Monthly Archives: October 2007

Learning experiences in organising a Charity Dinner: featuring Velvet AF4: 22 October 2007 at Magellan Sutera, Kota Kinabalu

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Velvet poses with me with colleagues Romeo (sometime RTM DJ – my co-MC for the night), Tim and Edi

The dinner itself went on relatively smoothly. There’s a newsreport on it in Daily Express on 24th October, a copy of which is posted on JPKN’s website (I can’t guarantee it’ll be a permalink).

There’s an encouraging message from my director, who said that the VVIP for the night mentioned that this was the most well-organised function he ever attended. Thanks YB Datuk! That almost rivals the time when our SUKMA 2002 website was declared better than the SEA Games website by the Federal Minister of Youth and Sports!

I was the deputy chairman of the dinner’s organising committee, and was the chairman of the subcommittee in charge for entertainment, meaning I was responsible in dealing with Maestro to garner the services of Akademi Fantasia 4 artiste Velvet and Lembaga Kebudayaan Sabah, who provided more than 20 of their staff to handle the live band, PA system, lightning and 3 traditional dances. In addition, I was the formal MC for the night, and later took over as one of the Floor Managers when Romeo took to the mike.

I had been MC and Floor Manager for various high-pressure functions in the past, including events involving the Chief Minister, but I have never dealt with a high profile, national-level entertainment company like Maestro, so it was interesting challenge: I learnt a lot of things – will talk about that in another post.

The official video would be released by the pros later, but in the meantime here’s a short amateur video of her during the soundcheck in the afternoon covering Hain Jasli’s 2003 classic “Nobolou Nangku Tupusku”:
Click here to see video

Make Yourself Amazing (MYA): Britain’s top cosmetic surgery company

On 23rd September The Times UK correspondent Gemma Soames visited 3 of the busiest cosmetic surgery clinics in London, to see for herself how they handle prospective customers. Even if the the law states that ultimately it’s up to you whether you want the surgery or not, and no cosmetic doctor can stop you if you really wanted it, she wanted to know whether they’d tend to urge you to for it, or whether it’s more a neutral approach.

Ms Soames is 27, 5′ 9″ and has a BMI of 19.8. One look at those stats and you’d probably think she has no issues at all.

One clinic that impressed her was Make Yourself Amazing (MYA). The surgeon was perfectly balanced in his appraisal – in contrast to the other 2 clinics she visited. He could have pushed for the surgery, but he didn’t. He said the only part of her body on which he could perform surgery is her stomach, but the difference it would make would be too small, hence not worth the money. He did not flatly decline to operate, but he recommended exercising instead.

Again, in contrast to the other 2 consultants, he asked her to “revisit her expectations”, that what she’s after was unrealistic. Bluntly, he told her that flat stomachs are for athletes. He would only go ahead with the procedure if she’s really adamant.

Cosmetic surgery companies are just like any other company: they need a steady stream of customers in order to prosper, but on the flip side, many liposuction companies are accepting all-comers; there are a lot of unnecessary surgeries going on.

Liposuction should be decided upon by the person undergoing the knife after getting a balanced, professional consultation.

It’s fasting month, the air-conditioner is not working, the building management posts a notice: this reaction should be expected

The photo below was taken by yours truly on 26th September 2007 at Wisma MUIS, Kota Kinabalu.

Background: fasting month is in full swing. The central air-con broke down. It’s been several days, with no improvement. Rumours swirling about are saying that it would take a very long time to fix because not one but three transformers are busted and need to be replaced at astronomical cost. It’s a solid concrete building. The building management is trying to be transparent and affixed notices on the breakdown on every floor near the lifts.

On one of the floors someone had scribbled something truly from the heart: I think basically he wrote on behalf of everybody. The next day, another drawing was added to the left part of this same notice: a part of the male anatomy. I did *not* take a photo of that.

Note: Apologies for the photo quality.

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Autonet’s insurance for van drivers in the UK or EU member state highways

Van insurance allows policy holders to drive a van up to 3.5 tonnes, on any highway in the United Kingdom or European Union member state. It is also known as Commercial Vehicle Insurance or Commercial Van Insurance. You need such insurance to legally drive any van in the abovementioned places.

NC health insurance is recommended, but not compulsory.

Autonet is a UK-based van insurance company. It caters for van drivers residing in the United Kingdom. Should they need temporary insurance cover abroad, it can be arranged.

It aims to provide the cheapest van insurance available anywhere in the UK. Having said that, they do not compromise on quality; no cutting corners here.

They provide both online and over-the-phone quotes: both guaranteed with quality advice and product by advisors specialising in van insurance.

There’s also a new service being offered: an outbound facility. This service allows any van driver to enter a few details at www.vannetinsurance.co.uk, then receive a call from a van insurance specialist within a few minutes. The specialist can then tailor a policy specific to that van driver’s needs.

