September 30, 2009

Surrogates is a movie about Twitter gone wild

Okay, of course it is a bit far-fetched. How can Twitter where people can meet and interact without meeting each other except through their avatar or persona be compared with a movie about people meet and interact in the real world through their persona which are robots. Wait! Isn't that the same?

In the real world, it is technologically impossible. Robots are robots and very much unlike human. Wait! The one in the movie is the same too. They are also very much unlike humans.

What actually differentiate the movie from reality is the fact that the robots are controlled by humans which can feel whatever the robots feel. The humans can do anything without contracting any disease, can have sex without getting pregnant, can jump higher, can do impossible things and they can be repaired like a car. The humans are just the driver. Until a weapon comes into existence which can kill the controller.

That is when Bruce Willis character comes into the picture. My wife did mentioned, he is far more good looking than his robots. As for others, it is the other wat around.

This is a good science fiction movie albeit quite short. Think about what it try to convey then ask yourself whether is this the future that you will want....

p/s - Thanks to Nuffnang for the tickets

September 29, 2009

My property investment story : Unlocking idle land

Before I go further into how I managed to make more money from my own property, let me tell you how I managed to help my mother unlock the land which she had wanted to make something out of it, other than plant some trees on it. Granted, when we were still just some wee lads, my parents always went there to plant some fruit trees, fertilized them and then we enjoyed the fruits (pun intended) of their labour. There were some durians, rambutans, manggis and all the normal local fruits you can find in Malaysia. That was between the time I was still small untill the day I went to law school.

When we schooling, we were asked to go to that piece of land which doubled up as an orchard and within it there was also 2  two-bedroom single storey rental unit, build like a long-houses for my parents to rent out and get the benefit of a steady cash flow. My siblings and I were always complaining of having to 'work' in maintaining the orchard. When my parents saw all of us off to universities, they decided to unlock the potential of the place. That was in 1997 when I was nearing the completion of my law degree. I was the one my parents turned to go through the intricacies of a joint-venture to develop the land into bungalow plots.

That picture up there with one 2-storey bungalow and a car there? The car is where I owned the last piece of bungalow plot which we had just sold off. That bungalow you see was sold long ago by the developer. The whole land was just 2.5 acres and the A to Z of how it was done was supervised by me. I learned the ropes of managing joint venture with a land developer long before I was even a lawyer. Maybe then, it was a prelude of the things to come.

To be continued...

September 28, 2009

My property investment story_continued2

Although I made a mess of my first property investment, using the same housing loan, I managed to make a bit of money after holding another property for a short time of 3 years. In the same year I bought my home (it is more than just a house), I also bought another property which was an apartment. It was sold at a 'special' controlled price as the land in which the apartment was built is owned by the State Economic Development Corporation where it is situated. Perbadanan Kemajuan Negeri Selangor (PKNS) or the Selangor Economic Development Corporation is a well-known entity in Malaysia, which has been developing township since 1980s. Being on its panel of lawyers since 2003, we have the privileges of getting to know a few of their 'inside' information including where is their next development area within the state of Selangor.

I am not that BIG of a player to really buy or create a landbank near any of the land of the PKNS has targeted to be developed, so, I did the next best thing, buying their properties. In mu case, I bought one of the properties which they built through a joint-venture partner which has developed the office which I occupied between 2000 to 2007. I am currently occupying another rental unit of theirs but during that 7 years, my current office was still a squatters area. My old office was just 500 square feet and I was courting the developer for a piece of their legal work. Until now, I failed at getting any legal work from them, especially that particular PKNS's joint venture development company's owner (the real owner behind the well-known political connection the company has) has a daughter which is a lawyer (just down the road actually).

Again, I did the next best thing. I befriend the owner of the development company. I now know the owner, his heir apparent and even his trusted business partner. My legal firm has even recommended the companies' properties to prospective tenants including to banks. You can always gain something from another business owner regardless whether they use your service or not as a lawyer or not. So, in my personal capacity, I bought an apartment which they were building in 2004. My wife then recommended it to her sister. The apartment complex, which comes with a pool is very much high-density, was completed in 2006. We bought it at RM72,000-00/USD$20,600-00  (the special price I mentioned earlier) and tried to rent it out. I bought it using a 100% housing loan and I booked the apartment by paying only RM500-00/USD$145-00.

