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Monday, July 02, 2012


Rant 1:29 AM of Azmie
Sunday, July 13, 2008

July 13, 2008

Update by REDintern Danial Azmie. Photos by Danial Azmie and Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports.

Shalom See all smiles after breaking record with 400m victory

Shalom Danielle See (#60) on the finishing stretch. Lim Shanru (#180) came in second. (Photo 1 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)

Choa Chu Kang Stadium, Friday, July 11, 2008 - It was a sweet victory for Shalom Danielle See (#60) of National Junior College as she bid farewell to her other competitors at the tape, clocking a meet record of 58.65 seconds in the A Division Girls 400 Metres race at the 49th Inter-school Track & Field Championships.

Shalom, (whose name, interestingly, also happens to be a traditional Jewish greeting) did not achieve her podium finish without stiff competition however.

Runner-up Lim Shanru (#180) from Hwa Chong Institution briefly led the race, but Shalom See overtook her midway and held on until the finish, despite commendable efforts by both Shanru herself and bronze winner, Ang Peixuan (#30) from Catholic Junior College.

When approached, the affable and chirpy JC2 student remarked, “I did not expect to win! Just before the race, I told myself to try my best, and trusted the race to God.”

When asked of her feelings regarding her record-breaking success, she enthused, “I screamed when I found out about it. I didn’t expect it at all- its a bonus. I’d really like to thank God, my family, my coach Mr Lim Loh Yeo, the team (Masak girls) and IJ girls. Without them, I wouldn’t have dreamt of the win”.

It is a commendable task indeed, for Shalom and most of the A Division Girls in JC2, who would have to make endless sacrifices to juggle both A-Levels and their passion. Despite such hurdles, they have proven to the crowd throughout the Championships that all that and more can be vanquished if the will never lets up.

Congratulations to Shalom!

Final Result:

400 Metres A-Girls
1st - Shalom Danielle See (National Junior College) 00:58.65 (Meet Record)
2nd - Lim Shanru (Hwa Chong Institution) 00:58.88
3rd - Ang Peixuan (Catholic Junior College) 01:01.47

Shalom (in red) with her fellow athletes. (Photo 3 © Danial Azmie)

Shalom See, the new A Division Girls 400m record holder. (Photo 4 © Danial Azmie)

Rant 6:10 AM of Azmie

Clara Poon of Cedar Girls’ breaks record to win C Division girls 400m gold

July 13, 2008

Update by REDintern Danial Azmie. Photos by Danial Azmie and Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports.

Choa Chu Kang Stadium, Friday, July 11, 2008 - Clara Poon Jia Xin of Cedar Girls’ clinched the C Division Girls 400 Metres title with a time of 1 minute 0.48 seconds, almost a second ahead of her nearest rival. More significantly, the time also beat the meet and national C Division Girls record set way back in 1977 by Munirah Alatas, prompting observers to take notice of her blooming talent despite her relatively young age.

She finished the race with such aplomb that we had to get a word or two from her regarding her performance, which she sportingly obliged. When prodded regarding her opinion of the run, the delicately dainty runner remarked: “I was training for the record, and before the race, I thought I could do it.”

She managed to overcome the 61 second barrier which had been her stumbling block all this year and to that she opined: “You have to be strong mentally and I’m grateful to my school for giving us the opportunity to train in Thailand recently. This certainly caused a level of improvement. I’d also like to thank my coaches Qi Jiaorian, Joel Tay and also my parents for the support.”

Indeed, budding athletes like Clara Poon do need all the support they can get in order to achieve their dreams. It is definitely heartening to see support extended by both school and family.

Final Result:

400 Metres C-Girls
1st- Clara Poon Jia Xin (Cedar Girls) 01:00.48 (Event & C-Div Record)
2nd- Nur Hamizah (Singapore Sports School) 01:01.26
3rd -Wendy Enn (Singapore Sports School) 01:01.80

Rant 5:57 AM of Azmie

Update by REDintern Danial Azmie. Photos by Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports.

Ranjitha (#17) starts on her second lap. (Photo 1 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)

Choa Chu Kang Stadium, Friday, July 11, 2008 - Ranjitha from Anderson Secondary grabbed the C Division Girls 1500 Metres gold with a commanding lead, 18 seconds ahead of the runner-up, to emerge the undisputed winner of her event.

It was a great photo finish opportunity for the cameras to capture the huge gap between her and the rest, and she herself was shocked at such a margin of victory, "I did not expect to lead by such a margin. It is not often that happens."

When quizzed about her feelings while running, she quipped shyly, "I was scared at first, looking at the competition, but my aim was always to get first".

Such quiet determination reaped rewards for Ranjitha, and we wish her another victory for her next event, the 800m final next Wednesday. Ranjitha is not new to the track scene as well, despite her being in the C Division. She has been running events such as the recent WALA track championships for the past three years.

With this victory, it signals that she can only get better with every run. Good luck!

Final Result:

1500 Metres C-Girls
1st- Ranjitha (Anderson) 05:12.65
2nd- Hannah Lau Sing Hee (Cedar Girls) 05:29.81
3rd- Lee Ying Si Win Sy (Saint Nicholas Girls) 05:30.36

Ranjitha (#17) finishes first with a time of 5min 12.65s. (Photo 2 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)

Hannah Lau (#148) comes in second where as Winsy Lee (#32) pips fellow team mate Janielle Lim (#29) to third place. (Photo 3 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)

Winsy Lee leads the pack on the start of the second lap. (Photo 4 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)

You know when you're really good when you see this. Ranjitha looks back at the pack and nearest competitor who is about 20s away after she crosses the finishing line. (Photo 5 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)

More photos in the gallery.

Rant 5:55 AM of Azmie

Update by REDintern Danial Azmie. Photos by Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports.

Noreen Herman (#93) leaps over the hurdle. Inez Leong (#34) came in second with a time of 15.47s. Cheryl Lie (#206) finished seventh with a time of 16.75s. (Photo 1 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)

Choa Chu Kang Stadium, Friday, July 11, 2008- It was a remarkable conclusion to an almost epic rivalry in the B Division 100 Metres Hurdles as Noreen Herman from the Singapore Sports School brought the anticipating crowd to its feet by rewriting her name once more in the record books.

