Tuesday, 25 September 2007

A tale of two DIESEL's

This blog isn't titled DIESELFREAK for nothing. The fact is plain and obvious: I love Diesel! I love everything about the brand: the jeans, clothing and accessories, the provocative and cheeky advertising campaigns and the whole successful living lifestyle propaganda it eschews.

Thus, as a Diesel fan, imagine my most utter disappointment and frustration to realise the fact that there is no Diesel store in my beloved country of mine. Wait, no Diesel in Malaysia? That cannot be... cuz i see them ev'rywhere: in the malls, supermarkets, even in the discount bins. They even place ads on the billboards of KL. So what are you yammering about? I hear you say...

The fact is the Diesel's that they sell in Malaysia are NOT the Diesel's that they sell in Italy, in the US, or even in Singapore. Strange but true. This is because, by some inexplicable (and unexplainable) freak of nature, what its sold here are actually under licence by a certain Kepong based Hing Yiap Group, which also licence other brands like B.U.M Equipment and UnionBay. My theory is that early on they have realised the appeal of the brand and had sought out to licence it to manufacture their own cheaper inhouse clothing and designs 'inspired' by the original line in Molvena, Italy. In other words, ewww...

Diesel 'Kepong'

Diesel as God intended, from Molvena, Italy

Having this so called 'fake' Diesel in Malaysia has made the brand image cheap and unreveared. This is a very precarious situation for an 'original' Diesel fan boy like myself, having to reiterate to my friends and everyone i know of time and time again of the apparent tragedy and disparity (believe me, they know). However, not one to take things lying down, i have taken the initiative to ask Diesel's distributors in South East Asia, Club 21 Pte Ltd on the situation:

Dear Club21, Are there any plans to open a DIESEL store in Malaysia?

If anyone could come to my rescue it is them: if they could buy back the local licence in Thailand and now have opened three stores in Bangkok, they could have easily done the same in Kuala Lumpur. But, alas, here is their reply to my query:

Thank you for contacting Club 21 Malaysia!

With regards to your inquiry, we would like to inform you that Club 21 have not planned to open DIESEL store in Malaysia yet.For new stores opening, please look out for our announcement in http://www.club21global.com/. Looking forward to seeing you at our boutiques soon.


Customer Relationship Management


Hmm... so it seams at least for now, i still need to take my twice yearly pilgrimage down to Singapore for my Diesel fix. Sigh, who would have thought that living the successful life would be so difficult.

Friday, 21 September 2007

Congratulations Dr Sheikh Muszaphar!

So the search for Malaysia's first astrononaut has come to an end. On October 10 2007, Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, 35 will blast off aboard a Russian-built Soyuz space craft en route to the International Space Station along with Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and U.S. astronaut Peggy Whitson for 10 days, conducting life science experiments and other research. Meanwhile, Faiz bin Khaleed, 27 will be the reserve candidate.
I was fortunate to have met Dr Muszaphar during Ning Baizura's 2007 birthday party. He was kind and gracious for having me take a picture with him. 'Star' qualities for a man destined to make the nation and his people proud. Dr Muszaphar, i salute you and wish you the best of luck and a safe return!

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Anuar Zain (2007) ****1/2

In the recording industry, where artistes come and go and hit songs a momentary fad, five years would seem like a lifetime. But that is how long a hiatus it took for one of Malaysia's most preeminent crooner to deliver his third solo album. Anuar Zain, having built upon a cult following for his distinct vocal delivery on R&B ballads and a firm favourite among the karaoke crowd, has returned with yet another self entitled (and self funded) album.

Anuar retains his repertoire of romantic and easy listening ballads with a surprising sprinkling of funk. But in a distinct departure from his previous efforts, Anuar has enlisted a significant portion of the production to Indonesian composers which has caused controversy in for supposedly overlooking Malaysian songwriting capabilities. Nevertheless, the body of work produced by these Indonesian composers are deservedly of high quality and should be viewed as a positive challenge for local songwriters.

