Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Surprises surprises!

What I'm about to reveal is 2 surprise weddings, back to back, Mawi's wedding pale in comparison heh.

Wedding # 1
Bruce @ Amir & Sameera (or Masmera, according to Izwan lol!)

I knew Bruce about a year ago, he's with a different company, but we work together closely as a team. A true blue Texan, him. He's a very pleasant person, always wanted to know about our local culture & language (now I know why hehe..)

Sameera was attached at the same co. with Bruce, so that's how they met. I've met Sameera once, during an iftar dinner, treated by Bruce. Bruce likes to treat us, so nice of him!
So here are the pix at their wedding in UTM,Skudai, Johor, my alma mater. Nice!

Bruce's mom was there too!

That's Bruce's son
Wedding # 2
Mr Tatmi (my boss!) & Nabilah

Woot…I’ve got to admit, this one seems pretty hot hot hot! When Mas messaged me in the middle of the night, I cudn't believe it.. so she called me, & I think I screamed so hard my cat got worried of me that she ran upstairs where I was & started meowing too see if I was OK. Sorry Gigi, for laughing like a maniac in the middle of the night lol!

To cut a long story short, this is a second marriage for both. They met while they were studying, & I guess it’s fated that they’d be together again after all those years. Isn’t this sweet ….(like crocodile)…awww…I felt guilty for being so erm, garang with my boss heh, sorry boss ! Hope you have a blissful marriage throughout !
And now that you're a very happy man I hope to get good ratings too hehe (just kidding, although it wouldn't hurt if it'd be true aye?)


Saturday, December 06, 2008

Gigography: Manics, Fort Canning Park, 24/11/08

Warning: Manics over indulgence ahead!

Yes, finally I got to sit down & write this. It’s been more than 2 weeks, it may be stale already :-p

So, finally we (me & friend, Miele) got to see the Manic Street Preachers (aka Manics or MSP) for the first time ever here in Singapore ! (Doesn’t matter if it’s not in Malaysia, we expected it anyway)

Manics who?
Well, if you are interested to know, read

I first heard Manics in 1996 while in high school with their song ‘Everything Must Go’ & ‘A Design for Life’. (I must be very old now haha..) I was into Brit bands at that time (still am), and this type of music didn’t get much airplay on radio (still not much, except for Coldplay). I thought I discovered them through reading the now defunct Smash Hits (it was a trashy teenage mag – but it did feature some cool Brit bands, & I loved them! ) & also through MTV (watched them in Jakarta, no Astro yet)

Fast forward to 12 years later – to 2008! I was really excited to know that they were playing in Singapore on Nov 24! So I quickly posted a note on the messageboard to find a gig mate & Miele it was!! So glad that I had Miele with me (wouldn’t be fun going alone).

Since it would be on a Monday, we had to take 2 days of leave. We arrived Singapore on Sunday & were greeted by our very nice host Nut! Thanks a lot Nut!!!! That night Nut showed us how to get to Fort Canning Park where the band will be playing the next day.

The stage the night before

The next day we went to Fort Canning really early, at 2.30 pm, crazy or what? (show starts 8pm) in the hope of catching the soundcheck. Liz (Travis gig mate) caught one during Ash’s gig last month. We equipped ourselves with newspapers & drinks. We passed the time reading the papers until it was around 4pm. Still no sign of the band. We were about to give up to go buy some food, when we heard a familiar riff! – It was “If U Tolerate This Then Your Children Will be Next” (what a mouthful!) Then James appeared !

Can you spot James?

