Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Turning 26

My last birthday celebration was a 'surprise' birthday dinner at Kanzi Club, which is a Korean restaurant blaring club music - and which turns into a club at the end of the night. It also serves flavoured Korean alcohol - sweet soju and rice wine, which is my favourite alcohol ever!

Dinner was considerably smaller and more intimate compared to last year, and when I asked people, 'Why did you not attend my birthday party?!' the answer is invariably 'I wasn't invited.' Haha you can only use that excuse for so long!




I adore sparklers, and was stoked that Kanzi provides them for birthdays. It just makes everything much more festive!



And here we are trying to re-enact a photo from last year's birthday haha.

After dinner we went to Muse for karaoke, and at the end of the night Rogie surprised me with a little video he put together for my birthday!

It was quite embarrassing because he must have scoured my FB for photos before organising them with captions and music. Man those photos.. there was even one of my brother because R thought that was me! If you ever want to feel paiseh just look at your old photos on social media.

R also wrote 'She was cute..' in the video, implying that I am no longer cute!!! Ok lah I must admit I'm not as cute as I once was, but still! No need to immortalise that in video form. (Still, thanks for the effort oppa, even if he's a different kinda oppa from GD oppa!)

Although I'm struck by how I look strangely sad in the video (not R's, but the video of my birthday) I had fun and danke to my friends for showing up and buying me food, liquor and entertainment to counter the horror of getting older! x

I'm still nowhere near where I should be in life, but at least I have rapidly stabilised upon my return from Malaysia, and am usually in much higher spirits than I was prior.

Tonight is GD oppa's birthday. #Happy818GDay#

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

the arduous journey to getting my #BIGBANG MADE ticket

My second language English cannot fully express the mental anguish I went through to secure my Big Bang concert tickets.

真的很折磨人。

#我怎么还活着

Okay 故事这样开始。就是我17岁时(没错,真的要从一开始开始写)我的中学 bestie 那死女人介绍 G Dragon 给我,一直说我会爱上他,他完全是我的 style。当年的我还没现在这么 open minded,看到漂白头发+化浓妆的 skinny guy,完全顶不顺。

GD circa Heartbreaker


外加 GD 当时还没整容,也真的没现在这么瘦骨如柴这么帅。

但我那位朋友很会预测我会喜欢的艺人。她介绍的艺人我都是一开始不喜欢,到后来爱到死去活来的(for example:东方神起,Jang Woo Hyuk)。

= 5 years later =

第二次接触 Big Bang 是因为我弟弟不知道怎么接触到了 GD & Top 的歌。

第一次听 High High 就完全爱上他们(尤其是整容后的 GD!!!)

GD 实在是迷人到我默默地跑去学他 get a tattoo of a word on my inner forearm 囧

是真爱(or 是神经病)


好听到我来悉尼后每天播,播到连我的德国室友也莫名其妙开始唱‘High high, I'm so high’ 哈哈 完全是替他们免费宣传。

And then 德国室友 Skype 他的朋友时还会跟他们介绍 GD & Top!


连最讨厌韩国明星的 S 也被我洗脑,不知不觉跟着唱 Knockout。This is double double, double double, combo, double double, double combo。。完全顺口好吗。

 后来 BB 与 GD 都有持续出新歌,虽然好听但我也慢慢长大了,没有以前这么执着想嫁 GD oppa 了。


GD oppa 好迷人。


1-take video for Love Song with the beautiful lyrics I'm afraid that there is no meaning in life. (变成 BB video 特辑哈哈哈)

今年 BB 出 M album 时,觉得 Bae Bae 这首歌特怪(妈妈的,结果现在超喜欢)。



没想到听到 Bang Bang Bang 是完全重拾我对 BB 的热情!(虽然我朋友说很 flamboyant,就是这样才有趣啊!)



然后一发不可收拾,上网看了 BB 的专访后,连他们的老板 YG 的专访也默默看了一遍。

然后也开始 follow 他们的 MADE album releases。最近 series E 也给他们这次的专辑画下完美的句点-超好听,all-kill,横扫所有排行榜。


Zutter 里面 Top is super kawaii! Almost more attractive than GD oppa! 重见 #GDTOP 的心情,非常棒!

看完了,BB 也开始世界巡回演出了,我也时不时会跟朋友提 and 上 YG Family website 看票儿开始卖了吗。

当时的心情是轻松的,还有点担心 BB 在 Sydney 的粉丝不够,怕反应冷清(我就是去过一场很冷清的五月天演唱会,太可怕了*抖*)。而且朋友们也一直 express surprise that a Korean boy band is brave enough to hold a concert at Allphones Arena, which is HUGE.

Lesson learned: Do not underestimate the popularity of BB.

现在回想起来觉得自己是白痴!当时就应该更注意 presale 这回事的!!!

