where nicster rants on issues of local interest, global interest and of absolutely no interest at all...

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Roddick vs Grosjean - WHAT A GAME!

Woah! What a game!

One of my favourite players (besides Marat Safin) vs a player I really admired at the oldest tennis Grand Slam event - Wimbledon.

Source: Andy (andyroddick.com), Sebastien (bbc.co.uk)

I must say thought that I really wanted Andy to win but if Grosjean had won, I wouldn't have been too upset. The game went into an amazing five-setter, each set could have gone anyway cos it really didn't matter who got the first break, there was always that risk of being broken back... and it came bloody close to happening, and was even actual occurances.

Both were serving spectacularly, both were rallying amazingly and both were playing magically. Some stroke you've never seen in your life, some returns you never imagined could be return and some bloody, fucking accurate on-the-line balls that could only be desribed through swearing.

I have renewed respect for Sebastien Grosjean - if this game is an indication of what's to come, I think we might have back the old Grosjean that I really, really enjoyed watching.

In other news, bloody stupid Federer is in the semis as well, and will meet Lleyton Hewitt. GO HEWITT! Upset the bugger! :D

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

War Of The World? Pfft... (Spoiler Warning)

Well, thanks to Eugene (and media passes), I was at the Premier of the quite highly anticipated War of the Worlds starring Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning.

If you don't know what a spoiler is... haii... means I will talk about things that happen in the show lah.

At the end of the movie, all I could think of was - if there's any truth in allegations that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes only got together for publicity, well then, thank god because the only thing that will sell a movie like that is hype.

I'm trying to avoid spoilers but there's just some things I can't understand.

How is it that when you're being attacked and everyone is running away but you're not just standing there trying to be macho but going towards it?

How is it that everyone kena tembak mati, but you can stand right under that thing and langsung tak mati?

How is it that such 'intelligent' creatures like aliens who can plan the end of earth before earth started, can roast you into charcoal but cannot: a) hear your breathing and b) hear you struggling with another person and c) hear a girl sniffle and cry?

How come a girl can cry and keep screaming for two days and a) not get a sore throat and b) not lose her voice?

How is it that all building retak, and collapse and blood here and there but the house you're aiming to go for, not even a drop of blood, let alone a hairline crack?

How is it that all the power mati - electricity, car battery, cordless phone and even mobile phone - but video recorder can work?

That's only a few things I remember. I know, many will say, that's just a movie. Even mum will go, "If it's not like that then no show to watch lor". Still? Aren't movies supposed to be realistic (okay, fine, so there's no aliens that we know of... yet!)?

There were many more inconsistencies, and most of all, draggy scenes. Like how many time you want to show that Tom Cruise is so smart to hide from the aliens? Or how fit he is that he can run away from explosions? A coherent story, that at least explained some of the stuff would suffice.

I was thoroughly dissapointed... but that's just me lah. Like tak syok the show... not enough action, can you imagine - a chicken like me only jumped ONCE in the whole movie?

Oh, and sticking to the unrelaistic theme, maybe they should have gotten Tom Cruise to run into the house, grab a towel and hitch a ride into the galaxy, eh? :D

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Wimbledon Updates

I don't think I've ever blogged on tennis before but I figured now is a good time as any, just before I head to bed after watching Lindsay Davenport beat Kim Clijsters in the 4th Round of the third grand slam of the year, the Wimbledon Championships.

Now, what's got me even more happy is that Andy Roddick also made it through to the quarterfinals by beating Guillermo Coria earlier (I was upset though, that they didn't show this game on TV).

Source: Lindsay (Yahoo! Sports), Andy (AndyRoddick.com)

I'm also pretty happy that Venus Williams is in the quarterfinals as well, after avenging sister Serena's loss to Jill Craybas. I have to admit that Venus is my favourite of the two sisters, and hope that she does well (although if she does meet Lindsay along the way, I really don't know who I'd be rooting for). I wasn't sad to see Serena lose to be honest.

I was pretty upset for Marat Safin (lost in the second round), who together with Lindsay, Andy and Venus, are my favourite players currently. I used to like Sebastien Grosjean a lot but his form has dropped, and has been unimpressive in the past year or so.

Grosjean is currently playing as I type to qualify for the quarterfinals. Another person who is currently playing is defending champion, Roger Federer. He is playing Juan Carlos Ferrero and I hope that Juan Carlos beats him. Maybe I'm still smarting from his beating Andy last year, but since his winning streak, I've always been rooting for anyone to beat Roger. Imagine my glee when Marat beat him at the Rod Laver Arena (during the Australian Open) earlier this year, and Rafael Nadal beat him at Roland Garros (French Open) barely a few weeks ago.

