Wednesday, May 30, 2007

dilemma menambah sampah sarap menyemak bilik

i may project the 'impulsive buyer' front to others, but i'm actually not. probably it depends on what is it i want to buy.

it took me ages + i'm still contemplating over the new 'toyboy' i supposedly want. now, i'm presented with a new offer. if i want a mamiya rb67 pro sd, my brother is willing to split the cost 50-50.


seagull 4a-109 idaman kalbu ...

ke patut tunggu someone fly to japan + kirim rolleiflex mini digi, the miniaturised digital replica of rolleiflex 2.8f. that way i can experiment with tlr still, albeit digital + tak yah pakai film + medium format output gaks + if i don't like what i capture, i can delete + leh terus upload gambar to my blog macam biasa. tapi 3.1 mega pixels je laa pulak ...

(banyak songeh tak?)

owh ... sungguh dilemma ...

but then ... mad-mi's coming home on 22 june, i still have time to think.

hmmmmmmmmmmmmm ...

i leave you with a snippet from a tv gig 'def poetry jam' feat. lauryn hill - 'motives + thoughts'

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

as a man thinketh

one. we are who we meet; there's us in every single soul who crosses our path in our journey.

two. people are our mirrors; we love or hate people because of what we respectively admire or despise in ourselves.

i guess, before we throw a bitch-fest in honour of someone we loathe, we ought to take a step back to look at ourselves. more often than not, we'll see a glint of us in them we despise. and that's not even the scary part. our definition of another person's behaviour or body language may not truly reflect their personal intention but our intention when wearing that same behaviour or body language.

entah lah ... perhaps not?

what thinketh you?

i have this special phobia of them snobs, does that mean i'm guilty of snobbery + that i donch like the snob in me?

mind is the master power that moulds and makes,
and man is mind, and evermore he takes
the tool of thought, and, shaping what he wills,
brings forth a thousand joys, a thousand ills:
he thinks in secret, and it comes to pass:
environment is but his looking-glass.

b shorty et caleb cunningham - 'we came to get down'

just so pinat tak kacau my blake, here's chris richardson singing 'change the world'

Monday, May 28, 2007

a good morning in vietnam

i was told the best way to experience hanoi is to wake up early, that's exactly what i did.

i crackled into action at 6 am sharp, the locals were already limbering up.

i went strolling, absorbing hanoi's old quarter.

vietnam is one of the world's largest coffee exporting nation, but their production is largely focused on poor-quality beans for export as a commodity. coffee was introduced into vietnam by french colonists in the late 19th century.

i planned to greet the new day over strong traditional vietnamese coffee. "ca phe sua nong" literally means 'hot milk coffee'. armed with "a short history of tractors in ukrainian" by marina lewycka, i head for the nearest cafe.

i was very the eksyen that morning; i asked for a "black coffee, no sugar please. thank you." (pfft!)

the waitress looked at me wierd.

when i took my first sip ... umaaakkkkkk aiiiiii!!! the coffee was real strong, like mata boleh juling intensely strong.

it was ca phe sua nong for me, after.


the vietnamese approach to coffee making is unique. for those on the run who slurp on starbucks or coffee beans, this kind of coffee may seem a throwback to a more leisurely era. ordering a cup of vietnamese coffee can make a japanese tea ceremony look speedy.

the coffee is brought to the table in an espresso sized cup but there is no coffee in it. instead, a metal container is perched on top and the espresso sized cup is one-third filled with condensed milk.

do you know how condensed milk came about?

condensed milk hearkens to a time when there was no refrigeration + stored milk was only available sold in cans. it was condensed to make shipping more efficient + once opened, was thinned with water for drinking or cooking.

the milk served with vietnamese coffee a.k.a. sweetened condensed milk was undiluted; thick, sweet + rich (similar to the way some of us still prepare our hot drinks with milk).

the metal container sitting on top of the espresso sized cup has two parts, the bottom half is filled with darkly roasted finely ground coffee. although two to three tablespoons of ground coffee per cup is common, it does not seem that this much coffee is used because it is compressed between two filters. hot water is poured on top + it slowly seeps through the coffee + drips onto the milk; this takes awhile. and this is not a drink to gulp.

