30 June 2008

School! And some little gossips.

Finally I am back to school!

After an 8 years interruption/hiatus/break, I finally went for the first lesson of my 2.5 years part-time course today! Damm excited at first because I would meet new friends, see new faces, and enjoy student life all over again. Only setback is I will be doing this 2-3 times a week after work, and that means a cut in my social life on weekdays. But then again, i don't really have a social life, so its just less drinking and KTV-ing with my bunch of colleagues.

That means save money too!

My first module is "Management and Organization".

First thing that came to my mind when I received the study materials: DRY!

Its all about work, what I am doing on a daily basis. BORING!

The lecturer went on and on for about 1 hour plus, before she gave us a well-deserved break! The moment I heard the word "break", I literally raced to the smoking point, to take a fag.

There I met an ex staff of mine, N! OMG.

The first thing that came out of her mouth,"Hey Marc, have you heard about DT?" I was thinking in my heart "NOT AGAIN"? It seems like the whole industry is talking about him like Hong Kong talks about Edison.

What makes it more interesting is that the subject of the topic, YY, is N's best friend. And I was told the scandalous sexcapade happened when I was still with my ex company, while i was managing the team! That was the most shocking part! How could they have disguised everything and appeared normal right in front of my own eyes?

I mean, how could DT not share this with me then? Haha. Maybe its too scandalous la.

Then N talked about AS, that ex-mediacorp actor. Oh sorry, I mean that ex-mediacorp C-LIST actor. She mentioned something like he should go back to Mediacorp to act because he seems to be acting 24/7. In more obvious terms, AS is FAKE! I totally agree, one of the staffs there even complained to me that he runs the company like he is acting in some MCS drama about the corporate world.

That AS should really just go back and do what he is best at, but then again will MCS take him back, since he is not that popular anymore, and he is OLD, and BIG now.

Then again, maybe not, why would he need to slog again in tele-world, when he has a company where he is "high and mighty" and one in which only he is in command? In army terms, he is the Chief of Defence Force. Even the previous chief has to lick his boots and please him, because this new chief has all the power to kick him out anytime, now that his EX owns the company.

I know this story is getting confusing, and I am not intending to talk about those scums anymore because they will only pollute my blog.

If you want to know more about what I was talking about, which MCS actor I was talking about, ask me in private ok?

Good luck to my new found staus:

Working Adult cum Part-time student.

Oh my, can anyone think of a better term for me?

29 June 2008

Malaysia's Anwar accused of sodomy

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was accused Saturday of sodomizing a man, police said, sparking speculation that he might be arrested on the same charge that led to his imprisonment a decade ago.

Anwar, who resurrected his political career after leading the opposition to spectacular gains in the March 8 elections, denied the allegation, calling it a "complete fabrication."

"This is clearly a desperate attempt by the ... regime to arrest the movement of the Malaysian people towards freedom, democracy and justice," the 60-year-old former deputy prime minister said.

Anwar claimed the report was engineered by "interested parties" to prevent him from exposing the national police chief and the attorney general for their alleged role in having him accused of corruption and sodomy in 1998.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi insisted the government was not responsible for the accusation, saying there was no conspiracy "to cause (Anwar) trouble or harass him or raise such issues to undermine him."

Abdullah declined to say whether Anwar would be arrested. Asked about Anwar's denial, Abdullah said it "was common for an accused person" to claim he was innocent.

Anwar was ousted from government 10 years ago amid accusations of corruption and sodomy. He was convicted on both charges, but Malaysia's highest court overturned the sodomy conviction and freed him in 2004.

Anwar said in a statement he "recently obtained" evidence implicating Inspector General of Police Musa Hassan and Attorney General Gani Patail of misconduct and fabricating evidence against him. He said he will release the evidence soon.

"I believe we are witnessing a repeat of the methods used against me in 1998 when false allegations were made under duress," he said.

The developments that began to unfold a little before midnight could have an impact on Malaysian politics, which have been thrown into turmoil since the March 8 elections in which the governing National Front coalition returned its worst ever result.

