I love conversations on "Shuffle" mode.


A Birthday Wishlist

For those who've been asking.

  • Cupcakes.
  • A set of mini dumb bells.
  • A French Press / Coffee Plunger.
  • Suzuki SX4 Hatchback.
  • "Where Time Stands Still" - Howard McGillin
  • "Animals Are Beautiful People" DVD.
  • "Arrested Development" Seasons 1 - 3.
  • "Game of Thrones" Season 1.
  • "West Side Story" DVD.
  • A time machine.
  • The OPI Nail Envy, available at Nail Fiesta.
  • Brushes from Eco Tools, available at SHINS.
  • Anything from Burt's Bees - especially their soap bars and the Rich & Repairing Body Butter.
  • A Chinese Tea Mug with Strainer.
  • Harimau Malaya Kit. (Thanks, Aaron!)
  • Michael Fassbender.
  • Sketchbooks.
  • Book vouchers.
  • Michael Fassbender in a box.
  • Pashmina shawls (the genuinely warm ones).
  • A red iPod Shuffle / Nano.
  • A Macbook Air.
  • Michael Fassbender in a bathtub.
  • Plimsolls from Cotton On (Size 35).
  • A Lomo Camera.
  • Your love.
  • Necklaces with long chain.
  • A pug.
  • Massage vouchers from Thai Odyssey.
  • Hamsters, preferably Roborovski.
  • Michael Fassbender in my room.
  • Angry Bird plushies. (Thanks, Ray, Peter & Amanda!)
  • Good health.
  • Another 4 inches in height.
  • Pillows for sleeping. (Mine's gone flat)


Why, Doesn't That Look Familiar?

When life offers you no challenge, silly things happen.

As illustrated here in a clip from "Animals Are Beautiful People" (1974). Can someone get me this DVD for my birthday? Haha.


A Little Bit of Common Sense

If you don't go after what you want,
you'll never have it.

If you don't ask,
the answer's always no.

If you don't step forward,
you're always in the same place.

via @thecoolhunter


Thank you, Cloudee.

For showing me the true meaning of love and courage.
Even in the final days of your life.
You held on so strong. So strong.
Stronger than any man can, you little thing.
And I'm glad you made it into her arms that night.

We'll miss you lots, you brave little furball.
Every birthday. Every Mooncake festival. Every Chinese New Year.
So rest in peace now, sunflower!


Cloudee was my aunt's dearest baby. Faithful, loyal and ever so friendly, she was easily one of the most loved members of the family. It came as a huge shock to us when she got ran over by a car - a day after my aunt left for Phuket. Severely injured, Cloudee was immediately sent to the vet. In critical condition, she battled hard and strong for a good few days to catch a final glimpse of my aunt, who returned a few days later. Cloudee died in her arms that very day.

"Our beloved pets often greet us on the other side. Love is eternal and exists in all species. We are always being reunited with them."

- Dr Brian Weiss


Five Six Lemonades!

Sometimes, you've got to make an effort to restore a little zest back into life.
Sometimes, you chance upon it. And you grab it right by the collar and say,

"Let's do this."

Here's the back story to my silly introduction.
And I hope you can learn something from it.

I had put aside quite a lot of my usual pastimes when I started working. I got lazier day by day; less motivated, even. I would rather spend whatever time I had on my hands shopping, stuffing my mouth with pork, watching reruns of Glee - or well, just sleep.

And it wasn't healthy.

Pastimes such as art, football and dance were integral parts of my life. They made me happy (and less fat too, I might add). But other things became more important. I tried to revisit them time and again, but to no avail. I was stuck in a vicious cycle (probably self-inflicted) that seemed determined to not let me get my life back together again. I couldn't give myself the license to commit to anything else.

Then, it was as if my body got really mad at me and decided to take matters into its own hands. It shut down. And I was bloody well diagnosed with Bell's Palsy.

Ironically, the day after I attended my first dance class in a long, long time.

That incident felt like a horrible setback, but it gave me time forced me to rethink my life. To take a breather, and just see what I've been doing wrong the past year and a half. (Being immobilised for two hours in bed weekly with a face full of needles makes you do just that. Oh, and friends - you can not forget the friends!)

Spending Friday nights as a pincushion.

