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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Of Lights and Sounds... sounds of the beautiful noise

Flashing lights, one stage, a crowd of hundreds or thousands roar the anthem of their favourite band as they start off with a thumping introduction getting everyone into action. The music flows through every hit of the snare drum, the strum of every rhythmic chord and the ever unique voice of the vocalist. The songs build up and gets you more pumped than ever. The natural sound is what makes you feel bands possess awesome skills. The live toned beats off the snare drum and feedback stringing off the guitar amps give the concert it's holistic feel, something organic, not artificial. Real talent is showcased where all the music isn't coming off a mixer or drum machine.

That's why I prefer listening to bands any day instead of pop stars. No doubt some of them possess great vocals and dance skills, but I'm just more inclined to a collective effort of people using instruments. I started off with listening to what I consider the best punk band I've heard, Blink 182, then on to Taking Back Sunday who opened shows for Blink 182 quite a lot, not to mention that I also got into Yellowcard. Boxcar Racer was next on my list to follow, then Motion City Soundtrack, The Academy Is, Incubus and more recently Angels and Airwaves, Saosin, Underoath and +44.

Incidentally, Angels and Airwaves frontman is Tom De Longe, the former frontman of Blink 182 and Travis Barker, the drummer of Blink 182 along with it's bassist Mark Hoppus are in the band, +44. The other band mentioned before, Boxcar Racer was a band featuring Travis Barker and Tom De Longe. One of the guitarists in Angels and Airwaves is from Boxcar Racer.

I haven't exposed myself to just that though, which I guess would fall under the 'punk/punk emo/emo/emocore' genre type. People like Chris Wee have very fortunately led me to more funky jazz music such as Tower of Power and The Dave Weckl Band. This led me to be interested very much in this genre because it involves a lot of skill, much more than some can imagine, hence I go to the Sunrise Jazz Festival in KL every year that features some of the best jazz, funk music from Asia and several other parts of the world not to mention some great local talent. The person I look forward to seeing over there every year is John Thomas, one of the best drummers in Malaysia.

In the coming posts, I'll be sharing a little bit about the bands I mentioned, perhaps posting some informal reviews, so look out for that.


Next Featured Artist: Motion City Soundtrack

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

How meals affect your life



This post is a little long, but please read it, I think it's worth reading, hahahah!

You know how people say that meals are very important, not to be taken lightly? They say that meals really do affect us as a whole.

Today, I discovered meals really do affect your life, or in this case LIVES but not in the way that most people think. In recent days I've been denied of decent meal times due to the fact that the appointments that I make with people for meals just don't seem to turn out so well.

Today, I made an appointment with a friend, Lee Teng, for lunch. I walked to the appointed place thinking I would be late but she was the one that was holding up. I walked over to the academic block where she was just to meet up, and then walk all the way back to the cafe for lunch(yes, it's quite a dumb thing to do but I did it, so there). I think during that time, I must have walked about 600 metres just for the sake of lunch.

Now, I made an appointment with Lee Teng for dinner but she couldn't make it in the end and so I thought I'd have dinner on my own. I was online then, and I asked Vern if she had dinner yet, obviously hinting the "Want to have dinner together?" question.

Just like anybody else would have, she got the hint but then said, "I'm not hungry. But I feel like playing tennis" I think anyone reading this would find this extremely random, I know I did. Well, I was a little hungry but I thought about an hour of tennis wouldn't hurt so I agreed and we went off for tennis at 7 p.m. When we were at the courts, we had to find the quartermaster to switch on the lights but we couldn't find him, we tried playing with the switches to no avail, but there was a notice saying the quartermaster would be back at around 9.00 so Vern suggested we go back to the courts at 9 or 10 p.m. I decided to go for 9 since I was not so keen on ending so late.

I decided not to eat dinner because there was only an hour in between. So, we went to the courts with Hooi Yee but once again, we couldn't turn on the lights. Apparently the court we used should only be open from 7 a.m to 7 p.m. Well, we tried to play in the dark for about an hour. I won't say it was very fulfilling, haha! Anyway, we went back to our hostel, arrived at about 10 p.m. I still hadn't had my dinner. I took a shower and headed over with Vern to the convinience store near the cafe but the cafe was closed by then so she just bought a packet of twiggies and I had one. By this time, it was already 11 p.m.

