Wednesday, December 23, 2015

My song of the year called Me Gustas Tu



I've known G-friend 여자친구 since their debut but it was their second release that really caught my attention. The title song, Me Gustas Tu (Spanish phrase that translates to "I like you") is really an earworm that I got hooked the instant I heard it.

Me Gustas Tu reminds me so much of the innocent concept I'm so used to watching in my girl group taste. Does that remind of A Pink? Yes, certainly. I'm not alone: A satire piece from Asian Junkie remarked how similar Me Gustas Tu is to A Pink and J-pop.

The lyrics of Me Gustas Tu describes the budding love of a girl for a boy and the desire to get together as a a couple.

First off, I started with the MV. I just can't contain the innocent vibe that flows out of the girls.

Me Gustas Tu MV


I like the dance so much too! G-friend is very synchronised in their every move that I think of them as female version of Infinite. Dance moves are very powerful in Me Gustas Tu for this song of innocent concept, and look at how fast the members move across a distance. It's really an upbeat song.

Me Gustas Tu MV dance version


Then I checked out their live performance on various music shows. On the first few stages, I wasn't really satisfied with their stage outfit on the first few shows which I name it one of the worst stage outfit in history ever (source). Talk about firing their fashion coordinator....

You can check out by searching Me Gustas Tu plus either of Music Bank, Music Core, Simply K-pop, Inkigayo, M! Countdown but I'm showing one of the stage here.

Me Gustas Tu live performance at KBS Music Bank (comeback stage, 24th July 2015)


Since the song got popular it's good time to look for people covering the song. Me Gustas Tu is really easy to follow, trust me.

I like this Spanish cover! This is the best one ever!!!



Waveya will always add their sexiness into their dance moves.



I discovered East2West dancing to Me Gustas Tu through suggestions. Look at how the two guys learned the dance so well! Guys can dance to girls' moves!



K-Tiger's Taekwondo version is super impressive that you can't afford to miss it.



This is the bomb! In one of the live performances, slippery stage caused the main singer to fall down up to 6 times on stage. This incident went viral, got reported on international media and also propelled G-friend to another level of fame. Also, thumbs up for the level of professionalism!

Yuju (main singer) fell down repeatedly during performance


The incoming show host for MBC Show! Music Core has chosen to perform this too! G-friend must be so proud to know this. I've replayed this a few times because they rocked the song and also very adorable.




Me Gustas Tu has grown so much on me since its release around July, and I never get tired of it. It's my song of the year, really!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Revisiting Red Alert 2, the classical RTS game I used to play

Some time last week, I spotted my brother playing Red Alert 2 on his gaming rig. So I joined in the fun and watched him play. After that, I played a few games myself with understandings of military tactics I've never tried before. With the new strategy, I managed to finish an easy enemy in around 20 minutes in skirmish mode. Now that's an achievement for me!

I saw the game for the first time watching my uncle playing it in his house. Immediately, I got hooked. The adrenaline rush was simply addicting. Then I bought gaming CD to playing by myself. I was a total beginner back then when I couldn't handle a brutal enemy.

You know, how I miss this game! With my old playing style, it took me hours to secure my base and finish off the computer controlled opponent. I was more fascinated with abilities of units instead of using strategy to win games. When studies took over, my interest in the game died down. A few years later, I revisited the game after gaining some new understandings from my studies and other interests.

I wasn't a big fan of playing missions but friends told me that is the core of the game. I started to appreciate missions in Red Alert 2 after I understood the beauty of storyline in movies/games. I didn't go back to actually playing the missions but there's Youtube, so I watched the playthrough videos from players instead.

If you haven't know about this game, here's a short intro. There are two playable factions in Red Alert 2, which are the Allies (all Western countries plus South Korea) and Soviet (Russia and other communist states). The expansion, Yuri's Revenge, has Allied, Soviet and Yuri as playable factions.


Screenshot of Red Alert 2. Image source

To really understand what the game is all about, it helps to have a good grasp of history and international politics. Real history says that we had World War 2, followed by the Cold War which was the division between capitalist and communist blocs. In the alternate timeline of Red Alert universe, after the real World War 2, Albert Einstein traveled back in time to erase Adolf Hitler from time. Without the rise of Nazi Germany, Russia (Soviets) grew so much in power. This led to the Great World War 2 (Red Alert 1) and Great World War 3 (Red Alert 2). After the end of Red Alert 2: Yuri's Revenge, some Soviet officers went back in time to erase Albert Einstein from history. So there was no invention of atomic bomb and no bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan. And you guess what? By the time the Soviet officers returned to their time, Japan grew so much in power as the Empire of The Rising Sun thus setting the events for Red Alert 3.

Why do you want to play Red Alert 2? It was certainly one of the success of real time strategy (RTS) games. While the actual gameplay forms the core of the experience, the narrative of the game is another driving force behind this game. The narrative of the game is what sets the stage for missions and puts the gameplay in context.

There are indeed some extra stuff I've found, and they are of interest.

The making of Red Alert 2. You can meet the actors who portrayed the characters in the cutscenes.



Watch how Udo Kier, a German actor, is transformed into Yuri in the game. Yuri is a psychic who can mind control enemy units.





Another screenshot of the game. Image source

Red Alert 2 is named one of the best real time strategy and military tactic game in history. It's time to move on and I'm excited to see better games in store!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

10 Facts About Diabetes I Learnt From My PhD Research

It has been one year since I started my PhD project in diabetes! I was a total novice back then when my graduate advisor introduced me into the area of diabetes, barely getting my hands on the basic knowledge. I was reading about the molecular mechanism of diabetes treatment, and my knowledge of diabetes was only skin deep. PhD is not a rosy journey - there were a lot of disappointments and stress to meet requirements!

After a year, I couldn't describe in words, how much I have gained in my knowledge and understanding of diabetes! When we discuss about diabetes, the first thing that come to mind is high blood sugar and sweet urine, right? In actual fact, diabetes is a complex disease. I have done a lot of readings for my research, so let me tell you what I've learnt from it.