i managed to cover half a chapter while waiting for the coffee to drip through.

loosening the lid a little will let the water run through the coffee quicker but the flavour will be weaker. as the coffee drips, it hardly disturbs the milk. there is a thick layer of white, another black + a little froth at the top. remove the metal filter + stir the layers together. the result has the texture of a good espresso + a caramel sweetness with a flavour close to good coffee ice cream.

the marriage of sweet thick milk + intense bitter coffee is sublime. each, on its own, is too intense to be enjoyed. the milk is too cloying, the coffee too strong. there is a classic yin + yang vying for attention + needing just a stir of the spoon to create an extraordinary balance.

peralatan untuk minum kopi tradisi vietnam

1. french traditional one cup coffee filter
2. demitasse spoon
3. espresso cup with saucer (untuk parking demitasse spoon)

bahan-bahan eksesori minuman kopi yang diperlukan

1. sweetened condensed milk
2. white sugar (bagi mengelakkan kejadian renjatan berlaku)

apparently, the french roast style coffees are an excellent substitute for the traditional brewing method adopted by the vietnamese.

+ i don't want to sleep alone +

late saturday evening, cik pms + myself decided to gamble + just go for whatever movie available. we saw "i don't want to sleep alone", a malaysian movie, surprise, surprise ... at least for us, directed by tsai ming-liang, who was born in kuching + made his fame in taiwan.

a minimalist flick; there's barely any dialogue but with hints of social realism. the theme is about human relationship + the need for man to find love, warmth + someone they can depend on. the movie moves very slowly, lingering on each shot sometimes for one or two minutes, probably trying to get that hypnotic effect but it didn't work for me, i couldn't 'feel' (ke pasal ada this giggling machine seated next to me?). according to baki, it was initially banned in malaysia, but the producer fought to get the film in cinemas. he further divulged a not so secret, secret that one of the actors, norman atun, was selling goreng pisang when he was spotted by tsai to be the star on his project.

the director's style has a lot of similarity with another asian auteur i've recently got 'acquainted with', apichatpong weerasethakul (the director of 'mysterious object at noon' + 'blissfully yours' + 'tropical malady' + 'syndromes and a century' ... i know, i very the ketinggalan zaman). both are masters of visual poetry + mise-en-scene + both are quiet in style, tortured souls as cik pms calls them.

the storyline? it's showing in cineleisure, go check it out.

p.s. i suddenly have 'ain't no sunshine' playing in my head ... i love the cover by freddie king

Thursday, May 24, 2007

girl, interrupted

Swing by Avenue K on Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur from 25 May to 25 June 2007 as British Council showcases some of the best of the UK’s design talent in a new exhibition entitled ‘Love & Money: the best of British design now’.

Love & Money features projects and designers that balance commercial success with the invention and experimentation for which Britain’s creative industries are internationally renowned. From Jaime Hewlett (Gorillaz), Rockstar Games (Grand Theft Auto) to Zaha Hadid (winner of the Pritzker Prize for Architecture in 2004), the exhibition features a selection from across the range of the design industry, reflecting the best of UK’s talent in fashion, graphics, furniture and product design, architecture and engineering.

The exhibition is curated and organised jointly by the British Council and UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and co- presented with the Malaysian Design Council (MDC). Sponsors include Limkokwing University of Creative Technology (LUCT) and venue sponsor, Avenue K.

Details of Exhibition
Date 25 May to 25 June 2007
Time 11.00a.m to 9.00p.m (Open Mon – Sun)
Venue Atrium, Avenue K, 156 Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur
(Nearest Putra LRT station: KLCC)

In conjunction with the exhibition, British Council is organizing Design Dayz – two whole days dedicated to design work and designers!

Design Dayz
Date 26 May and 23 June 2007
Time 1100 to 1830
Venue Level 3, Avenue K

Taking place over two Saturdays, leading UK and local designers in the fields of digital media, fashion, graphic design, architecture, product design, manufacturing and more will talk about what they do and how they do it for both love and money.

