Archive for February, 2011

PostHeaderIcon Bad Luck

The last time Arsenal won a major trophy was way back in 2005 when they beat United 5-4 on penalties in the FA Cup Final. United outplayed and outclassed the Gunners in every department throughout the game, yet they managed to hold on until the final whistle of the extra time. Midfield maestro Paul Scholes was the one at fault in the shoot-out, blasting the ball into the path of Jens Lehmann. United failed to capitalise on their dominance in the game, and they paid the price.

The Wembley Stadium, by Landscapes of England

Yesterday in Wembley, Arsenal looked set to end their 6-year trophy drought as they faced Birmingham City in the League Cup Final. An early Nikola Zigic goal served as a wake-up call to the boys in red, and they responded brilliantly. Arsenal took charge of the game soon after and equalised through Robin van Persie. From then on a victory seemed so certain for the Gunners, until they self-destructed in the 89th minute. A mix up between keeper Wojciech Szczesny and centre-half Laurent Koscielny resulted in the keeper fumbling the ball over to Obafemi Martins who slotted the winner. Arsenal failed to capitalise on their dominance in the game, and they paid the price.

It was such a familiar sight 😛

Anyway, after weeks of gruelling sessions with the driving instructor… I’ve finally got my P license! Yay! 😀

Come on, a song for a happy occasion!

Birds are singing, you by my side
Let’s take a car and go for a ride
Hey, hey, hey, it’s a beautiful day

Sunday, Monday, who cares?

PostHeaderIcon Maher Zain Live in Concert

Abat bought 3 tickets for the concert – one was particularly for Kona, and I thought the other two were for mum and Abat himself to accompany her.

But then they couldn’t make it. There was no one else besides Kak Nuni (aka Nieks) who could drive Kona there, so in the end we had to fill in the void.

I first heard about Maher Zain last year from my friends. Boarders love to sing all the time and he was, I believe, as popular as all those K-Pop groups among them at that time. Frankly speaking though, the idea of going to his concert had never occurred to me.

Local group In-Team kicked off the show with a few songs.

Then Maher’s friend Pakistani Canadian Irfan Makki took the stage.

His rendition of Mabrouk, which according to him is a song best suited for weddings, caught my attention. It was awesome! It’s worth noting that there’s no song titled Mabrouk credited to him, but there is one sung by Ramy Ayach, which is a well-known wedding song.

Finally the guy himself came out, to the loud applause of the audience.

Padi vocalist, Fadly joined him singing the popular Insha Allah.

Palestine Will Be Free with the animated music video.

Subhan Allah featuring Mesut Kurtis

…and five little kids.

Mesut Kurtis was then left to sing a few of his own songs. Can’t remember the songs 😛

Later Irfan Makki appeared again with Maher.

He looked tired..and sweaty.

His new song, Freedom, like Yusuf Islam’s My People, was inspired by the revolution in the Middle-East. He told the audience he wrote it a week and a half ago.

The audience apparently enjoyed the song.

I lost count how many songs were performed in total, but as far as I can remember, Maher Zain sang Insha Allah thrice (including the Malay version), and Barakallah, For the Rest of My Life and Freedom all twice.

Listening to live songs is way better than the stdio/recorded ones. Though I’m not really a fan of this guy, I have to admit the concert was kinda great! My favourite? Mabrouk! (which means congratulations :D)

And Kona was obviously very delighted.

All this at the expense of the Wigan-United match. And guess what, United won 4-0! I failed to witness United at their best again. I was too absorbed into studying that I forgot the match against Blackburn Rovers and missed the first 5 goals. The final score was 7-1 to United. Then I couldn’t catch the 5-0 demolition of Birmingham City because I was on the plane home from Jakarta. Bad luck  -.-

*thanks to Kak Nuni for all the pics at the concert 🙂

PostHeaderIcon Old Stuff

Went to our old house in Seksyen 19 yesterday to do some cleaning.

I have to say, the area around the house has not changed much.

There’s still a lot to be done, so, yeah, I haven’t left it for good yet. I grew up here, and no matter how cramped, and perhaps unpleasant it is nowadays, it’s still a special place to me..haha 😀

Okay, this one is not my typical favourite music, but it means a lot to me in a very different way 🙂

PostHeaderIcon Father and Son

I passed my JPJ driving test yesterday, and I’ll be driving that Space Wagon soon! Hahaha 😀

Anyway, take a break and listen to this beautiful song, one of my all-time favourites, written and performed by Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam).

