Saturday, June 28, 2008

I Just Can't Help Believing

I Just Can't Help Believing

I would like to sincerely thank everyone for their comments on my previous post “48 Hours”. Your care (some of you actually phoned to check on me!) concern, love, support, advice, and yes even your brickbats and cynicism have touched me deeply.

Here’s my reply - So I’m a hopeless romantic. Sue Me. This song was written by the legendary Elvis Presley in 1956 and it still rings as true as the gospel today. Is it any wonder he was crowned the King? One of the greatest entertainers of all time. I truly hope that he has found the peace in Heaven that he never seemed to find on earth.

By the way, Very Wrong sms-ed me this morning asking me why I’d been so silent and to say that she’d been sick.

I just can't help believin'

When she smiles up soft and gentle

With a trace of misty morning

And the promise of tomorrow in her eyes

I just can't help believin'

When she's lying close beside me

And my heart beats with the rhythm of her size

This time the girl is gonna stay

This time the girl is gonna stay

For more than just a day

Oh, I just can't help believin'

When she slips her hand in my hand

And it feels so small and helpless

As my fingers fold around it like a glove

I just can't help believin'

When she's whispering her magic

And her tears are shining honey sweet with love

This time the girl is gonna stay

This time the girl is gonna stay

For more than just a day

For more than just a day

Thursday, June 26, 2008

48 Hours

Yup. 48 hours. Not a very long time, is it? What can happen in 48 hours? It’s a lifetime my friend. Today I want to talk about pain. And Fate. And Destiny. I had just ended a meeting at 3:30pm on Tuesday June 24th when I got a call from Dani’el Dharanee.

“Where are you, bro?” he asked gruffly.

“I’m on my way back from a meeting in Sunway” I replied.

“Where exactly are you?” he demanded.

“On the Federal Highway near PJ Hilton” I replied.

“My friend’s in trouble and needs your help. Turn back and park at Carrefour Subang. I’ll pick you up” he said.

“But…but…but” I tried to object, but it was too late. He had already hung up.

Now I know Dani’el and I know that he takes his commitment to friendship very seriously so I made a u-turn at the next exit, drove to Carrefour Subang, parked and dutifully waited.

My timer kicks in here. 48 hours and counting down…

4:00pm June 24, 2008. Dan arrived with his friend, I jumped into his car and we drove to the requisite meeting place for serious discussions in the Malaysian handbook - his favourite mamak shop.

Over mugs of steaming hot teh tarik and freshly made thosais, I pieced the story together. Apparently Dan’s old friend, a gorgeous looking woman, wanted to start her own web based business and had paid a substantial amount of money (think five figures) for a 2 day internet marketing course from a self styled “world’s number one expert coach in internet marketing”.

Later as Ms Very Wrong (that’s what I call her) made more enquiries, she found out that the course covered only the very basics and the promised website used simple programming software that did not fit her needs. She would be stuck with a “flat” and boring site with no flash, java or dreamweaver.

To make matters worse, she also found out that the company was not willing to even consider a refund. This was the scenario as I found it. I then proceeded to add more hot water to her dilemma by telling her that most of the course contents that were offered were actually available for free on the net, and that she would have done better by starting a blog first to test market and hang on to her cash.

7:30pm I went home feeling bad because there were such predators who preyed on innocent and trusting people.

9:30pm I sms-ed Very Wrong that night and promised to help her in any way that I could. I also invited her for a food review that I was doing for a seafood steamboat restaurant in Bukit Tinggi, Klang. She sms-ed back and accepted.

7:30am – 10:00am June 25th we sent each other a barrage of sms-es on normal stuff.

12:00noon I picked her up and we drove towards Klang where I promptly got lost and ended up at Northport. It was Very Wrong who managed to get the proper directions from a gas station attendant and guided me to the right place. Since she had not had a proper breakfast she was, of course, starving by this time.

2:00pm We finally arrive at the restaurant where my friend Lily was frantically waiting for us. We met another co-owner Michael and proceeded to stuff ourselves while taking photos of the food.

4:00pm After the review, being a confirmed idiot when it came to directions, I did the macho thing and gave her the car keys. She grabbed the keys from my outstretched hand and with a shrug got into the driver’s seat and confidently drove us back to KL, without getting lost of course.