The Front lost its traditional two-thirds parliamentary majority, returning to power with only a simple majority, and ceded control of five of Malaysia's 13 states to Anwar's three-party opposition alliance.

Kuala Lumpur's police chief for criminal investigations, Ku Chin Wah, said a man filed a police complaint late Saturday claiming that Anwar sodomized him. Ku told The Associated Press that the complaint was being investigated.

Sodomy, even if consensual, is punishable by 15 years' imprisonment in this Muslim-majority country.

Anwar had been attending a weekend party meeting in a hotel near Kuala Lumpur, but he moved to a secret location amid concerns about being arrested, party officials said

"Because he is considered a threat to the government, we are concerned about his safety. He can't afford to be detained again. He's in a safe location now," party deputy president Syed Husin Ali told The Associated Press.

A person close to Anwar, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to make public statements, said Anwar was likely in a foreign embassy in Kuala Lumpur after being offered security there.

Ku said police have no immediate plans to arrest Anwar, and declined to identify the accuser. The opposition People's Justice Party said the man was coerced into making the accusation

The man went missing Saturday morning and his whereabouts remain unknown, said Sivarasa Rasiah, a top party official.

Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad fired Anwar from the Cabinet in 1998 amid accusations that he sodomized his family driver and abused his power to cover up the deed.

Anwar insisted he was victimized by a political conspiracy to prevent him from challenging Mahathir for power.

Anwar did not personally run in the March elections because his corruption conviction barred him from holding political office for five years. The ban ended in April, and Anwar has since indicated he wants to re-enter Parliament through a by-election.

(News from Yahoo)

Opposition would ruin Singapore: Lee Kuan Yew

SINGAPORE - The Singapore opposition would ruin the wealthy city-state's achievements in five years if they ever gained power, the country's founding father Lee Kuan Yew said.

Lee, 84, warned Singapore voters against putting the opposition at the helm of government "in a moment of fickleness or just sheer madness" when they get "bored" at some point in the future.

Should this happen, "I think all bets are off because in five years they (opposition) can ruin this place," he told delegates at an international forum late Wednesday.

He stressed that, unlike many other countries, Singapore did not have natural resources such as oil, gas, forests, timber and aluminium.

"When you are Singapore and your existence depends on performance -- extraordinary performance, better than your competitors -- but that performance disappears because the system on which it is based is eroded, then you've lost everything."

Lee, widely credited for shepherding the underdeveloped port into one of Asia's wealthiest nations in one generation, said younger Singaporeans often tell him he is "playing the same old record" when he delivers his message.

Singapore's small opposition has only two seats in a parliament dominated by the People's Action Party which has been elected since 1959.

Despite its economic success, local and international civil rights groups have criticised the government for cracking down hard on dissenters and political activists.

Street protests are rare and public gatherings of five people or more are banned without a police permit.

Lee has maintained that Western-style liberal democracy is not the right model for Singapore.

He said one ingredient for a country's success is putting able leaders in government. This could be difficult under a more freewheeling US-style democracy in which "you are judged in accordance with your persuasive powers," he said.

Lee holds the cabinet rank of Minister Mentor in the government of his son, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

(News from CNN and Yahoo)

24 June 2008

I have nothing!

"I have nothing" by Whitney Houston is an overplayed, oversung song, not that its a bad thing. It seems like every talent contestant will belt this number to impress the judges. "I have nothing" is from the soundtrack of the movie "The Bodyguard" released in 1992.

Below are the different versions of the song by various artistes, do leave a comment and tell me which version you love! I love Charice's!

Leona Lewis in X Factor


Jennifer Hudson in American Idol 3


Vonzell Solomon in American Idol 4


Katharine McPhee in American Idol 5


Lakisha Jones in American Idol 6


My all time favourite Filipino singer! I love her singing!
Charice Pempengco in Oprah!!!


Charice Pempengco in SIPA


And finally, the DIVA, Whitney Houston herself!
Enjoy the MTV of The Bodyguard


So which version do you like? Share your views in the comment box below.

