Monday, December 31, 2007

I'm goin' to NYC!!!

I got it!


Saturday, December 29, 2007

The end of a good, but brief era.

Wishing my dear readers, and everyone else (a bit late but who cares?):


I pray that the new year will bring you all more blessings, great health, and the propensity to change ourselves for the better.

* * * * *

Yes, it's official now:

Top Room @ Top Hat Restaurant is closing down! Read about it here.

The place where I have been making a lot of rounds over the past 1 year over, with my own groups and with others, is closing its doors from Jan 1. The restaurant business in Top Hat is still running of course, but the jazz is gone.

So to commemorate its closure, there'll be a jam session, hopefully a massive one, this SUNDAY 30 December 2007, from 6pm. I will be there for sure, and I heavy-heartedly say that I was there when it opened, and now when it is closing as well.

In many ways Top Room was a place close to my heart, as I did a lot of my playing over the past year ever since it opened. And it was such a great place to have good jazz music, and there was a lot going for it - great ambience, and great sound, and great intimacy. But unfortunately, those qualities aren't necessarily enough to sustain a place like that.

I also want to point out that the new year starts heavy for me because of that. One would hope something good like that could go on, especially with the prospect of my (hopefully soon) departure for further studies. I would have loved to follow its progress over the next few months, and also gig if I get back here for my holidays. Alas, it is not to be. But I also hope that the remaining jazz joints keep up the good work, and maybe more potentially good ones would open up (at least I've got spots to play while I'm on summer holidays!!) as well.

Goodbye, Top Room!

* * * * *

My visa interview is this Monday morning. Wish me luck! Once I get it, I'm good to go.

* * * * *

I'm so saddened when I saw it on the Net.. the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. The world is a severely injured, and fractured place now, and it's gotten worse over the years (talk about understatement).

Usually I'm quite oblivious and ignorant about things around, as I never had fondness for governmental and national politics. But it is really getting hard to ignore it. And to quote sax great Phil Woods, "Musicians must be worldly people", so music has ingrained a bit of that in me. I feel a bit sad over some of the things that has been happening to our world, and mostly because most of the more horrendous ones result from only one entity: Man.

The question is: What can us lay people do about it?

A conceptual option I can think of is, be positive. Not just in thinking but in spirit as well. I cannot stress how important that is. Hopefully try to apply that in our daily lives as well. You'd be surprised how much difference it can make. I think I have lost a bit of that over the past several years, and I am trying to find it back. I need it.

You can read and find out more about it in scriptures, whether the Bible, the Dharma, the Quran, I-Ching, Tao Te Ching, and others. And I think this is the time we should do it, to save the world and save ourselves.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Kajang.. sudah maju?

I was just walking in Kajang town just yesterday (something which I hardly do these days, mind you) to go the bank, to do my US Visa processing fee payment. But as dumb as it got, I didn't realize it was a national holiday, Hari Raya Haji, and the banks weren't open. Anyway, I went to do a couple of more errands, and to have my mobile phone fixed. While waiting for it, I dropped by the new shopping mall in Kajang, METRO POINT, to check it out. It's located right opposite from my old high school, and before all of that, there was a tennis court I used to play at during my high school years.

Anyway, when I entered the building through the front entrance, lo and behold, the first thing I saw blew my mind away!



Yes, it's true.. there's now a Starbucks Coffee in Kajang! Incredible!

Maybe Kajang town has started to move on with the times! I'd never thought I'd actually see one in this small, albeit growing, town. Now the question ponders in my head: Is Kajang ready for a Starbucks?

No seriously... do the people here even understand the concept of a cafe latte (or even a hot chocolate) for that matter? LOL! Okay, you can stop laughing now..

Or the more important question is: Is the people of Kajang ready to pay a premium for that kind of coffee, when most of the time the people here relate to teh tarik and kopi (to colloquialize local coffee) more than a double espresso macchiato?

Well, we'll see what happens in a couple of months... or maybe more (more on that later!) and see if the Kajang Starbucks Coffee will last. If it does...AMEN.. I don't have to go far for a good cuppa!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Singapore Marathon... ahhh..

Well, it was a blast for me!

After a really head-banging, stressful week, I was really anxious to go down to Singapore to run the race. My last race was really Penang Bridge Run, which was also good! But unlike Penang, I wasn't properly trained for this, and this was also attributed to the fact that I had such a miserable week, and it was also miserable because I couldn't train as well! But I was adamant on going anyway to enjoy the race! And enjoy it I did...

Anyway, I went down south early Friday morning with my drummer Martin, who wanted to go and check out the clubs there, and also see Eugene Pao (an amazing jazz guitarist from Hong Kong) at Jazz @ Southbridge. (Note: I got stood up by my good buddy who was also supposed to do the race.. but backed out due to illness!). We checked into the Killiney Budget Room (great place by the way, and cheap!) and just walked around a bit. I retired to my room to sleep for a couple of hours (while Martin met up with his friend) and then went to check out Eugene's gig later that night. Greg was also playing with Eugene for that three-day gig. And he later told me he wasn't doing the race (Greg was supposed to do the full distance), as he did not train up to that distance. Darn. Anyway, we left early as I wanted to head back to sleep earlier and get as much rest on the Friday night.

Saturday, I woke up for a 20 minute run to warm up the joints a bit. Probably my only run for the past week. After that we ended up walking some more for a little bit. I went over to the Esplanade and collected my race kits, and rendezvous-ed with Greg, June, Kerong (who was also doing the race), Darren and one of Greg's friends. Collection was a breeze, and so well organized you hardly had to break a sweat doing it! Kudos to the organizers! After that I did the same thing in the evening.. slept for a couple of hours and went out to Southbridge. Second night's show was a real blast.. they just played crazy!! Eugene Pao is definitely one of them guitarists I enjoy listening to!!! Left to retire early again. Just before sleeping, I did the usual pre-race preparations - shoes, bibs, vests, gels, water, etc. I also had a strange feeling I won't be able to sleep that night, and so right I was. I didn't sleep too well at all. Mostly the feeling of being half-asleep.

Race day

I awoke about 4-something in the morning. I wanted the time so I didn't have to rush having toilet emergencies. Had a snack bar and a fruit for pre-race meal. Once I finished preparing myself, I headed out to the Padang at City Hall by walking/jogging from the budget room to the start point... good way to warm up! When I got there, I waited in line to drop off the race luggage bag at the Baggage Collection point (well-organized as well!), and off to the starting point. I was trying to look around for June, who was also doing the half-distance, but to no avail. There was just way TOO many people out there. Coincidentally, I bumped into Pek Fui who was also doing it with a friend, what a surprise! Anyhow, like any race, I always try to spot people that I might possibly recognize, but also to no avail. Tough luck.. I wasn't even sure who was taking part! Oh well..

Flag off at 6:15am... and off we went. I started with a slight sense of trepidation, as I did not know what to expect during the race. But anyhow, I started running at a fairly relaxed pace, and allowed others to overtake. Unlike KL, there are more... fit runners... here, so that prospect was pretty terrifying! But to quote this year's Marathon motto: RUN YOUR OWN RACE, I told myself the same thing, and just proceeded with running at my own pace.

