Saturday, April 30, 2011

Fashion showcase of Alia Bastamam & Pu3

Alia Bastamam's debut fashion show was held last Wednesday at White Box, Map KL in Solaris Dutamas in conjunction with KL International Photo Awards 2011 in support of Anti Slavery International. My cousin Cho (Azalea Ramli of Pu3), invited me to the event the week before since Pu3 will also be showcasing their Pre-Fall 2011 collection as special guest designer at the event. In between the hectic week, I was glad that I managed to drop by for the event as it was held nearby my office.

Diyana (Nadzirah Hashim's sister whom I sat next to during the show), Intan, Natasha Ozeir and Malisa.

When I arrived, I immediately saw my cousins, some friends as well as other familiar faces. The event started a bit late as people were caught in traffic jam. While waiting for the show to start, I chit-chatted and did some catching up with friends I haven't seen in a while. And of course I took some pictures with them too!

As I came from the office, my attire was semi-formal. I wore one of my favourite Pu3 blouses. I was just glad that I could attend and wasn't busy with work that night. The fashion show finally started around 9.30pm and by that time the place was full and the crowd was eager to view the show.

What I wore for the event: Pu3 blouse, with Maysaa wide-legged pants and my mum's vintage handbag and Rebeca Sanver heels. Can't remember the last time I wore heels. I was tempted and couldn't resist it! I didn't wear it for long though (because I couldn't and shouldn't).

Working out our Craniums

Met up with a few friends of mine plus partners last Saturday night after meeting James of La Mode Outre. We had dinner at La Risata Damansara. It's an Italian restaurant and the food was simply, mamma mia~~.

For appetizers, we ordered the house specialty, zuppa di pesce. It is perfect for seafood lovers as its a 'huge serving of prawn, squid, mussel, clam & fish in a rich tomato sauce with garlic, chilli and parsley'. We ordered half portion and it was enough for all of us.

For main course, I ordered the Stinco D'Agnello, 'wood fired oven braised lamb shank in a rosemary sauce on a bed of mashed potato'.

Dessert was a problem. We ordered the Torta di Cioccolato, a flourless dark chocolate cake with a melting chocolate centre served with vanilla ice cream, but it was sold out. So we ordered tiramisu and it was sold out too. The place was packed and we were lucky Hasanah came early to get a table because it was really full house that night. Hasanah suggested La Risata solely because she wanted the flourless chocolate cake. I've tried it before at La Risata Ampang and yes it is very scrumptious. So we were disappointed when the dessert was sold out. In the end we ordered crema catalana napoletana and panettone bread and butter pudding. Nothing to shout about though.
Eima brought along this delicious cake

After dinner, we headed back to Hasanah's place for GAME NIGHT! When I was a little girl, I used to play all sorts of board games, you name it, I've played it: Sahibba, Saidina, Scrabble, Dam, Snake & Ladders, Up-words (do you guys remember that? the advanced version of Scrabble) Game of Life, Pictionary, Ouija and plenty more.

Cranium is a great party game and it's tag line "The game for your whole brain" is so true. I've played Cranium once before with Shai during Shai's berinai ceremony so I was very excited to play this game again. It's really one of the most entertaining games I've played so far. Basically, Cranium combines general knowledge questions with a little bit of Charades, Pictionary and other games although with a few twists. Imagine having to hum tunes for your team to guess the song; act as a puppeteer and 'move' your puppet team-mate; having to sculpt objects using play-doh; and so on, all in one game. This keeps the game interesting because the variety and randomness of the activities leaves you not knowing what you have to do next for each round.

Then we also have to literally act out characters in movies/tv series which was so hard. One of the things that I had to do was to sculpt 'heelys'.. I didn't even know what heelys was until one of the guys told me but it was so hard to sculpt it, although the boys had to sculpt a 'food processor'. Haha that one was a killer. We also had to draw events or items with our eyes closed.

The boys counting how many ribs they have to answer questions. Macam monkeys pun ada!

I didn't take many pictures because I was totally absorbed in the game. It was boys v girls that night and since everyone was pretty competitive, we wanted to win it! We didn't realize it was so late when we finished because everyone was so hyper and involved. It was great because everyone participated and no one was left out or felt bored. The game was made better with the great company.

