Mind Blowing

Thoughts and other crap on people, life and maybe footie...
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Thursday, July 29, 2004

One week to go

yesssirrrrr....one week to go. i can hardly sit still. the leave application form has been filled, but still awaits to be approved. kalo tak approve pun pedulik hapa aku, confirm aku ponteng punya. the reason for this excitement? in one week's time, it's my graduation day. finally, it's coming. tu laaaa...sapa suruh habis 1st sem. kan terpaksa tunggu dekat setahun. but in a way, it's kinda good because i've got lots of time to secure a job before convocation day. sedar tak sedar, dah 8+ bulan aku keje. how time flies.....the days of sleeping till noon on a weekday seems eons ago.
sometimes, just to motivate myself to go to work...i like to remember how i felt SOOOO bored lepak kat rumah doing nothing with nothing to look forward to. i was really keen to get a job back then, so now that i've got one...i'm really thankful. i even switched jobs halfway, so it's been quite an experience.
preparing myself for convocation is quite tedious. i have this habit of getting myself prepared for anything that i really look forward to. i already made this short checklist of what i want to buy, necessities i need and other small-small stuff. i'm already planning out how the day would run. how to get there? how many cars? should i sleep in KL? u know...little things that bug me. i know it's kinda creepy and poyo, but the hell i care...i want the day to be as perfect as possible. i really hope so because it's a once in a lifetime experience, unless i plan to further my studies, which i don't see happening in the next few years.
i hope to see most of my varsity mates, and even though most of them have graduated...there's still a bunch of us left. just enough to bring the house down, i hope...hehehhe...
i count myself lucky to have...what should i call it...different circles of friends during my uni days. each of this circle has a distinct and unique characteristic of its own...which makes them all the more special. firstly, there's the Bantingers...my closest of all the circles...so called so because of our Asasi days in Kolej Mara Banting. just to tell you guys how close we are...this blog won't have enough space. in short, i always liked to think of it like Bryan Adams' 'Summer of 69'. nuff said.
next is my chemical brothers (and sisters)...my coursemates, who laboured it on with me for the last 4+ years at the dreaded 'Jabatan Kejuruteraan Kimia'. at the beginning, i wasn't really close to them (which proved to be a mistake), but as i got to know them more...they're really great. the peak was during Final Year Design project...ughhhh..just typing that out gives me the willies. it was make or break, and without them...i wouldn't have looked forward to next week.
finally..my college mates at 5th Residential College. some may scoff at the mere mention of this name...but heck...i'm a Collegian...so sue me....hehhehehhe. spending my entire university days staying there at Blok D, it gave me the chance to broaden my perspective on life and also getting to know people from other faculties. in short...it taught me to know that there are 'Other people' out there and that the world doesn't spin around me.
i already miss university life, but hey....life goes on. next week will be the last official event for me in UM. so i'll be officially a graduate...which reminds me of that classic movie with Dustin Hoffman in it. wonder if there's a Mrs. Robinson for me as well....hehhehehe....  

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Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Ipoh Mali

