Mix and Match

1

Written on 4/27/2006 11:42:00 pm by sikapitan

FOOTBALL FEVER

I know that football is not universal enough for those who read this blog, but it is a major part of my life. No, I am not a professional football player, though that dream still lives on even at this ripe age of 23. Heck, every football fan in this world dream of someday getting a call from Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho or whomever else you fancy.

Arsenal is through to the final of the Champions League, albeit fortuitously considering the chances that Villareal had in the second leg. They could just do another Liverpool and win it, but watching Barcelona hold AC Milan to a scoreless draw this morning, I seriously doubt it. I am a Manchester United fan of course, but I am also a fan of football. Thus, I feel that this year’s Champions League final is for the football fans, those who still believe in the romance of football.

I loathe Arsenal, but they do play pretty football. Surprisingly, in Europe, they have become quite Italian in their approach – very lean and mean in defence, relying on top class strikers to deal the killer blow in that very continental style of counter-attacking football. In Thierry Henry, they have that player who can turn a game in a blink of an eye – literally. His gazelle like sprinting, and nonchalant finishing makes him one of the most valuable property in world football. But my favorite player in Arsenal is Franc Fabregas, the 18 year old prodigy who is destined to be the next Xavi, his most likely opponent in the Final. EIGHTEEN!! Hell, even Wayne “White Pele” Rooney is 2 years younger than me. I feel old.

Barcelona, on the other hand, has impressed me since Frank Rijkaard took over. They epitomize what modern football is all about. People keep on harping about Barcelona’s attacking style, but I admire their organization and defensive solidity. Rijkaard has instilled the Chelsea-like 4-1-2-2-1 formation, and the trio of Puyol, Marquez and Edmilson provides the needed steel just like Terry, Gallas and Makelele.

They difference between them is the much admired, and adored – Ronaldinho. He is truly a player who can make football magic. Although I question the authenticity of the “Brazilian Ping Pong” video, I have no doubt in my mind that he possesses an array of skills necessary to unlock any defence in this world. Which makes me wonder – what if Peter Kenyon (before he turned to a Chelski) had forked out the extra 2-3 million pounds to take him away from Paris SG?

The amazing thing about all this is that in about 40 days time, the best players in the world will converge in the most anticipated sporting event this year – the World Cup. Tickets are sold out, hotels fully booked, flights fully full – the World Cup truly is a global spectacle. As before, I am sticking with England. Choosing Brazil would be too easy, but choosing Trinidad and Tobago is daft too as I have never seen them play. Nevertheless, as a second team, I would choose the impressive Netherlands. Equally impressive has been the United States, who I predict would surprise quite a few teams come this June.

SHOWTIME

There is this new show on Astro Ria called “Mobilku”, and it’s a bit of a rip-off from the popular MTV series “Pimp My Ride”. However, I like it, because it is new and fresh and there is no local show dealing with modifying cars yet. It’s definitely not in the same level as “Pimp My Ride” – both in terms of production quality and the level of modification, but the Mitsubishi Pajero they just modified looks great in that hot red Ferrari new coat.

Malaysian annual musical gala, the AIM, will be on this weekend. The AIM stands for Anugerah Industri Muzik – and it aims to award the “best” music Malaysia has to offer. The problem with award shows is that the award itself appears to escape the attention of viewers who concentrates more on the performances and what everyone else is wearing. This year’s edition is plagued with problems – ranging from lack of nominees to lack of promotion. But it’s another night where the artists can dress up and act like singers – which I believe some have forgotten in the middle of their antics in night clubs and gossips and affairs.

I WANT TO BE THE GODFATHER

I have never taken on to the Playstation, which is surprising considering that my family bought one of the earlier editions of Playstation 1 and 2. I believe that games are a bit childish, and I am always amazed whenever my friends play these mystical games, or combat missions and stuffs. I used to play Counter-strike a LOT, but recently my gaming adventure consist mainly of football-related games such as Chamionship Manager and Winning Eleven Pro-Evolution Series. However, recently I was introduced to this CRPG game called the Godfather, and I am hooked (which is bad news considering I am in the midst of my final exam). Perhaps this would spur a gaming fever, where I would go out and buy all those games that people have talked about. But for now I’ll settle with just extorting money, burning shops, killing people and be a mobster.