I got a message to attend a meeting straight away so I went over to the meeting place near my hostel where we discussed some thing for about 45 minutes. After the meeting, I went over to Alif, who was sitting near to two girls that I know(I won't mention their names here). I asked Alif if he wanted to go out since he hadn't had his dinner either. One of the girls asked, "Why?"

Then the magic sentence came out, "I haven't had my dinner yet"(you'll find out why 'magic sentence' soon) and I walked off, heading too my room, wondering what I'd do about my dinner. I soon headed back out to the meeting place just to get some air.

Alif was there and one of the girls was there and the other was not.

Alif: Dude, you just committed a big sin

Christon: Why? What did I do? (starting to feel anxious)

Alif: Because of what you said, you made two girls fight.

Christon: Huh? What did I say?!? (thinking I offended someone)

Alif: You know, when you say "I haven't had my dinner yet" you cause two girls to fight you know

Christon: '?'

Alif: You know, Girl A(for identification sake) told you "Just go eat Maggie" kan when you said you want to go out for late dinner. Five minute after you left, Girl B start arguing with Girl A, "Cannot eat maggie must eat all the healthy benda semua tu" Then the fight go on and on and on, arguing and then the fight become about even more thing until Girl B leave already. That Girl B very marah, now I also scared of her.


I got really surprised, I had no idea how my "I haven't had dinner yet," statement triggered that kind of arguement. To be fair though, I don't think it's really my fault, it's just the fact the two girls have very strong opinions, conflicting ones on personal health diet, food issues and what I said just triggered what was already inside, although I think both their personal 'stubbornness' just added more to the fire.

Well..... even after all that crap relating to dinner, I didn't even have anything to eat yet. I eventually made my way to D'Toronto, 20 minutes away from my hostel outside my campus but decided against it 5 minutes into the walk. I just headed over to the convenience store, bought twiggies, headed back only to bump into Lee Teng and Ngai Yoong, who both apologised that they couldn't have dinner with me that night and I told them the best thing was I hadn't had dinner yet, they asked why, and I said, "It's kinda Vern's fault" They asked for a further explanation but I was too tired to give it. Then I gave it more thought, it's not her fault, it's simply mine. I just blurted it out in my tiredness I think.

I made a poor arrangement for dinner with Lee Teng. I said yes to tennis at 7.00 p.m. I said yes to tennis again at 9.00 p.m with the knowledge I'm hungry. At the end of the day....... it's just so...... bleh.

So that's how a meal can affect your life. So make sure you arrange your meals properly so you don't have to go through all this kind of nonsense, lol.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Doing Work or Making Art, The Same Applies

I want to share with you guys a blog post I read which I found to be inspiring to me and maybe it will be to you as well, more especially for those involved in more creative arts and so forth.

Just so you understand the post, the writer of what you will read is Max Hsu, a musician and songwriter who currently is in the band, Superchic[k].

Here's the link.

Look for the post title, ART AND PRESSURE.

http://homepage.mac.com/maxwax11/iblog/index.html

Photo Update

Well, recently, I went for this motivational camp organised by Petronas for their university scholars, such as yours truly at Casa Rachado resort in Port Dickson. The camp was just a few days before I came back down to Perak. I managed to take some photos, particularly of the sun rising and setting alongside several miscellaneous photos. Jon Ng's already seen some of my photos and he's real eager to go there for himself to catch sunrise and sunset, haha! Well, without further adue, here we go.....






















This last one's for you Jon.

To Joseph Michelli

Hey Joseph Michelli, thanks for dropping by, haha!! Kinda feel honoured, lol! Just to let you know if you happen to drop by again, I will definitely be getting that book. I have a habit of getting into something first before buying it, hehehe, maybe not such a great thing, but yeah... same goes with my music too, haha!

I'd never dreamt you'd pop by, haha! Thanks for the comment.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Energy burns.... then burns out

Well, to be honest, I thought my first real update wouldn't be what I am about to type but it's really bugging me so I'm just letting it out here.