I decided that I absolutely have to start living life again. I have to be healthy. Not just physically- but mentally. I have to get a move on. JUST DO SOMETHING THAT MAKES ME HAPPY, DAMN IT, and it better not be just another quick fix of retail therapy. It was something right out of a chick-flick movie, like when Rebecca Bloomwood kicked her...

Well, the point is - I did.

Upon recovery two months later, I returned to DanceFit. It wasn't as rigorous as the old Sunday morning Jazz, but it was a step in the right direction. But that wasn't enough. There was something else I missed - and I couldn't quite put a finger on what it was exactly. It wasn't competition, because I didn't feel up for it. I've always lacked the self-discipline, and it wasn't really my thing...

Till Lionel approached me with the idea of gathering a group of swing dancers to perform a California Routine at Outcast Studio's 2nd Dance Recital. And I immediately said yes.

The group was made of Lionel, JoJo, Chih Ian, Grace, Shawn, Vivian, no.4, and I.

Most of us had to learn the routine from scratch, but here's the thing about performing as a group. It can be REALLY fun. You support each other, you help each other improve and most importantly - you feed off each others' energy.

And this group was more than just that. They were AWESOME.

Another late night practice at Studio Akarkarya.

The group made such incredible progress in such short period of time (a month!), that a handful of practice sessions later - we were officially ready for the stage.

Marking our spots during the full-dress rehearsal.

Swing out in the spotlights!

That 2 minutes 33 seconds on the stage was just incredible. Everyone gave their all. I remember walking off the stage feeling my throat burning real badly (Lino's water bottle pulled a Houdini on me), and I knew that we had set the stage on fire.

The sight of people you don't know whipping out their cameras to film you dance, the sound of their applause, and the smile on their faces - it's just magical.

That's when I realised that I've chanced upon something that might just bring some light back into my life.

And as the saying goes,

When life throws you lemons, make lemonades.

It was Five Six Lemonades.

UPDATE: And here's a video of the performance! :)


Pic credits : Stanley Tiang, Jeff Lee, Nabihan and Lionel Tan


Burgers & Branding

Just the other day, I was stuck a good three hours ahead of a football game at the national stadium. And like any starving Malaysian would, I got myself a Ramly burger from the many stalls set up.

I couldn't wait to sink my teeth into a juicy and succulent patty, wedged in between two lightly buttered and toasted buns, with a good crunch of shredded lettuce and onions, topped with a generous dose of chili and mayo (oh, the product romance!).

And so, I hastily unwrapped it from its trademark wrapper, and took a good bite out of it.

Only to discover.... read more


This is only a short excerpt from my latest article for The Bullet, inspired by my very first encounter with nasty stadium food. Read the full write-up here!

I'm however glad to report the finding of a genuine Ramly burger stall on a more recent trip to Bukit Jalil. Hip-hip hooray to little discoveries!


Something for the Jaded Soul

When times are hard and you've lost sight of who you are - don't worry. Don't beat yourself up over it. It happens. And don't try to justify the situation either. You don't have to.

Give yourself the chance to wallow in the sweet misery.
Acknowledge it. Face it. Get to know it. Embrace it, even. There's no shame in that.

Then, take a deep breath and move on.

To better things or a changed perspective - you decide.


Watch It Burn

Watch It Burn
Acrylic on canvas
30 in x 20 in


Acrylic on canvas
18 in x 24 in


Seeing Red, Everywhere.

It's no secret that I am an avid supporter of Liverpool FC.

So much so, it makes figuring out what to get me for my birthday like, the easiest task in the world. Slap on a Liverbird onto any random object and tadah - the perfect gift for Pei Ru! (But seriously guys, I've got enough Liverpool souvenirs to last me a lifetime already. Kits, on the other hand, I can never have enough. HINT. Love you and thankies!)

So when the Reds come marching into town, you can bet your best hat that I wouldn't miss it for the world! Here's how it all went down...

Geeking out at the LFC Fanzone, Pavilion.

I had seen pictures of the set-up prior to the visit, and naturally, expected it to be some cheesy event thingymagica that offers no value to Liverpool fans whatsoever.