I found I was running at training pace, and it was comfortable for me. I knew I didn't have a choice, as my training encountered a setback, but I didn't let that stop me. If I pushed to race pace, I knew I might burn myself out a little too quickly. The first 10 - 15k was fairly comfortable, and I could maintain that pace, most of the way, except when I had to stop and queue for the restroom. I think I wasted valuable time on that, but when you gotta go, you just gotta go. But I could already feel my legs stiffening up even up to the halfway mark, and this was a clear sign of undertraining on my part. I stopped once or twice to stretch just to loosen them up.

Hydration stops were well planned out, and well supplied with both water and 100plus. They even had bananas at one particular stop. I think I managed hydration pretty well this race, having a bottle of Accelerade on one side and water on the other (I had one of those two small bottle fuel belts!), and two PowerGels (only used one). After the 15-16k mark I did the run/walk routine as my legs were awfully stiffened up and couldn't really go at a faster pace. It felt like I had the energy to run, but my legs just weren't in the condition to go.

Anyhow, I could not manage a sub 2:50 timing as I would like, as I was barely near the finish line when it was past 2:50. But I still went on and told myself to FINISH, FINISH, FINISH "You Can Do It!" and other self-psycho-ing encouragements! Next thing I knew, the finish line was near...I was running on the Esplanade Bridge... and it was really sunny hot... and only at the last 500m I just continued on running at whatever pace I could manage and finished up at 2:57:04. Not my best timing, but I was really happy I could finish it! AHHHH.. VICTORY!!

After collecting my baggage, and stretching a bit, I met up with Greg and June and went off to had a light snack to replenish. I went back to the budget room via MRT, washed up and had a late breakfast with Martin. Slept for a few hours, and went out to walk around at Singapore Plaza... and ate again. We went back to the room, chilled out a short while, and then met up with Greg and June at Borders (we walked there.. even while my legs were still sore), and had dinner not long after that! I felt like a virtual bottomless pit!! Even after dinner, I still didn't feel like I had enough to eat! We sat around for drinks and chatted quite a bit, and then departed each other's company and the both of us headed to Boat Quay to go for the jam sessions there. Man, what a day!

Next day was a real sleepy day as we couldn't really get up as we were both so tired from the last few days. But eventually we got up, had lunch, checked out, and went out walking again! Not much, just to a few shops, and sat around for coffee while killing time! Eventually, we got our luggage from the room, and departed to the First Coach bus depot to catch the 6.30pm bus back to KL!

What a trip this was!

Anyway, here are some pictures for you to enjoy!

race morning @ start line.. getting ready to go..

marina south.. check out Singapore's Eye

police drumline.. very cool

yay.. finish line nearby liao!!

Greg & June

me cam-whoring...what a relief

yay.. another medal!!

another view of it

Sunday, December 02, 2007


That's more or less my Chip timing..


I'm glad I finished... I FEEL GOOD... nehh, nehh, nehh, nehh, nehh, nehh, nehhh...

Greetings from Singapore..

It's 1.29am in Singapore, and I've just prepped my race kits.

I'm really psyched to run the race.. half distance marathon at the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon. It'll be my second SG Marathon, my last one being year 2004. Although I can't say I'm fully trained for it.. I don't give a *toot*... I'm gonna try to enjoy it anyway!!!

Wish me luck.. will try to take pictures if I can!!

PS: I'm shifting all my running reports and related blogs about it here, from my other running blog. Too lazy to maintain two sites...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Hello from Singapore..

I'm back here in the Lion City, for a couple of days. I came here on Monday for a gig with my sifu, Greg Lyons' Omniform Band, and we were playing at Blu Jaz Cafe, right in the heart of the city. It also provided and excellent opportunity to get out of KL town for a couple of days and chill out somewhere else (and play some good music!).

The band itself was a kick-ass band, comprises of keyboards, bass and drums with a large horn section - two trombones, two saxophones, one flute, and a trumpet. It's basically similar to Greg's (KL) Nonet band, but more punch, and that's no surprise - everyone in the group are good players! Because of that, the intensity and energy level of the Singaporean group is much more higher than that of KL. And that was really fun to play.. really challenges me to play! We played some new pieces on top of the older ones, but no less challenging at that. Since everyone in the group are good players, everyone had a chance to improvise at different songs, and it really made the band much more happening! Great night.. intense, and really fun to play. Hope I'll get the chance to play more with this band soon.

On a side note, I also had the opportunity to do a good long run at East Coast Park. A full two hours!! I think I ran for about 15k, plus minus a few hundred metres. Although I haven't wrote about it, but I'm training for the StanChart Singapore Marathon, which will take place next Sunday! So it means I'll be back here again! Woo hoo...

See you back in KL!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Terry Fox Run and then some..

Been a while again since I updated my blog.. AHaha.. my apologies to my dear faithful readers! I have been so distracted with so many things until blog-negligence is eminent - from work and performances, Facebook (yes, I'm on it.. eck!), downloaded TV shows, sleep, and what's not!

Anyway, there has been some interesting stuff that's been happening lately for me, nothing ground-breaking, but interesting enough for me to note. One of them includes playing for Michael Veerapen in a quartet setting, something he does not do very often (most of the time it's a trio), at Alexis Ampang over two weeks ago.

It was quite a gig... and those who came and say us play will probably agree. Let's just say: for those who know me well, it's been a while since I perspired in a gig like that two nights in a row. Musically it was really challenging, and it's been quite a while I was really pushed like that (hence the heavy sweating!). We played some of Mike's original tunes (Pictures, Consequence), and re-arrangements of some cover tunes (Bop Be, Jauh-Jauh - yes, the Jimmy Boyle one, Bouncing with Bud, and some others). We had Michael on piano, me on saxophones, AJ on electric upright bass, and Charles Wong on drums. Quite a team we made. We only had some rehearsals several days before the gig, but we were taking on some serious material like Phil Markowitz's In The Woods, and Chick Corea's Eternal Child. Despite all the funny mistakes I did (as well as AJ) during the rehearsals, but show itself turned out pretty exciting, and good too (plus minus a few boo-boos.. can't run away from it sometimes!). The band was really open to everybody's playing, and musical interpretation, and this itself lead to many adventurous moments, and very exciting. It was almost.. organic.. like the feeling of the music taking a life of its own! It's something rare to catch something like that in KL. Hope we'll get to do it again soon, too!

Then there's the Terry Fox Run just last Sunday (Nov 4th). It's my second year doing this, and it's something I'm glad to be part of as well. I did it last year with KT, and we didn't exactly do the whole stretch, due to unclear directions. This year was much better, with race (or in this case, run-event) marshalls telling everyone where to go. There was the easy, family route (3.5km) and the advanced route (around 5.5km, although I think it's about almost 6km). This year was particularly interesting for me: I dragged my entire household with me! My parents, my brother and his girlfriend, and along the way met Devin as well! Take it from me.. to be able to get my family members out on something like this is a RARITY!! Like a Mastercard ad:

6 Terry Fox tees - RM150

Transport Costs - RM15

Whole Chan Family clan doing Terry Fox Run: PRICELESS!

