Saturday, 29 May 2010

You would never have guessed...

So here's a hypothetical situation. You're a celebrity. You've been invited to one of the hottest events on a Thursday night. So you tweet about the door gifts. One (or several) of your followers reply to that tweet saying things like 'OHMYGOSH, I so wanna go!' and all that.

What do you do? What would you assume a celebrity would do?

Yeah, figures. But last Thursday was different. I was the follower that went 'OHMYGOD, I wish I could be there!'. Raja Putri Atilia was the celebrity.

[I'm just gonna zone out and go, OHMYGOSH she is one of the nicest people I know, only second to my aunt Wahti Mahidin. But Wanti has had a lot more time to build her title, so....]

Can any of you guess what she (Ms. Atilia) said?

"Yeah, sure! I'll just put your name in the guest list!"

*blink, re-read the tweet, blink once more*

Oh yeah. One of the best nights of my life. But more on that later.

So here I am, with Atilia inviting me to an exclusive event. I have TWO HOURS to get ready, find someone to go with, and get my ass to Pavilion for the launch of AJMAL (one of the worlds' most successful perfumeries).

I sent out BBM's to everyone I knew. I frantically called & texted anyone I figured would be free (hello, it was a Thursday night after all). Finally got someone.

Immerse yourself in me when I looked at my watch to see it at 7:15pm. Event starts at 8pm. I don't have a car.

MOTHERFATHER, sister brother, the whole bleeding family.

I grab a cab. Pick up the date. And we were on our way.

I walked into Pavilion at 9:04pm. The cab ride cost a whopping RM50 (on the dot). But we got there just in time to watch our hostess' first number.

I'm no big follower of Malaysian music. Mum is, as she was (and still is) involved with the Recording Industry of Malaysia (RIM), and regularly does event management (she's done so many AIMs, and she did the opening of KLIA, Sepang International Circuit, and so much more). So anyway, I knew Atilia was good.

But I, nor my date, knew she was that good. Her amazing voice guided us up to the private lounge where the event itself was held. Instantly, we were captivated by the hypnotising scent of AJMAL's 'Shadow', heightened by the smooth crooning of our hostess in the background.

I will not lie. I have been given VIP treatment multiple times before. The CELCOM BlackBerry® Storm™ 9500 launch at the SiC, the Saturday at the F1 Paddock (also at the SiC), the AIM a couple of years ago, and many others. But for some reason, the AJMAL launch seemed so much better. I don't know, possibly because of the fact it was a completely halal event, or because I felt humbled by the graciousness that is Raja Atilia Harun.

After a few awkward minutes spent blending in to the crowd, my date and I spent our night schmoozing with the invitees. It was like we were on cloud 9.

Ah, a surprise! Atilia's mother, legendary Malaysian crooner Salamiah Hassan, in an impromptu move, sang a short number (the title of which I cannot remember. I blame the rather dizzying mix of smells. Do forgive me).

More minutes spent schmoozing with the crowd. Made many a contact that night. After bidding a quick goodnight to our gracious hostess, we made our way home (which was an adventure within itself), bringing an end to an amazing event, and an amazing adventure.

My dears, its easy to stereotype the people we place on pedestals. Like my Godfather, the visionary Afdlin Shauki. People perceive him as so many things, to the point that people fail to see the fact that he is such a sweet & lovable guy, a doting husband, and a loving father.

I guess the same goes for Ms. Atilia Harun. We think this and that, when in actuality, she's a person who is merrily inclusive within a world of exclusivity.

Never forget the little guy, ya'know?

[Again, I shall zone out for a moment. Raja Atilia, semoga Allah memberkati hidupmu selama-lamanya. May He grant you His love, affection & guidance in whatever you involve yourself with, and may every matter you delve into turn out successful & productive. Amiin]

Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone

Monday, 10 May 2010

Elitism. Not as pretty as it seems.

G'morning. Its bright and early on the 10th of May.

Last night, I was pondering the lives of successful people in the past. People who lived in the 30s, 40s & 50s, in amazing wealth. My family is lucky to know most of Malaysia's influential families, and so we have gained insight to their lifestyles.

