Sit Fong with her superbly rehearsed, instantaneous, stage performance smile!)

(above: This is one of the views from Luna Bar. Why look, you can see Menara Maybank from here. Ahhh, my old place of training. Oh how I miss the sweet sounds of the Maybank anthemn being played throughout its hallowed halls at 9am sharp.)

(above: Another view from Luna Bar of the KL Skyline at night. )

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Stupid Politician Of The Week

The words 'Stupid' & 'Politicians' seem to go hand in hand

I like the title of this post. This is one area where we Malaysians have the upper hand over those arrogant yanks! For us, every week brings with it a new case of moronic behaviour, or a buffon-like statement being uttered and displayed by yet another one of our 'beloved' politicians. Ahhh....who said politics were boring eh? ;)

Hmm...seeing as how much fodder we have, perhaps I should make this a regular feature of my blog? I can just about see it now!

"Bernard's weekly roundup of stupid politicians in Malaysia an amazing hit amongst readers worldwide!"

"Bernard awarded the Online Journalism Award 2005 for his amazing insight into politicians, and what makes them so %@$#% stupid!"

"Bernard to run for president!"

Yes, I am destined for greatness.

Mirror mirror on the wall, who's the stupidest of them all?

This weeks dubious honour goes to *drumroll*.... our Deputy Minister Datuk Noh Omar!

*clap clap* *bravo* *phee-weet!*

When asked by reporters what he thought of the recent scandal whereby an innocent Chinese tourist was forced to strip and do ear-squats by a policewoman, he said that foreigners and visitors should go home if they thought the Malaysian police were cruel.

Harith Iskandar eat yer heart out! We have a new comic genius in town :P

I am seriously appalled by such a callous, arrogant and not to mention immature statement. Coming from a deputy minister no less! I think the government should seriously consider setting up a politician 'school' of some sort where political hopefuls are trained not to spout inflammatory gibberish in public. I really think that such a school is needed, judging from the quality (or should I say, lack of quality) of our local public figures.

How does Sekolah Kebangsaan Politisyen Bodoh sound? Not bad eh.