水曜日, 12月 28, 2005

My two left feet

didn't do any hall-decking with holly boughs this festive season, but i did have a great break over the hills. manchester is only 40 miles away from where i am, but it's 40 miles over the peaks. you can have a smoother drive but it means an L-shaped 80 miles on the M1, M62 and M60. drove over the non-foggy (thank god) hills to reach rizkee cafe by 9.30pm, to surprise some people and to meet idlan and co. for a late supper. food and the company was lovely as usual, and i tried the udon this time instead of my usual taugeh-less bahn pho bo.

spent the next day chilling out at rizkee. as in all day. have you ever stayed in a cafe for almost 12 hours? i've never owned one to experience that, and this time i have. as it was x'mas eve, there weren't many customers as we thought there'd be. i spent the whole day chillin' with pinkfrog, the chef and sous chef both of whom i never had the pleasure to meet up to now. it was then that i saw how an establishment like rizkee was run and it was no mean feat. hats off to sherry and her entire crew. they work as a family, and there was no us and them attitude whatsoever. for lunch i had the deep-fried seabass which was an absolute bomb. and this was after some waffles. followed by mocktails, teh tarik and more kuehs, it wasn't any wonder that i didn't do any clothes shopping in the boxing day sales.

it was a quite evening at the cafe. spent the entire time eating, taking pics with my EOS 350D, net surfing on rizkee's free wi-fi (idlan, you'd love this!), and playing my PSP. pinkfrog also brought her PSP and the floor staff was either taking down rival race cars or slashing bare-assed baddies with scimitars, while waiting for patrons to arrive. we even had an impromptu salsa lesson by the bar area before closing the cafe up for x'mas.

x'mas afternoon saw the whole bunch of us working up our appetites for lunch at my cousin's by walking around lyme park near stockport. the cool winter air was crisp and lovely. it was also an opportunity to take the new toy out and try it out for size. all the pics seen here are taken with the rebel. the lunch we had was absolutely scrumptious. it was so good i was seen snoring in the back room. the thing was we had also been invited for dinner in a few hours' time. so, i might as well doze off (jet lag was my other excuse) while the girls (and one guy) baked chocolate cake.

dinner at fadhlin's was just as awesome. tucking in after getting a little lost on oxford road just when everyone else have had their fill. after the parents and kids left the premises, the floor was turned into a sweaty havana club. well, with the tingkap tak boleh bukak, the temperature was close to that of cuba! i definitely have two left feet on top of being kaki / tangan bangku but it was great fun (two whole hours of gyrating, oo-er!) nonetheless. thanks for being patient, guys! it reminded me of old photos of my folks when they were younger. there was no zouk or gatecrasher then, but going out dancing was good clean fun in those days. they'd be in their smart suits and dresses, dancing the night away at an ipoh nightclub (not the ticket one with the no. 26 in offbeat cha-cha).

star of the night? goes to budin, for being on the floor non-stop. i'm sure no illicit substances were added to the stuffing or the pudding!

now with the x'mas festivities (ok, new year is around the corner) and, more importantly, the exams over, it's time to get my rusty guitar-playing back into action. it'll be march 2006 soon, man.
click on the thumbnails to see the larger image!

金曜日, 12月 23, 2005

The three-week vacation that was

i usually would blog more often when i am back in KL, but with the recent family event, the chaotic tummy only had a few choice entries this time. i was online a lot anyway, to the point that anuarF was wondering if i had real things to see and do on holiday. well, when you have to wait for family members to get up for brunch (breakfast is not common occurrence in the muzaffar household), you have time to spare to the point of doing complex-ish photoshop edits for an entry.

i suppose things are pretty much same old, same old in KL since i was last there (it was only last april!). traffic on the way to low yat is always stagnant behind istana negara-cum-near DBP. drivers are still rude / psychotic as ever. double parking is still the in thing to do, even when there is ample parking.

i do the same old things out of habit when i am back home. wouldn't mind doing something different for a change (i did, it was a wedding!) but i don't actually complain if the next activity was the umpteenth visit to subang ria for char kuey teow / meehoon soup tak mau taugeh / popiah basah / chapatti.

i had the chance to meet up with some old newcastle university chums in USJ. it was like a mini-reunion and managed to catch up on some juicy goss (something i don't do unless i hang out with friends who are married - i wonder why that is). everyone (bar one) had little ones plus/minus an indonesian maid tagging along. otherwise, it really felt like old times.

despite the longest break that i had for a long time, i still missed out on:

however, thank god for:

another 3 weeks to go before my post-vacation depression ends.

