me anita

The paddock! It’s the dream of every F1 fan to be able to walk amongst the pit crews, engineers and drivers prepping the F1 cars before the start of the race. I was fortunate enough to be able to join in just one such expedition.

f1 paddock

There are scheduled pit walks if you’re a member of the F1 Sepang Paddock Club (where you have to shell out a staggering amount for the privilege) but ours was by the Lotus Renault GP team.

girls

Our liaison was Anita Nyers, who travels around the world with the Lotus Renault team as Liaison Officer. She brought us into their allocated garage, which was bustling with activity. There were people hurrying around, all wearing the Lotus Renault GP shirt. I am also donning one of the tees – which I got from PROTON, who is supporting Group Lotus in its sponsorship and involvement in F1 through the Lotus Renault team.

lotus tag

This is the almost magical Lotus Renault GP VIP Garage Access tag that granted us entrance into the area. I still have it. :)

sepang

The paddock visit was scheduled at 11 am in the morning and I drove down to Sepang much earlier than that (didn’t want to risk missing this chance) and parked in PA1. The SIC has decreed that parking this year will be slightly cheaper – I paid RM 50 for the ticket, which is valid for two days. I like the parking spot, it’s right in front of the Sepang International Circuit.

f1 sepang

Anyway, back to the paddock trip, we saw the Lotus Renault GP team working on the cars, tuning and checking every single component before the race in their garage.

garage

The weather and track conditions (temperature of the ground, ambient temperature etc) are tracked constantly with computer monitors. It’s an engineer’s wet dream.

computer

They use all this data to give them an edge in the race. Here is a tyre stack – two front and two rear wheels which will be used during the race. There are spares in stacks all around.

tyres

The interesting bit about this contraption here is that it HEATS the tyres starting from 3 hours before the race based on the track temperature so it’ll perform optimally.

lotus garage

The attention to detail is incredible and F1 cars are amazingly complex machines.

helmets

These are the real racing helmets that the drivers will be using later.

Here’s a video of The Paddock! Experience it vicariously! ;)

driver

Oh, we bumped into the Malaysian driver for Lotus Renault GP while walking in The Paddock – here’s Fairuz Fauzy.

lotus renault lounge

We were also brought into the hospitality lounge where there’s anything and everything you can think of. I had a bottle of Italian sparkling water. There’s Evian, Perrier, various carbonated drinks and even Corona beer in the fridge. You can help yourself to it, or more accurately, Lotus Renault GP has a staff member which helps you get it.

monitors

They actually FLY these people all the way around the world with the Lotus Renault F1 drivers – everyone from the pit crew to the chefs. The drivers have very specific diets and brings along their own chef and food.

monitoring

I discovered a coffee machine which is quite nifty – you just put a packet of coffee that you choose from a dispenser above and put the entire thing in. There’s no need for you to open it or pour it out. The entire packet – unopened – goes into a slot and out comes your coffee. I don’t care if it makes me look dumb, but I’ve never seen anything like that before.

me

I also had a croissant (which is one of the largest I’ve ever seen) and a banana coz I didn’t have breakfast and then we walked out to watch the pit girls parade past, waving to the drivers and teams in The Paddock.

Here is one final video of the Lotus Renault garage in The Paddock!

parade

We had to vacate the premises soon after that for the qualifiers so we did. I watched the 4 pm qualifiers and went back to catch some much needed sleep before the real finals on Sunday.

paddock

Sunday came and I decided to go 5 hours early to beat the jam. It turned out to be futile. It was congested at certain parts of the road to Sepang and though the traffic police did a great job in directing, it took me the better part of two hours to get there.

view

There’s still ample time when I got there so I parked and started walking around before deciding I wanted to go up to one of the towers instead of sitting at my allocated seat. There’s a girl at the entrance which checks your ticket but I guess I was quite official looking with my tags and all on Saturday so she didn’t ask me for my ticket when I went up.

prep

I decided to stroll up again and smiled at her. She recognized me from the day before…and yes, did not check my ticket. Heh! I went up to the 3rd floor, which offers an awesome 360 degree view of the track – I can see the starting point, several straights and two bends.

flags

The pit girls came out parading the flags of the participant countries…

ready

…before the F1 cars came roaring out of The Paddock and into their allocated slots.

Here’s a video of the lineup of all the F1 cars at the Malaysian Grand Prix 2011 final race!