4:45pm Naturally we called Dan and requested to meet up. Naturally Dan said he was busy. So we decided to drop by Datuk Leonard Tan’s office and catch up with his lovely wife Krystyn.

5:15pm Since traffic was at a gridlock, we’re sitting at a cafĂ© in Leonard’s office block and I’m getting her to draw a mind map to get her focused and organized on the details of her concept and objectives.

7:30pm I send her back and drive home with an uneasy feeling of mixed emotions. I feel good because we made friends very easily and naturally and our misadventures of the day ensured that we really bonded. I felt good because I was able to help her to focus on her objectives. I felt good because I could make her laugh out loud with my stupid antics when the day before she had seemed distraught and lost.

I also felt a foreboding sense of disaster because I had thoroughly enjoyed her company to the extent that we had even exchanged our life stories and she stirred up long buried emotions in me. I had this sinking feeling that I was going to crash and burn because I was feeling emotions that I was not supposed to be feeling.

10:00pm we sent each other a couple of sms-es and wished each other goodnight. I would be lying if I told you I slept soundly that night. I just could not switch my mind off and lay in bed thinking random thoughts and running imaginary scenarios through my mind.

10:00am June 26, 2008 she sms-ed to say she’d arranged a meeting with “the world’s number one internet marketing coach” and could I please go along with her. I was out the door and hailing a cab before I finished reading her sms.

10:50am we meet up at Damansara Perdana and head on down to a friendly kopitiam for some breakfast and discuss strategy. I’m distracted because she looks absolutely gorgeous in a green blouse and faded black jeans.

12:00noon we head on up to the office to meet up with the internet expert. While they talk, I look at a copy of the contract letter Very Wrong had signed upon payment. The terms and conditions are airtight and slanted completely in the favour of the internet coach. There are no provisions for refunds or dropping out and the terms for changing classes or packages were very strict and limited.

I asked the internet marketing expert if there was a cooling off period as required by law and she almost snorted with derision as she told me that “it’s long past”. I decided that under the circumstances, there was only one thing that Very Wrong could do, and that was to sit for the course and hope to learn something useful. She certainly was never going to see her money again.

1:30pm Very Wrong packs Char Kuey Teow for lunch and we start to work on a marketing plan for her website. It’s a long and tedious process involving twelve key areas and covers 28 pages. I can see her confidence growing as she initially grapples with the fundamentals but then quickly catches on and starts to put her dreams and aspirations on paper into a workable plan.

4:30pm We’re done. She’s a fast learner and a smart girl to boot. We call Dan and agree to meet up for tea.

5:00pm We’re sitting at Dan’s favourite mamak shop eating and chatting over tea. Very Wrong is in a happy mood and we’re teasing each other and talking about everything under the sun.

6:30pm Dan has to go as he’s taking his family for “Beauty and the Beast”. I jump into Very Wrong’s car and she’s supposed to drop me off where I can get a cab home. She doesn’t. She joins the jam along the LDP and is insistent on sending me back home but she isn’t quite sure of the way to Selayang, where my sister lives.

Her reason for this bit of lunacy? I have been good to her and she can’t just dump me along the roadside. Naturally I refuse to guide her on the way to Selayang so she makes another brilliant decision. She will drop me off at the new wing of 1 Utama where I can choose to lepak, have dinner and then get a cab home.

On the way there I steer the conversation to relationships and we talk very openly about ourselves. We’ve both been badly burned. As we almost reach my destination, she tells me very gently but very firmly that she is not interested in a relationship. She only wants a handful of very good and sincere friends whom she trusts and is comfortable with.

7:30pm “Am I one of them?” I had to ask.

“Of course, Dave. You’ve been very good to me. We will always be friends”

I get down from her car not understanding why I feel so numb. I am literally in a daze. There is a knot in my stomach and I actually feel physical pain. I feel seriously depressed and nothing matters anymore.

The strange thing is although we became very close, Very Wrong did not at any point indicate that she wanted to be anything more than friends, so it was entirely my own fault that I allowed myself to be in this predicament.

I walk into 1 Utama and look for a bathroom to wash my face. It doesn’t help. I absent mindedly hail a cab and agree to the ridiculously high price the cabbie asks for. I just want to get home. I promise myself I will not call her or sms her. She can call me if she wants. My job was to help her and I have done my part.