I really would like to have my own Cranium, but I was told that they don't sell it here. I really really want it! Can't wait for the rematch! Grrrr...

Have you guys played Cranium? What's your favourite board games and any recommendations?

Monday, April 25, 2011

La Mode Outre : Between the Dotted Lines

Credits to James Bent for the photo above.

Just to share that I have just been featured in La Mode Outre. The website is basically a collection of street style photography based in Singapore and Southeast Asia and with focus on Asian street style. It's already been dubbed as the Sartorialist of Asia even though it recently started in 2010. The founder of La Mode Outre, James Bent took a street style photo shot of yours truly when he came up to KL last Saturday. The photographer and writer from Britain came with Stacey Young, a designer from New Zealand. James is a well-travelled photographer, having been in USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, Bangkok and Singapore. James explained that fashion and style on the streets here in Asia isn't really something that people pay attention to or appreciate and he hopes to change that.

After the street shot, we had coffee (actually Stacey and myself had tropical juice with pineapple in it) at the Loaf. We chit-chatted about all sorts of things and chatting with James and Stacey, who have experience and lived in a few countries, we shared opinions on how every country has its own different mindset, prejudices and stumbling blocks to overcome; the varying approaches of crime and punishment in society; and ultimately the choices in life that we all have to take; amongst other scattered topics. We didn't realize that we spent almost 2 hours chit-chatting. It was a wonderful afternoon spent. This is why I love meeting new people especially ones who can share their different experiences and perspectives on life. James and Stacey were a very pleasant and friendly couple and I really enjoyed our long conversation.

I wish James all the best for his projects and I'm sure he will soon achieve success in the future, if he hasn't already.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Style Crush 1 : Natalia Vodianova

C'mon, admit it. Girls admire other girls, don't we? Nothing to be embarrassed about admitting that. You always hear or see girls complimenting each other's features, style, etc etc. We look at other girls who we find pretty. Can't say the same about guys though since guys don't usually admire other guys. Not that I know of. I don't think guys normally go to their guy friends and tell them that they are handsome, beautiful or whatever, even if they feel that way. Ego kot? I personally think that there is nothing wrong in admiring and appreciating beauty, regardless of where it is from. I think girls are attracted to aesthetic beauty and have the ability to appreciate both the rugged and the softer aspects of beauty. That's why girls rock!

Anyway, today I'm going to start off my international Style Crushes list by sharing with you my favourite pictures of Natalia Vodianova (Natalia Mikhailovna Vodianova) the Russian model and philanthropist. I am in LOVE with her face and style, okay. I've had a crush on her since I first saw her.

Apart from being very pretty and cute, I like her because of her minimalistic style. She always dresses down and wears minimal make-up. Some say it's because of her humble beginnings as a fruit seller but it doesn't matter because it shows you do not always have to over-dress to be noticed. Just look at her style. These pictures are from a few years back and I think her style is relevant even today, won't you agree?

1. Back to basics: NV does the black and white.

2. Glitterati

3. Artistic in style.

The second picture is a picture of NV with one of her daughters. NV is a mother of three by the way, but she looks so young.

4. Soft and gossamer-like. This one has to be my absolute favourite. I would wear these looks in an instant. She is just so pretty.

Source : 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

That's all for now. Her style is simple yet delicate. Who else has a crush on her?

Brickfields Now & Then 2 by Thor

Let me introduce Thor Kah Hoong. He is my dad's friend, the owner of 'Skoob Books' bookshop, a writer, an actor, director, and playwright. He may have many other talents that I am not aware of. I've always known him as Uncle Thor (I suppose we'll call him Thor in this blogpost, otherwise it'd be weird).

When I was little I was always dragged by my dad almost every week to Thor's bookshop which looks like a unique library overpacked with books, like the ones you see in movies. Remember that this was before the existence of mega-book shops like Kinokuniya. The shop sold rare books which was not available at conventional bookshops and I only found out much later that the books were shipped from Skoob books UK. That was why my dad loved to go to his shop. I followed my dad when the shop was at Bangsar, and later when it relocated to Brickfields. So every week I had to tag along with my dad as he bought lots and lots of books at Thor's bookshop. I recall that while waiting for dad to finish his stuffs, I'd just grab a book and either read or look at those with pictures or just walk around and get lost while browsing the titles of the thousands of books on the bespoked shelves.

