Archive for October, 2006

Oh boy…feeling the shivers now.

Here’s a brief on what my story is supposed to be:

A schoolboy and his ragtag group of friends in the battle against demons invading the human world. Fighting alongside these kids is one mage who mentors the hero kid in the ways of detecting and battling the demons and other forces of Darkness to fulfill a hundred-years old prophecy about the rise of the most powerful, God-chosen Dark Hunter who will restore the balance between Light and Darkness for a millenia.

Not very original, huh? Heh, I’ve been doing a lot of borrowing here and there, character-wise. The only difference is that my story will have a very Asian setting in that it’s set in Malaysia! I’ve already pictured a battle scene to take place in the Sky Bridge of the Petronas Twin Towers!

Oh boy, this is gonna be so much fun!

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I’m not an avid follower of Halloween, but who can resist having a fun time partying and dressing up as evil ghouls, phantoms, witches and movie vilains as well as playing trick or treat while we were kids? Halloween is not just for kids anymore these days, even grown ups get on the act too, with many corporate functions and social gatherings throwing parties to celebrate this spooky celebration.

Halloween for me, brings back memories of two years ago when the private school I was working for then had thrown a Halloween party for the kids. It was a blast for the children, all of them enjoying themselves very much as they searched the classrooms for hidden teachers who are giving away sweets and candies to the children. Who would’ve thought getting mobbed by kids in all sorts of costumes and ghoulish make up and accessories would be so much fun?

Below are two pictures that I have from that day. Miss ’em so much and I hope they are all well.

students_Halloween2004-1 My former Grade 6 students partying on Halloween Night 2006

And for the rest of you, hope you have happy memories of this annual spooksfest. It may not be as much as fun in Malaysia as it is in America, but I do hope everyone have fun on this day.

Meanwhile, why don’t those of you who have nothing on for the night/day check the links below about how Halloween had originated. Halloween, a very long time ago, was never a costume celebration – it was a day set apart to commemorate/honour the dead, just like the Chinese’s Hungry Ghost Festival and the Christians’ All Souls Day.

Related Links

Wikipedia on Halloween
Aristotle Presents: All Hallow’s Eve
Halloween: A History
The History and Customs of Halloween

The StarTwo, the lifestyle & entertainment section of my favourite paper The Star, main feature today highlighted the five ways savvy bookworms maintain the expensive (but oh-so-worthwhile & pleasurable) habit of reading. For many of us in Malaysia, books sold in regular bookstores like MPH, Borders and Times burn huge holes in our wallets, pockets & purses. It still puzzles me why the government would one to impose such high import duties on books when they’re trying to encourage people to read.

Anyways, the writer – Elizabeth Tai – gave us poor bookworms cheaper and more convenient alternatives in getting our hands on books without having to starve ourselves or rob the bank. Here are my thoughts on each of the five alternatives for bookworms like myself to fulfill our book-reading needs.

Rent-a-Book!

  • Back in the ’90s when I was still in school, I definitely thought book-rental shops were heaven sent. I can still remember borrowing those evergreen teen mystery and thriller books like Hardy Boys, Famous Five, Goosebumps and R.L. Stine books. I was given very limited pocket money those days, and I would normally starve myself during recess time thrice a week to save up enough to rent one book. I must say, those books I’ve read played a great part in shaping and sharpening my fluency in English. Lord knows that if I hadn’t spent my free time reading those rented books, my English wouldn’t be as good as it is today and I probably wouldn’t end up as a journalist/writer as well! So, I’m all for renting books, especially if you can’t afford to buy books. Also, book-renting is also ideal if you’re the type who is easily attracted by the blurb/synopsis of a book because it “sounded interesting” or the type that reads books on the basis of the “cool title” and the author.

I’ll Give You Mine and You Give Me Yours!

  • Okay, I admit that I was astonished to read about the Bookcrossers and bookcrossing. I didn’t know that such a thing existed, and that there’s even one here in Malaysia…started by a 16-year-old no less! One thing is for sure, this is a great idea but only if you’re the type who can easily part with your books when you’re finish with it.  I have to confess, I am not that type…I’m very possessive of my books. I love my books and I can’t imagine myself giving away my precious books to someone else. I do borrow books to my friends, but I always get them back in the end. Of course, there comes a time when hard decisions have to be made – when I shifted to my new house last year, I had to give away a couple of boxes of books and comics to PayLess and my former secondary school’s library. But passionate habits are hard to neglect and after a year, I have reaccumulated new books and am facing a storage problem. *Sigh!* If only I have the heart to part with some books that I actually did not read again after the first reading. Swapping books is certainly a great idea and am sure there are many out there who will benefit from this bookcrossing effort.

 Discounts, discounts and more discounts!

  • I like discounts. 🙂 Who doesn’t? I’m a member of both MPH’s Readers’ Circle and Popular Bookstore as these are the two bookstores that I most frequently get my books from. I could not tell you how great and worth it to be members at these bookstores. The discounts given to members are so generous and wonderful! Besides member discounts, I also use discount coupons which I cut out from the newspapers and also hold out for generous friends who give me book vouchers as gifts on my birthday and Christmas. Heck, I don’t think I’ll be mad if anyone gives me a RM50 MPH book voucher as an angpow for Chinese New Year! Oh, and one more thing, it really pays if you could make friends with the bookstore employees too, as you can utilise their staff discounts! Heh, heh, my friend used to work at MPH and whenever I buy books, I pass my books and the money to her for her to pay on my behalf so that I can get books at discounted price!

Warehouse sales! Woot!

