6.9: That awesome French restaurant called Yeast

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 3.51.33 PMWas supposed to attend a forum that I signed up for today but really, I’ve had enough of them; and also because time spent with Chuben > time spent at a forum.  

Had an awesome lunch at Yeast in Bangsar.

The restaurant was cozy in its own unique French way and one of the owners even came around a few times to check on how we were doing. 

“Have a nice brunch”. “Mm that looks good. Is everything alright?” Très bien.

Also, from the fact that most of the food being served revolved around bread, to its checkerboard tiles on the floor, would make one who has visited Paris nostalgic.  

The Chuben and I sat at the bar, which gave us a bird’s eye’s view of the kitchen’s operations. The chefs and waiters constantly played around and joked about anything and everything during the rush hour, but remained professional throughout lunchtime and served the best Eggs Benedicts, Canard Confits and Quiche Lorraines you could possibly find in Malaysia (if you disagree, let me know and we can go to said best French restaurant together). On top of our mains, we finished our lunch with a sublime Crème Brulée, better than most that I tasted in Paris. 

To end this post, I’m going to ask you to do one thing:

Go. To. Yeast.  

7.9; 1.27 a.m. 
Note to self: although minced garlic mixed with soy sauce tastes great with any Chinese dish (except pork ribs glazed with dragonfruit-Marmite sauce), please restrain from eating too much next time.  
Now my breath reeks of garlic. When will this ordeal end? I. Do not. Know. #prayforshaun#hashtagsdontdoshit
UPDATE: it lasted the whole of the day after (fml)

 

4.9: A bookshop called I AM LEJEN

While waiting for King who was late for our lunch appointment, I spent some time at I AM LEJEN
 

I AM LEJEN is a boutique bookstore that sells novels written by our very own Malaysian writers, alongside I AM LEJEN mugs, t-shirts, hoodies and retro football jerseys. Just opposite of Gold Chilli in SS15, its eye-catching signboard will make you pause and muse…

“What the hell kind of shop name is that?”

I met Hafiz the shopkeeper, who proceeded to give me a tour of the shop and a few brief explanations on what the bestsellers were about. We then sat on the cushy beanbags provided, and chatted about our lives in university.

Hafiz was a really friendly host, and treated I AM LEJEN as though it was a hidden gem in the student centre of SS15. We talked about the bookstore and all that it offered, from Malay poetry to translated English blockbuster novels such as The Fault In Our Stars. While this was happening, a television hanging above the cashier’s head was playing a live theatre act of a local bestselling novel called Awek Chuck Taylors. Here’s a short sinopsis from Goodreads:

Mengisahkan kisah seorang mamat bernama Hafiz, yang bertemu dengan seorang gadis hipster anarkis yang bernama Mira. Pertemuan ini mencetuskan beberapa ledakan aneurysm kepada korteks serebrum – serta perhubungan dengan adik beradik Mira – Aiman dan Nana – yang menjadi semakin akrab. Dan keakraban itu mencetuskan satu lagi cinta tiga segi Illuminati antara Hafiz dan adik beradik – Mira dan Nana. 

I bought two books: Love in Penang, and Lost in Putrajaya (UPDATE: so far REALLY good!). Flipped one of the books and saw ‘Timothy Nakayama’ written in the list of authors. Tim’s a great friend of mine whom I had met during my Toastmasters days. Always a person who cuts through the noise (in speech evaluations), and does it so coolly. The same applies to his speeches. In essence, he’s a chaser of his own dreams. You don’t find many people like him nowadays.  

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At lunch, I made a new friend. His name is Theeban. Being 6 ft 4, muscular and friendly, you know he would make a great bouncer; but what really impressed me is that he recently started reading books; books about history; books that a minute fraction of Malaysians enjoy reading; books recommended by his girlfriend. What a gentleman! 

It’s definitely a book day today. 

It’s difficult to create a title for a post like this.

30.8

I miss knowing that I need to go to the office on weekdays. Now that my internship is over, it’s going to feel weird.

31.8

I just hung out with the medical students from IMU. BBQ sauce never goes wrong as a marinade and the dory fish fillets were a +1 for the appetite.

They’re pretty cool people, until they throw medical jargons back and forth at each other. It became pretty confusing at one point; but it’s fine if they see me say this. They probably got used to it already.