To my surprise, not only did I not find the set-up tacky - I loved it! I must say that the organisers actually did a pretty decent job in bringing (a tiny fraction of) the Anfield experience to Kuala Lumpur. The Shankly Gates outside the mall, the tunnel entrance, the banners, and the most squeal-worthy of all... the dressing room!

It didn't take much for me to pick that very spot!

Allan calls this the "Rafa face".

Why, isn't this is a nice touch?


Then, on to the Liverpool training.

It was a really bad day. One thing led to another and I ended up taking the train to the stadium. (Quick fact: I am not particularly fond of public transportation in KL, especially cabs. I admit that I'm somewhat sheltered like that.)

But guess what? I am so glad I did.

It was like Singapore all over again when I bumped into this group of Malay boys at the train station. They were proudly sporting their Liverpool jerseys already, with not one - but multiple training passes hung around their necks.

What began as a question on which train to board turned into a whole Ray Wong fanfare within minutes. (Dude got famous cause that very morning, only ONE player had stopped to drop an autograph for the fans - and he was the lucky fart.)

Kuyt signing Ray's kit that morning.

Turns out that they, too, were part of the 200+ fans who waited for the players' arrival at One World Hotel at 5am in the morning. 5 GODDAMNED AM. But truth be told, this shouldn't come as a shocker to anyone. The Reds have never touched down on Malaysian soil before, so it would be the first time many of the local fans would get to meet their heroes real life. What's sacrificing a few hours of sleep, eh? I myself stood rooted in the same spot for up to 4 hours waiting for the '09 squad two years back, and I was well-rewarded!

The training session itself was well... wow. Approximately 35,000 fans showed up to catch the team prance around the field. (Sorry, I couldn't help but find the jogging bit a little like show horses prancing in a circus ring. There was proper training going on, of course.) That's one heck of a turn-out considering the fact that it's only 7,000 less than Anfield at full capacity, and it was a working day! Mexican waves were going round and round the stadium, refusing to die. The chants of "You'll Never Walk Alone", "Fields of Anfield Road"and of course, this. Which led to the infamous this.

Panda and I, after scouting for seats.


And finally, the big day.

Which didn't start out that big, really. In my one last attempt to at least try to get an autograph from a player, (I already got a couple from the last tour, so I'm just being greedy) I spent the entire morning at One World Hotel.

And it was a complete waste of time.

I found it so comical that the security actually bothered to pull all sorts of trickery on the fans. There were what, 20-30 of us max? (And very well-behaved, mind you.) Waiting at the bottom lift, we were informed that the players would be appearing from the top lift. But when we headed up, the guard manning the top lift told us that they would instead, be coming out from the bottom lift.

Seriously. I get that it's your job but couldn't you have come up with something more, intelligent?!

So after wasting another two hours being stuck with a bunch of annoyingly paranoid fans on the landing of the 2nd floor, headed by some bossy teen and a woman with cockstares worthy of an award ("IS THAT YOUR PHONE RINGING? Don't tell anyone the players are up here or the security won't let us meet them!), and more security nonsense which cost me a close encounter with Charlie Adam and Joe Cole - I decided that enough was enough.

Lunch was more important.

So, this was all I came home with.

Sorry, dude. At least you don't look like a football which bounced into the frame.


Come on, Liverpool!

And so, I made my way to Bukit Jalil Stadium for the third time in four days. Thankfully, I was with my folks this time around so there was no need to speedwalk all the way in. (The last two trips were such cardio workouts!)

We arrived at the stadium a good three hours early, and if you think that's some class dedication on our part... you are about to be proven wrong. Most of the best seats at the Green Gate were already snatched up by the time we entered the stadium. Fortunately, we found Benny (bless the poor boy, who was given the impossible task of reserving 20 seats for MyRAWK, a mission which he abandoned as that would be suicidal) and the boys, seated up at the second tier.

With Benny, Jonno, Allan and Ray.

Try spotting me! (Hint: second row, long hair)

The atmosphere in the stadium was ELECTRIFYING. The build-up alone would put the full game at Singapore to shame. It's like the Malaysia vs Indonesia final, but more organised, more united, and with less men grinding down my back.