So when my dad informed me at the last minute that there was a play at the Actors Studio last Sunday directed and performed by Thor I dropped all other plans I had in mind to spend my Sunday to go watch it (almost) straight after I finished a book discussion at Kinokuniya. The mention of his name brought back my childhood memories and my recollection of spending time in his big, cozy bookshop. I was so excited to watch his play.

When I arrived at the roof-top of Lot 10, I was so excited to see Aunty Cindy, Thor's wife. We reminisced about the old times (you know the drill, the whole: you were only this tall, I knew you since you were a little girl, etc etc) But I was very happy to see her. I think it must have been over 10 years ago since we last met, and even though she attended my wedding last July I didn't get a chance to see Thor and Cindy =(

I also met Ike Ong, the owner of Skoob books UK who is also a film-maker, together his wife. He also knew me since I was small and he actually made an interesting remark that I was always interested in movies and film-making. Now I really can't remember why he would say that. Maybe because he saw that I was interested in films when I was younger and I still am now.

Thor's play was called Brickfields Now & Then. I didn't read any synopsis or googled about it online before i watched it. So I didn't know what to expect or what it was about. But then I found out that the play at night was part II of the show; Part I was done at 3 p.m. I felt disappointed to miss part I, even though I did not know about it. If I had known earlier, I would've tried to go the day before. Outside the theatre hall, there were plenty of reviews mostly on part I which made me even more disappointed to miss it.

When I sat down, all that was on stage was a single chair.

And then Thor came on stage.

Now its hard for me to describe this play. It was something like a monologue of Thor's recollection and stories of Brickfields, the place where he grew up, and the changes he has seen throughout the years. How the area changed when Sentral was built nearby, the many proposals to transform Brickfields and how things remain the same even if they change. He starts of lamenting that Brickfields is now being 'pushed' as Little India, when according to his account it is a place where all races have made their home [In Introduction: Little India].

But his play was not a dry recollection of just Brickfields, but also the state of our country as well. He injected the happenings of important events in our country's developments with his own personal experiences of growing up at the time which was told to the audience in a hilarious manner. Thor was brilliant in making everyone laugh yet at the same time just as the laughter dies down, our brains starts to grasp at the subtle seriousness of the issues, then and some very much relevant now.

Thor was very funny, not to mention very informative, sharing anecdotes from his personal perspective. It was a very well polished and powerful performance and he had a very witty script. There is also something which gave his play and performance the edge, because it had a ring of sincerity and lots of doses of his personal touch when he was recollecting the events and happenings of things very dear to his heart. He kept the audience engaged and entertained throughout the whole 2 hours and 45 minutes-ish set.

For example, can you imagine that every time he took his exams when he was growing up, a major national event happened, from his UPSR (can't remember what it was called) up to his masters? It coincided with the period of Konfrontasi with Indonesia, the May 13 events, Singapore 'divorce' with Malaysia, amongst others [My Education Nearly Destroyed the Country].

He also told us how the first play he directed won the national competition and how his play was banned and made him a security threat in Singapore! (Don't worry, he says Singapore has forgiven him already). He was in the front page of Singaporean papers for his play for containing a single F word. This was a funny poke at Singapore's regulations and he was convinced that the authorities were out to get him. He was supposed to present Stalag VI: Crime & Punishment II, but changed his piece because some people in the audience asked him whether it was true that he was a security threat in Singapore.

He also shared his biggest problem when moving his business to Brickfields: RATS [in, yes, Rats]. Thousands of them!! His very detailed stories of the rodents and especially the big-mama rat made my skin crawl okay!! He was very explicit in sharing how he got rid of the problem, and he apologized in advanced for the animal lovers in the audience. Yucks, but this was the one I laughed the most. He also described Brickfields very vividly, making me wanting to go there and see it out for myself.