They managed to finish the family route, and I of course, did the long, advanced route. It was really nice fun, and it's a real good way to have spent time with my family like that.

Here are some pics:

That same evening, I went to the Top Room to do the Jazz Association of Malaysia's (JAM) second event, the JAM Jazz Appreciation Workshop by Michael Veerapen. Michael conducted the workshop, with me on sax, Fly on bass, and Martin on drums, in the band. Quite a few interested people showed up (could've been more), but it went really well. Hopefully there are some that will come out knowing better what happens in a jazz performance and not look like a total blur! Will post pictures if I manage to get some. Then there was the jam session, which was pretty happening as well. Both older and younger generation musos were there to jam (yours truly being in the latter, thank you!).

Got some gigs coming up, as well. Do check the Upcoming Performances for dates and times and all the necessary information.

Next time..

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Some Kenny Garrett videos..

Here are some Youtube vids of my saxophone inspiration.. Enjoy!

1) 2 Down 1 Across - part 1

2) 2 Down 1 Across - part 2

3) Marcus Miller - Run For Cover (somehow Kenny kicks ass in MM's band, or any band he plays in! Ahahah...)

4) Kenny's solo in MJ's "Human Nature" in Miles Davis Live in Paris

More coming...

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

All Blues (almost)

Backstage at a Maria Schneider concert.. bunch of fellas messing 'round.. FUNNY! A HAha..

Weaver of Dreams - Sonny Rollins

Nice trio work by one of the greatest (and living) sax legends - Sonny Rollins. Enjoy...

Sunday, October 07, 2007


Just got back from the Jazz Latino gig at Bangkok Jazz.

First off, I want to say THANKS to those who came and watched the show. We really hope you enjoyed it as much as we enjoyed playing the music for you.

Anyway, it's my first public cum club gig after a three week lay-off. I didn't have any gigs during the first three weeks of the puasa month, so it was a good break for me from working, and to some extent, from music (or at least the performance aspect of it). As much fun and exciting performing is, after a certain time (especially after a long busy season), my head gets really saturated, and I get tired mentally real quickly. It's quite hard to get inspired musically when I get into that stage. I even get bored of my own playing. So this break is something I look forward to.

So after all of that, the last two nights was rather exciting and refreshing for me. I found myself much more focused - or rather, able to focus better - in my playing, and my ideas come out rather nicely. Execution also feels easier. Feels fresh to play. I actually get to enjoy playing!

I'm looking forward to these next few weeks, I've already got gigs lined up almost every weekend (possibly EVERY weekend!). So, do keep posted with the Upcoming Performance section on the right panel of my blog. I do hope to be able to see some of you guys there.

On the US front...

Well, some of you are wondering, "Why the heck is Julian still in KL?". *Sigh* For some strange reason, the way the Americans work in the school is so slow, it's not funny! (Sorry Ken.. hahah!). The last time I called the school, they still have not got my application reviewed by the music school! Argh. I really have to call them to chase the program director to forward my application to the graduate admissions office! Argh!

Anyway, I just wanted to write something here. I guess it's been quite a while since I last did, for real. So here I am!

Later.. have a good weekend, y'all!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

CONCERT: Gruvavenue "The Awakening" Live Concert at The Actors Studio, Bangsar

Hey all,

Here's a plug for my bass player, Vincent Ong's band, GruvAvenue, for their upcoming concert!

Go check it out..

Support the local jazz scene!

- GruvAvénue "The Awakening" Live Concert in The Actors Studio, Bangsar -

(click to see actual size)

Kuala Lumpur , 1 Sept 2007 – Once in awhile in the musical incubator of the downtown club scene, a truly musically sophisticated work with broad appeal emerges as if from nowhere. The truth, of course, is that these gems are the results of years of hard work, artistic development and unique musical vision: all these crystallize the release of self-titled debut album " GruvAvénue" in 2005.

Formally known as "Black Machine", GruvAvénue exploded into the KL music scene with its inaugural performance in The Actors Studio, Plaza Putra in 2001. The band continued to make special appearances at jazz clubs such as the legendary No Black Tie, Alexis Wine Bar & Bistro, Jazz Bar @ The Orange, Bangkok Jazz, Livehouse Niche and various Jazz Festivals. Soon after, the band enjoyed heavy rotation o n Australian smooth jazz station, The Breeze106.3 and constant airplay on national radio station, Traxx FM, Jazz Selekta.

Looking forward, GruvAvénue is set to wow audience again with yet another feat – the first Malaysian Jazz group to record a live album. Scheduled for October 3, 2007, at The Actors Studio, the band will captivate audience with their full range of original compositions. The elements are delicate melodies, strong rhythmic sense, vibrant harmonic nuances and pulsating grooves!

GruvAvénue keeps a simple and yet organic instrumentation – bass, saxophone, drum, keys and vocals. As a collective, "GruvAvenue" artists come from a wide range of jazz backgrounds which sees as a binding force. These musicians embrace not only free improvisations but also appreciate tonal composition and extended musical forms and changes. Any brief moments of conventionality are trumped by eclecticism, an excellent composing transcends the established musical borders and stares down current definitions of what jazz should be. They have come together with a love for the new as well as the old…each bringing a universal quality that reaches out to varied audience.

Vincent Ong, bassist described as a friendly iconoclast, an artist who enthusiastically explores new concepts at the cutting edge of jazz. A stylistic chameleon that uses different textures and colors to create tension and augment a song's complexity.

Tay Cher Siang , pianist with flawless embrace for the keys presents the 'sweet' touch. Somewhat authoritative yet moving, he hovers somewhere between homage and prayer while slowly building and then writhing the mood.

Martin Ngim, drummer brings the groove with strong rhythmic sense and tenacity. Moving from seductive percussion works to vivacious raw grooves, he adds vigor to the group.

Shazee Ishak, saxophonist and rapper brings forth sensual harmonic nuances on his wind instrument and expands the group's spectrum of sound with intoxicating loops through modern technology.

Vanessa Tan, a gift to jazz buffs. Not just for her exuberance but her ability to articulate without resorting to imitation, synthesizes with her own estimable talent and results is eye-opening and entertaining. She can shift from one color and feel to the next deftly, moving from throaty version to swinging up-tempo.

Five amazing talents, one amazing sound. "The Awakening" Live Concert promises a dynamic group and energetic performance.

Ticket Info :-

Price: RM 38 nett (inclusive of ticket charges)

Box Office: The Actors Studio, Level 3, West Wing, Bangsar Shopping Centre.

Telephone: +603 2094 0400 / 1400

Opens: Daily 10:30 AM to 6:30 PM

For more information:-

Log on to

Email to

Call Band Leader, Vincent +6012 390 9828.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Greetings from Lion City.. going wireless in Starbucks now..


Just taking a little break from work in KL, and just wanted to get out of town. Feeling quite stressed with work and all, so it's always nice just to get out, even if it's to another city.