Noreen thought she had it wrapped and delivered for the Finals when she initially smashed the then-record in the Heats with a time of 00:15.55, but much to her, and all other observers' amazement, fellow favourite Inez Leong Hui Xin (CHIJ St Nicholas Girls’) responded with a virtuoso performance in her own Heats, clocking 00:15.42 to install herself then as the surefire choice for the winners medal.

Indeed, just prior to the race, the stadium was buzzing with excitement over the potential for this race to crack another record, such was the intense rivalry amongst both girls over only a single Gold medal. They had both upped the ante with their performances over the days, and you could almost feel the tension pervading amongst the lanes as the girls strutted nimbly to their starting blocks.

The command "Ke Garisan!" ("On your lines") and then, the sudden "Bang!" rang through the Stadium, and they were off.

As expected, it was neck and neck between both girls , right to the wire, it was always going to be either of the two, and in the end Noreen just pipped her rival by a mere 0.12th of a second to claim Gold. And yes, it was another record, the third in the same event in two weeks. Further checks with the Singapore Amateur Athletic Association records showed that Noreen also broke the National Junior Record, a first for the 49th Inter-School Championships! Here's a quick tête-à-tête with the Winner:

Redsports: Noreen, congratulations on the win. What was going through your mind throughout the race?

Noreen: Thanks! Oh, I was fully focused during the race. I was thinking: I need to stick as close as I can to Inez, and I also wanted to make my Coach proud. At the last part, I pushed myself to my limits, and when I saw her fall back, I saw that as an advantage and opportunity to finish first.

Redsports: Indeed, you clinched it. How confident of you of winning the race? Did you expect to break the record once again?

Noreen: I was quite confident that I could do it. I wanted it really badly, but I wasn't thinking of the record, it was more of getting the first position. I didn't want to aim that far, in case I get disappointed if I didn't reach the goal.

Redsports: How was training for the competition like?

Noreen: (Smiling) It was fun, very fun. We did our routines everyday, there was no letting up. My coach gave support advice and was always positively egging me on, telling me that "You can do it" and that we should concentrate on doing the simple things that can eventually make it better overall.

And it sure made things better, even though Nureen did not participate in last year's 80 Metres C Division Hurdles finals, she more than made it up for it with a maverick performance.

It was double heartbreak though, for Inez, as Goh Weiming, also from the Singapore Sports School, broke her 80 Metres Hurdles record with a new timing of 00:12:52.

Final Result:

100 Metres Hurdles B-Girls

1st- Noreen Herman (Singapore Sports School) 00:15.35 (National Junior Record)
2nd- Inez Leong Hui Xin (CHIJ St Nicholas Girls’) 00:15.47
3rd- Lee Mei En Sarah (Nanyang Girls) 00:16.12

Sarah Lee finished fifth with a time of 13.71s last year in the C Division 80m hurdles.

Noreen helps up a fellow competitor who collapsed of exhaustion after the run. (Photo 2 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)

More photos in the gallery.

Rant 5:54 AM of Azmie
Wednesday, June 11, 2008


I'm feeling pretty hyped up right now as my 2 favourite picks for Euro, the Netherlands (realistic pick) & Turkey (romantic pick, although I can concede that both are pretty idealistic choices in their own ways) have had good chances to qualify for the next round. The Dutch showed a massively impressive example of Total Voetbal by destroying the languid (or complacent rather?) Italians, with Sneijder & van Bronckhorst particularly impressive & Turkey recovering from that Portugal meltdown to register an astonishing comeback against the Swiss piss. Amazing. Swiss made to cry like the missus on their own home turf. So let me review the stunners and misses from my Dream Team Pick

"Damn that small kid!"

GK- Igor Akinfeev (Russia)vs Spain -6/10 - Disappointing first game, but I would argue that his defence was more to blame for exposing him time and again for the goals. They were just awfully slow. Still, I back him to bounce back and keep a clean sheet against the meandering Greek bullshit players. Yes, he's gonna keep a clean sheet ( I hope)

RB- Valon Behrami (Switzerland) vs Turkey -7/10- The Swiss are out of this, but Valon showed some impressive performances in the games, I think he was especially dangerous in the Turkish game where he filled in at right midfield. He did not disappoint for me, with the manner of his effervescent display. Statistics from UEFA justifies this. He was the hardest running player for Swiss in the game.

"What else should I do to qualify.. Sigh"

CB- Andrea Barzagli (Italy) vs Holland- 4/10- Ahh, what happened to the Catenaccio?? The whole of the Italian defence was awful, ponderous, static (yes, put in all manner of superlatives you can think of) He well and truly bombed. Heir apparent to Cannavaro? I'd rather Donadoni himself played, 40 years plus and all. But he has a chance to redeem that performance against the Romanians. I've not lost faith in him, not yet. I know he can do better than this.

"No Andrea, you're not gonna get the offside call.."

CB- Sebastian Prödl (Austria)vs Croatia- 7/10- I surprised even myself by choosing him, but based on my limited knowledge of reading up on the Austrian team and finding out that he scored 2 goals from defence recently made me plump for him. Plus he's young. And what I saw of him against Croatia looked promising. He wasn't to be faulted for the penalty, and almost scored with a long range strike in the first half. I'm hoping he can nick a goal against the Poles next. But he'll do well to shackle the dangerous Smolarek in the next game.

June 13 Update vs Poland: What a match! If Prödl were an Austrian striker I would have clubbed him to death, his performance for today's match wasn't really world-class, but was decent enough to merit mention. Highlight of the game was that he was the player who was fouled for that injury time penalty, he had his shirt tugged in the goalmouth scramble. The fact that he was Austria's 2nd best passer of the ball for the game (80% completed passes) signifies how horrible their midfielders are..or even their strikers.. They could have been 3 goals up in the first half. But as they say, half full or half empty.

Revised rating: 7.5
Looking much like his age. Acting fierce, like a gangsta.

LB- Marcell Jansen (Germany) vs Poland- 7/10- Solid, if unspectacular, display for him. I'm looking for him to grow in strength in the next game.

