Tuesday, 23 January 2007

Reunion in Singapore/KL: Conclusion

Just to complete the MUCC Reunion collection, here are some more pics of our time with Judi and Justin in Singapore and Malaysia. Unfortunately we didn't take a great deal of pics when they were in my part of the world (ummm that's KL, for those who aren't following me too clearly) :P , so we'll just have to make do with what we have, ya? ;) Okay, I leave you to it. Bi-bi. (That's bye-bye. 'Bi', as in 'bisexual'. Oy.)

Enjoying noodles at Mid-Valley Megamall

Outside a mosque in Singypoo Awwwwww Awwwwww Awwwwww Awwwwww An oddity Even more oddity! (In Nick's bedroom!) Almost artistic Entrance of the Night Safari Firethrowers

A Question of Good Samaritanisation

Y'know there's this ol' Biblical saying 'don't let the right hand know what the left is doing', or something to that effect?

Well, this blog post has nothing to do with that. :P

Funniest thing happened today - I parked my car outside a shopping centre, and it was pretty dark and kinda deserted, and then all of a sudden this dude and a little kid appeared from out of the darkness, freaking me out a little. The dude proceeded to spout in frantic, frenetic Malay that he'd lost his pouch with all his money and bus tickets to south of Malaysia in Johor (next door to Singapore), and that he needed a ride to the bus station about half an hour away as well as some money for the fare. He literally begged, saying, "Please, I know this sounds suspicious, but I'm desperate, please, please help us", and he was with his kid and his wife, who was standing nearby looking worried and upset.

My first instinct was to tell him to sod off, "sorry, I can't help" and walk away. But the moment I said no, he looked so resigned and helpless and frustrated and sad that I couldn't help but wonder. And he turned to his kid and said something like "come on, we'll try somewhere else", and the kid was on the verge of crying. And as I walked hurriedly away, I thought, "Man, if they were trying to rip me off, they sure are fantastic actors, all three of them."

But the more I thought about it, the more I wondered. And eventually, I couldn't help but imagine, if it were true, and if it were me in that situation, how would I be feeling at that point? Desperate, lost, moneyless, with nobody willing to help... About twenty minutes of pondering later, with a plate of Nando's in front of me, I got up and went hunting for the dude. I saw his wife standing and looking teary-eyed a fair bit from the shopping centre; following her gaze, I was led to a parked car, where the dude and similarly teary kid were speaking to the young couple in the front seat. From what I could hear of the conversation, their story was the same.

Long story short (too late, sorry), I told the guy, "Hey, man", and proceeded to give him the money, an amount I won't mention here. He seemed so grateful, he was rambling "thank yous" all the way, and he even asked if I could give him my phone number so he could get back to me (presumably for payback?), but I said "forget about it, happy journeying" and watched as he and his kid went back to his wife.

Now, the point of this story isn't to show off or anything (it wasn't that big an amount, anyway, LOL!)... the thing is, I walked away thinking I'd done the right thing. Regardless of whether or not the dude's story was true or whether it was an elaborately acted-out hoax... if it's the latter case, then it's really not my karmic concern, is it? I did, in my heart, what I thought was the best. The money isn't an issue. (Well, it isn't the issue.) And if in the end I really did help that family to get home, then there's happiness all round. There's something in the Bible (me being the good Catholic boy that I am, HEHEH *looks upwards nervously*) about recognising the Lord in those who ask your help... maybe that's what happened tonight. I don' t know.

I guess the bottom line of this little narrative is... what else could I have done?

What would you have done?

Friday, 19 January 2007

Man, Am I Tired!

Heya, everybody! Sorry for the long silence, have been tremendously and blood-pressure-through-the-roofingly stressed out and busy at work! It's 540am and I'm still in the office, having been here since 1130am yesterday morning, ahahaha! That's demented laughter for ya. Anyway, just a quick recap - last weekend, of course, Judi and Justin (heeeeeey!!!) were in town (yaaaaay!!), and it was, as expected, wonderful! The downside was that because of my workload, I had to neglect them most of the time, and so it wasn't the wild partying weekend we expected. (Judi and Justin, methinks, were also a bit worn out from all the vacationing. Tis true, boys and girls - going on holiday can be more tiring than regular routine life!).