Singapore is usually my multiple-trip holiday place, especially if I want to be out of KL for a couple of days. So, I come here a few times a year. For me, it's a great place to hang out, with a slightly different music scene, and usually quite a welcoming one, too. It's always refreshing to see a different group of musicians playing, and for most part, the level of musicianship is generally much higher here, so it's always a challenge to play with some of these guys.

Oh yeah, Singapore's a real nice place to shop, too... I've already got some nice stuff here, which you would usually get at a premium in KL...just got a nice pair of Croc slippers for about S$54... a nice pair of AKG mini headphones... The World According to John Coltrane DVD.. some jazz CDs you can't find in KL... and still shopping.. LOL!

On another note..

I just read that Joe Zawinul passed away yesterday!! Man, that's really sad news... he was one of the pioneers of the jazz fusion front, being one of the main members in Miles Davis' band, Cannonball Adderley's band (Joe wrote Mercy, Mercy, Mercy by the way), and of course Weather Report. Even his own band, Zawinul Syndicate, pushed the musical boundaries in the jazz spectrum, incorporating different rhythms from different parts of the world.

This is truly a sad year for music...

Rest in peace, Joe!

Here's a nice Youtube vid of Joe with his Zawinul Syndicate band, featuring Kenny Garrett.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

First JAM Event


On behalf of Pro Tem Secretary Junji Delfino (while her internet connection is down), I am pleased to announce that The Jazz Association of Malaysia (JAM) will be organizing its first event and here are the details:

JAM Get-Together
Venue: The Top Room @ Top Hat Restaurant. 7 Jalan Kia Peng, KL
Date and Time: 9 September 2007 (Sunday), 4pm onwards
Entrance: FREE


This is basically an open-to-all event, which starts from 3pm, and trails off to the Sunday Jam Session which (usually) starts at 6.30pm until 9pm (or well past if it gets too hot full of musos on stage!).

As this is our first open event, we're starting off with some rather casual activities, including DVD screenings of some live jazz performances and some documentaries, ranging from Keith Jarrett to Buena Vista Social Club. There will probably also be some short performances by established jazz musicians and bands, to make things more interesting (what's a jazz event without a jazz performance, anyway, right?). There will also be some finger food (liver pate and bread, I heard), courtesy of JAM's Pro Tem Secretary, Junji Delfino.

The main objective of this event, is really to just get people who are interested, to come bask in the wonderful spirit of jazz, including musos and non-musos. And this will also be a good opportunity to try to attract new members into the association. Prospective members can sign up and join the association anytime during this meet!! So do inform your friends who are interested to join, and get them to come by this Sunday to sign up.

As the Ramadhan month approaches, please do note that this weekend's event will be the last weekend of live jazz performances at the Top Room for the entire month, as The Top Room jazz programme will be taking a hiatus during this period. Regular programming will resume after the Ramadhan fasting month is over. So, in the spirit of any jazz jam session, let's make this a big, rowdy, one!!

For more information, please contact JAM via email, or contact Pro-Tem Secretary Junji Delfino at +60162254868.


.... are things the way they are?

.... are people the way they are?

.... must one feel this way?

.... must one experience such things?

.... can't one find it?

.... must things be complicated?

.... don't I understand?

.... am I here?

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Bye bye Frogway!

It's finally over...

Frogway the Musical has just finished its last run just a few hours ago at the Actor's Studio Bangsar. It has been quite a crazy few weeks for me, and now it's finally finished. I thoroughly enjoyed working with Michael Veerapen and the Frogway band (Eddie, Fly, Zahid, Charles and Ee Jeng) on this, and the other members of this production - the cast, as well as the crew.

By far, I think the musical was a real success, and there has been some good reviews about it too. But whatever it was, I enjoyed playing every show, and every show had been different in very subtle ways.

Just a side note: By the way, during the final matinee show, we found out that Mel Gibson was sitting among the audience watching the show!! And he came backstage during the intermission, and I flipped out in my head (while trying to remain looking cool). Wow! MEL GIBSON, man!!! Too bad, I didn't manage to get a pic with him.. damn!!

Anyway, it has been a really good (and funny) three weeks, but I'm glad it's over. I'm due for my next break, and since it'll be fasting month this month, I think it'll be a great opportunity for me to take a break from work and regroup myself. Can't wait..

To the cast and crew, the musicians, and the producers, and especially Michael Veerapen (for roping us into doing this show)... THANK YOU for the great three weeks, and it had been a real pleasure and experience working with you guys!

*UPDATE* PS: Thanks for the surprise, btw... I really appreciate it from you guys...!!

To everyone who sent me SMS-es and all, thanks very much for the wishes! You all sure made my day.. I really appreciate it!

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Greetings from the bandstand of Frogway...

It's the fourth day (and five shows) of the musical, Frogway, and it's been quite fun so far. Just a little bandstand info: The music of Frogway is generally played LIVE by a live band led by one of Malaysia's leading pianist/jazz musician, Michael Veerapen. The musicians involved are Michael Veerapen on piano/keyboards, Ee Jeng on 2nd keyboards, Fly on double bass and electric bass, Zahid Ahmad on V-drums, Eddie Wen on trumpet, and myself on saxophones and flute. Michael is also the composer of all the tunes in the musical, and quite a number of the songs were written by him in the 80s, with some contemporary twists this time around, of course. Saidah Rastam is the musical director for the musical.

The cast of Frogway are Vince Chong as Eddy the Frog, Harith Iskander (also director) as Smiley the Snake, Elaine Daly as Susannah the Stork, Ina Fabergas as Helen the Fish and Michelle the Frogette, Marielle Fabergas as Renee the Frogette, Chelsia Ng as Shirley the Frogette, Thor Kar Hoong as Horatio Frog (and some other characters and voice-overs) and Ash Nair as Freddy the Toad. Quite a zany cast, I might add, and all very good performers.

The band only had one-and-a-half weeks of intense rehearsals, so we managed to get fairly familiar with the tunes by the time we got together at the Actor's Studio to do the tech runs, and stage rehearsals. And we are pretty much having quite a lot of fun playing, and watching the cast act and sing, and also mess around with different sound effects for different scenes. We not only had to play our instruments like musical instruments, we also ended up with making different sound effects with it - Eddie does elephant, horse, frog sounds among other stuff, with his trumpet, while I make monkey sounds with the soprano, and bird sounds with my flute. Ee Jeng plays various sound effects with his Roland Fantom X synth that makes the acting bits of the show a whole lot more interesting. Even Michael plays a variety of sounds with his FP-1 digital piano!

Anyway, here are some cool pics taken with my phone with the band as well as some other actors in the show. Enjoy.

Harith as Smiley the Snake (check out da makeup!)

Da band l-r: Zahid, Ee Jeng, Eddie, fat-sax, Mike, and Fly

Horny horns with Eddy da Frog (Vince)

Eddy (Vince), Horatio (Thor), and Freddy (Ash)

By the way, I believe there are still tickets and another 8 shows to go.. so call 03-20940400 now to get your tickets and get your giggles at Frogway!

Later... Hisssssssss....ribbit!!

PS: We got rid of those green shirts in favor of a penguin suit instead.. tee hee...