When we got the key to it in 2006, we managed to get it rented out to a students with a few of his friends. As we signed the tenancy with the student's parents, we thought it was a good deal. It was not. Their son failed the short course he took in the nearby university and we were left with 3 untrustworthy friends who were so unreliable in rental payments. We asked them to go out, discussed our options and finally decided to sell the unit. As a lawyer, I was actually fuming as I failed to enforce a tenancy agreement I have drafted and executed. It shows how incomplete Malaysia current law on tenancy is (which is within the ambit of the National Land Code 1965). The law left too much for a tenancy to be disputed. You cannot even evict a tenant properly without having to go to court of law. In the United States and certain countries, there are sheriffs and bailiffs whom you can rely on to help you evict your tenant.

That was all made okay when we managed to secure a buyer for the house for RM99,000-00/USD$28,285-00 after investing nearly RM6,000-00/USD$1,700-00 of our own money for stamp duty, marketing and . In short, we made a profit of nearly RM19,000-00/USD$5,400-00 within 3 years. That made us a 'flipper', which are those who buys and then sell the property for profit, after holding it for a very short time. Flipper are usually those who buys second-hand property, do it up and then sell it, which is very much unlike us, but I believe it made us nearly the same as them. When I made that much money, it made me a believer in property investment and wanted to invest more....

September 27, 2009

My property investment story_continued

I have written 2 posts before on how I made my money through property investment. I neglected to finish that story and I am going to continue it as I consider the month of September has been a very good month for me with regard to property investment. I tweeted about it a few days a ago and people were interested. Saying it in 140 words are just too short of a story. Read my 1st posting and second posting.

In my second posting, I did say that I hated my first investment in term of value or I love it as a home. It is about the house I am currently residing in. I did read somewhere that one of the worse investment you can make is buying an expensive house which you are living in. This is in term of monetary value but not emotional value. It means that you spend so much money, then it does not give you any monetary value. I agree with this statement in some way but not all of it. It is even proven in my case. As a money churning investment, my house is a failure but as a place where I live with my wife and built a home, no money in the world can replace that. As human, that is more important to me than any monetary value it can give back to me. Coupled that with all the nice neighbours and the security of the place, I can't complain much.

As I mentioned in my second posting, I bought my current home with a 100% loan using a cooperative bank's housing loan. That cooperative bank called Bank Rakyat is more well-known for its personal loan but during that year, in 2004, it was celebrating its centennial and as my legal firm was one of its panel, we get to know beforehand how they were going to celebrate it. One of it is offering a 100% housing loan with all the fees which came with it fully sponsored by them. I took to 100% loan. One is to finance my house and one is to buy my first investment vehicle. As I managed to get both loan approved (business was really good that year), I consider that year as one of my investment year. The only bane is when I have to pay a monthly payment of RM1855-00 (USD530-00) for my RM255,555-55 house whilst my neighbour is paying only RM900-00 (USD260-00) per month. Big difference right?

If you have read my second posting on property investment, you will learn that in my housing estate, the price of houses did not go up. I have only managed to secure a refinancing package good enough to cover my current balance in my housing loan account this month after looking for one for nearly 6 months. The refinance package managed to lower down my monthly installment whilst being just enough to settle my balance of loan with the said cooperative loan. I thank Bank Rakyat for giving me a good start in life but it was not a good way to start off with such loan. Especially at a place where the price of the house does not rise like in my housing area. As Malaysia still has not suffered any sub-prime crisis or I am a person who shouldn't be given a loan as I am not capable of paying the loan (never miss my monthlies, yet), I think the problem is more in the lack of infrastructure within my housing area. If the developer of my housing estate, which I can talk about in a whole different posting altogether, would just build the infrastructure like school and shops faster, maybe we can experience the spillover effect.

To be continued...(this time on how I made my first good investment)

September 26, 2009

Looking Good equal Good Chances of Getting Hired

Whenever I interview anyone for a job in my office, I will always size up the person in front of me to see how they are dressed. As most of the candidates that I interviewed are those who seek to become a lawyer in my office, as opposed to clerical staff who are interviewed by my office manager, I consider personal grooming to be a plus point for the candidate. It is not about having good looks but more about looking good. You can have a face like a film star but if you are unkempt, you will leave a very bad impression with me. I may even consider you to be unfit to be hired.