the past few days has been a trip back to my distant and not-so-distant past. and the word 'trip' really applies here as well. last saturday, i went up to ipoh for some personal matters. haven't been there for quite some time. last time i visited ipoh was about 5 years ago. and my, my...how things have changed. it's not that i haven't gone north for the last 5 years, it's just that i haven't had the chance to really stop by in ipoh on my journeys to penang or kedah. from the highway, u really don't get a good view of the city. so coming by into town and of course, my former school was really a great chance to 'lepas rindu'.
i've always had a soft spot for ipoh, growing up there for 5 years of my life. being in a boarding school, ipoh really taught me the selok-belok kehidupan. maybe i'm being biased, because i think everyone loves their home (who doesn't?) but i think ipoh is one of the best places to live. there's hardly any traffic jam, the city is clean and the old buildings are all well preserved and intact. this adds to the 'classic' feel of the city, which i really love. if there's any complaint, maybe the city is not that developed as it should be, but heck...i love it the way it is.
and of course...the sight of my secondary school was a view into the past. oh yess...the days spent during my adolescent years, being innocent and just discovering the ways of the world. it was an adventure every day, learning things about life as u go on. it was the place i learned to 'toughen up' in life and for the first time...being independent from my parents. maybe this independence thing was in me since the day i was born, because it's something i really enjoy and take pride in. i love my parents, but the sense of not being dependent on them entirely gives me this satisfaction. and the trust that they place on me ever since they said goodbye to their little 13-year old boy in ipoh is simply priceless. i'm beginning to sound like a MasterCard ad..hehehe...
i didn't enter the school grounds, as i'll be hoping to come back here for the Old Boys' Weekend this september. it's something i'm really looking forward to and that's a story for another day.
i was more like this kampung boy from the rurals of perak when i saw all the things that have changed in ipoh. even the legendary Taman Cempaka (or TC as we call it) had gone thru some radical changes. but it was the lost of several familiar shops i usually frequented that made it somewhat bittersweet. gone are the familiar landmarks such as Sudut Ariff, where they had the best laksa (possibly the only laksa) in TC and Zeenath Store, the place where all the 2B pencils and A4 paper required for examinations was bought...or sometimes stolen...hehhehe. no wonder exam teruk...tak berkat. why they closed down..i wouldn't know. perhaps a better opportunity somewhere else, or maybe the economic demands was too much for them to handle. who knows, whatever it is...i'll bet a few people like myself will remember their service and how they contributed one way or another to people's lives.
after the oohs and ahhs of seeing the city being developed, now i can really relate to how my father would start his sentences with, "Masa dulu....."and tell his stories on how it was different back then. mann...am i that old?? hopefully not...hehehehehe
so that's my version of ipoh for u. hopefully...InsyaAllah, i'll be back in 1+ months time to really go back down memory lane, the OBW. on another note, it's really funny. this morning, i called up one of the organizers (the tradition is after 20 years finishing school, that batch will be the organizer..hence this year is the '84 batch). i wanted to enquire about the registration and everything, but ended up spending almost half an hour with him on the phone. it was like we had known each other for years, chatting away. it was pleasant and the thing they said about how school spirit dies hard really is true. so i'll be corny and say 'Once a Starian, always a Starian'.

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Open Letter to Sir Bobby Robson