You know, there are times when I feel like doing a lot of things, being involved in every single activity that I like. I feel that there's an energy flowing through me, a boost that keeps me going until the point where I feel that I am relentlessly doing what I am doing. There's only so much that can keep you going though. At the end of the day, I'll be tired and look back and ask myself if what I put so much energy into was worth it. Of course, sometimes I can answer yes and sometimes no.

What really gets me though is when I have a commitment to an event or perhaps a church (in my case) that that requires me to serve regularly, I find myself being too involved voluntarily sometimes. In fact, it's happenned to me many times over the past few years and as a result, more important things like my studies have sufferred, it really proved itself during my student period from form 4 right until I was done with Taylors College. Not only that, I myself as a result of being too involved in 'ministry' suffered from burnout. I was burnt out, I'd lost the essence of the reason I was in ministry in the first place. I've already seen first hand people who have been burnt out because of just doing too much and losing the focus, not being able to keep the main thing, the main thing.

Recently, in the church I'm involved in here in Perak, I've been appointed as a leader of the music team again, a position which I'm slightly familiar with when I was in KL. The thing is, I'm now very cautious about my involvement especially when this church in Perak seees this year as a year of great progress, a lot of plans have been laid out, ambitious to a certain extent. All this is fine and I'm happy that the church is going this way. What bugs me is that they want to host two concert like events this year with a length of about 2 hours. Mind you, that is a seriously tough job. I've already seen the preparation needed for a one hour deal, that's already quite crazy.

I'm a firm believer that ministry does not equal to loving God. I've learnt it first hand and it's not a nice lesson to learn first hand. It's a part of acting out your faith in reality but it is not to be your main focus in relationship with God. I am really concerned about this, stressed and to a certain extent afraid. It's barely been 4 days since I've come back, classes haven't really started and I'm already feeling the burden of ministry. I've made the decision, not to pull out but to be firm on how much I am willing to commit. I am not going to allow 'doing things' to pull me away from getting closer to God. I'm making a call tomorrow to my church coordinator to talk things out, setting my commitments to the church straight.

Balancing my studies and every other thing I intend to do apart from that has not been my cup of tea. It's something I've been known to fail at the past few years and I will not accept that this time around. That's just my question really, balance..... balancing... how do you do it?

Delays

Haven't updated the blog, because....... well..... I've been away for quite a while, updates when I get my uni connection back.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Babi....

Today has been SERIOUSLY BORING, hopefully tonight will be much better....


Thought I'd be going out today, apparently not...

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Absolutely Outrageosly but Ridiculously High for someone like me

I just read a friend's blog today who comes from the same university as I do and she mentioned she got her exam results today. It's a good thing I read that because I had no idea when my results were coming out simply because I didn't really want to bother about it. Actually I thought I'd just get my results when I went back to university.

Thus, after reading about results coming out, I checked for mine on the university website. I then discovered besides having to enter my student identification number and identity card number, I was also required to enter my examination identification number.

That's when I thought, uh oh, my exam ID!! I never bothered to know where I kept it after my exams, let alone when I was back in KL! Well, thankfully after some rummagging through files I found it. That's when I wondered why I even had it, in my mind I thought I'd have thrown or burnt it already.

Enough about that, back to the 'oh so important' results. Finally I got in and low and behold this idiot somehow magically miraculously got 3.75 CGPA. To be frank with you, I think it's absolutely ridiculous that I got that score because I certainly don't believe I deserved it. I believe the effort I put in did not tally up properly with my score. If I can get this high, I should invite all my Taylors College classmates to come over and study here then they'll all get 4.o CGPA, seriously most of them are much better than I am. To be honest, I was expecting lower than 3.5 but nonetheless I am thankful to God that I got that result. It's something to be happy about and I hope I can do similarly well this upcoming semester where things will get a little more advanced as they always do.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Better, much better

Well, yesterday I went jamming with Khye Shin which wasn't such a fulfilling experience. Both of us, or rather me in particular didn't play very well. I think we both went home a little dissapointed after yesterdays session. It could have been much better, I felt I just wasn't into it as much as I wanted to.

