Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Akula's friend: Bro, I want to lose weight. Can you give me some advise?
Akula: I don't have any actually.
Akula 's friend : But you loose so much.

Akula : I dont think you can do it my way. That is 2 times a day working out, every day.

Akula's friend : I think I can do it, but not when I am busy. I mean I dont think I have enough time to exercise like you do.

Akula : And that's exactly why you cannot do it.
Akula's Friend: What?
Akula: You give excuses before you even starts.


Akula: I rest my case.

I think the most important thing, is to get over our denials that we don't need to exercise and our own self serving excuses of not to do it. People I met spoke to me about this and while they told me that they want to start exercising, in the same breath gave lame excuses such as;

1. Their doctor said they are still ok.
2. They did blood test some time back and did not find anything wrong.
3. They can still climb stairs without any problem.
4. Brag about their long past athletic ability.

I told them all that are good, and that they are wasting their time and their precious saliva (and mine) asking me for advice.

The thing is, I was like them before, always coming up with a lot of bullshit excuses to justify myself that I dont need it, although at that time I was physically in a really bad, bad shape.

Seriously, you have to want to do it to make it work.

Plain, brutal and simple.

Monday, September 28, 2009


A few years back, when Facebook (or FB) was making its mark on the Internet, a lot of my friends quicky subscribed to its service and jumped on this social networking bandwagon.

I did not.

I really think that social networking services in the Internet are meant for those who have a lot of free time at their hands and honestly, I am not into that kind of thing. Well, I did join some social networking site but its more of a strategy to promote and to popularize my previous blog, Nasi Lemak and Nescafe Tarik.

Now I think, almost everyone I know has a Facebook, and if they are not, I'll bet you that someone they know are Facebooks users. Thats how big the circle of FB users around you. I think its most appropriate if now we say, kalau baling batu tengah orang ramai mesti kena sorang Facebook user.

Anyway, that is not what I am getting at.

People loves to hear news about someone they know. Doesnt matter if that someone is a relative, friends or an old flame. Hey, people even loves to know something about a friend of a friend. And sometimes they dont have any idea who the hell that friend of a friend is anyway. Rather than labelling that kind of behaviour as nosy or busybody, I would personally say that its normal inquisitive human nature at work. Its embedded in our DNA since forever to want to know about something even if it got nothing to do with ourselves.

The old way of catching up latest news, gossips and happenings back then in my growing up years, would be at the gathering of parents searching for their children right before maghrib. Usually parents will berkumpul in front of a popular neighbour's house turned playground, and while yelling "Oi budak, engko balik mandi SEKARANG, kata aku!" they exchanged information on everyday stuff.

I also remember that whenever the fishmonger came to our neighbourhood riding his Honda 70 kapchai every morning, all the wives and mothers came out in droves from their homes. And of course while buying foodstuff to cook for the afternoon meal, they grabbed at that opportunity to exchange latest gossips.

And they did this every single day.

It made me think that perhaps our social act of getting together far outweigh the importance of exchanging of the news itself.

Make sense?

I mean that is what millions of Facebook fans are doing, arent they? Like our parents before us, we discussed about everything under the stars in there. Need that particular recipe? Just post what we need on our FB wall, and someone will surely give the much needed help. Got wishes to send? No problem, just send it through one of the many available FB applications. Want to share share a particular news? Type what we think inside our head in the FB and everybody will know the instance they launched their own FB.

We gathered almost all the person we know in our own space. And we wholeheartedly embraced social networking application like Facebook to share our news, happenings and gossips with one another, much like what the older generations did. Long distances doesnt mean a thing these days and we could easily keep in touch wherever we are.

The thing with all this is that, we cannot but be dependent on one another for that need to interact. The way of keeping in touch might be totally different now compared to 10 - 20 years ago, but we are no different from our parents generation or the generation before them. Our social dependency still remains the same. We got together on Facebook and socialize, even with the obvious lack of personal touches and the privilege of having the interaction face to face.

Joining other middle age adult this year for me, I think I am beginning to morph and form new characteristics that were very alien to me before. Like subscribing to Facebook. I admit with no shame that I now consider myself as a heavy Facebook user. I enjoyed the user friendly interface and the space provided for photos storage. And I found Mafia Wars is very, very fun and engaging to play.