June 13 Update vs Croatia- Argh.. This is frustrating. He played like the proverbial fish out of water and was duly substituted on the half. Admittedly, the Srna goal was his fault for not tracking back and sticking close to the wingback. I'm sorry , but I have to be critical. He promised so much.

Revised Rating: 6/10 (average of 2 games)


RM- Arda Turan (Turkey) vs Swiss- 9/10- Didn't play in the first match, but duly responded in the next against the Swiss, with a Man-of-the-Match display , capping off with a fine goal. I was jumping after that goal!! I was tipping him, even before Euro 2008, to move to a major European club soon. (okay I didn't exactly get to see him play a full match prior to the tournament, but I saw his Youtube videos and he was impressive for Gala) On a serious note though, Fatih Terim should really relook at Turkey's strategy of always using the wasteful Tuncay at the other flank.. Believe more in this 21 year old!!

CM- Luka Modrić (Croatia) vs Austria- 7/10- His team was decidedly awful despite the win, but hey, he scored! He was one of the more effervescent players in a boring display, but against Germany in the next, that would surely test his potential credentials. I hope he can live up to expectations. Come on Luka!

June 13 Update vs Germany- : Ahh he was the fulcrum of the team in that competent display against the mighty German juggernaut. The reason why the seemingly unstoppable machine screeched to a halt is because Croatian players like him were like little hobbits running all round the pitch closing down the Germans denying them space to play their quick passing game.. He almost scored with a one-on-one late in the game, but the referee arguably got the decision on him fouling a defender wrong.. That was a bad call I think.

So far, he has lived up to the hype.

Revised Rating: 8.5

"Duhh.. I scored? If you know what i mean *wink*

CM- João Moutinho (Portugal) vs Turkey, Czech- 7.5/10- 2 games, 1 assist. I think he did very much better in the game against the Turks, that was a clever assist in the last minute to Raul Meireles. In the second game, however, he was largely anonymous as Deco, Ronaldo and co stole his thunder, but nevertheless, looked comfortable on the ball. I hope he gets to play in the final game too, even though Portugal have now qualified.

LM- Samir Nasri (France)vs Romania- 6/10- Didn't get to show much, as he played in the final 20 minutes, but the whole French team were limp anyway. Come on they can surely do better?? Will update after the Holland game. That will test him. (if he gets to play!)

CF- Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Holland)- Didn't get to play. Will update after France game.

CF- Mario Gómez (Germany) vs Poland- 6/10- Missed a couple of gilt-edged chances which he really should have tucked in.. He looked disappointed with himself, but had a hand in one of the goals. He can do better, surely. I hope he can find his feet later on in the tourney.

June 13 Update vs Croatia- He was the reason why Podolski was forced to shift to left wing, but in both games so far, he has been decidedly awful, looked like the grinch everytime the ref blowed him correctly for offside, and never really had a real chance to score anywhere in this tournament. What a flop. And oh, Lukas scored 3, my friend.

Revised Rating: 5/10

"Duhhh... Who scored...?"

subs- Mertesacker (Ger) vs Poland- 8/10- Dependable. Didn't put a foot wrong

vs Croatia: 6/10- Arguably at fault for him and Metzelder somewhat miscommunicated, resulting in the Olic goal.

Corluka (Cro) vs Poland- 6.5/10- Played OK,

vs Germany: 8/10- Oh one of them hobbits. Never stopped running. Are they on some special performance-enhancing shiznitz??

Barnetta (Switz)vs Czech, Turkey- 7.5/10- I think he played well so far, but the Swiss Achilles' heel has got to be their finishing. His shooting was a let-down against the Turks.

Benzema (Fra)vs Romania- 5/10
Biggest flop so far.

Come on Oranje.. Don't disappoint me now!!

Rant 3:06 PM of Azmie
Thursday, May 29, 2008

EURO 2008 Underdog First 11

Since the Euros are coming soon, i'd rather jot this list down lest I forget.
These players, chosen according to position, are the ones I predict to make an impact in the coming tournament, provided they get to play.

For obvious reasons, i've left out the established international players, cause if not, this list would be darn f*king boring..

Here it is: Player Name (Country)/ Club/ Age (Caps/Goals)

GK- Igor Akinfeev (Russia)/ CSKA Moscow/ 22 (18/0)


RB- Valon Behrami (Switzerland)/ Lazio/ 23 (12/1)
(initial choice: Gokhan Gonul (Turkey/ Fenerbahce/ injured)

CB- Andrea Barzagli (Italy)/ Wolfsburg/ 27 (21/0)


CB- Sebastian Prödl (Austria)/ Sturm Graz/ 20 (8/2)

LB- Marcell Jansen (Germany)/ Bayern Munich/ 22 (21/1)

RM- Arda Turan (Turkey)/ Galatasaray/ 21 (18/1)
arda turan
(alternative: Diniyar Bilyaletdinov (Russia)/ Lokomotiv)

CM- Luka Modrić (Croatia)/ Tottenham/ 22 (25/3)

CM- João Moutinho (Portugal)/ Sporting Lisbon/ 21 (11/0)

LM- Samir Nasri (France)/ Marseille/ 20 (8/2)

(initial choice: Sotiris Ninis (Greece/ Panathinaikos/ 18/ dropped)

CF- Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Holland)/ Ajax/ 24 (12/7)

(alternative: Andrei Arshavin (Russia) / Zenit/ but will miss 2 games)

CF- Mario Gómez (Germany)/ Stuttgart/ 22 (9/6)

subs bench: Mertesacker (Ger), Corluka (Cro), Barnetta (Switz), Babel (Hol), Benzema (Fra)

thats it. Let's see whether they get their chance to arrive on the international stage.

Mark my words. And enjoy the tournament, cheers.

