Friday, September 28, 2007

@ Alexis

Fun with Six Strings

I honestly thought that I'd get these photos posted online sooner, but nowadays I am very the malas to go through all the trouble of resizing the photos, adjusting the brightness and contrast and goodness knows what else in order to make my crappily taken pictures worthy of online viewing.

I'd much rather just create a text-only post focusing on one of my grouses (of which there are many).

However, pure-text ramblings of a babbling person with a tendency to foam at the mouth whenever he launches into yet another one of his hyperbolic tirades makes, a great blog not.

It is with this sad realization that I sluggishly uploaded to Flickr, the photos of my gig at Alexis last weekend.

Which was really great fun btw!

The gig I mean, not uploading photos.


What would we do without em eh? I know for one that Alexis would have definitely been less packed on those 2 nights if it weren't for the many friends who turned up. Heck, some even showed up for both nights!

Now THAT'S loyalty!

Okay, so maybe some of my friends have nothing else better to do (those jokers :)), but that doesn't detract from their thoughtful gesture....*sniff sniff*

(above: The two botaks in the background look seriously confused. Must be the hair)

(above: Yes, we had male groupies as well)

They went "awwwww" during the emo bits of the set, clapped and cheered during the climaxes, and laughed while clutching their bellies whenever I made a mistake.

Here's a big thank you to all my friends who were there that night :)

(above: Tony, the star of the recent Tunku the musical, showing off his manly scar....*cough* *appendix* *cough*)

(above: Oliver, ala film producer magnifgique, is leaving to sad, our cell group will be even more empty! *boo hoo*)

(above: Everyone is smiling because we know what is coming up next....)

(above: ...everyone except Eric that is. Another tragic victim of the nipple cripple)

(above: I just realized I'm the only one with hair!!!)

The Gig

Our sets consisted of several original compositions, interspersed with our renditions of popular songs such as Lovefool, Linger, She'll Be Loved, If I Ain't Got You and quite a few others.

It was my first time performing at Alexis, but I must say that it's a pretty nice place to perform in. The sound system and monitors were pretty good, so too were the acoustics of the place.

(above: Ah Liang was there to give us support. As a reward, Janice shamelessly plugged his new album)

And the crowd...ahhh, the crowd. I would say that all in all, the crowd was pretty responsive.

Although my band doesn't consist of seasoned, hardcore musicians (heck, I even find it hard to think of myself as a musician), we still managed to get the audience's heads grooving to the beats of some of our songs.

Oh...and nothing was thrown at us throughout the 2 nights, which is always a good sign.

All-in-all, it was great fun...but would I do it again? Maybe not anytime soon. I don't know about the rest of the band, but the practices and performances left me knackered.

Performing in itself is excellent, but when forced to juggle it with work, it can be quite taxing.

What to do? Becoming old liao.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Islamic Bigotry

The Taliban-ization of Malaysia

This article was published in The Star 2 days ago and the tone of it's arguments and the opinions contained within just reeked of hypocrisy and bigotry.

To all the so-called 'leaders' who are actually entertaining the prospect of replacing our common laws with one that is based on Islam, have they ever paused to take into consideration the concerns and sensitivities of the other races? Do they really believe in abiding by and upholding the constitution set by our forefathers? Is the progress and advancement of Malaysia as a secular nation truly on their wish-list or do they harbor secret fantasies of seeing Malaysia turn into a Taliban-like state where things such as kites, mirrors and computers are banned?

Time and time again, the Malay leaders (and the Malays who support them) have shown that they only serve one segment of hell with the rest. No matter how much lip service they pay to the idealistic sounding concepts of 'religious tolerance', 'racial integration' and 'equitable wealth distribution', everyone knows that it has always been and always will be one-sided.

When they speak of religious tolerance and acceptance, it is all about other religions tolerating and accepting the teachings and practices of Islam. It is never, NEVER the other way round. When faced with the dismay and indignation of the Chinese and Indian communities, the Malay leaders like to offer up a particular section of our country's constitution which speaks of the right to religion and worship for all races.