There was an initial placement round and then the race started proper…

…and they’re off!

start

Man, was it exciting! Red Bull Racing’s Sebastien Vettel started charging right off but Vitaly Petrov of Lotus Renault was right on his ass, giving him lots of pressure. Vitaly finished 3rd with his Lotus Renault in Melbourne before this so he was a favorite in Sepang. His pacing was impressive and it must have kept Vettel looking at his rear. It was unbelievable!

bend

I was rooting for Nick Heidfeld though. He’s also with the Lotus Renault team but didn’t start out as well as Petrov. However, he just kept at it and it paid off at the end, as you’ve probably heard.

chase

Petrov did things with his Lotus Renault F1 car that it was not meant to do – aerodynamic stunts – and had to retire at the 52nd lap. It was sooo close to the end but unfortunately he hit the side of the track and actually became airborne for a while before gravity took hold and pulled the car back down. The impact damaged the front so he had to exit after that.

chasing

I was standing all through the entire race – running from one side of the tower to the other to see the action. Nick of Lotus Renault was the dark horse in this race and I like rooting for the underdog. He kept on pushing the limits.

watch

The other fans up there were equally excited, some flew thousands of miles just to come and root for their team.

corners

It was a nail biting race – each lap saw cars trying to outmaneuver each other at bends and vying for position on the straights and Hiedfeld of Lotus Renault managed to come in at 3rd place!

race

It’s not the chequered flag but being able to stand on the podium is quite an achievement in itself. This is especially sweet for PROTON since Lotus Renault’s Heidfeld did it on home soil. :D

finish

Out of the 3 Malaysian backed teams, only the Lotus Renault team managed to get into the top 3 and pop the cork on the champagne bottle in the podium. w00t!

tickets

Lotus Renault GP is sponsored by Group Lotus. PROTON in its support of Group Lotus’ sponsorship of the team kindly provided me the tickets to F1 and the rare chance to go into The Paddock and even better – get INSIDE Lotus Renault’s garage. Not many people have that chance and I’m glad I managed to experience it.

I also went to the Rain concert which was included in the ticket.

anita nyers

Thanks to Jeffrey and Alvin from PROTON for being great hosts and Anita Nyers from Lotus for being an awesome tour guide. I can now say that I’ve held a real F1 steering wheel in my hand and rubbed shoulders with the pit crew inside the Lotus Renault paddock. :)

An interesting fact about the Lotus Renault team: Their golden suits is not just for the bling factor – it allows them to stay cool in Malaysia’s hot weather compared to their traditional black ones.

straight

Now that the Malaysian leg is over, I have one more year to recover from the sonic assault on my ears. I didn’t wear earplugs on both days and I think I might have developed slight hearing problems. ;)

da ginny

I came into possession of two tickets for the David Archuleta Showcase at 3 pm today and picked Ginny up to go to Sunway with me. I planned to arrive at her house at 12:30 pm but missed a turning and ended up being stuck in KL traffic on a Saturday. I only managed to get to her place at 1:30 pm.

da showcase

Anyway, we arrived at Sunway Lagoon Amphitheater at slightly before 2 pm. We were turned away at the parking area for reasons unknown. They had barriers to the David Archuleta Showcase Car Park and despite plenty of empty lots, everyone was asked to park elsewhere so we had no recourse but to park at Sunway Medical Center and walk over.

da crowd

There was a huge crowd waiting at the amphitheatre and we queued up at the entrance. I should have expected a massive turnout since I watched the YouTube video of David Archuleta being mobbed by fangirls at KLIA when he arrived.

da arrive

I thought we managed to get in just in time, since we passed the first security check, but everyone was turned away from the second security check due to the place being filled to capacity. The reason given was that the stadium was already packed with 3,000 people and they could not accommodate any more.

da disgruntled

There were at least a hundred people waiting to get in and most of them have waited there for ages, like us. Just look at the disgruntled faces in the crowd.

da banner

It’s neither DiGi nor Sony Music’s fault – the tickets had Fine Print (TM) at the back that clearly states ticket holders are not guaranteed entry. I still feel it could have been better planned though. The tickets were oversold – there were 3,000 people in there by 2 pm and they stopped letting people in after that.

I got the tickets thanks to Nuffnang, and we wanted to get in to take photos and videos of the showcase. I felt sorry for the fans who came later than us, who either bought the CD or won the tickets from a radio station, and was turned away. We left at 3:15 pm when it was clear that they were not letting anyone in come hell or high water.

We bumped into some latecomers after that who asked us why we were leaving and we told them they couldn’t get in coz the stadium was filled to capacity. They had bought the CD and was pretty bummed about being turned away.