Rant 11:12 AM of Azmie
Thursday, March 27, 2008

My Response: (see Melvin's comments in previous post)

Date : 28-Mar-2008 03:59 AM
Topic : Re: Radiohead - goodwill gesture or gimmick?

i think a far more nefarious act was that of EMI (Radiohead's former label) releasing a 7 disc box set of Radiohead's previous albums, riding on such hype and popular sentiment to cash in on the occasion.

your question on whether it is a "goodwill gesture" or "gimmick" is to me, a non-issue. it is clear that such an act was a marketing ploy to generate hype, and i concede that yes, it could be down to profit motivations that the act has decided to release the discset.

but, i feel that the idea i get from your argument in the sense that the consumer is being put at ransom due to the exorbitant price of the "discset" is too far-fetched don't you think? for to a normal layman, s/he can just walk over to the nearest gramophone, hmv, or what not to get the album at 20 dollars or so as an alternative to buying the "limited edition" set.

what i personally saw was that they were pioneering an effort towards an industry shift in focussing towards marketing through the web domain and instead of putting the artiste (and consumer) under the hegemony of the record label, as conflict theorists might subscribe to the various examples of the capitalist means of such labels vehemently looking at meeting bottomlines and targets without much consideration to the individual artiste's own artistic value in creation of the product. an artiste under a label were only considered valuable if they could bring commercial success.

however, the a new industry paradigm is emerging through the vast nature of the world wide web, in a sense that you can see symbolic interactionism at play, with consumers utilizing the bittorrents and whatnot, to somehow signal a shift in popular culture of music consumerism. it is no longer restricted to your record store per se. consumers now have a choice and chance to listen/preview to an album, and if they like it, then buy it.

over the past year, only 3 albums have exceeded the 3 million album mark in sales, suggesting the decline of the record industry if it were to continue to propagate its ethos through such increasingly arcane and redundant means of commoditisation by the record label through stores.

thus picking up the theme of your "goodwill gesture", could you thus translate Radiohead as inadvertantly (intentionally or not )picking up the mantle of working for the independent artiste's cause? for such success of the strategy utilized by thom yorke and co, signalled the strength of marketing through the Net, thus creating opportunities for those at the end of the spectrum, who would have never gotten the chance to be picked up by a record label, the "struggling artistes" so to speak, to tell them "hey you can do it this way". (even though i concede that they might not necessarily have the clout enjoyed by such an established band).

Nevertheless, bands like Arcade Fire and Arctic Monkeys were discovered by the world, practically out of nowhere, through exactly such DIY means. They would almost not be able to be picked up by the goliaths of EMI and Sony entertainment at any rate due to the nature of their music. for music is, at the end of the day, to the purist, for artistic gratis which then, to the conflict theorists, has somehow been grotesquely commodified for capitalist means by the mechanism that is the record label.

hail to the thief

Rant 2:44 PM of Azmie

Heading :
Lecture 9: Religion and Popular Culture

Date : 18-Mar-2008 11:18 PM
Topic : Radiohead - goodwill gesture or gimmick?


Radiohead famously released its recent album, In Rainbows, as a digital download. Customers were allowed to pay - before you could even start saying 'symbolic interactionism' - whatever price they wished for downloading the tracks. The lines between producer and consumer were blurred - because Radiohead are not part of a record label (hence separated from the global commodity chain and the nefarious world of media conglomerates), they own the distribution rights to their own songs. Radiohead seemed at that time, with its iconoclastic gesture, to jettison the assumptions of commercialized pop culture, transcending the mainstream (the laity) towards an epiphanic, Platonic ideal of the Form of Good: pure communion between producer and consumer, untainted by pecuniary concerns. Some might even claim (rather perversely) that the act of consumption is being ritualized - as in churches, where tithes and offerings are given according to how much the believer wishes to contribute, the Radiohead fan has the carte blanche, his conscience the sole guide. Better yet, Radiohead may even be construed as messianic music-makers whose money-spinning careers have placed them in the privileged position of offering music gratis to their most underprivileged fans.

However, as with every other product of mass media, there are qualifications. Radiohead offered an alternative package, a 40-pound discbox complete with artwork and extra features. Freed from the straitened rules of record labels, Radiohead creates content and delivers it in a variety of forms, not unlike the conglomerates it has a virulent aversion towards. Radiohead's use of the Internet, a site for globalization, implicates it as a member of the global commodity chain. Radiohead has used its name-your-price download scheme, as critics will aver, to gain free advertisement (hence constituting itself as a free rider of the influential power of the mass media), while at the same time perpetuating commodity fetishism (Marx): Radiohead becomes a commodity that the consumer can unashamedly throw money at. Those sold on the 40-pound package worship the money they were affluent enough to be able to throw at Radiohead.

Music is a resource capable of being infinitely reproducible in this digital age, whereas value and scarcity go hand-in-hand. Therefore, the 40-pound package is a cleverly disguised means to a capitalist end, a deliberately contrived scarcity which is positioned adroitly beside infinite reproducibility (downloading via the website). Radiohead may thus be seen as exploiting the mechanics of desire-production and capitalism to maximal advantage. In packaging themselves as postmaterialist and non-mainstream, they have unwittingly commodified themselves on exactly those terms. Radiohead, in the ultimate gesture of irony, has commodified its own exclusiveness (as an alternative act that religiously shuns popular drivel), and is haunted by the materialism it ostensibly seeks to negate by offering an illusory form of transcendence. The proof of the pudding is in the eating: when the album was released in retail, it topped various charts and garnered critical acclaim. In an age of perpetual novelty, excruciatingly short attention-spans (zero-consciousness) and collective amnesia, Radiohead's In Rainbows, far from venturing into new ground, is precisely the novelty act that the media circus was baying for, a self-conscious, self-aggrandizing materialism which posits itself ironically as anti-materialist. Lavartus prodeo - as Radiohead advances, it points out its mask.


(P.S.: For what it's worth, listening to Radiohead's music is a transcendental experience, and Thom Yorke is pure brilliance, but this takes nothing away from my view that the name-your-price scheme was nothing more than a clever marketing ploy -> Sociologists must set aside personal biases...lol)

Rant 2:41 PM of Azmie
Tuesday, July 17, 2007

"the Scale" - Interpol

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I have a sequin for an eye
Pick a rose and hide my face
This is a bandit's life
It comes and goes and mends the breaks
Under a molten sky, beyond the road, we lie in wait
You think they know us now?

