Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Dear 40 year old me


I thought that was a beautiful way to convey a message of checking yourself for melanoma, which is skin cancer.

So, while not in the same, good meaning, nostalgic spirit, this post is a message for me, in 20 years.

Dear 40 year old me,

I would really like you to be the suit wearing, whiskey slurping, womanizer that all teenagers grow up to be, more so now with the phenomenon that is Barney Stinson. But, as the most realistic person(some may say boring) I know, I'm going to try and keep this realistic.

You should be a partner at a major law firm by now, or even associate partner. Your clients include some really big corporate companies, or large car manufacturers. You should be driving a Camaro, or something that goes from 0 to 60 in 3 secs. Preferably a cherry red Ferrari. Yellow's good too, but with Ferraris, the only colour it looks good in, is red. Your place, either a bohemian-themed bachelor pad, or a swanky, metallic dark colours penthouse. Whatever your preference at that time. While I may not know what the styles of 2022 may look like, I know that some classics never change, and I consider this a classic.

Family is optional. Children are optional, though highly frowned upon. Here's a tip, everytime you think kids are a good idea, head to a jungle gym, or the mall. Wife (highly optional but don't let her see this) should look decent, but posses a great sense of humour. Or one that's unique, like yours. Funny, charming, knows how to take a joke, and knows how to dish one out too. I'm really trying to downplay my expectations here, so you better be overachieving!

I guess thats mostly it. One more thing, could you send me a sign at exactly 2.05pm on the 29th of December that time travel exists? Thanks bro.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Clich├Ęd

2011, for me, will be remembered for so many reasons, on personal and international reasons.

The world changed alot in the past year. We've seen the uprising of the the people that were once content with their lives and just skating by with what little they got from their governments. That all changed, when the now famous Mohammad Bouazizi set himself alight and drew the attention of the world upon Tunisia.

That the protests were sufficiently consistent to force Ben Ali was testament to the power that people previously never knew they had, or knew, but never forced the issue consistently for any significant result to manifest itself. Opression has always been present in somewhat poorer countries, but never have revolutions taken such a large share of media attention as it has this particular year, so much that it has prompted to TIME Magazine to name The Protestor as its annual Person of The Year contest.

It wasn't only in Tunisia that revolters made headlines. All over the world, people were drawing inspiration from each other, and social media was at the epicentre of it all. Facebook, Twitter and Skype, once meagre communication tools used by bored teenagers to connect with their equally bored friends, was used to spread the fire that was lighted by the Tunisian people.

From Tunisia, the desire for better government went on to Egypt, Libya, Spain, Italy, America, Russia, and most recently, Syria. Mubarak and Gadaffi were ousted through peaceful protests, which were made violent by the government's brutal efforts to crackdown on these protests. Bersih 2.0 might have been bad, but compared to the tear gas, rubber bullets and pepper spray that the enforcement officers used, it seemed much less violent, although still uncalled for.

While the methods were the same, the cause was different, none more so evident than in America, where Occupy Wall Street inspired countless other movements, like in Oakland. The growing disparity between the insanely rich and desperately poor was enough to drive the people of America to start the movement, camping out on the now infamous Zuccotti Park. It wasn't only one class of people that supported thier cause, people from all walks of life were joining in, including retired police officers who were arrested by those previously his colleagues. What irony.

Closer to home, Bersih 2.0 showed that Malaysians too, were capable of forcing change. While it may not have been as widespread or influential as the protests in the Middle East, it certainly made headlines for several weeks. While newspapers covered the major events, Twitter and Facebook were awash with news, some true and some quite unlikely.

Protests aside, on a personal level, 2011 was a major crossroads moment for me, especially in my education. Completing A Levels was only part of it. That I have finally decided on Law at Monash University is a major decision, and one no doubt I will regret(at some point) in the future. I never gave much thought to choosing a career previously, I always thought it would all fall into place eventually, as has been the case since the beginnning of my education. Having to make a life defining choice at the age of 19 may be one of many flaws in our education system, but it is one that I am glad to have made.

The world's changed in so many ways, and I for one, am excited to see what 2012 holds. Speaking of evil dictators, how about one more protest to overthrow Sepp Blatter? How about it, world?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Devotees of Little faith

We've all grown up being taught that we have freedom of choice in this country. In most democratic countries even. We're granted the freedom of speech, the freedom of choice, the freedom to go anywhere, do anything, provided it doesn't break the law. It's all stated in the Federal Constitution by which the laws must abide.