Life of a medical student seems tough. Every hour of the day you’re thinking about the names of bones and nerves; and when they’re supposed to relax, they know they’re not supposed to unless you’re really good at memorizing.

And when you know you are, you don’t show it (or maybe a little),
because we all know that there’s a little kiasu fucker in us.

1.9

Saw this baby who was climbing out of his seat and over the glass fence to reach out to me. Naturally, I made funny faces. The baby’s mom psst-ed at me and whispered to me behind the baby…

“Scold him, scold him!”

I wagged my finger at the toddler disapprovingly and he went back to his seat.
Obtained: two thumbs up from the mom.

2.9

Continued French classes today and met a guy who worked with the United Nations. His stories ranged from managing multiple governments’ agendas to having a personal laptop to avoid getting the one given to him hacked again.
One thing he loved to mention was how he used to be paid in U.S dollars. He mentioned it three times, with his eyes widening every time he uttered “dollars”.

“The pay is good, the pay is good but you go through many sleepless nights with these agendas on your mind”

3.9

It has been long since I last had a day like this. Sitting in a coffee shop (Sips & Bites) with my laptop, blogging, drinking tea that is way more expensive in the UK per cup, and having no plans. The OCBC internship gave me a real big impact, and I think I will write about it soon.

Also, the two people in front of me were talking about something called ‘FSquirt’. They repeated it many times, and tried to make sure it was the correct spelling. ‘FSquirt’ sounds funny.

‘Accidentally’ peeked at his laptop too. Saw the title of his document.

“BORNEOSEW”

I love observing.

Dear Chuben

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My response to your birthday wish:

Dear Chuben, your words touched me immensely. I’m so glad that we have stuck to each other until now after so many difficulties.

I like us. A lot.

That’s like saying I like myself as much as I like you, which is what many people miss out on. They forget to love themselves first before loving others. That’s when high expectations become sore disappointments to the soul. That’s what paranoia and insecurity feast on. That’s when one person in the relationship feels like the only one in the relationship. However, I am proud to say we have got those things sorted out. *High five!

I really like where we are now. It used to be you, studying for your examinations in medical school; me, just doing simple house chores in my room during the weekend. Now it’s you, watching Running Man (FIGHTING) and editing photos and videos; me, shifting priorities between work and society matters in university. Sorry that I have not been paying as much attention to you as before. In Langkawi, I really felt that Gmail and Facebook were robbing me of whatever time I have, time that I could have spent with you during the ongoing summer break.

Thinking about leaving for the U.K this September really SUCKS. However, we both know it is something we need to adapt to all over again. Just like before. Just like last September.

Just like before.

We’re strong and we know it. I love us, I love you. FIGHTING!

This one is for you, Zorro!

Hi Zorro, I remember there was a time when no one allowed you to come into the house; but, I thought why should you be denied the chance to know and feel how it is like to be in a human home. So, I sneaked you in. The first time was exhilarating for you and me; you risked being shouted at and myself, the same. I brought you into the living room and that’s when we had a mini tour of the ground floor of our home. The home you spent your whole life guarding with the bravery of a dark knight. A dark knight, you certainly are.

The second time, I brought you upstairs. It was even more exciting than the first. Stepping into uncharted territory as the furry foreigner you are!

The third time, I brought you into my room! I turned on the air conditioner so you could experience what it’s like to be human. Artificially cooling our own rooms, at the cost of the millions of other living things outside. At the cost of you suffering from the heat we humans selfishly added on to; but at least you found out what it was like. I know my room was not the typical patch of grass you slumbered on, but at least you experienced it!

I played the guitar for you. You were quiet. You listened, you relaxed and you had shed a tear. Even I couldn’t believe that you had done that! A ferocious beast, intimidating to most people but a rather soft soul in front of me. It took you quite a while!

I always loved talking to you. You’re always so still, like a sea without waves. Confided in you so many things that you couldn’t even understand but there you were, beside me. Listening. Trying. I truly savored every second, you know that? We gave you food, shelter and water; but, not love. I regret that.

I remember hugging you too and it felt really good. Fuck what people say about it being dirty and unhygienic. Who cares! Love is love.

When I started work I didn’t have much time for you, even though it knew you did not have much time left. The night before you passed away, I didn’t see you anywhere but I was told you were alright. The next morning was a huge shock to me. It was unexpected. I saw that you were sleeping, but I couldn’t tell if you were breathing or not.

“Zorro!” No answer.

“Zorro!” No answer again.