Wait 'til the stars come out

You'll see that
Well, I made you and now I take you back
It's too late but today I can define the lack
I made you and now I take you back
Sun, you sleep in clouds of fire
That's all and that's right

I can still feel it when you lie
Pick a rose just to hide my face
Well, if there's something I should know
I seek no science when there is no shape
Under a molten sky, let the days collide
Well, I made you and now I take you back

Sun, you sleep in clouds of fire
That's all and that's right

song; i can relate to those words perfectly. oh how beautiful you are. To describe the reactions i get , is beyond comprehension

Rant 10:45 AM of Azmie
Monday, March 19, 2007

constant headaches will get the better of me one day

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Rant 10:03 AM of Azmie
Friday, November 24, 2006

Fodder for all you lonely people.

Glee (Delight)

The enigma.
Perusing on my existance.
Unabashedly mocking every move.
Waiting, berating, consuming,
And gorging, till his selfish fill.

The enigma.
Who listens, with cautious intent.
And crawls incessantly along every corridor.
Smiling wryly, with a contented mind,
But with a foetid innard.

The enigma.
Ephemeral as it may seem
Decidedly seraphic, that porcelain being.
But, a rotten carcass underneath those cracks.

The enigma,
that shameless largesse of hypocrisy.
A serf of imposed moralistic conventions,
Who hides, lies, betrays,
even his brotherly alternate state of mind.

That enigma,
constantly gaining speed, erratic momentum.
As it rolls along the crevices of delusion.
Refusing to heal the wounds,
Even as the caress of the flames,
Stroke the hurt,
And soothes, this great narcissist pretender.

Then I realized.
The enigma.
Is me.

Rant 5:31 PM of Azmie
Thursday, October 19, 2006

The good old days... For those who were born in the 70s and 80s. Fond memories.. You know you are getting old when you start to reminisce over such things!

1. You grew up watching He-man, MASK, Transformers, Silver Hawk, and Mickey Mouse. Not to forget, Ninja turtles, My Little Pony and Smurfs too.

2. You grew up brushing your teeth with a mug in Primary school during recess time. You will squat by a drain with all your classmates beside you, and brush your teeth with a coloured mug. The teachers said you must brush each side 10 times too.

3. You know what SBC stands for.

4. You pay 40 cents for Chocolate or Strawberry MILK every week in class.

5. You watch a very popular Malay dubbed Japanese drama on RTM1 aboutschoolgirls who possess powerful skills in volleyball called Meoro Attack.

6. You find your friends with pagers and handphone cool in Secondaryschool.

7. SBS buses used to be non-air conditioned. The bus seats are made ofwood and the cushion is red. The big red bell gives a loud BEEP! Whenpressed. There are colourful tickets for TIBS buses. The conductor willcheck for tickets by using a machine, which punches a hole in the ticket.

8. Envelopes given to us to donate to Sharity Elephant every Children's Day.

9. You've probably read Young Generation magazine. You know who 'Vinny' thelittle vampire and Acai the constable.

10. You were there when they first introduced MRT here. You went thefirst ride with your parents and you would kneel on the seat to see thescenery.

11. Movie tickets used to cost only $3.50.

12. Strawberry ShortCake and Barbie Dolls fascinate Gals.

13. You learn to laugh like The Count in Sesame Street.

14. You longed to buy titbits called Kaka (20cents per pack), and DingDang (50 cents per box), that had a toy in it and it changes every week notforgetting the 15 cents animal crackers and the ring pop, where the lollipopis the diamond on the ring.

15. You watched TV2 (also known as Channel10) cartoons because Channel5 never had enough cartoons for you.

16. Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, The Three Investigators, Famous Five andSecret Seven are probably the thickest storybooks you ever thought you haveread. Even Sweet Valley High and Malory Towers.

17. KFC used to be a high-class restaurant that serve food in platesand let you use metal forks and knives.18. Catching was the IN thing and twist as the magic word.

19. Your English workbooks were made of some damn poor quality paperthat was smooth and yellow.

20. CDIS were your best friend.

21. The only computer lessons in school involved funny pixellisedcharacters in 16 colours walking about trying to teach you maths.

22. Water bottles were slinged around your neck and a must everywhereyou go.

23. Boys loved to play soccer with small plastic balls in thebasketball court.

24. Teng-teng, five stones, chapteh, hentambola and zero point were allthe rage with the girls and boys too...

25. Science was fun with the balsam and the angsana being the mostimportant plants of our lives, guppies and swordtail being the mostimportant fish.

26. Who can forget Ahmad, Bala, Sumei and John, eternalized in ourminds from the textbooks. Even Mr Wally & Mr. Yakki. What about Miss Lala???And Zaki and Tini in Malay Textbooks?

27. We carry out experiments of our own to get ourselves badges forbeing a Young Zoologist/Botanist etc.

28. Every Children's day and National day you either get pins or penswith 'Happy Children's Day 1993' or dumb files with 'Happy National Day1994'.

29. In Primary six you had to play buddy for the younger kids like bigsister and brother.

30. We wear BM2000, BATA, or Pallas shoes.

31. Your form teacher taught you Maths, Science and English.

32. The worksheets were made of brown rough paper of poor quality.

33. You went to school in slippers and raincoat when it rained, and youfind a dry spot in the school to sit down, dry your feet, and wear your dryand warm socks and shoes.

34. School dismissal time was normally around1 pm.

35. There would be spelling tests and mental sums to do almosteveryday.

36. Your friends considered you lucky and rich if your parents gave you$3 or more for pocket money everyday.

37. You see Wee Kim Wee's face in the school hall.

38. You freak out when the teacher tells you to line up according toheight and hold hands with the corresponding boy or girl.

39. Boys like to catch fighting spiders.

40. Collecting and battling erasers was a pastime for boys.

41. Autograph books were loaded with "Best Wishes", "Forget Me Not",and small poems like "Bird fly high, hard to catch. Friend like you, hardto forget".

42. Class monitors and prefects loved to say, "You talk some more, Iwrite your name ah!"

43. There were at least 40 people in one class.

44. Large, colourful schoolbags were carried.

45. You brought every single book to school, even though there was one thing called the timetable.


Rant 9:47 AM of Azmie
Monday, October 09, 2006

The Secret Letter From Iraq

A Marine's letter home, with its frank description of life in "Dante's inferno," has been circulating through generals' in-boxes.