We are talking about over 87,000 fans singing "You'll Never Walk Alone" at the top of their lungs, while holding their scarves up high and proud in the air! I saw people with their friends, families, girlfriends - and boyfriends, even. It's as if no one was walking alone. (Or maybe some were, but it's impossible to tell since everyone's dressed to theme.)

Chris with his fiancee, Agnes! That's dad on my right.

Just look at that crowd!

Cheering the team on with the rest, I had found myself at home in a sea of Reds.

LOL at my mum.

However, if I had to find fault in something... it would be WHO THE HECK MANAGED THE MUSIC SELECTION?! Hey wait, f*ck the word "selection". They played the club anthem almost SIX times! As if that wasn't bad enough, each time came with a repeat of the song! The first two rounds were met with full vim and vigour, but those after that... oh god. Was the system manned by a United fan who's out to get us or what?!

The first half of the game was decent at most. With the likes of Charlie Adam and Raul Meireles tightly marked, the Tigers managed to secure a pretty good foothold in the game. And Andy Carroll - oh, wasn't he an absolutely pain to watch! I was on the verge of yelling "run, fat ass, run!" till I was reminded that he's possibly still recovering from an injury. Ah, that could be it.

The second half, on the other hand, was when the magic happened. The team fielded was much younger and faster - aided by the return of Aquilani, a handful of brilliant crosses by Insua, and of course, the amazing finishes by Maxi, Ngog and Kuyt respectively. With the Tigers putting up a good fight (on the back of a lackluster performance against Arsenal), goals were flying here, there and everywhere! Heck, there were possibly more chants of "MALAYSIA" than "Liverpool" at one point! So goodness knows where the real Rajagopal was that evening.

The ecstatic crowd, cheering on both Harimau Malaya and Liverpool.

WHOOOOTS GOAL! And check out that dude trying to take a pic of himself!

Good job, teams!

One last (still broken) smile for the trip home!

The final score? 6-3.
What a scoreline. What a game. What a week, even!

But if I had to leave you with a message, it would be this: those Ramly burgers you see at the stadium? Uh-huh. Not genuine Ramly. Save yourself the pain of being totally famished, only to discover that your sustenance comes in the form of a truly pathetic piece of patty, wedged between two slices of the driest bread you'll ever taste. Seriously, don't be a victim of the fake Ramly. It's not a pleasant experience.


Pic credits : MyRAWK, Kevin Gan & Ray Wong


Branding. Just like Parenting.

"The man who stops advertising to save money is like the man who stops the clock to save time." - Henry Ford

Someone who knows the price of everything but the value of nothing.
Clueless as to the way things really work.
So lost - and will certainly find himself falling behind the times.

A man who thinks that a one-off advertising, or in this case - branding exercise will do the job, only to be disappointed time and again.

And this is why.

Image by jrodmanjr

Branding should never be seen as a sure-fire way towards success; it's an investment - very much like raising a child.

And just like any child, what your brand grows up to be is highly dependent on... read more


This is only a short excerpt from my latest article for The Bullet. Read the full write-up here!



Taking on an Urban Retreat

I love spas. Massages, especially! Given the chance, I'd review them as a full-time job. (Yeah, fat chance.) Spas grow like mushrooms in the city, but not many actually knock on your door, and play the proactive role of reaching out to those who could really use a good massage or two.

Well, trust me when I say that Urban Retreat Spa is different. The folks at Urban Retreat actually set out to engage their customers through social media, inviting them to experience their services first-hand. Nothing new, but unlike most brands who try - Urban Retreat Spa's efforts come highly commended.

And just two weeks ago, I got myself a surprise invitation via Twitter. (Follow them at @urbanretreatmy!) It couldn't have been any more timely, what with my return to work after recovering from Bell's Palsy.

So, the date was set, and I was more than ready to take on the Pampering Renewal Treatment.

Upon arrival at Urban Retreat Spa, The Curve, I was greeted by a friendly therapist who treated me to a delightful footsoak in a tub of rose-scented water. With the hypnotic aroma of ginger and lemongrass wafting through the premises - I couldn't help but feel a tremendous sense of ease working its way up my body. It's just one of those simple gestures that would calm even the most strung-up of individuals, you know?

Once rinsed clean and patted dry, I was led to a gently lit room where my treatment would take place.

