elb's hovel of thoughts

Thursday, December 28, 2006

My feet suffering from Christmas blues

On Christmas Eve, I found myself attending the Christmas Service, and then found myself in Desa Hartamas in time for one of the biggest surprises (and not in a very nice way): Christmas Countdown. I must say that I have hardly ever felt so sick at the commercialisation of it, and I'll be damned if there is such a thing as an Easter countdown.

On Christmas Day, I found myself busy preparing for the Christmas lunch cum dinner, and entertaining the people who dropped by, before heading out at night. Thanks to all those who came!

The next day found me driving around Sunway in the afternoon, before driving to Klang at night for bak kut teh. Midnight found us sitting at Starbucks of Genting First World Resort, before driving back to Klang then home by 3 in the morning.

The day after Boxing Day saw me driving to and fro from Malacca, as well as getting lost around the Government buildings/ mosque along Jalan Duta at 1am, thanks to the construction works. The bottoms of my feet were actually twitching (spasm-ing?) involuntarily by this time.

On the 28th, I actually fell asleep during take off, and to think that I was sitting right next to the engine? And now its time to look around Bangkok and to possibly meet up with friends with a couple more of full days to go *grimaces*. Quite frankly, I'm not expecting to get much rest until next year.

Update: Dodged the bombs in Bangkok, leaving before the first of them struck. To think that I would probably have been loafing near where one of them went off (Central World Plaza) had the stay been extended into the New Year.

Thank you, M, for taking the trouble to bring us around! Wish it could have been longer, but I'm glad that you're safe.


Saturday, December 23, 2006

Culture Shock and Observations

I confess that somehow I am feeling rather tired and bored of shopping malls; they seem to not have the allure (for lack of a better word) that they used to have. Perhaps it is because I am used to the lack of malls in London (or the UK, really). Cannot stop reminding to myself how Pyramid (rather, the whole concept of Sunway Resort) is modelled after Sun City in South Africa, or that Times Square has a building which is rather similar (in fact, I dare say a carbon copy) of some building in Bishopsgate St, London.

That Bangsar Telawi is... dead. Perhaps it was because its the Christmas weekend? And that Mont Kiara had changed a lot, too. The German restaurant appears to have shut down, and so has the Gloria Jeans coffee (which I liked rather a lot). Avenue K is still as empty as ever. Time Square seems to have evolved into a copy of Sungai Wang, except that it is a lot more cleaner (newer is the better word) and more spacious (with still too many empty stores).

Tony Roma’s appears interesting, although the idea that I cannot sample their baby rack ribs which I last had a good few years ago in Los Angeles irks me.

That there are more (or at least, that is what I think) Indian and Malay La-la Chais and La-la Muis than ever before. Who said that the ethnic groups are segregated?

Laundry is a disappointment. I don't know why, but I was expecting something... themed. Not just a lot of chairs and tables scattered about with a clubbing atmosphere inside. No, I was thinking something with lots of whitewashed cloth, or quirky fabrics hanging all about. And thus was disappointed and lost the mood to club; instead quickly made way to Winter Warmer (or however you call it) for a refreshing ice blended tea.

Hyper levels of inflation. My plate of seafood egg noodles (wa tan hor) at a typical Chinese hawker stall came up to RM5. Unbelievable! Or wait, my plate of nasi biriyani with deer meat, which came up to a princely RM14. No, something is NOT right somewhere.

Malaysian drivers (and Malaysian road systems and signages) are just as bad as ever. Was forced to emergency brake today when a car going at no faster than 30km/h tried to switch into my lane where I was doing three times that speed, with probably less than 100 metres to spare. Not to mention the many assholes who haven't discovered the signal lights. Or to mention the people who suddenly shoot out of their parking lots, and shoot your dirty, furious stares should you dare honk at their imperial majesties.

And oh, the joys of actually realising after reading the signboards that oh no, it is too late, you are in the bloody wrong lane and there is no way of turning left because you picked to go right before the wording on the signboard because sufficiently big enough to read. And getting lost for a good amount of time thanks to that.

More culture shocks and rants to follow in the new year... Merry Christmas everyone! Feliz Navidad!


Friday, December 22, 2006


Somebody not too far behind me called out something incomprehensible. Thinking it was someone trying to call a friend of hers, I naturally ignored her and continue walking.

