Wednesday, January 28, 2015

WHITNEY HOUSTON 'NOTHING BUT LOVE' TOUR BOOK

Whitney Houston tour book from her Nothing But Love World Tour arrived in my mail a few days ago. This tour book is quite big (12" x 15.5") and the quality is excellent. There are a lot of pictures and information to highlight Whitney's illustrious career and stellar achievements in this 36-page book. Some of the pictures were specifically taken for this tour book and the information is quite detailed. I'm happy that I finally have this book but at the same time, I'm also feeling a tinge of sadness. There will be no more tour books produced, no more albums recorded, no more videos shot, no more interviews conducted, no more pictures taken and no more Whitney Houston. And the saddest and most bitter part is to acknowledge the truth that the end of her career was not as spectacular as the beginning. The success of her final album was partly due to her loyal fan base although there were many who had 'abandoned' her. The foreword for this tour book clearly said it all. How her fans and their love were the factors that kept her going although we knew that her voice was no longer what it used to be. Some of her concerts for this tour were also cancelled and there were news of fans booing her and walking out in the middle of her performance. Whitney's magic was her voice and when she no longer had that, the magic seemed to disappear too. When I attended her 'Live 'N' Loud' show back in 2008, I could notice the deterioration of her vocal quality and I am sure that the audience who attended the show noticed that too. However, they kept on singing along to her songs and as for me, it was difficult to watch her sing without feeling that tight lump in my throat. Though the chances of her old voice coming back were almost impossible, deep down inside I kept on hoping that the situation was only temporary and everything would go back to normal. As a fan, it was absolutely a bitter pill for me to swallow. Her final album ' I Look To You' finally confirmed that Whitney's voice would never be the same again. Still, I did not think less of her talent and gift. I went out and bought the album and tried to find the positive sides of it. The album was special to me indeed. In it, I can almost feel what Whitney was feeling and going through at that time. It wasn't her best album but the most sincere. Everything seemed bright once again and it looked like there was going to be some hope after all. Still, there were issues and demons that Whitney had to fight. It wasn't an easy battle for her. Despite the love and support that Whitney received from her family, friends and fans, she still did not make it. Now, this tour book sits with the rest of her tour books that I own. Reminding me that love can be beautiful and painful at the same time.

The Nothing But Love Tour Book.

The centrefold.

Beautiful Whitney when she was younger.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

MY CD COLLECTION

I wish I had bought more CDs over the years but when I first started buying them, CDs were quite expensive (although they are going out of style, they are still expensive). Only those who had money to spend  would buy CDs (obviously, I did not) and of course, the much more expensive CD player. I wasn't making much at that time (I still am not but I am not complaining either) so I had no other choice but to resort to the much less pricey cassettes most of the time. I had to be quite selective when it came to what CDs to buy since I would be spending around RM 40 to RM 50 for a piece of  CD (that amount of money could feed me for a week!). Sometimes I would go to the music shop a few times to browse through the CDs displayed before I decided what to buy (much to the annoyance of the shopkeeper). I admit that I have bought pirated CDs and downloaded music illegally (I plead guilty, Your Honour) from the Internet (many times actually) but I always make it a point to buy originals CDs from singers that I like and support. I am partial to certain types of music and that will also determine my music purchases. I am not like some people who buy things for the sake of buying and owning something. Certain Malay CDs from the late 80s and early 90s (especially those manufactured overseas) have become highly sought-after items nowadays and can fetch a few hundred ringgit in the current market. A few of months ago, I came across this one seller on mudah.my who was selling his complete Aishah collection for RM 5K and Sheila Majid collection for RM 6K. I wonder if anyone is rich enough (or crazy enough) to part with such an exorbitant amount of money just to complete his or her Aishah and Sheila Majid collection. I know that I won't splurge my money on these CDs although I love Aishah and Sheila Majid very much. There are a few local collectors whose CD collection (and vinyls too) is so extensive (their music collection amounts to thousands!) that they can open their own music station. These collectors are extremely vigilant of their prized collection and sometimes excessively obsessive and possessive as well. They store and classify everything meticulously. As much as I envy them (and I am rarely envious), I realise that I have neither their passion nor their perseverance to become a collector like them (actually I don't have the kind of money that they do). Still, I am happy and grateful with what I have so far (I am very easy to please, actually). I rarely buy any more CDs nowadays and at the rate I'm going, I think I will stop buying them altogether one of these days. Most of the CDs I own are a reminder of my younger days. Current music rarely interests me anymore and most of the time, I feel it's not worth buying any newly released CDs at all. CDs have also seen better days and their time to shine is over. I still go to music stores from time to time in case I see something that I like and I will buy something that will not put a dent in my pocket. I also have this online friend who will inform me of any cheap CDs on sale. He will buy the CDs that I want for me and I will bank in the money into his account. It is much more convenient that way since I can get CDs at very much lower prices and he can make a little bit of profit too. In fact , it can be quite exciting to receive a package by mail especially on days when I am not feeling that enthusiastic about my job. I still listen to my CDs especially on weekends when I don't have much to do (which is very rare). Listening to CDs on a very good stereo system and plugging in your earphones to an MP3 are absolutely worlds apart and that is one of the reasons why I still prefer CDs. My CDs are alphabetically arranged and I do categorise them into singles, full English albums and full Malay albums which make it easier for me to find the CDs that I want or to know if any of the CDs are misplaced or missing. These CDs are displayed in a cupboard and nobody can touch them without my permission (I can be quite obsessive too). I figure if I have spent so much money on them, why let people who don't appreciate them mishandle them?