However, I got a call just after lunch from Khye Shin himself. He asked if I was interested in
another jamming session today. That was something totally unexpected but totally positively exciting news for me. I didn't have any plans for today so the call out for another session with him was definitely welcome. The arrangment was for him to pick me up at 3.00

Well, he didn't turn up at my
place until about 3.30. It turns out, Wilson was his driver, they'd been at One Utama before this. I was a little surprised to see a short guy like Wilsong drive a 4WD, haha! Well, anyway Wilson dropped us off and went off for his graduatin rehearsal, lol!

So Khye Shin got down to setting up and I set up my 'recording equipment' which was my faithful old Olympus C-750 camera. I can use it to record up to 12 minutes at a time. Well, similar to yesterdays affair, we started off with something funky or jazzy perhaps. It felt good, got into a fair groove and just flowed on from there and we somehow roughly new how to end and move on to something else so that was great. We played a lot of spontaneous stuff. We did do one actual song though, Everything Is Alright by Motion City Soundtrack, you can hear it on my blog under the 'Music' section. It felt good since we both knew the song well enough to play it properly, not like yesterday when we tried Stars by Switchfoot. We played it three times before calling it a day, man was it satisfying.

Well, soon after that he went back and I went back. Actually I went to watch 'The Guardian' with my mother at Cinileisure at The Curve. It's a good movie, I'd reccommend anyone to watch it. Something a little more serious from Ashton Kutcher, he managed to pull it off nicely. Yeap, so that's today.




Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Music Day

Well, today's been a lot about music for me, almost everything significant I've done today has to do with music. As I blogged previously, today's the day I arranged to meet up with Khye Shin for a short jamming session which I now remember I forgot to invite Felix for. He reminded me yesterday rather, after reading the previous post, haha! =)

Well, went to church at about 10 a.m, just hung around, using the internet, updating myself with other peoples blogs and uploading music to my blog which I somehow spent a lot of time on. It doesn't take long, but I spent hours on that, not sure what happenned there. Well anyway, I just did that right up until lunch where I went out on my own to somewhere near the Star Newspaper building, went back, and then out again when Andy headed out for lunch. This means I did have two lunches, lol..... talk about my appetite.

After that we went back to church and met Khye Shin pretty soon after that. We got our stuff and went over to one of the small halls for a short jamming session. Warm up was good, me just warming up to the drum set and Khye Shin just playing away to get the fingers going. It wasn't bad really, turned out that it would be the best we played all day. The start was good but then when we actually tried to play a song both of us knew, I faltered. I'd decided to play 'Stars' from Switchfoot. Initially, it wasn't bad and we got halfway through the song and then I started to forget cues and then it got real messy and horrible.

We then switched, I got on the guitar and Khye Shin played the drums which he hasn't done in a long time I can tell you that. Well, I played something simple which didn't really sound the way I like. There's something about me and electric guitars, we don't click well. It's a whole lot different playing on an acoustic than an electric guitar. Well, back to what happenned, Khye Shin managed to play along, but as usual, he is a little stiff. The session ended there and he had to go off and do something but I stayed behind to practice on the guitar and later get back on the drums. Well, I discovered I played much better on my own, maybe because I don't have to follow someone elses tempo. I managed to practice my rolls, vary beats a little, which was satisfying in the end although I would love to learn more beats, don't know how that's going to happen though.

Well after I was done with that, I went back to the office where I transferred all the music files I asked of Khye Shin from his computer to mine, via a thumb drive. It's quite troublesome I must say, since the amount of music more than outweighs my thumb drive's capacity. We did try bluetooth but it didn't work so we had to revert to that. Anyway, as a result of that, I now have all the music I need for at least half a year, if not then the whole year. I finally have stuff from Saosin, +44, Motion City Soundtrack and so forth.

Well, all that about sums up whatever's worth mentioning about today. Until next time.

ChRisE

Monday, January 08, 2007

Today

Well today has been quite an uneventful day for me, other than the fact that I'm at The Curve again on my own. There was nothing for me to do today, nobody to go out with so I just decided to chill by The Curve today after spending a night at The Hilton opposite KL Sentral. I was there because my father had come down for a meeting so my mother and I went down to stay for the night since he's only here until tonight when he leaves back to Terengganu which is getting flooded.