Give me a break. Even to this day, temples are indiscriminately torn down and church permits are denied for no obvious reason. Does this sound fair to you?

As if all that (I won't even get into the topic of the NEP) wasn't bad enough, now we have this. Islamic law for Malaysia, oh goody!

Just what we need to see 50 years of hard-work go down the drain as we descend back into the middle ages, or as what so many Muslim 'intellectuals' like to call it, 'Zaman Kegemilangan'.

Two particular sentences stood out from the sea of drivel shown below.
Prof. Ahmad boldly states that the formation of MCL must be based on the basic law of the land, i.e. Islam and Malay customs.
We all know that the sentence stops there don't we? Based on the 'stellar' track record of our Muslim leaders, I have no reason to believe otherwise. Forget about other religions and customs, after all, isn't Malaysia a 'Tanah Melayu' where all the other races are basically unwanted infidel squatters?
All must understand that while Islam is theologically distinct from other religions and whose worldview is complete, in terms of similarities as far as ethics, morality, its value system and legal principles, it has a lot in common with other major religions.
Condescending isn't it? From the sentence above, it clearly shows that they consider all other religions to be inferior to Islam. Islam is the only one whose world-view is complete? That certainly is new to me.

Worlds continue to fail me. I just can't believe that an educated person (or so he claims), who is exposed to other cultures and religions can form such narrow-minded thoughts. Whatever happened to political correctness? Whatever happened to unity in Malaysia?

I'm sick of asking those questions without finding any answers.


Malaysian Common Law
Dr. Wan Azhar bin Wan Ahmad
Fellow Kanan

18/09/2007 | The Star

The Chief Justice of Malaysia, YAA Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim, in his officiating speech at IKIM's seminar surrounding ‘Ahmad Ibrahim: His Intellectual Thought and Contributions' last August, expressed his disappointment over the captive mentality of our legal experts, practitioners, judges and lawyers in reference to the high esteem the aforementioned accord English law, or to be more specific, English Common Law (ECL).

He regrettably noted that despite the fact that our nation has been independent for fifty years now, we still retain, follow and rigidly adhere to s. 3 and 5 of the Civil Law Act 1956 (CLA). The provisions of these two sections prescribe the complete application of ECL for the entire nation.

In reality, many tend to interpret these sections as if we are duty bound to refer to English Law in case of lacuna in our own law. In relation to this, Tun Ahmad Fairuz posits four important questions for us to ponder, particularly by the legal fraternity: (i) Does this condition reflect that this country is bereft of legal expertise? (ii) Does it mean that English Common Law is the best option? (iii) Does it mean that our legal experts are still shackled by the yoke of the colonials (di bawah tempurung penjajah)? (iv) Is it true that our legal scholars are impotent, in other words unable to formulate and develop a legal system better in comparison with ECL? He has called for the Common Law of England to be replaced by our very own common law.

The CJ's remarks were reported in local dailies nationwide. Amazingly, many commented positively, including some political leaders. But, there were also voices of discontent from certain quarters describing the call to replace ECL as ‘baseless.'

What is ‘English Common Law'? In brief, it refers to the unwritten law of custom based on the decisions of judges over a period of years in England, i.e. law derived from custom and judicial precedent. This includes the rules of equity, and later, various statutes of general application, developed and administered in that country.

This set of laws was introduced to Malaysia by the British colonials firstly through various treatises with the local rulers followed by legislation and decisions by English judges or judges trained in the English legal system.

The call by Tun Fairuz reiterates the call made by another (former) Chief Justice, Tun Abdul Hamid Omar (in 1990), who said words to the effect that being an independent country, our reference to ECL and the rules of equity - by virtue of s. 3, CLA - is politically indefensible. He continued that s. 3 needs to either be repealed or amended.