48 hours. Not a very long time, is it? What can happen in 48 hours? A lifetime can happen, my friend.

Did you ever want something so very badly that every fibre of your being ached? Do you know the excruciating pain when it hits you that you can never have it?

Today I want to talk about pain. And Fate. And Destiny

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Fu*k Buddy

To carry on a related subject from last week’s condom post, the Fubu is currently a hot topic and I thought that my 26 years in the hospitality industry, particularly the period where I was involved with running some of the hippest clubs in the Klang Valley would qualify me to venture my not-so-humble opinion on it.

This new Fubu is not to be confused with the old Fubu which is a clothing line that was launched in 1992. The old Fubu means “for us by us” The new Fubu is someone that you have a sexual relationship with, which is non exclusive. If you just want sex, he or she is there for you. Your Fubu can be the partner of other people too. Originally this terminology started and was common only in gay circles but has now gone mainstream.

Actually the Fubu is nothing new. It has been going on since time immemorial but the hoopla now is because 20-something girls feel empowered enough to pick up men in clubs and, if they are in the mood, bonk them without blinking an eye. Later on, if either party is in the mood, they just call or SMS each other to fix another tryst.

These are not the screwed-up kids from broken homes or dysfunctional kids who had suffered abuse and want to take it out against a society or system that failed them. These are well-educated young adults from good, stable middle-class families who lack for nothing.

They know what they want, they are aware of what they are doing, they know the consequences of having sex with multiple partners - AIDS, HIV, STDs or unwanted pregnancies but they throw caution to the wind and just grab whatever satisfies them, even if it is transient.

This is the new age in which hedonism and nihilism reign supreme. Morality has been tossed into the boot. Pleasure has taken over the wheel and is taking young Malaysians on a wild ride on the fast lane.

Oh yes, I have had my fair share of such hedonistic and amoral invitations from some pretty hot looking girls during my days of power in the city’s clubbing landscape. Did I give in to temptation? My lips are sealed. A gentleman never tells.

My peers may, of course, call me a hypocrite. I confess that I am not overly proud of the misadventures I was embroiled in when I was in my element. Having money to burn, dressing sharply and driving a BMW and a Harley certainly didn’t help my quest for sainthood either.

But to get back to the issue at hand, the way the Fubus are going at it with such nonchalant abandon shocks even an old rascal like me. Perhaps I have become too conservative as I am ageing disgracefully and have become what young people these days would call Ol' Skool but I grew up during a time when first there was love, then there was sex. Now there is sex, and then there is more sex.

As the newspapers desperately try to reason, perhaps it is due to the age of instant gratification. We want things done NOW. We want to be satisfied immediately. Oh how we bitch and curse Astro and Streamyx when there is no service or when downloading takes too long.

Assorted experts will tell you to instill good moral and religious values in your children from young, shower them with love and attention, spend time with them and guide them along the way to adolescence so that they will grow up to be responsible, mature and respectable adults.

Frankly, you still have to keep whatever is crossable crossed and hope for the best because no matter how much care is taken when bringing up kids, some are bound to stray. You just can’t escape the influence of the internet, MTv and pop culture.

Today’s lifestyle is a lot more tolerant about sex than in my days and in the end you can only hope that your kids will be mature enough to make the right decision when push comes to shove and at the very least use condoms before they either push or shove.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Coconuts in a can? Now that's nuts!

In my fight to beat my nerve condition, I lost 1 and a half years of my life being bedridden and subsequently recovering under my sister’s care in her house in Selayang.

Now that I am able to venture out on my own and drive around, I am amazed at the changes that have taken place in our fair city. It seems like we are constantly in a state of flux, what with new buildings and structures sprouting up seemingly overnight (Smart Tunnel, Jaya One, Pavilion, Bangsar Viillage 2, Jaya 33, Sunway Pyramid 2) and road configurations being changed constantly.

While I can catch up with these new developments, I think it’s a sign that I must be getting old and senile when I have trouble understanding some of the new products I see on our supermarket shelves. I have been scolded by my dear sister for buying and bringing home “nonsensical items” that fascinate me.

I am a kampung boy at heart, having grown up in a small village called Batu Gajah (also Dato Lat’s childhood playground and source of his comic series) and can proudly name and identify many species of flora and fauna.