I touched you and you were so stiff. That’s when I knew; but I couldn’t stay long because I had to leave for work. I felt like a prick. A fucking prick, knowing I couldn’t stay long because I had to leave for WORK. How ridiculous.

Now I treasure Lucky so much, knowing how much pain he must be feeling after you left him. I play with him whenever I get the chance. He’s too scared to jump off the stairs outside the garden, but I have been trying to make him jump that height. To no avail. As of now. One day he will be brave enough though! I have been giving him hugs too. It feels good.

Rest in peace boy. You meant so much to me when you were still here, and you always will.

Aside

Sometimes I feel over the moon when I am with friends, throwing gossip from one end of the table to the other over dinner; when I am with my loved ones, embracing the unconditional warmth they shower me with; when I am alone, and my thoughts take their own time to align themselves to reason and logic. During these moments I wish I could stay in them for as long as possible, because forever is after all, a fraud. I wish I could delay for as long as possible the end of these precious times that always come by so rarely, like a nice sunny cloudless day during winter. I wish I could absorb all their goodness left within them like a sponge before they come to a permanent end, never repeating themselves ever again. You could hopelessly wait for an encore; but why not savour every second of it while engraving it in the deepest valleys of your mind, like drawing all the good things that your heart could see on a piece of paper with permanent ink. We attempt this through the lenses of our cameras, believing that we could capture every moment with technology and hang that one instant of the whole experiences on the wall. If that is not good enough, we film the whole scene, involving everyone and their childish, stupid and unforgettable actions within the limits of a frame and a 16-second period. If 16 seconds is not good enough, we could extend it to an hour. If an hour is not good enough, we could extend it to five; but, what is the worth of that when you leave yourself out of the picture the whole time? That’s when the tripod of the DSLR comes into place, an argument of the disagreers. An argument that would probably reach the point where they say CCTVs can help you capture those moments. That will be quite creepy. How much time would it take for you to go out and feel alive again, instead of waiting, waiting and waiting to seek validation from faceless commenters that you are actually in a good place, having a good time. We do not need others to confirm that what we are doing is making ourselves feel good. We just need to feel it, that is all. Nothing else. No amount of ‘likes’ or ‘shares’ will help you confirm what you feel. You just feel; and, that is all that matters. 

You say there’s nothing wrong with recording videos of special moments. So I say do it with your heart, not your bloody phone. 

MORNING HSU-VEN!

Last September, we were trying to get used to being in a long distance relationship.

Last October, we were struggling. With all our late night/early morning arguments and talks about not spending enough time together, shifting priorities and hours spent on doing laundry, we thought it could have been the end of us.

Last November, we were still struggling but everything got easier. The occasional misunderstandings happened but there were less of those. We knew we needed to change as individuals if it meant keeping us alive.

Last December, I was so happy to see you again in person.

Two days ago, we argued about something really stupid. Causes? Me not being sensitive enough with my words and me thinking you were too sensitive with your assumptions. It made me think you doubted us. It made me doubt us. I needed trust and that’s what you needed from me too to make the relationship work. After two hours of unpleasant tension, we made up to each other and started laughing about our silly, foolish behaviours. Let’s not show that side of us to our friends, we might not have any left if we did.

Ten minutes ago, it was the day that marked our twenty-five months together. We both had forgotten about it. Well, I wished you through a WhatsApp message at the last minute of the day but you were already asleep. It doesn’t matter now. It doesn’t make any difference because we both know that we have each other close to our hearts, with or without a message.

At this moment, my fingers smell like a mixture of salted egg and black pepper crabs. I found out when I was picking my nose in the car on the way home. I knew you would appreciate it if I told you about this in person with the usual ”Shaun, please”. I know you like that weird, disgusting side of me. I like yours too so I am going to protect your pride and leave out the part where you love making rather strange bird-like noises, in which I always respond with stranger bird calls. This always continues until the point we can’t further raise the pitch anymore. Yes, I still love you for that and I know you love me for being me too.

There’s a harmonious understanding that we have our own lives. It’s fine that we don’t get to spend as much time as before anymore. It’s all good. Things change, people change, we changed; but I’m still so in love with you and that’s all that matters now.