I have posted a blog post before on Dressing for Success and being a lawyer, this couldn't be emphasized enough as people sometimes sum up the career that you span by the way that you dress. I do try to present myself in a good light whenever I am invited to events which require me to wear a suit but as I am also of the slacker generation, who believes your mind is more important than how you look, I do tend to dress down at events which are attended mostly by them. Although that is the case, I still wear a jacket over my shirt but I try to loose the ties. Maybe I can get away with it as I owned my own business and most of the clients that retain me as their lawyer have known me for quite sometime.

However, it was found for corporate climber, it was found that results from a recent survey of more than 500 Human Resource professionals, commissioned by Gillette and conducted by Harris Interactive, 84% of Human Resource professionals agree that well-groomed employees climb the corporate ladder faster than those who are not well-groomed. As for first impressions, 90% of Human Resource professionals place more importance on being well-groomed than even a firm handshake. Gillette has engaged career expert, Mark Jeffries and GQ style correspondent, Brett Fahlgren to further supplement the insights from the Human Resource survey with their own expert advice for guys who are looking for a new job or looking to get ahead in the job they currently have. Gillette has launched the Gillette Career Advantage  website where job seekers and professionals looking to get ahead can review expert advice from those 2 guys; take the Gillette Career Quiz and read through the Hire Guide to see what Human Resource professionals really think.

So, go ahead to Gillette Resource Center, get the experts to advice you on personal grooming and maybe, just maybe, you can clinch that dream job. I always believe, during work, there is no occasion you will ever be 'over dress'.

My friend Kid Chan, never fail to dress up for whatever occasion


September 25, 2009

Indulge in the Uniquely Singapore experience

There is a lot of similarities between Malaysia and Singapore that as a Malaysian I cannot ignore the fact that I sometimes tend to visit Singapore and consider it as being still a part of Malaysia. It may not be governed by the same government and there is a few animosity between the two countries but no one can deny they rely on each other on a few matters. As a lawyer, I studied the case laws of Singapore as much as I studied the case laws of Malaysia. We even have a laws which can only be found in these two countries (mandatory death sentence for drugs anyone?). So, it is a shame that sometimes people think too much of the difference that we have than the similarities.

I love going to Singapore due to the cultural and the art scenes that it has to offer. I am an avid follower of certain theater shows I have learned to appreciate thanks to a trip to London once which was filled with theater shows. I had been going to Singapore to watch a few shows like 'We Will Rock You' and 'Mamma Mia'.The trips for these shows were short and was on a very tight budget as I went there with my wife to just watch these theater shows and then get out of Singapore to visit my elder brother in Johor Bahru.

However, last June, we made a very memorable trip to Singapore which lasted for 3 days and 2 nights with my whole family on tow as my parents decided to sponsor a trip there as our first family trip together. There were my parents; my wife and I; my eldest brother with his wife and their 3 children; and my brother who lives in Johor Bharu with his wife and 2 children. We experienced Singapore on a different level as we went to the Masjid Sultan, Singapore Zoo for the Night Safari, the Merlion, all the malls and such.

Although Singapore is not really a new territory for me, I am still consider myself eligible for a proper full tour of Singapore as I am always touring the city center in contrast with what it has to offer in totality. I heard that the Sentosa Island, which I have been to only once when I was still small has been upgraded and there is  a lot of fun things to do there.

I heard the parks, which Singapore has a lot of, have been added with new species of birds for its Jurong Bird Park, new species of orchids for its National Orchid Garden and I have not even been on the Singapore Flyers yet! I know about all these attractions but have never experience it. Saw some of it in the Uniquely Singapore advertisements and nearly went to it but Orchard Road always pull my wife and I to its bosom....especially when we were there in June which was when the Great Singapore Sale happened.

I should be allowed to explore all that Singapore has to offer without the distraction of shopping!