  • Like one of my favourite people in Malaysia, Bibliobibuli, I just loooooovvveee warehouse sales for books! This year alone, I’ve been to MPH’s warehouse sale, Times Bookstore’s warehouse sale, Popular warehouse sale and the Big Bookshop warehouse sale…spending an estimate total of RM350 for about 12 books! Like book-rental shops, warehouse sales are truly god-sent! Books going at such unbelievably low price that you’ll be forgiven for thinking that you’re dreaming of a bookworm’s paradise. Moreover, warehouse sales are the best places to look for precious gems you’ll never find in the regular bookshops. I’ve got a few of it myself and I’m enjoying them! Can’t wait for next year’s warehouse sales already! Hopefully by then, I’ll have extra shelves for all my precious books!

 Let’s Borrow!

  • Borrowing I definitely don’t mind. It’s different compared to swapping as swapping involves two people exchanging books. Borrowing entails that you give a book to a person for a certain amount of time only. Again, I don’t usually borrow books from people but I do lend books to people. When I do borrow, however, it’s mostly to check out the first chapter of the book and if I like it enough to buy it, I will return the book to its owner and go out and buy my own copy. If I don’t like it, the least I did was try to finish reading the entire book and then return it to the owner. It’s a great way to gauge whether a book is really worth the money buying it. Of course, it only works when someone else have already owned a copy of the book or if you go to libraries. 🙂 Unfortunately, the local libraries suck, with the exception of British Council’s library.
  • While these five ways are definitely great ideas and ideal for people hard on cash, I’m pretty much a loyal bookbuyer because I believe in giving the author its due. As I myself would like to be a successful author one day, I want to buy books as a way of encouraging the author and bless him/her back monetarily. Most of these authors may be millionaires, but spare a thought for the new authors and authors who are struggling to make a living writing these books for the entertainment and joy of other people, even if they say authors, first and foremost, write for themselves.

That said, what’s your favourite way of getting books for your reading pleasure?

NaNoWriMo 2006!

Woo-hoo!

I am all geared up for National Novel Writing Month 2006! Only 2 more days!! November will be one heck of a busy month!

I’ve got my plot and I’ve got my characters all lined up! The only thing lacking now is DIRECTION, which I purposely did not prepare ’cause am interested to see where this wacky, wildly imaginative mind of mine will take my characters to. This ought to be more fun, now that this is my 2nd year participating in this event and no longer pressured with meticulous planning and achieving the 50,000 word target.

The important thing to remember is that this is about having FUN writing! This ain’t about competition, well may be a wee little bit but it’s not the important thing, k?

Last year’s, for me, was generally a nightmare, spent more time meticulously planning my story and developing my characters. Now I know to throw all planning away and just let my mind and fingers do the trick. You must be thinking I’m crazy, but heck, aren’t all writers supposed to have a loose screw somewhere in their brains? If the brain is locked down nice and tight, how will writers like me ever get our creative juices flowing?

Please join if you haven’t yet decided! It’s worth your while! Head over to the sidebar on the right and look for the NaNoWriMo buttons and click ’em. It’ll take you straight the main site where you can register as a participant and join thousands of people all over the world on this one month of novel-writing madness!

If only everyone in the world joins in this one-month novel-writing phenomenon…the world would’ve experienced one month of precious peace!

Here are two movies which I believe will certainly cause a storm in Malaysian cinemas all over, especially with the school year coming to an end soon. Click Here for More!

Stressed...about blogging! Eeek!What’s frustrating?

Scrambling around my brain and pawing through all that mass of brain jelly thinking up what to blog!

I try to blog as much as I can, but (as always) I wonder what the heck am i suppose to blog about that I just shut my computer and say “to heck with it, I’ll blog tomorrow…”

And tomorrow…and tomorrow…until I actually do get an idea.

I really admire those bloggers who can faithfully blog every single day, barring illness (even that won’t stop some from blogging!) and unavoidable commitments. Of course, some just dump a sentence or two and a picture or two, but they’re still updating anyways and getting bajillion hits!

The problem with me is, I juggle between four blogs. Reflections is my main blog, one that I will spend most of my time on. Another blog is of personal nature to me which I am not prepared to divulge yet but it’s listed under the “Bloggerholics” section – if you can put two and two together, you’ll know which one I’m talking about. My third blog is where I feature videos and podcasts as well as my attempt to make a buck with Google Adsense (which I am failing miserably, having only earned a mere $5.30…a long way away from the $100 mark). The fourth is now inactive simply because I lost the password and email for that particular blog of mine (how did that happen…well, when you have 7 different emails with different passwords, you’re bound to forget the one you use the least frequent).

So ya, what to blog? It’s dang frustrating when you don’t have anything of substance to talk about other than meaningless nonsense drawl like this post.

Posting a meaningless post on complaining about posting a meaningless post.

Damn, I really got to do something with my life… so many hopes and dreams and goals to achieve and what the heck am I doing…sitting in front of the computer posting a meaningless post on complaining about posting a meaningless post!

Well, do hope my creative juices kickstart as November comes… gonna need all that I could pump out! Does Brand’s Chicken Essence help though? Still got a couple more boxes left, better use it wisely anyways.

Right, I’m done for the night. Now I shall shut the computer down and cuddle up to a nice, warm… book on my oh-so-comfy bed (I know what the experts say about how bad it is to read lying down, but it’s so comfortable! It’s my favourite reading position ever!)

if you do not wish to see family relations go up in smoke…like my family’s.

I’ve been observing both my mom’s brother and sister’s families to see how their’s differ from mine, and I’m not surprised by the conclusion I came to – there’s a stark difference between both my relatives’ families with mine, and mostly it had to do with how both families’ kids relate to their parents. Read on here

That’s a big shout out to all my Muslim friends who are celebrating the end of their fasting month and can now stuff themselves silly with tonnes of food!