Therefore I find it rather strange that in a country where we are surrounded by coconut trees and one of life’s simple pleasures is to sip coconut water straight out of a freshly hacked young coconut, l came across cans of “coconut juice”

it wouldn't be Dave's blog if there was no picture of a Chinawimmen now would it?

This raised a couple of questions in my mind – what is coconut juice? Is the whole coconut pulverized into juice, shell, husk and all? Or is it actually the coconut water of my childhood? We are a tropical country for heaven’s sake - why can it? That’s like going to Paris and eating Foie Gras out of a jar.

Can you imagine our “Malaysia Truly Asia” ads showing tourists sipping “coconut juice” out of a can?

In the same vein we are now paying astronomical sums of moolah, (up to RM150) for Mangosteen pulp juice sold in bottles. Yes, it’s touted as a health tonic with miraculous benefits, but it is still a local product. What gives? Of course in keeping with our new urbanized disposable lifestyles it’s available in cans as well.

Now, to make matters even more confounded, where they're supposed to be calling it water they are calling it juice and when it comes to skyjuice, they're calling it fruit! What the hell is a skyfruit? Somebody help!!!

Sheesh! Coconut, Mangosteen and sky juice in a can. It’s like having sex with your clothes on…

Oh! Speaking of sex, I came across these as well:

Virgin condoms RM11.80 (3 pcs) for the ribbed and dotted varieties and RM9.80 (3 pcs) for the plain ones. Apparently Manjakani is an ancient Egyptian potion, allegedly a lubricant for women to tighten up their vaginas.

Again my mind went into hyperdrive. Is the condom only for virgins? In that case why is it sold in pack of threes? Shouldn’t it be packed in singles? Then again if you’re a virgin, how would you decide if you wanted a “ribbed” or “dotted” or “plain” experience as you were still inexperienced? Also, why would a woman want to tighten up her vagina after only her first experience?

Or are these condoms meant for serial de-virginisers?

That Bloody Frog...ding ding!

if you look carefully you can see his little weenie!

Something that Dani’el Dharanee of Covenant Artists Management (see blogroll) said stuck in my mind. He said it was ridiculous that songs by animations like Gorillaz and the Crazy Frog could outsell human singers through clever marketing strategies. I hunkered down and did some research.

Crazy Frog is an animated character used in the marketing of a ring tone based on The Annoying Thing, a computer animation created by Erik Wernquist. Marketed by the ringtone provider Jamba!, the animation was originally created to accompany a sound effect produced by Daniel Malmedahl while attempting to imitate the sound of a two-stroke moped engine.

The Crazy Frog spawned a worldwide hit single with a remix of "Axel F", which reached the number one spot in the United Kingdom, Turkey, New Zealand, Australia and most of Europe. The subsequent album Crazy Frog Presents Crazy Hits and second single "Popcorn" also enjoyed worldwide chart success, and a second album entitled Crazy Frog Presents More Crazy Hits was released in 2006. The Crazy Frog has also spawned a range of merchandise and toys, and two video games.

If you absolutely cannot get enough of this annoying critter here’s the url to the original song and music video that started this whole phenomenon:

"Axel F", also known as the Crazy Frog song, is a novelty song that was the debut and most internationally successful single by Crazy Frog, released in 2005. It is a remix of Harold Faltermeyer's 1984 composition "Axel F", produced by Henning Reith and Reinhard "DJ Voodoo" Raith, two members of the German dance production team Bass Bumpers. Jamster! arranged the remix, and later marketed it as a ringtone.

The remix consists of vocals taken from the Crazy Frog recording by Daniel Malmedahl in 1997. It uses mainly the same part of the two-minute original that was used in Jamster's ringtone release. The song also uses the "What's going on?" vocal shotguns from another 2003 remix of Axel F, by Murphy Brown and Captain Hollywood (dubbed "Axel F 2003" and sometimes "Axel F 2004"). Jamba! has earned an estimated £14 million from the ringtone alone.

The Ministry of Sound hired Kaktus Film and Erik Wernquist of TurboForce3D, the original creator of the 3D Crazy Frog, to produce a full-length animated music video to accompany the release of the song. The video features the Crazy Frog character, is set in the future, and centers on his pursuit by a bounty hunter. The bounty hunter receives notification of a $50,000 reward for capturing the frog, who is only identified as "The most annoying thing in the world", a reference to Wernquist's original name for the character.