When I asked my Grandmother of 71 about how the elite used to live, she told me "They lived carefree lives, never having to worry about monetary funds or responsibility. They were impulse buyers at best, as someone I knew bought 3 Mercedes-Benz convertible cars just because she couldn't decide on a colour. Their lives were fantastic to say the least."

But what about when it came to security? Surely a canvas-top convertible isn't the safest thing on earth?

"Alah, masa dulu mana ada all these crazy people threatening to kidnap, kill and bomb. The influential people of Malaya were well respected, and as such, most didn't bother them. Not to say they didn't have any security, but it was usually limited to maybe one security guard and a dog."

"Bukan macam sekarang, dengan armoured motorcars and bodyguards."

That sent a chill down my spine.

I'm happy to say that I have befriended many a socialite, most of them very well to do when it comes to liquid assets. (How I came to be within their company is a tale within itself. Maybe I'll tell you about it some other time). And many times, I have witnessed rather outlandish approaches to security, with one friend sending 4 armed guards in advance to take up positions in trees. When I ask about these gunned monkeys, my friend just laughed and said that he never goes anywhere without them. "I used to laugh at them, until they told me that my pointing would give them away. Now I just bite my tongue and get on with it."

More recently, a friend of mine expressed annoyance over the rather alarming number of bodyguards that tail her every move in & out of the country, with the numbers rising into double-digits. Including one that follows this friend into the bathroom.

Yes people, I am genuinely shocked.

Whatever happened to that picture-perfect image of the wealthy family, the 'go anywhere, do anything' persona, and carefree life? It seems to me that us plain Joes are luckier, in the sense that we don't have shadow-cars and such. To think that while we just hop onto a bus and head down to KL for a walkabout, they'd have to plan excursions in advance.

Sounds a little drab, don't you think?

Let me just mention the few things I've done that no one with their status could ever do. They'd probably never see our talented buskers in Central Market. They'd probably never go camping. You think any of them would be able to see our 'entertainers' with their imaginary worlds?

(Call me heartless, but the clinically insane are a hoot to watch, especially when what little sanity they have left is focused on directing traffic here & there.)

One of my most prized memories is when I came back from a corporate treasure hunt (of which I was an organiser) in God knows where, and I took the coastal road back to KL. I took a right turn somewhere, and I landed in a small, sleepy town called Sungai Lembing. I stopped the car, and I took a walk around, mingling with the locals (average age: 73) and taking in the lovely scenery. I was quickly accepted into the community within about 15-minutes, and I spent 1 1/2 hours after that having a lazy coffee in a classic kopitiam.

Now imagine: If I had pulled up in a motorcade of expensive automobiles, with uniformed guards following my every move, do you think I'd have gotten the treatment that I did?

What I'm trying to say is that the world has evolved into a truly disgusting place over the past few decades. From carefree to paranoid, there is no room for ordinary pleasures when you're one of the creme-de la-creme.

When in actuality, its those little things that make life beautiful.

Fun or happiness doesn't come from 5-star hotels or chartered yachts. It comes from having a laugh with the elderly in Sungai Lembing, or getting freaked out by the old clinic with the sinister past in Papan.

Or walking around in Kuala Selangor.

Life is beautiful. Truly & utterly beautiful.

But what beauty can you see through 3-inch thick glass? Or wrought iron bars?

Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Between Power & Responsibility.

I cried when I read this.

I was a schoolmate of the late Aminulrasyid Amzah, the lad who got shot in the head by police two Mondays' ago. And I've had to remain strong, as so many others expected me to be their pillar of support through these trying times.

And here I still stand. The pillar of support for so many.

This article was written by Elviza Michelle, a lawyer, wife, daughter, and mother of one amazing little boy (born on her birthday, no less). So I guess the adoration for her son is what truly influenced her article.

I am truly honoured to call her a friend.

Aunty El, if you're reading this... I hope you can feel my love for you broadcasting its waves all the way from Shah Alam.


15 tahun. Semasa saya berusia semuda itu, saya bersama enam sahabat rapat yang lain, sedang menjalani kehidupan separa 'penjara' di MRSM Kuala Terengganu. Jika direnung kembali, tiada masalah kompleks yang kami ditanggung ketika itu.

