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Dusty Keys

It’s been almost a year since I last touched my piano. Mummy had it serviced and tuned while I was away and it sounds as good as new. Being back feels good. Indulged in so much in less than a week; Nasi Lemak, durian, prawn mee, cendol, roti canai, asam pomfret (that cost RM100 at Madam Kwan. Worth the huge serving and winning flavour.), tilapia masak cili api, sayur masak lemak, hati masak kicap – all hail the good food. Currently in want of zhong zhi after seeing pictures of it posted up on the net.


End of Chapter 1

All my belongings are packed up and the room swept clean. In just about an hour or so I’ll be moving out of number 47, the place which served as my home base the past 9 months. It wasn’t an ideal living place, was a bit horrid when I first moved in but I survived anyway. To recap my story, I lived with 4 other guys. The kitchen was upside down, the living room was half a rubbish heap and the toilet used to be moss-heaven. Somehow my dormant OCD genes activated (took a while) and nearly almost drowned the house in bleach. I thank God for letting me survive my tenancy without any serious illness (considering the state of the house). I did not receive a single word of thanks from any of my housemates all the while.

That’s fine by me. I did not do it for their gratitude. I did it because I wanted to live in a cleaner environment and it felt good to see the kitchen tops and bathroom walls sparkling clean.

Living in number 47 has somewhat graduated me from being an adolescent into an adult (although at the time of publishing I’m still 19). Cooking has never been a problem, I learned to manage utility bills (the paying part is easily done as I do it online, but its the collecting bit which was a crick in the neck) and developed so much patience and tolerance over the course of time I have been here.

I think I finally understood a little of the exasperation my mother felt when dealing with me. I’m sure some of you have had that “You’re so smart, but you don’t even know how to do simple things like that…” lectures from your parents or another adult. Because.

I’m really exasperated with my housemates!

I don’t give a damn that you graduated from Purdue and pursuing a Fellowship now. Beyond the electrical circuits and mechanical parts you’re so good at you don’t know how to deal with the world! When I tell you to call the utility company now, it means NOW. Those people take forever to process a request. Don’t you understand there is such thing as bureaucracy? Why does it have to be me to fill out the census form and settle minor complaints and stuff with the water/electricity companies? You’re smarter than I am and older, it shouldn’t be a problem right? You dared to be bitchy and mock me when I told you I’ve been to the library the whole day to finish a piece of coursework by its deadline by telling me “Oh, you’re doing so much work. I’ve been sitting in the sun reading a book the whole day”. I should have just dropped the F-bomb but never minded.

I don’t give 0.5 shit that you’ve got an Apple desktop, an electronic keyboard and flat screen connected to it, or that IPad or your car. You don’t even have a full-time job, you daily (de)hydration is coke, diet consist of pizza and take-outs, and you’re trying to tell me you’re trying to build on your biceps in the gym by going on the treadmill for 10mins and a few rounds of weights? I don’t care if you and your ‘best friend’ think I’m anti-social for turning down the invitation to a barbecue party at the back of the house. I was freaking exhausted having just returned from an intellectual masturbation in London the night before. Think I’m anti-social? Think again.

You see, I kept my housemates in the dark with a lot of things I have done. They never questioned, so I don’t see any reason I should tell them. I doubt they have the slightest notion of the existence of this blog. They have asked about my Facebook, I found them but I never added them to my friends list.

They don’t have to and there is no need for them to know about the rest of my life. So strangers, and this house, I bid farewell.



Something About Talent

The day before my first paper was due was spent with amazing people. I attended a “Corporate Celebrities Coffee Chat at Balliol, Oxford” in the morning, met up with a long, lost ex-classmate of mine for lunch, had tea with a friend and a friend’s friend who works in the Immigration Department of Malaysia and a person who’s name escapes me but I am certain he said he works at the High Commissioner of Malaysia in London or something. Shook hands with the CEO of Malaysia Airlines before heading to the Sheldonian Theatre to listen to His Excellency Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, the Prime Minister of Malaysia’s speech (which was the initial reason why I wanted to go to Oxford on that day) and met with an ex-Head Girl of mine whom I’ve missed for so so many years and had a nice stroll around Oxford.

The Prime Minister’s speech lacked lustre in comparison to the things discussed during the Corporate Celebrities Coffee Chat. One particular topic which stuck in my mind was Talent.

Before the Q&A session, the guests celebrities mentioned about how the company they represented are always looking for talents to work back home (Malaysia) part of the effort to minimise the “brain drain” phenomenon happening back in my home country. Exams have considerably messed with my neurons, but here are some bits I could recall (because I kept telling my friends about it).