Released across Europe in May 2005, "Axel F" went straight to number one in the UK, with some of the best weekly sales of the year so far (out-selling rivals such as Coldplay by four copies to one), and remained on top of the UK charts for four weeks. In other European countries the popularity has differed, with the remix failing to make the top twenty in Switzerland at first, before gradually climbing to #1, whilst only making #18 in Russia. It also reached #1 in the overall European chart, after initially being number two to Akon's "Lonely" for several weeks, and stayed there until September. It also reached #1 in Australia, Ireland, Belgium, Denmark, France, New Zealand, Norway, Ukraine, Spain, and Sweden.

In France, the song made an amazing jump, entering the French singles chart at number 77 on June 11, 2005, and moving all the way to number 2 in the next week. There it stayed for two weeks, and then topped the chart for 13 weeks. It left the first position being dethroned by its second single, "Popcorn" (it was only the second time that an artist dethroned himself in that country).

The song remained in the top ten for 21 weeks, 30 weeks in the top 50 and 36 weeks in the chart. Its best weekly sales were 103,564 on its sixth week, which is huge in France. On December 1, 2005, it was certified Diamond disc seven months after its release by SNEP, the French certificator.

Despite the Crazy Frog not being hugely well-known in Japan, the single release also charted there, peaking at #46. It has apparently failed to catch on in the U.S., peaking at #50. Although "Axel F" managed to find more success in Mainstream Markets, it proved to be a moderate success on U.S Rhythmic Top 40 where it peaked at #28 just scraping the top 30. It also peaked at #3 on the U.S Digital Sales beating the likes of Lindsay Lohan and the Black Eyed Peas. It's highest US success was just missing the top spot at #2 on the U.S Adult Contemporary Top 20.

Truly amazing for an irritating bloody frog, innit?.

James Blunt or James Blur?

For me personally this has got to be one of the best parodies ever so far. Even if you’re not a James Blunt fan like me, you’ve got to admire the creative genius who dreamed this one up. I wonder what kind of weed he was smoking.

My favorite part of the song is when he goes “I bet a flock of angels had smiles on their faces

As they watched me almost hook up with her—him—her—him—oh, gosh.

But it's time to face the truth

I got drunk and made out with a dude.”

Freaking side splitting hilarious. Here are the lyrics. Knock yourself out.

This is freakin' brilliant.

The embarrassment I endure

I thought I saw an angel

I was completely sure

She smiled at me on the subway

Turned out she was a man

I didn't know until I tried to sleep with her

After 8 black and tans

But she was beautiful, She was beautiful

She was beautiful, I swear

When I saw her face, it was in a crowded place

And I didn't see the bump right here

I shouldn't've drank so much beer.

Yeah, she had one lazy eye

But I couldn't tell in that light.

You should have seen the look on my face

When we got home that night.

And I said, "What the----oh my! Can we turn off the lights?"

But she just took off her clothes and my lust turned to fright.

But she was beautiful, She was beautiful

She was beautiful, I swear

When I saw her face, it was in a crowded place

And I didn't see the bulge right here.

Why did I drink so much beer?

No no no no no,

No no no no no no,

No no no no no no!

But she was beautiful, I promise she was beautiful

You gotta believe me she was beautiful, I swear.

I bet a flock of angels had smiles on their faces

As they watched me almost hook up with her—him—her—him—oh, gosh.

But it's time to face the truth

I got drunk and made out with a dude.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Secret's Out!

I’ve teased you long enough. I’ve done the survey. Dutifully done the build-up. And you have waited patiently long enough.

My pal Daniel Dharanee has put his money where his mouth is and set up Covenant Artists Management to pursue his dream of launching an Asian artiste worldwide.

He graciously invited me onboard as his publicist and I have accepted. His first step was to sign up local icons Roslan Aziz, Amber Chia and da Prodigal Son, to market and manage.

Amber Chia. I’m drooling so much my laptop keyboard is in danger of short-circuiting. Read the following while I try to get Amber (heavy wistful sigh) out of my mind and concentrate on this post.

Amber Chia

This Sabahan lass comes from a humble family. At the tender age of 17, she moved to Kuala Lumpur to pursue her modeling dream and quickly won the "GUESS Watches International Search 2004/2005" in Switzerland, being personally chosen by Paul Marciano.

