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Saturday, October 25, 2003

Home again

Two week semester break. I've chosen to spend my two weeks in KK, because for my year-end break next March-to-May I plan to stay on in KL to take an extra semester, ergo I wouldn't be able to see my hometown again for a long while. I need the extra effort to properly stretch my brain around this vocation I've got myself into.

S is not one Sabahan who is eager to return anytime. He'd think twice about it. He is so at home in KL, with his friends at the college he goes to (HELP Institute), clubbing regularly, updating his wardrobe regularly... he's practically a KLite. Can't blame him; his hometown Kota Belud isn't exactly anyone's idea of a happening place. Or maybe the whole state for that matter.

I, for the record, adore KL too. My second home. Like S, I'm the type who's absolutely into big cities. Unlike my friend however, I'd jump at a chance to fly back to Sabah, for at least three motivations: catching up with old pals (who don't seem to hate staying put), there's ASTRO at home (not getting a lot of that at campus), and... the ecostuff. You know, the big mountain, the beach that seems to be everywhere, the coral-skirted islands, the awe-sucking rainforests. Sabah is like my convenient getaway from the metropolitan KL.

So here I am in KK. I can quite understand S's... concern. Little city hasn't changed much. Still relatively quiet. That new flyover — first one ever *cringe* — is still under construction since the last couple of times I came back. And when you're asked out for a movie, you still don't say "Where?" because there's still just one cineplex around.

Self has changed somewhat since, though. Obviously I've gotten a bit city-slicker snobbish. On the bright side, I've a newfound appreciation for Sabahan babes as I go urban sightseeing. Although my Sarawakian babe fetish continues to stand.

I've also been more appreciative of my friends. Been missing them. Vowed to take the initiative to personally and thoughtfully buy birthday gifts for others, so that they in return will remember mine. Brilliant, eh?

The day I got here, the 20th, was also Chris' girlfriend's birthday. Lai is a Linkin Park chick, but she has revealed an ear for jazz too, because she dearly loves the Michael Bublé CD I bought her. Even if she wasn't into that, I reckoned it's actually good enough to make her start. Yes, take that as a favorable rating of the CD by me. Anyway, Lai liked it so much she sent me a grateful thank you SMS the day after. Score! Karma points. Looking forward to a fruitful birthday next year...

Any more grounds to having my break in KK? Well, I thought if I won't be seeing home for another year or so, I might want to salvage more personal junk to take along to KL, but I'll worry about that later...

Priority one is to make sure I'll have an eco-vacation with friends — as I've always done whenever I take a semester break here. If you recall, my last two were at Manukan Island; I don't mind going there again. Though I do hear suggestions for a road trip to Poring Hot Springs, which would be awesome, too. Wherever!

In the meantime I'm taking daily driving lessons. Before this, I've been a total virgin driver. According to my instructor/cousin Gary I wasn't bad at getting the hang of things, but being a complete newbie I get mentally burned out every single day. Fucking seriously. I'm beginning to dread these lessons. There was that buzz of being behind the wheel at first, which easily vanished into the black whirlpool of tedium. Currently desperately working on my U-turns and roundabouts; they need lots of it.

I'm also spending time tending to Mom's savage garden. As a kid, just standing in the front yard — which seemed to have a personality of its own — was a thrill for me. Nowadays, having been away from home for about three years now, absence has made the heart grow... wary and untrusting. My homecoming has coincided with Mom's decision to chop apart one of her thorny bougainvillea monstrosities; a guest addition to the list of house chores. Not crazy about it. Very bad for health.

And I must tell you about the terrible beast she encountered and slayed as we worked: a huge centipede as long as a foot and as broad as a finger. Using her big garden shears, she snipped it — but the lethal deed, while effective, was incomplete. Tough as a soggy twig, its writhing body was only caught between the blades, a ghastly pulp where anthropod flesh and stainless steel met. Even when fatally mutilated, the black-and-orange nightmare continued its wrestle to escape the death machine. Placed on the ground, it was literally dragging the heavy garden tool about, just to creep me out.

Rest assured, the hideous one saw its end, slowly but surely. Red ants were swift to appear and capitalize on their windfall of fresh meat; the legion verociously smothered the fallen creature as its three dozen limbs wavered, as if vainly trying to fend off its destiny. I could only step back to let nature take its brutal and relentless course. The end.

I'll keep you posted.

Song in head: 12:51, the Strokes.

| 10/25/2003 08:25:00 AM Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!