James doing soundcheck. Nicky & Sean not up yet. Pix copied from I-Friday

We tried to get closer to the stage, while I was recording at the same time, but the organizers shoo-ed us away dang! We hid behind the wall & I managed to record the whole of “Motorcycle Emptiness”. But then the burly bouncers came to our way again to shoo us away the second time. But we didn’t move far, we parked ourselves near the bench outside & I continued recording.
The soundcheck list were :
1. Motorcycle Emptiness
2. Send Away the Tigers (SATT)
3. Faster (brief)
4. Umbrella
5. 1985
6. You Stole the Sun from My Heart
7. La Tristessa Durera
8. If U Tolerate This Then Your Children Will Be Next
9. Kevin Carter (they didn’t play this during the actual gig as they wanted to play at least a song from each of their 8 albums, so they replaced this with Ocean Spray, the only song from “Know Your Enemy”, their 6th album)
10. A Design for Life

11. Small Black Flowers that Grow In The Sky –acoustic (gave me goosebumps)

We were hoping that Nina Persson (from The Cardigans) would make an appearance for Your Love Alone Is Not Enough. We were pretty sure they would be playing that song. (She guest vocals on the song). We were also speculating if Kylie Minogue would appear on Little Baby Nothing (we were also sure this song would be played) as she was due to perform the next day (Nov 25) in S’pore for her own gig, of course. (No we didn’t go, too expensive). She guested once on Little Baby Nothing errr, many years ago.

We had our wishlist song too (but they didn’t play neither. I shouldn't complain becos Small Black Flowers more than made up for it):
Miele: I Live To Fall Asleep
Me: No Surface All Feelings

They finished soundchecking around 5.30pm, so we went off quickly to buy some food at Plaza Singapura, just across the road. Came back, ate & then started to queue at around 6.45pm. There were still not many people, perhaps because the crowd were made up of working people, so they hadn’t come back from office yet. We were quite in front in the queue. We saw 2 girls with tiger print dress with feather boa & also saw a true blue fan – wearing some sort of a small tiara, a white dress & a feather boa – no guessing on who she’s into! Nicky Wire of course! I later found out that she’s I-Friday from Thailand. Awesome !!

Since we were around no # 6 in queue, we got right to front of the stage ! Our first time ever to be right in front! We would be right in front of James, to his right a bit though. There was a merchandise booth which sold Manics t-shirt for SGD35, nice design with 2 tigers in the front & 3 SEA dates on the back. I didn’t buy it since Miele would be going to Bangkok Rock the next weekend ( 30 Nov) to catch Ash & Manics again, so I asked her to buy the t-shirt there instead. But it was not to be as the Bangkok fest was cancelled due to the airport siege & political unrest in Thailand.

Anyway, back to the gig. There was an opening act – Vertical Rush from Singapore performing 4 songs. Then came 2 DJs from Power who threw out 5 signed CDs of SATT to the crowd, but they threw them too far away for me to catch any. Bummer! When the roadie put on Nicky’s feather boa-laced mic stand, people started to scream! They couldn’t resist it oooohh, neither could I ;-)

Then finally around 9pm, I saw Nicky came first on the stage, followed by James, then Sean. As we expected from the soundcheck, they opened with Motorcycle Emptiness. That made us really psyched up!

Nicky Wire, erm, deep in thought heh

James & Nicky. Sean not visible. He likes to hide behind his drum kit

We should have brought the Malaysian flag as we could have put it on the barrier in front of us & James would have definitely noticed it! I thought he intentionally shifted his mic stand to the front of me & Miele during the last song so I could record him up close! (*perasan*)

Shifting his mic stand

Should I put it here?

Yes! James shifted to in front of me & Miele!

James, looking a bit like Thom Yorke here. Maybe becos of the eyes. Pix copied from I-Friday

They really rocked & looked like they really enjoyed it although James was really sweaty. Nicky, well, he just had to look stylish, so he kept his jacket on for the rest of the gig, although some people were asking him to take it off. Of course he was beautiful with his glittery silver eyeliner & stomping around the stage with his bass & quite frequently, did split jumps, his trademark. James too were moving about & doing the spin. His guitar didn’t work on Little Baby Nothing, but he just carried on singing –what a pro- while the guitar tech replaced the guitar for him. Most of the chorus he didn’t have to sing, as the crowd was singing along loud enough! James also pulled off the female singing part on Little Baby Nothing & Your Love Alone really well.

