Thursday, December 15, 2011

Transmission Resuming


I know.

It's been over a year since I last updated this blog.

As my wife and Rizal Hashim said, I might as well change this blog's title as Status Zero.

Yes, you were right the first time.

I'm married now.

That means no more lonely dinner at mamak stalls. Not that I'm regretting the past, but it feels good to have someone who waits for you with a smile everyday after a long day's work.

My family's doing well. Growing with my sister's son making up the numbers.

Work is good. A lot more than usual, but exciting.

I've had the chance to meet and work with some of the best minds in the business. Some who ten years ago, would only be in my wildest dreams.

Yes, life is good. Hectic but exciting.

That is what life is all about right?

Now let's get down to business.

Published with Blogger-droid v2.0.2

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

For an Arena Legend

One of my favourite books is Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. There's a line in the book which comes from the main character, Toru Watanabe who said;

Death is not the opposite of life; it exists as a part of them.


My first encounter with him lasted for one hour and 30 minutes. He claimed that it was one of the longest interview sessions he's ever had.

"You're really doing a good job in making me talk non-stop. And you keep asking me questions. Some of which I don't have an answer to."

Never would I have imagined that one day, the man I talked to that day will have a major impact in my career and in my life. The man that will give me a chance to prove myself.

I remember the jokes that we traded after we learn about each other's favourite club. Matt was a Newcastle supporter and he was always taking potshots at me for supporting Spurs.

"Just when I thought you were a smart man. Now I've changed my mind."

But the most important thing that he did for me was the faith and the trust that he had in me. He was the one who opened the doors and gave me the opportunity to prove my abilities.

Once he called me to his office just for a chat. I was given a task and responsibility on a certain project that I'm not quite sure I'm ready for yet at the time.

"You're doing just fine. I am not asking you to paint a Monalisa. Make mistakes. Learn from it. After all, it's just TV. But remember, don't screw up."

That last line was just his way of messing with me, which I admit scare the shit out of me sometime.

But I do know what he meant.

He wants me to learn.

If I had not met him, I would never have thought that I have the chance to do some of the things I do or have done while with ARENA.

If I had not met him, I would never have thought that I'll be meeting some of the people that I have met while with ARENA.

If I had not met him, I would never have thought that I'll be working with some of the best and friendly people I have ever met while with ARENA.

To put it in a nutshell, without him, I'll still be out there...lost and searching for something to inspire myself.

I was asked to write something about him for the company's internal note, which will also be read by his best friend and my Executive Producer, Darren Althofer at his service in Australia.

Monday, 27th September 2010 was indeed a dark and gloomy day as it witnessed the passing of Matt McKeown, General Manager and the main driving force behind Astro Arena. Since its formative days, Astro Arena has been a passion and commitment for Matt as he intends to give Malaysians its best in presenting and celebrating sports in a more broad and mass platform.

With more than 20 years of experience in broadcasting and sports, Matt has brought his expertise in building Astro Arena from the ground up. Since he first joined Astro Arena back in September 2009, he has been the pillar in maintaining a structure for the team to ensure Arena is a force to be reckon with. His experience with various media organizations has brought an informative and fresh views for the team to continue in giving the best in its presentation.

Matt have always encouraged the team to believe in themselves, as he believes in the abilities of each and everyone of us. He was a motivator in a sense which bring the best out from everyone who has worked with him. His ability to be open for ideas, as well as firm decision making, provide a stable and consistent environment for the team to work in.

On a more personal note, Matt have always nurtured a sense of family in Astro Arena. A family man himself, with a beautiful wife and his two adorable sons, he have been a strong instigator in implementing family values in Arena. He laughed, he cried and he stands with the whole team every step of the way. His humour, friendly-nature and his sense of camaraderie have made Astro Arena the place to be and a more tight-knit group.

Matt McKeown was a great man and a great friend. His loss will deeply be missed by his whole family and his entire second family, the Arena family. To those who had just got to know him, he left nothing but wonderful memories of his presence. He will always be remembered and cherished as a pioneer, a leader, and a friend.

Matt McKeown, May Your Soul Be Blessed and May You Rest in Peace.

I never had the chance to thank him personally for everything that he has done for me. I owe it to him to keep moving and persevering against each challenge and each tide that I will face in my life. I owe it to him to be bold and be brave, and also show what I've learned and what I am able to do.

A lot of people say they took a gamble by coming with Matt to Arena. For me, Matt took a gamble when he hired me.

Matt McKeown, my friend, my brother. Thank You Buddy. I will never forget you. Thank you for everything.

For once, this office seems smaller than it used to be.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Long hiatus and comebacks of comebacks....

Being away has been invigorating, in a sense of which new perspectives is needed in this life as human beings. The sense of complacency that has been entrusted unto us is an inheritance of which we have gladly accept as a part of one's sense of becoming mortals.

Pondering questions such as shall we conquer the world with our mighty sanity and gigantic mentality lingers every moment that we took our step forward heading towards the largest playing field we could ever imagine, that is the world. We compete for strength, dominance, and adulations as if we are the chosen ones to lead the path of glory for all our peers, or even mankind.

Lest we forget, we havent been touching the ground as often as we thought. We gracefully floated into the air of uncertainty, in which mortals transforms themselves into something more than mere immortals. They are Gods, in their own figment of imagination. They are the King of Kings, even just for a while, in their minds.

