Friday, February 29, 2008

HSBC Chinese New Year Dinner

Good thing I've completed my marketing assignment on time because I had been called up at the last minute to attend the HSBC Chinese New Year 2008 dinner show at ICC last night. I had to operate the projectors throughout the event. It was an all-Chinese show. Heck, I didn't really understand a word, so I just sat there by the mixer throughout the show punching buttons on the projector controls till the whole thing ends.

Furthermore, I was in my 'kusut' mode last night because I was supposed to be at home to print my assignment, the last thing I needed to do before submitting the whole work today. As a result, I had to sleep late.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Slimmer, Sexier, Sleeker PS3

Okay, the image above is probably just a mock-up, but Sony did recently announced that they are currently working on a slimmer and lighter PlayStation 3 which will be released sometime in Autumn of this year, code-named the PS3 Slim. I guess this will solve the issue about how the current model takes up too much shelf space. Hopefully it won't overheat easily like the slimmer PS2.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The End of Procrastination

Finally, my first attempt of avoiding procrastination this year is fulfilled. Our group managed to complete our report assignment on time. Due to be submitted tomorrow, we were able to start compiling everything as early as last weekend.

This is a marketing assignment on Consumer Behavior and Advertising Analysis, and we've decided to focus on the Nintendo Wii as our product research. It has been a really interesting research that we've conducted so far.

At last, I should be able to get a really good sleep tonight.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Nacho a La Marriz

If it wasn't for the short trip out of the house and back this afternoon, we wouldn't be making this dish a reality, Amir's very own oven-baked nachos topped with mild tomato salsa sauce and shredded cheese, made fresh from his kitchen. Great for snacks.

Browsing for dSLR's

Amir and I are planning to buy a dSLR as soon as we finish our course. We were thinking of forming the next breed of shutterbugs in Brunei. (bwhahahaha! macam stayi!) We went window shopping for dSLRs recently around town to see which cameras we wish to get in the future. I have my eyes on the Nikon D40x but I wouldn't mind putting an extra dollar for a Sony α 200.

As for Amir, he's looking forward to a Canon 400D. At first he hesitated, because he was worried that there may not be enough available parts. I encouraged him to 'Bekayuh ke Singapore'. Haha. :P

A Different Genre

Lately I've been embracing a new kind of metal genre. Since late last year, I've been collecting and listening to symphonic power metal bands on my iTunes. They sound way better than death metal.

Metal isn't all about screaming, growling and adrenaline-trashing. You can still enjoy metal without all that. There exists several metal bands that incorporate orchestral and harmonic sounds engineered to metal, mostly from Europe. Synthesizers and classical organs play an important role in their music, which blend in with the heavy riffing of guitars, bass and double-pedal drums. These breed of orchestral metal heads have a genre of their own, simply called Symphonic Power Metal.

These are my 3 most favorite symphonic metal bands that I enjoy listening to.

Kamelot is a power metal band that incorporates many elements of symphonic and progressive metal into their music. The band was founded in 1991 and was originally hailed in Tampa, Florida. Although Kamelot is an American metal band, the vocalist is a Norwegian who studied to be an opera vocalist for three years before joining the band.

Recommended hits: Karma, Ghost Opera, The Haunting (Somewhere In Time), The Spell, The Black Halo, March of Mephisto, The Coldest Winter Night, Soul Society, Centre of the Universe, The Human Stain

Nightwish is a Finnish symphonic power metal band, formed in 1996. Nightwish is considered one of the bands responsible for the development and rise in popularity of symphonic metal at the end of the 1990s, as well as the creation of the subgenre symphonic power metal. The original female vocalist was Tarja Turunen, and was replaced in 2007 by Anette Olzon.

Recommended hits: Bye Bye Beautiful, Amaranth, Nemo, Phantom of the Opera, I Wish I Had an Angel, Ghost Love Score, Over The Hills and Far Away, Gothic Sanctuary, Sahara, End of All Hope.

Epica is a Dutch symphonic metal band which puts emphasis on the use of operatic elements and death grunts, and also performing some song passages in Latin. The band was founded in 2002 and the frontwoman Simone Simons sings with the most beautiful mezzo-soprano vocals in metal (and she's only 22).

Recommended hits: Blank Infinity, Cry for the Moon, Never Enough, Solitary Ground, Dance of Fate, Sensorium, Mother of Light.

iPhone Killer?

Mobile phone companies never give up that easily, do they? Sony Ericsson has just unleashed yet another beast that will hopefully bring down Apple's mighty warrior from its pedestal. The Xperia X1 is Sony Ericsson's very own all-in-one touch-screen mobile phone device that has been dubbed the 'iPhone killer.'