Maybe then I can really give a good review on what Singapore has. If I am given a chance to plan for a full-day itinerary, I will plan it as such :

8.00 am - 10.00 am : Breakfast at Zam Zam Restaurant near Arab Street. I have been here every time I go to Singapore. Although I know I can get good breakfast at the hotel I will be boarding, I can never get enough of their murtabak which is very different from the Malaysian kind. It is thinner but longer than the Malaysian murtabak but the taste when partnered with the curry is very much out of this world. I actually rarely eat murtabak in Malaysia.

10.00 am -   12.00 am : Singapore Botanic Garden which has the National Orchid Garden, the Ginger Garden and the Evolution Garden within it (this will raise up my mark with wifey who loves gardening). I read somewhere, there are orchids named after famous persons in the National Orchid Garden. Maybe they will name one orchid after my name if I make enough of a scene.

12.30 pm - 2.30 pm : Lunch in one of the fast food joint in Orchard Road such as Pizza Hut or KFC as I can eat slowly and wifey can start her shopping list by window shopping within the area. Orchard Road is the stretch of road much like Kuala Lumpur's Bukit Bintang with all the malls lining up both sides of it. I love the Borders store at one corner of it (I think it is in Wheelock Place) which is where I wouldn't spending my whole day there while waiting for wifey to shop.

3.00 pm - 5.00 pm : Riding the Singapore Flyer. I have actually planned to go on it the last time I went to Singapore but due to the weather, we cancelled on the last minute. I would love to see what Singapore looks like from it and to really see places such as the Esplanade and the Merlion from the sky...

6.00 pm - 7.00pm : Quick dinner at any one of the stalls at Makansutra Gluttons Bay, while enjoying the evening breeze then if we have time stroll a bit at the waterfront overlooking the Merlion. I love to people-watch at the Esplanade as the locals will be out and parading their best outfit whilst the theater and dinner crowd coming and going in their best looking suits

7.30 pm - 11.00 pm : Indulging in one of the theater on show at Esplanade, Theaters on the Bay (Hopefully, if this itinerary comes true, the show will be one of those that we have never seen such as Miss Saigon or Les Miserable)

11.30 pm : More food at Kampong Glam. We are Malaysian after all, we love eating more than going anywhere else. By the time the theater is over, we will be very hungry and will be wanting to eat more. Maybe I will try that Mee Beriyani I heard is sold here. The last time we were here it was too late and most restaurants were already closed.

Those will be my one day Singapore itinerary.... So, what are you waiting for :

"Indulge in the Uniquely Singapore experience"

September 24, 2009

Launch of 'Ask The Lawyer'

I have decided to take the bull by the horn and merge my blogging world with my business world. I have launch a blog (which was long in existence, but never promoted) called

To know what it is all about, just click on the name above and read on...

September 23, 2009

Changing my priorities

I need to make some changes. I have been writing this blog for nearly a year. If you google the name 'kruel', my name comes in second after a professional wrestler by the name of Mike Kruel. After that there is the Mistress Kruel (er..., maybe an S&M dungeon. Shows what the name kruel is popular for)

I actually took a leave of absence for a few days from doing what I usually do to make my blog well-read by people. I did not drop any Entrecards except for a few, doing just enough to earn my USD0.50 for my Adgitize advertisement, didn't have a post for one whole day but I posted 2 posts within an hour of each other (different timestamp) and I only visited blogs I follow after not checking them for nearly 2 days.

In fact, I was lethargic from the blogging scene. Too many things to do for so little benefits.

These last few days make me think of changing a bit my priority. I am still going to write. I have a few writing projects I need finishing. I have my final assignment for me to graduate for my Masters degree. I have to finish writing my book on law and property which my publisher is waiting for me to send them my first draft. I have to finish writing my novel. I have to really start that Muhammad Ali script if I want to really make it (I did say that film is my Everest).

So, I need to do this. I need to slack up a bit on my blog. Especially this blog. Maybe I will just write, then let the audience find me. I also will be launching a blog dealing specifically with law and property in Malaysia. I already block the address but have not written anything except some introduction. It will be a Question and Answer type of blog. Ask me and I will try to find an answer. If it is regarding law on non-Malaysian law, I will try to direct you to those who may have the answer. I do have some Linked-in contacts.

Again. Prioritise...(that's for me...)

September 22, 2009

It’s Krrunch Time, Get Playful!