“But take your time, think a lot
Think of everthing you’ve got
For you will still be here tomorrow
But your dreams may not”

PostHeaderIcon Accidental Passion

I remember watching my brothers playing FIFA 1999 on our PC. With 11 players each team, plus one referee, the sight of 23 men on the pitch made me think that football was an irritatingly confusing game. I preferred Blood, Duke Nukem or NFS III Hot Pursuit, not that silly football game.

Well, people change.

I can’t remember how exactly did I start to love football, but my, FIFA 1999 was such a fun!

I began to really support United on the day Liverpool beat them in the FA Community Shield in 2001. Ayi was not pleased, of course, but I’ve been a loyal fan since then 😉

Abat introduced Match Magazine to us in 2001, and we regularly bought the magazine every week until a few years ago when it became too dear for us. Initially it cost us (*my dad) RM9 per copy, but now the price is around RM16! The last one we got was in 2006 if I’m not mistaken.

Match is the best football magazine for English Premier League fans I tell you! Go and get a copy while you still can afford it 😛

Through Match we came to know Football Champions and Subbuteo TCG, first issued in 2001. The production of the EPL version was ceased at the end of 2002-2003 season, meaning that the game only lasted for around 2 years! Awful, the game was. 😀

Not much info can be found on this relatively unknown game.

Oh, and here’s my season review collection (the 90’s are all Yi’s)

We could have saved a lot if we didn’t buy these things!

PostHeaderIcon Speak!

It has been almost 6 years since the first time I gave a public speech. It’s not that I wanted to, but the school forced me into doing it, which I despised so much. The idea of speaking in public seemed terrifying back then.

It was Teachers’ Day celebration, and as the Head Prefect I had no other choice. I was merely a naive, 12-year old boy who loved solitude. The day before that I desperately, and rather hastily, prepared the text for my speech, using all the skills acquired during Malay language classes…*yeah sure*

Well, the speech was horrible anyway. I don’t want to talk about it.

But things started to change as I grew up.

2006 – My first year as a SDARian

The moment I realised I’d been fooled by most of the so-called Chosen Ones of SDAR (and SBP in general), I decided I had to say something to these guys. Just anything that would arouse them to at least think a little bit. While I avoided attention and remained a quiet boy, I began to develop an interest in influencing people.

I took part in an inter-class forum competition when I was in Form 3. No one else was wiling, so I thought, why not? Together with 3 of my classmates we represented our class against 4 other classes. We were the best, and we won first place. For some reasons, though, I decided not to go on with this forum thingy.

Then in Form 4 I had a short stint as a debater.

My one and only major debate competition

During an English language oral test, a classmate of mine noticed that I could speak with impact after all, so he invited me to join the school’s debate team. At first I hesitated, but eventually after much persuasion I joined the team. Not for long though. I quit at the end of the year. I didn’t like it either.

Honestly I kinda enjoyed doing presentations in the class, impromptu or not. There was this particular guy who believed I could be a really influential speaker. Okay, perhaps he didn’t really mean it, and he misquoted me there. Some said I should be a lecturer, or a politician. Haha. What a joke. My family knows me best 😛

But I believe I’m far from being a good speaker, and I’m horribly bad at influencing people either. I hate crowds and people. And I despise some of those unnatural debaters/speakers who tried to speak like someone else.

I still love solitude.

And United won the Manchester derby!

PostHeaderIcon Love for Birds

It all started more than a decade ago, when my dad asked us (there were four of us) to accompany him birding at Bukit Cerakah.

Equipped with binoculars and books, we began to search for birds. It took us some time to identify the very first bird we spotted, which was, rather fittingly, a Common Myna.

You would be lying if you were to say that you haven’t seen this bird before.

Common Myna, by J. M. Garg

Since that day we have identified lots of other birds, from the conventional swifts and kingfishers, to the exotic storks and hornbills.

We don’t really keep track of our birding activities because we do it merely for fun.

And at TMII I got the chance to visit a bird park. I’d never been to one before, so it was kinda awkward being so close to those big birds and raptors. Yeah, it’s a new experience.

But to see the birds caged is somehow, like I’ve said before, distressing.

I think I was told this is a Black Eagle in the process of being tamed. Not sure, but my heart says he’s sad.

Wreathed Hornbill

Barred Eagle-owl

Purple Heron

Rhinoceros Hornbill, the bird of Sarawak.

Brahminy Kite. Very common in Malaysia.