I'd rather stick to the ground. At least that's where home is.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

In a mad world, only the sane are crazy..

To me, a classic is one that can stand the test of time. And a true comedy is one which doesn't try to be too smart nor trying to downplay the importance of message, meaning striking some sort of balance between the two.

I'm not trying to say that this movie is the best Malaysian Comedy of all time. But the combination of extreme comedy and subtle message of societal orientation may have brought Sikit Punya Gila a kind of a cult status in the history of Malaysian cinema.

Who can ever forget the "kuda longkang" scene, which depicts the gambling and "easy money" phenomenon that has plaguing our society until now. Not to mention, the scene is funny as hell. That's how subtle the message is displayed, by layering it with a comedic storyline, which is simply Comedy 101.

It's amazing how things have changed. In the film, it shows that you even have people working as elevator opreators, which is insanely amazing. At this point in time, where productivity is the main key in our nation building process, it ponders the question, how lazy can you be, if you even need someone to push the elevator button for you..?

As a storyteller, Raja Ismail and Zulkifli Ahmad paints a pretty good picture of how the public dealt with the demanding environment of our country in its developing stages. It shows how money is the main factor and initiative in everyday life, and how it controls every aspect of behaviour and mindset of the people.

The comedy in this film is spot on too. The comedic elements have a certain "next-door" type of feel, which makes the audience relates to it even more. The characters are woven into a neighborhood which one might wonder if it was depicted from their own backyard.

Comedy Classic 101. No straightforward preaching. Subtle Message. Outrageously Funny.

This film gets my vote.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Not Minang, but loving it.....

Growing up, to have a real life story that you can read and relate to is like finding a needle in the haystack. I mean, those days, there were many reading materials for kids and teenagers. But nothing could have prepared for the impact that Aku Budak Minang would unleash on all the adolescent souls that have read it.

The way Ujang brought the timeline of his life and weave it into a storyline is priceless in a literary sense. I mean, the language used is not really the DBP-style of BM. But still, it was gripping and intense as a peronal memoir of sorts. It's like hearing a story of your best friend's life. And Ujang has managed to befriend all the readers with this piece as the presentation was casual, simplistic, and radical in a comical-type of literature.

Having read Ujang's thought's about his mom (Air mata aku mengalir bukan kerana sakit dirotan mak, cuma aku terpikir, tak penatkah mak memukul aku dari kecil hingga aku besar?), was just enough to make me wish I was there for him as a friend and lend him my ears and my acquaintance. He was that close. And in my opinion, that's a hell of an accomplishment to have manage in making your readers felt like that.

I can't say I led a similar life to Ujang's. I mean, where as other parents would be mad as hell if their kids read Gila-Gila, my dad was totally an advocate of reading, that it doesnt matter if I read comics, magazine, or humour magazines. As long as it's approved by him, I could get away reading anything.

That's how lucky I was.

This is the one book I'm glad my dad approved.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Define or Defy the Race........

I was never a fan of Erma Fatima. Neither as an actress, nor a director. I mean, no disrespect to her past achievements. She was superb in Hati Bukan Kristal (1990), and her directorial debut, Jimi Asmara is quite alright. But when she came out with this gem, I was in awe.

Who would have the balls (no pun intended!) to carry a movie with a theme that was so controversial, at a time when the nation is at loggerheads about issues on race, politics, and dignity. The movie captured the essence of being at the end of a crossroad, which one would have to define the real meaning of having the liberties of freedom, or a culture that binds a whole race together.

And the fact that the movie is written by Hishamuddin Rais, maybe does have it effects on the idealisme that the movie potrays. And the film was so good, that it even made Eizlan Yusoff's performance believable. No offence to him as well.

In my opinion, one of the best Malays movies in the 90's.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Bright side of the moon...

What do these two men have in common?

One is Bing Slamet and the other one is Sam Saimun. Both of these men have sung the song that in my opinion, is undoubtedly, the best love song EVER, in history.

Am I exaggerating? No, I am not. It's such a wonderful song that it'll make the hair on your back stand as you hear an honest outpouring by a man to his woman. And if you're a girl, you might want to grab some tissue paper before you really want to indulge this poetic masterpiece.

Composed by Mochtar Embut, the song has been covered by a wide range of singers from S. Effendy, Hetty Koes Endang and even our very own Sharifah Aini. But none of them can match those two gentlemen that I mentioned earlier. Both of them brought justice to the song, as the song this magnitude needs someone who can carry it wholeheartedly, and these two certainly did.

Some might wonder, is it THAT good? Just look at the lyrics, and you'll see what I mean.

Di wajahmu ku lihat bulan
bersembunyi di sudut kerlingan
Sadarkah puan kau ditatap insan
yang haus akan belaian

Di wajahmu ku lihat bulan
menerangi hati gelap rawan
Biarlah daku mencari naungan
di wajah damai rupawan

Serasa tiada jauh dan mudah dicapai tangan
Ingin hati menjangkau, kiranya tinggi di awan

Di wajahmu ku lihat bulan
yang mengintai di balik senyuman
Jangan biarkan ku tiada berkawan
Hamba selalu menantikan

Still not convinced? then listen to it yourself..

They dont make it like they use to. Brilliant.