Aside

Dear friend,

At this moment you must be feeling that a large part of you is missing. It was once there, it was once a significant part of your days, it took your emotions to new heights; but, now it’s missing. I don’t know if I felt the same as you after the end of my first love but I can understand how difficult it is to overcome those overwhelming waves of sadness, those pangs that you can’t avoid, those stupid feelings you can’t deny. They’re stupid because they make you tear up and as men we don’t like crying. However, it happens especially at turbulent times like these when your feelings become uncontrollable, sane thoughts scattered all over the place. While people be it friends or family look at you and think ”This is not the person I know”, you might feel that everyone is starting to consider keeping a distance from you. Insecurity. After she left you to drown in your wicked pool of crushed hopes and unfulfilled dreams, what now? Insecurity. Hopelessness, despair and the list goes on and on (…and on *cue Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing). ”I’ve never felt like this before,” you may think. It is a new experience. An extremely pathetic one for you, but still new. Remember, what’s new will eventually become old. So, as for anything else that’s unfamiliar, this too shall pass. 

Be sure to not blame anyone, especially yourself for whatever happened to you and her. Maybe it was the things you did or the words you said but who could blame you? It’s the first time that this has happened to you. I remember what happened to me arose from my own wrongdoings. I also remember after my first breakup I became very emotional and started posting song lyrics on Facebook, usually those that ‘discreetly’ let the world know that I was in a bad position. Usually, other people (her friends and yours) had already found out prior to the status update. They might speculate about the true causes or the final decision maker. Fuck ‘em. You are out of your comfort zone and now is the time to learn tolerating anything that makes you uncomfortable. Eventually those people, those thoughts and those hurtful words you have heard will be within your comfort zone. The time where you are capable to leave them behind will arrive too. The whole problem is that it will take some time for you to acknowledge this not as the worst experience you ever had, but as the biggest and most significant in your life. Weird, I know. Strange things always happen.

Remember to live your own life too. You may have discovered the passion you had to sustain something wonderful with her was powerful. It might have overpowered you at some point during the period. DO NOT BLAME YOURSELF . Who could have taught you what you should have done with all the love you had for her? People like you and me make mistakes; and, they learn from mistakes. Take a step back and breath. Clear your thoughts and think logically. You don’t give everything to someone because you love her. You share. <<< Will come in handy maybe not right now but in the near future as days get brighter.

Lastly, the past is the past. All you can do at this moment is differentiate the good from the bad. Not everything was bad. Some are good. Make use of the good things that occurred during the relationship.. Keep them close to your heart as lessons that you want to pass down to the future generations someday. 

The pangs of your sadness will pass. Don’t worry. I can guarantee that they will but countless hours will pass before they do. Time, in this situation, is the enemy but it is ultimately your friend. Be patient. This too shall pass.

Sincerely,

Shaun

A humbling encounter.

Today I was overwhelmed with great humility at a Malaysian’s youth conference. It was called Projek Amanat Negara.

I can’t remember whether it was Mahathir or a student leader talking about societies in UK universities under the names of political parties such as UMNO, DAP and PKR. However, I remember hearing “Club UMNO” and bluntly uttering “That’s bullshit” without much thought to it. Then, the person sitting in front of me turned his head and kindly explained to me why it was called Club UMNO. I could tell he was a supporter of the government from his stern face and serious low pitched voice; but at the same time, I knew he was trying  his best to maintain his composure with the arrogant, know-it-all boy who was sitting directly behind me.

Yes, I genuinely felt like a prick. It turns out that these clubs are sponsored by these political parties and the name of the club was just a way of them of returning the favour as though providing a means of advertisement for sustainable financial support in return. It was such a humbling experience having him remind me some words and expression need to be filtered if you don’t know much about the topic of interest. 

Good night. 

What Executives Really Need to Know About the “Emerging Markets Crisis”

Originally posted on HBR Blog Network - Harvard Business Review:

As currencies and stock markets have tumbled in emerging markets, the business media has been dominated by cries of an “Emerging-Markets Crisis.” Corporate executives would be well served to turn off the television. Multinational companies do have their work cut out for them, and should take a second look at their 2014 plans — but this requires separating the signal from the noise to focus on their most important management challenges.

The media uses “emerging-markets crisis” as shorthand, but recent market turmoil was actually about relatively few countries.

For those of us who work on the ground in emerging markets, or who follow them closely, few of the headlines were all that startling. Yes, there are real reasons for MNCs to be concerned about political instability in Turkey and Ukraine, and economic policies in Argentina and China – all of which have occupied front pages recently. But these risks were…

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