Too Many Santas

A few weeks ago, The Spring shopping mall had a contest to search for the best Santa look-a-like.

I was involved in it not as a participant, but as an event sponsor. Part of the perk (if you count it as a perk) was that I’ll come on board as one of the competition judges.

Now, I have been involved as a judge for many talent quests – most notably the online model search Malaysian Dreamgirls some 3 years ago.

How exactly did I go from being a judge for ten hot girls in skimpy undies to ten fat men in Santa outfits, I have no idea.

Nonetheless, it’s a good fun thing for me to do over the holiday season.

There were many Santas who turned up for the audition that day.

There’s your typical jolly ol’ Santa.


Cha Boh Santas.


Harry Potter Santa.


Dumbledore Santa.


And then there’s this Chao Ah Beng Santa who dyed his hair and beard.

Look like lion.

Being a Santa ain’t easy, even if it were just for a couple of hours. The Santas had to be put through gruelling tests set out by the judges.

Like wrapping up Christmas presents at the fastest speed possible.

Or singing Christmas carols at their perfect pitch.

But like any true beauty pageants, at the end of the day, it is not the looks but the personality that counts.

Good jolly ol’ Santa Charles won the first prize of RM2,500 sponsored by The Spring and Level Up Fitness. I also gave him a one year membership, but until today I still haven’t seen him working out at my gym.

Maybe Santa has gone back to North Pole.

But the real winners are of course the kids who turned up to The Spring that day.

You wanna talk about going home with a bag full of goodies? You gotta see the way those kids swarmed towards Santas.

It’s almost like a Starcraft Zerg attack.

The parents of those kids are obviously very happy too.

Because they don’t have to buy presents for their kids anymore!

ADV: Kil Me

Kuching people should know what I’m talking about.

Many many years ago, Soho was the undisputed king of Kuching nightspots. Back then, if you rocked up to Soho on a weekend, 9 times out of 10 you’d bump into somebody you know.

The most happening guys in town goes to Soho. The hottest chicks in town goes to Soho. Christmas Countdown, New Year’s Countdown, Chinese New Year Countdown… it’s all at Soho.

Everyone knows that.

Heck, at one point, the place became so packed that they opened up Ipanema next door just to accommodate the crowd. Ipanema was a wine bar and its chillout ambience was perfect hideout from the deafening music at Soho.

Because of Soho, old-school Jalan Pandungan became the hottest party central among the hip 20-somethings in Kuching for the longest time.

Since then, new owners have taken over both Soho and Ipanema.

From time to time, DJs from KL takes over the decks, injecting a much needed tasteful vibe into Kuching’s night scene.

To lure back the younger crowd, the new owners have also dropped the "wine bar" label from Ipanema, gave it a cool Irish vibe and renamed it…


Scary name. Maybe the new owners don’t like me very much. 🙁

But nahhh.

The ex-Ipanema is still the same, except the focus has turned away from wines and into Irish beers. To me that’s a very good thing, because I don’t care a lot about wines, but dammit – I LOVE Irish beers.

Kilkenny’s obviously got its namesake from the beer Kilkenny Draught – the "Irish Cream Ale", which in turn got its name from a city in southern Ireland where it was created. I learnt about this and its fascinating history at

Truth is, I never had Kilkenny before I visited this pub. I just thought it’s a bit funny for a Kenny to drink a Kilkenny. But since this beer is what the pub is promoting, I thought why not?

A lot of people who drink Kilkenny tends to compare it with Guinness. That’s perfectly understandable. After all Kilkenny is produced by the same people who made the stout.

I’d say it’s like the younger brother of Guinness. It’s poured the same way, served the same way and produced the same kinda foamy head. The only thing different is that it’s ruby red.

In terms of flavour, it sits somewhere between a stout and a lager. Kilkenny is velvety smooth, not too bitter and got that creamy aftertaste to it.

It’s a great beer to celebrate with during this festive season, when all I wanna do is get some alcohol into the system, but not something strong like my grandfather’s Chinese medicine.

Just party, celebrate a happy occasion, pair with a plate of good food then chillout afterwards.

At the pub, I ordered a mean plate of umai to go with my beer. Umai is our Sarawakian version of Japanese sashimi – raw fish marinated in lime and chilli padi. It’s SUPER SPICY, goes well with Kilkenny and I highly recommend it.

Yes, as wrong as it sounds, Kenny drinks Kilkenny!

To Kenny!

Tiger Translate 2010: The Wellington Showcase

The Opera House in Wellington is truly a fascinating place.


The night before, it hosted a recital by famous schizophrenic pianist David Helfgott.

The following night, it played host to Tiger Translate Wellington: an artistic showcase featuring live bands playing, DJs spinning and an art collaboration between Asian and local NZ artists on two huge 2 x 6 metre canvasses.

How do you convert a century-old heritage building from a hangout place for old farts, into a hip and exciting invite-only party venue?

Well, you add special effects lights.

You add a kickass stage for the bands and DJs to perform.

You serve icy cold Tiger Beer in abundance.


Then you sit back and watch the crowd trickling in non-stop until the place is absolutely JAM PACKED with people.

As the crowd slowly built up outside The Opera House, quiet Mongolian artist Oggy was inside gearing up for his big debut outside his homeland.


Despite it being his first time in a foreign country, he wasn’t feeling the least bit nervous. Oggy has already got himself psyched up. He even came to the live show with a traditional Maori tattoo motif painted on his face.