水曜日, 12月 14, 2005

Wa caya sama lu!

mamat khalid's ROCK is no almost famous. nor is it rockstar (not that it was any good) or even nasir jani's kembara seniman jalanan. what it had was a quasi-nostalgic trip down memory lane for people like me who grew up listening to music from the 80's rock kapak phenomenon. it had the ideas. it had its moments. it also, sadly, had bits which were downright disappointing.

the film's premise was about four guys, with monikers which paid to tribute to the malay rockers from that era, from a kampung in perak. together, they formed rimba bara and had the hopes of winning a battle of the bands competition in taiping (the town was not mentioned but seeing the casual market and the hokkien assembly hall gave the game away). amy, the lead singer, played by que haidar, had the runs during the competition, leaving joe to handle vocal duties as well as bass duties. rimba bara's surprising success saw amy leaving the band only to be replaced by zul kapan (shoffi jikan), singer of a rival death/black metal band, malaikat maut, which reeks of kemiyan wherever they go.

ROCK was filled with the necessary cliches. the film tagline mentioned the coolness of wearing aliph (remember this brand?) hi-cut trainers. the loudness thunder in the east band t-shirts. the red levi's 'key' scarves tied around the knee. the music videos with the drummer playing with one snare drum and wind blowing in the singer's hair. BPR's dari sinar mata playing in the background as soon zack (the guitarist) had his sights on kathy (siti elizad), his childhood sweetheart. the tributes were loads. i swore if you could have been on the film set, you would smell the tancho.

the film managed to parody the malaysian hair-metal scene pretty well with occasional spinal tap-esque moments, like the crap gigs rimba bara had to play after their small success. the tongue-in-cheek jokes were spot on (ripping off the bus seat covers before a gig, jibes about the band called handy black). the soundtrack (the likes of lefthanded, search, wings and BPR) was great but they shouldn't have had the bands singing to the actual recorded songs (could've had someone else singing to make it sound more like a cover). in many ways i knew what mamat wanted to convey but some of the script didn't come across as well as it should. also, the script could've been made the conversations more pasar. the flow was somewhat rushed in the final bits of the film, reminiscent of that in star wars episode III. the manager was on the over side, if you catch my drift. and the CGI bird (kinda unnecessary, actually) moment could've been done better.

the four lads playing rimba bara were actually quite good. the enthusiastic and feet-always-on-the-ground jijo (khir rahman, he was tun mamat in PGL). the kutu-with-a-future-and-a-chick, zack (hasnol rahmat), who practises licks on his blue strat with an avian metronome. the not-always-with-it singer, amy, and always-quiet-but-with-a-reason drummer, black (azmi baharom). they could do with more convincing wigs, though.

ROCK could've been a good 3 or 4 out of 5 in my books, but the little disappointments peppered throughout the film brought itself down to an average 2 and a half.

日曜日, 12月 11, 2005

Taman Tun Nasyid and Metal Fest!

it could've been that if we had a stage, sound system and road crew in front of our house. instead, we had five tents (i was very impressed with how efficient they were in putting these up and stripping it down post-reception) and about 10 catering staff milling about.

with the groom-cum-kapla organiser being at the bride's (well, wife) house, the groom's brother inflicted with OCD was left to oversee everything that day. it wasn't that difficult to keep the ship afloat but i knew it'll also take no effort to sink it! most of the minor things were done on the fly and i was well impressed with trabye. imagine getting one of malaysia's top mastering engineer from synchrosound to handle soundboard duties (he came at the drop of a hat).

the caterers came early that morning and being the pros they are, all they needed was a site in front of the house to bertanggah and off they went. gone are the good old days of big family gotong royong (my colleague's family at mentakab still does this and i thought that was ever so cool). wave a few thousand bucks to a catering/khemah company and you get yourself a reception without lifting a pinkie. i simply don't know which is the better deal.

everything was in place. one problem was the absence of young relatives. young as in kids in the 9 to 16 age range. either they were old enough to be parents or young enough to wear pampers. you see, we had four bunga manggars. easily enough, i had one of trabye's good mate who was in the guest list to do the job. the other manggar handler? yours truly, of course. these two weeks had been the time i had tried so many untried activities.

mr. OCD had his handphone ready and on the arrival of the bride and groom, we took off with two decorated broomsticks towards the kontingen keluarga perempuan. with a click of a handphone button, mr. mastering engineer started the berarak music on cue (behringer and wharfedale are two recommended companies for the job).

guests had already arrived an hour earlier everyone had their ixus-es and coolpix-es out on the kontingen's arrival at the high table. after a doa made by uncle ismail, it was moh paruk! i have to say the food was great (many a taman tun-ite would know of this sungei pencala-based caterer. highly recommended.). we had nasi minyak, rendang tok, ayam masak merah and a whole list of other stuff that i cannot recall. most importantly, we had sirap. mangolisa would tell you a thing or two about how i can be a sirap snob (connoisseur's too strong a word as there is not that much variety of sirap out there). they had orange juice in the menu but i requested sirap instead at the caterer's the other day. a majlis kahwin without sirap? sacrilegious!