Of course, what I'm writing below is not substitute for medical advice from qualified practitioners.


source

Diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease found together is actually a syndrome
I have always heard of people with heart attacks who is also affected by diabetes, high blood pressure, high blood lipids and a host of other conditions. Well, are these people affected by separate diseases? From the surface the answer seems to be yes. But in fact they are affected by one syndrome. Putting it more exactly, they are affected by the metabolic syndrome. A syndrome means a set of signs and symptoms that are 'friends'(correlated) of each other. There is one cause (something wrong with the person's bodily metabolism) and the diseases are manifestations of the syndrome.

Diabetes is a silent killer
Type 2 Diabetes often have no sign and symptom. It's already too late when patients have had a heart attack, and find out about diabetes! I haven't mention having diabetes also increases your chances of having heart attacks. Don't get caught by a nasty surprise, that's why body check up is important!

Diabetes affects how body handles fat and cholesterol
Medical science tells us that metabolism of sugar and fats are commonly controlled (regulated), and I know for a fact that insulin also controls fat metabolism. Cutting the long story short, I can tell you that patients with diabetes have abnormal cholesterol level that make them prone to heart attacks (a term I called it atherogenic dyslipidemia). Many treatment options for diabetes focus on controlling blood sugar, but I can tell you: watch out for your cholesterol level too!

Besides Type 1 and Type 2, there are many more types of diabetes
I am sure many are familiar about Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes taught in textbooks, right or not? There are in fact, many more types and causes of diabetes. There's gestational diabetes or Type 3 diabetes that affects pregnant women. There is diabetes with a genetic causes. There is diabetes caused by medication and viral infection. Taking detailed medical history and correctly diagnosing the cause of diabetes is so important now!


source

Diabetes affects blood vessels, and hence blood pressure
The state of high blood sugar and reduced insulin sensitivity can affect the function of endothelium, cells that line the inside of your blood vessels. Endothelium controls relaxation and contraction of blood vessels by sensing blood flow and secreting factors to vascular smooth muscles. When endothelium is less able to relax blood vessels due to diabetes, you'll have high blood pressure.

Fat tissue secretes hormones that controls energy metabolism
The fat tissues or known as adipose tissues are popularly thought to be fat stores. It turned out that adipose tissues secrete leptin and adiponectin, important hormones that control your appetite and insulin sensitivity. Some anti-diabetic drugs make use of fat tissue for their effect, in fact.

There are three major insulin sensitive organs, failure in one of them affects your whole body
Muscles, fat tissues and liver are organs that respond to insulin. What happens when only one of them fails? Using special methods to make one organ non responsive to insulin, scientists have been able to show that diabetes and heart attacks ensues. The actual diabetic case of course involves all organs.

Obesity carries a high risk of Type 2 Diabetes, but being skinny is not good news either
It's not hard to think that being overweight/obese increases risk of Type 2 diabetes. What about skinny people? Using mice that are not able to form adipose tissues (lipodystrophic mice), scientist also showed that they are not insulin sensitive and diabetic. So, fat tissues aren't just fat stores!

Anti-inflammatory drugs can alleviate diabetes
Consuming anti-inflammatory drugs to treat diabetes sounds very crazy, but experiments showed that it works! One thing doctors are not telling you: obese people are in a state of low grade inflammation because the fat store in their abdomen is infiltrated by immune cells and the fat cells secrete hormones that lead to inflammation. What's more, being in a state of inflammation affects insulin sensitivity, because these inflammatory hormones interferes with insulin response at the molecular level. So, the tale of anti-inflammatory drugs can improve diabetes actually makes a lot of sense.

Fatty liver is a complication of diabetes
You've probably not learnt this in textbooks. People with diabetes have a high chance of being affected by non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (the medical term is hepatic steatosis). Over time, this may lead to fatty inflammation of the liver (steatohepatitis) and scarring (cirrhosis).

Last but not least, my take home message:

Don't drink too much Coke!


source

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The shocking truth I discovered about Christmas



It's the Christmas and holiday season. What are you doing?

Did the title surprise you? For most of you, it may offend you because of long rooted tradition. But if you take the time to listen, you can gain something! If you're here, I congratulate you! You'll hear of the actual thing about the origin of Christmas celebration. Let's continue with an open mind, and then make up your mind shall we?

I did research on Judaism to know about the true roots of Christianity with an unassuming mind, and one question was of course the celebration of Jesus' birth. I've discovered about this for quite some time, and I decided to share it with you now.

Since I was a kid, I was taught that Christmas is a religious festival celebrated by the Christians and Jesus was born on this day. The entire world is tricked into believing this. I'd give you a pass for saying Christmas is celebrated by Christians (mainstream knowledge), but when it comes to advanced level, the actual facts say otherwise.

The word "Christmas" doesn't appear in the Bible. There isn't a command to celebrate Jesus' birthday in the New Testament portion of the Bible. By Biblical evidence, Jesus wasn't actually born on December 25. There's a guess for the approximate time about Jesus' birthdate (link), but the exact date isn't known until today. Furthermore, early Christians had no problem about not having Jesus' actual birthdate and didn't celebrate Christmas.

Furthermore, Jesus also stated that his followers should place more emphasis on following his teachings rather than praising the mother who raised him. In other words, he asked us to focus more on pleasing God rather than honouring human beings.

How it all began? It all began with Babylon. Christian pastors have always preached about being under the Babylonian system. Babylon as an ancient civilization is long gone, what they mean to say "under the Babylonian system" is the system of false worship that still plagues us today. To explain about Babylon is a topic of another blog post, but let's focus on Christmas this time.

So, what's the true origin of Christmas?

The plain fact is, Christmas has a pagan origin. Pagan worship predates Christ for a long time, and one of the cult is the worship of the Sun God. There are many cult worship of the Sun, and Rome has the reputation to absorb pagan practices throughout the empire. During the reign of Emperor Aurelian, he built a massive temple of Unconquerable Sun and set the god's birthday at December 25. Another thing is, the Romans also celebrated the holiday of Saturnalia from December 17-25 with the custom of lawlessness during the week. One of the custom was "singing from house to house naked" - sounds eerily similar to Christmas carol! Which one is the true origin, I am not exactly clear.