The line-up includes Tapio Snellman of London-based digital media consultancy Neutral; Morag Myerscough of Studio Myerscough; shoemaker to the stars, Dato’ Jimmy Choo; graphic designer Kamil Yunus of Freeform Design; landscape architect Ng Sek San and more. Young urban designers will showcase their work around the talks –some of it up for grabs so bring your wallets.

Both days end with a Pecha Kucha Night, the global design networking/social event that draws the most creative talents in the most creative cities around the world. It became an instant success in the UK and currently takes place in over 50 cities around the world. This will be the first time Pecha Kucha is happening in Kuala Lumpur!


in case you're wondering what's up with wegra?

the only reason i promote the do is because the person who taught me to appreciate all things beautiful + that annual reports don't have to be boring (malaysia airlines annual report 1996/97 ... in my tiny world, back then, i thought that piece of work was a true avant-garde) is one of the speakers!

he's yale educated kamil yunus.

chec chec chec check check him out! <- an attempt at beatboxing. heh!

Design Dayz 2 Programme
Saturday, 23 June 2007
Level 3, Avenue K

1530-1630 Kamil Yunus, Freeform Design

ok, music time ... korn - falling away from me

have fun this weekend, y'all!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

too much sun will burn

mr 'tourist guide', hung, told me, "you've not been to vietnam, if you don't go to halong bay".

wokeigh ... halong bay, here i come!

the vietnamese name of halong bay - "vinh ha long" means "bay of the descending dragon". legend has it that when the vietnamese were under attack in some ancient time, the jade emperor sent mother dragon + her child dragons down to earth to their aid, impeding the progress of the enemy.

the mythical monsters a.k.a mrs dragon + co, in geological terms, is a combination of the wind + water that weathered the porous limestone over millions of years to create the bizarre outcrops colonised by stunted + twisted pokok2 + kayu-kayan. apparently, some plants that have adapted to live on halong's islands are found nowhere else in the world.

halong bay is like a labyrinth. it'll take more than 3 days at sea to cover the whole of halong bay, but i could only afford 5 hours.

maybe when i've made my dosh, i'll come again to explore the dense cluster of 1,969 islands + islets.
the dog looking after halong bay's cluster of islands + islets

wegra the jais undercover skodeng orang pak toh


the trong mai islet (above) or in vietnamese, hon trong mai, means male + female chicken island. i read, it was named so because the two islands look like a pair of chicken lovingly playing with each other above the sea. what's interesting, the islet has been christened by the struggling laymen as the 'fighting cocks'.

i call 'em the 'kissing rocks'. :op

i leave you with traffic - 'paper sun'

Friday, May 18, 2007

the littlest birds sing the prettiest songs

preamble: a friend from university, fahmi, once wrote, "I've known her since 1999. Maryam's drive to learn and try new things is almost unbelievable, as with the verve she has to talk about all of them - all at once! ;p A good friend, always thoughtful and rarely says no to fun."

basically, i'm giving you a warning of what's to come ... a text diarrhoea of hanoi (and i didn't delete the last bit, for the feel good factor it brings ... teehehehe!)

jeng! jeng! jeng!

it was interesting that zaid appeared when he did. it's like he was sent to warn me, "hoih! jangan membazir duit tak tentu hala". :op

he told me to not pay more than USD 50 for an artwork unless i'm dealing with the artist directly + that i can find reproductions as well, USD 40 would be a fair price for them. he's got his eye on a gorgeous oil on canvas himself.

he was right.

we saw loads of beautiful reproductions; from van-gogh's 'branches of almond tree in bloom. saint ramy.' to lichtenstein's 'wham!'. they were mostly 60 x 80 cm thereabouts oil on canvas. (i'm good at guessing the artist game but sucked big time at the titles ... like orang siuman mana would hafal nama paintings right?)