This earned her an acknowledgement in the Malaysian Book Of Records as the first Asian to become the face of Guess International Watches. She was the best female model Malaysia and the Sexiest Female Model Malaysia, .and In 2006/2007, she clinched "FHM's 100 Sexiest Women in Singapore and Malaysia" title.

Amber’s skyrocketing modeling career has empowered her to carry out charity work and she continually strives to improve her skills to better her career.

Roslan Aziz

Roslan also comes from a humble background. His talent was discovered by his grandfather who bought him his first drumset at the age of five. The prodigy was a regular member of his uncle's band The Dukes.

He accepted an engineering job from the legendary Booty Boys in 1982, and has since recorded hundreds of albums and later produced Sheila Majid's ground breaking albums dimensi baru and emosi. He then formed Roslan Aziz Productions in 1988 signing Zubir Ali as his first artiste.

Over the years, Roslan Aziz Productions has developed into Malaysia's strongest independent music company through a shrewd understanding of the local market. Just recently, this strategy attracted the attention of Warner Music International, which acquired a 49% stake in the firm (Billboard, June 11) as the latter looks at overseas opportunities for local artists.

Among the numerous awards garnered by Roslan were Best Album for “Gamal” from AIM 1995, best album AIM awards “Ratu” (1996) Best Album award for “Emosi” at BASF, Indonesia in 1987 and in 2002 he won the Most Promising Producer at the Music Producers Awards in the United States.

Roslan Aziz was also one of the judges in the Malaysian Idol seasons 1 and 2. Roslan directed and produced the historical Siti Nurhaliza concert at the Royal Albert hall in London in 2005 and later was appointed the musical director for the phenomenal sell-out Puteri Gunung Ledang the musical in 2006. He was appointed the coveted post of Principal at Akademi Fantasia Season 5 which concluded in May 2007.

aLi is the latest project by Roslan and his long time friend, Mukhlis Nor, a song writer and the man behind many succesful albums by Zainal Abidin and Sheila Majid. In this exciting endevour they have decided to be the frontline as the singers of their own creative songs.

This is a tough challenge for this duo as the music that they are bringing in is something transcendental, bravely crossing racial boundaries to wider appeal from all Malaysians.

da Prodigal Son

A talented young man destined for stardom. This former DJ currently plays in a band and has amassed over 300 original songs. We're keeping this secret weapon under wraps for now. Watch this space for more breaking news on this amazing local performer.

If you're impatient for more goodies click on Covenant Artists in my blogroll.

Sigh.....Amber Chia...drool.

Ow! Up Up and Up Some More

All right. The price of petrol went up by 78 sen last night. Yes, I’ll admit it’s a bitch. We are all burdened enough as it is. But does it mean that we have to surrender our logic as well? Some fool sparked a mass run on petrol stations last night by announcing the increase via sms.

Think about it. Like lemmings, every mother’s son and daughter dutifully queued up for a minimum of an hour and a half to fill up a full tank of petrol before midnight when the price increase took effect. This caused massive traffic jams all over the city.

I know because I was on my way home after a meeting at Alexis in Bangsar. A drive that should have taken 20 minutes took an hour. I stopped to take photographs, shaking my head and marveling at Malaysians’ kiasu factor.

How much did you save by filling up a full tank? RM10? RM20? Was it worth the time, maneuvering, cursing and aggravation? You tell me.

Continuing this type of thinking, the price of rice recently increased too. Did these same people gorge themselves on rice too before the increase? Did they eat double helpings at every meal? Triple to save even more money? Sheesh!

Petroleum is an ingredient in Vaseline, KY Jelly and condoms too. Therefore the price of these products will increase too. With these people’s convoluted circular logic thinking process, they should buy more of these products before the price goes up. And electricity rates are increasing by 18% too, so switch off those lights.

There’s gonna be a whole lotta bonking going on tonight…..

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Bo Diddley, Yves St Laurent - RIP

I know I’m getting old. I know I feel old. It doesn’t help when your childhood heroes are dropping like flies around you. Makes you wonder when your turn is. Two icons of the twentieth century bit the dust day before yesterday (Sunday) and yesterday respectively. May their souls rest in peace.