...

Letting Off Steam

0

Written on 4/09/2006 01:37:00 am by sikapitan

As some of you might know, I was in Hong Kong last month for a week on a University-sponsored trip. I didn’t have the time to really “visit” Hong Kong, thus it would be wrong for me to conclude that it is uninteresting. But I noticed a few things: First, it appears that the people there don’t really bother dressing up as much as we Malaysians do. Perhaps I am wrong, but this observation was made from those countless trip on the very-efficient MTR service. The chilly weather probably didn’t help, as people don’t usually have that many fashionable winter clothes, but I personally think it’s more of the style-over-substance approach they adopt to most things. I mean, there’s more beautiful scenery in Putrajaya then what I saw over the entire week, but everything works, which is more than what I could say about some of our public service.

There is something else peculiar about Hong Kong, and it is the fact that there appears to be more cab on the road than private cars, especially in Hong Kong island itself. As I look down from the 10th Floor of the Hong Kong High Court, all I saw was a sea of red as the famous cabs darts its way around Hong Kong’s tight roads. It’s either the red-cabs or buses. Only two cars came to mind if asked to recall the memorable automobiles on show (as we car-freaks do talk about the variety of cars in places where we have visited), a Lamborghini Gallardo and the all-new S-class sporting a Johor-like registration plate.

This brings me nicely to my next point – the all-new National Automotive Policy announced two weeks ago. I thought it would never come. Time extensions and delays held up the implementation of our automotive policy that would bring Malaysia in line with the rest of ASEAN (which we should have done years ago anyway, but international covenants are as binding as the cheap duct-tape you get from pasar malam). As the announcement was made, Malaysians rejoice as their dream of buying luxury cars cheap may just come true. But it isn’t what it’s all it’s crack up to be.

The dust has still not still settled on the actual practical effect of the NAP, though Proton and Perodua was quick on the gun by announcing across-the-range price cuts. Volvo also quietly lowered the prices of its cars, and I heard that BMW, Mercs and the rest are following suit. The problem is that the savings from these discounts may not turn out to be that much; especially for non-cash buyers that constitutes the majority of car purchasers. A few days after NAP was proclaimed, the financial institutions quietly announce an increase in hire-purchase interest. This means, in effect, that for some vehicles, you might be paying more after taking a 10-year loan.

So perhaps you have to think things through before rushing off to get that new car you’ve been dreaming of. On that note, the brand new Honda Civic looks like a damn good bargain for its class – BUT therein lies the problem, It will be snapped up by every Sharifah, Shu Lan, and Shanti who adores Honda for the fact that it is damn reliable and that the trunk can fit the whole wet market. I don’t have anything against female drivers, but when I see a brand new SLK being driven by a Makcik at 40km/h, I get a wee bit jealous and pissed-off. They probably appreciate the fact that it is expensive, but that’s not the whole point of driving a good car. It’s about appreciating how it handles, how it moves, how it smells, how it sounds. A car is just a car if you treat it as a mechanism to take you from A to B. However, a car is more than just that, and it should be treated as something with soul. That is why for some, an Alfasud is way hotter than that souped-up Honda City with PCV Modulo bodykit. And that group deserves respect for understanding what driving a car is all about.

Interesting day in Parliament, where Dr. Rais Yatim created a stir by wearing a non-conventional attire which actually consisted of a Chinese collar shirt and suit. It’s the same thing with University requirements. Sometimes, in pursuing the letter of the law/rules, the enforcers forget the purpose behind it all – which is to look good and proper. Sometimes, a person wearing a nice fitting t-shirt can look better than the one who wears a badly fit bright yellow shirt. Sometimes a person who wears an open-collar shirt can and do look better than one wearing a tie. Just like in football, where the rule against taking off your shirt while celebrating a goal sometimes leads to some absurd decisions. But I guess without the rules, chaos would be the order of the day. You can’t guarantee that everyone will get that nice-fitting t-shirt now, could you?

Arghhhhh...help me. My area's officially declared as a dengue epidemic area!!! Stock up on the Ridsects, and sleep with those mosquito repelling coils. It doesn't matter now that it's a fire hazard, as long as those pesky blood-suckers get off my back. Cheers!