Sunday, August 29, 2010

Merdeka Musings 4

I am a great fan of local talent. I listen to Malaysian artistes on the radio often. If we don't support our own, who do we support then? When approaching how to write this post, I figured I'd list down my thoughts on the first 10 songs that came to mind.

In the 80s, I was crazy about Francisca Peter's songs. I bought cassette after cassette of her albums. Here's Sekadar Di Pinggiran which was the best song at the very first Juara Lagu.

The Alleycats is my all time favourite Malaysian band. They first caught my attention when singing Sampaikan Salam Cintaku during the first Juala Lagu. However, my favourite song of theirs is Andainya Aku Pergi Dulu.

This is a great song which is coincidentally written by a schoolmate of mine, Azlan Abu Hassan, Anuar Zain's Keabadian Cinta.

The late Sudirman needs no introduction. I love this ballad entitled Terasing.

Here's another version of Terasing by KRU, called Perpisahan Terasing. I like this take of the song as well.

I, in fact my entire family, joined in the Akademi Fantasia craze in 2003. We would religiously tune into Astro Ria every night for the entire run of the reality show. My mum must have voted AFUNDI VINCE about 200 times on the day of the final itself, I was not lagging far behind. I attended one of the weekly concerts at UPM and even camped out at KLCC Park for a concert just before Merdeka that year. The latter was where I mingled with total strangers, all fans of the show, and a family actually invited me to join them on the mat, share the food they brought and we all sang along to every song. Here's Vince, who recorded this duet, Di Persimpangan Delima with Nora, after his win.

What so great about Akademi Fantasia is the emotional roller coaster ride it brings its viewers on. Witness it here in a scene from the final concert, where Adi Fashla sings Aku Cinta Kau Dan Dia.

The first time I heard Bunga Bunga Cinta was when Liza performed the song at one of the weekly Akademi Fantasia concerts at UPM. The original is by Misha Omar.

Zaiton Sameon's story is one of overcoming adversity. The lyrics from her song Menaruh Harapan ... 'selagi hidup belum sudah, saya akan terus melangkah' ... rings true.

And finally, I believe originally sung by Carefree, I like this version of Belaian Jiwa by Innuendo.


Photo of Alleycats.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Merdeka Musings 3

When a fellow Malaysian does well, we are all proud of his or her success. Many of our countrymen and women have done well, in the sporting arena, in humanitarian work, in the entertainment world, the list goes on.

We are proud as a nation when one of us is recognised internationally for a job well done. The entertainment industry gets tremendous press, and our very own Michelle Yeoh is a household name throughout the world. We admire her for all her achievements but above all, we admire her for always calling Malaysia home.

Here are some of her interviews and an ad for Tourism Malaysia :

Photo of Michelle Yeoh.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Merdeka Musings 2

I am happy that I am still in touch with my school mates from primary school. We may have grown apart somewhat but there are emotional attachments that remain. We share so many memories of our childhood that a certain bond exists.

Granted we don't see each other that often any more. Still some of us make the effort to do so when opportunities arise. Whilst life has taken us on different paths, circumstances have ingrained in us varying perspectives, our long established friendships will continue I hope to withstand the challenges of time and change.

The late Yasmin Ahmad's Merdeka commercials play on such relationships. Here's one of many.

Photo taken during Sekokah Rendah Sri Petaling's 40th anniversary celebrations.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Merdeka Musings 1

With a week to go before we celebrate Merdeka, I've been reflecting on occasions, encounters and events that have made a mark in making me proud to be Malaysian.

One such event was when the Malaysian contingent entered the stadium during the opening ceremony of the 1998 Commonwealth Games that Kuala Lumpur hosted. Although only watching on TV, I shared the immense outpouring of pride and emotion with the live audience who were at the stadium.

Here's a look at the event.

Photo of the Malaysian contingent.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Being Cruel To Be Kind

Sometimes one needs to be cruel to be kind. It is never easy taking a tough stand, particularly when it involves those who we love. But when circumstances demand it, then it needs to be done. One needs to be the guiding light when our loved ones are blinded by irrationality.