So, when Emperor Constantine declared Christianity as state religion of Rome, paganism was still at its height. Instead of wiping out the practice of paganism or asking pagan Roman to change their practice, he had the pagan practices adopted by Christianity (populist approach). The Church appropriated the practice and thus born Christmas! Much better than traditional pagan practices :)

So, you can see how powerful Rome was, to the extend that it affects our practices today.

The true origin of Christmas tree

This is a bit hard to answer. The answer for no goes like this: Tree worship is a pagan practice. A Babylonian fable told that from a dead tree stump, came forth an evergreen tree - symbolises the dead Nimrod come to life! This custom spread to other pagan civilizations but all can be traced back to Nimrod. The Romans had a custom of decorating their fir trees with berries during Saturnalia.

But another source says, Germans and Scandinavian residents put up evergreen trees to signify their hope for the upcoming spring during the Middle Ages. The first Christmas tree was decorated by Protestants in the 16th century. There is no spiritual significance in having or not having Christmas trees.

The true origin of Santa Claus

Santa Claus is a corrupted form of the name St. Nicholas. Nicholas was the most senior member of Council of Nicaea, from which came forth the New Testament

Through time Nicholas was idolized and became a cult. In 1931, the Coca-Cola Corporation contracted Swedish commercial artist Haddon Sundblom to create a coke-drinking Santa. Sundblom modeled his Santa on his friend Lou Prentice for his cheerful and chubby face. The corporation insisted that Santa’s fur-trimmed suit be bright, Coca Cola red. Thus born Santa Claus: a blend of Christian crusader, pagan god, and commercial idol, very popular among the children today.

Does the Bible mention about customs of celebrating Christmas?

Absolutely not! The Bible mention not about remembering when was Jesus' birthday. Celebrating Christmas is more of a man made institution.

Conclusion

The custom of Christmas celebration actually comes from pagan practices. The celebrations we have today is a mix of true Christianity and paganism. Over time, Christmas becomes a festival for commercial purposes.

After you've read my post, you have this knowledge. What can you do? Go with the flow. Use this opportunity to be charitable on Christmas day. But remember to tell your children the truth when they grow up.

Either to celebrate Christmas or not, it's a personal choice. Let not condemn anyone for celebrating or not celebrating and make it a joyous occasion! If you choose to go strictly Biblical and not observe it, it's your choice too.

Further readings:
The True Origin of Christmas - this is easy to read, and provides a good overview
Pagan Roots? 5 Surprising Facts About Christmas - also quite easy to read
Simple to Remember - The History of Christmas
Jesus is Savior - The Plain Truth about Christmas
Hope of Israel - The Shocking Pagan Origin of CHRISTMAS!
Why Do We Have Christmas Trees?

Friday, November 20, 2015

I'm so in love with TWICE

Since year 2015 started, there has been births of several K-pop groups and artists to the point it's not possible to keep track of them. So many in such a short span of time! What's more, the rookie groups are really awesome! They have to be that good, because K-pop is becoming a saturated and competitive market.

It has also come to the point that Koreans themselves are not so interested in their own artists anymore because there's so much of them. When I asked my Korean friends about rookie groups, most of them just answered don't know but I'm in my home watching their artists on music shows almost everyday. Here comes the age that we know Korean artists better than the Koreans themselves!

And, if you assume that I know Malaysian artists because I'm Malaysian, I have to say that I look at my local Chinese artists. I have little interest in Malay artists. (Why? The answer is so obvious!!!) The fact is, entertainment in Malaysia is divided along racial lines. Not that I can't support artists of another race, it's really the issue of interest. Also, not that I'm racist.


There's a recent debut that caught my attention lately. It's this girl group by JYP Entertainment called TWICE.

TWICE is a nine membered girl group. It's a big group. The last time I've ever heard of nine member group was Girls' Generation and After School. Let's hope the members stay together forever.

photo cr: JYP Entertainment

Members of TWICE are selected through a survival show called Sixteen. Actually, I didn't follow the show but I heard there's a Taiwanese who made it to the lineup. Hence, the group got my attention.

When the group debuted, I watched the group for the Taiwanese member called Tzuyu 周子瑜. Being a member of the same ethnicity creates a bond. Otherwise, TWICE will just be another K-pop idol group for me.

A plus point is, Tzuyu is known for her visual appeal.

photo source, cr: Skoolooks

TWICE debuted with Like Ooh-Ahh. After watching them on music shows a few times, I begin to develop liking for other members.


I look at Jihyo for her voluminous body awesome vocal presence. I look at the Japanese members Sana, Mina and Momo. Sana look like the typical sweet girl, like my lovely daughter, hahaha.





When I first listened to TWICE's debut track, I immediately feel the song was like a mash up of lyrics, and vocals wasn't the main thing. But I kept coming back for the song. Slowly, I like it. You can hear the words sung so clearly. The members danced so well, and I can tell they are well trained in all aspects of being entertainers - after all, this is what you should expect from JYP Entertainment right?

You can follow TWICE through a few accounts here:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JYPETWICE/
Twitter: @JYPETWICE, https://twitter.com/JYPETWICE
Instagram: @twicetagram, https://www.instagram.com/twicetagram/

Apart from that, do you know there are Malaysian fanclubs for TWICE? Here're two Chinese (link)(link) and an English (link) ones. Here's the chance for you ONCE to contribute. They're now recruiting staff members, give it a shot, why not?

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

My new toy, the Xiaomi Mi 4i



I have got myself a new phone, the Xiaomi Mi 4i! After upgrading my phone, I got to browse faster with 4G, and battery life has become manageable.



It began with my status update on my former Samsung Galaxy S3. I bought it way back in 2012, after I completed my Honours year. I posted some status updates on Facebook describing how sluggish my S3 has become and the short battery life. My friends urged me to upgrade my phone. So I know it's time already.