Guitar not working

Guitar change

Guitar change from trademark white Les Paul

They had extra guitarist & keyboardist who also played trumpet on Ocean Spray

Nicky with his feather boa & silver eyeliner- pix copied from I-Friday

What are they looking at hmmm? Pix copied from I-Friday

Here’s the setlist:
1. Motorcycle Emptiness
2. Autumn Song
3. La Tristessa Durera
4. Faster
5. U Stole the Sun from My Heart
6. Everything Must Go
7. Ocean Spray
8. The Masses Against the Classes
9. U Love Us
10. Penny Royal Tea (Nirvana cover)
11. Send Away the Tigers
12. A Design for Life
13. Small Black Flowers that Grow in the Sky (acoustic)
14. The Everlasting (acoustic)
15. Your Love Alone Is Not Enough
16. Umbrella (Rihanna cover – but a rock version)
17. 1985
18. Little Baby Nothing
19. Motown Junk

20. If U Tolerate This Then Your Children Will Be Next

Setlist missing the song"The Everlasting". Pix copied from I-Friday.

James did interact with the crowd, but I didn’t catch him, sounded mumbled. But there were a few remarks on how hot the weather was for him, he joked the band should have been sent earlier to get used to the weather like Olympics athlete. When he was introducing Nicky, he made it sound like he was introducing a boxer in the boxing ring, going, “At 6ft 5in (or summat) – Mr Nicky Wire!” He was funny too when introducing his cousin Sean, the drummer, saying something like “Ferrari loving –made sound like ‘ratatatatat’– Mr Sean Moore!” During the start of the acoustic set, James said “Just a man with his guitar & his feelings”. (*Cair*)

James interacting

Some expression

Enjoying the crowd

“Just a man with his guitar & his feelings”: Acoustic set

It ended all too soon at 10.30pm. Some wouldn’t budge & were shouting for more. Miele asked for the setlist from the bouncer in front of us, but he gave it to someone else instead, but I did get a picture of it. When it looked like there was no more hope that the band would re-appear, we went backstage & waited some more, hoping the band would come out & sign some autographs. They didn’t come out, but some fans did manage to slip their CDs to the bouncers to pass to the band to be signed. We didn’t manage though. Finally the band left in a heavily tinted white van – we assumed they were in it – not sure if it was a decoy though haha. We finally left around 11pm
Truly priceless experience indeed as it was our best chance of catching them since Bangkok Rock was cancelled and they'd be off for a while preparing their 9th album


Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Aboriginal Wedding

Ever wondered how an orang asli wedding goes? Well, read on !

I got an invitation from my uni mate – Rohani – to her wedding last weekend. She’s an orang asli, so is her husband. Her place is at Bukit Ibam, Pahang. Now, where is this exactly? Click map below for bigger view or go here:

How to get there?

I took the Mara Liner to Muadzam Shah bus from Hentian Putra for RM 19.50 one way. You can buy return ticket from Mara Liner. So that’s what I did. Journey took 5.5 hours! I didn’t know that it was not a direct bus, first it stopped in Seremban, then Batu Kikir in Kuala Pilah for 30 mins, then on to the infamous Felda settlement bordering N Sembilan & Pahang ( have u heard of the ahem, chilling stories of Felda Kratong?), then to Bdr Tun Razak (nope, tis not in Cheras) & finally to Muadzam Shah. From there, Rohani’s sister- Rosmah fetched me & another friend, Ita – from JB to their house in Bukit Ibam, another 22 km away.

Unique Family

Rohani is a Buddhist, her mother is Chinese & father an orang asli. Father passed away when they were young while their mother passed away in 2005, when I was entertaining Rohani in Kerteh while I was working there back then. Anyway, since both parents were no longer around, her ceremony was really simple, with her aunty (she calls her ‘Mak Long’) as the guardian. Her husband is a Christian orang asli, but she said they were not going to do a church ceremony at her husband’s side, just a traditional orang asli ceremony. And because her parents were no longer around, she didn’t have the tea ceremony as well on her part (since she’s partly Chinese).