I felt really bad coz I was working and I couldn’t pick up the tickets so I got Ginny to pick up the tickets for me…and we ended up not being able to see David Archuleta. We just lost the window of opportunity by probably 10 minutes – if I had not missed the turning to Ginny’s house or managed to park at the amphitheatre entrance, we would have gotten in.

da us

Thus left behind, we headed to Ajisen Ramen at Sunway Pyramid and had a late lunch before heading back.

I knew we should have arrived earlier considering the popularity of David Archuleta with his…er, enthusiastic target demographic. Oh well, at least I’ll remember the turning to Ginny’s place now. :p

intro

I’ve always been a big fan of the song, not leaving the club until it plays at least twice. I also like Umbrella, the track that introduced me to Rihanna’s music. Rihanna has this knack of churning out songs that you can’t seem to get out of your head. It’s excellent club music but also brilliant for prancing around cross-dressed with an umbrella in the hotel lobby in.

Like this:

lobby

Unless you’ve been hiding in a cave for the past few weeks, you’ll know that Rihanna is coming to Malaysia. Yes, the R&B star will be performing February 13th at Sadium Putra in Bukit Jalil. No, that’s not her in the picture above, that would be me, but thank you for the kind comments.

People (well “normal people” anyway) don’t cross-dress and take incriminating…er, I mean creative videos of themselves without a very good reason. I’ll give you a great reason:

MeTV is having a Rihanna contest where you record and upload videos of yourself being a Rihanna fan to win prizes, which includes meeting Rihanna in person!

rihanna-lunch

You’ll get the chance to see her doing every day things, like…er, eating Freedom Fries. The Grand Winner will get the full Monty – VVIP passes, meeting and sending Rihanna off at KLIA, invites to the post-party and more! Get more details at Unleash the Rihanna in U with MeTV.

Here’s what you need to do:

1. Record your best Rihanna video from your mobile.
2. Send your video via MMS to 26388 with RIHANNA typed in your message or subject box

Simple, right?

Meanwhile, if you want to watch, rate & download videos on MeTV from your mobile:

Step 1 : Log on to http://wap.channelx.com.my (from your mobile)
Step 2 : Go to Fun Stuff and select MeTV
Step 3 : Click on the Rihanna category.
Step 4 : Watch, rate (my video) or download any of the listed videos.

Check out the video I did – it’s a very liberal interpretation of Rihanna’s Umbrella. I managed to secure an umbrella from the hotel staff and wore a purple dress inside the hotel lobby while prancing around with an umbrella.

making

I think the only reason I wasn’t kicked out of the hotel is coz I’m staying there. ;)

shower

It also features a shower scene, which was actually done after the lobby scene since it involved wetting the dress. I casually strolled down with my entourage in tow and took my shower robe off in the lounge before dancing to Rihanna’s music. It took 3 people to get it done – one to film, one to provide the music, and one to take photos. I think it’s my best video work to date. :)

ezy

Thanks to the EZY sisters (Eiling, Ziling, Yiling) I shall hereby dub this Umbrella feat. The EZY sisters (instead of Jay-Z, whom I would have serious reservations about having in the bathroom with me).

Got Rihanna Mania?

jolin concert

The Jolin Tsai Yi Ling Kuching Showcase (mini concert cum autograph session) was held at the outdoor carpark of the International Times Building at 7:30 PM on the 11th of June 2004. This is Jolin’s It’s Love Promo Tour Malaysia 2004 to promote her new album Castle.
I believe this is the first time Sarawak was included into the tour
venues. Jolin is a Taiwanese performer who has a string of albums and
serial dramas in her portfolio. I didn’t know she was coming to Kuching
until the night before. I made a couple of phone calls to ascertain
where to get the tickets and the venue of the concert – it’s a good
thing I managed to attend the event, given the short notice.

I also noticed that there are three photos which captured me in the
frame during the Jolin concert in the papers today – one in
International Times and two in Berita Petang Sarawak.