I made the decision to purchase a Xiaomi Mi 4i under a Digi contract at Digi Specialised Store @ Low Yat Plaza. I have been a loyal prepaid customer with Digi, and the shopkeeper transfer me seamlessly to postpaid. To top it off, I got a rebate for my remaining prepaid balance!

When you buy handphones, it's best to buy it at reputable stores. As a matter of fact, it's better to buy from big stores at established locations. Digi flagship store don't dare to cheat customers one, everyone should know right? My dad bought his Lenovo from small shops in seemingly dodgy places, and turned out he got imitate (fake) phones and of course faced minor problems in his everyday usage.



My first impression: its display is brilliant! It’s a 5-inch 1920 x 1080p panel. I can view Youtube videos in high definition.



The Mi 4i has 4G LTE, which means faster mobile Internet. It's one of reason why I made the leap to Mi 4i. Viewing Facebook feed, downloading Instagram photos and watching Youtube is blazingly fast. Coupled with Digi's LTE network, I have no problem keeping connected with my friends and social media followings.

Digi has 4G coverage in major urban centres like Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Jaya, Subang Jaya, Shah Alam (& most of Klang Valley), Penang, Johor Bahru, Malacca as well as minor population centres Muar, Batu Pahat, Taiping and Langkawi island. Considered very good already.

Dual SIM is cool but I'm only putting one SIM for now.



The Xiaomi Mi 4i comes with the largest capacity found in Xiaomi phones so far, 3120 miliAmpere hours (mAh). Speaking about battery life, it lasts longer thanks to battery saving features built into its MIUI, lasting up to 1.5 days on a single charge. I can say goodbye to battery running out of juice the next day and affecting my communication with fellow colleagues, since they update on important matters relating to work on Whatsapp group.



After talking about its impressive features, the only complaint I have on the gadget is its small memory. Its 2 GB RAM is not much, considering the memory intensive nature of apps and the habit of multitasking on smartphones. On the Mi 4i, I have experienced apps shutting down due to insufficient memory. The issues will become bigger as I install more apps to meet my growing needs.

Overall, I am impressed with the Xiaomi Mi 4i for its features. Indeed, Xiaomi needs to pull up its socks over some performance issue as time passes, as SoyaCincau and GizChina has mentioned, otherwise it struggles to live up to its flagship status. For now, it delivered a seemingly stellar performance without breaking the bank.

** the Xiaomi Mi 4i photos are taken elsewhere around the net

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Personality - Chenellewen



Chenellewen

As a guy, one of my favourite pastime is looking at pretty girls on social media be it Facebook or Instagram! The following feature on both networks made it simple to
stalkkeep track of my favourite beautiful girls. I am no longer limited to seeing pretty faces in my everyday circles. Web 2.0 is making it feels like... a huge galaxy, where people are like stars!

I have been a fan of Blogger Hotties post on Eric Yong's. Sadly, they're no longer on his blog. I'm now looking at Generation Y bloggers now, so it's a way to continue his legacy. One thing I promise: I won't delete these after I am married!

In my inaugural feature of pretty personalities, I am starting with Chenellewen!



Who is she? She's a beauty/fashion blogger, also active on Facebook and Instagram. Links will be given at the end of this post, no need so rush!



A listicle (written in Chinese) described her as a classy girl 气质美女. She's recognised immediately for her doll like features. At the same time, you can tell that you're looking at a real person.

She's also described as having the face of a K-pop star (source)! Wondering which Korean celebrities she resembles? The notion came as no surprise. In fact, I have found two K-pop idols having features similar to Chenellewen: Minx's JiU and MyB's U-Jung. Proven fact!

As for height, she stands at 135 cm, which is my best guess.



I discovered her blog from PovyTeng. She normally blogs about fashion, cosmetic products, and also travelling to overseas destinations.



I met her for the first time at a party event for a men's product held at Zouk Club. She really have a beautiful personality.

She's active in fashion bazaars, selling her pre-loved clothing.

More photos of her!









You want to follow her liao? She can be found at

Blog: http://www.chenellewen.com
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/chenellewen/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/chenellewen
Facebook (personal profile): https://www.facebook.com/chenellewen?fref=ts
Facebook (fan page): https://www.facebook.com/chenellewen121/?fref=ts

Smart toys from Sphero

Disclaimer: This is not a paid review. I am writing this out of my own discovery, and also because I think it's cool!

I was looking for some good morning materials before work, and logged onto RadioShack Malaysia website (link). Never would I know I stumbled upon some hidden gems!

image source: link

RadioShack is a chain store that caters for technology needs, where you can find cables, batteries, power banks, headphones and speakers. Apart from everyday products, DIY electronic kits are available from them to try at your own too.

If you frequent shopping centres around Klang Valley, I guess you must have seen one of RadioShack Malaysia store. There's one in Berjaya Times Square. Other locations include Sunway Pyramid, The Curve and Mid Valley. The full list of locations can be found here.

The hidden gem I've found is Sphero.


I guess most of you are new to this company! The company has been around for a few years, coupling smart technology with seamless fun.

I was up for an eye opener when I watched the videos.

Sphero 2.0


Sphero 2.0 is a smart ball that I've never thought possible. Now that I'm living in the 21st century, smart items are the in thing now! Basically it's a remote controlled ball that connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth. The ball is controlled by an app. Or you can do it the other way round: Use the ball to control an app!

Watch the video below to see how cool it is! I was fascinated with remote controlled cars earlier, this is way more interesting!


Sphero Ollie


It looks like a two wheeled car, but where's the engine? If you show this to your friend, they'd think you come from the future!

You don't see the engine from the outside. In fact, the engine is housed inside the casing. The guys at Sphero definitely knows what they're doing with marvellous craftsmanship.

The Ollie can handle any terrain.



Sphero BB-8


You're going to see BB-8 in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The robots seen in Star Wars has always lived on screen and our imaginations. Thanks to advancements in knowledge and technology, the team at Sphero has brought our imaginations to life!