Sir Bobby,

Firstly, I'd like to congratulate you on the signing of Patrick Kluivert. Quite impressive, if I may add. Even with all the rumours going on, I was really quite sceptical that the man wanted to move to the Northeast. Now that you've secured his services, the gap that will be left behind by the great Alan Shearer will hopefully, be filled after he hangs up his boots. With that, the proud tradition of great Tyneside forwards will hopefully be continued, in the steps of Jackie Milburn, MacDonald and of course Alan Shearer. Kluivert certainly chose his words well in the press conference, singing praises to the great Newcastle skipper. I hope that you had nothing to do with it, right? Certainly wise for anybody hoping to win the St James faithful to not upset the One they all immortalize. Coming from Kluivert, the so-called 'trouble-maker', it certainly was a suprise. All in good faith, I pressume.
Signing Kluivert is certainly not the final transfer for this season, I hope. Or is it? Because everybody knows what we lack is another good defender to partner Woodgate. I presume everybody includes you, of course...unless we still think that attack is the best form of defense. Hello? Attacking is soooo not the 'in' thing now. Trust me, I'm 24...I should know. Look at Greece and what they achieved. Attack you say? That's so Keegan '96.
Defense...meaning the ability to protect Shay Given from performing miracles on a daily basis. It starts with the defenders, of course (hence the name) and also certain midfield players. For your info, Dyer, Robert and Bowyer doesn't no zip about this word. Gary Speed was quite good at this..but we all know where he's going now, right? So unless someone in the mould of Speed comes into town, we've got some serious problems. That's where Nicky Butt comes into the picture. It looks like you're gonna secure his services by the end of this week. I sure hope he'll be the man for us. He can play that holding position well, as seen in the World Cup, so let's hope he'll be the bargain buy of the season.
I stated earlier the need for someone to partner Woodgate in the centre. I'm not saying that our back four are suckers, it's just that we need better players. I'm not worried about the wingbacks...they're not too bad. It's the centre-backs that we suck in. Other than Woodgate, we have no centre-back to be proud of. Titus Bramble still haven't proved to us anything except that he looks out of place as a defender. Andy O'Brien also looks lost back there. Fact is, sometimes the back 4 just looks lost. They're scrambling the ball out of the box and hopes that Shay Given saves their ass everytime. What kind of defending is that? Please rectify o Sir pleaseeee.....
So to save some of your time in your busy schedule, I will offer you 2 suggestions that I hope you will consider in solving our defensive woes. My first suggestion is Willian Gallas. Mind you, I'm listing players that we can logically go for. I'm being realistic here and Gallas is a realistic target. I dunno how Jose Mourinho rates him, but for me he's the man at the back. He can play any of the back 4 positions well, and I feel he's the man to partner Woodie. Next up is Ledley King. I was impressed by how relaxed he was at the back for England against the French, filling in for the injured John Terry. He didn't look out of place and certainly kept the French at bay till Zizou decided to pull out a show, and we all know what happened next, right?
So there you are....2 suggestions that I feel you shoul look into. Of course, being the manager I'm sure you have other ideas. But let's go with the tried and tested people okay? We have enough child prodigies already. I'm sure we could use without another one. Defense is the word, and if we're seriously considering winning something after God knows how many years, then that's the key element we should improve on.
We all know that this is Big Al's final season. A true Geordie no doubt, let's give the man a great farewell by at least winning something this season. And I really mean SOMETHING. I don't care what the cup is, be it the League cup or even the LDV Vans trophy for all I care…just win something! At least Shearer gets the chance to win something for his beloved Newcastle, because I feel those 2 FA cup runners-up medals look so out of place on his mantle.
I wish you all the best for the upcoming season. I'll be following the team’s progress closely, so please don't disappoint. It's been a lot of frustrated years, so let's have something to cheer about as Alan Shearer hangs up his boots. Let's give him a season to remember, and one for us Black and White faithful to look back with pride, because we all know....there's only one Alan Shearer.

Best regards,

Amri B.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Sir Lancelot

it might seem a bit odd...but i'm keeping an eye on the Tour de France currently running now going into its 15th Stage. why? because i'm feeling history will be made this year. lance armstrong, the darling of americans worldwide, will be gunning for his 6th Tour victory...something no one has done before. and to add to that...it could be his 6th in a row.
sure..he has his critics with people saying he's taking drugs and stuff. i dunno...but i think since he's never been caught taking banned substances...i guess u can't really argue. maybe he's just too good, that's all. people will say a lot of things but i guess if u're good, u're good.
this year i'm kinda rooting for lance, unlike previous years where being myself...i always root for the underdogs. i guess because i get this 'syok' feeling when seeing history being made. last year was nail biting, being the closest race in years...with jan ullrich pushing all the way. and maybe that's what made me think that this guy is really good.
i guess malaysian athletes can learn from lance. i see it this way....he's not the number one rider in the world, but he wins the tournament that matters...the Tour de France. i guess he focuses all his energy into this competition and yang lain tu pegi mampos. just warmups, i guess. actually, it's the tournaments that u win that matters. what would MJ be without his 6 NBA rings? tiger without all his majors? steffi without the grand slams? yeahh.. u maybe number one, but if u don't have it....u ain't got it. this week, former number one marcelo rios announced his retirement because of injury. he's the only player to be number one without winning a grand slam. nobody wants to be remembered like that. why didn't the press just say he's the former number one? why add the 'number one without winning a grand slam'. easy...people like other people's failures, even when they're winning.
it's like johann cryuff's dutch side. best team never to win the world cup. colin montgomerie, greatest never to win a major.
so my advice to malaysian sportsman and women...just win the one that matters. hafiz hashim won the All England...it might be the only title he won..but heck, who cares? he's been there.
so what are the tournaments that matters? for me there's only one for malaysia. it would be great to hear Negaraku being played at the Olympics. malaysia boleh!!