Bring me to the Jolin concert writeup!
(a.k.a. “I’m not interested in hearing other details”)
This jumps to the concert start paragraph – it’s for readers who just
want to know about the concert and not any other personal experience
details relating to the event)

I must admit though…I’m not a fan of Jolin per se – my exposure to
her work is limited to watching the Working Girl (2003) serial and I
was SDS all through it. I liked her character in that series though,
and I thought her song (the intro) was pretty good too. Thus, I have
been anticipating to see her perform live (though I haven’t listened to
much of her songs) and I wanted to see what she looks like in real
life. She isn’t exactly hard on the eyes, to say the least. ;)

jolin tsai
/me wipes off drool

The venue proved to be a challenge to locate though…I had vague
instructions – something along the lines of “turn up before 7:30, door
sale available, it’s held at the International Times Building car
park”. I understand that the place is in Pending, which is relatively
near, so I left late. The fact that I did not know where “The
International Times Building carpark” is did not even cross my mind
until I was making the turn into Pending.

international times

I must extend my thanks to the guy at 082-482 215 for his real-time
cell phone relay directions. I’m not familiar with the area, so I
called out building names as I passed them by and he told me where I
should turn. That’s the number of The International Times (it’s a
newspaper), cheers to Mr. Anonymous Employee for the directions. He
also mentioned that I would not miss it – there will be a lot of people
there.

ah beng ah lian
The large caption reads: Ah Beng and Ah Lians of Kuching, Unite!
Source: Berita Petang Sarawak, Front Page.

He did not exaggerate. Every Ah Beng and Ah Lian in Kuching was in
full attendance, with a strong showing from the Ah Seng and even Ah Pek
(totally serious) congregation. In other words, everyone and their
grandma and her poodle was there. Cars lined the side of the road and
thousands of people milled around outside. I knew I had to resort to my
DICC portfolio to get a good spot for photos when I had to park right
ON the left lane of the road…300 meters from the place.

jolin concert ticket

I started at the tickets counter. The tickets were RM 10 – I got
two, one to keep and one for entry. I struck up a conversation her,
asking if I could get a press pass, claiming to represent The Star.
Unfortunately, they don’t have press passes, so I decided to go to the
top and asked who the organizers were. I was pointed to one of them and
I walked up to him and casually steered the conversation to the fund
raising aspects of the concert – proceeds go to a under funded private
Chinese school.

I told him in no subtle terms that I was interested in making a
“special donation” to get access to the front. That didn’t work though,
coz he said he can’t ensure I won’t be ejected from the cordoned off
front area if the other organizers did their rounds. My next target was
the staff – they had passes hung around their necks. I appealed to the
capitalism of no less than three people (profiling was done, to no
avail) to engage in commerce, but failed.

I finally knew the reason – the third and last guy told me everyone
knew each other, it won’t work for me to just wear the pass and go in.
By that time, the stage front was already 20 deep by the time I
arrived. That’s 20 early birds I have to Red Sea through. Oh well, if
that’s how it’s going to be, that’s how it’s going to be. I choose a
spot in the middle of the barricaded front and V formation myself
towards it.

just to see you
I exhaust my repertoire just to see you up close…

A V formation is the crowd access method emergency personnel use to
get to someone who needs medical attention in the middle of a large
congregation of people. I only needed to get myself in, so I don’t need
the wings of the V, only the spearhead. I begin my assault with just
“excuse me”, as if I were going back to my (non-existent) vacated
position.

The “Jello barrier” (ask anyone who’s done this before) was reached
when I was about 10 deep. I replaced my phrase with “Reporter coming
through, excuse me, I’m from The Star” to get pass that, and I shit you
not; a couple of girls propagated that and got me through 6 people
entities before I hit the “Playdoh barrier”. I used intimidation to get
through two guys (one person unit) and charm to get through another
person unit.

Now I was the 3rd wave from the front – 3 deep, in other words.
That’s usually where the real barrier is – the ones who came in the
afternoon (overheard in a conversation) just to be first in line, all
carrying digicams. They were all teenage girls. I asked the person in
front of me if she came with the people in front and she replied in the
affirmative. That means it’s a virtual 2 unit, there’s only one more
person unit to go to.

papers early birds
These are the girls – the papers mentioned they were already there in the afternoon!
Source: International Times, Page 30.

I gave it a bit of a thought…how much was I willing to spend? I
could just squeeze through but I did not want to do that to teenage
girls who spent hours waiting in line. I decided I wanted the front
spot badly enough I was willing to pay RM 50 for it. I took out my
wallet and got a RM 50 note out and tried the, er…plus sized girl
(think that is the PC term nowadays) on my right. She’s the fifth
person from the left in the picture above, the one in the black t-shirt.

“Hello, would you mind letting me go in front, exchange places basically? Here’s something for your trouble.”

She did not even look at what I was offering before saying “No.”
(I have something funny that I would like to share later, but let’s not digress now.)

I picked the one on my left (closer to center stage, she’s two more
down from Miss Plus Size, wearing red, the seventh from the left in the
picture above) and said:

“Hello, I really want that front spot to take photos, are you willing to part with it for this?”

berita petang sarawak
Berita Petang Sawarak carries two photos which has me inside.