First presale (Wednesday 12pm)

其实这个 presale 我这个笨蛋完全错过了!因为我 signed up for Ticketek presale,没想到别的 organizer 会有其他(更早的)presale! 

Lesson learned: search for and sign up for every presale available!!!

所以 这个 presale 是和朋友聊天时偶然发现的!虽然迟了几个小时(presale tickets 也卖光光了)但我还是很淡定,想说除了 second presale 还有 general public sale,而且澳洲是洋人国家,应该不会买不到票儿吧!

Second presale (Friday 12pm)

I was totally prepared for this. (Having read that BB's first concert in Newark, USA sold out within hours, I wasn't willing to take any chances.)

At 11.55am - my debit card was loaded, I was signed into Ticketek and refreshing the app while I waited for a client.

The second my alarm buzzed at 12pm, I was off!!! 

And so were the effing bots.

Only bots can be faster than me.

I did everything right, and there should be no reason for me to miss out again!

Lesson learned: The bots are real.

General public sale (Monday 9am)


Last chance. At 8.55am I was sitting in front of my laptop with laser focus.

The second my alarm buzzed at 9am, I was off!!!

And so were the effing bots.

Only bots can be faster than me.

I did everything right, and there should be no reason for me to miss out yet again!

Otoke?!!! I was starting to panic, because all categories were unavailable within the first few minutes of release.

So I called the useless machine-operated Ticketek phone number, where the stupid computer voice confirmed that there are no tickets available.

这时候人生完全 over 了。

好吧,看看墨尔本的票,VIP Reserved Seating 也没了((跪

到底有多红?!这时候只能向朋友求救,朋友在 viagogo.com 找到 VIP 票,但他奶奶的竟然从500刀涨到800刀!想到讨人厌的 scalpers 这样赚钱就不爽,至死都不会向他们买票!

Lesson learned: Ticketek is freaking useless. Their presale is useless, their phone number is useless, their agencies are useless too. Using a laptop doesn't help.

结果很黑暗地过了一天。大家都安慰我说 BB 应该会再 release more tickets,我也只能抱着这样的信念活下去(到底有没有这么夸张)。

好像很 over,但想见 oppa 这件事不是两三天的事,外加我这两年过得相当不顺,很难得有令我这么开心的事儿。(演唱会票快上架时,我乐到我的同事问我,‘Min, why are you so happy?’-他还以为我谈恋爱。开玩笑,this is better than being in love!)

有朋友说 next time,但 oppa 们可以红这么久吗?都到该去服兵役的年龄了!我也不会永远年轻爱 oppa 们。

后来我另一个同事鼓励我买墨尔本 Gold Reserve,我也因为太失望了而认真考虑。上 Ticketek 查票时,竟然发现 oppa 们决定在悉尼开第二次演唱会!

人生顿时充满希望与意义!((发光发热

有朋友建议我去 agency 买,于是立马 create event in Sunrise calendar and reschedule working hours!

我也上网搜了一下 how to beat bots at buying tickets, and it seems like the only way is to write your own bot.

Second concert , NSW - general public sale (Wednesday 12pm)

我 desperate 到午休的时间到 agency try my luck.

结果 concierge recommended a General Admission Standing, since VIPs were all snapped up within a minute of release. 虽然有点担心我一个人去站区会被其他粉丝踩死,但 concierge 很热情地说 it's right in front of the stage! 我就尽量往好的方面想。(曾经在大马买过最贵的 VIP 票,但是站区,很累也看不清楚啊!我当时气的拿东西丢挡着我视线的粉丝,气死我弟 oops!sorry 但本人脾气很臭~)

刚才朋友的男朋友问我,票到底买到吗?!因为他有在 FB follow 我的心酸日记哈哈!

结果是-我买了 GA Standing。

虽然不会像周一那么失望,但也算不上开心。毕竟人家一心想有 VIP 又可以坐的经验。

现在还有点担心我一个人在站区会被人挤死。

也担心我期待这么久去了 cannot live up to my expectations。

你看我死不死?!

这时候只能抱着想见 oppa 们的心,勇往直前(看一场演唱会要打一千个字还这么多内心戏!)orz

我现在正在认真考虑 BB 来悉尼会去哪里玩儿,好想巧遇他们啊!

Monday, 10 August 2015

Turandot

Turandot isn't a real birthday celebration with people. I just wanted to watch it, and since they had a show on my birthday, I decided to treat myself.

I was a bit excited about Turandot as I had liked Nessum Dorma and the story of Turandot for a long time (love wins!). Plus the promotional images I had seen was so intricate and dramatic -


It's still annoying to keep alternating my eyes between the stage and the translation projected above it, but the storyline is quite gripping (compared to the only other opera I'd seen, La Traviata) and the set so lovely I couldn't pick one to focus on.