The Xperia X1 features a 3-inch touchscreen and a sliding QWERTY keypad. Unlike the iPhone, this baby runs Windows Mobile, for the first time on Sony Ericsson's smartphone series. Also built in is a 3.2 megapixel camera.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Breaking And Entering

Woke up very early this morning only to find my house has been broken into by freakin burglar while we were sound asleep last night. The bottom of the kitchen door was smashed, but the question was, how could one fit through a hole that small? Could've been some kid from the neighborhood. What else could've it been? midgets? dwarves? elves?

The dining room window was left open

Then I've found our dining room window wide open, possibly used as the escape route of the little thief. I looked around the house to see what was missing. Turned out the only thing stolen from my house was our DVD player in my living room, along with its remote control. Funny how only one item was taken away. My brother's PS2 is on the living room floor along with 2 guitar sets. The thief must have heard my loud speakers from my bedroom. I usually left my computer on and play a movie or two during bedtime to get me to sleep.

I called the police hotline immediately and lodged a report as soon as they got to my house. According to them, there has been a rising case of house-breaking this past few months in Berakas. In fact, just after spotting for fingerprints, they recieved a call of what seemed to be another similar case reported somewhere in Lambak Kanan.

The object that was used to pry open and smash the kitchen door

Looks like it's no longer safe as it used to be. To everyone, especially those who live nearby my area, please ensure that your house is safely secured. Set booby traps if you have to. This has been a second case that has ever happened in my house since the first breaking and entering incident 7 years ago, and its getting on my nerves.

If only my cat could speak to me right now.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Remedy to a Plight

Sunday, 17th February, 2008. The Business Project groups of Aura, Faizun, Camaraderie and 743 Masterpiece lend a hand in helping the family of Hj Siawang Hj Salleh at STKRJ (Skim Tanah Kurnia Rakyat Jati) Mata-Mata Gadong. It was a social responsibility organized by the 4 groups led by myself to assist Hj Siawang in cleaning up the compound and contributing basic necessities.

Hj Siawang Hj Salleh, a 66 year old military retiree, has lived in his house for over 10 years. He relied on his pension of $700 but that isn't merely enough to support his family of 22, which includes his 2 wives, children, sons-in-law and grandchildren. His older children are jobless and only a few of his younger children and grandchildren go to school. Furthermore, his house is not big enough to accommodate all his family.

We've managed to collect as much as $300 dollars or more to purchase basic necessities such as rice, mineral water, cooking oil, sugar, salt, instant noodles, eggs and canned foods which was then contributed to Hj Siawang on the day of the Social Responsibility event at his residence. Some of the others even contributed old belongings such as used clothes and toys for the children and grandchildren.

The activity started at 9.00 AM. Camps were set up and chairs and tables were prepared. We cleaned up the front yard right after a few opening speeches and remarks. The bottles piled up in front of Hj Siawang's house were all placed in plastic bags to be rearranged to a more convenient location. Grasses were cut, shrub of leaves were brought down to make room for a clearer compound, rubbishes were disposed and burned, and food were prepared on the table.

The Social Responsibility Event has been a success, and it's really great to see the family filled with joy after receiving our help. Tears run down Hj Siawang's eyes as we read the doa. From that moment I knew that, no matter how hard my life is right now, there are others out there like Hj Siawang who is experiencing an even more complicated life.

'Share your wealth', that was the message that we have all learned from that day. We learned a great deal in organizing this kind of activity and hopefully we will all do the same in the future. I encouraged those participated to open their eyes and be part of what it's like to be in the situation of Hj Siawang and his family, even for just a day. Most importantly, it doesn't matter who we donate and contribute to as long as it comes straight from the sincerest of heart, or in Brunei terms, "Sedakah ani inda payah bekira, yang penting ikhlas."

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in this activity. It was more than I have expected. Never has there been students taking such initiatives to organize such an activity to help those who are really in dire need. It has been a remarkably meaningful event.

Big thanks to Hj Mohd Amni for providing the camps, Aura and Camaraderie for making an effort in buying the basic necessities for the purpose of contribution, the members of Faizun for providing the food for the committee, Siti Aisyah for bringing in the press, Marianni for her wonderful punch juice, Amir for coming down to the venue and taking some nice photos (and posting up a blog about this event), Arif for all his help to assist me in carrying the contributions that early morning, Sir Iswandi, Ms Hazwani and Ms Liza for attending and contributing some food for the table as well, Dash for bringing in and contributing the most used items, and all the rest which I haven't mentioned earlier, Thank you all for lending a hand in the cleaning campaign and the contributions. Your support are highly appreciated. Indeed, it was more than I've actually expected.

Our contributions; more than expected

Special thanks goes to our advisor of the programme as well as my good old friend Hj Mohd Khairul Anwar for all his help and advice in making this activity a success, and also to Pengiran Hj Mohammad bin Pg Hj Ludin for his guidance and making this event possible.