She looked at me uncertainly. I could see she wanted it. She’s about
15 or so, by my estimate; and excuse my profiling, but she looks like
someone who would think RM 50 is a huge amount to exchange for
something with no tangible value (her current slice in space/time). So
did the first girl I asked, and I’ll get to that soon. :)

“Where would I be standing then?”, she asked tentatively.

“You’ll be standing behind me, we’re basically trading places,
you’ll just move a little bit down, and you can still take photos over
my shoulder.”
(I later realized that it was unwise to say that, coz she took it literally and used my shoulder as a tripod three times…)

“Er…”, she went uncertainly, looking to her friends for guidance.

“Take it”, whispered one of her friends, possibly thinking about her cut.

“Er…”, she went again, but this time with a hand half raised, still uncertain and looking at the reaction of the crowd.

I did not wait for her to make the decision. I just passed her the RM 50 note, smiled, and slid right to the front.

There were a few indignant “Hey’s” from other people, but those were
quickly replaced by incredulous variations of “He paid RM 50 to switch
places? Wow, he’s crazy!”.

my spot
This is where I was standing.

This brings us back to the plus sized girl. :) She suddenly turned
to me as I was switching and asked me with interest, “How much again?”

I did not reply. I do not take kindly to people who say “No” to me.
Her friends took the liberty of answering for me though. I heard “You
should have taken it.” many times from my right while she looked
miffed. She received a second round of disappointment when the pre-show
warm up people started giving away Ang Pows for answering correct
questions. She got one and at the urging of her friends, opened it to
find…RM 5.

datuk speach
The obligatory “VIP” speach

Her friends made another round of digs about not accepting the
larger first offer and she retorted back that she did not know how much
I was offering since it was dark.

Heh! That was a generous offer since the second line can take photos
through the gap of the first line anyway. I was actually prepared to go
up to RM 100.

On another note, I wonder why these people say things within my obvious hearing range.
On yet another note, if you’re wondering if I enjoyed the environment
where various appendages, including but not limited to, breasts,
buttocks, and thighs, were pushed against me, the answer is a resolute
no. It’s very uncomfortable to be squeezed around and I had to bend
myself in ways the human anatomy was never meant to be positioned while
waiting for the concert to start.

jolin autograph cd
Jolin’s autograph on Castle MV.

Anyway, the pre-show people announced that only CDs, VCDs and
cassettes will be signed and I didn’t want to lose my position so I got
one of the staff to come over and gave him a RM 100 note and asked him
to get the newest one for me. This also resulted in various
exclamations around me. Obviously, these people find my behavior odd.

Personally, it’s not about trust, but rather an issue of keeping my
prime position and wanting to get an autograph, so it’s nothing unusual
to me. In case you were wondering, yes, he did come back, with my
change and the VCD. I was set. The place I was in is just slightly off
center in the very front (metal barrier cordon in front of me), about 5
meters from the stage. Success!

papers me front
I was a permanent fixture here during the night.
Source: International Times, Page 32 (back cover).

Oh, and the girl I gave the money to wanted to give it back, saying
that it’s too much for her to accept, and that she’ll just let me have
the place for free, but I told her to keep it, it’s hers and I didn’t
want it.

There are two reasons why I did that. The first is to compensate her
for her time spent in securing that prime spot and I felt sorry about
displacing her like that (but not sorry enough to move ;)). The second
reason is to ensure that the place is rightfully mine in the crowd’s
mind. I had bought the place and to everyone, I was entitled to it. It
would not be so if I took the money back.

I would never do something like that anyway. I’m very against taking
back money, it’s a disgusting thing to do in my beliefs. If you intend
to offer someone something, you’re satisfied to part with that thing in
exchange for something else. End of story. I told her that I find I
would find it insulting if she insists, and she didn’t.

papers me photo
The caption says something about enthusiastic photographers (translated by the girl who works at the grocery shop downstairs).
This is actually one of my most demure positions…I get most of my
shots by propping myself up so that my knee rests against the top of
the barrier while my legs leverage the bars to keep myself up that way.
It sounds unwieldy, but one you get the hang of it (no pun intended),
it’s actually very stable, and there’s no “crowd jostle” to blur your
photos. You’re above the mere mortals! I actually stepped on the head
of the Boy Scout several times but he was always very nice about it.
Cheers!
Source: Berita Petang Sarawak, Page 12 (Back Cover).

I’ll tell you something – it’s the best RM 50 I ever spent!