Sunday, October 19, 2003

Genting Highlands, as planned

Four Sabahans and a Sarawakian has decided to book their flights home a little late, for 14-16th was agreed to be their semester vacation escapade to Genting.

I haven't been to Genting since... I don't know, puberty. It was very exciting. (Genting, I mean.) My verdict as follows:

Genting has changed quite a bit. There's this new First World Hotel which, being the cheapest of all the hotels on the famous, completely commercialized hill (cheaper than the apartments even), is a godsend. I see more kids than before making their own roadtrips here. Those days Genting was more of a family mom-and-dad-take-me-there venue than anything else, I think.

The Outdoor Theme Park, of course, was what I most looked forward to. Still having some exam stress left that called for an adrenal fight-or-flight response to release, I was able to stomach rides better than I probably would if otherwise.

The best ride was a simple one (whose name I can't remember) that you could call a mechanical bungee jump simulator. You take your seats, buckle up, and suddenly you are jerked up, what, seven storeys high; at the top, your heart stops and you remain there for what seems like forever, and if vertigo hasn't killed you yet, you take in the great view below (or whatever view the highland mist allows), yet you still have time to dread and wonder when will you finally drop which is driving you absolutely bonkers; then suddenly you do! and you become subject to a bollock-numbing free fall to the ground where you'll crash to your death, or so you'd pray to be painless.

The best reaction I've ever heard was from Simon, who was crossing his fingers and muttering "ohmygodohmygodohmygod" in panic at the top.

A survey of the Indoor Theme Park however elicits a thumbs-down. It appears that it had been renovated since the last time I was here (looooong time ago), but it's not at all warmer, merrier or more robust than it was before, if those are what it's supposed to be. It's not just that the place was now unfamiliar to me — not only did it have fewer good rides, they're more expensive as well. Sucks hard.

| 10/19/2003 12:16:00 AM Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

(Another) end of a semester draws near

Exams! I better pass. Boy, if I flunk anything I'll... I'll... (think of something daring)

My, how swiftly a semester goes by. And to think how I'm going through an entire one without my PC. Hell!

That's right, it isn't done getting repaired YET. Yeah I know replacing the damned busted motherboard would save me loooooaaaaads of time, but that costs. Who resists anything free-of-charge?

Lookame! Can you imagine? Five months straight without my computer! Just imagine the pain and suf#@&%!!~ wait, I'm choking up here...

You can see what it's doing to this blog. Sporadic updates; have you noticed? And July 2003 is missing from the archives, because I didn't happen to blog then, idiot. It's hard for me to blog from elsewhere other than my computer — there's my favorite text editor, my spellchecker, the text file where I draft all my blogposts, the extensive collection of saved Web pages including other blogs to refer and link to... Gasp!!$@* I'm breaking down...

I consider my computer as an extension of my roomspace. It's the jukebox, the entertainment center, the library, the notepad, the photo album shoebox... it's everything. Other than me, it is the most interesting thing in my half of the room. Can I rant any more?

Need a holiday. Wanna go home. No wait. Before that we visit Genting Highlands. Get away from it all. After the exams, of course. Coming very soon.

| 10/07/2003 06:34:00 AM Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!

Thursday, October 02, 2003

What do you really think of "the best band in the world"?

When you listen to Radiohead, you're no longer actually listening to Radiohead -- you're listening to everyone's opinion about Radiohead. It's impossible to separate what you hear from what you've read. You are betrayed by what you know, and you know way too much.

To infer from public perception... a Radiohead CD is one of those few things you can put in your music collection to make you appear intellectual.

Not only are the lyrics heavy; even the melodies can be hard to grasp. It is often iterated that their music demands a certain level of appreciation and sophistication to enjoy. Coldplay (as well as some other Brit bands), while often put together with Radiohead in the "soulful noetic rock" box for their vague similarities, is also often dubbed "Radiohead for Dummies" because of their less melancholic, less unorthodox and more accessible sound.

It may not be so much as the band alone and its paranoid credibility-guarding ways and the eternally moping Thom Yorke, but perhaps it's more the fault of fans and critics and their dissections, discussions and debates over the years to account for Radiohead's almost mythic stature.

I admit, my interest (or as some fans and critics like to say: morbid fascination) in the band at first had a little more to do with its reputation than its music.

I do like the music, of course.

Though it might have to do with reputation. Radiohead is cool, you see.

Uh, yeah.

See what I mean?

(Song in head: 2+2=5, off Radiohead's Hail To The Thief.)

| 10/02/2003 12:20:00 AM Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!