Friday, June 26, 2009

Remembering the King of Pop

He's gone.
Just like that.

Michael Jackson's passing brought back memories of Princess Diana's sudden demise, years ago. Both are icons in their own right. Both have legions of fans. I remembered a friend sobbing uncontrollably over the phone on the fateful morning and I thought her mom had died or something like that. Turned out, she was distraught by the Princess of Heart's tragic end. On Malaysia's 40th National Day celebration, 12 years ago, my phone (and hubby's) was practically jammed with countless SMSes from grieving Malaysians...

I didn't know about MJ's death until this morning at work. While I was "punching" my card (gomen lah katakan...:P), My colleague Ayong, told me the news. I was dumbfounded. Yeah, I know we'll all go THAT way eventually but this (news) was pretty unexpected. Farrah Fawcett succumbed to cancer on the same day but then, we all know that she was fighting for her life (still remembered her gorgeous hair in Charlie's Angel. She was THE HAIR long before Jennifer Aniston). RIP.

Opening my Facebook later in the day, was like opening a floodgate of emotions...

I was not MJ's greatest fan but have always been awed by his quirky dance routines and songs. Yeah, his legacy is his songs... If you grew up in the 60's and 70s you'd probably heard of his songs with Jackson Five. But MJ, the King of Pop, really arrived in the early 80s. The year was 1984. The place: Jenan. The songs: "Billie Jean" and "Beat It". Moonwalk was the craze and I remembered every Tom, Dick and Harry, trying to impress everybody with their versions of moonwalk. Back home, my younger brother who just came back from the US (after my dad completed his 1st degree and Master in a record time of 2 1/2 years :)), made me sick with his constant moon-walking (that, and his Sammy-Davis Jr. accent... Haha!). Yeah, he worshipped the ground MJ walked :).

1985 (or was it 1986?), sang "One Day In Your Life" with the choir girls for my school's "Hari Ucapan & Penyampaian Hadiah" (credit goes to Nae for suggesting the song :)).

9 years later, it was my Dangerous Minds-charges turn, to sing "Heal The World" for their English Day presentation. Those little devils were so angelic singing a song laden with moral values (sekolah lah katakan :P).

At the turn of the century, me and my colleagues sang "We Are The World" which was er... a bit outdated then, but the song was relevant for the occasion - some show of support for some oppressed nation.

My favourite video clip of all time: "Black or White", and I can go on and on... What can I say? He's one extraordinary person.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Geylang Kopitiam @ USJ 9

Hubby and I have this hobby of checking-out eateries around our place. We do not only sample the food, we like to check out the ambience, too. After all, eating is not just about food, eating itself is an experience! That's why we see all those celebrity chefs in Asian Food Channel travelling round the world to savour food in its locality.

Geylang Kopitiam @ USJ 9 was discovered a couple of months ago while we were on our rounds of jalan-jalan cari makan. Situated in Subang Business Centre near the Al-Falakh Mosque, it was the new-kid-on-the-block then.

the sons in one of those rare "peaceful" moments...

The mini Bali infront of the restaurant got the sons excited in no time. So, it was alfresco for the parents :). While they sat on the swing, played hide and seek; hubby, daughter and me went through the menu. Besides the typical kopitiam fare such as roti bakar and kaya (kaya toast), they also had quite a number of Singapore (Geylang, remember?) and Johor signature dishes. We settled for:

Kacang Pool (left) and Sup Tulang Ketuk (right).

The verdict:
i) the Kacang Pool was O.K but the one that I had in Larkin was better :)
ii) the Sup Tulang Ketuk was too sweet for our liking. (Don't really know if that's how it was supposed to be. Orang Johor tolong komen sikit...

Food aside, the vintage exhibits (iron, gramophone, etc) was not really a novel concept (most kopitiams have the same kopitiammy decor). Nevertheless the owner/s deserved credit for the interior and exterior decor. If I'm not mistaken, the owner (Hussein Taha) was a landscape designer whose work was frequently featured in Laman.

One thing for sure the Air Bandung variety (plain, + cincau, + corn) was our fave. And when the bill came, this VFM freak couldn't be happier because the price was very reasonable as there was no service charge (I think...).

My Geylang Kopitiam experiences have been pleasant ever since, though I heard some colleagues were not so lucky - they had diarrhoea after eating at the TTDI Jaya branch.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Our Singapore Sojourn 2009

Just came back from a quickie 3D 2N hols in Singapore courtesy of "The Funder" (the term coined by my blogger-twitterer BIL for my MIL! Heheh...). Coordinated by dear hubby "The Crown Prince" (a term coined by my boss, Pn. Susi), my MIL saw her wish materialized - to have one big holiday with her beloved sons, grandchildren and daughters-in-law (in that particular order :P).