Complementing the lush orchestral arrangements is the new found maturity in Anuar’s own vocal arrangement: its is more relaxed without sacrificing ‘feel’, and not over sung with just the right amount of ad libbing. This potent combination is displayed in its finest in the hit torch song LELAKI INI (the slight pause before the first verse is genious), the emotive and haunting KETULUSAN HATI (my favorite song in the album), and the understated elegance of I’M THE LUCKY ONE. Meanwhile, songs like TINGGALKAN AKU and HANYA MILIKMU evoke Anuar's 'old style' of singing, while much needed break from the ballad heavy set is provided from the songs KAU BUNGA CINTAKU and JANGAN PERNAH LAGI, with its punchy 70’s inspired horns and backing vocals. If there is any lacking in this album, it is the obvious ommission of the ballad Perpisahan from the Cinta OST.

While this album may not be eligible for many of the categories in next year's AIM awards (expect at least one nod for best male vocal), it is still overall a very satisfying and accomplished album and should be enough to sustain his fans for the next five years.
  1. I'm The Lucky One (Tengku Shafick) *****
  2. Ketulusan Hati (Numata - Inu, Mhala, Tantra ) *****
  3. Tinggalkan Aku (Sharon Paul / Anuar Zain, Irwan Simanjuntak) ****
  4. Kau Bunga Cintaku (Numata - Inu, Mhala, Tantra) *** 1/2
  5. Tak Lelah (Tengku Shafick) *** 1/2
  6. Lelaki Ini (Numata - Inu, Mhala, Tantra) *****
  7. Hanya Milikmu (Nico Ajie Bandy ) *****
  8. Bidadari (Omar K) **** 1/2
  9. Jangan Pernah Lagi (Nico Ajie Bandy) ****
  10. Teman Terulung (Azalea) *** 1/2

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Kathmandu Valley

The heart of Nepal is a vast basin surrounded by lush green mountain walls above which tower the majestic snow capped peeks of the Himalayas. Here lies three ancient cities of great historic and cultural significance: Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur. Collectively, Kathmandu valley is acknowledged as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.



TL: Entrance into the ancient city of Bhaktapur, the 'City of Devotees'
TR: Nyatapola Temple at the Taumadhi Square, Bhaktapur
BL: View of the Taumadhi Square, Bhaktapur
BR: A pottery maker displaying her craftsmenship at Bhaktapur

TL: Twilight at Swayambhunath Stupa
TR: Main thoroughfare at the Durbar Square in Patan, the 'City of Fine Arts'
BL: Monkeys overlooking a Hindu cremation at Pashupatinath Temple

BR: Looking at the eyes of Buddha at Bouddinath Stupa

Tuesday, 4 September 2007


Greeting from Nepal!
Keep this space on the lookout for some mesmerising sights and sounds of this ancient and mystical land.

Saturday, 1 September 2007

The first day of the next 50 years

I wonder what it must feels like on this very day 50 years ago...

To wake up the morning after the night before, and what a grand night it must have been when our Father of Independence proclaimed MERDEKA for his people. After all the challenges and struggles, a new nation was born. I imagine the day to be very serene and dreamy: every sight, sound and smell all absorbed as if in slow motion. Everything presented itself differently in a new light, with a new meaning. And with a renewed sense of purpose.

Which brings us to today: 1 Sept 2007. After all the pomp and pageantry, the glittering lights and festivities, does what i feel today not that much different from those felt 50 years ago?

I shall never know... but what i do know is that merdeka day or not, we are all faced with challenges that extend beyond just a mere one day. For the struggle to achieve happiness, success and to make something out of our lives is a constant, neverending ordeal. I could only hope that yesterday's celebrations would give me the impetus and the motivation to persevere in the journey that is life.

So, happy 1st Sept Malaysia. Here's to the next 50 years of successful living.