Ellas Otha Bates was born on Dec 30, 1928, in McComb, Mississippi. He was better known as Bo Diddley, a musical innovator who helped forge the sound and contributed to the style of rock 'n' roll. He sported a trademark fedora, played an iconic square-shaped guitar and from it he extracted a deep, rusty reverb and a peculiar playing style that influenced generations of players.

Diddley died Monday of heart failure at his home in Archer, Florida. He was 79. He'd been in ill health for much of the past year, having suffered a stroke and a heart attack in 2007.

Yves Saint Laurent, considered by many as the greatest fashion designer of the 20th Century, died in Paris at the age of 71. Saint Laurent changed the face of the fashion industry when he became chief designer of the House of Dior at 21.

He designed clothes that reflected women's changing role in society: more confident personally, sexually and in the work-place. He retired from haute couture in 2002 and had been ill for some time.

Saint Laurent died on Sunday evening in the French capital. He had died at his home after a long illness. French President Nicolas Sarkozy was among those who paid tribute to Saint Laurent.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Here In My Home - latest stats

Since the release of ‘Here In My Home’ on the 15th of May 2008, the project has

  1. 73,000 free downloads have so far been transmitted to the Malaysian public in just 2 weeks from the project’s official website at
  1. In its first 10 days of release, the ‘Here In My Home’ video was the 6th most forwarded video in the world according to Metro newspaper in the UK. The video has been played over 100,000 times on Youtube in 2 weeks.
  1. Over 600 blogs and websites have so far declared support for the project’s cause and have established links to the project’s official websites or have embedded the project’s video. These include MP’s, political establishments, NGO’s, media groups, municipality councils, youth groups, corporations and private individuals.
  1. Maxis Hotlink has established a free download facility in support of MAFU. Other than providing free download of the ‘Here In My Home’ video and song, the company also made available several MAFU caller ring tones for free. In an unprecedented show of support, no data transmission charge will be levied for the downloading of any MAFU content. For more information on how to download these content for free, please visit the MAFU official site or the Music Unlimited site at

In the weeks to come, MAFU shall be releasing for free download its ‘making of’ video, original audio streams of ‘Here In My Home’ as well as supporting different genre and language version of the song independently released by various supporters of the project.

report on walk for media freedom

images courtesy of tv smith

For the first time, the mainstream media and bloggers worked together for a common cause. At long last, some msm journos, mainly from the Star, plucked up enough courage to send the message that they are fed up of toeing the line and being told what to report. They have been the butt of other alternative media’s jokes and a journo can only take so much before it’s time to speak up or be damned further.

Zaid did not have an easy time. In fact, he was booed, jeered and heckled and subjected to some tough questioning on media freedom. Some of his statements did not go down well with the journos and bloggers as many expected him to play to the gallery. But he didn't. He spoke as a politician and deftly lobbed back the grenades thrown at him.

Still, the fact that he accepted the invitation to turn up for the dialogue at the National Press Club says something about this man, who is already under attack by some of his Umno party members for his reformist ways.

It's a start and journalists should engage liberals like Zaid Ibrahim and Ahmad Shabeery Cheek to support their initiatives It will be a good start if the one-off KDN can be issued, like Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar has proposed, as a first step towards the repeal of the press laws.

The walk itself was interesting in the ironic sense that there were more reporters, journos and photographers covering it in the line of duty than those of us who walked for media freedom. Besides Chun Wai’s cameo appearance at the talk, there was no sign of the other msm editors or staff at all.

Press freedom is not the answer to all problems. In fact it’s no answer at all if journalists are unwilling to take some risk to express their views.

We all talk about press freedom, yet very few dare to speak or write out of turn even on the most basic of issues. So what good is greater press freedom if we are afraid to use it?

We can talk about press freedom till the cows come home. But try to tell that to media owners – government and private. If they say no go, no amount of press freedom can help you.

Even when you’re not writing about politics you can still be punished. Imagine if you write unfavourably about a company or a businessman, you will have to worry about advertisements being withdrawn and subscriptions being cancelled.

If there’s no licensing or registration of newspapers and magazines, there will be widespread plagiarism and copyright infringements.

And between Zaid and Ahmad Shabery Cheek, I will take my chances on the latter anytime. At least he is elected by the people.

I personally would take Zaid’s promises with a generous pinch of salt.