Written last month, this straightforward account of life in Iraq by a Marine officer was initially sent just to a small group of family and friends. His honest but wry narration and unusually frank dissection of the mission contrasts sharply with the story presented by both sides of the Iraq war debate, the Pentagon spin masters and fierce critics. Perhaps inevitably, the 'Letter from Iraq' moved quickly beyond the small group of acquantainces and hit the inboxes of retired generals, officers in the Pentagon, and staffers on Capitol Hill.

Letter courtesy of TIME Magazine, yo. Just wanted to share this candid letter with you guys-Shows just how much the media offers to sugar-coat the reality of the dangers around there. I pity the men and families of both sides. Can we have peace now??

I haven't written very much from Iraq. There's really not much to write about. More exactly, there's not much I can write about because practically everything I do, read or hear is classified military information or is depressing to the point that I'd rather just forget about it, never mind write about it. The gaps in between all of that are filled with the pure tedium of daily life in an armed camp. So it's a bit of a struggle to think of anything to put into a letter that's worth reading. Worse, this place just consumes you. I work 18-20-hour days, every day. The quest to draw a clear picture of what the insurgents are up to never ends. Problems and frictions crop up faster than solutions. Every challenge demands a response. It's like this every day. Before I know it, I can't see straight, because it's 0400 and I've been at work for 20 hours straight, somehow missing dinner again in the process. And once again I haven't written to anyone. It starts all over again four hours later. It's not really like Ground Hog Day, it's more like a level from Dante's Inferno.

Rather than attempting to sum up the last seven months, I figured I'd just hit the record setting highlights of 2006 in Iraq. These are among the events and experiences I'll remember best.

Worst Case of Deja Vu - I thought I was familiar with the feeling of deja vu until I arrived back here in Fallujah in February. The moment I stepped off of the helicopter, just as dawn broke, and saw the camp just as I had left it ten months before — that was deja vu. Kind of unnerving. It was as if I had never left. Same work area, same busted desk, same chair, same computer, same room, same creaky rack, same . . . everything. Same everything for the next year. It was like entering a parallel universe. Home wasn't 10,000 miles away, it was a different lifetime.

Most Surreal Moment
- Watching Marines arrive at my detention facility and unload a truck load of flex-cuffed midgets. 26 to be exact. We had put the word out earlier in the day to the Marines in Fallujah that we were looking for Bad Guy X, who was described as a midget. Little did I know that Fallujah was home to a small community of midgets, who banded together for support since they were considered as social outcasts. The Marines were anxious to get back to the midget colony to bring in the rest of the midget suspects, but I called off the search, figuring Bad Guy X was long gone on his short legs after seeing his companions rounded up by the giant infidels.

Most Profound Man in Iraq -an unidentified farmer in a fairly remote area who, after being asked by Reconnaissance Marines if he had seen any foreign fighters in the area replied "Yes, you."

Worst City in al-Anbar Province - Ramadi, hands down. The provincial capital of 400,000 people. Lots and lots of insurgents killed in there since we arrived in February. Every day is a nasty gun battle. They blast us with giant bombs in the road, snipers, mortars and small arms. We blast them with tanks, attack helicopters, artillery, our snipers (much better than theirs), and every weapon that an infantryman can carry. Every day. Incredibly, I rarely see Ramadi in the news. We have as many attacks out here in the west as Baghdad. Yet, Baghdad has 7 million people, we have just 1.2 million. Per capita, al-Anbar province is the most violent place in Iraq by several orders of magnitude. I suppose it was no accident that the Marines were assigned this area in 2003.

Bravest Guy in al-Anbar Province - Any Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician (EOD Tech). How'd you like a job that required you to defuse bombs in a hole in the middle of the road that very likely are booby-trapped or connected by wire to a bad guy who's just waiting for you to get close to the bomb before he clicks the detonator? Every day. Sanitation workers in New York City get paid more than these guys. Talk about courage and commitment.

Second Bravest Guy in al-Anbar Province
- It's a 20,000 way tie among all these Marines and Soldiers who venture out on the highways and through the towns of al-Anbar every day, not knowing if it will be their last — and for a couple of them, it will be.

Worst E-Mail Message -"The Walking Blood Bank is Activated. We need blood type A+ stat." I always head down to the surgical unit as soon as I get these messages, but I never give blood — there's always about 80 Marines in line, night or day.

Biggest Surprise
- Iraqi Police. All local guys. I never figured that we'd get a police force established in the cities in al-Anbar. I estimated that insurgents would kill the first few, scaring off the rest. Well, insurgents did kill the first few, but the cops kept on coming. The insurgents continue to target the police, killing them in their homes and on the streets, but the cops won't give up. Absolutely incredible tenacity. The insurgents know that the police are far better at finding them than we are — and they are finding them. Now, if we could just get them out of the habit of beating prisoners to a pulp . . . Greatest Vindication — Stocking up on outrageous quantities of Diet Coke from the chow hall in spite of the derision from my men on such hoarding, then having a 122mm rocket blast apart the giant shipping container that held all of the soda for the chow hall. Yep, you can't buy experience.

Biggest Mystery - How some people can gain weight out here. I'm down to 165 lbs. Who has time to eat?

Second Biggest Mystery
- if there's no atheists in foxholes, then why aren't there more people at Mass every Sunday?

Favorite Iraqi TV Show
- Oprah. I have no idea. They all have satellite TV.

Coolest Insurgent Act - Stealing almost $7 million from the main bank in Ramadi in broad daylight, then, upon exiting, waving to the Marines in the combat outpost right next to the bank, who had no clue of what was going on. The Marines waved back. Too cool.

Most Memorable Scene - In the middle of the night, on a dusty airfield, watching the better part of a battalion of Marines packed up and ready to go home after over six months in al-Anbar, the relief etched in their young faces even in the moonlight. Then watching these same Marines exchange glances with a similar number of grunts loaded down with gear file past — their replacements. Nothing was said. Nothing needed to be said.

Highest Unit Re-enlistment Rate
- Any outfit that has been in Iraq recently. All the danger, all the hardship, all the time away from home, all the horror, all the frustrations with the fight here - all are outweighed by the desire for young men to be part of a band of brothers who will die for one another. They found what they were looking for when they enlisted out of high school. Man for man, they now have more combat experience than any Marines in the history of our Corps.