I was very happy last night, especially of baby faced assasin, Ole Gunnar Solskajer scored a stoppage time goal to get Manchester United through to the 4th round of the FA Cup. That guy's got a knack for scoring late goals, important ones too. Just take the one that got United to win the Champions League in 1999. Watching it on a nice wide flat tv embedded in the hotel room wall was a bonus. =)

Well, I'm in Starbucks right now, not even having a drink but using the internet connection while enjoying a comfortable seat as my laptop enjoys the luxury of being on a table instead of my lap. Well, today I managed to continue my reading on that book, The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles of turning Ordinary to Extraordinary. I stopped after a while though. I didn't have as long an attention span to the book as I thought I would today so I put it down and walked around the Curve and Ikano. There's not much else for me to do here actually since I've watched every movie I've wanted to watch so far.

I took a fair number of photos as I went along with my small but bulky Olympus camera. I do want to buy a new one, yet there's a lot of new things I want to buy. I want my own acoustic guitar, a new desktop computer, a new external hard disk, a new mp3 of mp4 player, the book I'm reading, a VAIO notebook and the list can go on if you ask me to think about it. That's besides the point though. As of late, I've begun to take an interest in taking photos, not of myself. All right, maybe a bit of myself but more on scenery kind of photos, or scenes, wordings. I'm interested in taking photos like the stock photos put on websites that some people actually purchase to use on websites and so forth. Just a simple picture of a candle light or a table can turn out very nicely. So I took quite a number of photos today at The Curve but I have to admit I couldn't take anything really nice, but I'll just put some of them here anyway. I'd love to learn how to take better photos from Paul Koh, a 15 year old friend of mine that owns a RM 20 000 Canon camera and takes beautiful shots.

That's all I've done today, felt bored but yet I feel good that I'm very free at the moment, without much worry for anything compared to Jialin who's working and Vern who's caught up in her cultural heritage thing. Anyhow, Vern's coming down to KL tomorrow I think, maybe we'll meet up or something, see how that goes. What is definite tomorrow though is Khye Shin and I are jamming tomorrow, finally! Gosh, I can't wait to use up my Dave Weckl sticks. Hopefully I won't wear it out in one day, lol. I think that's impossible though. Let's see what tomorrow brings.






As you can see, it's a quite dark over here, sets a depressing mood.


But you don't care much when you've got nice food.

Commitments of The Year

Well, a week of the new year has passed and routine lives of people all around the world would have kicked off by now. No more anticipation of what will happen in the new year because this is the new year, it's happening right now as I type away. It's a fresh start and promises new oppertunities for anyone trying to start over or turn a new leaf.

For me, this year is definitely one I hope to have better than the last. This is not to say that the last year was a complete waste of my time but I could say I definitely never grasped the oppertunities handed to me then. This was especially so for my studies. Taylors College for me can be said to have tarnished 2006 in the sense that I never really did what I could there. Nonetheless, good friends were made and I was thankful for that. Still, the main thing about going to any educational institution is to excel academically, not so much socially.

Being enrolled into Universiti Teknologi Petronas or Petronas Institute of Technology, has given me a second shot, a ticket for redemption from a previous failure. One thing that I really want this year is to excel in my studies, something that is unfamiliar to me. Throughout my life, I've never actually excelled academically, just performed above the average which has satisfied me over the years. Doing my best in studies is a statement never associated with me in 18 years of my life. That's something I want to personalise this year, doing my best and not being engulfed by everything else that happens around me.

That's one of my resolutions of the year, to show a great improvement academically. Another thing which I want to commit to for the year is just controlling my spending. I've mentioned this before in one of my previous posts entitled 'Thinking About Spending'. Constantly keeping track of my expenses and keeping them down is an aim I believe I should be able to achieve.

Ah! One thing I do know I really want to do, is to get fit. Ever since my family left Mont Kiara, I never really exercised until I settled down in my university to play tennis or squash every once in a while. Having regular runs or jogs and games over the weekend is what I'll be trying to do once my semester starts. For now, I don't have much chance to actually get some exercise, haha! But I've actually got weight since I got sick on New Years, which I won't talk so much about.