Oggy was to be paired up with UK-born painter Drypnz.

Meanwhile, Chinese comic artist teamed up with local graffiti artist "Eeks" Joe Blak.

There’s a lot of language barrier between the two pairs of Asian and Wellington artists. They have spent many hours in the days leading up to this live show discussing what to do.

And judging from this draft sketch, I had absolutely no idea what they’re up to.

At 9pm, the doors into the Opera House opened.

Song Yang, Joe Blak, Oggy and Drypnz started drawing on the two big canvasses as weird and wonderfully dressed independent bands entertained the crowd.

And what a crowd Tiger Translate managed to attract! Despite it being an invite-only event, THOUSANDS of people turned up to support this underground arts and music event.

It’s difficult to imagine that this is the very same venue that David Helfgott played classical music the night before.

Many thanks to readers in Wellington for turning up to say hi!

My birthday away from home wouldn’t have been as awesome without you guys!

It was 2am by the time Song Yang and Joe Blak completed their collaboration. The pair experimented with Eastern and Western painting techniques to create this piece.

Joe’s jellyfish creatures attacking Song Yang’s "Bad Girl" represents an invasion of Western ideals into Eastern cultures.

On the other side, Oggy and Drypnz’s collaboration offered a more unique insight into the theme "Metropolis".

Faceless, greedy politicians forcing an increasing suffocated public into the mechanical metropolitan world. In a Metropolis, restrictions are everywhere, creativity is stifled and life goes in endless circles.

For the Mongolian national and the Wellington resident, it’s obvious they see big cities as challenging places to live in, preferring to live their carefree small town lives.

To sum up a fascinating 6 hour long event into 120 seconds, here’s a music video I made myself.

Looking forward to the next Tiger Translate, wherever it may be!

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ADV: 12 Things I Want This Christmas

Dear Santa,


Alright old man.

Let’s cut to the chase. You know I’m a bit too big to be sitting on your lap now, so don’t try to make either of us feel awkward ok? I know you got a job to do, but that don’t make my wishes any less important. So let’s make this as easy as possible for both of us and you’ll do just fine, aight?

You see Santa, I have been an extremely good   very good   quite good   moderately well… an okay boy this year. So I don’t think it’s too much to ask if you grant just some of these wishes this Christmas and beyond. Ya dig?


1. An Apple iPad or a Samsung Galaxy Tab.

Everyone and their dog has got one of these things. Honestly speaking, I have never seen anyone using it productively. 99% of the time, people with an iPad are using to play games / browse pictures / pretend to be cool.

Heck, I want one too. Not to use it, but I don’t mind being one of them try-hards and carrying one of those as a fashion item.

Just a dummy set will do, Santa.


2. A monorail cat.

Great for fun and travel.


3. Dr Brandt skincare products. I want to be like the founder, looking like this when he’s 75 years old.


4. Claire and Michelle to win the Amazing Race Asia.

When I saw Michelle and Claire at the press conference, judging by their petite body sizes, I thought they would be the second team to get eliminated. Their perseverance in the race absolutely won me over.

Dammit, The Richards won.


5. Speaking of Singapore, can you make Singapore cheaper to travel to, Santa? Have you seen the hotel prices during F1 and YOG?



6. Some of those old-school Guinness Heritage collectible glasses to add to my collection of Guinness items.

They giving these out free for every 6 pints of Guinness Draught or a bucket of Foreign Extra Stout. Drink the beer and take the glass home. What a good deal eh?


7. Two words – Justin Bieber.

Enough is enough. Give him puberty and get him off the radio already!


8. Make Namewee’s head warmer.

Poor guy still wears a beanie eventhough he lives in a tropical country.

9. See more of my nephews and nieces.

Let them have enough food in their tummy, and grow up to become nice, loving and responsible people.

But don’t make them grow up too fast please. I still like them fun-sized. 


10. Good friends + good food + good beer = good time. The whole of December has been so hectic for me, I thought it would be nice to take time off work this holiday season to catch friends.

Friendship means a lot more to me as I get older. So gimme lots and lots of Guinness with good friends. 🙂


11. Spend some quality time at home with my loved ones on Christmas Eve.


I have been either at work on travelling too much. I stay in hotels about as often as I stayed at home, and I don’t see my family as much anymore – although I still live with them.

t’s actually quite sad. No matter how busy I am at work, at the end of the day, I just wanna come home and be safe with my family.


12. Let every person in the world have food on the table, a family to go to and a roof over their head.

I know it’s a very Miss Malaysia thing to say, but as we appreciate the things we have around us, let’s spare a thought for those who don’t have what we have. This Christmas, let’s do something for them.


Well, that’s about it. THANK YOU SANTA!

If you’ve popped by the pubs lately, many of them have already put up the "Merry Guinness" Christmas deco. In Kuching, there will be a Christmas party every night between the 17 to 24 December at the Rajang Lobby Lounge at the Grand Margherita Hotel.

In fact, there are big and small events happening throughout the country. I dunno where or what they are, so it’s best to check out the Guinness Facebook page for yourselves. If you love beer, you’ll thank me for it!

On top of it all, I actually have a little Christmas present to give away to anyone reading this blog entry. To participate, you must be above 18, non-Muslim and living in Kuching.

The contest very simple one. Just answer this question in the comment box below.

"What do you want for your Merry Guinness this year?"

Gimme the best answer and if you win, I’ll buy you a round of beer or ten. 🙂