Most Surprising Thing I Don't Miss
- Beer. Perhaps being half-stunned by lack of sleep makes up for it.

Worst Smell -Porta-johns in 120 degree heat - and that's 120 degrees outside of the porta-john.

Highest Temperature - I don't know exactly, but it was in the porta-johns. Needed to re-hydrate after each trip to the loo.

Biggest Hassle - High-ranking visitors. More disruptive to work than a rocket attack. VIPs demand briefs and "battlefield" tours (we take them to quiet sections of Fallujah, which is plenty scary for them). Our briefs and commentary seem to have no affect on their preconceived notions of what's going on in Iraq. Their trips allow them to say that they've been to Fallujah, which gives them an unfortunate degree of credibility in perpetuating their fantasies about the insurgency here. Biggest Outrage — Practically anything said by talking heads on TV about the war in Iraq, not that I get to watch much TV. Their thoughts are consistently both grossly simplistic and politically slanted. Biggest Offender: Bill O'Reilly.

Best Intel Work
- Finding Jill Carroll's kidnappers — all of them. I was mighty proud of my guys that day. I figured we'd all get the Christian Science Monitor for free after this, but none have showed up yet.

Saddest Moment - Having an infantry battalion commander hand me the dog tags of one of my Marines who had just been killed while on a mission with his unit. Hit by a 60mm mortar. He was a great Marine. I felt crushed for a long time afterward. His picture now hangs at the entrance to our section area. We'll carry it home with us when we leave in February.

Best Chuck Norris Moment - 13 May. Bad Guys arrived at the government center in a small town to kidnap the mayor, since they have a problem with any form of government that does not include regular beheadings and women wearing burqahs. There were seven of them. As they brought the mayor out to put him in a pick-up truck to take him off to be beheaded (on video, as usual), one of the Bad Guys put down his machinegun so that he could tie the mayor's hands. The mayor took the opportunity to pick up the machinegun and drill five of the Bad Guys. The other two ran away. One of the dead Bad Guys was on our top twenty wanted list. Like they say, you can't fight City Hall.

Worst Sound
- That crack-boom off in the distance that means an IED or mine just went off. You just wonder who got it, hoping that it was a near miss rather than a direct hit. Hear it practically every day.

Second Worst Sound - Our artillery firing without warning. The howitzers are pretty close to where I work. Believe me, outgoing sounds a lot like incoming when our guns are firing right over our heads. They'd about knock the fillings out of your teeth.

Only Thing Better in Iraq Than in the U.S. - Sunsets. Spectacular. It's from all the dust in the air.

Proudest Moment - It's a tie every day, watching our Marines produce phenomenal intelligence products that go pretty far in teasing apart Bad Guy operations in al-Anbar. Every night Marines and Soldiers are kicking in doors and grabbing Bad Guys based on intelligence developed by our guys. We rarely lose a Marine during these raids, they are so well-informed of the objective. A bunch of kids right out of high school shouldn't be able to work so well, but they do.

Happiest Moment - Well, it wasn't in Iraq. There are no truly happy moments here. It was back in California when I was able to hold my family again while home on leave during July.

Most Common Thought - Home. Always thinking of home, of my great wife and the kids. Wondering how everyone else is getting along. Regretting that I don't write more. Yep, always thinking of home.

I hope you all are doing well. If you want to do something for me, kiss a cop, flush a toilet, and drink a beer. I'll try to write again before too long - I promise.

Rant 3:20 AM of Azmie
Saturday, August 12, 2006

These are the lyrics to Quasimodo's next song
which can be found here:


Mirrors (End)

I will never say,
or do, like they do.

Not with words.

Saying how I feel,
I just can't look at me.

Am I not crazy? Us just sitting on this bench, like we used to.

If you need time,
And if that is all you need,
then its fine with me

But this is all I have to say-
So do be true, say it if you have to.
Cause our love is guaranteed
We, together, will ever be.
Mirrored till the end, of the centuries,

At this bench.

Saying it, will be rare for me.
Cause I wouldn't want to, influence you,
In mirroring my decisions.

At this bench, A sweet spectacle!
Your bleary eyes, your tired eyes
But that smile on your face..

So do be true
Smile, only like you do

Say them sincerely
Cause we together will ever be

Mirrored, till the end of the centuries.

Brief synopsis of song:

Mirrors point out the self-reflectioning theme of the song,
as we often look outwards in search of true happiness and contentment.

We often question ourselves : "Where is true love? Is there really true happiness?"

Thus we endeavour to go through every nook and cranny in search of the adage representing such enlightenment.

However, haven't we looked at ourselves, for a moment?

Have we considered that such true love could possibly be near us,
embedded right there in our hearts?

We always question the realism of true love,

But what have we done to realise its true meaning?

Rant 6:35 AM of Azmie
Thursday, August 03, 2006

Arcane Stories- Rehashed!

Back by popular demand, this old story about my previous life as
a Norwegian brunette stuck in a rockstar's body is again hung up
to dry for all to savour..

Go on, bask in the glory of my kick-ass mysterious life..(tee hee)

The other day, I was walking around in this CD shop around town, called the Gramophone, just killing time and browsing along in the midst of taking a break from extensive touring AND filming simultaneously (its hard imagining yourself being a rockstar and an avant-garde actor as well, though thats besides the point) when I noticed a familiar face at the corner of the easy-listening area, crouched at a spot and headbanging under Europe's "The Final Countdown" album banner ( a classic masterpiece if ever there was one). He was poised, had a look of determination and semi-ecstasy written all over his cute face, and gradually, images of that familiar sight came flooding back to me like the currents of a stream in the dawn of a storm the night before... He stood up, turned round, and instantly.. i recognized him..


YES! It was my long lost childhood mate, whom I hadn't seen in ages ever since I graduated from Al-Iman Kindergarten, though I was a tad jealous that he was still as cute and adorable as before, still the cuddly Elmo that we adore, but though his features didn't differ much, something told me that he was a changed person..