It is not an exaggeration to say that actually all these recommendations may be traced to the famous legal expertise of Prof. Ahmad Ibrahim. Many would agree that he was not only the originator but the prime mover of this idea, and many were inspired by him.

Prof Ahmad wrote that s. 3 and 5 of the CLA shall be amended by repealing all references to ECL and the rules of equity administered in England. He strongly suggested that we should refer to the courts decisions in Malaysia instead by applying our own laws and by giving priority to the local conditions and its people, thus establishing and developing our own Malaysian Common Law (MCL).

Prof. Ahmad argues that the last part of s. 3 of CLA itself should allow for the formation and development of MCL. It provides that "the said common law, rules of equity and statutes of general application shall be applied so far only as the circumstances of the States of Malaysia and their respective inhabitants permit and subject to such qualifications as local circumstances render necessary."

Obviously, the CLA is not to be followed blindly or literally. The very provision itself suggests that even its drafters expect us to develop our own common law. Indeed, there are enough grounds for us to establish our MCL.

Unfortunately, Prof. Ahmad laments, in spite of the fact that all our civil court judges, from the lowest to the highest, are all appointed from among Malaysians, they do not show interest or use their abilities to modify ECL to suit or to conform to local circumstances.

If there is any modification, which is very rare, it is done by rejecting an English law in preference for another English law. So, in spite of our independence, local judges and lawyers, and possibly draftsmen, are not. We are still tied to English law and to its court's decisions.

Tun Fairuz lends his full support to the notion of repealing or amending CLA. He stresses that it should be done using whatever necessary and possible modifications, in the spirit and perspective championed by Prof. Ahmad.

It is hard to really understand why certain ‘learned' groups - both within the legal fraternity and without - refused to forsake ECL. Prof. Ahmad boldly states that the formation of MCL must be based on the basic law of the land, i.e. Islam and Malay customs. He finds support for this in the court decision of Ramah v Laton (1927) presided over by an English judge. Could this form the raison d'etre for such a rejection?

To hold to this as true is baseless, unfounded and would encourage fear of the unknown and bring islamophobia to the surface. Historically, it is logical, and no one can argue the fact that the basic law of any nation must always be associated with real truth and justice.

All must understand that while Islam is theologically distinct from other religions and whose worldview is complete, in terms of similarities as far as ethics, morality, its value system and legal principles, it has a lot in common with other major religions. There's tremendous parallelism of all world religions in these aspects.

So when we talk about a Malaysian Common Law, we mean the formation and development of a system of law based on these ethical, moral and legal values shared by the followers of the major religions.

There may be certain values in the English legal tradition that may not suit our common moral precepts. It is against these elements that we must stand united. This is the spirit that should be remembered when we argue for a cessation to reference to foreign laws to settle our disputes. In this regard, any notion of a super imposition of any one religious theological teaching upon the followers of other religions must never be part of that consideration.

For a common law system in our pluralistic society to become manifest, the basis should be Islam, and arguably to a lesser extent, Malay customs. This must not be taken as an outright denial of the role and contribution of other religions or races. Input from other cultures and traditions will serve as great additions towards a harmonious peaceful life in this beloved land. Perhaps the best term to describe the formation and development of this Malaysian Common Law is ‘malaysianization.'


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Show Me The Money!

Googley good

I got this check from Google (my first Adsense payment) a few weeks back but still haven't found the time to bank it in till now.

Truth be told, USD123 (RM430) isn't a lot of money, but it's not too bad for 4 months of basically cutting and pasting property related articles on my property blog. Some people may call it plagiarism, but I call it 'active content syndication' :)

Oh well, as long as it's legal.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Alvin's Stag Night and the Attack of the Mutant Woman

Thou Shalt Embarrass Thy Friend

We had a stag night for my soon-to-be-married friend last Sunday. Just for the record, I'd like to state that I really love stag nights. They are akin to receiving a free passport to humiliate your friends, and which guy doesn't like that eh?