But yeah, it was really fun regardless - they came into KL on a bus from Singapore on Saturday, and I picked them up from the Bangsar train station to bring them (via longwinded route) to their fancy five-star Le Meridien hotel (the next stop on the train line, but a 30-minute drive away with me behind the wheel, HAHA!). The weekend went by really quickly, with us hanging out at shopping centres, and eating way too much food, and - oh! oh! - the two of them sampling spicy Indian cuisine, with their hands, no less, a first for them!! Heh, good times - pics coming soon!!

Sadly Monday was spent with me in the office most of the day (though they went off to Sunway Lagoon theme park and had a splashing time, I was told!), so I could only meet up with them in the evening to go for dinner and coffees at Mid Valley; while Tuesday, egads, found me in the office from 1130am till about 1145pm, only to meet them at their hotel to watch them pack and say a teary "byebyeeeee and thank you for all the fish!" They left on the bus back to Singapore on Wednesday morning, and flew back to Perth that evening, where they are now safe and sound (and sicky, Judi says!)

Well, I gotta run now - 630am (see, it's taken me nearly an hour to write these few words!) and my boss is saying "NICK! FOCUS!" - so I gotta get back to (oy!!) work. Sigh. It's definitely a day off for me today though!! Pity the day's already begun. Okay, here's me signing off. Bye! ~N

Thursday, 11 January 2007

Reunion in Singapore: Foreword

Hi everyone! It's a Thursday afternoon, and I'm working from home, doing some transcribing work and now taking a brief break to blog a bit (that's a itty-bitty bit of a tongue-twisty mouthful)! Well, my trip to Singapore has come and gone, and it was terrific!!! Just to recap: I left on Friday and came back on Tuesday, and boy, did we had a blast! Now, if you scroll down, you can start reading about our misadventures in Singapore in chronological order, starting from Day One in the post directly below this. The idea here is that you scroll downwards (such being the traditional reading style) rather than up (such being the traditional blogging style) to read about the whole trip! :) So go on... the text was written at several points during the holiday and while travelling, so it's "present tense", in that sense. Hope you enjoy, and don't forget to click on the photos for a bigger (though not necessarily better, HAHA!) view!! Until next time, take care!~N

Reunion in Singapore, Days 1 & 2

Welcome to Singapore!Hey everyone! How's it going? Well, I'm pretty exhausted, but I'm having so much fun right now - am in Singapore for the long-awaited and much-mentioned reunion with Justin, Judi-lah, Jo, Shaun and Nicky! Yaaay!!! Oh it's been such a blast - we're now sitting in The Coffee Connection, having (well) coffees and cake and basically just chilling. The best part is that we're such close friends that we're not even talking to each other at the moment, hehehe -I'm working on this (using Word at the moment because there's limited Internet connectivity here, so I'll copy and paste later, LOL!!); Jo's gone to buy a book from the bookstore; Shaun's away from the shopping centre where we are as he's on a work errand; Judi and Justin are both reading the books they bought... and it's all so comfortable, just hanging out. Companionable silence, it's called. It's terrific.

View from the back of the busNot like we've been silent all this while! Mein gott, anything but! Yesterday I met up with Jo, J & J at the train station after a five and a half hour bus ride from KL (which was a story in itself; get this: 2:30pm was the scheduled bus service; 1:30pm I decide to call a cab to get to the bus station; 1:31pm I'm on the phone and realising that none of the numbers I have for taxi services work: they're either engaged, out of service, or not being answered! Bloody hell! So I had to lug three bags - my carry-on with books and stuff, my laptop and my clothes bag - all the way out to the main road (which would've been fine if the weight hadn't been so much and the sun so hot!!!) and flag down a taxi from there. First taxi drove past, ignoring me. Second taxi driver gestured that he was 'on call'. Sheesh. Bloody Malaysian public services suck!!! But anyway. Back toJudi, Jo and Justin! the happier story). There were hugs and squeals and screams and "Niiiccckkkeeeee!"s and "Judddieeeeeeee!"s and "Jusssssttiinnnn!"s (me totally ignoring Jo, having seen her just last week, HAHAHA! Kidding) ... and then we were off to their hotel before painting the town a glorious red, yellow and White!