It was the usual Hari Raya in my household. We were just sitting there, waiting for people to come but everyone is back in their kampung. I was just surfing the internet feeling very bored.

No one is coming and there was nothing on TV except the cat. 

The other cats were sleeping on the bed and on the sofa as the weather was just nice for that.


It was so boring that one of the cat slept at the place she was playing


I know that I have to do something before I am sucked into the same boring doldrums. I decided to go the neighbourhood store and look for something to lighten up the mood.

I found it on the shelves....

....and I bought some of it

Someone cannot even wait for it to reach home and was already popping it on the way home

When I reached home, I called up a few friends.....and have a Hari Raya was PURE KRRUNCH!!!

And that was how a boring day turned into a Krrunch time....
Even the cats joined in and had a Krrunch-ful time.... 

And it was all thanks to my favourite snack of all time, 

 It’s Krrunch Time, Get Playful!

September 21, 2009

If ever I had to be in a Whiteout, I would look like this

Here is how I would look if I ever be in Antartica in a whiteout. The cat will help me keep my cool as they have thick fur but I bet, they would also need some blanket...


What is a whiteout? I never knew it existed before but when I saw this new film by Kate Beckinsdale (my favourite Hollywood babe before Megan Fox became the new one), I am intrigue to know what this film is all about. Ai am also intrigue to go to Antartica at least once in my lifetime (aren't you?). Here is its synopsis :

Antarctica. The coldest and most isolated place on earth. Temperatures drop to 120 below. Winds whip across the ice at over 100 miles an hour. Home to one of the deadliest forces in the world—the whiteout. It’s a place U.S. Marshal Carrie Stetko (KATE BECKINSALE) won’t miss. As the lone law enforcement agent at the Amundsen-Scott Research Station, her tenure here has been not only harsh but uneventful. In three days, when the station powers down and the sun sets for the long winter, she’ll be getting out; leaving Antarctica for good and turning in her badge for a new life.

But when a body is discovered in the no-man’s land on the open ice, Stetko is plunged into a shocking mystery. Bizarrely battered and miles from camp, the dead man is Antarctica’s first homicide victim and Stetko’s first real challenge in a long time.

Her investigation soon involves U.N. Special Agent Robert Pryce (GABRIEL MACHT), sent to monitor her progress in this ungoverned territory. As the case takes a deadly twist and a 60-year-old secret is unearthed, Stetko herself becomes a target. Pryce could prove to be a powerful ally—but only if solving the murder is what he’s really after.

With only days before the last plane out, Stetko must race to unravel the mystery or risk being stranded on the ice as darkness—and the killer—closes in.

September 20, 2009


For the first time since I write everyday for this blog, I will not write anything of substance except to say that today is Eidul Fitri in Malaysia and all over the world, being celebrated by all Muslims and on this happy occasion, all will be driving around, meeting friends, having meal together.

Just a reminder to drive carefully and get rested before you start of any long journey. All things will be better if done in moderation and at half the speed...

Drive safely...

September 19, 2009

Lawyers and forgiveness

Dome of the mosque in Putrajaya, Malaysia

This post will be published on the eve of Eidul Fitri in Malaysia, the big day for Muslims all over the world, as we celebrate our achievement in our ability to fast for a whole month during Ramadhan. During this festive season, in which Malaysia will be experiencing a long weekend as Eid will fall on Sunday. Couple that with the fact that Malaysia love to extend such break into a whole week break, the city will be near empty. However, it will not be as empty as the Chinese New Year as most people of other faith will be in the city. I, myself will already be back at the office on Thursday as my office will only extend the holiday by just 1 day (which is rare for a company like us where everyone is a Muslim).

During this time of the year (which is never the same as Muslims calendar has shorter month than normal calendar), the same wishes will be at the lips of most Muslims. They will say "Have a Great Eidul Fitri, and Forgive Me for Everything". It is akin to saying Merry Christmas when that time of the year comes. This statement by Muslims around the world, is the most overused phrases during this time of the year and is printed on cards sent around or emailed around. Songs are sung with these words being the lyrics and everywhere people are giving out ang pow or packets stuffed with money with the tagline printed on it. In short, asking and giving forgiveness is the order of the day.