The movie is going to be out on Christmas, and here's your chance to have fun with it now! I feel like I'm in the future now. It works exactly the same way as Sphero 2.0, with the addition of a magnet that holds its head.

When I wrote this, this toy is so popular that it has run out of stock at RadioShack Malaysia!





One final question: There's no charging port for the toys, so how do I charge my Spheros? All toys use inductive charging (go and nerd on physics now!). Just place the toys on a charging base, and let science do the job for you :)

That's all and thanks for reading!

Before I forget, you are not limited to controlling Sphero from your smartphone. For the more adventurous, you can program your Sphero to work in other ways, or dismantle the toy and made it into new stuff.

If you'd like to read more, Engadget has news coverage about Sphero (link). You can check out their official website at


Credits:
** product images taken from RadioShack Malaysia

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

What truly makes me happy?



I always have the thought that no one reads my blog, plus I'm occupied in everyday life, so I hardly update. TianChad asked me about my lack of blog updates when I bumped into him at Mid Valley. It seems that he's interested to hear from me. Awwww thanks, at least someone cares about my blog.

The title may sound a little depressing but hey, it's time to have a conversation with myself.

I have been through a few unhappy episodes during the past few months. They happened during events I attended, but those episodes really bothered me to the point that my performance for PhD was affected. Diabetes patients, I'm so sorry for this.

I talked to friends on Facebook, and it really helped. You know who you are :)

People always share good things over the web, and I admit that I do feel jealous. I was always like, "How on earth does he/she get to try out all these new things/attend these events?" That was me since high school/college. I knew I'd crave to try these new things or meet those bunch of people, as if I'm entitled to those things?

When I started to get my income, I feel that things do become a bit better. I explored during my free time by myself, and it really helped. I could buy some things from my friends. I did most of the things on my own accord, and fortunately, most people I met have a beautiful personality :)

I've take the bold step of creating a fanbase for an underrated K-pop group and led me to a few nice people too. I think I've found my niche, and I'm glad for it.

Speaking about romantic relationship, I myself have yet to get into one. I know some of you may have gotten into relationships in high school/college/university or in the workplace.

Until now I've yet to meet The One. I've tried in the past, but no success. The fact is, you can't make someone to like you.

There was once I had the thought of looking at Malay girls to get my easy way out with a high price. Thank god someone saved me from heading that path.

My coursemate had once lamented that it's hard to find romance in the lab.

I'm still waiting for a compatible person when my circumstances change, and meanwhile I've read a lot of articles on relationships and being a person. They really help in getting myself to have better understandings.

I've finished talking about things that bothered me. Now, what about the one thing that keeps me happy?

This South Korean idol singer:


Son Naeun

She's A Pink's Son Na Eun, beautiful on the inside and outside.

She's an epitome of the woman I want to find. I've been asked on the type of woman I'd like, before her debut I find it hard to answer the question. Now, I can say Naeun is my type of girl.

When she was casted in We Got Married, I followed all her episodes, and imagined myself in the male idol's place. What a way to watch the show!

Whenever I watch her in broadcast, she puts a smile on my face, because she's the most beautiful thing to see in the world. Her smile is just mesmerizing. I don't need her to have a powerful voice, but her's is the sweetest thing to hear.

The closest I could get to her was during MTV World Stage in Malaysia, while she was performing on stage. I desire to see her up close and be starstruck. That will make me the happiest person in the world.

Given the chance, I'd fall hard for her.

For now, Naeun gives me life.



Tuesday, November 10, 2015

How a foreign worker caused my most embarrassing episode in Low Yat Plaza

I am a tech lover, it's natural that Low Yat Plaza is my favourite hang out place when I'm free. I had fond memories of working there, and sometimes I come to visit my friends in the IT shops.

Despite her stellar reputation as an IT hub, I had an embarrassing episode of using the toilet all but no thanks to gross incompetence of a foreign labourer. The incident has been a while now. I decided to write it down before it slipped from my memory.

On a visit, I had a bad stomach ache. I rushed for the toilet only to find that all male toilets were in the process of cleaning and maintenance. I checked out toilets on other floors only to find the same.

The urgency of my circumstance prompted me to make use of toilet for the disabled. The toilet entrance was manned by a Bangladeshi worker. I told him that I was going to use the special toilet, paid the usage fee and grabbed some pieces of tissues. Off I went to take care of my business.

I was sitting on the stool, and without warning

A [MALAY] FEMALE JANITOR ENTERED THE TOILET!!! She wasn't a pervert, just that she needed to change her water for cleaning.

How freaked out I was the moment someone invaded my privacy in the toilet.

She immediately made her way out and I continued my business to completion.

The moment I stepped out, I heard her yelling at the Bangladeshi foreign worker [in Malay], "Just now I asked you about whether someone is in the toilet, and you didn't respond to my question!!!! See what happened because of you!!!"

I was taken aback that the Bangladeshi couldn't understand a very simple question, let alone answer it!!! He was completely ignorant that I was in the toilet for the disabled. He ignored the scolding and acted like he didn't know anything at all. How can he be so careless??!! Such negligence cannot be tolerated on the job!!! I was completely pissed that he cost me my modesty!!!!!

I was unhappy but decided not to bother about bringing up the matter to Low Yat Plaza management.

I don't like it when employers resorted to hiring cheap foreign labours as an easy way out. Foreign workers -

  • Don't represent the country's image well
  • Have little understanding of the culture of the country
  • Can be very incompetent on the job
  • Faces language barriers and make communication difficult
  • Drain our money away to their home countries

On that day, my image of Low Yat Plaza went down the drain. Don't get me started on other problems posed by foreign workers.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Some simple rules I follow for Parking



Having a car to get around town is a necessity for Kuala Lumpur dwellers like me. My car gives me the convenience I need to travel to work and of course let me hang out at my favourite places.

When I was going out with my father as a kid, I noticed him parking his car illegally and caused inconvenience to both of us. Once I missed my music class because his car got towed away. At other times he brought home parking tickets worth RM 200 - 300. My mom has been rebuking him a number of times already.