Usually I think people might get a bit bored and fidgety at the opera but during the second act where Calaf was trying to guess Turandot's 3 riddles you can feel the tension in the audience. None of the answers made any sense, but then the entire story didn't make sense if you want to get logical. Does Hope appear each night and dies each dawn? Why? I thought it would be the other way around.

Ping, Pang and Pong


The music was okay, apart from Nessum Dorma which is of course awesome. Ping, Pang and Pong made me laugh. (Opera can be funny!) It was quite amusing hearing 茉莉花,a Chinese children's song to me, in an opera context. Puccini used it as the princess' theme.

Admittedly, I think I like Turandot slightly less after I watched the entire performance, because of how stupid the whole thing is. I know that the essence of opera is in OTT suffering, and that Turandot is actually not that far away from reality, but still.. falling in love just because a woman is beautiful? Betraying all for a woman?

Still, Turandot is quite engaging - the set was very creative (although the audio was slightly worse off in order for the visuals to work in the case of the Emperor). But then people have said that the audio in Sydney Opera House isn't the best.

I would watch it again (but Dan wouldn't).

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Kundasang

5 July


Fish paste noodles in tom yum soup
Dry noodles + spicy and sour soup with fish

On our last full day in Sabah, we had breakfast with our cousins. They grew up well! Very polite and clean. Especially mei-po, who is still fresh-faced. When I was her age I couldn't bear to go out without makeup.

After breakfast we drove to Kundasang, which was like an abandoned town after the earthquake.




It was drizzling so we couldn't go far. Tao bought expensive ice-cream and we breathed some fresh rainy mountaintop air.

;;;

Of course, I received an ubiquitous scolding from Mum. It must have been bad, because afterwards Dad, Tao and even Fann came to pat my shoulder. But honestly I felt nothing. Everything she said is what I have observed about myself in the past 2 years - I am underperforming compared to my peers.

I used to get angry/cry whenever I received a scolding because I was convinced that I will be good at life, and that her words were unwarranted. (Back then I was doing better, and I didn't like how she was comparing with people in completely different situations.) But now because she is just vocalising the unfiltered truth about my life, I have nothing to argue about.

It might sound harsh to others, but to me what she is saying sounds no more harmful than saying, 'You have 3 freckles on your face.' My newfound 'zen' (aka lack of dramatic response) is no less irksome, now it's all, 'You can't just agree to what I'm saying! You have to fix it.'

Of course I have to fix it. Do you think I like being anxious all the time?

;;;

On the way down we passed by some fruit stalls and stopped to buy some pineapples and bananas.


There were even red bananas - it's my first time seeing them.

I love Malaysian bananas, they seem to have a chewiness and springy texture which I don't find in Aussie supermarket bananas.

On the way back to KK we stopped at Tuaran for Tuaran noodles and to check out one of the temples. We stopped to admire the 9-storey Ling Sang Pagoda and wander around the colourful grounds. Dad gave a mini history lesson on the 3 statues of generals guarding the entrance. Apparently they came to be because a prince had murdered his brother to ascend the throne and had been so afraid that his brother's ghost would come haunt him he had his generals stand guard at his door.



There were also statues of the Eight Immortals. I remember loving the Singaporean TV show 八仙过海 Journey to the East which I watched as a kid, though the producers took some liberties with the story of White Peony.


Back in KK we took a short nap before joining the Lee family dinner. Here's Nathan being affectionate. The butter prawns were so delicious!


Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Celebrating 26 at Alpha Restaurant


I had a total of 3 celebrations for this year's birthday, the first being on -

24 July

Usually I think it's taboo to celebrate my birthday before the day has arrived. It feels like tempting fate. But KW will be away during my actual birthday, so I got over myself hahaha.

We had dinner at Alpha Restaurant, a fancy Greek restaurant on a quiet street in the city. (I'd wanted to go to yet another Korean restaurant, but KW'd said, 'But it's your birthday!' so I trawled travel guides for ideas.)

The restaurant was beautiful, but very busy hence unexpectedly noisy. The noise level is like that of a Korean restaurant which sells mixed soju and makgeoli. The girls almost had a breakdown, we could hardly talk. 

The food was excellent, though. We started with pita bread with organic chickpea hommous and melitzanosalata (smoked eggplant dip).

For mains we shared 
1. king prawns with spiced pumpkin orzo, chilli, feta 
2. wagyu beef keftedes with coriander yogurt, roast tomato saltsa
3. Greek spiced slow roasted lamb shoulder

Having never tried orzo before, we were fascinated by it's texture which feels like a cross between rice and pasta/noodles. (It's actually pasta.) The prawns were very fresh. I'm not a prawn person but it was very 弹牙,very 爽口。

The other 2 dishes were very flavoursome but the best has got to be orzo for me. 