The voice came again, only much louder; it was as if someone was trying to catch up with me. And fast. The word(s?) being uttered still made no sense to me. Perhaps it was the afternoon sun. Perhaps it was because the words were coming from behind me. Perhaps... I don't know. Whatever it was, I didn't find a need to slow down. Especially not when I was running late.

The voice finally came from right next to me. 'Hello, Sir! Where are you from!?' I heard. Without breaking stride, I glanced back. A rather unremarkable woman was right behind me, giving me me a smile, with a friend of hers (judging by their similarities in clothing and racial appearance) trailing by some tens of metres behind. She must have literally jogged up to me (I couldn't imagine either of them running). I merely shook my head and shrugged her off, quickening my pace.

After some distance, I glanced back. The two of them had regrouped and changed direction. A brief thought ran through my mind; I should have entertained them for a couple of minutes!! However, the thought quickly banished itself to the rear of my mind as I reached my destination.


Sunday, December 17, 2006

Ringgit wise, Pound foolish

'Hmm.. one ringgit..' I fumbled and fished out for my wallet and took out a golden coin, slipping it into the ticketing machine.

It fell right through to the change compartment. I tried again, repeating the same results.

'Did you insert the correct coin?' the delightful and lovely young lady next to me helpfully suggested.

I retrieved the coin and looked. Oops. Queen Elizabeth's side profile of a one pound coin was glaring at me.

'Oh dear,' I mumbled, showing her the coin. 'Do we have enough change?'

We decided we didn't have at that moment, so I ejected the ticket from the machine and we stood to side to resolve the problem.

It was only much later that I found out that the RM1 coin had been phased out. Last time I was around, the RM1 was still in transition. So, Laynie, I am excused (Jetlag would have exempted me anyway!) from that little episode in 1U the other day! And no, contrary to opinion, I only fell asleep in Eragon for a few minutes!

You know what this means. Those of you who know me personally, come look for me! I will be around for a limited time. Sorry if I had kept most of you in the dark; its supposed to be a surprise visit after all. If you don't know me and wonder who I am, well, you're welcome to find out who I am.


Friday, December 15, 2006

Overpriced latte

'Do you accept British pounds?' I asked. I got a polite nod.

'Great, I'd like the tiramisu latte, please'

'22, sir', the Filipino mentioned to me as she rang up the order.

I ruffled through my wallet and fished out a fiver. And got back... one pound.

'Isn't the exchange rate supposed to be 7 to 1?'

'No sir, its 6 to 1'

'But I just checked the forex rates a few minutes ago!'

'Sorry sir, but in here its 6 to 1'

*Shakes head, takes change and sits down, firing laptop up while awaiting the drink*


Monday, December 11, 2006

Christmas Wagyu

Its that time of year again! And for this year's treat:

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Unwrapped to reveal the whole steak

I decided that I wasn't going to ruin my entire experience; hence I cut the steak into smaller bite sized chunks, fired the wok to low, and grilled the beef lightly (basically, having it raw)

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Related post:
Kobe beef @ Hanabi http://perplexed-peace.blogspot.com/2005/09/restaurant-hanabi.html


Friday, December 08, 2006

Samsung 103" Plasma

Want your own cinema? Look no further than this plasma monstrosity:

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Photograph taken at John Lewis, Oxford St branch, London.

Samsung's tribute to excess a snip at only 50,000GBP. Bigger than your 2-seat sofa! Add in the Bang & Olufsen BeoLab 5 for another GBP30,000 for some awesome sound. Don't forget to sell off your typical Petaling Jaya house and more in order to be able to afford (but oops, if you have no house where are you going to put these?!). One problem: with a three month waiting list, it won't in time for Christmas/ Chinese New Year. Oops.


Monday, December 04, 2006

The first rule(s) of scams & cons

I believe these two quotes more or less encompass the concepts of scamming and con:

'Find someone who wants something for nothing, then give him nothing for something'

'You cannot cheat an honest man'

-Quotes taken from Hustle

Want to avoid being cheated by Nigerian scams? Or scratch-card scammers? Or opportunities to make insane amounts of cash for nothing (Really, a concept that isn't alien to the beneficiaries of the rubbish that is the NEP)? I think those two quotes provide plenty of hidden meaning, although I don't really agree with the second quote (I think it should be more of, 'You cannot cheat an informed, honest man').