21 June 2008

不凋零的花

Sun Ho's new MTV in responses to the Sichuan China earthquake victims.



Touching.

My trip to Makati Philippines

7 June 2008 - 17 June 2008
Makati, Manila, The Philippines

After 3.5 hours flight, we reached Philippines!


First thing that greeted me, poor luggage system


Luggage jammed and no one is doing anything about it

More and more people waiting for their luggage and I waited 30 mins for mine!


Still jammed!!!


Finally I got my luggage and proceeded to find a taxi to bring me to the apartment



Took the metered taxi, the fare is so cheap!


This is the road name of the apartment where I stayed. L.P. Leviste in Barangay Bel-Air. According to my colleagues, this is like River-Valley in Singapore.


High rise apartments


7-11 and MiniStop conveniently located within vicinity


After unpacking our luggage and rested for a while, we went for our dinner in this family-run Korean restaurant. The noodles are delicious! I couldn't stop complimenting the noodles while i was eating it, and throughout the entire trip. Unfortunately, I did not bring my camera because we were going to club that night, as I didn't want to misplace it.

After dinner, we went to Malate, the area with a lot of clubs and bars, somewhat similar to Mohd Sultan or Boat Quay. No pics, but we enjoyed ourselves, the alcohol were cheap and we drank to our hearts content!

On Sunday, P brought me to Tri Noma in Quezon City, one of the newest malls there and apparently quite high end. Like the Paragon of Singapore. We shopped, and shopped and still shopped.

Bench, People are People, Euro Edition, etc, so many nice brands there, great for shopping lovers!

We both agreed that somehow the shopping in Tri Noma can replace Hong Kong because the quality and design of clothes there are as good as (or close to) Hong Kong, but you pay less!

I bought a pair of Euro Edition jeans for about 4000 Pesos, which is about SGD$130, and the design is so nice, I love it! A pair of jeans like that could have cost me SGD$200-$250 in Hong Kong or Singapore?


Look at the embroidery!


All in all, I spend SGD$300-400 or 9000 Pesos in TriNoma? I lost track, will wait for my credit card bills.

Monday, went to Philippines office located in Makati City. One word. BEAUTIFUL!

Their small group morning briefings


Listening attentively


Dinah


Getting ready for work


A view of half the call centre


Individual work station, fully computerised


9.30am sharp, start work.


I like this, their Coaching Station



Trying to take a picture of the full view of the call centre. However, because the area is too big, I did not manage to do that.


Locker area, for them to lock their belongings. No handphone rule applies.


Having some discussion


Smile . . . this is a quarter of the team


First lunch in office, KFC delivery. Regretted the moment my food was served to me. No chilli. Sauce is bland. Argh. No more KFC in Philippines!


Quality board.


One of the top agents there


Pantry


Interview waiting area


Training room for new hires



Monday to Friday was all work, auditing, interviews, training and coaching, etc.

During the week itself, tried out different restaurants. Realise there are a lot of Korean restaurants in Philippines. By the way, if you are a chilli lover, DO BRING ALONG A BOTTLE OF CHILLI WITH YOU IF YOU GO TO THE PHILIPPINES, OTHERWISE YOU ARE GOING TO REGRET! You cannot find chilli there. Yes, not even fast food restaurants.

This is a monkey that is chained outside the premises of a Korean restaurant I dined in twice. This Monkey is so interesting. Looking at it makes me happy.






Video
video

The Korean restaurant I was talking about. Ma San Garden. Food is disappointing.


The lady boss dressed in traditional Korean costume


Delectable "looking" side dishes


The super bland, super unsatisfying Kimchi instant noodle.


Dumplings


Beef Bulgogi


Another restaurant Super Bowl of China


Snacks before meal is served


Every table has this Tsingtao beer on it. Just wondering why they are not promoting their local beer St Miguel or Red Horse instead of Tsingtao?


Roasted Chicken


Exterior of the restaurant


Max's Restaurant


Delicious half spring chicken with garlic rice


Greenbelt, they have 1-6 I think. So so only. Restaurants there have no air-con and they charge restaurant prices, so you can give this place a miss.