Another person I'd like to see lose is Maria Sharapova but that's more from jealousy. I don't really know why I don't like her (maybe, again, because she beat Lindsay at this tournament last year). I just don't. Maybe it's cos she makes too much noise on court. Whatever.

I hope Andy and Lindsay takes the title this year. And if it has to be anyone but Lindsay, then I hope Venus gets it. As for Andy, well, anyone's better than Federer. Maybe when Federer loses all 4 Grand Slams this year, I might feel sorry for him next year.

(Hah! Like what I think makes a difference to them!) :P

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Parents Taking Responsibility - My take on the letter to minishorts

I was going to blog on this article in The Star today with regards to the Sothinathan case. As I logged on, I popped by PPS to see whats new with bloggers in Malaysia today, and came across this post from Mack's site, which lead me to minishorts' site, and this letter.

It's too early in the morning (10.30am on a Sunday IS early) but I'm a tad bit irritated. So excuse my rant.

The letter in question summarised. A 'concerned' mother wrote to minishorts expressing her dissapointment in the use of explitives and vulgarity in minishorts' site, which she discovered when her children visited the web site when minishorts.net was featured in The Star alongside other popular Malaysian bloogers last week. (Damn, what a clumsy paragraph).

Now, while I acknowledge the mother's motivation - the love for her two children, and for being 'there' enough to know what her children is up to, I question the mother's motivation in writing the letter in the first place.

What could possibly be the reason behind sending minishorts that letter? Does the mother expect minishorts to quit using explitive, or give up blogging?

And then the mother acknowledges that maybe the letter was more suited to the Editor of The Star instead.

The way I see it is this. The blog, and the newspaper, is essentially like a product. If you don't like it, don't buy it. Across the world, newspapers are known to tow certain political lines - people pick and choose which newspaper they want to read. Essentially, the paper one purchases is based on one's choice of content. The same may be said for this case. If you're upset about the content choice in The Star, start reading the NST.

Do what you need to do - but please don't impose your values on us.

I've always believed that a child's behaviour reflects that of the parent. It's heartwarming to see that in times when parents have little time for their children, that a mother like the one who wrote the letter is so concerned about her children's life. I truly believe in the presence of a parent in a child's life.

That said, I also believe that it is very easy for parents to brush off responsibility by blaming other factors in their child's behaviour (or misbehaviour).

This is not different to the issue of racial discrimination (or national unity, as we call it in this country) and sex education. Many people would agree that the youth of today are misguided (doesn't matter that those making these claims were probably pretty misguided in their own days), and many blame the education system, and that's exactly all they do: blame, blame, complain, blame.

No one ever thought to do something about it at home.

Yes, complain by all means - every system needs it balance and check, so if something is unsatisfactory, you need to make your voice heard. That is very important.

But until something is done, other alternatives have to be looked into. Because otherwise, that complain turns into blame - you're criticising someone for not doing something, but you're not willing to do anything yourself.

I guess I'm lucky to have been brought up by relatively progressive parents. My dad's philosophy has always been to be honest, tell us everything and how they feel, but to let us know of the consequences as well - and make sure we know that the only one who HAS to deal with the consequence is ourselves.

So yes, for example, my parents know that I use explitives, but I've been respectful enough (well, there was one or two incidents) not to use it in front of them and know to only use it with friends who can 'take' it. My parents know that I drink lots of alcohol, but know that I'm responsible now to not drink and drive *anymore*. And the list goes on...

Essentially, what people like the mother who wrote the letter need to realise is that a parent cannot change the world, but they can prepare their children to survive in it. Please, don't go around censoring people, or condemning, do something about it.

Sit your children down, talk to them and tell them why you think that it's wrong for them to view such sites. And let them make their choice. Teach them to differentiate what is right and what is wrong - instead of hiding things from them. God knows that there are much 'worse' sites out there that you don't know that they are accessing. Who knows what else they are up to (and if your children are too young to understand these things - there are a variety of child protection stuff on the net that you can use - but please, please don't think of your children as babies forever. If they know what sex means, they're probably ready to understand the consequence of it as with many other things).

It's not just charity that has to begin at home, so does education (and by this term, I don't mean purely academic). No one is more responsible for your child's education than you - not the Government, not the media and definitely not the schools. Do something about it instead of just complaining, your children will grow up to appreciate it more, trust me. My sisters and I are living proof.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Jumping on the Malaysian Blogger Bandwagon

Okay, so this is how out of touch I've been with blogging... I didn't know about Kenny's Which Malaysian Blogger Are You? until I was at the party yesterday and Adam kept complaining that he did the test 11 (REALLY?) times and came up as Joyce each time (he was worried that he's turning into a fairy...umm... yeah, no comment considering he's secretly fancied me since we first met back in 2003 :P). That's what you get for shagging someone I guess.