Judi-laaah! Judi & Justin! Shaunus! Nick & Jo, full-up... Justin and Shaun

Steamboat meat!So where did we go? Gawd knows. Dinner, firstly, for a luscious (read: overwhelming) steamboat with waaaay too much food. We ate, and ate, and ate, and ate, till we felt like we were about to explode: all the while laughing and singing and doing all the silly things we've been (in)famous for in Perth. Afterwards, filled to puking point with too much soup, meats, balls (mmhmm), noodles, tofu and veggies, we decided to go for a much-needed walk, skipping about town (painfully, with our bloated tummies), singing at the top of lungs and wondering when the Singaporean authorities were gonna haul our asses into prison for Steamboat soup!general misdemeanour and being a public nuisance. Afterwards we headed back to the hotel, had coffees in the lounge, and then headed back to the room (where I stayed over with Justin and Judi without the hotel people knowing, ooerrr!) to crash. And crash we did.

Good God, the things that happen in a bedroom!Today so far has been heaps of fun, even though we haven't done that much - Judi, Just and I spent all morning and early afternoon in the hotel room, just mucking about and watching sitcoms (hellooo, Ugly Betty!) on my laptop, until Jo and Shaun came along... Then we drove out (at 4pm!) to a shopping centre for a huge lunch of ribs and miscellaneous Western food (hmmm,a little bit of deja vu when I talk about this! Could it be because we've been here before??) before walking around the shopping centre and just... shopping!! After a while we needed a caffeine kick, so here wJudi & Justin at TCCe are at TCC and we're just chilling! But oh, so far it's been so much fun!! I can't emphasise enough how wonderful it is to be with my old Perth friends, just to be outgoing and outspoken and out there, having a great time and feeling the way we used to when we used to hang out in Perth!! Tonight the plan is to visit a jazz bar or two, have some drinks, listen to some music, maybe go to a club and dance, and basically have the time of our lives, yaaay!!

Gangsters The Gang

Anyway, that's about all for now, day #2 of my four-day visit with the Perthlings. Rightyo, I'm going to get back to my coffee and cake now. Until next time, take care and have fun!! See ya!! ~N

Reunion in Singapore, Day 2 (Continued)

Outside Plaza Singapura. How romantic! Judi and Justin at the French restaurant-type place

Right, where were we? Having coffees at TCC, evening of Saturday, day #2 in Singypoo. Chilling out. Afterwards, we took happy snaps in front of Plaza Singapura where we were, before heading back to the hotel to change into our smart gear. Gawd, we were gorgeous, hahaha! Didn't really know where we going, though Shaun, being the terrific host that he is, told us "don't worry maaaittteee, we'll have a greeeaiiittt toime!!" We All dressed up with someplace to go!ended up first going to a French restaurant-type place where we had some really really scrumptious home-made ice-cream (I had vanilla and rum & raisin, the latter made out of real rum and - gasp! - real raisin!!) with seafood crepes, French beer and a short glass of walnut & cider brandy. Mmm!

Then we went to the clubs - first stop was this tiny little pub called Fields Avenue, which literally had, like, five tables and a bar and a tiny stage with a live band and barely any floorspace for dancing. Well, that didn't stop us! As soon as the band (who were really rather good and in my opinion ought to be playing in bigger, better venues!) started on the upbeat numbers, Judi led the way with "whooop-whooop!"s and "hands up in the air, put your hands up in the air!" and "shake your booty, shake your booty!"-type moves. With Shaunus, Jojo, Just, JuJu and NickNick going at it full-force, we pretty much owned the club and even drew in crowds! (No kidding, the owner actually thanked us for being there and livening up the place, saying it was because of us that their occupancy rate shot up that night!) And the band said we were da bomb, yelling into the mic, "You guys are da crazeee guys, aren't ya?! You guys sure like to paarrtteeee!" Oh, yeah, we sure do! A highlight of the night was when Shaun got the lead singer of the band to make the dedication that "MUCC rocks!!!!"