Black Eagle

White-Bellied Sea-Eagle. My all-time favourite. First seen and identified at Pulau Indah (I think!).

He looks like he’s in agony

Another one in a different cage

Lesser Adjutant, also known as Burung Botak.

Asian Fairy Bluebird. Exquisite and Radiant.

This pic from Wikipedia looks much better (by Bob Owen)

Green Peafowl. Not a fan of this type of birds, but I still love them.

Glossy Ibis

Black-crowned Night-Heron

Crested Serpent Eagle

I’m not sure what kind of species this guy is, but he sure looks dejected and gloomy.

They are well-fed and well-kept (I think), so perhaps they are okay after all.

Surely there are more birds in TMII Bird Park, but these are the only pics I have. I was feeling nauseated and very sick from food poisoning at that time. Couldn’t do much.

My friends have always told me, “it’s just a bird” and “birds are everywhere”. Yeah, sure.

PostHeaderIcon Taman Mini Indonesia Indah

22 January 2011 – Day 3

For Day 2, click HERE

We spent our last day in Jakarta at Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, an extensive park that depicts the culture of the country with 26 different pavilions, gardens, theatres, monuments and museums, as well as other recreational facilities. In the middle of the park is a lake with a miniature Indonesian Archipelago.

The Riau Pavilion

The West Kalimantan Pavilion. How about that for a house?

Dayak Bidayuh Community

Bengkulu Pavilion

A retired Douglas C-47

Then we entered the Bird Park.

Because of Indonesia’s geographical position, the country is separated into two different ecozones by the Wallace Line.

The bird park is divided into two main domes; the West Dome (birds from Sumatra, Java, Bali, Kalimantan) and the East Dome (birds from Sulawesi, Maluku, Papua), in accordance to the Wallace Line.

To see the birds deprived of freedom is quite distressing. Needless to say, though, it’s a haven to certain birdwatchers!

The pond acts as the imaginary Wallace Line

The birdkeepers introducing four of their birds to the visitors

We left at around 4pm.

We had to leave early just to make sure we won’t miss our flight back to KL..but we were too early.

More time to kill!

We arrived at KLIA at around 12am in the morning, 23 January.

PostHeaderIcon Country Roads and Pre-eminence

Take Me Home, Country Roads” is a beautiful song recorded by John Denver in 1971. The song enjoyed great popularity all over the world, and was certified a million-seller in August that year.

It’s still popular these days, and Studio Ghibli featured the song in Whisper of the Heart in 1995.

This Japanese version was actually co-written by Toshio Suzuki’s (the producer) daughter and Hayao Miyazaki himself!

On Tuesday night, Man Utd defeated visitors Aston Villa emphatically and extended their unbeaten run in the league to 29 games…which equalled club record set by the team that won the famous treble 11 years ago. Now only Wolves can prevent United from breaking that record.

It’s an irony, considering that United haven’t performed particularly well, and they are still dubbed by some people as the worst unbeaten team in Premier League history. They keep scraping hard-fought wins throughout the season, and while their spirit and determination are commendable, the way they play football, in general, has been awfully dull.

With 14 games left, including against Chelsea home and away, not many believe that this class of 2011 will emulate Arsenal’s Invincibles in 2004. But for me, a United supporter, why not?

…and what started as peaceful protests against the government in Egypt turned out to be bloody after all when pro-Mubarak supporters began confronting the protesters…it would take years for Egypt to recover from this crisis.

PostHeaderIcon Anyer

21 January 2011 – Day 2

For Day 1, click HERE

This is how it looks in front of Sun Set View Hotel in Carita, Banten.

Calm, peaceful and serene…

Done with Anak Krakatau, we headed to the Mt. Anak Krakatau observation post in Anyer.

Inside the cramped post are lots of info and data on Anak Krakatau, samples of volcanic rocks from the volcano, a telescope and a seismograph.

With the telescope, Anak Krakatau can be seen from here, provided that the weather is fine. Unluckily for us our timing was bad. Due to the unfavourable weather, the volcano was not visible at all.

Our next stop was the historic lighthouse in Anyer.

The 40-metre lighthouse was built three years after the tsunami triggered by Krakatoa wiped out the original one.


The climb to the top was exhausting, but was well worth it 😉

The views were absolutely splendid! It was windy and breezy, but luckily I’m not an acrophobic. There was fear, though. A mild one.

Bird’s-eye views of the village

…then we continued our journey back to Jakarta.