The girls said the waiters are all quite good-looking but, you know me, they all just look ang moh to me, though our waiter was quite adorable.

The noise level is a turnoff, but the service there is fabulous. When the time had come for cake, our cute waiter had whispered to Soph 'Who's the birthday girl?'

Kitty had laughed and whispered back to the waiter 'What would you have done if it was [Soph's] birthday?'

The moment the cute waiter slid the cake with a candle flickering in front of me, singing happy birthday.. It was just so lovely! I loved it! 


You know how waiters tend to be very efficient (read: thinly veiled impatience) when taking photos for diners? Ours was a total sweetheart who even adjusted the cake so the bear is facing the camera -


So Soph tipped him generously hahaha.

The story behind this cake was - it had a 'suitable for kids' sign. The end. 

Thanks girls xo

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Paul's wedding

4 July 


video

Breakfast!

video

I don't know why food in Sydney just doesn't taste as good as Malaysian food.

video





On the big day we had noodles for breakfast and mum bought some rice.

I don't wanna jinx myself, but I think I am getting better at getting along with mum.

Basically you just speak her love language - she gets her kicks from buying lots of local produce on special. (Whenever I buy her things I emphasise that they were on special and I think that increases her enjoyment of the actual products.)

After breakfast, we drove to the museum, but there was a blackout due to the rain orz.

So we went home to nap and get ready to set out early so we can visit the coconut stalls on the way to Shangri-La.





Best food ever - coconut pudding
On the way to the wedding venue we stopped at roadside Filipino stalls for coconut refreshments.

Coconut pudding is one of my top eats in KK now! It's so fresh and fragrant!

Roasted coconut, coconut pudding, fresh coconut
We also tried roasted coconut juice, which tasted like coconut cookies. It's cooked by throwing old coconuts into a fire until the shell turns black.

Tao, grandma, moi
It was good to see the family!

And I was so moved that cousin Paul is getting married that I shed a few quiet tears at the tea ceremony.

We hung out at cousin Lyanna's suite after the tea ceremony.

Oh man, the photos.

I'd actually coloured my hair prior to flying back but the hard water in Malaysia just kills my hair. I wash my hair daily but they're still ropey clumps.

This was my first beach wedding and it was quite pretty. The weather was perfect and I thought, how wonderful for Paul and Jun Shi to be getting married. I'd hung out with them a couple of times when I was studying in Sydney and could really tell that they really enjoyed each other's company.

(It's actually not as easy as you'd think to find somebody you like hanging out with - one night I sort of hurled myself into a friend's arms so I could quickly hug him goodbye and end the night. I don't usually hug guys goodbye, but I needed that night to stop then and there before I started screaming.)



The bride didn't want her bouquet so she gave it to me hahaha.

JS: I don't know what to do with this? ((waves bouquet

M: You can throw to me!

JS: You want? I give you..

M: OS(( Will I still have marriage luck if you don't throw it? 

The night went fairly smoothly.

It was Tao and my first time emceeing for a wedding. Of course I had mind freeze and of course I tripped in my heels but it wasn't that unexpected.Thanks dad for being our one-man audience-slash-coach the night before.

(The following Saturday Tao and I attended another friend's wedding where they had a restaurant emcee, who was enthusiastically saying the usual wishes like, 'Let this toast be for the groom to buy a shop-lot so the bride can collect rent, what do you think, groom?'

Tao had leaned in and said, 'That's how it's done!'

Haha I'm not sure how Paul would've reacted if I'd asked him to buy shop-lots for JS.)

I finished my dinner and dessert in record time and tried not to inhale Gracie - who was sitting on my left - as well because she is just too cute!

Meng How warned, ‘小心,不要被她电到!’ but his warning came too late. 早就被电晕啦

Family weddings are fun and now I'm trying to convince Tai to hold his wedding near CNY so I can make it. Because, obviously, the world revolves around me.

But actually July would also be ideal, so I get to escape winter hahaha. In fact, July is probably better than CNY, because my love of CNY has cooled slightly.

You know how relatives love asking re boyfriends during CNY? Mine asks re my salary. They do it whenever they see me, but CNY might feel like an ambush.

Usually I smile and say, 'Not much.'

To which the aunties will respond, 'How much is not much?'

M: Just enough to surviv-

A: Do you earn a thousand?

M ((smiles

A: Two thousand?

反正就是想逼死我就对了。

This makes me very uncomfortable, and I can't imagine ever wanting a piece of non-essential information so much that I put people in an awkward position. Why does it matter so much to them how much I earn?

Still, I do enjoy meeting my grandparents (next year it will be just the grandmas) in the semi-familiar old houses. I just have to get better at deflecting persistent salary questions.