It's no fun losing your money to offences like that. I can eat at luxurious restaurants with RM 200 - 300! The choice is always yours! When I grew up, I decide not be like that.

Whenever I arrive at my destination, the first thing to do is to find a parking spot. I follow a few simple rules when it comes to parking my car.

  1. Park at legitimate parking bays. In the city, it is very hard to find free parking spots so don't expect one. Unless I am familiar with the place, I'd rather pay a few bucks for peace of mind rather than parking illegally. Parking illegally not only incurs hefty fines when caught, what more imagine the hassle if your car get clamped or towed away. 
  2. Consider getting a season pass if you come to a place regularly. For a monthly fee, you get to park as long as you want, and it's cheaper than parking on an hourly basis.
  3. Don't skip paying for parking! This applies to parking spots at business areas under jurisdiction of local governments. You'll never know when officers are on duty. There was once I saw an MBPJ officer issuing fines [to cars without ticket] right after I got out of my car. Don't give them any reason to issue you summonses.
  4. Take a look at the fee structure before you press for a ticket. If you are not happy with the fee structure, you have the right to backtrack. Once I reversed my car out of the car park; cars behind me gave their way to let me go.
  5. If you must double park, make sure you leave your mobile phone number on the dashboard. But even that is not fail safe - once I had people unable to contact me due to my dad switching telco [my number is a supplementary line], the other time I didn't receive calls when I was in an area with poor cellphone coverage.
So, I shared with you 5 pointers on parking. It's not hard to follow, right? By being law abiding citizens, I can enjoy all I can without causing unnecessary incovenience to others. The peace of mind to me and others is priceless. No one wants to be angry over parking issues right?

If you don't follow, you might end up like this:


Monday, November 2, 2015

Feeling the heat of falling Ringgit

These days, Malaysian Ringgit is falling day by day. I talked to people around me on how the falling Ringgit is affecting them.



A confectionery vendor lamented how prices of kiwi and strawberries have gone up and increasing their cost. However, they dared not to increase their price for fear that customers will stop buying.

For me, I am badly affected. As a PhD student myself, I buy chemicals and other lab consumables for my experiments. Most of them are sourced from the US/UK and have prices quoted in US Dollars. Since the Ringgit began to weaken when I started my PhD, I have seen prices doubled or tripled for the same item. To add salt to the wound, my research grant is quoted in Ringgit Malaysia and does not get topped up under all circumstances. It is possible to manoeuvre here and there I am very sure that everyone in the research community feels the same. To be honest, I actually envy those who hold grants in US Dollars and having access to good facilities.

Whatever it is, no one is going to compromise on standards and merits whatever the circumstances is. I'll still have to complete my PhD under the stipulated time frame despite waiting weeks for my order to arrive.

This is the type of stuff I have to buy for my lab work. They're not cheap I mind you.



None of us academic foresee the worsening economic circumstances when we submitted grant applications. While my supervisor is taking all the steps to mitigate the economic situation, I am taking steps to reduce the cost of doing my experiments.

All of us want the Ringgit to go back up, aren't we? That means regaining investor confidence in our economy. I am no expert, but what I can say is, when we start to get our economy right, many issues will find their solutions. It's time that we treat people fairly and make everyone more productive.

For me... money is hard to come by. Is anyone keen to sponsor my experiments? #shameless #bold #Askandyouwillgetit

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Explain to me, what's language barrier?

I was fortunate to have a chance to catch A Pink live at MTV World Stage 2015 at Sunway Lagoon. After A Pink's performance, a fan told me how Bomi was taken aback by the amount of interest she received. I was steps away from my goddesses, but my mind was so overwhelmed with stimuli that it was not possible to catch every antic of A Pink on stage.

When I got back home I found this short clip.



I must wonder why are we enthusiastic about foreign artists even though they speak in a language we do not understand. We are indeed crazy about them [foreign artists], but shouldn't the world should be crazy about us too?

Bomi's episode showed that language is no barrier to enjoying music. Likewise, Malaysia should be able to do the same. We have the colours of Malaysia to show the world, but what's stopping us?

Food for thought.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

What I'm up to in October 2015?

My blog has been accumulating dust since I last updated it for MTV World Stage in Malaysia. Life has been pretty busy indeed.

One year has passed since I started my PhD at University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus! When I entered my program, I had high hopes. There were a number of PhD students in my previous institution, and they looked fine doing their project. It turned out that I went through countless frustrations through the process, for problems I have unaware of. That went on for one year. On top of that, there are progress requirements to meet, and at a point I was pushed to my breaking point. That feeling is not a joke.



One important thing I've learnt about doing science in Malaysia: the environment is hostile. Not to say scientists in Malaysia are unfriendly people but buying supplies to carry out my work can take up much time. I had to watch the exchange rate, because chemicals are quoted to local (Malaysian) vendors in US Dollars. Orders take weeks to months to arrive, compared to next day to a maximum of two weeks in Western countries. Now with the falling Ringgit, it's reflected in every item I am to buy and that's going to affect the number of things I can do.

If you have followed me enough, you'll know that I'm into K-pop. I'm following mostly cute girl groups, and I do occasionally watch sexy concepts. Indeed I'm a big Pink Panda when I went to MTV World Stage to watch A Pink performing live.



By chance, I stumbled upon Minx 밍스‬ and remarked the unexceptional talent of the members. They are a sister group to Dal Shabet and belongs to Happy Face Entertainment.

No one was doing a fanbase for Minx in Malaysia, so I started a Facebook fanpage for the girls without a second thought. The next thing was to promote my fanbase to other Minx and K-pop idols' fanpages.

That night I was contacted by a fan after the admin of Minx Taiwan told him about it. We talked about our interest for Minx. It turned out that he had the idea of setting up the Minx fanpage for Malayisa, but he was busy following Minx's activities in South Korea and I went ahead of him. In that conversation I appointed him as the second admin of the page.

I hope to step on Korean soil one day but meanwhile, I am focusing on bringing timely updates from Minx!

At the initial stage, I approached AOA and Dal Shabet's Malaysian fanbases to help me promote. I am grateful for their help and mentoring indeed!