Oh yes, I am putting the blame on the age factor, definitely.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


How do we Malaysians, celebrate Aidilfitri in Geneva?

Obviously, of course its not the same as in Malaysia. No true lemang, ketupat here since we cannot get buluh lemang and daun kelapa or daun palas. But what we did were to improvise. Lemang was made in aluminium foil and for ketupat, my love one made nasi himpit. No problem to make rendang and kuih kacang since all all necessary ingredients are readily available in various Asian grocery shop in Ferney (France) and around Geneva.

Days leading to Hari Raya, we paid our zakat fitrah in the local mosque. The difference doing that compared to Malaysia is that theres no one to accept the payment, thus no akad. Zakat fitrah money were simply dropped in a box placed in the mosque. Thats it. Dont ask me sah ke tak sah. I dont know, and I am not the appropriate authority to comment on that. What I know is that I have fulfilled my obligation according to the practice here.

I went to a prominent Malaysian residence who was kind enough to volunteer his house for our Aidilfitri prayers. And nope, I was not the Imam, in case you are wondering. I dont think I was fit to be one, (banyak tanggung dosa) :).

We had delicious nasi dagang and sate and various Malaysian food prepared by the host. Others brought along additional pot luck traditional kuih muih too add up and to complete the Hari Raya gastronomy extravaganza.

My family and I stayed there until noon, meeting and renewing acquaintances and enjoying the good crowd. Just like in Malaysia where we visited rumah saudara mara on the first day of Raya, we visited other friends here instead and this continued well into the night, one house after another.

Raya second day, we visited another prominent Malaysian open house, and feasted on the variety of Malaysian dishes, again! Not that I was complaining. I am a simple man, and what more could you expect during Hari Raya celebration here in Geneva. Having delicious food among good friends and friendly crowd, is more than enough for me. The tradition of visiting other Malaysian house continued on the second day of Raya.

We were tired with the hectic schedule but neverheless, felt satisfied and happy to celebrate our first Hari Raya here.

And I know you readers had a wonderful Aidilfitri too in Malaysia.

Tomorrow, my family and I will be going to Berne to attend an open house invitation there. I know it will be great.

Salam Aidilfitri from Geneva.

Note: Pics will be uploaded once I have free time la.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


So there I was, chatting with a friend, at my big boss Hari Raya Open house when a guy approached me.

The man : " You Kampung Melayu Geneva?"

I was startled with the question. I shot a look at the friend I was chatting with and burst out laughing. I turned to the guy and said to him with a smile.

Akula: So you read it?
The man: Yes, I was in fact googling about Geneva before I came to Switzerland. Thats when I came across your blog. BTW you should write more.
Akula : Hehe, I think I should too.

What I dont know was that he had been asking other guests who's based in Geneva whether or not they are the one who owns Kampung Melayu Geneva. Another friend told me that later.

The other day, I attended a function in Bern, when a colleague (who I know she dont have any idea that I have blog) shot me a remark.

Lady colleague: I know your secret !

Now, when somebody said something like that in your face, it must mean that somehow and some way, your irresponsible but really fun as hell past has finally caught up with you (not that I am implying I had an irresponsible but really fun as hell past, mind you, hehe).

Akula (nervously) : I think I dont have a secret.
Lady colleague: I read your blog.
Akula (with relief) : Aaaah, THAT secret.

It turned out her friend was (and still is) a fan of Nasi Lemak and Nescafe Tarik, and continued to read my ramblings in Kampung Melayu Geneva.

Back in Malaysia, this one time, I was having a Teh Tarik conversation with a fellow blogger, when a young lady, sitting at a table behind ours with a male friend, turned her head around towards us, smiled and said, "So you are Akula! And you are (name censored)!. I know its you guys! Woo! Unbelievable!". We just nodded our head acknowledging her statement and smiled back at her (and her I-dont-have-a-clue male friend).