But I'm not even shagging her and this was the result when I did the test this morning:

Congratulations Niki Cheong, you are...

Joyce the Fairy of xanga.com/kinkybluefairy

If you are a car, your fuel of choice would be unleaded alcohol. You are a major party animal with an unnatural obsession with art, toys and all things fantasy. You think the world is too complicated and you wished it could be as simple as it was when you were 7 years old. You live with it. You work hard, but you don't take for granted the simple things in life that make you happy. Sweet candy, cartoon music, crazy friends, all these and more make you a happy person living in your own little world.

Which Malaysian Blogger Are You?

Well, at least she's quite hot looking lah. Better than when I did the test before bed last night and came out with this:

Congratulations Niki Cheong, you are...

Kenny Sia of kennysia.com

You have it all, or so you think. Big balls, big bird, big everything. Also a big heart and ever-ready big hug to give out to everybody who needs one. But you didn't know this. You're the one who need a hug the most. So hugs to you!

Which Malaysian Blogger Are You?

Omigod, does that mean I'm a cross of Joyce and Kenny? Scarreeee...

Everyone wanted to hump Kenny Sia at the PPS 2nd Birthday Bash!

Ahhh... well, I expeceted Kenny Sia to be that popular but that dear old humble friend of mine wasn't too sure. I walked into the bash at Charlie's Place in KL and immediately saw him - and considering that he was the only person I recognised, I went up to him immediately (which made me look like a groupie - but you get that).

Then suddenly, 20 people were surrounding us, all wanting pictures with Mr. Coconuts.

Thank god, I met Minishorts, who I've also not seen in a while.

I'm usually not comfortable in situations where I don't know people - my friends would scoff at this comment but really, if I don't know you, I'm quite shy. And to be honest with you, I only went for two reasons.

1. I've not seen Kenny Sia since I left Uni more than three years ago.
2. I've owed David Teoh a drink for almost a year. (Hey David, thanks for reminding me about the party tonight!)

The event turned out okay for me. The nametag thing was a bit school-boyish (but since David said I don't look THAT old - I was okay with wearing it if only to make me look young again).

(I didn't bring my camera to the event, so this was the only shot I took when I came home) :P

Initially, I was a bit wary of the people - everyone seemed to know each other but a couple of beers took care of that.

I don't remember most of the people I talked too but it was nice to meet them all once and for all. One person I do remember meeting is Huai Bin, I had followed his blog a long time back. I quite enjoyed his blog. It was also nice to meet Sharizal for the first time too. In fact, it was nice to see a few people from back in 2003 when I started blogging (I didn't say hi to many of you, but it was nice meeting you anyway). I did wish that Wena was around, and that I could meet her for the first time though.

What tonight did do for me (and thanks to Mack for the conversation, everything you said) is reignite my blogging interest. I know there are two or three of you who still read my blog but the few people who used to follow my blog a long time ago, don't anymore. And I hope that this is mainly due to my lack of blogging.

The thing is - I'm a writer by profession and sometimes, it's just too much for me to keep writing. Granted, most of the things I write for, for a living, is superficial and frivolous, but it's writing nevertheless.

I long for the days when I have the time, and energy to update my blog every couple of days. These days, I'm lucky if I have two posts a month. I hope to increase this though, and bring up issues close to my heart again, instead of just ranting about it over dinner to my dad and then forgetting it after.

Thanks to PPS for keeping me going all this time, thanks to Aiz for PPS. And happy birthday!

p/s Oh, and if you're wondering about my headline for this post - well, just be on the lookout at PPS tomorrow and the next couple of days. I'm sure the photos will start appearing, one at a time (and trust me, there were lots!). ;)

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The 'bizarre' Michael Jackson Aquitted

After days of deliberation, the jury in the high-profiled molestation case against Michael Jackson has found him not guilty of all charges against him - including molestation and conspiracy to kidnap the family of the defendants, just barely less than an hour ago.

Many people will still question the man, no doubt, but as his ex-wife Debbie Rowe said in a statement to Entertainment Tonight: "I would never have married a paedophile." And the jury obivously agreed with her.

I know there's not getting out of the spotlight, and his reputation will forever be tarnished, but I hope the media cuts him some slack now. It was nice to note the article which I read (from the Associate Press) did not once use the term 'Wacko Jacko' etc etc. In fact, the closest they got to was: "...a total legal victory but one that may do little to improve his bizarre image." I'll give them that much credit.