Customary to most full-body treatments, I was required to disrobe into a paper thong and towel. (Thank goodness for experience.) The room was air-conditioned, which got me worried, but to my surprise - the bed was actually heated! How cool is that? You may think that it's nothing to get excited about, but I found this gesture to be absolutely wonderful because hey, the thought of patrons freezing naked, mid-therapy has never occurred to the previous spas I've visited before this! What a welcoming change indeed.

So, as I lay comfortably on my warm and toasty bed, my masseuse proceeded to start the treatment with a gentle full-body massage. Nothing painful, just something general and weight-oriented to stretch out the limbs. This was shortly followed by a full-body scrub which utilises the magical purifying properties of Balinese Coffee. I must point out that this was the most thorough scrub I've ever experienced - so much so that it felt like a good massage on its own. Each part of the body was given its fair share of attention - no hastiness, no rush. None at all.


After a good rinse in the shower, I was gestured back to the bed for my favourite means of relaxation, ever. A massage!

And allow me to say this - my masseuse had thumbs that can kill! As I was lying face down, I imagined that she would look somewhat like Horst (of course she didn't, but it was an amusing thought anyway). What I appreciated most was the fact that it wasn't a choreographed routine. She took the effort to identify my many stress knots, and made very sure that not a single one of them was spared. Very painful, but so damn good.

After it was all over, I was escorted out to the waiting area, where a cup of steaming hot ginger tea came my way. Always a pleasant way to cap off a massage, that beverage. :) This gave me the chance to look through the list of treatments available at Urban Retreat Spa - and guess what? They even categorised some by how hard the massages are! (Sports, being the most painful one it seems).

All in all, a rejuvenating experience. Glad I could share it with all of you. Thanks, Urban Retreat Spa!


Urban Retreat Spa
The Curve Shopping Mall : 03 - 7710 3239
1 Mont Kiara Mall : 012- 617 9509

For more information, catch them at www.urbanretreat-spa.com or Facebook.


The Clash of the Titans.

Here’s a truth for you.

Everyone loves a good battle. A showdown between two prodigious names, locked in an intense battle for supremacy.

Take the Champions League final that took place last weekend, for example. Watched by a worldwide audience of approximately 300 million people, the stage was all set for what many deemed to be an epic clash between two of the biggest and snazziest teams in the whole of Europe.

The final score after 90 excruciatingly long minutes?
Barcelona 3 –1 Manchester United

And it was clear why the formidable Spanish outfit emerged victorious.

They... read more


This is only a short excerpt from an old article I wrote for The Bullet. To get the full branding lesson from Barcelona, read the entire write-up here!


Bottles & Jars of Heaven

I admit. I am a total sucker when it comes to beauty products. Specifically, those that look pretty - and smell even better. I may dress like a total sleazebag, but I really want to smell good. (No this is NOT an issue! Pfft!) And perfumes just don't do it for me. I find that they smell awfully artificial.

Which is why I am such a big fan of Burt's Bees. They've got a wide range of body lotions and body butter that can make you smell like anything from butterscotch to honey. Mmm, food for the skin. Yummy! For something more floral, I'd go for L'Occitane.

See that stash of perfume samples? Suki's mum collects them.

Also, I recently came across a range of skincare products by ACCA KAPPA. Lovely brand, I must say. I am a big fan of their Cleansing Milk. Gentle and unassuming, this cleanser will do a fine job. But if there's one product you ought to try - it's their Exfoliating Facial Scrub. It's an absolute god-sent! The fine grains in this scrub makes for a very thorough exfoliation - all without being too abrasive on the skin. Perfect for those seeking for a more natural alternative from the lather-based, highly-scented scrubs.

And then, there's my new favourite - Aēsop's Camellia Nut Facial Hydrating Cream. What I love about this moisturiser is it's unusually matte finish, as compared to other cream-based solutions. It also smells like heaven. Trust me, this baby here will make you WANT to wash your face even more often, so you can smell nice and fresh.

But when it comes to heavy-duty, full-body moisturising abilities - there's only one brand, and one specific product I turn to. Good ol' Rosken Dry Skin Cream. No other brand locks in moisture like my buddy here.