That... that image on his chest proved to be the giveaway.
Ezwan no longer listens to the "Elmo Song", he now rips bloodcurdling solos on his Fender and screams out "Stil loving you's" at the top of his lungs while wearing a jockstrap which saddles his balls so that they won't fall off from all the rocking going on..

I looked down, closed my eyes, and a silent tear rolled from my cheeks , as I remembered those fun days we had as kids..

You see, we were pretty lively kids, and we spent our times together almost everyday, the whole gang of us, terrorizing the other kids in our school cause we kicked so much ass that even our teachers had to pacify us by giving more servings of those deliciosly creamy "Dumex" powdered milk in recognition of our coolness.

And we didn't need to wear uniforms. We walked around in our favourite suits of the most dapper character we could imagine, such as Spiderman, the Ninja Turtles (Khai Azmas booked liao), Superman, the Avengers , nabeh cheebye Ah Meng (Zabid), and well, you get the idea, and Ezwan used to wear that cute Sesame Street uniform on weekdays..but on weekends, when we go to parties, he would take on a whole new persona altogether, one which made me drool just thinking of it, he was so greeny that you wanted him along with your peas, and not that soggy thing called a spinach.. He was..

A TELLYTUBBY! HOW ADORABLE CAN THAT BE? (Excuse the person on the left, that's just Imran on patrol duty.)

I wanted to do a fellatio act on my brain my imagining even more childhood fantasies, but those dreams were suddenly jolted by the perpetual whistlings by Ezwan, doing the whistle solo bit of the Scorpions' "Winds of Change". And so, me being brought back to the harsh realization of the truth, had a nervous chat with him, as I asked about the other guys of our childhood Mafia, on how they were doing, all grown up now..

Ezwan informed me, albeit in between "White Lion" falsettos, that four of the childhood friends had gone together to form a post-grunge white trash metal psychedelic emo-punkish part-goth outfit called "Cardinal Sins of The Most Unholy Kind As A Result Of Not Licking Ahmad Farid's Cute Excuse of An Ass" and promply whipped out a group photo of the band at the zenith of their ascension up the music scene.. I took a look at it, and began to sob uncontrollably..

"Cardinal Sins of The Most Unholy Kind As A Result Of Not Licking Ahmad Farid's Cute Excuse of An Ass"

From left:

Yazid aka "Intestine Baalism" (electric guitar, sitar & er hu),

Zainal "Necromantia" (screeching vocals dripping with emo like Force Vomit, xylophone & Spanish guitar),

Ridzal "Impaled Nazarene" (bongos & maracas)

& Ezwan "Luciferion" (piccolo , harp & acoustic guitar) (don't ask me why he's grabbing his crotch)

I cried not because they had somehow turned into crazy rockers who ferment from below to evolve into creatures of significance, which mutate into ecosystems complete with growth and death and doubt, forming eventually a meaning in terms of motion and strength that could be interpreted as will, appearing rarely in pure form until a conclusion is distilled in each chapter of this morbid and deranged output of thunderous metal ; but because I wasn't a part of this amazing mesh of incredible tapestry, and that I chose to live a 9 to 5 life, and to remain a slave in the relentless machinery of blindly serving the system, and not given a choice to think for self.

On the other hand, the
"Cardinal Sins of The Most Unholy Kind As A Result Of Not Licking Ahmad Farid's Cute Excuse of An Ass" were already going places, playing in full capacity arenas and festivals in Scandinavia, and touring extensively in Argentina to gain exposure for their latest album, entitled "Resurrection".

They even had the liberty to release a country off-shoot album while having a break in Tennessee, though that didn't go down too well with the locals

(Ridzal doing a trance-like Soya Bean Dance with a similarly clad Zainal in his undies in the background whilst Yazid plays guitar with his pants down & cowboy hat a la Bono)

Ezwan told me of the countless times when they got wasted after gigs after drinking too many Pocari Sweats mixed with Ben & Jerry "Durian Delights" ice-cream, often throwing up on stage to the delight of the fans who lapped it all up. He described to me of the carnival atmosphere of such fests, where fans dressed up in their best gear and partied till they ran out of cash and decided to go back to their mundane part-time jobs to obtain the cash to party again, or till they died from asphyxiation, whichever one came first. One basic dress-code adhered by those revellers was to don a party hat, it didn't matter if is of the wizard kind, or the medieval sort

A particularly popular one, in times of year end festivities, was of course a Santa hat, worn with such determination & confidence, and of course all worn in the manner of fun ..

BUT... Ezwan's voice began to trail off and wail uncomprehendable Gregorian Chants when I asked him about the band's future plans...

He revealed to me that ever since they got back to the country, fresh from their success of the assault of their quirky music, the different band members somewhat began to drift further away from each other, as they got disillisioned of selling out their music to the popular crowd, and be named in the same breath as Three Doors Down, Garth Brooks and *gasp* Ashlee Simpson.. Not wanting to be hapless victims of MTV sub-culture propaganda, each different member began to take his own direction... And that led to Ezwan crying out loud his version of Rick Price's "Heaven Knows" on his acoustic guitar, and buying Scorpions 30th Anniversary DVDs in music stores like Gramophone..

(to be continued..)

Rant 5:33 AM of Azmie
Thursday, July 27, 2006

I'm on a video rampage, and it's never gona abate!!

So, let's present the:


The Greatest- Cat Power

Buy her cd, its going on cheap in HMV..

Oh, and thats Chan, the female lead of Cat Power strutting her stuff
at the Jools Holland show, without shoes at that..

I like that sultry demeanour of hers.. Whoah!!!

Wah lau whey!!!! So kawaii!!!!!

Rant 11:45 AM of Azmie
Thursday, July 13, 2006

"Sing Me Spanish Techno"- The New Pornographers

If you haven't already been aware of the New Pornographers, (as mentioned in my earlier post on Thursday, March 09 ), maybe this video could convince you on how brilliant they are. Watch out for the twist at the end! =)

Rant 1:36 PM of Azmie
Monday, April 10, 2006

"u know wat! i subconsciously listened to the songs in ur site. n they r like songs on the radio u keep at low volume...but they manage to get into ur brains....n then u keep humming them over n over." -Anonymous Quasimodo listener

Thanks for the comment

Rant 5:36 AM of Azmie