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Thursday, July 15, 2004

Lost in KL

recently i watched Sophia Copolla's critically acclaimed 'Lost in Translation'. it was okay...but for me..it kinda dragged on a bit. i was more impressed with the storyline which well...in a way reflected what i think i'm going thru now. difference is...i'm not in Tokyo and at least the things on TV aren't that crappy.
i guess from the emails and stuff that's been sent to me...they call it the 'Mid-20's crisis. i call it bull****. yeah...maybe we're a bit confused about "what the hell am i doing here?" and "i can't be doing this for the rest of my life?" phrases. fact is...we're all human. and i don't think this applies to all mid-20's. i'll bet people in their 50's will be asking the same question. what differentiates us is well...maybe we can do something about it. at least i think i can.
but till when will be satisfied?? will i ask the same question if i get a better job? and what defines a 'better job'? more pay? or the satisfaction of it? or both? or maybe the hot chicks u get to see everyday? hmmmm..u tell me.
i have friends and family, but at times it feels so lonely. is that a sign or something? i guess so...but how will i know i won't miss the loneliness? the times when the world seem so irrelevant and everything in front of u just passes by quickly. u know...like those video clips where everything's in fast forward except the artist.
careers, relationships, social circles, family, the future....mannn...there's a lot of stuff to think about now. i try to take it one at a time but it's all in fast forward. the days are so short and time just flies. it's hard to explain actually. i'm not depressed (trust me...i think i'm never serious) nor am i cheerful. i'm surrounded by people yet i'm alone. i'm happy with my job but i'm not satisfied with it. i have money but i feel it's never enough. i wanna spend more time with my family but i want to live the life too. i guess every once in a while, we’re bound to go thru this; being the foreigner in your own country, lost in translation with nowhere to go. and when that phase is over, i guess we'll miss the way it felt and ask ourselves the same questions again.
this might not make sense to some of u, but I never really made much sense anyway. It’s just something I’m going through at the moment. Is there a support group or something for this kinda thing? Or maybe I should do a Fight Club and attend critical support groups that I have nothing to do with. Suddenly, what The Narrator did in that movie made sense, and what I wouldn’t give for a piece of that now.

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Thursday, July 08, 2004

How do u spell P-E-R-P-A-D-U-A-N?

Just something i'd like to share with u guys. I don't entirely agree with the article, but it is nonetheless, true and ponders me to the question, "Siapa orang Malaysia?"
Kakiseni.com - National Unity Crash Course