Jolin’s concert begins

jolin choreo

Jolin finally decided to grace us with her presence at 8:30 PM. One
hour after the scheduled concert start. I had taken several alprazolam
(Xanax) tablets before that – I had to ignore the physical discomfort
and dismiss the fact that I was in the paradoxical situation of being
severely dehydrated at the very same time I was likely to suffer a
ruptured bladder. It’s an unfortunate situation to be in – I can’t
drink water to quench my thirst coz I’ll have to pee even more, and I
can’t do that without sacrificing my prime spot.

jolin singing

However, all that was forgotten when Jolin showed up in a pink
dress. Come to think of it, the whole place was pink – the banners, the
silk canopy above the stage etc etc. Stop me from digressing again.
Anyway, Jolin fielded several cliched questions from the MC’s, form
questions like “How do you find the weather in Kuching?” and groaningly
predictable responses like “It’s very, very hot.” She has a really nice
voice though. And yes, she’s gorgeous in real life too! :)

The short Q&A was segued into a fast song – Pirates
(cross checked the videos I took with the track list). She had an
entourage of dancers dressed in white, synchronized sets. This is her
intro song – the very first one:

jolin intro

Download: Jolin – Pirates, Kuching 2004 [sixthseal.com]

All videos require DivX 5.11

It’s a good choice for a crowd warmer – this track gets a lot of
radio play (if you listen to Chinese radio stations, or so I’m told)
and even I could recognize the familiar tune.

jolin solo

There was a solo number after that – I didn’t know the title of the
song too. However, I did shout her name and stood up on the barrier
during a particularly quiet time, just to make her look at the camera
while I was filming. Heh! That video is for my personal collection
though, sorry, but it’s a classic, especially with the responses from
the people around me, genuinely shocked at my “appalling” behavior. I
wager they haven’t been to many concerts. ;)

jolin solo cute

Anyway, in the break after the song, Jolin started answering
questions again and what do you know, they’re having a contest! Despite
being sedated by said alprazolam, I was standing on top of the metal
barrier (which makes me pretty damned obvious, and stands me out from
the crowd) and shouting “Jolin! Here! Me! Me!” while waving crazily to
catch her attention BEFORE the words “We’ll be choosing five lucky
people, those who want to participate can come on stage, raise your
hands for Jolin to choose”.

jolin raise hand

Naturally, my enthusiasm went far beyond a subtle rising of hands,
so I was the first to get her attention. ;) “Him”, she said, pointing
at me. One of the MC’s confirmed, “The guy in the red t-shirt?”, and
Jolin looked back and said “Yes, him.” I hardly needed that
confirmation, I was already in the process of climbing over the metal
barrier. It’s a little lower than my shoulder, but I just lifted myself
and vaulted over it before the staff came to help me. I wasn’t going to
pass up a chance like this. ;)

papers me jolin
On stage with Jolin. I know, it’s an ugly shot, I’ll show you another later. ;)
Source: Berita Petang Sarawak, Page 12 (Back Cover).

I was on stage! I could see Jolin up close – and yes, she looks just
as good up close. :) I’ll say something though, and please, no one sue
me for libel, this is just my speculation. I swear that she looks like
she’s a tweaker to me. I’ll even put my left testicle, nay, my testes
on the line…she has all the signs of meth or some other stimulant
use. It’s the little quirks that tweakers exhibit – you know what I
mean, fellow meth users, takes one to notice another, and you’re right
practically all the time!

Anyway, if you’re one of Sony Music’s lawyers, you did not read that
last paragraph. Well, I stood there for a while, watching Jolin pick
the others, with my digicam dangling beside me and I looked at the
crowd and saw that it was HUGE – there must be tens of thousand people
in attendance. I took a photo…and was immediately approached by one
of the female staff on stage who informed me that digicams are not
allowed on stage. I was engaged in vigorous dialogue with her and
another male staff came over, probably thinking I was going to start
trouble. The curses of keeping my hair long and messy and having
tattoos. ;)

me ugly stick
This is a shot I took of myself before the autograph session. I look
like I’ve been beaten hard with the Ugly Stick, nay, the Ugly Forest.
;) The people around me has been filtered out to allow better image
composition. This, my friends, is the face of a tweaker who eats once
in four days and sleeps only one or two nights each week.