I have been blogging for more than a year and as to err is human, I may have done anything which might slighted others through this blog or the events that I attended or I forget to do something (such as ignoring comments, tags and such) or any of the thing that can be considered as blog etiquette or whatever is normal for a normal human being to do. As it is rare for a lawyer to do this as we build our career on not being agreeable at all with anything, unless it benefit us in some way, I also wanted to jump onto the bandwagon and wishes all that I have known through this blog the same phrase and shake your cyberhands in friendship and say to you :


p/s - as a lawyer I can't help but add (if any)

September 18, 2009

A few of the Millionaires Next Door are known to me

My wife and I are currently reading the book The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko. Both are Ph.D holders and the book seem to be written like a Ph.D presentation paper. It is full of charts and graphs and numbers and it can actually makes your head spin from all these facts they are trying to present. It is actually an old book and maybe irrelevant to some as the whole title of the book is The Millionaire Next Door : The Surprising Secrets of America's Wealthy. Nowadays, the word Wealthy and America rarely come together in a sentence. I actually bought the book in a bargain bin at a local bookstore, just a fraction of a new book, making it  a worthy buy indeed.

However, there are some lessons which makes me realised I know a few of these millionaires the book is trying to be worth more than all those high-flyers like singers, actors, artistes, internet billionaires, sheikhs, sultans and all those rare people, unlucky people like me will trying to emulate their lifestyle. I have seen the traits of frugality and investment savvy in their blood. They are not someone I get to know later in life or even through various channels you get to know new people. They are people who I have been getting advices all my life and they are still giving me advices. I actually made money from their advices.

The two people I know who have are the stereotype of millionaires as said in the book is none other than my mother and my eldest brother. They save. They invest wisely. They do not drive expensive cars. They do buy unnecessary expensive items just for the sake of having it on their hands or in their house. They do not look like millionaires. Their worth are more than a few of those who drive expensive cars and live in affluent neighbourhood. They have been millionaires (or just short of a few hundreds) long before they reach the age where they need to retire. They can live without doing any work at least for a whole year.

An investment can even be a house like this

When I read in the book how millionaires in America (net worth millionaires) live and save, I realised I actually do not need to read the book at all. I have real life examples of how you can build your wealth through prudent spending and smart investment. I have actually invested a few of the money I made when I was still in my twenties through knowledge of the real estate and the stock market. As a lawyer, I have a lot of inside information that people can only dream of having. By owning a legal firm, there are a lot of people who line up just for us to take advantage of their position. I made my money when I sold a property I bought for RM75,000-00 at RM100,000-00 but the problem is what I did with my RM25,000-00 profit. If I had read this book much earlier (which was already in existence then), I might have not used the money to elevate my lifestyle but I might have reinvested it back.

Ah, well. Better late than never....

September 17, 2009

The final 15Malaysia : ROJAK

As a nation of 52 years old (or 46 years old, according to some) we have been going through a lot, as is other countries in the world. Being of mixed races, that is a bit unique as only a few other countries can boast of having so many races that we need more than just a choice of one or two whenever we fill out a form (which is a controversy of its own).

As a lawyer, whose association is called the Bar Council, I was invited by them to witness and participate in so many of their programs and outreach. I actually has different opinion than most of the people who sits in the position of power within the Bar Council. My partner did became a committee member of a lesser association affiliated to the Bar Council, which is the our state Bar Committee. It didn't help us a lot as we need to go against the government in so many way that our business which rely on them might be affected (we managed to dodge a few bullets) that we decided none of us will be involved with them anymore. That is why most of them are criminal lawyers or lawyers who deals with the courts as they do not rely on government agencies like we do (except the court which is not directly under the government).