Ahhh...the beauty of brotherhood.

(above: from left, Adrian, Alvin, Chern Yuan and Daniel - while they were still friends)

The task of organizing the stag night was bestowed upon Adrian, Chern Yuan and Daniel. I have no idea why Alvin let them organize it though.

Maybe he is a sucker for punishment and humiliation.

Or maybe he just wanted to prove that he has big cojones and can handle anything they throw at him.

Whatever the reason was, Alvin's parting words of 'Bring It Awnnn!' a week before the stag night was probably ill-advised and served as an ominous sign of things to come.

(above: I grabbed the opportunity to take a photo with Alvin, while he still looked like Alvin)

Our stag night lasted pretty long. It began at 3pm, or at least it was supposed to. In the time honored tradition of Malaysian punctuality, it was almost an hour after 3 before the final one of the motley invitees trickled in.

By then, everyone was pretty pumped up. Of course, the fact that we spent the last hour chugging down nothing but bottles of Coke and Zappel probably contributed to it.

The first round was pretty mild. It involved a simple 'strip question and answer' session revolving around questions on Alvin's future wife-to-be. Sound's pretty simple right? Well, Alvin's expression in the picture below pretty much sums up how the entire session went.

Needless to say, it wasn't long before he was sitting in the middle of the room clad in nothing but a pair of surprisingly water-absorbent briefs. For the sake of my readers, I shall refrain from posting any of those pictures lest I get sued and thrown into jail for crimes against humanity.

Groovy Baybeh!

Next up, we headed over to Cineleisure where Alvin was made to don an Austin Powers getup and go about soliciting signatures from people whose names began with the alphabet 'A'.

A pretty simple task no? Well, not in Malaysia!

Over here, people have a morbid fear of strangers, and the sight of a stranger approaching them (especially one who's dressed like a circus clown) is enough to send them diving under tables and over balconies in a desperate attempt to get away.

Whoever said that Malaysians were friendly ought to have his head examined.

Walking around with Alvin while he tried to convince strangers that he was in fact normal and not some crazed rapist was pretty entertaining. It was like watching the parting of the red sea. The moment he walks into a crowd of people, a path in front of him will automatically form as people tried to avoid eye contact and hurriedly walked away.

Sighh, so memalufying.

In the end, we pitied Alvin and allowed him to get away with collecting only 10 signatures instead of the 30 that we originally wanted.

Oh alright, the actual reason why we cut it short was because we were all famished by then, and by the rate Alvin was going, we'd probably be stuck in Cineleisure till midnight, chasing strangers around with a pen whilst begging them for their signatures.

(above: the fact that she is hot has no bearing whatsoever)

The event was also planned so that Alvin would surprise Angie with a song he composed several years ago for the woman he will end up marrying. It was truly touching, and the rest of the guys did a pretty good job backing him up on the vocals.

Actually, all they did was mostly stand in a line, swaying side to side while giggling like little school girls. But you know la, group dynamics and all. I am sure it made a difference.

(above: I bet Angie's thinking of how to toss Alvin over the balcony)

(above: In the end, true love prevailed and the happy couple posed for a few shots)

By the time it was all over, it was close to 11pm. Almost 7 hours of non-stop laughing can definitely take its toll on a person. I swear, I must have ruptured a kidney or something.

Looking back, it was truly a fun event and it really shows the importance of having good, close friends.

It also shows the importance of not having a stag night at all, but that's a whole different matter *smile*

(content deleted due to the presence of a conscience)


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Preparation for Alexis Ampang

The Blackwidow

My friends and I will be performing at Alexis Ampang on the 21st and 22nd of September (Friday & Saturday) night. While we're all looking forward to it, I myself am shitting bricks. The last time I performed with the band was several months ago in Laundry (or was it in Attic KL?) and I admit, I'm quite the rusty at the moment.