At the time I created Minx's fanbase, I couldn't find quality English translations of the girls' updates. There is Minx Taiwan translating from Korean into Traditional Chinese. There is Minx Philippines using Google and Bing Translate and clean up the result. There is Minx Turkey eagerly craving to make updates accessible to their fans, but couldn't do so due to language barrier.

So I came in to translate Minx's updates from Chinese into English. Slowly, the fandom of Minx is being transformed. Filipino fans have access to quality English translations. Minx Turkey is beginning to have more frequent updates thanks to my translations.

My role model is Apink Malaysia, the top Malaysian fanbase for A Pink. I really admire their consistency and breath of content, and their passion for the girls.

My organic likes plateaued at 68. I needed to reach out to more potential fans. So I approached Josh Lim, now the boss of LikesBeforeLove. I am aware that I am spending hard cash on this.



Thanks to his mentoring and effort in creating Facebook ads, my Minx fanpage has hit 1000 likes when I wrote this. This is a feat I've never achieved before, and I couldn't do so on my own strength.

The fact is, Josh Lim has worked with clients from celebrities to businesses to help them gain fans and generate sales leads.

What have I learnt through creating a fanbase for Minx?

  • Whether you are creating a social media page for work or leisure, it'll end up as competitive as a business. People come to your page with expectations that you're able to provide them something.
  • Spending money to promote so that people notice your work is equally important as your hard work itself
  • Work with people to achieve a common goal. While I strive to secure my leadership position in the fandom, I share my expertise and be receptive to collaborations to achieve the common goal, that is to make Minx a success in K-pop.

I wish to talk about many other things I've gone through, but my main limit is time. Before I sign off I'd like to encourage you to have a blog to share your interest and thoughts on things. Yes, there's Twitter and Facebook to talk about the short stuff, but nothing beats the versatility of a blog to fully express yourself. As Daphne Charice has said it, please continue to read, respond and contribute to blogs. Don't let blogging (Malaysian scene) die.


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Seeing A Pink 에이핑크 at MTV World Stage Malaysia 2015

On 12 September 2015, I had the excitement of seeing A Pink performing live right in front of my eyes! On that day, I felt young again. It was definitely an experience to remember for a lifetime. It involved a lot of sweat to seeing these lovely girls in my life, and I don't regret it.

#ApinkinMY #worlstageMY #MTVWorldStage

I shall break my post into three sections: Before, During and After World Stage.



Prior to MTV World Stage

The moment A Pink was revealed as one of the performer for MTV World Stage, I was so excited. The last time A Pink in Malaysia was on 29 September 2012, at that time I was busy with my Honours year in Australia. Knowing that getting international celebrities to my home country is very hard, I made sure I didn't miss this chance.

I followed the link to try my luck winning passes, but I had no luck in winning. Fortunately, a Pink Panda (name for fans of A Pink) offered to help winning passes on other's behalf. I put my name in, but at first I didn't trust a complete stranger to handle my personal details especially my IC number. After seeing others praising her efforts, I gave my details upon her request. She won a pair of passes for me and the rest was history.

A Pink Malaysia Community and Team Apink began doing fan projects to show full support for A Pink. I downloaded a fanchant guide to A Pink's songs and memorized them. Elsewhere on the Internet, I saw people selling MTV World Stage passes.

A day before the actual show, I went to Carly Rae Jepsen's fansign at Sunway Pyramid. She was set to perform at the show the next day, and we exchanged a few lines! She asked me about my age, and she didn't believe I'm actually 26! At last, she asked me to support her during her stage. After that, I went to Joyce Chu's appearance for a contact lens launch.

On the day of MTV World Stage

The weather was hazy due to open burning in Indonesia.

I came in the morning to Sunway Pyramid and met up with the leaders of Team Apink and A Pink Malaysia Community (ApinkMY). A fellow Panda asked if I want to join him in claiming the fan gear by ApinkMY. So we made our way to Starbucks, but ApinkMY got into problems with permission to use space around Sunway Pyramid. So, we were issued queue numbers as the makeshift solution. That still didn't help, and we were escorted in droves to a kerb outside of Sunway Hotel. There I got my fangear containing an instruction sheet, a baloon, a placard and a sticker.

I returned to the entrance of Sunway Lagoon only to sense my low blood sugar. I left my phone number with the fellow Panda and then rushed to buy food. In one go, I ate two doughnuts at Starbucks and a plate of fried rice at a vegetarian restaurant. I reserved an extra serving of fried rice just in case I got hungry at the queue.

By 2 o' clock in the afternoon, I joined other fans at the queue for Normal Pass holders. It will be hours of wait before we got to enter the venue, braving the heat of the sun and taming my upset stomach. Hours I sat on the ground, and chatting up with other fans. I was offered a drink because I helped to buy a drink :) A marshal instructed us to not bring food and drinks (not even water) into the venue, so I had to discard the rice I've bought earlier.

As the moment approaches, the hosts of the show appeared to give a few interviews and entertained us. My heart jumped when the gates were opened. After going through security check, I ran my way to the surf beach with other fans to secure my best spot for the show. People were filling up the mosh pit quickly. It would be another two hours before the actual performance starts.

The first artist of the lineup was Sekai no Owari! I knew nothing about the Japanese band, so I listened attentively to their song and got to know them. The vocalist was good! The band totally blew me away with their standard and earned my respect. A Japanese girl was spazzing loudly like nobody's business, but I can't judge because I'll be doing the same when my turn comes.



The next was... A PINKKKK!!!! At first, the opening of NoNoNo was played, and I was filled with disbelief... why so soon???? I had no time to reason, next was the members lifted onto the stage, and I had to get into action immediately. It felt like six goddesses descending upon the Earth. The moment came - I told myself in my heart that my sole purpose was to give my best to A Pink and nothing else matters, even if I acted like a fool.



My focus was looking at the members and doing my fanchant like any dedicated fan would. I had to tip toe to get a good view because many were raising their hands to take fancams with their smartphones.