Why my opening statement is so long if I was just going to post a short film called Rojak? Rojak is so hard to be translated as it is a Malaysian food which can only be translated as 'MIXED'. It mixed anything into a bowl then is topped with a concoction best described as curry though some Rojak uses other concoction as its toppings. Rojak is so Malaysian that it is sometimes used to described a person of eclectic races. In this short film, a Rojak seller, speaking in Tamil tell his side of story of Malaysian life, seeing the good, the bad, the ugly, the riot, the theft, the fight, the love, the understanding, the misunderstanding and all that life has to offer at the roadside stall which he sells his Rojak. In the end, all comes together to enjoy the food on offer, the great Malaysian ice-breaker. Lawyers do the same too, fight in court, then have a drink at the canteen.

by Suleiman Brothers

September 16, 2009

5 films from 15Malaysia

There are 5 movies in this installment of 15Malaysia, a short film project showcasing 15 films by 15 different directors in honour of Malaysia Independence Day which fell on 31st August. I have seen all of the movie, except for the last one which is an animation. When the 14 other films were shown to us a month ago, the final film called 'Rojak' was still in post-production. It will be released today, 16th of September, which is significant to Malaysia as the day when Malaysia was born with Sabah and Sarawak (East Malaysia joined the federation). It may be a way for the producer, P1 Wimax and Pete Teo to commemorate the journey Malaysia has been through as a country. You can check my other installments of 15Malaysia here, here and here. Each has 3 films being reviewed and showcase.

Here are the 5 films with my review below each one of it :

by James Lee
This movie called Gerhana (Eclipse) is about a woman watching a television which is showing the news of the day which include a political turmoil in a state in Malaysia, the water crisis in another state and the spread of swine flu. All this is happening while a man who was sitting in a chair eats and talked to the woman. They commented on the issue at hand and seem to be in a plush hotel. It maybe a spin on a couple having an affair as the finale was while the news commentator talk about pictures of couple copulating surfacing on the internet, the man took a picture of his sleeping mistress.
by Benji Lim

This movie about a taxi driver made news even before it was released as the principal case, the taxi driver is a prominent politician. He is the Head of UMNO Youth (the youth section of the ruling party), who is controversial as he is the son-in-law of the former Prime Minister. In this film, he was being interviewed documentary-style by a film crew while people from all walk of life came in and out of his taxi. All done with tongue firmly in cheek as he actually made commentary about Malaysian politics where even he has played a part in. Issues like Malaysian football (where he is still a committee member of Football Association of Malaysia), usage of English in school, party hopping and the symbol of the Malay which is called the keris (short sword). Too Malaysian to be understood much by others.

by Johan John

Meaning 'Small Change' with reference to the money being paid by the man in the film who went to get some 'service' at a cheap brothel, the ensuing discussions between the man and a few of the prostitutes at the common area is the highlight with issues from expensive foodstuff to how hard to get a taxi. Simple but the comment on the plight of the people are highlighted. My favourite of all the films as the issues are real but the setting can be hardly called normal in Malaysian film.
by Khairil M Bahar

Another politician turn actor in this one with the current Minister of Health making an appearance as himself. A simplistic view of the current health scare like the epidemic of swine flu by labeling everything detrimental to health such as the pig, the beer bottle and nearly everything with a warning like those found on cigarette boxes.

by Nam Ron

This short film is by a director who I find to be very talented as I watched another of his film which is very brave in the issue that it tackles. This film is about kids who are kidnapped and forgotten by time. We have a spate of kidnapping of kids around Malaysia that made everyone worried as the police seem to be ineffective in solving these crimes. The film also blame abuses by parents which turn the pedophiles into who they are and then who inflict the same pain upon others.

September 15, 2009

Making food for charity

Before the Twestival Kuala Lumpur on Saturday, a few hours before the event, there was another event in which I was invited to. It was a charity event in which a food which require hard work for it to be made. They listed the time for the event to be between 10am to 10pm and I am not surprised as it takes a minimum of 5 hours for the concoction to be made. They made it there and sold to the public for those who want to support the charities they sent it to.

I was there due to an email I received from Global Entrepreneur Week organiser (read what GEW is here) which invited me either to join them in making a concoction which was later to be sold or buying the finished products. As a lawyer, I joined the event to get to know people but I was late and I just bought a few of the concoction.

The event was to make the sweet sticky concoction at the premise of the Global Entrepreneur Week media partner, called the Media Prima group. The email inviting me to the event has this to say :

All proceeds from the sale of the dodol will be donated to the poor, orphans and single mothers through Media Prima's Tabung Bersamamu, Yayasan Salam and entrepreneurship education activities for the underprivileged by Warisan Global and other GEW partners

So, I went there, though I was a bit late, meet a few of the GEW staff and volunteers, bought some of the dodol (that is what the concoction is called) and hope my little contributions did make some difference for those who received it.