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Monday, July 05, 2004

The End is the Beginning is the End

frankie valli was right....Greece IS the word. how ironic that the same teams we saw in the opening game 3 weeks ago are the same teams that featured in the Final. it's happened before, though...so i guess these things do happen. the Euro 2004 final will not go down in the history books as among the greatest Final ever. it was okay, but no more than the ups and downs we experienced throughout the competition. yessss...it was suprising. i really never would have thought that Greece would make it all the way. it's crazy. i didn't know how to react when they scored from the corner. but i know that something extraordinary was in the making.
i guess the big question on everyone's mind is...did the Greeks deserve it? well, for me, they won it fair and square. like it or not, they're the current European champions. they did what they had to do...and they were rewarded. sure..i bet this will be a one off thing where we'll likely not to see Greece in a major final for a while after this. what will happen is...Greece will be the team that will be there probably in a quarterfinal or a semifinal of some competition. they will be among the dark horses now...one step higher than being an underdog. everyone will be wary of them, and probably they'll produce the next generation of footballers who was inspired by this victory. i take the Danes as an example here. after winning Euro 92, they never won anything. but the great Danish side of Laudrup, Schmeichel and gang was the team that inspired the generation of jon dahl tomasson, gronkjaer (betul ke ni) and gravesen just to name a few. they're playing at major clubs in Europe and this was partly due to the exposure and spotlight given to them by their predecessors who paved the way for the world to notice that the Danes can produce good footballers other than tasty tin biscuits.
even though the football wasn't pretty...it worked, and that's what matters. actually, when u think about it...most teams from the past especially the German team of the 90's played this type of football. the italians too sometimes are guilty of doing the same. sit back on defence, soak up the pressure and hit on the counter-attack. set pieces are timed to perfection. in this modern age of Nike footballers and Pepsi megastars, individual brilliance is what people take notice of. little do they know that football is played by 11 people on the pitch, and not some dude who's wearing the new blue-lightweight-air-zoom-with-sole-cushioning thing on his feet. people have forgotten that set pieces is the best chance u've got to score a goal. ye laaaa..how many times can u rely on that 40 yard strike from outside the box?? every game? get real.
greece showed us the basics of football. practiced set pieces, great ball control (u gotta have this if u're hitting on the break) and TEAMWORK. yess..it still exists in modern football. of course, i love watching free flowing football and neat passes, but when u've got no stars on ur team and little to work on, what would u do? a sane person would do a Greece. hello...watched any FA cup matches recently. ever see Scarborough play attacking football against Man U? so give the greeks a break.
as usual, here's my take on the final.

Man of the match
even though he didn't play the full 90, my vote goes for stelios giannokopolous (what the hell..) for being everywhere on the pitch and creating the chances. i dunno, but he got my attention the most...

Quote of the match
"15 minutes to go. these 15 minutes will be the longest for all Greek fans, which also means all Greek people." by the evergreen Martin Tyler

Moment of the match
a Barca fan invading the pitch, throwing a barcelona scarf to Figo as he passed him. my my...old habits die hard, huh?

Unsportsmanship award
TV3. okayy..so u sponsored the match so we could watch it for zip. but c'mon laaa...at least don't cut the post-match happenings on the pitch. the emotions and celebrations are part and parcel of the game. at least replay la after the commercial break. ini habis je iklan, the Greeks are already collecting their medals. gimme a break...

Reation of the match
president or prime minister of greece jumping up and down like a budak kecik after the final whistle. cute...

i'd like to say congratulations to Greece and their mercurial coach who defied everyone including me to win Euro 2004. it was a great tournament, won by a team that wanted it most and was a bit lucky as well. the matches was great and i certainly enjoyed most of it. this is definitely Greece's year, with the Olympics just around the corner. vive o 2004! forca Greece!