Setiap petang, apabila ribut membawa hujan ke pesisir pantai Batu Rakit, kami bermain 'bola selipar' dengan suara setara bunyi petir di langit. Bila tertangkap, sudahnya tangan kami berbirat dan kebas dirotan warden, tapi seriknya belum tentu.

Meremang bulu roma apabila teringat musibat yang boleh berlaku, semasa saya bersama seorang rakan, cuba mencuri keluar dari kawasan asrama untuk keluar ke bandar Kuala Terengganu. Namun, ketika itu, kami tidak ambil peduli tentang akibat. Darah remaja yang panas sering membuat saya dan rakan-rakan dahagakan kebebasan dari cengkaman belenggu undang-undang sekolah berasrama penuh.

Tetapi nadi alam remaja adik Aminulrasyid Amzah (Aminulrasyid) telah diramas dengan kejam. Rampasan nyawa terhadap Aminulrasyid juga berbau busuk seperti bangkai tua, setidak-tidaknya di hidung saya, seorang ibu dan pemerhati kehidupan.

Sebelum kita mengembara jauh mengupas inti pati pendapat tentang kejadian di malam jahanam untuk Aminulrasyid itu, saya juga teringat kes seorang pelajar kolej komuniti yang terjun dari tingkat 5 untuk bertemu ajal kerana lari dari operasi pegawai pencegah maksiat Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor (Jais) di Selayang, beberapa minggu yang lalu.

Yang terkhilaf dan tersirat dalam kedua-dua kes tersebut hanya satu: Inilah jadinya apabila kita menerapkan perasaan takut – bukannya kesedaran dan tanggungjawab – dalam diri remaja dan anak-anak muda kita.

Dalam akal setahun jagung itu, fikir mereka, apabila berhadapan dengan penguat kuasa undang-undang, keputusan terbaik adalah untuk lari dan bukannya untuk berdepan dengan masalah. Bencana mungkin boleh dielakkan sekiranya mereka tidak lari.

Perasaan malu, bersalah dan takut yang dipupuk dalam diri mereka, akhirnya membawa padah. Apa yang mereka tidak arif dalam usia semuda itu, harga sebuah nyawa tidak pernah ada tolok bandingnya.

Masalah penerapan moral dan kesedaran itu tanggungjawab koletif kita bersama. Setakat konteks ini, kita semua 'bersalah' di atas kematian adik Aminulrasyid dan remaja berusia 21 tahun tersebut.

Apa yang lebih menggelegakkan marah dalam hati adalah kenyataan-kenyataan rasmi yang dikeluarkan oleh pihak berkuasa. Maaf, saya tidak bercakap dari perspektif mana-mana ahli politik. Saya orang biasa, oleh itu saya berasa skeptikal apabila ahli politik bercakap: bunyinya berdegar-degar, tetapi isinya belum tentu penuh.

Namun, apa yang ralat di hati ialah kenyataan yang keluar dari mulut Ketua Polis Negara, Tan Sri Musa Hassan, yang bunyinya lebih kurang begini: "We'll pull cops off the street if that's what you want." Natijah kenyataan itu, sekurang-kurangnya di telinga saya, kedengaran angkuh, taksub dan sinis.

Setahu saya yang masih kurang bijak ini, tugas menjaga keselamatan negara bukan perkara pilihan, bukan perkara yang boleh disorong atau ditarik kembali apabila rasa 'merajuk' atau geram singgah di hati.

Apa yang mereka lupa (atau buat-buat lupa), zaman ini, zaman serba pantas. Pada malam kejadian sahaja, saya sudah menerima kicauan di laman Twitter dari teman sekolah Aminulrasyid, adik Aiman Abdullah, tentang kematian beliau. Kepantasan teknologi maklumat dan kematangan rakyat Malaysia telah menjadikan mereka insan yang peka, yang sentiasa ingin bertanya.