This case has taken the toll on many people I'm sure, to the point that the jury asked to be allowed to get back into their own lives. The article said: "After the verdicts were announced, the judge read a statement from the jury: "We the jury feel the weight of the world's eyes upon us." They asked to be allowed to return to "our private lives as anonymously as we came."

For Michael, I'm not a fan, but I'm glad for the poor man that this is behind him. Hopefully, everyone feels the same way too.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

With Hopes For Neverland

For those who has been living on planet Earth for the past few weeks would know that as you read this, the jury is deliberating the molestation case against Michael Jackson.

Many believe that he's going to be convicted - a believe that they've held for months, if not years, but definitely way before the trial started.

Now, my sister has always cocked her hear with a smirk and a comment like: "Eh, don't kacau him, he's a MJ fan" whenever I defend, dear old Michael (yes, we are on a first name basis).

Truth is, I emphatise with the poor guy. Not that I know how it's like to have a string of number ones, or have that much money, or well, be charged with molestation. But have you ever been accused of something you never did? Like say, not putting the toilet seat down, or locking the car door, or eating that last piece of cookie. Well, imagine how upset you feel everytime it happens and multiply this by the possibility of jail for it.

I don't know if he's innocent. And I don't know if he's guilty. All I know that everyone deserves the right to a fair trial, without bias and prejudice.

I was on Yahoo! a few minutes ago and came across an article which talked about how he'd probably have to sell his rights to the Beatle's catalogue should he be charged. Now, sure, the article used the word 'IF' but articles like this feed into people's minds. Why not write articles about a possible comeback for the King of Pop if he's found not guilty, or how he can now continue to do the charity and goodwill he does if he's let off. Or how he can get on with life.

Negative or positive, they're all assumptions so why ONLY go for the former?

Today, I finally found someone who agrees with me. Like I've mentioned before, I've always felt for the poor bloke. But I never could articulate how I felt exactly - and only come out with pathetic arguments like "Innocent Until Proven Guilty".

There was an article in the last issue of The Advocate magazine in which the writer Q. Allan Brocka, a director/actor/cinematographer/etcetera, talks about exactly how I feel. What I resonated most with the article was his discovery of why he also once thought that Michael was guilty - something that I had once believed in as well - which is the association of homosexuality and paedophilia. That was exactly how I felt when I kicked myself for even so closely associating those two TOTALLY different subjects together.

The point is - this is how much perception plays a part in the minds of people. The perception that all paedophiles are homosexuals. The perception that all homosexuals are bad people. The perception that Michael's got the money and power to force the kids and their mother to lie, the perception that Michael is guilty just because he's strange.

Such is human nature.

Unfortunately, this is the same perceptions that might send an innocent man to jail.

Friday, June 03, 2005

All For Free Condoms And Needles For Addicts

To my detractors who say that I only ever know how to complain... hah!

Today, I pay tribute to Health Minister Datuk Dr. Chua Soi Lek who, in a report I read in the New Straits Times, said that the Government is considering a tried and tested method (although the NST called it 'radical approach') of curbing the spread of HIV.

Yes, the Government is thinking of offering free condoms and needles to drug addicts. Finally.

Dr. Chua was quoted to have said this: "Whether we like it or not, we are faced with this problem".

Indeed, those words could not ring any more true. In times when we have appalling figures in our country where more than 60,000 people are infected with HIV, and 75% of then are intravenous drug users (and that this figures will increse to a staggering 300,000 in a mere 10 years), this sort of action - any form of action - is most welcomed.

Interestingly enough, a variety of religious bodies have voiced out against the plan (surprise! surprise!) - their argument is that it will promote sex.

Good god, in this time with so much research being done, and with so much coverage in the media, I'm appalled to hear these kinds of comments still - it makes me wonder whether these religious leaders avoid reading any articles/features/etc on the topic, for fear it might infect them by just reading it?

It's sad that there is still opposition to such actions (and excused with such trivial and unresearched responses) in a time when even the U.N. is calling out for better acceptance and understanding. There was a report today that the U.N. fears that the numbers will not drop, and that hopes of reversing the pandemic by 2015 will not be possible.

It makes me think that these religious leaders want people to be infected as a punishment for their 'sins' - because between the possibility of savings lives through such action, and just allowing people to continue getting infected because they don't have access to condoms and needles - it doesn't take much to know which one saves lives.

To the religious leaders, all I have to say is shame on you. Go read more, research more and be a bit more accepting and understanding. And to the Government, I hope you don't chicken out. That would be extremely dissapointing.