amongst the guests were a lot of people from the malaysian music industry. so, it wasn't just the catering staff that had their jaws dropping every time an artis arrives. people from both the nasyid and rock communities (hijjaz, saujana, metalasia, ali, zua xpdc) came, as well as songwriters, band managers and producers (greg henderson, helen yap, yasin). waheeda came and she even kindly signed an autograph or two. my aunts had a field day having their pictures taken with her. as for mr. OCD? well, he tried to keep his hand unwashed after meeting man kidal and yan. i still cannot sweep-pick, by the way. oh, well.

it was great to see some of my friends turning up, both from my a-level years up to the recently graduated guys from sheffield. again, like the day my folks got married in 1968, it rained like mad (hujan rahmat) but had a great time we did. i finally got to savour the food much later when the guests leave (but i managed to chug down 8 or more glasses of the red nectar during the greeting and the mingling).

what can i say? i humbly think that this was way better than a hotel ballroom do. i remember talking to some friends who had receptions grander than queen elizabeth II's coronation. reasons given included the likes of kalau tak ajak these people apa dia orang kata. well, orang will still kata even if you prostrate down licking the soles of their shoes.

it felt this do was more personal and this is how it should be, and will be when the time comes.

金曜日, 12月 09, 2005


chav tak chav. gua suka.

no but yeah but yeah but yeah no but yeah no but yeah...

日曜日, 12月 04, 2005

Bila lagi?

the ubiquitous soalan wajib that i knew i had to endure these two days (and next saturday), especially when one's younger brother ties the knot.

these past week saw us going to parts of KL i rarely venture into. i am sure not many of you have been to stores the likes of sayang you, haniffa textiles and bunga reben. this was also my first visit to wisma yakin in 22 years (the last time was when i had to get a light blue baju melayu from omar ali which was a compulsory apparel during school dinners). there wasn't much to get as trabye had bought 90% of the stuff needed by the time i got home. not bad for a single malay male. he did it all by himself (okay, apart from the sirih junjung composition!). and he is so not gay.

being at these wedding 'supermarkets' tells me that i need two things to get hitched: a woman (who is willing to spend the rest of her life with my quirkiness) and moneymoneymoney.

piss easy, ain't it.

this was the first ever wedding that my family had to co-organise. the colour themes, the names of people for the tepung tawar, sorting out who gets to dine at the high table from our side of the family. it sounds all complicated but since the whole affair was made relatively simple, i can't (or do not want to) imagine what it'd be like if the wedding had a guest-of-honour who was a politician or a sultan. yesterday and today's affair were held at the bride's house and our family's will be this coming saturday. that will be interesting.

with military precision, everything fell into place yesterday afternoon. we were present in front of the surau on the dot before asar prayers, just like dad was when he married mom in simpang tiga, taiping, 37 years ago. the kadi was excellent, as there were no ridiculous questions in the form of a religious education viva voce exam (much to my brother's relief). everything was laid out in writing and the lafaz was done sekali deh (in perak-speak). we exchanged gifts and i was put in a spot where i had to say a few words on behalf of the groom's side of the family (our more eloquent uncle couldn't make it). i was told by my now sister-in-law that my spoken bahasa was a tad skema, yet not too bad. after a hearty chat over a little pulut and some kuehs under the marquee, we headed off to base camp in gombak.

this morning, we left as a small convoy for base camp after some mutte roti at mosin's. last minute duties were given and again, alhamdulillah, everything happened like clockwork. trabye was clad in the finest kuning raja songket. my aunt even lent him a pendant bearing the crest of the royal family of perak as the icing on the already yellow cake. accompanied by the kompang, we gently paraded into the house. this wedding reception didn't waste any time with any fancy silat or toll collection (two thumbs up! - my kind of wedding!). after the tepung tawar ceremony (my first ever!), i got to dine at the high table. we took a few shots (an old mate of mine from sheffield was the official photographer) for posterity and headed home, leaving behind a member of the family, who is now an official laki orang, to bertandang for the next few days at his new family's home.

in this day and age, i have become cynical with the marriage institution, especially among urban 21st century malays. i just cannot put it in words but that cynicism somehow faded away these past few days. without being preachy, i believe the ills we see now are due to a lack of communication. i don't believe in a lavish wedding as i believe in the marriage. you cannot expect your spouse to be spot on, because (s)he ain't a prefabricated condominium. the marriage is a journey and despite the bumps along the way, it won't be too bad of a ride if things get worked out. lidah dan gigi lagikan tergigit.

till death do us part, as they say. perhaps there is hope for us single folk just yet.

金曜日, 12月 02, 2005

Al fatihah

a kind person had passed on yesterday. may Allah subhana wa ta'ala rest her soul in peace.