Bomi started singing the first line and I threw my "Oh NO!" into the air. As the song ran, I lipsync to make sure I don't miss my part. I started chanting my lungs out, on the top of my voice.

Then came the short talk by A Pink. Their speech was inaudible due to screaming from the crowd, but I didn't mind. Next up was Mr. Chu. The main part was singing "Mr Chu" and chant "Chu!!" right after that.

Then came LUV. The loud army chant of "L-O-V-E LUV!" was so awesome!

The last song was Remember. I was gradually losing my voice from the intense chanting, but I refused to give up. I gave my best "Hana, dul, set" (Korean for one, two, three) when the part came. I knew it was important because I treated myself as part of the performance, I must made the fanchant audible in the actual broadcast as seen in Music Bank, Music Core and the likes.

Throughout the entire span of the performance, there were confetti filled ballons passed among the crowd. Sometimes they ended up on stage, and A Pink had fun with us! Eunji actually kicked the balloon like a boss during Mr. Chu (I only noticed it in retrospect).

I felt the members sounded a little different from what I usually heard. The infantile tone was heavy during live. I bet it must be on the sound system.

A Pink ended their performance and I bid my goodbye with an "annyeong". An intense feeling satisfaction came to me for seeing A Pink in real life, in close proximity. So far, I've only got to see them on screen all these while, by myself. I felt a sense of community because there were so many Pandas sharing my love for A Pink, and we did all of these together. I felt proud giving my all to A Pink.





A Pink stayed a total of 18 minutes on stage. Given their short song list, they came like a wind, and the whole experience felt like a dream.



The mosh pit was an unfavourable place to be, considering that I went for a few hours without toilet and drink. I made my way out after A Pink finished their performance, and did not return to the mosh pit during Carly Rae Jepsen and Jason Derulo's performance. I've seen my A Pink, and I felt done.

The crowd size in the photo above is 20,000, setting the record for attendance in the history of MTV World Stage Malaysia.

To relive the moment, I'd watch this fancam:



After the concert

It was a time for celebration. I browsed through social media to look for news of MTV World Stage 2015. I read fan accounts and found that some fans were doing #ShoppingwithNaeun at Sunway Pyramid (LOL!). The fans decided to give Naeun a surprise so that she and her manager didn't need to spend a penny on their shopping, and in return Naeun treated each of them a cup of ice cream - so kind of her right??? :)

There were numerous fancams, fantaken photos, press photos and news articles lying around the Internet. Pink Pandas collected them all to preserve this precious memory :)

It's now on Malaysia Day that I wrote this. I refused to wake up from this dream of mine.

***
photo credit: MTV Asia

==========================================================

Related posts on MTV World Stage Malaysia 2015:

Joshuaongys
TianChad
K-popped! [news report]
K-popped! [photos of A Pink]
Naver
Mnet's Mwave
The Rakyat Post
The Star
KpopStarz
Hype.my

My own photo compilation of A Pink on MTV World Stage (Facebook)

Monday, September 14, 2015

A Pink - Remember

I just finished MTV World Stage 2015, and it was fantastic! In my next entry, I shall compile all materials available on the Internet to preserve my precious memory of seeing my idols A Pink in real life.

I have not talked about the song Remember. When I heard of A Pink's comeback for the summer girl group rush in June - August 2015, I was wondering what song would it be. Considering that many girl groups come up with sexy or cute concepts, I really looked for more originality of ideas. I knew their piece would not leave me in disappointment because this song is written by Shinsadong Tiger.

When I listened to Remember the first time, the opening with a music box delivers the nostalgia that's meant to be. The part I felt a little weird was when the transition from Eunji to Bomi takes place. Many fans Bomi's part started with a higher key that made it feels like starting a new song. It turned out that Shinsadong Tiger has a purpose of doing that - Eunji's pre-chorus suggests us to escape to the old times, and the hard transition to Bomi's "Do you remember" pulls us back to the present reality. I was not used to the song on my first few listen, but slowly, I liked it.

They have decided to go for a mature concept at the same time, sticking to the innocent A Pink I have known so well. It is proof that the girls have grown so much during the 4 years since debut, just like what we've seen in Girls' Generation evolution of concept. I see history is being repeated here, and I'm more confident that A Cube Entertainment is able to handle growth in their own way. Oh yes, Bomi's blonde is very gorgeous, and it takes a compliment like "her hair is life" to fit.

Time has passed, and all A Pink wants us to do is to Remember the memories we had.







******************************************************



Chorus - start
Do you remember, the sun that shone on us
The wide and blue ocean, just like yesterday
In those memories where time has stopped

Verse
Do you remember the day we walked on the white sand together?
Even when the waves came
We didn’t come apart, yeah

(One two three) Now my smile slowly disappeared, without even knowing
(One two three) We’ve gotten so exhausted, we can’t look back or forward anymore

Let’s leave together, in the cool breeze
Let’s forget today and go back to those times
Chorus
Do you remember, the sun that shone on us
The wide and blue ocean, just like yesterday

As if time has stopped, just like we always wanted
REMEMBER REMEMBER REMEMBER

Verse
Do you remember the summer night, the red sun setting
The more the darkness covered the sky
The brighter the stars shined, yeah

(One two three) We kept ignoring the sky and only stared at the ground
(One two three) We’ve gotten so exhausted, not even knowing if it’s day or night

Let’s leave together, in the cool breeze
Let’s forget today and go back to those times
Chorus
Do you remember, the sun that shone on us
The wide and blue ocean, just like yesterday

As if time has stopped, just like we always wanted
REMEMBER REMEMBER REMEMBER

Bridge
You, why are you still hesitating
You, forget everything and come with me
Throw everything away in the blue ocean
Before it’s too late

Do you remember, those times in our hearts?
Moments that we can feel like it’s yesterday

Chorus
Do you remember, the sun that shone on us
The wide and blue ocean, just like yesterday
As if time has stopped, just like we always wanted
REMEMBER REMEMBER REMEMBER

DO YOU REMEMBER

Translation credit: Pop!Gasa