During the Q&A session, I took advantage of the momentary silence (when everyone else was still thinking of what to ask or who should ask) to raise my hands and fire away. My question was, “There is a quote saying the most talented are the ones who works the hardest (this was actually modified from something I read somewhere regarding piano playing – the most talented are the ones who practice the most/hardest), so how do you identify between the talented and the extraordinary hardworking?”

The panel of celebrities took up one full hour to finish answering the question.

To sum it up, Mohammed Rashdan Mohd Yusof aka The Danny (former CEO Maybank Investment, now Executive Director of Investments, Khazanah), or at least I think it was him, he said there were five important things when it comes to managing your own talent.

  1. Skill – Skill is a very important thing to have, but makes up the least weight overall. Besides, you can harness your skill as you trudge along the direction wherever you’re going as sharpening it requires practice, and practice means a lot of repetition. I shall add the garnish to this with a quote a favourite Chemistry teacher of mine loves to drill into our heads – Perfect Practice Makes Perfect.
  2. Theoretical Knowledge – The theory forms the basic understanding of a particular subject, and without the basics it will be one heck of a time trying to master the more advanced levels. As a saying goes, “A few months in the laboratory saves an hour in the library”.
  3. Application of Knowledge – no matter how high your qualifications are, if you cannot apply whatever you have learnt onto a real world situation to solve a problem the qualifications will be pointless.
  4. Attitude – this is the most important aspect of managing the talent you possess. As talented you may be, if you’re lazy you will never go far. Having a good attitude also makes the people around you more willing to work with, or for you.
  5. Diligence – continue to strive even as you’ve reached the highest peak of your undertaking. Work to maintain the high level you’ve been working so hard for and don’t slack. This is very much easier said than done, but being in the company of people who are supportive of what you do will definitely help you greatly in this.

Here’s a group photo of everybody who attended the event held in Balliol College, Oxford. Picture grabbed from Farah via Facebook. Thank youuuu!

The corporate celebrities were Tan Sri Azman (Managing Director, Khazanah)
Mohammed Rashdan Mohd Yusof aka The Danny (former CEO Maybank Investment, now Executive Director of Investments, Khazanah)
Johan Mahmood-Merican (CEO Talent Corporation)
Ahmad Farouk (Director, Strategy Management Unit, Khazanah)
Justin Hashim (SO to the MD, Khazanah)..

….including myself as the CEO of Penggoyang Kaki Profesional Sdn. Bhd ;D woots!

Blogging Comatose

My apologies for the dearth of updates. I’ve been running around like headless chicken and every time I wanted to blog, I had a list of other things to prioritise. Now, since I’ve got the laundry done and hung out to dry, cleaned room, scrubbed toilet, I guess and I can catch up with some writing now 😉


King of Anything

I’m so glad it is the weekend already. The week had started off with a bang. New exciting modules, some enthusiastic lecturers, and rehearsals for a production sometime next month have already begun. Now I’m chillin’ out in the beautiful weather, left the salmon to thaw in the sunshine on the window sill so I can cook it for lunch later.

I’ve been on time for my lectures, found halal chicken pasty on campus, hung out with a bunch of awesome peeps from a J-pop appreciation group, had sushi, brewed beer, and counted living and dead yeast cells. I learnt the basic stuff behind the picture rotating mechanism and Gaussian blur on photo editing softwares.

Had an online slumber party sometime in the middle of the week, where I ended up sleeping at 5.00am but still made it on time for the 9.15am lecture. Euphoria. But I did seem half dead throughout the day, dozed off in the library, and sustained semi-consciousness with coffee at regular intervals. Walked in to a couple of doors as well.

Was in the laundrette the other day and decided to do a little camwhoring while waiting for my duvet to dry. I had to use a chair to climb on top of the washing machine and attracted some attention while at it. I snapped the picture quickly and as soon as my laundry was done, ciao! Haha. Call it a hobby, I love doing this.

Don’t Touch My Shit

As I got back from London, I realised my knife has gone missing. Unless it has legs or ability to fly, somebody has been touching my shit.

This morning, I woke up happy to the prospect of making tuna sandwich with the ingredients I had just bought yesterday, but my can opener had mysteriously vanished. Somebody has been touching my shit.

And I suspect the person responsible for touching my shit is the one who had just moved out.

I’m not against sharing my stuff but I cannot consume or be in contact with pork. What if you had used the knife and the can opener for a can of pork sausages, or cut bits of bacon with it. I have been tolerant enough hardly minding the bits of forbidden meat or open packets of salami in the refrigerator.

Please, don’t touch my shit.

Here’s a funny video from featuring Leighton Meester, “Don’t Touch My Shit”.


Optometrists have always had a dear place in my heart. They are the people who knows best on giving prescription for me see the world clearly. I started wearing spectacles at the age of nine or ten-ish and started with a degree of -3.00 there and about. Nobody particularly noticed my short-sightedness until one day my mother noticed I didn’t notice her waving furiously at me in a book shop. And that I couldn’t read the restaurant menu on the bright boards near the ceiling behind the counter.