Highly recommended if you suffer from dry skin conditions such as ichthyosis. I've been using it since I was 13, and it has dramatically improved my ichthyosis, transforming what once were raw and bloody cracks into fine lines. Handy tip: Apply it RIGHT after toweling dry from shower. It'll keep your skin supple and smooth for hours!

Currently in search of a good sunscreen. Any recommendations?


Major Pet Peeves

#1 Air fresheners.
I absolutely abhor air fresheners. Most just make me really nauseous, but some - oh, some are so pungent, I can taste them on my tongue! Ptuit, ptuit! I guess it would make sense to install them in cars to mask the lingering stench of cigarettes and sweat, but mine smells just fine, so no thank you.

#2 Stray roach legs.

These spindly things are disgusting, and they usually appear in the WEIRDEST of places. At the base of whiteboards, on top of some old encyclopedia that's never been dusted for years and even inside my pencil holders! I wonder what goes through a roach's mind when it loses its leg. "Oh well, life will still have to go on without you" and scamper on? Can't they at least pick it up and take it with them? (Come on, everyone has to play their role in making the world a cleaner place!)

#3 "I've Never Been to Me" by Charlene.
Hand me the bucket. Now. Major projectile during the spoken bridge.

#4 Flying cigarettes.
Unless you're freaking Audrey Hepburn, prancing around with a theatre-length quellazaire, I don't see why anyone should wave their cigarettes up in the air like wand. Please keep your cancer sticks down, or you might just poke someone's eye out.

#5 Product taggers.

Do I look anything like a leggy Korean model to you? Or a freaking piece of red velvet cake? Really, people. All this Facebook tagging nonsense has got to stop. Find more considerate (and morally legit) means to advertise your product.

And I can still go on forever. But I'm tired. And I need sleep. Haha.

Meanwhile, tell me - what are YOUR pet peeves?

The Rise of an Antihero

Finally got around to watching "X-Men: First Class".

I'd love to go down the less commercial road and blog about "Super 8" instead, but the handful of talented child actors aside, I can't really recall much about that flick. There were too many scenes with nothing happening in them. A little underwhelming for Spielberg-standards. Don't let that deter you from watching it though, it's still pretty decent, especially if you love explosive train-wrecks.

Anyway, back to "X-Men: First Class". It was brilliant. A charming movie with a charming cast, packed to the brim with some super dope action scenes. So much so, I'd put it right up there with J.J. Abram's remake of "Star Trek". It's fresh, it's emotionally gripping and will definitely appeal to the masses - not just to fans of the Marvel franchise.

And did you guys see how Magneto totally ripped that ship to shreds?

Fucking hell. I'm definitely buying the DVD once it's released, just so I can replay that scene again and again. Hats off to Michael Fassbender for that jaw-dropping performance. For every heart-thumping action sequence, every pant, every tear, every pulsating vein, and every slight tremble of the wrists. There's a new (okay, fine not THAT new) antihero in town, pained past and all, and with shit loads of badassery to boot.

Yes, I was that impressed. Even more so since he totally outperformed James McAvoy, a brilliant actor who's never failed to deliver.

Rating: 9.0/10 (Docking off 1.0 for tactless highlight of Darwin during the mention of the word "enslave".)

But bonus points for the cameos. Those were class.

PS, I also confess that my high regard for Michael Fassbender has something to do with the fact that he's a creepy combination of both Xabi Alonso and Christopher Plummer, noted during "Inglorious Basterds", where his unfortunate character got shot in the balls for fucking up some drink order.

Who's Our Daddy, You Ask?

He was a legendary advertising executive whose creativity and original thinking brought tremendous transformation to Madison Avenue in the 1960s’ and 1970s’.

The son of a classics scholar and a financial broker, who powered the belief that an ad man should be the product of many influences. (He was a chef, a researcher, a farmer and a door-to-door salesman who sold cooking stoves!)

An extraordinary individual who, during a time when visual and artistry flair took precedence, had the balls to introduce science into his craft.

A man whose first advertising effort depicted a naked woman. And as embarrassed as he was with the attempt, still acknowledged that such non-traditional approaches do have their place in advertising.

The very man who introduced the concept of brand image to advertising.

The one and only... read more


This is only a short excerpt from my Father's Day-themed article for The Bullet. Read the full write-up here!