Saya rasa setiap rakyat juga faham bahawa tiada sesiapa yang boleh mengganggu proses siasatan dan undang-undang. Tetapi, di samping itu juga, pihak berkuasa perlu ingat bahawa Artikel 19 The Universal Declaration of Human Rights telah menjamin hak setiap warga dunia untuk menyuarakan pendapat. Kuasa yang diberi kepada PDRM, hatta kuasa yang diberikan kepada sesiapapun, tidak boleh menafikan hak asasi rakyat Malaysia untuk bersuara

Oleh itu, izinkan saya menggunakan hak asasi saya untuk bersuara. Saya hanya ada satu soalan: wajarkah 20 das tembakan dilepaskan untuk memberhentikan sebuah kereta Proton Iswara, ketika nyawa anggota polis yang melepaskan das-das tembakan tersebut, tidak terancam sama sekali? Tidak semua persoalan yang dibangkitkan oleh masyarakat boleh ditermakan sebagai 'spekulasi' yang mengganggu proses siasatan.

Begitu juga dengan perangai atau telatah sesetengah pihak berkuasa agama yang taksub benar dengan watak sebagai 'polis moral'. Bukan hukuman dan perasaan takut yang harus dipupuk dalam hati manusia. Kasih sayang, nasihat dan panduan, walaupun mungkin tidak nampak kesan dalam jangka masa singkat, tetap akan membuahkan hasil dalam jangka masa panjang.

Pihak berkuasa juga perlu sedar, bahawa semua orang yang disyakki telah melakukan sabit kesalahan, berhak menjalani proses undang-undang di mahkamah. Dan anda tidak boleh beraja di mata, bersultan di hati dengan menjadi pihak berkuasa, pendakwa raya dan hakim pada masa yang sama!

Saya lantang mengkritik hari ini, bukan atas dasar kerana saya seorang peguam, tetapi kerana saya seorang ibu. Dan sekiranya anda bukan seorang ibu, anda tidak akan dapat merasai apa yang sedang dirasai oleh ibu Aminulrasyid ketika ini.

Saya juga faham niat untuk mencegah sebelum mengubat perkara-perkara yang dilarang agama dan undang-undang. Tetapi, di mana batas kuasa anda? Kerana, setakat hari ini, garis itu masih samar dan berbalam di mata saya.


Thank you, Aunty Elviza.

Read the original article, as published by Sinar Harian, at

Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone

Revel in my Randomness™

Yeah huh, that's my tagline. Don't go plagiarising it.

So, I've decided to write some utterly random stuff down about myself, as a sort of peace offering to you lot who faithfully follow my blog. So!

1) I'm an Aries-Taurus. That's right. Being born on the 19th of April means I get traits from both signs. A pain in the ass when I read the horoscopes sometimes.

2) I am, quite literally, emotionally unstable. I tend to swing from one extreme to another. Annoying for me, scary for you. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED! Miahahahaha!

3) I can tend to be a bit OCD. Again, it comes & goes like my mood swings. I've been known to walk out of restaurants if there's a stain on the napkin. But I can somehow cope with an oily-floored mamak for my Sunday-morning fix.

4) I LOVE CATS. Just love em to bits. Furry little buggers. My cat, Ollie, is a 9-year old stray Persian. I've had him for 2 months, which means that's about 8+ years on the streets. I'm nursing him back to health with love, care, and a helluvalot of specialist cat products.

5) I am DEVOTED to my BlackBerry®. Ever since CELCOM gave me my first BlackBerry®, the Storm™ 9500. I am a die-hard BlackBerry® advocate, which has landed me as the brand ambassador in this country. I've owned 4 BlackBerry® smartphones so far, being the Storm™ 9500, the Tour™ 9630, my current Bold™ 9700, and I had a Storm™ 9550 (a.k.a. the Storm II) for a while, but I gave it back.

6) I'm a closet romantic. Me & romantic-comedy movies are best buddies. My best flicks are Love Actually, Three Weddings & A Funeral, and 50-First Dates. And yes, many an ex-girlfriend have taken benefits by exploiting this, much to the dismay of my wallet.

7) I have an obsession for Christian Audigier designs. I first fell in love with his style back when he was with DIESEL, and now I support his ventures like Ed Hardy, SMET, and so forth. Sadly, I can't actually afford his clothes, so I've only got the one Ed Hardy tee. (Some idiot suggested I get imitations. Imitation Christian Audigier?! I told him to shove it).