Well, let me just say that I am always glad whenever I stumbled upon a chance to meet someone I dont know, who told me that they read my blog. But even so, I really dont think I am famous or in that sense, popular like other prominent bloggers. If you guys enjoyed my writings, I am truly flattered and thankful. I am just relating my life experiences and what I thought, from my point of view. And if you dont like what I wrote and dont agree with my views, seriously, I really dont mind.

And please, no groupies or stalkers, okay.

Friday, September 11, 2009


When I was still single, I was totally into the audio video, home theatre thing. My old Civic LX was fitted with the finest and latest CD audio component, since at that time I was spending way a lot of time travelling.

I had 2 systems in my home. For my listening pleasure I had an Audio Lab amp, Marantz CD and a Technic double casette deck player, pair of Infinity floor standing speaker for playing cds and cassettes. For movie playback, I had a Sony Laser Disc for LDs, a Panasonic VHS for videos a VCD player (cant remember the model) for VCDs. An Onkyo AV Receiver and Paradigm surround speakers completed my home theatre set up.

And lots, lots of casettes, VCDs and CDs. LDs were so expensive back then. I think I owned perhaps 2 or three movie titles on LDs and usually rented other LD movies from a favourite video rental shop in Alor Setar.

I did not consider myself as an audiophile, but I know enough, and I used to keep track of the AV evolutions and happenings over those years.

Then marriage happened.

Following that, then , fatherhood showed up.

And somehow, slowly and surely, I drifted away from the audio video world. I found that I no longer have the pleasure and time to listen to musics and experienced movies at the full blast of a home theatre system. Driving my car while listening to booming sounds of heavy metals bands became a thing of the past. Babies on board.

My life was centered around my infant daughters. You know, the can't-make-any-noise-or-the-babies-will-wake-up-and-give-you-hell sort of stuff. The other thing was, I realized that I cannot win the fight for my rights to hear full blast music (as I usually did when I was single) with my love one. "Yes dear, I'll shut it off right now" was the only response I could offer when my love one reminded me that we have babies sleeping in the house whenever I tried to listen to some music or watching movies. It was indeed a losing battle. So I ditched my AV stuff to concentrate on the fatherhood routine and drills.

Only on rare occasions I had some moments and glimpses of the latest gadgets and happenings in the audio video world. My listening to music was reduced to hearing it from Ipod, which is great for exercising but not so if I really want to enjoy the details.

A few days ago I decided that my years of self impose exile from loud noises were now over since my youngest daughter is finally attending primary school.

I already have a Toshiba 42 inches Regza and I needed a good home theater system to go with that. I was looking for a system which can fit in a small room . After some research and test I decided to get the Philip Soundbar DVD Home Theatre HTS8100. Its an integrated 5.1 surround channel in a one piece system with a built in CD/ DVD player.

It has all the necessary HDMI, Optical, USB and digital input. A separate auxiliary input for MP3 links/ players, it can play music from any MP3 players as well. A FM tuner allows you to listen to favourite FM stations.

The soft touch screen on the control panel is an excellent and a very cool feature. The panel slides to the right revealing a hidden compartment to slot CD/DVD in for playback.

The best thing that surprised me was that it also came with a separate Ipod dock. Once connected, it play the songs, and you can also watched movies or video clips from your Ipod on the TV screen. This unit remote control also controlled the Ipod's functions, which I found very convenient.

Digital photos can be viewed on the TV via the USB input. Just plug in your USB drive, and its good to go.

This Philips Soundbar has a separate sub woofer unit to complete the system.

For this system review, you can check out the following website.

I was lucky in the sense that I bought this Philip Soundbar way below the normal price, as it was on offer. And on top of that I managed to get an Integrated TV Mounts with heavily discounted price, which is a perfect place for all my audio video components including my children game consoles.

I definitely am back!

Sunday, September 6, 2009


Lets explore shopping in Geneva.

Well, for starters, there's definitely not a lot of shopping complexes if we compare what we have back home in Malaysia. The most prominent one is Balexert, followed by Manor, I think. (To give you and idea how big the shopping complexes here compared to Malaysia, size wise, let just say that it will take about 30 Balexert to fit in one Suria KLCC). Apart from that here are a lot of designer label shops in the old part of Geneva. Almost all of the famous brands had a store here (this is of course la a hit with the love one, whenever the subject of all things `designer label stuff' crop up in our conversation, where I would usually roll up my eyes, wishing hard I was somewhere else. :).