I had my eye check-up at Boots today and was attended by a really nice lady who exclaimed “Beautiful!” each time I accomplished her little instructions. The check-up began with the standard look-at-the-balloon test where you are to focus at a picture of a hot air balloon one eye at a time, while it appears in an out of focus. Next was the test to check the pressure behind the eye.

This is new to me. Basically, what the device does is to shoot beams of laser into your eye to check the pressure behind the cornea (I think) to see if you have glaucoma or any other abnormalities. It felt like something shooting random shots of air into your eye. Not painful at all, but slightly ticklish. There was also another test where you had to focus on a red dot on a screen, and spots of white lights would be randomly emitted around the red dot and you have to say how many white light spots you can see.

Finally, it came to sight test. Hands down I would fail it without my contact lenses or my spectacles on. Even if I’m standing three metres away from it, everything would be a blur. I noticed the optometrist asked plenty of questions regarding my health background. Family history of diabetes – yes, high-blood pressure – yes, glaucoma – yes (correct me if I’m wrong mummy, I know you’re reading this. HAHA). All my previous optometrists back in Malaysia have never asked all these, unless they have already asked my mother beforehand. The lovely young girl (a colleague of the “Beautiful!” lady) also asked about my general health and if I was on medications. I told her I had no ailment whatsoever and am taking echinacea tablets to keep off the cold.

Results out. Verdict – increase in short-sightedness and increase in astigmatism. Applause, applause. Do note that for my condition, no amount of carrots or vitamin A supplement is going to help. The only long term solution for this is a LASIK surgery, but I’ll hold that off for a bit longer. I have yet the guts to stay awake on the surgery table with my eyes wide open for hours on end.

As long as my glasses don’t break and my contact lens supply has not run out, I’ll stick to those.

A Day at the Museum

Sunday, January 30th – Feeling a bit adventurous, I decided to do a little tour around the place where my friend lived in. A little bit of walking and I found the British National Museum! The compound was full of tourist and there was a need to manoeuvre around flashing cameras. I am sure my picture have been taken in at least fifty random frames.

Couldn’t resist taking a shot of Cupid.

Later proceeded to vegetate in the Paul Hamlyn library in the museum itself. Was slightly annoyed at tourists who made lots of “Ooohh!” and “Aaahhh!”s in the library. Clearly they have not seen the British National Library yet.

I went back to my friend’s place to do my prayers, and then took a ride on one of the blue Barclays bicycle. Wondered around Hyde Park, stopped at Lancaster Gate, did a little walking around, ‘tapau’-ed some Nasi Goreng Kampung from the Malaysia Hall, and took a bus back.

Mission Possible

I’m so happy my motion have been passed. The almost sleepless night before paid off! Woo-hoo! It was pretty intense trying to finish reading all the words in the Student Immigration Consultation document, and I had to resort to drawing little charts and diagrams to grasp everything right. A headache ensued a couple of hours before I was due to give the little presentation, but thank God everything went well. I appreciated all the people who let me put forward the proposal and the moral support. You guys rocks!

I’m just lying on the floor right now with my legs up on the chair. Head still throbbing, most probably be sleeping early tonight. Dinner in the form of fillet-o-fish on the way, can I just skip the shower? My energy level is deficit, and I could do with some extra winks.

Tomorrow is going to be a holiday.

Endless Shit

Missed the bus, missed the train, next time if I have a plane to catch, I’ll get to the airport 24 hours prior to flight and camp in my sleeping bag adjacent to the departure gate. Maybe I should get a custom print t-shirt with the words “I am boarding flight [blank to insert flight no.] at [blank to insert time], kindly wake me up in due time.” Oh, and I had Engineering Epic Fail Moment 2 for not knowing how to change my lightbulb.

All that aside, I did manage to enjoy a beautiful night scenery while walking down the hill from my place to the town centre. The city lights looked so pretty from above. No pictures, sorry, as the camera was buried deep underneath a layer of junk in my backpack. I tried keeping my hands from getting frozen by switching holding my luggage from one hand to the other at regular intervals. I left my gloves in the room while scrambling out of the house (and missed everything). Before locking the door I asked myself,

“Shit. Forgot my gloves.”

“Mati tak?” (will it kill you?)

“Tak. (No)

“Habis tu?” (So?)

Reminder to self: If you’re going to be outside, carrying something with your hands for more than twenty minutes at almost zero degrees, wear your gloves.

No sleep tonight as I try to finish preparations for a motion debate proposal tomorrow. I’m keeping my fingers crossed everything will turn out okay. Please, please, please let me be on time for the meeting tomorrow and a positive outcome from it.

    * fingers crossed, eyes crossed, legs crossed – praying my ass off for all the best *