Lastly, his story on the state of our hospitals was funny, but yet at the same time was heartbreaking and touched the audience too [Amaran: Tempat Bahaya: Hospital]. He recollects the competence of our hospitals then and how he has suffered personally finding out the hard way he was allergic to penicillin, having a hose shoved up his.. uhmm, you know where, and how he lost his father because an un-named hospital said there was nothing wrong with him. We were all laughing before he told this story, and suddenly, just like that, everyone in the audience were silenced. It was heart-breaking.

I really regret not being able to attend the first part, and the saddest thing is that last Sunday was his last performance for this run (he performed previously back in 1998 and 2004). I would have loved to see Part I, especially as Thor himself said it's even funnier than Part II!!! To console me, Thor did tell me that he is trying to publish his work by the end of this year. So I am looking forward to the book.

The fact that a 60-ish year old can accurately go back and act out his world through the eyes of a ten year old, convincingly too, shows what a talented person Thor is at telling his stories and engaging his audience. This is definitely not to be missed if there is another run and I can't wait for this to show again.

Links (Read more): 1, 2 and 3

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The London Sojourn part 1: From Portobello Road Market to Tate Modern

I'm still feeling a bit nostalgic today. So in continuation to my previous post, I think I'll blog about my sojourn in London for about a month in March 2009. I was there to help organize an art exhibition for R A Fine Arts called Mad[e] in Malaysia in an art gallery in London showcasing Amir Zainorin's interesting pop-art works. Anyways, during one of our off-days (yes, it was kind of a working trip but a really enjoyable one), I went to visit the world's largest antiques market, the Portobello Road Market at Notting Hill and also the Tate Modern, British and International Modern and Contemporary Art.

Since we stayed in Bayswater, and it was a warm sunny day (a welcome respite from the mostly gloomy and rainy weather) we decided to walk to Portobello. Portobello is a very popular spot and had lots of antiques and vintage items which were sold there. It is a very long (VERY LONG) stretch of road with shops selling all sorts of stuffs. From old photos, books, clothes to watches to antique collectibles and what not, you're more than likely to find what you want in Portobello. It was pretty packed that day and the market was absolutely full of people. There were some buskers too, and they were wonderful performers. I like how the (shop)houses in Portobello are painted in vibrant colours. Red, Blue, Yellow, Pink, it was very tastefully done.

We had our breakfast/brunch/lunch at Portobello road at one of the fish and chips shops there. It was surprising to see that there were no tables there for us to eat, it was just take away. Apparently it is quite the norm there. The fish and chips were wrapped cone-shaped. So we had to eat the fish and chips (which was delicious) standing and at first we just stood outside the shop eating before we realized that it's better to just walk and explore Portobello while munching on the fish and chips.

I bought a necklace and an old-fashioned pocket watch like the ones you see in movies! hehe. My dad also bought me a rare and antique watch from Ernest Borel cocktail collection from the 1950s. The watch has a freaky yet funky kaleidoscopic patterns and moving effect. It is unique and hypnotizing! haha and the watch does not run on batteries. I also bought a unique box bag of sorts. I can't properly explain it so maybe one day I'll take some pictures of it.

After we spent a few hours exploring the market, we then headed to Tate Modern by tube. Tate Modern is a large Art museum/gallery. They hold contemporary art exhibitions and also hold some of the world's most famous paintings. There were hundreds of art pieces and creative installations. We spent hours there, and in particular admiring original works from Pablo Picasso, amongst others. And even though I was there for hours, I still felt it was not enough. I also think I saw some of Salvador Dali's work there, although I'm not sure whether it was here or the British Art museum. We weren't allowed to take pictures in the Tate which was so sad. I'd definitely go there again because there just wasn't enough time to absorb all the artworks on display there.

By the the time we left Tate Modern, it was already dark! Felt like we stepped out of a time-portal which fast-forwarded the day to a few hours. We couldn't believe it since we set out quite early in the morning! It was a day well spent and we were too tired from all the walking the whole day we felt like our legs dah tercabut. But the excitement of having visited the Tate was still buzzing.

All in all, it was a great day (which was supposed to have been used for rest) but it was absolutely worth it. I'll post about my other experiences in London, some other time, yeah?

Til my next post!