Friday, August 24, 2007


Surprise Voice presents


Eddy the Frog has to leave his pond home because he sings, instead of croaking. He finds fame, fortune and riotous living on "Frogway", but to his horror finds out that his agents, Snake and Stork are planning to eat him. Will melon seeds save the day? Will pond life ever be the same again?

Frogway is a groovy musical directed by the formidable Harith Iskander, with music by Michael Veerapen. Starring Vince Chong, with Harith, Elaine Daly,Thor Kah Hoong, Ina Fabregas, Chelsia Ng, Ash Nair,and Marielle Fabregas. Music direction by Saidah Rastam, musical staging by Sean Ghazi.

Dates & Times: 23th, 24th, 27th - 29th August @ 8.30pm, 25th August & 1st September @ 3pm & 8.30pm, 26th August & 2nd September @ 3pm

Ticket: RM100, RM80, RM60 (RM2.00 ticket charge is applicable)

Special promotions:
  • 15% discount for matinees, Mondays & Tuesdays (adult tickets only)
  • 50% discount for students and senior citizens

For tickets, please contact TAS@BSC at 03-2094 0400/1400

Want to win tickets to watch Frogway? Click here!


The thing with New York...

I got a place in Queens College (at least that's what I have been told)....

... but I only got it for the Spring intake, which means February 2008.

Looks like I'll be sticking around town for a little while more. Sigh.

Well, as much as I was irked initially with this, but I accept that there's always a reason for anything and everything that happens, but it's just not always clear at first. I just gotta have faith in it..

This time around, I am gonna make sure I get all my affairs down way in advance, just so that something like this don't happen again... then I'll never get to leave this town!

This leaves me more time to hit the woodshed with my horns, and also to save some more money!

Oh well..

Monday, August 13, 2007


... that was what the Greg Lyons Nonet (GLN) gig at No Black Tie was, last weekend. At least, that was what it was like for me! But I think ALL of us felt it... and everyone played their a$$es off last weekend too!

The GLN did a three-night stint at NBT last weekend from Thursday to Saturday. This was after over a year of the band taking a hiatus! I think the last performance I did with the GLN was at the Penang Island International Jazz festival almost two years ago! But anyhow, I think this was the best Nonet gig I've done so far, not just for me, but I think for the entire band in general! The music and the energy was just so overwhelming, I think this gig is a record for me - three straight GOOD nights in a row!! The most I've had was two!

Anyway, the band consisted of 9 members (hence, a NONET): rhythm section - Justin Lim (piano), AJ (drums), and the legendary and unimitable Andy Petersen on bass, and the horn section - Greg Lyons (bandleader/composer/arranger/saxophones), Julian Chan (alto sax, flute), Cheryl Mah (baritone sax), Eddie Wen and Boon Sim (trumpets/flugelhorn), and Lillian Loo (trombone). We played basically all of Greg's compositions and arrangements of non-originals.

What was interesting about this gig as well, was that we only had the Thursday afternoon to rehearse the band, and then play on the night itself. It was a challenge because we had two newbies to the band - Boon Sim and Lillian, and what made it even more challenging was that Greg's material is anything BUT straight-forward, with different kinds of grooves and odd-meters. The rest of the members were mostly familiar and a bit more comfortable with it, but what was really enjoyable about the whole experience was that I think we're better at it now, than the last time. After all, one-and-a-half years of continuous playing challenging music
does a lot for one's musical development! And personally, my flute playing is still crap, so that was a challenge in itself! But I made sure I practiced my flute a lot more during the week before the gig, just to get some chops back, and for most part, it held up!! Greg even made me solo on flute!! Man.. breathless!!

Anyway, we played a bunch of Greg's tunes, arranged for the Nonet, such as Out From The Shadows (a nice mixture of 7/4, 4/4, and 5/4 meters), Bridge of Sighs (this crazy one has 7/4, 2/4, and 6/4), Forward Motion (title track of his upcoming Nonet album), Heart Of Stone, Built To Last, Global Ties, Twin Flow, Spring Loaded (two nice swing-based tunes), and two new ones - Satin Doll (a nice new Afro-Cuban rhythm rearrangement), and East Coast Park (a fresh new tune, 5/4 triplet-feel - unfinished, though). Some other tunes that Greg did involved only me and Eddie, such as Up To You (one of Greg's early originals), and John Coltrane's Central Park West.

It was an amazing three-night gig for me, at least. I think Greg felt the same way, too. I was thinking about, I can only think of these few reasons:

- Greg's playing...

- Greg's music...

- Justin's playing.. man, this guy is a real "sat sau"!!!!

- Eddie's playing

- AJ's playing

- Andy's playing (OMG!)

- Everyone played with gutso and head-on energy!

- It was a good benchmark from the last show I did with the Nonet. I've actually found myself to be more musically connected more than before. And judging from the fact that Greg really put me on the spot with some solos on some his songs (he's never done that before!), I was mostly comfortable enough with the music to try to be creative with it... and I wasn't falling over myself doing it (not on the alto, at least.. flute? ecck..). I was really happy that Greg had the confidence to let me play at some of the solo spots on his tunes. If anything, it was sort of an affirmation of sorts... I have much more to learn, but I know that I've come a long way than I'd ever thought possible... and now, it's just a matter of moving on further.

At the end of the last note of the last night, I actually felt so happy... and sad, at the same time. I will miss this so much. I suppose I am heading for much more when I get my fat a$$ to NYC, but all this is something which is so close to my heart, I can't help feeling a little sad that I won't be getting to do this for a little while. All the musical ventures that I've been blessed to be a part of has been instrumental to whatever musical development I have now (which for me is still not a lot!). In some ways, maybe it was really for me to gear up for a bigger world. I think I'm getting ahead of myself here...

... ANYWAY...

It had been an awesome musical experience over the last weekend. I hope some of you guys get to check out the Nonet if they're playing again KL! And I hope that the album gets released, too!

till then..

Special note to Greg:

Greg... thank you so much!! You've done so much for me, no words can describe my feeling of gratitude! I hope I've made you proud, and will try to continue to do so...

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Greg Lyons Nonet Returns!!

Greg Lyons

Yes... it has been a long while since the Greg Lyons Nonet (GLN) have graced the jazz scene in KL! And it's back this weekend for a three-night stint at one (of two, as far as I'm concerned) of KL's most established and discerning jazz joints, No Black Tie.. beginning tonight through to Saturday night.

Greg Lyons is a well-established saxophonist and jazz musician in the KL-Singapore jazz scene, being in South-East Asia for over 15 years now. His debut album as a leader, Island to Island, already establishes Greg as not only a versatile jazz musician/saxophonist, but also a very prolific composer, and in that effect, establishing an individual sound that is Greg Lyons.

One of his many projects, the GLN, is an outlet for Greg to present not only his original compositions, but also his eclectic arranging prowess, creating a unique sound in the ever-expanding spectrum of jazz. In the GLN, Greg utilizes a typical jazz rhythm section - piano/keys, bass, and drums - which is augmented by an addition of a 6-piece horn section, including combinations of saxophones, woodwinds, and brass.