At Fields Avenue

So the dude announced it out loud, and proceeded to ask, "What does MUCC stand for??" Being the good former members of the Murdoch University Catholic Community that we were, checking people out, dancing scantily and drinking like fish, we told him "mind yer own beeswax!!!" LOL. Not in those words, hehe! (Another highlight of the night? This chick, I forget her name, making a move on Shaun and Shaun pretty much saying "Mmm naah I think I'd rather notoh who am I kidding, BRING IT ON!" ... And a point in the evening when a bunch of whorish chicks came in and checked Justin out, only to leave when Judi kissed him, pretty much sending out the message "hands orff, biaaatches, he's mine!")

After way too much to drink, we stumbled out of Fields, singing at the top of our lungs, and looked for another joint to chill out at. With virtually no clubs in the area perpetuating the party mood, we ended up the next best thing: a gay bar, where everyone thought Judi was absolutely fahbulous, darling, faaahbulous! (They were also terribly disappointed when Judi said Justin was her boyfriend. Awww. "Hands orff, biaaatches, he's mine!") We ended up meeting a couple of cool people - this dude Hykel (or something) who was alone because he'd apparently just been dumped (riiightyo...), and this other dude Chris who was a musical theatre major and asked me to keep in touch with him so he could help spread the word about FTL 07, heh!! Sure, why not. We also ran into an American couple, made conversation, and then made plans to hang out together the following night.

We didn't hang out together the following night. :P

How did the evening end? With all of us drunk, tired, danced out, temporarily deaf, and all of us agreeing that this was the most fun we'd had for a long, long time. (At least, I thought so.) Shaun drove us back to the hotel, and we snoozed, refueling for the next crazy day of fun, dancing, drinking and excitement.

Cue scene change: the next crazy day.

We didn't do anything.

Reunion in Singapore, Days 3 & 4

Hehehee! Yup, I kid you not, we didn't do anything.

We spent too much time at the gay bar...Well, that's kinda untrue. Tired out from the night before (and with Judi's legs sore), we lingered in the hotel, watching comedies and stuff, before going to church in the evening (nothing terribly exciting to report there). Then Judi, Justin and Shaun went off for dinner with Shaun's folks, while Jo and I headed our own way for dinner, some shopping and general chit-chat. Before we knew it, the day was over, and we were back in the hotel room watching more eppies of the hilarious Ugly Betty (go check it out, people!!) and snoozing. We opened our eyes to a brand new Monday late morning... and Nick (that's me, lest you forget who's telling this story) discovered a London production of My Fair Lady being staged in town and managed to get permission from Boss to return to work only on Wednesday, allowing me to extend my stay by one more dWAY too much time at the gay bar!ay, yippeee!!! Gawsh, you gotta love spontaneity like that!! Changed my bus ticket (oh, have I mentioned I'm on the bus home right now??? Figured I might as well type this all up now and Ctrl C + Ctrl V later, hehe!!)... and proceeded to call for ticketing info for My Fair Lady.

Tra la la... How much?? Oy!

Ummm well, we headed to the zoo instead.

At this point I'm probably going to sound like a real tourist (as opposed to a synthetic tourist) by saying that oh boy, the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari were really a lot of fun! After a lunch near the hotel of bak kut teh noodles, Shaun's dad (helloooo uncle!) brought us to the animal park where we saw lions and tigers and bears (oh my!). Lions and tigers and bears (oh my!). Lions and tigers and bears, and penguins and primates and snakes, and baboons with grotesque swollen asses that hung out like giant pink peaches from plentiful branches of a fruit tree, and many, many other creatures - birds, otters (so cute!), mongooses (not mongeese), and white tigers (eee!!)!

What we found really impressive are the size and naturalism of the enclosures, which, really, didn't seem like enclosures at all - modelled so naturally and accurately according to the animals' habitats (even the polar bears had -5 degree refrigerated rooms). The Zoo is so big that we were there from about 3pm until 630pm and we didn't manage to cover all the grounds... but what we did see sure made us excited for the next part of the night: the Night Safari!

Checking out the otters! Otter! So cute!Justin! Bird! Nick & Judi! Baby baboons! (What's *with* the arrangement of these photos?!)

See the elk?