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2015 - LET'S KARAOKE 32 : CAMEO - WORD UP!

Happy 2015, everyone! I can't believe that I actually forgot to usher the new year with a new karaoke. Well, I guess it's never too late to post one right now since we are still in the first week of 2015. So for this year, I've decided to get funky with this 1986 R&B hit 'Word Up!' by Cameo. Back then, the lead singer of the group Larry Blackmon shocked the MTV audience by wearing a red codpiece in the music video. This song has been covered by a number of artists including Melanie B (of Spice Girls) and Korn but this is still the version that I like best. Enjoy the karaoke and HAPPY NEW YEAR! 

The single's cover

video

Ooww!
Yo pretty ladies around the world
Got a weird thing to show you
So tell all the boys and girls
Tell your brother, your sister
And your mama too
Cause we're about to throw down
And you'll know just what to do

Wave your hands in the air

Like you don't care
Glide by the people as they start to look and stare
Do your dance
Do your dance
Do your dance quick, mama
Come on baby tell me what's the word
Word up
Everybody say when you hear they call
You've got to get it underway

Word up, it's the code word
No matter where you say it
You'll know that you'll be heard

Now all you sucker DJs
Who think you're fly
There's got to be a reason
And we know the reason why

You try to put on those airs and act real cool
But you've got to realize
That you're acting like fools
Give us music we can use it
We need to dance
We don't have the time
For psychological romance

No romance, no romance
No romance for me, mama
Come on baby tell me what's the word

Word up
Everybody say when you hear the call
You've got to get it underway

Dial "L" for low...
Come on, all you people say...
W-O-R-D up - W-O-R-D up

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

WHITNEY HOUSTON 'THE BODYGUARD' TOUR BOOK

My third Whitney Houston tour book arrived today after I came back home from my brother's house in Ipoh. Unlike the other two tour books that I have, this one doesn't have a hard cover but it is still in excellent condition. Another edition of this tour book is also available in Japanese but mine is in English. The book is printed on quality glossy paper and the pictures are utterly fabulous. After all, this was Whitney at her prime when the whole world seemed to revolve around her. There is also a whole page containing a list and pictures of all her released singles up at that point. The information used for this tour book is pretty much the same as the other two tour books that I have except for a little bit of addition highlighting her 'The Bodyguard' success and achievements. Some of the photographs are in monotones and I have to admit that most of the pictures truly show Whitney's beauty and elegance. Her three other tour books from the Greatest Love World Tour, My Love Is Your Love World Tour and Nothing But Love Tour are still available on ebay but I'm putting off buying them at the moment. When the time is right, I'm sure they will be mine.

The Bodyguard Tour Book.

The centrefold.

Whitney's sweet smile.

Monday, January 5, 2015

MY NEW NUMARK TTUSB TURNTABLE : THANK YOU, KAK SHI!