Which obviously includes the freedom to select a religion one chooses to put his or her faith in.

That brings me to the headache of the day.

Ponder this: Given that we are free to choose a religion, why is proselytizing illegal?

For those of you who don't know, proselytizing is the act of attempting to convert a person from one religion to another.

ATTEMPTING. Proselytizing is an attempt to get one to switch faiths. but faith is not as fickle as a light bulb switch. We don't believe in a religion one minute, and then in another the next. If that really is the case, then that person never truly put his faith in his religion. Makes sense, doesn't it?

The raid on the Damansara Utama Methodist Church on the basis of prostelysizing Muslims seems like a plot. By who? Don't know. For what? Will never know.

Granted, places of worship can be used as foils for crimes, and has been in previous years. But if one is to perform a raid, one should do it respectfully, at the very least.

In fact, there should be less fault on the part of the prostelysizer than the prostelysizee. Excuse the language, it probably isn't accurate, but you get the point. If you put your faith in a religion, you should be committed wholeheartedly to practising said religion. There should be no doubt in your mind and heart that said religion is the best fit for you, that its principles resonate with your very own.

So, if a person were to lack faith in his/her religion, it is due to the fact that he/she is not committed fully to practising the teachings of his religion. Don't blame others for your own devotee's shaky religious beliefs.

You can't be preaching freedom of choice on one hand, and then say you cannot choose your own religion on the other.

Abort all beliefs, become an agnostic.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Wanting to pull my hair out

Every once in awhile, the stars align to give the perfect arrangement and outcome of events that lead to the seemingly improbable.

Yesterday, it happened.

United, on paper, really should have had this group done and dusted. A group containing Basel, Benfica and Otelul Galati, should not have posed so many threats to Manchester United, the biggest club of all time.

But what was perceived to be a walk in the park, a piece of cake, quickly transcended into a farce of epic proportions, United will not be involved in the knockout rounds of the UEFA Champions League.

The gravity of that statement has yet sunk in with me, and I think it will when the draw is made for the last 16. Knowing that Manchester United will not be in any one of those tiny balls that they use, absolutely kills me.

As usual, the autopsy begins.

What on earth happened? United seemed to be cruising in the early stages of the campaign. They were sweeping all before them in the Premier League, with Wayne Rooney scoring back to back hat tricks. United even pounded Arsenal 8-2. (The fact that Arsenal qualified doesn;t take away the fact that it happened. Grow up, Piers Morgan.)

Even after the opening draw with Benfica, there was no panic, as we were all so certain that United would recover from it.

The events that took place after gave so much to be expected. The wins against Otelul, even the draw against Benfica at home, I thought United had played reasonably well.

Looking back, what is more infuriating, is not the fact that United are out of the Champions League, but the way that they exited Europe's top tier competition.

There was no drive in their game, no hunger to win the ball back, no invention in midfield. Even though he remains a creative force, Giggs did not have the legs to track back and left all his defending duties on the shoulders of Phil Jones. While this boy is one heck of a defender in central defense, in midfield, he was definitely overrun by Basel's trio of midfielders. If that wasn't bad enough, no one picked up Shaqiri.

Floating from left to right, popping up all over the pitch, the kid was a constant threat, running at the United back four and keeping the ball very well for Basel. No one picked him up. SAF, as respected as he is, didn't do much to counter that threat, which is disappointing, to say the least.

Even in the last ten minutes, when they needed a goal to salvage that elusive point that would have put them through. Yet, they stood back, probably stunned by the fact that Basel were outplaying them. It was frustrating, very frustrating.

By last night's performance, United deserve to be out of the competition.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Grammys!

Yes, the music industry's most prestigious award is back. The best of the best will be awarded a tiny gold phonograph for their achievements in making glorious melodies.

Or do they?

In a world where more and more music is discovered through Youtube and less through actually going out and seeing bands perform live, the condition that rules music domination, is exposure and airplay. We've seen so many artists being discovered through channels like Spotify and SoundCloud that live performance is becoming a less important avenue to music labels in looking for the next great thing.

Yet, in this writer's humble opinion, it is exactly the ability to entertain and exhilarate that should be the deciding factor in signing an artist/band. Concerts are the ultimate way of paying homage to one's musical idol, especially in this day and age where music is being downloaded so easily off torrents and P2P sharing programs. Concerts are the only true way to gauge an artist's talents, and I am sure that every person that has been to a concert would agree.