But there's no point in talking about it.. you have to experience it LIVE!! So come by these three nights and experience jazz music that's a cut above the rest! Wanna know more? Here are the details:

VENUE: No Black Tie. 17 Lorong Mesui, off Jalan Nagasari, KL
DATE AND TIME: 9, 10, and 11 Aug 2007. Music starts 10.30pm
RESERVATIONS: Call +603 2142 3737

Hope to see you there...



Greg Lyons:
Greg Lyons MySpace:

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Toppings!: The Experimental Quartet

Hey all,

Just got back after a crazy night at the town... well, just at the Top Room actually! Some really crazy music happening just now, and tonight as well! If you're in for a taste of the real stuff in music, come down tonight to watch us... we've got some really crazy stuff to play!

The Experimental Quartet is Justin Lim on piano, Fung Chern Hwei on violin, Julian Chan on saxophones, and Eddie Wen on trumpet/flugelhorns. Wierd set-up... crazy musicians... out-of-the box ideas... lots of fun music (including a remake of TWO classic tunes into one... if you wanna find out what it is, you just have to come down to the Room to check it out!).

Toppings!: The Experimental Quartet

We start at 10.30pm, with cover charge RM20nett (with free crackers and free parking).

See ya.


Read all about the gig at Chern Hwei's blog!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

I need..

... jazz and my runs!!

Yeah.. nothing beats a bout of emotional downtime with jazz and running.. for me at least!! It's gotta be both... if not, don't even think about pissing me off!!! Ahahahaha...

Oh yeah, I finished Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys..

.. and I picked up another two more books: Neil Gaiman's Fragile Things (short stories), and Jeffery Archer's False Impression. I'm reading through the former now...

I just got back from a recording session with David for his jazz album. We did only one tune, a composition of David's called "Home". It's a beautiful ballad... but seriously TOUGH to play. We did several takes, but I think the third take was probably the best out of the 5 - 6 takes. By the way, we're in the process of recording his FIRST actual jazz album... it's a long time coming for David. And I'm glad I'm part of it too.. woo hoo... but boy, am I seriously getting my chops busted!! I get to hear all my funny boo-boos in the recordings!! Hopefully they're good enough to be used in the album.. ha ha!

Okay.. that's it for now.. I'm too spent and sleepy after the recording. Recording a ballad takes such a heavy toll..

Saturday, July 28, 2007


... hahaha...

... you wish.. no, I'm not quitting. I'm saying goodbye to that funny depressionistic episode I had for the last two weeks.

You know what snapped me out of it? A jazz recording session. It wasn't so much of the session itself, but what we were playing. Brought back some life into me.

I really need jazz!


See ya..

By the way.. next weekend will be a special edition gig for me at the Top Room. It'll be an interesting, experimental-ish setup. Stay tuned. Will write about it later..

Saturday, July 21, 2007


I'm feeling rather blank with blog-writing lately...

Not to say that I have nothing on my mind... on the contrary... it's kind of full of things...

... not all nice, fluffy, and comfortable either..

... and not things I would like to share in writing online at the moment, too...

... so many emotions and feelings all at once - frustration, disappointment, happiness, anxiety, confusion, and more..

... things I want happening, are not happening on time, and i'm trying to push for it, to go against the odds...

... but still grateful for what I have at the moment, but it's no excuse to be complacent as well...

... wish me luck, and pray for me...

You'll have to pardon my lack of updates. I'll get back into the groove sooner or later...

* * * * * *

Reading Neil Gaiman's ANANSI BOYS at the mo...

Finished reading Paulo Coelho's THE ALCHEMIST.. beautiful stuff.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Jazz Association of Malaysia (JAM) - Inaugural Meeting

Hi everyone,

Here's an important piece of news, I'd like to share. We're having the inaugural meeting of the Jazz Association of Malaysia on Sunday, 8th July 2007, from 3pm - 5.30pm. But I'll just let this little picture do da talkin'...

If you have a passion for jazz and want to see that it is nurtured...

If you enjoy the freedom in jazz and want to make sure that it is heard...

If you believe that jazz has the power to bring people together in a common bond...


If you have something to share in the interest of building up the Malaysian jazz movement...

...then come on the 8th of July and join JAM. Together let's stand up for jazz!

For more information, ring 016 225 4868 or 016 322 9383.

By the way, after all that talking a lot about the music, you can actually fete your ears with some REAL music.. the regular Top Room Sunday Jazz Jam starts at 6pm!! I'll definitely be there as well, giving my support, and also to play!! After all, the music comes first! So I hope to see you there..

Show your support for the music.. and show your support for the jazz scene in KL!

Check out, the official blog-site for J.A.M!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Penang Bridge Run.. n' More!

I did it!!

I finally did the Penang Bridge Run!! This run is a momentuous event for me, in more ways than one!

1) It's my first race in a year and a half (my last race being KLIM '06 half marathon distance)

2) Doing the Bridge is something I've been wanting to do for a long time. And it'll probably be my only PBM for a long time (if I go off to US, then it'll be a few years before PBM can happen for me!).

Anyway, here's a short report of my account in Penang, for the run and extra-curricular activities!


Penang Bridge Run (PBM). A race I've wanted to do for years, since I started joining races. When I could, they stopped the race for two years, I think. And when they started the race again in '06, I couldn't do it at all, as I had not trained for it due to lots of shows and traveling overseas.

I registered for myself and KT, and we were training a bit over the past several months for it. However, we weren't fully trained for it, as we didn't even cover a long run that went past 15km. But what the heck, we wanted to go for it anyway. KT had a business trip to Singapore, and he was due to join me in Penang on Friday at night, and he'll return to KL with me.

Friday (22 June):

11am - Bombshell-1 hits me: KT sms-ed me and told me he couldn't run, as his ankle hasn't healed, but will join me in Penang.

1pm - Left my house for Penang, making about two stops for toilet, and one for ice-cream (Baskin Robbins.. yumm!! Feeling hungry very fast the last few days).

5.30-8pm - Reached Penang Bridge... kau kau jammed! Headed straight away for Queensbay Mall to collect bibs and t-shirts. Took wrong turn and had to U-turn back... basket, I hate it when that happens. Collected running kits, walked around the Mall. Got lots of interesting shops. Had pancakes for dinner. Tempted to eat even more, too! Bombshell-2 hits: KT sms-ed me and told me he couldn't join me in Penang, as he was late to get into the terminal, and SIA refused to let him in (even though he was there 30mins before take-off! wtf?)!!! Great, means I have to run alone, and bear all accomodation expenses on my own, too! Sigh.

8pm-9.30pm - Looked around town for the YMCA, but I got lost around town, trying to find it. I'm such a "hero", thinking I could find my way. But eventually I did find the place, after making a call to YMCA, and making several rounds around the same street and going off some other streets. Checked in and took a nice warm shower.

10.15pm-2am - Left YMCA to town area near Penang Road to this place, Spice & Rice, where my friend Jonathan Yee (fellow sax-man) was playing with his band. Had some nice indian food (makan again!), and jammed with those cats. After I finished their last set with them, we headed over to Audee's Jazz and Wine Bar to see another Jonathan play. This one's Jonathan Chen, who plays electric bass. Btw, Jonathan Chen and I were schoolmates from Kajang High School, and we met through a variety show we did way back in '94. That time he was playing violin. We jammed some more after they finished their first set, and we had their usual supper session (didn't eat this time!). Went back YMCA and crashed.