One of my 'adopted siblings', Shi, came back a few weeks ago for his cousin's wedding. He usually stayed either at CoCo's place or mine whenever he came back and not at his late grandfather's house. It was almost 12 midnight and I was, as usual, in front of my lappy ; downloading movies and doing nothing in particular. Suddenly, I received a text from him asking me where I was and telling me that he was in front of my house. I replied his text jokingly since he was always telling us that he was in front of my house when he was actually not. About 10 minutes later, I heard some rustlings in front of my house. I went to look out the window and there he was, sitting outside trying to muffle his giggles. I muttered a few curse words and he only laughed at me since he managed to pulled the terrible trick on me. He had with him his knapsack and a big package which I assumed was the wedding gift for his cousin. Apparently, he had taken the night train from KL and had left his car. He said his sister would be driving his mother and father on the morning of the wedding.We went to the kitchen to have something to drink before going to bed. On the day of the wedding, he left at about 11.00 o'clock in the morning and told me that he would be back late. On his way out, I reminded him to take the wedding gift but he said that he would give it to his cousin later after the wedding. My Mum and I did not go to the wedding although we were personally invited. My Mum was still feeling a little bit tired from her dialysis the previous day and I did not feel like leaving her alone at home. CoCo had gone to do the make-up for one of his clients who was also having her wedding on the same day. It was late in the evening when Shi came back. His family had gathered at his late grandfather's house where they had prepared 'laksa'. He brought some for us and that was what we had for dinner that night. We only stayed home the next day and Shi's mother came to visit us. On Monday, after I sent my Mum to the dialysis centre, CoCo came to fetch him so he could go back to his late grandfather's house before going back to KL. Before he left, I once again reminded Shi about the wedding gift that was still in my room. He said that his cousin would be coming to get the gift later since he had to rush to get his mother and sister. After CoCo and Shi left, I went to get my Mum from the dialysis centre. It was quite late in the evening when CoCo called me up to ask me whether I had read Shi's latest post on facebook. I was totally surprised when I found out that the wedding gift was actually my birthday present. I did not even open the present until later in front of CoCo and my Mum. I opened the box carefully and there it was. The turntable that I had been wanting for so long was right in front of my eyes. Thank you, Shi for the lovely present. I love it very much but you know that I love you more!   

My Numark turntable and some of my favourite 7" singles.

The turntable and a few of my 12" singles.

KENDURI TAHLIL AND DOA SELAMAT AT MY MUM'S PLACE

A few weeks ago, my second sister told my Mum that she wished to have a 'kenduri' at my Mum's place since she had retired from her service with the government. Coincidentally, the date selected also fell on my niece's birthday which was December 28. Actually, I intended to have a small gathering with family members and a few close friends to celebrate my Mum's 80th birthday a few months back but the plan had to be postponed since my Mum was still recovering from her fall and fistula surgery. After discussing with my friends, CoCo, Shi and Mira, I planned a small 'kenduri tahlil and doa selamat' to give thanks for all the good things that had happened to us. It would have been easier if I had catered for the whole thing but my Mum wanted to have certain dishes for the 'kenduri'. Finally, I decided to ask Shi's uncle to prepare a few dishes that my Mum wanted. My Mum wanted 'Red Snapper Curry', 'Lemongrass Fried Chicken', 'Pineapple and Salted Fish Gulai', 'Fried French Beans and Prawns' and 'Sambal Goreng Tempe'. Shi's uncle prepared the fish curry, the fried chicken and the fried beans. Kak Minah (I will write about this 'special lady' later in another post) cooked the pineapple dish and my sister cooked the 'fried tempe'. At the same time, there would also be 'bubur gandum' and 'corn pudding' for dessert prepared by Mira. For the children, I had goodies prepared for them. And what did I do? Running the endless errands that I, somehow, kept on forgetting to do. Since I did not want my house to be cluttered, I decided to have the whole affair outside in front of my house. I had extended the invitation to my neighbours, my close friends and also a few of my colleagues. I had also asked Haji Ismail, the 'tok imam' from the mosque to lead the prayers. Everything went well on that day. The sun came out shining brightly after a few days of non-stop rain. All my brothers and sisters came back. My cousins, nephews, nieces and good friends were also there. The food was absolutely delicious. My sister got her wish fulfilled. My Mum was happy. Nothing went wrong at all that day. I definitely could not ask for more and for that, I thank Allah for all HIS blessings, grace and love bestowed upon all of us.

The three 'otais' - Yang (my cousin's husband), Cikgu Karim and Haji Ismail (the imam).

The food buffet.

The earlier guests after the 'tahlil' and 'doa selamat'.

More guests.

My Mum on her wheelchair surrounded by family members and neighbours.

My Mum and behind her from the left : Ungge (my Mum's cousin), my second sister (Norhayati) and my eldest sister (Noraini).