Here are some picture of the process that is required to make the food (which is not many as I was late to the event and was rushing to the Twestival KL) :

The place where the event took place, one of Malaysia's leading TV station

They used machine and brute force to mix the concoction of coconut milk, sugar etc
A close-up 
The volunteers
The sticky sweet concoction
 Putting it into containers of 1/2 kg

Waiting for it to cool down before properly packing it
 The finished products at RM30 per container

The concoction is called DODOL and last year, I did a rough survey with my wife how many house served this concoction as one of their Eid Fitri's servings and we only found one. This is a traditional concoction and it is a shame not many people are willing to spend nearly 8 hours in front of boiling cauldrons to make it. They made 10 cauldrons of it that day and sold it for charity. I find that commendable in the intentions and the willingness of them to come together to do it. Each village or housing area should sometime do this event.

September 14, 2009

Twestival Local Kuala Lumpur was a success

It was a good night for an organiser of a charity event when the target you set was more than reached and everyone was satisfied with the event. Congrats to Niki Cheong who was the man of the hour (on his birthday month too) who handled most of the event with a few helps from his friends. You can read what transpired at the event through these other blogs :

1) Niki Cheong ( - Twestival KL : What a Night!;

2) Rames (Rames Studio) - Twestival KL : Tweet, Meet, Give;

3) Jason ( - Back from Twestival KL;

4) Serge ( - Stick your toungue out for Twestival KL;

They were there the whole time while I was missing for 1 hour as I went out for prayers for a while. However, I believe that what they wanted to achieve which was to get a computer and internet access for a halfway house called Destiny Starting Point in Klang which was to help delinquents. As a lawyer who practice criminal law for a while, I can say that I know delinquents need a lot of help to go back to the right way and for the management of the house when the Twestival managed to gain RM10,000-00 which was 5 folds than the targetted amount, that amount will go a long way for them to help the boys at the house.

Here are some photos which I managed to take while I was there :

The club with 1901 hotdogs stall giving out free hotdogs by the entrance
 The foot long hot dogs which I had 2 and were what I ate as I break from fasting
 The freebies in the goodies bag (Crocs stuff, vouchers, drink etc)

 The best find, a voucher for 2 free movie tickets
 2 of my Tweeter followers and followees, AprilYim (who has a Twitter t-shirt) and Fiona
 An activity during the event called Poken data exchange, a new geeky trend
 The place of the Twestival KL, a club called Mist
 Lucky draw time
 The biggest prize for the lucky draw which was a Lenovo desktop (I hate that guy)

September 13, 2009

Beyond a Reasonable Doubt is TV on the big screen

Having big name in a movie do not ensure good movie. In this case, it was Michael Douglas. I managed to secure two tickets to the premiere of the new movie, a courtroom legal thriller, by the name of Beyond a Reasonable Doubt. It was all thanks to Nuffnang. They seem to like me this past few weeks and have been giving me a few tickets for a few movies.

As a lawyer, I just couldn't resist a courtroom drama, however bad Hollywood had absurdly dramatised the courts and lawyers. You may say I became a lawyer due to the legal television series that I grew up with (L.A. Law anyone?). In that regard, this movie won the day. It was quite authentic. Lawyers may noticed how genuine the death row and prison were. Usually all those other prisons sceneries in movie maybe authentic but just seem so wrong being too clean or too dramatised. Except maybe for a few movies like Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile (which incidently were both from Stephen King's books). So, this movie has the authenticity feel to it.

That is the good news. The bad news is ....

It was too much like an old television movie or even series. With the way the camera was panning so far from the charcters. The way the film was edited. The tired looking car chase. The not so impressive courtroom banters. The not so impressive cast member trying to act like they were acting (which is not how actors should act. They should be so into the character that they are not actors). The way the ending was told to us. You can actually see the ending miles away. Even the twist to the case.

For me, if you want a good courtroom drama on television, you can watch Boston Legal every week and you will have all the legal thriller you can handle. Ever seen Primal Fear where Edward Norton (Incredible Hulk) made his name? Now, that is a legal thriller...
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