Saturday (23 June):

9am - Woke up kau early, dunno why! Maybe too nervous about the race? Anyway, I was supposed to wake up at 9.30am, so I could do a short 20min run, just to loosen up my joints. But since I woke up earlier, I just went for one anyway.

10.15am-2pm - Met up with uncle for breakfast, and hung out with him at his place until afternoon. Headed back to YMCA, picked up my horn and my Macbook and went to Gurney Plaza, where I had some lunch at Dome and checked mail on WiFi. Jonathan (sax player) met up with me, chatted a while, and went off to teach.

4pm - Rendezvous-ed with uncle again to go to his friend's music shop to jam with this guitarist bloke. Went back to YMCA to bath and relax.

8pm - Met up with uncle again to for dinner.. had a nice pasta and mushroom soup at Food Loft @ Gurney Plaza. Nice dining concept, but not enough variety.

10pm - Back @ YMCA, packed my running gear for the morning - Asics Gel Kayano 13 shoes, running shorts and vests, Nike Dri-fit socks, bibs (official bibs and "In Memory of Terence Leong - Penguin 6" bib), Accelerade, PowerGels, PowerBar, and slept at 11.30pm.

Sunday (24 June - RACE DAY!!):

Read all about it here!

9.30am - Managed to get back to YMCA to shower and scream over my chaffed thighs!

10.45am - Went out to brunch with Jonathan and wife at a nice Indian restaurant!! Nothing like good Indian food (not the mamak variety, mind you!) after a heavy race!!

12.30pm - Went with them to check out the Fete De La Musique at Upper Penang Rd. Jonathan's band, Q Jazz Collective, played a 30-minute set. Had lunch with them, Wilson Quah and his colleague, Willis (MORE eating!).

3pm - Took a quick ride to YMCA, collected my horn, changed, and went back to Upp Penang Rd again, where I was gonna sit in with Wilson and his Areca Jazz Ensemble, to play a 30-minute set as well.

That was a fun deal... met Adil who also sat in with us, so there were THREE sax player up on stage. Me and Jonathan on alto, and Adil on tenor. Other musicians included Jonathan Chen on violin, Frankie on bass, Jon Skali on drums, and Calvin on guitar, with Wilson on piano. We jammed on three tunes - Au Privave, All Blues, and So What. It was pretty fun, I must say, we enjoyed ourselves to the max! But weather was hot like mad!!

4.30pm - took a nice half a mug o' cold Tiger beer (and a nice iced chocolate drink after that!) at Segafredos while hanging out with the cats.

6.30pm - dinner at the nasi kandar place with Wilson, Adil and his dad. They both left for KL shortly after that. I went back to YMCA to refresh and chill. Dozed off slightly.

9.45pm - Jonathan came to pick me up again, and headed back to Upp Penang Rd to catch Jonathan Chen's band, Ocean Of Fire, play the last set. Hung out a bit at Segafredo's again, until about 11pm. Jonathan and his wife left after a while, while I hung around some more with tissue stuck in ears watching some of the amateur rock/metal bands clown around singing inaudible lyrics and distortion guitars.

12.15am - Ocean of Fire finally came on, and they were a breath of fresh air from the rock bands, and they played their brand of instrumental rock, and pretty much kicked everybody's butt!! LOL!

Side note: OOF was the runner-up of the Yamaha Asian Beat competition last year, I think. They won some best instrumentalist(s) awards too.

1.30am - We hung out at the nasi kandar mamak place, and Jonathan Chen sent me back to YMCA, and I pretty much knocked out after that!

Monday (25 June):

I was supposed to return back to KL on Sunday, but I figured it'll be to crazy for me to drive back right after the race, so I stayed an extra night. Woke up almost in the afternoon, and when I got ready, I checked out from the YMCA, and met up with Wilson Quah for lunch at a nice economy rice vegetarian shop in town. Took a trip to Air Itam, and back into town for some really nice mango ice kacang and water chestnut drink, while chatting about a whole slew of topics on music! We also met up Paul Augustin and the organizer of the Penang Fete De La Musique. We chatted for an hour or so, before Wilson sent me back to YMCA.

After that, it was a nice, but relatively fast, 5-hour drive back to KL.

Even had a chance to stop by Tapah Dunkin' Donuts to use their open wifi network to check mails and post a quickie blogpost.

Ahhh.. I had a great time in Penang. Two vacations in two weeks!

Till the next race!!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Penang.. here I come!

Ok folks,

I'm off to Penang in an hour or so... I'm goin' there to run 22.3km in the Penang Bridge Run!!

Wish me luck..!!

SUFFER.. !!!!

Woo hoo... my first race in a year and a half!! I'm not expecting a PR.. just a good completion of it! If can get PR considered good already, man! AHahha...


Wednesday, June 20, 2007


My first REAL vacation.. ever!

Prelude... Day 1

After the very exhilarating Genting Jazz Fest, I left for home on Sunday morning, as I had a plane to catch to Langkawi. After sending John Thomas back home, I returned home and packed my stuff and Dad sent me to the LCC-T. Met up with Eddie, Bryant, and Oliver (and also Chee Meng who was also on the way back to Bangkok, as he was in KL for the weekend), as the four of us were going for the wedding in Langkawi.

By the way, we're on the way to Langkawi to primarily attend a Japanese friend's wedding, Aya Takahashi. She was one of the group of Japanese girls who are real jazz and music fans, and always used to come to check out our shows in KL. I can say that they're probably one of our biggest fans! At the same time, I thought of making this trip a possible vacation for myself. Since I started working as a musician, I haven't had a vacation and time-off from work for myself... in other words, I haven't had had a vacation for almost 7 years. Guess it's time to have one.

The flight itself was uneventful. Had a good chat with Oliver, whom we also met through the Japanese girls during our shows, and only got to meet once in a blue moon. After touchdown, we were refreshed at the sight of clear blue skies, and clean air in Langkawi island. I was already starting to feel relaxed! We took a cab to our accommodation, Malibest Resort, which was located at Pantai Chenang. Credit to Eddie who chose a real nice spot to stay in for the next couple of days. Along with our resort, Pantai Chenang is a street full of little shops, ranging from eateries and restaurants, to selling beach wear and street clothes. And further down the road was the popular The ZON duty-free shop.

Our accommodation, Malibest Resort, was a resort full of brick-housed chalets along the beach, and they range from deluxe 2-bed rooms (including tree-top chalets for 2) to family-sized chalets for four! For a price we were paying for a family room, it's FRICKIN' cheap! Again, kudos to Eddie for finding such a nice spot. After getting comfortable and settled in our chalet, we headed out to the beach to enjoy the sunset, and to walk around the beach taking some really cool photos. The beach was really beautiful, not as polluted as Port Dickson, with almost-white sand, and the sea just stretched out so nice, with some other nearby islands not too far from where we were.