So much is made of autotune, which is a tool producers use to enhance the tone or pitch of a singer. In other words, it is the Photoshop of the music world. Music is perhaps the one field that has gone backwards with the advances of technology. Back in the day, when large black discs were the only way of distributing music, manipulating sound was almost a miracle. Then, singers had to be really good. I mean, really! There was no distortion of melodies to ensure that they sounded perfect, it all came from the mouths. Arethra Franklin, Shaka Khan, they were ladies with amazing powerhouse vocals that earned the respect of so many.

These days, can we really call anyone powerhouses anymore? Is there truly an amazing voice that can blow audiences away, bring them to their feet?

I am a skeptic. I need to see it to believe it. Or this case, hear it.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Off the rails

If I were you, and I think its safe to assume that I am you, in terms of being a student with high hopes and bright eyes, I'd get out of Malaysia as soon as you are given the opportunity.

This country has gone mad, thanks to the racial segregation, petty squabbling and monkeys as politicians.

Instead of headlines that champion our economic progress or our national football's team successful retention of the SEA Games gold, our papers are filled with stories of politicians slinging mud at each other. One even called the other a Hitler.

For the convenience of my memory, for I am hopeless at their names, I shall refer to them as "one".

So One1 called One2 Hitler, One3 labelled One4 metallic black, and One5 asked for One6's resignation because of her husband's antics.

It really begs the question, are the people my parents have put in power to run this country, running the country? Because all that seems to make the news are the squabbles that have honestly created a wedge between PR and BN.

Democracy is fine and all, till it impedes the progress of the nation. Take the US for example, the Jobs bill that Obama has introduced is going nowhere because the Republicans cannot see eye to eye with the Democrats. But yet, they are making progress there.

You can't on one hand blame Najib for the high rate of unemployment, and on the other be opposed to all the efforts he puts forward.

Malaysia oh Malaysia, as beautiful and as lovely a country you have been towards my child and teenhood, when I grow up, I'm getting out of here.

Sorry to say, I suggest you do too.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tribute to Herr Klose.


What else can you say about this man?

Miroslav Klose seems like he has been around forever, and his goal rate seems constant.
Everywhere he's gone(okay granted, he has only played for 4 clubs) he has scored goals.
Some players have a tendency to play better for club than for country(Messi), and some players play better for country than for club, but Klose has remained a model for professionals not only in football, but in sport as a whole.

Klose started his career in little known Kaiserslautern, but even then the goals came easily.In his first 67 matches, he scored 33 goals. By any standard, that is an impressive goals to game ratio.
And not too long after, he signed with Werder Bremen, where his reputation for a goal poacher burgeoned. 25 goals in a season is always impressive. but to call him a goal poacher, is doing the man injustice. Klose is not only up there with the great poachers like Van Nistelrooy, but he can fill the playmaker role just as comfortably, providing his teammates with 16 assists.
So indirectly, he was responsible for 41 goals in a single season. Incredible.

Then came the move to Bayern Munich.He didnt make much of an impact on his first season, only scoring 20 goals in all competitions. If you ask me, that itself is very impressive, but by Klose's lofty standards, his debut season with Bayern was deemed a somewhat failure. The second season however, was anything but. Again, with 20 goals in a season, which could have been more had he not sustained an injury in March. He also helped himself to 7 goals in the Champions League, and was second only to the great Messi.

Surely, he was to remain at Bayern and finish his career a legend. But surprisingly, to me at least, he's moved to Lazio. Yet, his goals have not dried up. So far, he has helped Lazio to second place, including a winner in the 93rd minute in the always fiery Rome derby.

Even in national colours, Klose has never failed to deliver, having the distinction as the only person to score 5 or more goals in consecutive World Cups, as well as scoring 4 or more in three different tournaments. You might argue that the last World Cup was a year ago, but one need not look further than the Germany-Netherlands game last night.
And to prove my point :




Klose was involved in every goal Germany scored, the first with the lay off, the second with a wonderful header(seriously, who scores a header from there??) and the third, a wonderful interchange between him and Ozil to provide his counterpart with simplest of goals.

This is why it would be unfair to call him a mere goal poacher. The way he set up both goals and took his, makes him the complete player, in my eyes.

Why Man United never signed him at his peak, is beyond my belief. Heck why didn't most of the big clubs even declare interest. But then again, has he peaked? The goals just keep on coming.

Perhaps Sir Alex will do another Henrik Larsson and rope him in when he's 35. Sir Alex does have a reputation of signing strikers well into their careers, although Micheal Owen has not turned out so well.