Day 1

The Shaharuddin siblings started their journey separately. MIL and my family took the flight from KLIA. My BIL, Kruel and wife were tasked to ferry my paraplegic FIL from Seremban to Singapore. Another BIL, Shahrul (MIL's blue-eyed boy :P), had checked-in with his family the day before, since they're almost local (they live in JB). We stayed at the Golden Landmark Hotel in Arab Street so that my FIL could easily get his fix - teh tarik and Singapore Murtabak at Zam Zam Restaurant.

Zam Zam & Victory Restaurant along Arab Street.

In the evening, we went sight-seeing in Kampung Gelam (or Kampong Glam). The place has an old-world rustic charm - shophouses well-preserved in their original facades, vendors plying everything from textiles to brick-bracks in their little spaces, tourists lazing in-front of the rumah-tumpangan-style hotel and beggars near the Sultan Mosque who were so friendly that it's hard not to give away a Sing Dollar or two.

Walking along Bussorah Street

The Century-old Sultan Mosque

The spotless back lane. I was not the only tourist taking pictures of this :)

Besides the legendary Singapore Murtabak, the place is famous for its textile collection. They have their very own "Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman" (Jln TAR) minus the traffic. Although the shops have impressive stocks of textile, they weren't really cheap despite the SALE. Anyway, bought a few materials for those back at home.

After Maghrib prayers, went by the van-load to Orchard Road. The shopping complexes were overflowed with people dashing madly for items on sale. Sure, there was a variety of handbags and shoes on sale but the loads of people betul2 potong stim! So much for my retail therapy...

Shoppers thronged Orchard Road like there's no recession...

The Tangs Sale

The lion, the moon and the Tang's Mandarin roof...

Kampung Gelam became Glam overnight

Day 2

After a less than appealing breakfast of Singapore Nasi Lemak, I babysitted the children at the pool. Those noisy rowdy kids raised quite a few eyebrows. Trust the kids for making themselves completely at home in a foreign land :D.

The boys and the birds at the pool

In the afternoon, took the MRT to Orchard Road. My target: a DSLR to reward myself for my "achievements" (whatever that may be! Ha! Ha!). Am now the proud owner of the Nikon D5000. How cheap was it? Well, my D5000 which came with a lense kit was only Sing 1100 after a feeble attempt at haggling (I'm one lousy haggler :D). Multiply that with 2.4 and you get the price in Ringgit = 2640. The price quoted in the Digital Camera mag was RM 3xxx. But of course, the clever uncle managed to make me part with a few dollars more for some accessories. Still, I got back 7% of GST at the Changi airport before leaving the country. So I would still say that the camera was a catch . Even my BIL Kruel who's not one to be taken-in by the sale gimmick couldn't resist a low-priced digital compact. My BIL Shahrul further acknowledged that electrical items were indeed cheaper in Singapore than Malaysia.

Anyway, the price of other items were not really cheap. Yeah, I saw a branded kids tee going for Sing 10. Multiply by 2.4, heck, the same tee that I saw on sale in Subang Jaya was only RM 20.00. The real bargain of the Great Singapore Sale, however, was this: designs which have yet to reach our shores were already on sale in Singapore.

Night time: off we went to the Singapore Night Safari. The kids were so excited to see the animals as I was -to try out my D5000! Heheh... Bad decision, though. Missed many golden opportunities to snap the animals in their natural dimly-lit surroundings due to my unfamiliarity with the camera settings. Luckily all was not lost and I managed to snap some photos.

How was the night safari? Well, it was exactly how it was supposed to be... DARK. I think the wagon ride would have been more enjoyable had we gone during the day. Tipah tertipu... So, I was one of those 'blur' people who said "Where? Where?" when the guide feigned excitement at seeing some exotic animal passing by "on your left" and "on your right". Kah! Kah! I was also busy fiddling with my gadget in the dark to make sure that I wouldn't be one of the mangkuks who flashed a light or two (which is the safari's cardinal sin) towards the animals.

How do I rate the Night Safari? Okeylah. I'm full of admiration for the Singapore zoo authorities for their effort. Malaysia with its abundance of vegetation could have done better but just look at the sorry state of our zoo negara...

Day 3

Final day. After a quick mamak-style breakfast, hubby and me (actually more me :P) rushed to the redemption kiosk in Orchard Road. My SIL Nani informed us that we could redeem taxi coupons and a free Charles & Keith bag with minimum purchase receipts of Sing 300.

Loved the catchy bag tag! My first Charles & Keith and it's FREE! (Don't care if you call me Cheapo... I can live with that! :P)

Then it was a dash to the airport and before you know it, we're back in familiar territory.