Well, I finally said that I would give the digicam to her to keep
until after the contest and that was that. It did cross my mind to do a
stunt like running over and hugging Jolin while I took a photo before
security escorted me off the stage, and I nearly did that. ;) But nah,
I reckon I wanted to see what the contest was like more, so I
relinquished my digicam and told the staff to photograph me for me and
she said she couldn’t do that. I should have taken the stunt. :p

Anyway, if anyone has photos or videos of me on stage with Jolin, please email me
and I would pay you for it. Back to the contest, we were asked to think
of a good reason how much we like Jolin or something. I really couldn’t
understand what the MC said, he was using those damned intentionally
obscure hard Chinese words. Anyway, I think that’s what we’re supposed
to do, another MC attempted to translate it to English to me. I
thought, or at least I tried.

jolin stage

The Xanax effect was working overtime and I couldn’t come up with
anything. I was standing first in line, closest to Jolin, and when we
were asked who would go first, I saw that no one wanted to, so I looked
at Jolin and started and just said what I thought. I can’t remember
exactly what I said, but it’s very lame and the gist of it was this:

“Well…I don’t know much about you…have only seen that
Working Girl movie with you in it. I’m Huai Bin from sixthseal.com and
hmm…well, I came to take photos of you…and, yeah, I basically paid
RM 50 to get a good spot and well, you probably can see the way I take
photos from the stage…and yeah, er…I came up and, well, that’s how
much I wanted to see you.”

Note to self: Please avoid benzodiazepines unless you want to look and sound like an idiot.

I know, that’s really lame. Since I answered in a mix of Chinese and
English (some words come easier in English coz everyone talks in
English at work and I write in English when I blog), I was asked where
I come from. Well, to avoid having to explain everything, I just said
I’m from Sibu and I just came back from Australia. I didn’t want to
have to explain the whys and hows of my use of language.

Anyway, there was a little kid on stage, which automatically makes
him the winner, according to the Children Affirmative Action rights.
Every participant gets the same prize, except the winner gets an
additional poster of Jolin. I didn’t mind, I wasn’t here to win, I was
here to be on stage and look at Jolin. Oh, and I also intentionally
held her hand longer than a normal handshake would last when she gave
out our prizes, just to see how she’ll react. ;)

jolin contest
This is the prize.

Professionally, very experienced, probably been in far worse
situations by real fans. I didn’t release my hold, and she broke eye
contact and slid her hand away, not missing a beat. I was looking at
her the whole time. This is good on-stage recourse – by breaking eye
contact and stepping towards the next person in line, she effectively
gave me a psychological obligation to release my hand, since there are
several thousand spectators. Heh. Sorry, did it for fun, to see how
she’ll react. Her hand is very soft though. ;)

jolin contest gift
The insides contain five assorted Sony Music promo CD’s, none of which
are Jolin’s. Pffftttttt…should have gone for the stunt. ;)

Anyway, after it was over, I climbed back into my original spot, the
prime one. Naturally. There was another dancer supported number after
that – 36 Tricks Of Love. Here you go, the second video:

jolin set

Download: Jolin Tsai set [sixthseal.com]

There was another solo after that and then it was the last song,
choreographed with dancers as well. The Kuching Jolin Showcase ends
with a total of five songs, two mini interviews and one contest.

jolin last song

Jolin came out again to present the charity check.

jolin press

She then sat down for impersonal autographs, all done with a simple
signature, not looking at the person, just going through every CD cover
and signing it, over and over. The impersonal signing is
understandable; there were too many people to ask for personalized
ones. I did say “Hi” to make her look up when it was my turn though. ;)

jolin autograph

What do I think of Jolin? Well, there’s nothing much to say, she’s
your typical young Taiwan pop star who became famous fast. She looks
mesmerizing and although I don’t listen to this genre of music, she’s
alright.

jolin concert end

I’m glad I went. It was a great event – Jolin put up an awesome set. She looks good enough to eat too. ;)

I arrived at KDU for the Victor/Nicky Chung (both Malaysian artists)
concert at around 7:15 pm to find the car park full, cars circling
around and yet more cars streaming in. I saw a small space at one side
and pulled into the spot, wondering why no one had parked there. Upon
opening the door, I found the reason – alighting would be a problem
since both sides of the cars were surrounded by very deep water due to
the heavy rain.

picture

Oh well, after circling some more, I finally squeezed into a spot
near the main gates. I went into the auditorium and sat near the front
waiting for the show to start. The auditorium was pretty full at the
time I arrived and there was a stand selling flowers meant to be given
to the artists. I found that strange and rather disturbing.

picture

Well, there ware a couple of speeches and some ribbon cutting at the
beginning. This was a charity concert which was meant to raise money
for two churches. I think a total of RM 75,000 was raised. Anyway,
after the ribbon was cut, there was an explosion of graffiti. I was
sitting there thinking that this would be a very nice place for a rave
should there be a speaker farm like the ones at the front every 5
meters.