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 ROUND-UP (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 AND 2013 RECYCLED)

Any great achievements for me? NO. Any extraordinary happenings? NO. Any exciting changes in my lifestyle? Definitely NO. Everything came and went like the previous years. Am I happy? YES. To some, it can be quite strange how a person can be happy and content when not much has happened to him or her. Yeah but that's me. I'm comfortably cocooned in my life at the moment that I don't think I want anything changed (unless it's for the better). At least, not yet. I'm sure that something is bound to happen sooner and later and I'll be shocked out of my pants when that happens. Till then, I'm going to enjoy the routine that I've created for the past couple of years and if there are going to be any changes, I hope they will be gradual. Some of my friends have commented on my laid-back attitude and I can only agree with them. After all, what is there to argue when everything that they say is true? Still, it doesn't mean that I don't work hard or put in any effort at all. I do but I don't think I'll be increasing the quota for my effort any time soon. Even then, I would say that what I've done is definitely much more than that done by some of my colleagues and friends. So how about that?

p/s My prayers for all the departed souls of flights MH370, MH17 and QZ8501. 2014 will forever be etched in our memory. Al-Fatihah and R.I.P.

Friday, December 26, 2014

REMEMBERING BOXING DAY TSUNAMI 2004

It was ten years ago when a series of tsunamis triggered by an earthquake in the Indian Ocean took the lives of more than a quarter million people and devastated countless numbers of coastal communities especially in South and Southeast Asia. Cited as one of the worst natural disasters that ever happened, it humbles me how small we are and how fragile life can be when Mother Nature decides to unleash her anger and fury. RIP and Al-Fatihah to all the victims and I do hope that after ten years, those who were affected by the tragedy have been able to rebuild their lives. Amein.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

HERE COMES THE RAIN AGAIN

It's been raining almost single day now and most of the time, quite heavily and in the evening too. I don't really mind the cold weather that comes with the rain but there is something strange about the rainy season this time. For the past month, I've been seeing clouds (or are they only mist?) hanging real low in the mountainous area near my home. I've never seen anything unusual like that before and it can be quite scary to think that the clouds can look like that. I have always liked the weather to be slightly cold (it gives me enough reason to sleep in a little bit longer) but not the heavy rain and grey sky which can be quite dampening to the soul and the spirit. I am not complaining but when the weather is gloomy and it rains in the evening, it's not fun to go out at all. That also means there will be no tea or light snacks alfresco in the evening. I also feel sorry for the people who depend on the 'pasar malam' for their livelihood. Just imagine if it rains every single day. How will they survive? As for me, being cooped up in the house with nothing to do can be quite depressing. Of course, there are a lot of things I can do around the house but it is much more fun to be outdoors in the sunshine!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

CYBER SPACE EXPLORATION : DEAD BLOGS

I decided to write on this topic since I had almost neglected this blog without ever knowing whether I would ever come back to update it or not. Wandering in cyber space, it is sad to see some blogs abandoned and neglected by their owners. The cyberspace is literally littered with blogs which are no longer taken care of. Like cold fragments from a no longer burning star, these blogs are not often seen but are still there. I often wonder what caused the owners to suddenly stop posting and leave their blogs in blog purgatory. Where have all the owners of these blogs gone to? Sometimes I even wonder if they are still around. These abandoned blogs are an enigma to me; leaving me with questions that will never be fully answered. These bloggers must have been pretty excited the first time they started their blogs. I know I was. I truly believe that they must have given a lot of thoughts regarding their blogs at that time. I wonder why they do not keep their blogs alive. Could it be that they are no longer interested or time does not permit them to sit down and write something in their blogs? Could it be that a tragedy has struck and they are no longer able to write or could it be that the bloggers themselves are no longer around? These questions bug me since I feel that I need to know what has happened. Some bloggers keep their readers waiting with the promise to come back but I rarely meet those who do. To suddenly abandon a blog seems like unfinished business to me. I have learned a lot from being a silent reader of blogs that I follow over the years. They have widened my knowledge, fed my soul, enriched my life, enlightened me, put a smile on my face or in my heart and sometimes, even made me cry like a baby. I often look forward to their postings although I do not know these bloggers personally. It's not really that far-fetched if I say that sometimes I can feel what these bloggers feel. Discovering that your favourite blogs have suddenly been abandoned is a terrible let-down. It's akin to someone leaving you without saying anything at all. No goodbyes. No waving of hand. Not even empty promises. No closure. Looking at the bright side, I'm sure there will be new blogs emerging and popping up from time to time in blogosphere. Some which will be more outstanding and prominent than others. Just like newly-born stars in the vast universe replacing the ones which are dying or already dead.