*mata juling*

hanoi's old quarter somehow reminded me of le midi (read: southern france), but with a dash of oriental touch. while the more 'up market' area reminded me of avenue des champs-elysees (ada furla boutique summore!). i guess their architecture reflects the fact that vietnam experienced french colonialism for about 100 years and before that they were ruled by chinese dynasties for about 1,000 years.

did you ever wonder why vietnamese houses are tube like narrow + a few stories high?

well, their emperor used to charge frontage tax. therefore to minimise the tax, vietnamese built narrow houses + shop lots. what they lack in land area, they add in height. eventhough the tax had been demolished yonks ago, the vietnamese continue building narrow houses ... talking about conditioned mind. then again, looking at the quality of the structures, i'd recommend vietnamese construction workers over indonesians.
and somewhere along the line, zaid voiced out his frustration with the vietnamese. he's been around for a while to know the cost of living in hanoi but just because he's a foreigner, the asked prices were exorbitant. to me it's just classic. the way i see it, if you think they are being ridiculous, just walk (or run!!!!). no, i didn't tell him that, was there to listen.

by the way, 70% of vietnamese are atheists. the biggest religion in vietnam is buddhism, though there's two type of buddhism being practised. one is the localised buddhism, which originated from india + another localised buddhism was from china. most vietnamese muslims are in mekong delta, though there's a small community in hanoi, who are traders + restaurant operators. hence, the mosque in hanoi. vietnamese are given the freedom to practise their religion. it is common for the atheists to convert (or revert as some call it) to the religion of their partner upon marriage.

do you want more facts + figures? :op

oh ya! tomorrow, 19 may 2007 is the father of vietnam, ho chi minh's birthday.

happy birthday, uncle ho!
for the trip to halong bay, a guideline was imparted.

"if the asked price is 100,000 duong, the actual price would be about 40,000 duong. don't just pay the 100,000 duong!"

sir, yes sir!

*tabik hormat*

on my way to halong bay, guess what i saw + got excited over?

the long bien bridge over hanoi's red river, renamed so after vietnam's independence from the french colonial in 1945, which was opened to traffic in 1902 + since, pumped life into hanoi. age + its wound from war (with the americans) had meant it had to be replaced by another bridge, which construction was sponsored by the japanese government. if i'm not mistaken, the french still sponsors the conservation of long bien bridge though. why?

guess which company built the bridge?

dayde et pille

now, guess who designed the bridge?

precisely, alexandre gustave eiffel

if you're still lost ... the bridge was designed + built by the same people who designed + built eiffel tower as well as the statue of liberty!

jeng! jeng! jeng! exciting tak? :op

yeah! i'm a nerd like that.


anyways, i leave you with jolie holland - the littlest birds

p.s. i'm home. shrek + tiena + cik pms claimed i've hitam-ed from the trip. aiyeh!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

one dollar

this i noticed ...

the younger vietnamese are rather money oriented; everything comes with a price tag. for example, if you seek their permission to take their photo or they pose for you + you go click click, it'll cost you USD 1.

the elderly, they just nod to give permission + smile at your camera.

run!!!! <- sebab amek gambar curik

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

itinerant wanderer revisited

when asked what i was going to do last weekend, i replied backpacking. when asked whom i’m going with, i answered alone (boleh percaya ke?). i was met with a mixed response + i tried to leave it there, not elaborating further on the trip.

though i claimed to be a backpacker, do i look like one?

i doubt.

yup! the zara cotton voile top is currently my favourite. i bought it last year + wore it once to imtiyaz’s birthday. recently, i found it again + started wearing it at least once a week; i think it’s becoming like my infamous gap red slipper.

(my "wassup chicken!" looks like orang cacat still, before mummy-o + daddy-o go laughing at me, "rock on!" pun "rock on!" lah)

on saturday, i was having my lunch, when i bumped into a malaysian backpacker - zaid adam from AU 5 (taman dato' keramat, i pressumed).
he's an architect by training + had decided to take a year out to travel. he started his solo journey from thailand, by land. he's been in hanoi for 2 months now, where he does a voluntary work (teaches english) + a part time job as a waiter in a restaurant. he was missing home, when we met. he misses having a car to drive, going to klcc. he found vietnam frustrating, "kurang ajar" he called the people. i don't blame the vietnamese, i think i understand why they behave the way they do. anyways, zaid would be leaving for china next month. enjoy yourself + safe journey, kid!

if i were to pick a picture to describe hanoi, it would be this ...i'll catch you later, folks!