8) I can tend to be a pain in the ass. When it comes to where I spend time in, especially. OH MY GOD, hanging out with me is an experience within itself. I loathe places like Ampang Park, Sungei Wang Plaza & Berjaya Times Square. I favour Starhill Gallery, Pavilion, EMPIRE Subang, KLCC, Bangsar Village & BSC. You get my drift.

9) I heat up very quickly. No, I'm not talking about microwave-reheating, I'm talking about getting angry. I quote a bulky green behemoth you're all too familiar with, "You don't like me when I'm angry."

10) I'm utterly, utterly random. Which is why I just revealed 10 of the most random facts about me. Weeee~!

Hope you enjoyed learning a little bit more about the illustrious Choc-O. Will keep you updated with the So-Po scene when I get something big.

Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

String Theory.

You know string theory, how everything & everyone is connected by these atomic strings, which vibrate at different frequencies, that result in a universal harmony?

Well, I think I saw string theory in action today.

On my Facebook account, a contact (who's a friend of a friend, really) wanted to swap BlackBerry® PINs after seeing me update Facebook via my BlackBerry® smartphone.

Now here's a gal who studies hundreds of miles away in Perth, Australia.

And by simply exchanging BlackBerry® PINs, I learnt that she actually lives in the same neighbourhood as I do.

Okay, please tell me that isn't amazing.

We spent the entire day on BlackBerry® Messenger, sending messages to & fro for hours. And I think we hit it off.

I'm now one friend stronger. =D

You see, this is string theory in its highest form. What moved her to ask for my PIN? What moved me to start a conversation?

And what on Earth moved us to share so much within a few hours?

After achieving So-Po Blogger status, I have declined many random requests to get to know me. I've become a public figure of sorts, to a point where people shout 'Choco!' in the streets. (This is despite me not actually revealing or posting a photograph of myself).

But I honestly don't know what possessed me to just pass her my PIN without thinking of the consequences.

And you know what the amazing this is? I don't regret it. Not one bit. Because this girl is, by far, the cutest, sweetest thing I have ever come across.


String theory connects the world, at a sub-atomic level. Whatever happens in the universe actually pulls/tugs/lax-es the strings involved in the event, and thus creates a cosmic reaction.

A bit like the saying that when you sneeze, a tree waves lazily in the wind halfway across the world.

So next time you, say, make a friend, think of the amazing cosmic event that compelled you & your new friend to get together and create a new, lasting relationship.

Because I took a step back to look at the bigger picture. The cosmic picture. And it was awesome.

Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Letter to the Press, by U-En Ng.

This letter addresses the Star's frontpage headline today (May 2nd 2010)



Has civic responsibility failed to such an extent that we do not recognise the idea of subjecting adolescents to a national curfew, with their identity cards to be checked by "social workers or police after 11pm" (Concern over teenagers hanging out late at night, May 2) as reactionary, authoritarian and unconstitutional?

I should have thought it obvious enough that a parent's duty to his or her child includes educating that child in personal responsibility and safety. To relegate even a part of that duty to the state, beyond national education, is a ludicrous admission that Malaysians are on a very basic level unfit to be parents.

Maybe this is so; and maybe we are so morally feeble that our first instinct when faced with children staying out late is to assume it is a "growing phenomenon" -- some kind of crime or anti-social "indulgence" -- and without really proving our case we react in typical knee-jerk fashion by appealing to some form of sweeping national policy.

Why? Is it because we lack the backbone to stand up as good examples for our own young? Are we incapable of discipline?

And who are we really to demand that our children do as we say when we fail so spectacularly to maintain even rudimentary standards of civil behaviour (let alone serve as good examples) on the road, in shopping complexes, other public spaces and even at home?

Really the only way to "police" minors effectively is to have them do it themselves. They must be taught to tell right from wrong and to choose the right path of their own volition: anything else would be fatuous tyranny that does nothing but ridicule authority in general, and the only way we can achieve this is to act responsibly ourselves.

A chief responsibility right now is to recognise that children will undoubtedly make mistakes, as will we -- such is the nature of being human -- but whatever the case no child should have to fear being shot in the head, no matter what time it is.

Ultimately if we treat the young without respect, we lose all right to expect any in return.

U-En Ng
Kuala Lumpur


This was originally posted on Patrick Teoh's blog.

Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone