Saturday, June 25, 2011

How to Make Casting Enjoyable - Sharing & Mentoring

My ex-student and myself - in the casting 
I was shopping for my own birthday gift at Undershop, and suddenly my phone rang. It's a call from a production company I had good working relationship with. They still remember me, and keep my profile with them. I am pleasantly surprised, and agreed to come for a casting. This TV series is meant for TV3, where a majority of Malay viewers watched their series. After I bought my stuff, I walked back and decided to invite all my ex-students from my Artiste Training Course to attend the casting with me as well.

Sharing info
I enjoy spreading the news of this casting, even though I was the one specially invited, I don't see any reason why I should keep this casting to myself. I love to invite all my ex-students over to even view me from a distance, or perhaps even get themselves register for the talent casting too. I hope they can learn something too from watching me. Unlike a lot of so-called "artistes" who are out there just for themselves. I really cannot understand what's the big deal of even informing other people about the casting they went. I know for one, what is meant for you, will always be yours, and no one can take it away. The more you want to keep it a secret, the more you will feel the strain and in effect affects your performance as an artiste.

Have fun joking and fooling around
An open heart equals an open mind
I believe in genorosity. What you share with others, will eventually comes back to you. Mind you, it is totally opposite from boasting. Boasting is not sharing. Boasting about your successes doesn't mean you are sharing. Sharing is very much to do with helping others. Boasting only seek to elevate yourself, which a lot of aspiring artistes do, without them knowing consciously or otherwise. It turns people off. That's why I conduct this Artiste Training Course.

Rehearse together
So one of my student came with me. I'm glad he's still gung-ho and motivated to attend castings. He told me it's what I've talked to him about the other day, so he's encouraged. We arrived at the office, and were given the script. The script was for the role of a gangster. So I give my ex-student the other role to play with me, for it helps me to rehearse as well. This gangster is actually quite a comic. And this ex-student of mine is himself quite a comical character. When we rehearsed, we had such great fun. We laughed and managed to snapped a few shots of ourselves making a fool out of each other.

So clever posing - aren't we all pretty
Laugh at yourself 
The situation is where this super mom with all her superpowers. I am playing the villain, where I am laying a trap for this super mom to appear, so I can catch her and present her to my boss, so he could steal her power. It's really a funny story, where I have to be exaggerated in many sense. When the casting was on the way, the director complimented on my fluent and good spoken Bahasa Melayu. Now he wanted me to get rid of it, and use the most basic, and market-street intonation. That means I have to slur and not be articulately-correct when speaking. This I done so, with perhaps much ease and aplomb, seeing the reactions I got from the director.

Help others with their scripts too
After I was done, my ex-student was next, and I went outside of the room to wait for him. In the waiting lounge, there was another 2 talents rehearsing their scripts. When I came out from the room, they looked at me, with a somewhat rejuvenated looks on their faces. One of them told me they could feel my performance even from outside, and I took it as a compliment. With nothing to do, I introduced myself to the 2 talents, and helped them out with their scripts too. They seem to have much lengthier script, which I encouraged them that it's a good thing, because it gives them plenty of space to show off their acting skills.

So happy to be on location - enough la, time to say bye-bye

Know when to leave
They have some problems memorising the script, which is common, given that they are nervous and just got the script in hand. During rehearsals, I played the other part interacting with them, and tried to spelled out some key words to help them jog their memory. I suppose when they tried to remember the words, their expressions and gestures just gone right out the window. Of course, if they were my students, they wouldn't have that problem. But I didn't inform them that I am an acting coach, for in situation like these, we are all equals, and I do not like to impose them with my coaching practices. I understand they must be focusing on their characters, so it's best to just leave them be.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Why Shopping for Shoes can be Tricky - and How a Good Nose Can Really Help

Seriously, I need a new pair of shoes. I walk a lot. I walk to my workplace. To the train station. Almost anywhere. And I love walking! It's my form of exercise. The recent demise of my more than 2 years old Adidas sneakers, it's time for me to buy a new pair. This thought has been lingering in my head for sometime now. There was a sales a month back, but I didn't purchase any shoes because the salesperson (I suspect from China) wasn't helpful, and downright rude at times, giving me "the look". This sales happened at Studio R, KLCC.

Malaysians are helpful too
Then just today, I happened to be at the same place again. And again, there was sales! Yes, it's the Mid-Year Sales. But this time, it's different. The salesperson is Malaysian, and he was extremely attentive and helpful! There were times I got a bit irked by his articulation, because he seems like a robot and talked in full sentences "Yes sir, I will go check for you. Yes, this is the 40% discount, and the price is, please let me go check" and off he went to the chart to see the price. But he was extremely nice. At the risk of sounding racist, I won't mention his race (but he's sure not Chinese or Malay). Tssk, tssk...

At the centre of attention
So I went and looked at the showcase of shoes on display - 20%, 10%, 40%. Now, I'm not the crazy about discount sort of shopper, mind you. I do look for the right shoes. Even if it's discounted at 50%, I won't even considering buying it unless I'm very comfortable with the shoes. The nice salesperson was with me the whole time, and he wasn't even bothered by other shoppers there, I was his main focus. Aaaah, such bliss. His attention on me only makes me feel sort of "trapped" in a situation where I just have to buy something, so he could get a commission. But he doesn't look like he's desperate for sales, he was genuinely interested in serving my needs. Seriously, I feel it.

So helpful, it smells like...
Now I don't know whether this salesperson might have seen me on TV or read my blog or not, but he was totally committed in serving my needs. How? Well, for starters, I asked him about a particular shoe and the size available, and immediately he went to check. Then I saw another pair of shoes, and asked him about the size available, and he did the same. No complaint, look or unwanted gesture as if he's annoyed. Well, I wasn't playing him a fool, for I'm seriously looking to purchase.

My new Reebok RunTone
Finally, I got my eyes set on the Reebok Runtone. What is Runtone? It's an innovative footwear solution designed to tone and strengthen  key leg muscles with every run. Then it also has the SmoothFit technology that creates a smooth, comfortable, irritation-free fit. That's because all seams are either eliminated or sealed both inside and outside the shoe. The soles look different too, and quite desirable, for I really want to feel the "bounce" in my walk.

Slip the Finger
The salesperson was also good in providing me information. He told me that if I'm buying a running shoe, be sure a finger can be slipped into the back of your heel. That is the space needed for your feet to move around when you're vigorously running. Like for me, I usually prefer a shoe that fits my feet snugly with no space in between. He said it depends on individual, and also the shoe might get loose after some time.

We are all feet mutants
Another interesting I found out is my feet. My left foot is actually bigger than my right! Oh my gosh,  panicked, I quickly consulted the salesperson and he said it's actually very normal. I was relieved he told me that for a moment I thought I might be a mutant ready to transform into some kind of Foot Man. Why I noticed that is because my left shoe always feel tighter to slip into any shoe compared to my right foot. I wonder does it have to do with the way our brains think. Creative people are known to use more of their right brain, hence the abnormal enlargement of the left foot. Interesting theory to ponder upon, isn't it?

Each feet size comes in 2-3 pairs
After enquiring and thinking through the shoe collections, I've finally decided on the Reebok Runtone. My investigative nature tends to run amok when coming to any conclusion. I finally asked a question of whether if there's any more stock for the shoe in my size. The salesperson said there left only 2 pairs for my particular size. The reason I asked is because prior to that, I saw another customer trying on the exact same pair of shoes at my exact same size. In my head, I wouldn't want to buy anything that is tried on by some other people - and what is that person has big fat smelly feet? Yikes...

The Mark of True Sales Person
The salesperson was quick to sense my this particular insecurity and off he ran to the backroom to get the size I wanted, just to reserve for me. Auuuww, that's touching. He actually ran, for God's sakes into the backroom. In my mind, I knew I have to buy this shoe. This guy has put in the effort to serve me. Of course, he also didn't push me to purchase. He was seriously genuinely wanted to serve me, or more like talking with me and answering my questions about the shoe. The problem with the shoe is the colour. It's all white, which presents the problem of it being dirtied. 

Finding the Right Fit Factor
I asked him if there's other colours. There were - the brown pair, but it doesn't have my size. This is the thing about shopping for shoes. Personally, I don't like shopping for shoes if the salesperson is not helpful to me.  You see, shoes is a very personal object. I need to feel the fit and comfort and the colour. All these concerns running through my mind and at the same time I am also gauging the level of helpfulness of the salesperson. It really takes a lot out from me. But thank goodness, this guy hits the mark and scores. See, starring in a commercial sometimes helps. Phew...

Finding the Right Colour Factor
I took one last look at the shoes, and found out that actually for the RunTone line, all the shoes have the white colour theme. Not one is totally black or full coloured. So it really doesn't matter to choose or wait for the coming colour collection. I figured I'll just ignore what others think when they see my white colour sneakers looking dirtied and smudged. I'll still wear it proudly. But truly, the salesperson really helps. Especially the point where I showed my concern about the shoe being worn by other shoppers.

The Who Has Tried My Shoes Before Factor
The salesperson referred me to his senior. He asked me to check at the laces being tied. Usually if it is new, the laces will be intact and not undone. Again this point can be subjective, because the shoe is brought in from another store, and they will have no idea whether this particular shoe has been worn or tried on by the shoppers from the other shop. Even if the shoes are new or directly from the manufacturer, the sales personnel would open the box and check each shoe. So it's really subjective, it seems, to determine whether the shoes are fresh or picked before.

One Solution - Your Nose
But there's one tip given by the salesperson that I liked - smell the insides of the shoe. During the time, he actually asked me to smell the inside of the shoe as proof that it hasn't been worn or used before. He was so convinced of the purity of his product, that in certain degree, I was drawn into this belief. "Go ahead - smell the inside of the shoes" And I did! "And compare it with the other pair that was worn". And I did it too! I wanted to laugh, thinking back. But of course, when you're in my situation, you'll do just the same, come on. Personally, I find the chemical smell in the new, unworn shoes stronger compared to the worn shoes. So when in doubt - USE YOUR NOSE!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Buyer's Psychology - A Guide to How Our Artiste Training Course is Value for Money

Is this my new Iphone? Later you'll know...
Spending is good for the soul
Like most everyone else, I love to shop and spend money. Malaysians nowadays are always out to look for discounts and best buys. It is not a good practice in my opinion. Take example a tip i got from a sales person from this laptop I bought. I told him how the price dropped at the recent PC Fair, and you know what he told me? The reason the prices were dropped is because of the AP installation, which means its not 100% genuine, therefore if the product is spoilt, the original manufacturer will not accept it to fix it. So be careful of any sales or fairs - the products might not be 100% genuine. Different people prioritise differently when it comes to spending. Depending also on your current stage, be it your age or marital status, the choices you made in spending differs tremendously. For working adults who already had a steady career with a steady income, they should really channel part of their income into self-development. Like in our ARTISTE TRAINING COURSE, it helps everyone (not only working adults, it also includes housewives, students) in better communicating their ideas and opinions in any situation, be it at the workplace, home and anywhere else.

Discover your motivation to buy first
The motivation for me in writing this article comes when my MP4 player went berserk and broke down. I used it very often, and dropped it so many times, the time of its demise is already certain. And one fine day - it happened! So now, I have to spend a certain amount of money to invest in a device that would accompany me especially when I'm commuting. For a moment, I did think whether I can live without an MP4. without music. Especially during those long minutes in the train. Finally, I decided I have to. Like in my ARTISTE TRAINING COURSE, I have made it clear that learning is the main priority and motivation - so that way, EVERYONE can join my course without the worry of whether they are an aspiring actor or not, even housewife and working adults can join. Unlike an MP4 player, our Artiste Training knowledge lasts forever.

Stay away from friends who brings you down
Thus began my journey. The best research are usually through friends, people whom you know and can trust.   It's interesting to note how one objective can lead you to another realisation. When I asked my two friends about MP4, they don't have an opinion at all, because both of them don't listen to music that much. They are considered "old friends", but we had lost touch for some time, and only recently we've rekindled our friendships. I noticed how serious and negative they can be (from the way they scrutinise very harshly about things and people) , just from the way they talked which shows how much they "know" about the world. Their negativity shrouds them from becoming a consumer, and rather, they just keep and watch their every penny from spending. Learning should be an engaging and encouraging experience for everyone, despite their ambitions. That is the philosophy I instill in my coaching.

Change your attitude for life in order to get more from life
As for myself, I believe spending is essential. You need to move money around, in order to get money. I can never be like my friends who are certainly very rational and practical in their money sense. To me, that kind of attitude toward life is self-deprecating. Life is never so straightforward and goes according to your perception. Sometimes we can be wrong. And believe me, my so-called friends are very afraid to be wrong. I think they have stopped growing - and stuck at a stage where they are mature. To target at this type of consumer is truly difficult and even pointless, because they are hard to change and stuck in their ways. My Artiste Training Course is certainly NOT right for them, and I wouldn't advise them to join either.

Give business to people who cares
Negativity spreads to sales personnel as well. Since I'm on a hunt for MP4, I went to an Apple dealer at KLCC called "Machines". Such rude attitude! The first time I went in to enquire, I approached the sales person guy. I asked him if there's a monthly installment plan. He said he don't know and asked me to speak to another guy at the counter. My next question was more about the technical specs, and he replied with a question back at me quite rudely as to correct my earlier question, instead of giving me an answer. The second time I visited "Machines", I asked if I could see the Ipod Touch, and this time it's a different sales person, and he replied "We've kept it in store and go ask that guy to show you". What a bunch of lousy sales people! Not even one request from an enquiring customer got an answer. And it seems they focused only the foreign shoppers more compared to the locals who enquired. Hence the double standards practised among the local. 

Price matters not when service and quality are guaranteed
The other Apple seller I visited at Berjaya Times Square fared so much better than "Machines", KLCC. The sales person is a young lady and she was such an informative person. She doesn't give me any airs of superiority. She may not have the good looks and physique of an "perfect sales person", but she's the best one there is. Calm, patient and listen to my questions. If I were to decide to buy an Ipod, guess which shop I will give my business to. Hence, the psychology to spend are very much influenced by the people managing the product, rather than the price per se. Even my Course Counsellors are given strict training because they represent the brand of my Artiste Training Course. I sternly warned them not to show any double standards when counselling potential students. Do not judge anyone based on their looks and backgrounds.

Perfume event roadshow
Quality beats quantity again
Back to comparing the MP4 products, I did went and look around at the market for MP4. I suddenly found myself attracted to the interface of the buttons. I want to give those lower-ranking brands a chance, because you never know what they could offer. But the buttons displayed for the play and other functions are so barely presented. I don't expect it to be sophisticated or complex, but at the same time, I want some ease into pushing the buttons. Finally, the final two brands I've shortlisted is Sony and Apple.`Quickly, I searched the internet and read the reviews on Ipod Classic: Ipod Classic do have tremendous space, but I also read the comments stated where the sound quality actually lacks as compared to Sony. Also Ipod Classic is a hard drive, compared to Sony which is a flash memory. Flash memory is better because of the stability in storing. For more info about flash memory vs hard drive, click here: So the psychology in my mind prefers the quality of the experience rather the quantity of it. Like in my coaching, I always welcome my students back even after they had completed the minimum requirement of classes taken. As long as they get the full learning experience from each session, then I don't mind letting them go. But some do come back and re-take my classes due to the quality of each coaching session which truly reinforces their self-belief in their skill sets, so in the end, they don't mind taking the classes again and again.

Father's Day promo at Harrods
Higher price has its advantages
From this research experience for the best MP4 player, I have finally simplify the basic factor to decide which MP4 player is the best. If I choose the Ipod Classic (or even Ipod Touch) which is a hard drive, I can have the biggest storage space (but who can listen to all the music?) at the lowest ringgit per gig. The downside is the data stored might be unstable due to its mechanical nature. Let's say if I choose the Sony MP4 A-series with 64GB (lower storage space compared, but I pick only the best music I want), it is in a flash memory format which is more durable, longer lasting and able to withstand any jolt, in case I dropped it, my data will still be safe. Of course the downside is - it costs more. Like I always advised my course counsellors, always communicate value to our student talents. 

What to know which MP4 player I bought? Wait for the next entry. You'll be surprised...

Friday, June 17, 2011

If you were caught in committing adultery, will you let this violence befall on you?

How can this happen?
I am shocked, apalled, cringed when watching this video. And it's happening still in the 21st century Malaysia. Yes, the guy was committing adultery with a married woman. Yes, the husband has the right to be angry at the man. But does he has the right to inflict such violence on the man himself? How about the woman? That speaks of how sexuality for straight people is even more violent than the gays or transgender. And they're sending those softies to army camps to toughen them up to act like those brutes in the video - punching and kicking the adulterer.

It's because we don't think 
Again, this is an important piece of evidence of how our Malaysian society is spiralling downward in thinking, mindset and attitude. I am not siding the poor guy who was caught committing the adultery with the woman. But does the husband ever think that it takes TWO to make an adultery? Why such violence on the man? Why are there a group of Malay men surrounding the poor guy and hit him like this? Was his crime so heinous that deserves such violence or issit the anger is actually already in existent on this religious group of men? You know, adultery makes great movies. Look at Double Indemnity, Brief Encounter. It's great because they don't show the men kicking and hurling abuse at the adulterer. That's just poor taste.

The man is the affair initiator in this film
It's because we are too religious
I am really glad this incident was recorded because it shows what level of our Malaysian mentality has regressed to so far. And I am not proud. This village mentality that can be good and extremely bad at the same time. A group of men ganging up on the poor male adulterer. And all these violence is done in the name of religion! Can't he just simply divorce his wife?

It's because we are too emotional 
The concentration of energy and pent-up emotions directed on the poor man is definitely a case all psychologists in the world could investigate and profile. It's the immature, baby, stuck-in-adolescence phase. Like it or not, Malaysians in general are not grown up to be good, rational thinking individuals. Most of us are still very much attached to our parents. Most of us put so much effort and energy in "values, tradition and religion" to the point that it is going against human rights.

It's because we fear too much
When values, tradition and religion are the top priorities, it makes us all group away from each other, causing division among races. An example, take me. I am of mixed Chinese parentage, a non-muslim, and watching this video makes me want to mix with my own race of people more than ever. Totally diverts away from the "Satu Malaysia" concept isn't it? Fear runs deep in our society. Fear of committing offense to our religion, tradition and values. That only creates division and disbelief among each other.

The woman is the mastermind in this movie
It's because we follow what society, religion, tradition and values dictates
But who is it anyway who dictates all that? Ever wonder? I believe in some way, the adulterous couple in the video figured out that point. They might have awaken from the veil and discovered, for a brief moment, that they could love whoever they wanted (in secret) and not care what society thinks of it. For a moment, they experienced true freedom in the arms of each other. The wife could be wanting to leave the husband because the husband has been abusive? The poor man being beaten up and ganged-up upon could be just an innocent guy being duped by the wife for his blind kindness. The whole origins of the adultery is simply too subjective and delved in matters of the heart.

It's because we have forgotten that we are humans
Along the way, I think Malaysian society has forgotten that we are all human, first and foremost. We can never ever follow the lines of values, religion and tradition without diverting it. And it's alright! Why is there such harsh punishment inflicted on the poor adulterer, which involves the whole goddamn village? It's like back in Jesus' time, when he said "Let the first one without sin, casts the first stone". And I assure you all those men in the video hitting and slamming at the poor guy is every bit a hypocrite. We are what we called "passion-less". Neither here nor there. Our passion is hidden, locked away in closet. But whenever someone did an act that viewed as against "religion, value and tradition", that's when we get all fired up, bursting with holier-than-thou enthusiasm and pin the sinner at the wall for all to see. Hit them where it hurts most. Again, hypocrisy.

It's because we're not passionate enough
Everyone of us is afraid to speak up in person when it comes to religion, values and tradition. How I wish the woman adulterer would rose up, screamed at the top of her lungs, pushed those men away and covered her lover from being kicked and punched, finally in loving embrace. But she didn't. She just sat there, frozen in fear and occasionally muttered a few words while her lover is being trampled on. I believed she sums up the image each and everyone of us are like in real life. Inside we feel, but outside we're unable to do anything. And that is exactly the image each and everyone of us must break away from in order for us to move forward as a society that the very least, will respect the human rights of even an adulterer. We must feel and act. At the very least, act in a humane way that respects each other as a human being - not a sinner, wrong-doer to be punished and kicked upon. Or we'll remain frozen and helpless, exactly like the woman adulterer in the video.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

For the Love of Pastries so Life is Sweet (and it should)

Usually after a bad briefing session or some tough negotiations I had encountered, I will usually reward myself. Life is not easy as an artiste in Malaysia, so rewarding yourself is always a great way to rejuvenate your mind and spirits. For me, I love pastries. It's round-shaped. White powdery sweet. Moist. Delicious!

Cream Puffs & Kaya Balls
Oh my! My weight is putting on. Hehe, anyway, I admit I love pastries. Of every kind. You know, after a meal. Or for the midnight snacks. Seriously, everyone who loves pastries have that kind of happy attitude about them. First thing, pastries can range from cheap to expensive. Like the ones you see here, its kaya balls. Costs like RM2.50 for 10 balls. Then of course, there's the cream puff I bought at Seapark at RM 1.50. I bought them all at the corner stalls.

Moist Chocolate Cake & Cuppa Flat White
The more upscale pastries would be cakes. Secret Recipes do dish up some nice cakes. I like the Moist Chocolate Cake with chocolate swirls covering the top. Yum. Depending on which branch of Secret Recipe you're in, NOT all give you that delicious swirls. That's the funny thing. Why can't they standardize that all shops with Moist Chocolate cake must have swirls? Miscommunication? Well, only I know which branch has that, and I ain't telling, haha! Recently I read that caffeine is good for men, and it helps to avoid prostate cancer. Very good, let's drink it up, men!

Roti bakar and teh ais
Life is sweet, when you have pastries. Or drink a cup of teh-tarik. The pleasures....Of course I limit myself to only 1 pastry per day. If I had say toast (roti bakar) for tea, then I won't have any pastry in the evening. Nowadays I find that I ate roti bakar less, because in KL, I seldom came across a good kopitiam with good roti bakar. There was one next to Berjaya Times Square, but I find the owner of the kopitiam a bit cold and odd. Geez.. The layer looks thick, but the kaya inside should be spread a bit more. Life is good, and it should!

Fresh buns versus packaged cake
Besides the usual bakery shop, you can always purchase some very delicious buns - 3 for only RM2 at the street vendors. I usually get a mixture of kaya and butter bun, red beans and lotus. It's so worth it! Like for these 3 buns, it could last me for a week, for I don't eat the entire bun in one go (unless I'm very hungry). Usually I will split it and save the other half. A lot of you may wonder what is a lotus bun, it can be seen at the bottom of the picture. It's green with sprinkles of sugar on top. Sweet and delicious. There's one orange cake I bought at the supermarket and it's extremely messy to eat with. Messy because when I cut it with a knife, the cake just "breaks" up into tiny pieces. I think it must be because it is packaged, therefore the freshness is not there causing there to be no air to pull the cake in one piece. It's also harder to put the knife into the cake for it was hard.

And finally, White Chocolate with Macadamia Nuts
I love white chocolate with macadamia nuts. Like in my previous entry, it is sweetness with a crunch! Espeecially the side of the cake with its milky layering as shown in the picture. Simply divine. You just want to savour every moment of it!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Food Shops with Good Food and Cheap Price that's already closed for business - It's just so worth it & sad at the same time.

Last Day of Opening - took a picture with a fan
Nothing lasts forever. Life is so brief, in a moment, it's all gone. I came across these photos in my camera recently, and it has been inside just waiting to get published. And it's here, finally. See the woman standing next to me? When I first moved into the neighborhood, her shop "Lee Lok" had the feel of an old Penang, stuck somewhere in my memory. Those really good food at cheap prices. I remembered bringing my students from Artiste Training Course there to eat. For 4 small dishes helpings in a plate of rice, it's only RM3.50. Imagine that! And the content is so filling!

Last Day Opening at Lee Lok
I remember that time when I went into the shop and suddenly received the news that it will be the last day the shop will be open for business. What a jolt. Thank goodness I brought my camera with me that time, and quickly took a few shots. The woman posed with me has a very slim figure and love to tie her hair in a long ponytail. She moves very quick too when serving the customers. Her son is married to a Thai girl, who speaks broken Cantonese (whom she tries to learn from me).
Lee Lok No More

That time, I have more money, so I would usually spend on food. I was also a bit sad due to that time I let go a movie offer because of my commitment to an event project. That coincided with the dates and clashed. My weight went up to 70kg! Of course, after the shop were closed, I began to look for other shops. And eventually learned to cook for myself, which I could save some money also. The most important thing is, my weight eventually went down to 65kg, which is my current now.

Plaza Low Yat Food Court - Mini Wok
Another place I love to share with you, which now is "extinct" is the food court at Low Yat Plaza. That was before they had their renovation, and there was a shop that serves the most delicious fish with fried rice with fries. Guess how much it cost? Only RM7.50, and it comes with a soup and watermelon pieces. The shop is still there, but the price has convert back to RM12.50. I was lucky to have to manage to eat there 3 times before it closed for renovation. It's just so worth it.

Seapark - Fish & Chips
Sometimes I go back to Seapark to eat at a few of my favourite shops. I spent my 20s there, so there's a lot of memories. There's one delicious Fish and Chips shop operated by a husband and wife from Sabah. The reason why I loved it is because of the fish size, which is humongous! Thick and delicious fish meat. The memory of the deliciousness is still in mind. Maybe I was not well-fed when I was a child, which cause me to appreciate all these delicious moments of foodie paradise. Now that I am an adult, I can eat what I want. But with this freedom, comes the appreciation. Hence, life is such. In a moment, it's gone. Be good to yourself, to others. Eat, don't think about your weight. Drink, don't think about the peeing. Learn, don't be afraid. Our Artiste Training Course teaches you to be bolder and braver about life.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

CSI Case - The Missing Lock on the Letter Box

I am a Crime Scene Investigator of my own 
Locks. It is used to ensure the safety of the content inside, away from prying eyes. But what surprises me recently was the lock being stolen instead of the content. I walked down to my usual mailbox, and discovered the lock was missing! The iron latch was broken, leaving the tip upwards causing the box cover stuck permanently closed. Suddenly I felt like a Crime Scene Investigator. I looked at my mailbox and discovered the crime scene to be clean except only the bended iron latch.

Crime Scene in a Box
My first impression was someone wanted the mails inside my box. But the box cover wasn't open at all. The lock was nowhere to be found. My mind quickly flashes back to the time when I first put on the lock. Originally, the lock was meant for the front door. But I misplaced my keys one day, and only had 1 left. And the cheap lock that was used for the mailbox couldn't function anymore, so I replaced it with the lock from the front door. Who knows that lock to be so valuable!