The most interesting aspect is that, whenever you want to buy something, lets just say, shoes for example, just pick up the one you want and pay. Thats it. No bored sales person to bug you, no lengthy sales pitch by the sales assistant. I like it that way. I don't need to say anything, just pick what I want, try it and see whether its fit and if I am satisfied, pay for it and get the hell out. Its efficient.

Friends here told me that its much more cheaper to shop in France. I dont know, but with the Swiss Franc to Euro exchange rate always favoured the latter, maybe its just true for some stuff. I mean its expensive in Geneva, but if converted to Euro, taking into account you have to pay more Swiss Franc for the same thing, you are actually paying the same amount.

In halal food case, as in meat and chicken, I can say that its 50 percent cheaper in France than in Geneva. So I buy all the halal food stuff in Anamasse or in Ferney, both in France.

Another thing I observed here, is that there's a lot of factory outlet around Geneva and in the whole of Europe for that matter. Foxtown in Lugano, Switzerland is a popular place for shopping with the expat community here. With 160 factory stores representing various famous brands, you could fulfill your deepest heart desire there for a reasonable price.

Theres also a small factory outlet in Aubonne, about 30 minutes drive from Geneva where they have a Nike factory outlet and other famous sports brands shop like Adidas and Reebok. I considered the prices as okay, and it will get cheaper if its sales time.

My favourite place to explore without any doubt is Media Markt where they sell those audio video stuff, computers, handphones, cameras, CDs, DVD's, Blue Ray Discs, video games............ well you get the idea. Its like a mini Low Yatt and a place where my male colleagues and I got our weekly and sometimes almost daily gadgets fix. Come to think of it, its very rare for me not to buy something there every time I visited the store.

A female colleague once remarked that she don't understand why we guys could spent hours browsing this kind of shop and what we searched for. To which I replied, "And you honestly think we can understand you ladies, wherenever you go shopping?"


Thursday, September 3, 2009


Remember when we were kids, theres this melodious tune that we sang, whenever we quarreled with our friends? It goes something like this;


and this;


I dont know what pissed us off so much when we were bombarded with this insulting chants. Perhaps our young mind at that time were thinking that if it were said many times enough, it will come true?

I have to admit that I got into a lot of fights with my friends whenever it escalated to name calling like this. And so were my friends, with me.

I wonder, perhaps breasts was an important component for our self integrity during our childhood days and thus when someone provoked our developing mind by insulting our errr..... breasts, then there was not other way to redeemed and defend that sacred honour other than fist fight?

I don't know, but come to think of it, I think its weird.

Weirder still, some of my childhood friends, whenever somebody touched them on top of their heads, they will automatically pat their chin upwards twice or thrice in quick succession as if to correct the imbalance of their head (cause by that touching on top of the head). I remember laughing like crazy when this girl, Nani, frantically tapping her chin upwards when a teacher slap her head with an exercise book. It doesnt make sense to me then, and it still doesnt make any sense now.

Back to the quarrel thing, I think, being at my age right now, falling out with friends are something that feels undesirable. I mean, I dont want to have a quarrel over silly, simple things. Trying to win an argument for instance, or when I was asked to do a favour that I dont agree with.

If I am in that situation, usually I will say no, and thats it. No means no. Or I will walk away from it. And if the other party still doesnt get it, its not my problem. They are the one who should deal with my decision. I don't owe anybody any explanation for saying no or walking away.

The more important thing is that, adults, when they quarrel, do behave like small kids. I have witness and personally experienced similar things. Small matters were blown up and months, or even years of friendship could end just like that.

I honestly think that its more a matter of opinion, and if we dont agree with it, so what, we just dont agree. What sane mind who feels the need to pursue such matters further is sometimes beyond me. And seriously its a stupid thing to act on. There are more important things to think about..... like world peace (Heheh).

Having said that, and if we still feel the need to feed the hunger of revenge in our egoistic mind, please feel free to yell the TAK KAWAN, SUDAH ! chant.

As many times needed, of course.