Datuk Peter Mojuntin (1939-1976): the Golden Son of the Kadazan

In the middle of Donggonggon township, Penampang, there is a statue of the late Datuk Peter Joinod Mojuntin. It’s about 15 feet tall.

On the 4 corners of the platform, there are descriptions of his titles and achievements, including the following:

That plane crash also killed the Chief Minister of Sabah at that time, Tun Fuad Stephens and several other state cabinet minister.

On another corner, his biodata summary is displayed. It’s a bit small: I hope you can read it.

Here I relist some of the more pertinent ones: to emphasise the magnitude of his achievements, so that we all may be challenged, inspired and strive to reach or even exceed the high standards set:

  • Secretary General of a political party (UNKO) at the age of 23.
  • Member of Parliament at the age of 24. In fact he became an MP first, then a state assemblyman later.
  • First Sabahan delegate to attend the UN General Assembly (in 1963). Addressed the UN Assembly at the age of 24.
  • Chairman of Penampang District Council at the age of 30.
  • Assistant State Minister at the age of 33.
  • When he died, he was a few months shy of his 37th birthday.

His son, Donald Monjuntin is now the MP for Penampang.

So, if you want your statue to be erected, you know the requirements already…

You can’t sing this popular Malay 1970s song without turning heads in Sabah

What else but A Kadir’s 1975 classic Lontong?

In 2008 he rerecorded the song for karaoke:

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In the peninsula, it’s a delicacy.

Usually it is “nasi himpit” (compressed rice cakes cut into cubes), then added with “sayur lodeh” (vegetable coconut curry). The vege can be cabbage, long beans, carrots and fried tempe (kind of beancurd). Tofu can also be added into the curry. Finally, peanut sauce is added on top. Some stalls add other things like slices of sotong (brown calamari), hard boiled eggs and/or grated coconut.

But over here in Sabah, it’s a kind of poison that’s sometimes used as a murder weapon. That’s why it sounds pretty funny: a song asking people to go eat poison!

Try playing this song loudly, or use it as a ringtone… I am not sure about the reaction in Sabah it initially got when it was first released.

Back to the vocalist. A Kadir, real name Kadir Abdul Rahman was born 1952 and apparently a Singaporean. Performing with group The Breakthru / The Breakthrough he released the song in 1975 via the Putera Kodok LP. He was 23 yrs old then. The LP also contained another classic cover “Papaya Ciku Ciku.”

The song was so popular that he was forever nicknamed “Kadir Lontong”.

He’s got one of the best tenor voices I’ve ever heard.

The Last Supper in detail

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The “The Last Supper” has truly gone online, in the sense that it has been photographed in such detail and put online for free public viewing that in all likelihood, you’d never see it in this kind of detail, even if you go to Italy to see it for yourself.

If you didn’t know it already, it’s the world-famous 15th century mural (wall) 15ft x 29ft painting in Milan, Italy by Leonardo da Vinci, one of the greatest artists of all time, who also created the mother of all paintings, the Mona Lisa.

Da Vinci started work on the project in 1495 (some say 1494) and took 3 years (some say 4) to complete it. Yes, it was already completed more than 10 years before the fall of Melaka to the Portugese.

This mural is further steeped in popular culture via the blockbuster Da Vinci Code.

http://www.haltadefinizione.com/en/

My favourite version of Poco Poco

Everybody knows that ubiquitous Jopie Latul megahit Poco Poco. Heck, even those in the highest levels of government are openly dancing along to it!

It has even infiltrated Malaysian cultural festivals; this has displeased some people.

There have been a few version, not least that crazy Inul Daratista version, complete with midget dancing partner.

But personally I like the following mellow version, in the unplugged tradition, performed by Ridwan Hayat & Joice Pupella, apparently somewhere in Europe in 2006:

Banks to blame for getting people into a debt sinkhole they can’t get out of?

Whether via the media (newspapers, television, radio, blogs etc) or casual conversation over afternoon coffee, a favourite subject revolves anything around money, especially the lack of it.

Many people who borrow money, not just homeowners are finding that paying off their mortgages are a huge burden.

The increase in living costs is a factor, but are banks to blame for making it too easy for any Tom, Dick and Harry to get their loan applications approved?

Well, to me, to ensure their survival, banks need the money, and getting it from offering mortgages is one way. Making it too difficult = less money = more money to competitors = not good for business.

Having said that, of course customers would also have to do their part. Before deciding on a bank, they have to do their homework, which is to compare mortgages, to settle on one which is the best for their needs and their current situation. While they’re at it, it’s important to get mortgage protection, to ensure the house stays in case the person paying off the loan is unable to do so at any time in the future.

Another point to be considered when shorlisting banks is to see whether they have an experienced remortgage advisor. This is important when you need things like poor credit remortgage and hit snags like having no proof of income.