Another commitment of the year for me is to improve my music skills in any way, should it be in guitar, vocals or drums. It's very vague actually but what I want to do is simply to get more experience playing these instruments. I managed to get some experience last December and it felt good especially because I felt I improved and I've got some good feedback from my friends on my drumming. I'm also starting to polish up some rusty classical guitar skills which I've lost over the years. I might bring my classical guitar over to my university, we'll see how that goes. Initially I wanted to bring my dad's acoustic but he said no, haha!

One last thing that I'm really serious about is making sure that I read my bible much more this ear. Yeah, I'm a Christian and well, reading the bible's part of being one which I didn't do that much previously so I'm looking to improve on that. It's really a self-discipline. Actually all my commitments for the year need me to really have some self-discipline. Growing in character, maturing in spirituality is something much needed in my life and I hope this year can just take to another level.

Well, those are my commitments of the year 2007, resolutions if you like. We'll see if I'm on track to achieving some of the goals or mantaining a constant good habit. I'll be evaluating myself in the middle of the year, after my semester's over so watch out for that.




Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Starbucks Experience




Recently, since the holidays began for me in December until now, I've had the chance to read this book which I've found to like very much. This book is "The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary into Extraordinary" The book's written by Joseph Michelli who's had the chance to go into Starbucks itself, acquiring his book's content from real-life events that have happenned in Starbucks stores, even in Malaysia! Not only that, he's been been able to talk to the people of corporate Starbucks to find out the core values that make them tick and have a competitive advantage over many other competitors. As it is, in the US and international market, Starbucks doesn't have a close competitor.



I didn't actually buy the book, but there were copies that were uncovered at MPH in One Utama and Borders at The Curve, so I took the opperunity to read it whenever I was around there the last month. It was quite an interesting read, in the book Starbucks success can be encapsulated to a singular attribute, excellence. As vague as excellence is, the book breaks it down for the reader to know what excellence is to Starbucks. One thing that is noticed is that every single aspect of Starbucks business is considered a factor worth worrying about. The ground operation culture of Starbucks USA seems to be everything and everyone matters.

The book goes into the life of real Starbuck store partners (Starbucks calls them partners, not employees or workers). It highlights many events that have happenned in many different stores that prove making everything important can have an effect on one's business sometime. What is interesting is that Corporate Starbucks have managed to influence their partners at ground level to have the same working attitude they have which have actually made all these 'events' published in the book, happen.

One thing emphasised in the book is that the community around your business matters a lot. You can't simply open a broad market segment business anywhere and not consider the needs and desires of the community around. The attention that Starbucks partners have paid to the needs of the community around their store locations have paid off, resulting in an emotional connection and personal relationship between the community and the Starbucks stores.

Well, that's a little bit of what I've had the chance to read, hopefully I can finish it without buying it, hahahahah! Maybe I'll just wait for the paperback version to come out. The book is currently priced at slightly under rm90.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

A New Pair (My New Toy)




Finally!! I have the Dave Weckl Vic Firth drumsticks!!! I bought this pair of drumsticks recently as I was shopping for a present for a friend which also happens to be a pair of drumsticks, haha! Actually, I was just sifting through the many drumsticks searching for a pair that I thought would be suitable for him but I immediately noticed the Dave Weckl pair that I knew I wanted very much.

Dave Weckl is currently my favourite drummer after about two years of finding videos of some of the world's best drummers. He's a really good drummer who not only is excellent in his technical ability but knows how to connect with a band very well and that's why he's my role model in drums.

Just getting his drumsticks was nice, hahha, especially since I haven't seen any other drummer besides one who has this pair, haha! I have to tell you though, this pair of drumsticks wasn't cheap. I had to buy it for rm45. This pair is also my first from Vic Firth. All this while, I've bought drumsticks from Zildjian. I've had thre pairs from Zildjian over the past four years, Travis Barker Artist Series, Dennis Chambers Artist Series, Tim Alexander Artist series.

I think I'm fond of the artist series, no matter which drumsticks I buy. I've yet to buy a pair from pro-mark, the brand which I believe the drummer from Switchfoot uses. Well, my first Vic Firth pair, I'm already excited about my future use of this pair. Come this Tuesday, we'll see how I feel this new pair is, haha!

It's a Hit!

Just last Saturday, 30th December, I got to finally go out with all three Jia Lin, Li Ting and Ngai Yoong! Both Li Ting and Ngai Yoong have been down for quite a while now but I never really got to catch up with them. The last time I saw them was at the musical and I didn’t even get to talk to them then.