Although partly Chinese, the family’s main language is Malay, with a mix of Orang Asli language. Rohani looked mixed, so it wasn’t really awkward. But some of her cousins looked purely Chinese, so it was quite a getting used to seeing them talking in fluent Malay. That’s the problem with our country – racial polarization. The gap is just too wide. But that’s another story.

Some of Rohani’s relatives are Muslims, so the Muslim relative became the chief cook. They cooked gotong –royong style, everybody helped. Everyone was absolutely friendly to me & Ita – we instantly felt at ease - & I was really touched by their hospitality.


The Ceremony
A few days before the wedding feast, the couple were registered at Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara at Bera (her husband’s place). They also need to have witnesses for the registration, & they also had a sort of ‘akad’, i.e. the husband was asked do you understand all the responsibilities you will undertake & the wife was asked if she accepted the husband. Rohani didn’t mention about mas kahwin, so I assumed there was none.

But like the Malays, they did have the hantaran, from both sides, to each other. The hantaran materials were similar to the Malays.


Decor in the bride's room

On the night before the wedding, we had a hand in helping prepping up the bride. Ita helped with the nail polish, while I - well being me - I’m hopeless – just snapped away pictures haha.

Ita helping out Rohani

Usually, on the eve of a wedding, the people would be gambling & dancing the night away (joget). But that night, as it was a small scale wedding, there was no joget. But the gambling was still on. Don’t take them wrong though, they were just gambling for fun, only betting small amounts of money (RM 1 & RM10) playing cards. The men played outside, at the compound, while the ladies played inside, at the kitchen. The kids were sleeping all over the house, & the next door house (also their relatives). I lost count of how many kids & relatives there were, just too many of them! But it was all great fun chaos!

The men

The ladies

On the day itself, Rohani prepared herself really early. The mak andam (Malay lady, tulen ya) came at 8am! Really early, becos she had another client to go to that day. After she was done, she left us with 2 of her assistants – who seemed too young & inexperienced. Rohani had to fix something herself. Her nail polish didn’t turn out too nice (Mak Andam kata quetex-is that the spelling?- masuk angin). Luckily Mak Andam had instant inai in a tube, so that saved the day!

the hairdo
Rohani was dressed in an elegant white strapless gown, she looked beautiful! (I hope my pictures did justice). After that, it was just waiting for the groom to arrive.

Almost done


The Flower girls

Sweet & beautiful
The groom – Masir – finally arrived at 12 noon, & he was escorted into the house accompanied with the beat of kompang (recorded kompang sound though). Then the bride & groom posed for pictures with the flower girls. No bersanding, as Rohani’s parents were no longer around. It was followed by putting on the ring, bracelet & necklace ceremony, and then asking for the blessings from the parents/guardians from both sides.

Groom's car- (but groom works at Proton, so how? :-p)

Looking smart

Together forever

Putting on bracelet

The ring ~ beside Rohani is her Mak Long. Yellow shirt is groom's dad. Groom's mom not in pix
After that, they had a change of clothes – to baju melayu (complete with tengkolok) & baju kebaya moden – in red. This was followed by makan beradab with the parents & nearest relatives, just like the Malays.

While they were eating, it was already 1.30pm – how time flew – it was time for me & Ita to leave already. Our return bus was at 2pm, so we had to leave abruptly. I didn’t get to stay until the end of the ceremony – hope I didn’t miss out anything. Before leaving, we just had enough time to catch up on another uni mate – Aslina – aka Bantai – but it was too brief. Not sure if other uni mates made it to the wedding.

I was really glad to be invited into such a great family where they were understanding of each other regardless of the religion, really close knit & were very hospitable to their visitors. I’ll come again to visit if there is an opportunity next time.