Now, I do not profess to be perfect in any way. Nevertheless, I am well aware that practicality and reason have a role to play in how we live our lives. When something isn't right, I never find a way to justify it to the contrary. I'd much rather address the problematic issue at hand, no matter how awkward doing so may be.

It is never pleasant having to deal with such situations. Who wouldn't rather bask in a happy and harmonious cocoon? But life throws us curveballs, and there is really no avoiding them. We just have to face them head on and hopefully, we'll emerge stronger and better.

Photo of a minaret of the Aya Sofya in Istanbul, Turkey.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


The past week and a bit has been crazy. Apart from being deluged with orders for the upcoming peak wedding season, That Special Occasion also presented a fashion show at the opening night of the WPPM (Wedding And Portrait Photographers Malaysia) Conference last Friday. Other than That Special Occasion, Michelle Touche, Bella Rahim and Canon were also sponsors for that evening, with the latter hosting the event.

Whenever we have a choice, we very much prefer to have non-professional models to showcase our creations during a 'live' show. I feel it communicates a more realistic image, that of an everyday bride in a gown of ours. We do real gowns for real people so to speak, not just models who are in almost perfect proportions. Having said that, model Evon did a great job showing off 3 of our gowns during the various workshops at the conference proper. Workshops and seminars are where experienced models are necessary as facilitators for the presenters.

After the excitement of the weekend conference, it is now back to the grind of working towards delivery of a number of gowns for weddings from September onwards. I shan't complain though.

Photo courtesy of Mau Horng.

Monday, August 16, 2010

It Should Be Easier

It really should be easier than this. Sometimes there are hills that seem to go on forever and the thought of finally conquering a particular challenge in life seems rather daunting, impossible even perhaps.

I've had my share of disappointments in life. Don't get me wrong, for the most part, I live a pretty good existence. Still, there are challenges that present themselves along the way and what one can only do is to try one's best to face them head on.

I suppose it is fair to say that I am somewhat of an optimist. Sure I get down at times, but more often than not, I get back up again fairly quickly. I keep the faith, some divine intervention would be great! I guess this song by Danny Gokey sums it all up.

Photo of Buddha on Lantau Island, Hong Kong, courtesy of Wong Suk Harn.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


We went to the Befrienders Kuala Lumpur 40th anniversary charity dinner last Saturday. By we, I mean 2 tables worth of friends of mine - some from the wedding industry and others whom I have known for many years - who were kind enough to support a good cause.

Auntie Mary has been a past Chairman of the Befrienders, and when she calls, we try to respond. Other than filling 2 tables, That Special Occasion also donated an evening gown as a lucky draw prize. It is during such events that one realises the good work done by so many good samaritans, often, volunteers who contribute tirelessly yet remain in the background.

During the dinner, a friend remarked that she'd like to start a charity of her own, a soup kitchen perhaps. I'll definitely chip in if, or rather, when it comes to fruition.

Photo of Bunny, Joanne and I.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

How Do You Spell Dinosaur?

I was listening to Bfm this evening where Caroline Oh was chatting with Tan Kien Eng, CEO of Leo Burnett Malaysia and Singapore in 'In Conversation'. At some point, the conversation veered towards the ads created by the late Yasmin Ahmad and how they touched the lives of so many Malaysians.

In between laying out pages for the upcoming weddingsmalaysia publication, I spent some time watching some of those ads again on YouTube. One of them brought back memories of my years in primary school. It seems to be particularly poignant, particularly during this time when my schoolmates and I are planning for a big reunion party slated for October.

So here it is, 'How Do You Spell Dinosaur?'. Quite appropriate for this Merdeka month don't you think?

Photo of 4 Kemboja.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Malaysia Truly Asia

I met this Canadian family while on holiday in Turkey earlier this year. When I said that I was from Malaysia, their first response was to sing the ending of our tourism ad jingle, the part that goes 'Malaysia, truly Asia'.