picture

picture

Anyway, the show started with a performance by some KDU students. It
was a choreographed dance, and it was pretty good actually. I moved
right to the front of the stage where the VIPs and press were, and
camped straight in front of the stage for the rest of the concert. Heh.
No one stopped me.

picture

After the 3 minute performance, Nicky Chung was introduced and he
belted out a couple of songs with several costume change in between.
There was some audience participation after that, with three audience
members invited to come on stage for a bit of fun and games. That
involved getting the three to attempt to speak clearly while having
their mouths filled with mineral water. I know the first girl said
“Nicky Chung, ni hen suai”. Heh.

picture

The crowd was then to judge which participant was the best by
cheering loudly. The first girl and the third guy all got good cheers
but the second one got a lot of boos for some reason. Nevertheless, all
of them left with the same prize.

picture

In the middle of the third song, Nicky Chung got out a stack of
postcards and started giving them away. Now, this prompted a swarm of
cheering fans to the front of the stage in an effort to get one. I was
camped right in front of the stage so I got trampled a couple of times.
Ouch.

swarm.jpg

The RELA members (RELA = a local crowd control/bouncer group) was
slightly panicked by this apparent breach of security and immediately
started pulling people away from Nicky and herded them back to the
seats. I told them I was the KDU magazine photographer (you gotta do
what you gotta do) and no one asked me to go behind the barrier after
that. Heh.

picture

picture

Anyway, after Nicky Chung did his 3 (4?) songs, the KDU dance group
came out again and did another performance. This one was nicely
choreographed as well and the girls and guys all looked pretty good. I
had a *cough* good vantage point since I was still camped out in front
of the stage. I didn’t have a seat so I was kinda kneeling on the floor
and I had an…ah, pretty low vantage point. ;) I actually enjoyed the
choreographed dances more than the two singers coz I don’t listen to
Nicky Chung or Victor.

picture

victor2.jpg

Anyway, Victor came out after that to plenty of cheers and he sang a
couple of songs. I didn’t stay till the end of the set though. I left
early and went to watch LOTR: The Two Towers with a couple of my
buddies. Now that movie was amazing, I loved every part of it. The
scene where the elves came to help defend the keep was a personal
favorite. I’m a sucker for scenes like that. However, I found the
massive (epic!) battle at Helm’s Deep the highlight of the show. I
almost wetted my pants, it was that damn good.

both.jpg
Powerstation

The Powerstation concert was good. I arrived there at around 7:10 pm
and there were still heaps of parking spaces left. The center wasn’t
really full either, there were about a hundred people already in there,
but they were spread out so I got within 3 meters of the stage.

withmc.jpg
Powerstation with the MC

Anyway, Powerstation only came on stage at 7:30 pm and they did 6
tracks and 1 encore. I don’t know the track names because I’ve only
heard two of their albums (Legend and UPS). There was an SMS
competition thing at the beginning, the MC gave out a phrase – “psman”
and a cell phone number and the first two people to send an SMS with
that phrase to that particular number got a plane ticket to “I don’t
know where”. I must have zoned out or something coz I really didn’t
catch where the plane ticket was to. I did have a go, but the others
were inhuman, they already sent the SMS before I finished typing. :)

first.jpg
One half of Powerstation (I don’t know their names)

second.jpg
Another half of Powerstation (I don’t know their names)

Anyway, the MC introduced Powerstation after that and they did 3
songs followed by an intermission. There was a yellow shirted girl in
front of me who was VERY enthusiastic. Nice, she added much needed
ambience to the dreary crowd. Well, at the intermission, they asked six
people to come onstage to sing any Powerstation song and the best
person will get a ticket to “I don’t know where” too. I don’t remember
much, but there were two who got the most applause (a guy and a girl).
The girl finally got the ticket from a game of rock-paper-scissors to
break the tie because both of them got equally enthusiastic applause.

audience.jpg
The six audience members who rendered Powerstation songs for a plane ticket

After that, there was another 3 songs and Powerstation left the
stage. They actually have a pretty good stage presence, really game and
the MC got them to speak several phrases in Bahasa Malaysia which I
can’t remember. Hmm…my memory is failing me. Moving on, they came out
for an encore and that was the end of the show. There was an autograph
signing session after that, but I didn’t stay on. Overall, it was a
good show and well worth the RM 10 (A$ 5) I spent. Highlights were the
enthusiastic yellow shirted girl and the 6 audience members who
rendered Powerstation songs.

encore.jpg
Last song

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