On Thursday, met up with Jennefer and Noel and they drove us to Fort Bonifacio, another high end residencial and shopping area.

I found a World of Fengshui by Lilian Too there and got very excited.


The waterfront area



We ate in Brothers Burger


Every burger description on this menu is super tempting


Burger presentation is nice too. But, turn out the burger is really quite normal. I still prefer my McSpicy burger from McDonalds!


Krispy Kreme, the donut franchise every Filipino would rave about.


Mall of Asia in Pasay City. The largest mall in Philippines and third largest mall in the world. So how could I leave Philippines without taking a look at the mall.

The outside area somehow reminds me of Shanghai Pudong, minus the nicer view in Shanghai. P, D and myself walked aroundthe whole stretch of restaurants at the alfresco area of Mall of Asia, and we could not find a restaurant that accepts credit card. Can you believe it? 3rd largest mall in the world, and they still do not accept credit cards? So primitive!





Then we found a seafood restaurant that accepts credit cards and we sat down. We looked at the menu and were surprised that the food was so cheap. Then I saw something suspicious. On the menu itself, the prices stated are the "Cooking Charges"!!! Not the actual price of the food we are going to pay.

In another words, they are cheating and misleading people!!! Imagine if customers walk in and they order a FEAST because they think its cheap, and when the bill arrives, they are going to get a rude shock!


When we found out it was a gimmick, we walked off!


This is the proof.


We ended up eating at "Fish & Co"! Boring to the max. We went all the way to the Philippines and we dined in a Singapore chain.
My not-so-sambal-at-all Sambal Fish
I have to give credit to this very tasty Pineapple Smoothie
Interesting shop name "Dogs and the City". Well, you should have guessed, it a shop for dog lovers.
Their book store, like Borders.



One thing about Mall fo Asia, or rather most of the malls in Philippines, is that they are not fully air-conditioned. Doesn't this look like Chinatown point?

Ok, I love this SM Hypermarket. I bought some toiletries there. CHEAP!
We wanted to take a cab from the taxi stand, and to our horror, look at the freaking queue!
Lucky, they have another taxi service, but its more expensive. Doubled the price, but half the waiting time. Why not?

Like I said, there are so many Korean restaurants, so we ended up in another one during lunch time.


Finally, on the last night before we left Manila, P and I went to this Fine Dining restaurant near our apartment. Apartment 1B. the crowd are mostly expats and rich tai tais.
Mango smoothie


Appetiser 1: Crab Cake
Appetiser 2: Chicken Quesadilla with Salsa
Appetiser 2: Scallops
Main Course: Ribeye steak. (Very nice)
Burger

Cocktail: Cosmopolitan

Damage: 6000 Pesos = SGD$200
Enjoyment: Priceless
Time to go back. Reached the airport early as we did not want to rush. Philippines airport security is atrociously tight. Have to take off belt, shoes, ring, everything. Sickening.
Lunched at this coffeeshop in the airport after checking in

Curry Chicken Rice. Disappointing. I miss the Curry Chicken at Ave 8 near my house. By the time you are reading this, I would have eaten that at least once.


The Philippines government is nicer to their smokers. Short and sweet message.


Bought foodstuff for my staffs.
OMG, this one is so delicous. I regretted not buying more. This is what they call cheese buns or Ensaymana. I bought the salted egg flavour and chocolate flavour, something different.
Philippines famous for mangoes
Chocolate Mallows



My business trip to the Philippines was great, and though I was not used to the food there (no chilli), but I am looking forward to another trip to the Philippines, if there is another opportunity.


Total Expenditure: Approx 30,000 Pesos or SGD$1,000!

To sum up my trip

What I love about the Philippines:
1. Massage is so cheap
2. The people are friendly
3. Shopping is good and cheap
4. Not so fast pace
5. Good looking people everywhere

What I dislike:
1. Pollution
2. No chilli
3. Food mostly bland
4. The ridiculous airport security
5. Taxi drivers always taking long routes

Do visit Manila if you have the chance!