We'll be doing 2 sets a night, lasting almost 2 hours. That's about 35 songs that need to be memorized, rehearsed and adapted.

That's a LOT!

And we only have around 2 weeks to practice before the big day....*gulp*

We had our first practice session last night but due to some weird reason, all the studios at our regular haunt, Studio Akarkarya, were fully booked. In the end, we had to make do with...ughh... Blackwidow. Once you've gotten used to the ambiance and facilities at Studio Akarkarya, going to Blackwidow is like switching from a BMW to a Kancil, from a Wagu Steak to a Ramlee Burger, from Astro to terrestrial TV.

Major downgrade.

Oh well, beggars can't be choosers. We were eager to get the rehearsals underway so it didn't really matter if the studio smelled like cigarette butts, and the instruments all had a greasy, oily coat on them.

We were there to make music man! *Jamaican accent*

Let the rehearsals begin.

(above: Crammed but functional)

(above: The microphones smelled magnifique!)

(above: Da Man at the drums, Old Man Simon!)

(above: As usual, Eu Jin the bassist was a picture of intense concentration, or is it just gas?)

(above: Our vocalists from left, Amanda, Janice & Leroy)

(above: Here's my contribution to modern art, I call this piece 'Guitar on cigarette stained floor with foot in middle')


Monday, September 03, 2007

Trippin with Janice Yap

Trippin, 8tv - Wednesday @ 9:30pm

This is a bit overdue, but here's a plug for a show which my girlfriend is currently hosting. The name is 'Trippin' and it's shown every Wednesday on 8tv at 9:30pm. The show basically touches on all the adventurous things you can do in Malaysia - ranging from extreme sports to extreme motorsports (drifting!!).

The show is way cool and should appeal to all the adrenalin junkies out there. Do check it out!

You can view the past episodes on 8tv's website

Here's a clip from the most recent episode for your viewing pleasure.


Sunday, September 02, 2007

Auto Makeover

A touch of JDM

I recently sent one of my cars to the spray shop to have it repainted. I've been driving the car around stock standard for quite some time, but the incessant itch which afflicts all car nuts soon got the better of me.

Yes, once bitten by the bug....there is no known cure.

The Alfa Romeo 147 looks pretty mundane in stock trim, with a lorry-like ride height and wheel gaps huge enough for you to hide a small family of cats in. Plus, the original paint is getting on 4 years now.

Time for a change methinks.

If you have a passing interest in cars, you would have surely noticed that there are more and more continental cars on our roads which have been modded with a bit of JDM influenced flavor.

For the non-car freaks out there (ie, people who have a life), JDM basically means Japan Domestic Market, and in modding terms, it refers to the style sported by all the modified EVOs, Skylines and Supras out there with their huge GT spoilers, crazy-arsed graphics, carbon fibre everything, pavement scraping ride-heights and the obligatory wide-bodied body kit.

Of course, I'm no longer a juvenile street dragger and the thought of a loud flashy car for a daily driver doesn't appeal as much anymore - but I'll always have a soft spot for those things.

What I wanted to achieve with the Alfa was just the right balance of European sobriety and Japanese brashness.

The end result?

I think I got the balance I was looking for :)

(click to enlarge)

(above: Basically the whole kit was taken from the Alfa Romeo 147 GTA, with a bit of custom bodywork done to get it to fit the 4-door chassis)

(above: Rims were taken from the Alfa 147 GTA as well, the ride height was lowered around 30-35mm courtesy of Eibach)

(above: The rear bumper of the 147 GTA will look even better with a set of twin exhausts poking out from the side-pods. However for the sake of preserving the original back-box, I opted for just an exhaust tip instead)

(above: The Alfa 147 GTA kit isn't overly 'low', so scraping should hopefully be minimized)

(above: Sighh...if only I had some stonkin' big Brembos to fill up the GTA rims)

(above: Black roofs are in vogue)