Ask for your friends' opinions
The funny thing is, I was surprised no one came out from the neighborhood to check when there's a broken sound. I'm sure the culprit must have done it with a loud bang. Or maybe that time, everyone was sleeping. But truly, even locks nowadays thieves want to steal. This incident made me looked at the bigger picture of our country's social/political scene. A testimony was recorded that the lock was stolen probably during thunderstorms or in the daytime. I also went and asked for my friends' opinions. One of them said this happens probably due to my "celebrity" status, and a fan is out there to get my mails to know more about my life. Puh-leez, as if!

Surveying the neighboring mailboxes
Value in the Lock
There must be desperate people out there who needs money. Even for RM50. That's the money I would spend to replace the iron latch and also the price of the missing lock when its being traded in the black market. So I went over the neighborhood and asked about anyone who repairs a mailbox. There are so few locksmiths who does this kind of work. Mending metals and stuff. Most are very specific with just duplicating keys. Finally I found one, and he understands what I want.

I went around the neighborhood and surveyed their mailboxes. Some were dented. But there's one particular that seems to be in "pristine" condition, and doesn't look like anyone tries to break it. There's one that caught my eye, it was with a keyhole, instead of requiring a lock. Maybe I'll get one just like that! No need lock, since locks are what caused this damage in the first place. But when I enquired the locksmith about it, he said that the mailbox with keyhole is already in place in the beginning and not fixed in there. So I have no choice but to settle for the lock and key.

The locksmith at work
Call in the Specialist
The appointed locksmith was supposed to be at the place to fix, but he was late because he got lost and had to send his daughter from school. Seems like a lot of work for a locksmith to take out his tools, and using his strength to pull out the damaged metal of the mailbox. He also needs to be precise in his measurement of my mailbox for him to fix in a new iron ledge. He actually took out a door ledge, it seems, and bended it into an L-shape so as to place it directly to fit in the hole where the lock will be placed.

Learning through Observation
Thank goodness I am the sort who likes to observe a workman works, because after he finished his work, I found out that the new iron ledge does not allow my newly purchased small lock to be placed - the new lock is simply too small. I need a bigger one. I secretly "cursed" that damned locksmith for making the iron ledge much bigger, that causes me to change to a bigger new lock. But after awhile thinking it, this could be good, for then anyone who wants to break the ledge would have a harder time to do so because of the added diameter to the iron ledge.

Give business to those I feel for
I quickly went back to the shop where I first purchased the small lock at RM5. I want to give this guy some business, for he's extremely timid and soft-spoken, like a little puppy you want to protect. I feel he's also an honest person, compared to the last locksmith who had just finished repaired the mailbox. The timid guy took out a box and searched for the lock I requested - the one with the black bodice, and not made from copper or any metal. He doesn't have any! So I made the suggestion that he keep my RM5, and looked for the lock I wanted, and tomorrow I will come back to get it. But he insisted that he doesn't have that kind of lock. Finally, he returned my money and I gave him back the lock. Too bad, I couldn't give him any business.

Total cost of damage and repair - RM77
Seems like my final choice is back to the shop where the previous locksmith had just fixed my mailbox. He wasn't around, but the wife was there. We talked, and she said she had a few customers who experienced the same thing like I do. I told her to give me the not precious locks, the ones nobody would steal. She suggested I used the grey one, but to me, it looked quite fancy, which scared me a bit - for I wish not the mailbox to be broken again. But she assured me no one would steal such a lock, for its just plain iron. The lock costs only RM7. Before that, I went to Mydin and bought myself a hammer, thinking I could straighten out the dent. But really, there's no point after observing it. The iron ledge had been damaged permanently. The stolen lock was valued at RM20.

New, cheap lock
So what lesson do I learn from this incident?
1) Don't buy expensive locks. Simply don't buy anything expensive at all, period. Only intangible purchases like education is the safest bet to put in your investment, no matter how expensive. How about joining our Artiste Training Course (in Acting, Film Direction or Modelling?)
2) Be aware that there are people who wants to take other people's belongings - even insignificant stuff like a lock for it can be traded off. But the knowledge you've learned from Artiste Training Course can never be taken away from you.
3) There's value in everything, even knowledge.