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Friday, July 02, 2004

False Arrest

i got the scare of my life last night. i succeeded in getting myself pulled over by a cop. the last time i did that was when i was still in Probation mode. yeahhh...u know, the early years of your driving life, when going to the kedai runcit was a great excuse to drive the car and having that big red P sticker smacked on the car window. they might as well have asked us to put up a big bumper sticker that read, 'I'm a new driver, so excuse me if I'm cautious'.
my housemates and i were moving some stuff we bought from our friend who's moving back to sarawak. it was quite a tedious task, the washer machine and fridge are certainly not small objects. we borrowed a van from my friend's brother and yours truly was the lucky driver having being the only one in the house who has the experience of driving one, which was eons ago and was a one-time affair. so off we were, cruising on the Federal Highway heading our way to kelana jaya, with me at the wheels and my housemate at the back, steadying the washer machine from toppling over and smashing the windows.
it was 10 something and i noticed that the traffic was slow. what the ****?? traffic jam at this hour? as we crawled our way to kelana jaya, i noticed that a group of police motorcycles was parked along the highway, on the motorcycle lane."hahhh..padan muka mat rempit", i said to my friend as we passed along a group of motorcyclists being pulled over. little did i know then that i was going to swallow those words, probably as justice to all the mat rempits out there.
i noticed that a police motorcycle was strangely close to the van as i cruised along. suddenly, as i was watching him...he signalled me to stop.
damn...my heart skipped a beat. "apehal ni?", i asked myself. aku dah la tak pakai seatbelt. that must be it. shit.
my friend called out,"wei...ko tak pakai belt ye..habis la kena saman."
talk about encouragment.
so i stepped out of the van and faced the copper. "aphal bang? ada masalah ke?", i pleaded my most-innocent-face. he asked to see my driving license. no prob. mine expires in a year's time. thank God for mama who always tells me to renew the license for 2 years. i showed him my license without an ounce of guilt. now what...i wondered.
"Ni nak pegi mana ni?", he asked.
"Kitorang nak pindah barang ni, baru pindah rumah", I answered.
"Pindah mana?",he quipped.
"Kelana jaya", was my answer.
he seemed to be suspicious about me, but after the explanation and looking at my license and my innocent face...he said..
"Awak tak boleh bawak barang banyak2 ni, tapi sebab awak nak pindah rumah, kita pun manusia jugak.."
so he let me off the hook. fuhhhhhh...u don't know how relieved i was. i was like close to pissing in my pants dah. i seriously thought it was the seatbelt, but this? hmmm, maybe a bit harsh to get a saman, huh? when i think about it, maybe we were a bit suspicious looking. the van was a bit old and had this covers inside that looked like u were hiding something. add to that..a washer machine being held by my friend, who no offense to him...looked like he just came out of Pudu or something. with a cuak-looking driver at the helm who looked like he was driving the Potmobile from the 70's, then u've got a really good reason to suspect something amiss. luckily, nothing bad happened. just a small fright on a malam jumaat. even creepier than your average ghosts...hehe

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Thursday, July 01, 2004

Oranje Juiced

oh well...at least they made it to the semis. so the dutch bows out from Euro 2004, after going thru a turbulent month from the build-up up till the start of the tournament. it was an entertaining semi-final match up, living up to its billing, even though they were fears that it could turn into a dull draw. even though both teams started a bit shaky and cautious, it was free-flowing as the game progressed. i guess portugal were the worthy winners, coz the dutch looked short of ideas...especially in the scoring department. ye laaa..kalo tak takkan all the goals yesterday was scored by portugal. even the dutch had to rely on them to score for their team....hehhe...
so here's what i saw yesterday...a viewpoint from a beat-up sofa in jalan gasing...

Man of the match
Luis Figo...when the going gets tough, Greatness gets going. the captain of portugal showed why scolari should never repeat taking him off in a game. he was everywhere, instrumenting the attack and minding the midfield. deserved a goal when he hit the post as he bended the ball beyond van der dar. the old horse still battles on in what will probably be his final hurrah...

Best goal
Maniche's goal was worthy of winning any final. it was kinda pelik...the TV was showing replays, when the portuguese took a quick corner and maniche just blasted away. then we realized it was a goal. cisss...i didn't see it live technically....hehehe

Best British media impersonation
myself, for giving a mouthful to the referee after making a few strange decisions against the Dutch. okay...so nistelrooy's goal was offside..that i accept, but there were others that really made me say..."Huh??" c'mon laaa..arjen robben for 'simulating'?? maybe i'm just being biased or am i?? no wonder the english are mad...

'U want it, u get it' award
Dick advocaat for having almost 6 attacking players on the field at the end of the match. so u want to attack?? will 3 strikers do? just for added measure...another attacking midfielder should shut the media up....but will they?

Brotherly love award
van nistelrooy and ronaldo exchaging shirts and a hug after the game. oh pleeeeezzzz...
devils...they're all the same.....

so tonite will determine portugal's opponent in the Final. who will it be? czechs or greeks? czechs or greeks? i don't care...janji final best.....

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