It goes to show that the 'Malaysia, Truly Asia' ad has certainly reached many shores. I feel pride whenever it airs, whether on TV or onboard a Malaysia Airlines flight.

Despite the challenges that we may face as a country, I have faith whenever I watch this video.

Photo shot in a cave restaurant in Cappadocia, Turkey.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

SSP Party Planning

My primary school mates are planning for a party to celebrate a milestone in our lives. Scheduled for October, it will be an opportunity for all of us to get together again after having not done so as an entire group since 2003 or thereabouts. Some of us meet up every now and then to catch up, either over a meal or teh tarik, but it is always exciting when the prospect of having a large group turn up is about to be realised.

Planning for such a gathering is not easy. The last time we attempted it 7 years ago, it took about 12 of us 3 months to accomplish the task, and that involved phone calls, emails and going door-to-door every weekend trying to canvas support. In the end, we got approximately 150 to attend plus 10 or so teachers of ours. That's what I call commitment.

This time round, we are 2 weeks into the process and so far the effort has yielded 40 confirmations. We hope to get at least 100. Here's a photo of the 7 of us (including the photographer) who were at the 2nd committee meeting hosted by Shazlina and Nik Azhan last Friday. Airini, Thariq, Naguib, Nina and I made up the rest. Our friends who read this post, we hope you will confirm your attendance soon.

Photo shot by Nina on 6 August 2010.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


I was feeling a tad nostalgic this evening and spent some time looking for videos on YouTube of singers whom I followed in the 80s, in particular the stars of Cantopop such as Anita Mui, Leslie Cheung, Danny Chan, Roman Tam, all of whom passed on way too early.

Listening to their songs made me think of the frequent karaoke sessions that I would have with my friends Danny, Phoebe, Faizol and Patricia in the not too distant past. Danny and Phoebe are now in Dalian whereas Patricia is in Brisbane, and I do miss the hilarious antics we would get up to in the privacy of our karaoke room.

The photo here is of Broery Marantika and Dewi Yull, singers from Indonesia, whose song to which Patricia and Faizol would never fail to duet to, is entitled 'Jangan Ada Dusta Antara Kita'. Enjoy the song.

Photo of Broery Marantika and Dewi Yull.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Siew Yoong's Birthday

We celebrated my cousin Siew Yoong's birthday whilst in Singapore. She's been based in Singapore for the past few years which has enabled us to get together more often.

We are pretty close. We grew up together in PJ, her siblings Wui Ken and Kiat Ken included. We spent many, many weekends together as children, went on holiday, you get the drift.

Wui Ken and his family now live in Auckland whereas Kiat Ken is this happening advertising executive in London. Still we meet up as often as we can, mostly on holiday. We also rack up pretty hefty phone bills every now and then.

San, Tian, Jin and Siew Yoong, shot in Singapore.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

10 Years Of That Special Occasion

Today marks the 10th birthday of That Special Occasion. It's hard to believe that it's been a decade since Anna and I joined forces to plunge into the wedding business at the onset of the new millenium. We were inexperienced but aspirational at the time.

10 years down the road and I'd say that it has been a relatively fulfilling journey. I've been inspired, enthusiastic, challenged, frustrated, pissed off, at different times over the years. We've enjoyed much good press, made wonderful friends in the industry, met great clients and not so good ones, achieved milestones and overcome little obstacles along the way. That Special Occasion has also been instrumental in playing a role as a catalyst in our spin-off business, weddingsmalaysia which include our portal, publications and even The Wedding Hub.

Admittedly, one gets jaded over time. The challenge is to develop fresh ideas, keep the business model relevant and be inspired anew. Having reach this milestone, I find myself in a reflective mood. Let's see how the future unfolds. In the meantime, thanks for the good times That Special Occasion.

Photo of bride and bridesmaids in our creations, courtesy of Whizarts Wedding Photography.