Well, I met up with the three of them at four. It was supposed to be at three thirty but Jialin was unusually late, haha! With Jialin, you can’t help but be punctual, a little different this time around though. We went around One Utama, looking around at a few shops for a nice frame for Jialin’s new pair of glasses. She tried several on and to be honest, she does look quite different wearing a whole different kind of frame, and it’s all for the better.

We only managed to go around two shops before she had to leave for her part time job at Fish&Co. After that I took the two girls to the ‘It’s a Hit!’ baseball batting cages at the roof of One Utama. The first time I actually went was the day before along with my old school friends, Khye Shin, Wai Meng and Alex. I’d tried the 50 mph speed but I only hit two. Thus, the experience affected my choice to go for the 40 mph speed this time. I mean, you’ve got to look good in front of girls right? Oops, I mean, um….. presentable, hahahaha! After watching my session in the cage, the two girls thought it’d be fun to try so they did. Well, they didn’t do bad at all! Both of them hit quite a few and Ngai Yoong hit one that you’d be impressed by. Best thing is, I didn’t show them how to do it or anything, haha!

I went for another round, the 50 mph speed, and surprisingly, I hit quite a number of pitches. It was much better than just hitting twice the previous day. It was all fun, the girls enjoyed themselves although they did complain I didn’t show them how to bat early enough. Fair enough, I only showed them how I think they should’ve done it after they’d finished their sessions.

After that, we caught this movie, Confession of Pain, a Hong Kong film production. I won’t blab about the story. Basically, it’s quite long, or at least I felt it was. The girls were SO BORED by the movie but I liked it actually. What a contrast. Li Ting complained that the film was so ‘Hong Kong Style’ but what else would you expect? Our first choice was A Night At The Museum though, which is a great watch, do go and see it. We couldn’t catch that because all the good seats were taken.

After that, we just walked around, killing time while waiting for Jialin to finish work. When she did, we just went to ss2 for some drinks and my dinner in particular. The girls didn’t eat for some reason. After that, Jialin sent me back and that was the end of that night. Looking back, none of us really talked so much but I think it was the time spent together that I enjoyed, I hope they enjoyed it too. Well, looking forward to meeting them again at Jialin’s place sometime 2007 before they leave, haha!

Thinking About Spending

Just recently, the issue about how I handle my money came up when my parents began talking to me about my finances. They weren’t criticizing me, they just brought up a casual conversation about how they’d like me to handle my money and be wise about it.

That’s when I began to wonder if I had used the RM 500 I received each month as a Petronas scholar wisely. People have already told me that I receive more than I need. When I budgeted in the early days of my first semester in UTP, I had allocated RM 50 for miscellaneous purchases that would have nothing to do with what I spend on the most, food.

Nonetheless, I never really followed that budget and spent more than what I’d allocated. Quite a number of unnecessary purchases were made and some were actually quite expensive. This brings me to another part of my thoughts on spending. One concern that my parents brought up was how some of my friends have ‘expensive taste’ and that I was being slowly influenced to spend much more than I should.

I have to admit that as of late, I’ve been willing to spend on a lot. A lot of my money has gone to buying expensive things, not necessities but things that are just nice to have. It doesn’t create a lot more value for me but I was willing to spend simply because I wanted it. Some have gone to buying presents for people and after a while I wondered if I really needed to spend that much on those people. Not that the people I gave presents to were not worth it but it is questionable if I needed to spend as much as I did. Price doesn’t equal sentimental value. With the money I spent, I could have used the exact same amount and get just as meaningful presents for a lot more people.

At the end of the day, realizing the real value of money is important. Money enables to do the things we need and want to do as well as to obtain the things we need and want. It’s right to have the things we want every now and then but making it a habit decreases our ability to have the things we really need. Savings are important and I believe that my resolution for 2007 will be to spend within my budget and to maintain my savings. When I started this post, I never thought of it as a resolution, but it looks like it now especially when the year’s coming to a close.

Money doesn’t come easy, but money goes as it pleases. Managing it well goes a long way, being a good steward of money is admirable and to those who do so, I salute you.