For those interested to contribute to Hj Siawang Hj Salleh may do so by visiting his residence at No 81, Lot 41, Simpang 207-3-16, StKRJ Kg Mata-Mata Gadong, BE1918, Brunei Darussalam.

More Photos From The Social Responsibility

My speech

Mask off, mask on

Hard at work

These kittens watched as we were doing our chores

Taking opportunities for group shots

The grandchildren watched our activities


Found a gecko on my thigh

Burning the leaves

Special appearance by Amir

More food for the kids

Lining up to shake hands with the family members

A great team effort

Saturday, February 9, 2008

An Opportunity Arises

It has been a really busy week. I just received a project to conduct an exciting event. I will post all related news and updates on my project activities here throughout the preparations and share with you all this exciting event that will really blow your minds. Hopefully all goes well. Your support will be highly appreciated.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Double The Size

Well, what a surprise. Apple has just recently announced its new line of higher capacity iPod Touch. Previously limited up to 16 GB upon its release last year, the new Touch now comes in 32 GB. Also, they even increased the size of the iPhone up to 16 GB now.

What do you know. If I didn't buy my 80 GB iPod Video in the first place, I would be considering this one right now. 32 GB is pretty neat for my songs collection, which has already reached a total 20 GB. But to think about it, that number would definitely increase in time, and that would make a 32 GB obsolete in no time. I guess I should just wait until at least an 80 GB iPod Touch is made available, then I'll pass my current iPod to my brother.

When the iPod Touch was announced last year, I was mesmerized by the fact that the multi-touch interface has been adapted into an iPod, but they've announced that a little too late. 2 months before the announcement I've already purchased an 80 GB iPod Video Black. Sigh. But I realized at that time that a 16 GB iPod is ridiculously insufficient for my ever-growing library, so I decided to stick with what I had.

I still love my iPod, regardless.

Am I Up For It?

Let's recap. 3 more months until my days in the Business School will finally be over. But I gotta get through the exams first. Things are getting tougher than I expected, particularly on my statistics which I struggled the most.

If I get through this very well, I could give that scholarship application a shot. Of course, I have to ensure my total aggregate points meet the requirements. But is this really what I wanna do for my next step? One part of me says I should stay and consider getting a job right away, because seriously, it's not at all fun earning $255 a month these past couple of years. Even now, I can't hardly move. There are things that I wanna get, but all are restrained because of the more important things I have to focus on, e.g. transport, food, the basic stuff.

Sigh. I'm just this close in getting to the point where I can finally earn something, and have the luxury to get access to what I wanna do, what I wanna get and where I wanna be. However, I've made a promise to myself to keep on studying despite my age. Even to the point of getting a degree, that's also my dream. But being at this age where I have to really start living, it's tough to survive. Let's just hope that this Diploma I'm getting right now is really worth it.

Besides, studying in UK is tough as well. But hey, everything is tough, it's life. There will be a point in time when I really made that a reality. Maybe I should focus on what's happening right now, and see where things will be heading for me.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

On The List

For those who haven't found out yet, my weblog has been listed at the Blogging Nation since December of last year, so you could actually spot my site name in the personal category and click from there to reach here.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Longing For a Macbook

I want one... *sigh*

Friday, February 1, 2008

The End of The Cafe Culture

As far as we all know, the only 'entertainment' in Brunei are late-night cafes, restaurants and eateries. Figures, since eating is Brunei's number one pastime anyway. The so-called 'Cafe Culture' in Brunei has continued to grow over the past decade, with the young adults hanging out in Gadong, Kiulap and Bandar to enjoy a midnight snack and coffee while surfing the net through their laptops, smoke, chat with friends and watch football matches on the widescreen TV.

Sadly, this 'Cafe Culture' will no longer exist in our quiet and peaceful land. It is learned that at a meeting held by the relevant authorities in November last year it has decided that all restaurants, cafes and eateries will have to be closed by 12 midnight. 12 midnight? Doesn't that feel like that's a little too early? This is so absurd.

I don't have a wireless connection at home (yet), and I usually drove to the nearest cafe with wi-fi and surf the net on my laptop there along with a nice hot cup of tea. That's like the only time I could unwind myself. Now it seems like I'm gonna have to stay in my room all night and play solitaire before bed. That sucks big time!

I think that this new rule will do tremendous damage to the economy and to the image of the country. We are going backwards. I hate going backwards. This new rule is making us going backwards. What's the point of all the years of promoting SME's in Brunei? What's the point of me taking up a course in the business school? My enthusiasm in business is dimmed by these ridiculous restrictions.

So where do we go if we wanna do our assignments at night? What about the football fans who wish to watch football late at night with their friends (that's really gonna upset them). Can we still buy nasi katok in the middle of the night when we're hungry? And why the hell are gyms closed at 9pm? Who's going to the gym between Maghrib and Isyaq? Who's going to the gym during the day when most of the customers are at work?

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