Once we got hungry we decided to walk around the stretch of road to find a nice restaurant to stuff our faces in. There were a few Chinese seafood restaurants around, and while some catered to foreigners (judging from the price they were charging), there were also smaller, cheaper alternatives. We chose one seafood restaurant from across our resort, where we thought the price was very reasonable. They also catered for vegetarians like myself, and the waitress was also very experienced in making sure that they catered for my vegetarian requirements, as well! Cool. We warmed up easily over some brew, Oliver and Byrant had beers (they were drinking them like fish), whilst me and Eddie attempted to stoke it up over half a bottle of Guinness Stout. From then on, it was unstoppable, uncontrollable laughter from the dynamic horn duo, and pretty much all four of us after that.

After a nice hearty dinner, we walked around a little bit more looking for some convenience store, and we bought some supplies like water, junk food, and of course, liquor. Bought a few cans of beer, and Kampai, so we can dunk them when we head to the beach later at night. Back at the room, we chilled a short while, and decided to go to the beach with horns, and both me and Eddie started jamming while the night progressed. There were three Singaporeans right outside our place, and they were also chilling out, one of them with a cajon, while the other two were playing fire chains like those fire acts in a circus. Without knowing it, two hours passed while we were jamming, and personnel from the desk office came over and told us we'd have to stop by 12 so we won't be bothering other tenants from sleeping. That was that, and after chatting a little bit more, we decided to crash it in, so we could wake up early for the wedding in the morning.

Day 2 - the wedding and the waterfall...

Wedding bells...

Except for Oliver, we woke up earlier than usual... very unlike us. But the morning was just too nice to go wasted. Walked on the morning beach to enjoy the daylight, and then had some breakfast at a near by breakfast bar. Breakfast was so-so, I could make better scrambled eggs, though. But coffee was ok to start the day with. We decided to rent a Toyata Avanza 1.3 at a tourist station next to where we had breakfast. For RM130 a day, it was a good price to pay for, since there'll be an additional two persons joining us for the next two days.

We drove to Kuah town, taking turns to drive the Avanza... it was a real nice drive, even for a 1.3 automatic shift. We picked up Roger who came by ferry from Penang, and we headed to the Westin Langkawi Spa and Resort, where Aya was getting married. Man, that place oozes luxury holiday in paradise! It's next to the ocean, which is so clean and blue. Anyway, we were one of the last few to arrive, it seems that including us, there are only 16 guests in her wedding!!! OMG... really feel like guests of honor (
arigato gozaimasu, Aya!!). Her wedding ceremony took place at a small little boat pier that extends from the beach for about 100-200metres. There was champagne and wedding cake, and also flower petals to sprinkle on them when they finish the ceremony and walk back to the hotel.

The ceremony itself was really simple and sweet, with the couple exchanging vows in English (!). The poor groom was having a little difficulty with some of the English words.. I thought they could've just done it in Japanese or something. LOL. But it was still very sweet to watch. Then it was the cake cutting, and the traditional Japanese toast, "KAMPAI!". Of course, we couldn't finish without the traditional Malaysian Chinese wedding toast! So in order to "educate" the Japanese relatives, we did one round for them with Aya. You'll know what to expect...


Champagne: RM200 a bottle
Flowers: RM500
The look on wedding couple's parents and relatives' face when we made the toast:

So to get them in the loop, we did it for the second round, and this time the couple and their parents and relatives joined in loudly as well!

After the toast and speeches, all of us adjourned to the hotel coffee house for lunch, and we had a really nice course dinner. Aya even had vegetarian dishes all special ordered for me too! Thanks again!

Splish Splash...

After the wedding, and a quick change of clothes (plus a few lewd photos), we headed around town area to look for some beach clothes, and headed off to the Durian Perangin waterfalls, where we climbed up the highest possible spot where the waterfall was. After an hour plus of fooling around in the water, taking photos, splish-splashing around, we cleaned up and headed back to the Westin to pick up Aya's friend and her mom for dinner at Kuah town, and later some duty-free shopping.

Most of us were quite bummed out after a full-day outing. Oliver and his friend crashed out pretty quick. Didn't do much after that night, so most of us crashed pretty early too.

Day 3... running..scooter rides, cable cars, and crappy restaurants!

I woke up early to run (still have to train for the Penang Bridge Run!), and I managed to run about 8k from our resort to halfway towards the airport. That took me about an hour. Before I got back Bryant, Eddie, and Roger headed off to Kuah town for more duty-free shopping, while i freshened up and rendezvous-ed with Oliver for breakfast just across the road from his room, at the Breakfast Station, where they made really much better breakfast.

The rest of the fellas came back after a while, and joined us. When we finished, it was almost noon, and we rented some scooters. Luckily, half of us had motorbike licenses, and so we rented three scooters and piggy-backed, two-to-a-scooter. Before we headed out, me and Eddie took our horns and jammed a bit with Oliver taking some photos of us, while the other three chilled in their rooms. We headed out, after having some lunch at an expensive, not-worth-the-money indian restaurant at our resort, to Telaga Tujuh, where former PM Tun Dr Mahathir opened up his Japanese-style bakery, The Loaf. Before that, we went up the cable car up the Machinchang hilltop. It was pretty interesting, and scary for me.. as the cable car angled up pretty steep somewhere past the halfway point to the first hilltop Station 510 feet above ground. After taking some photos, we proceeded up another 200 feet to the top Station, where there was also a short connecting suspension bridge between two nearby hilltops. Because it was a partially cloudy day, we got to experience clouds blowing at our faces! So that was pretty fun. At the top hillpoint, we chilled out until the clouds cleared, and a beautiful view of the ocean and some nearby islands opened up to us (and getting ourselves REALLY tanned along the way).

We got down after 2 hours plus, had some ice-cream, and rode out to Telaga Tujuh. We checked out The Loaf, and prices were pretty steep. We bought some pastries take-away and we ate them in the restaurant, at the couch just next to the entrance. Guess what? We got chased out, saying that we cannot eat there if we're taking away... EVEN AFTER buying some breads from there! Well.. guess what? I'm not going back there anymore.. period! Who gives a shit if it's the former PM's place. If that's the way you treat customers, well... I wish you no good luck for your crappy business. I'm telling everyone to boycott that place. If you're not into bullshit, up-nosed kinda place, The Loaf is NOT for you.

We proceeded to the nearby Russian restaurant, aptly named U.S.S.R Restaurant, and had our meal there instead! What turned out to be a light meal turned out to be an early dinner for us. Beautiful food.. really good service. Shows how much bad Malaysian businesses really are. Well, "UP YOURS!!!", The Loaf. YOU SUCK!!

After that hearty meal, we rode back to our resort, and took some beautiful sunset pictures along the way. Didn't do much at night, except had some supper a few hours later and crashed.

Day 4...waves... more duty free.. and goodbye!! *sniff*

Woke up slightly later than the previous day, and had breakfast at the same place again. They had really nice food! Oliver sent his friend to the airport, as he had a morning flight back. When he returned, we rode our scooters to the Zon which was at the end of Pantai Chenang road, and we looked around for some more duty free stuff (I got a bottle of Cafe Boheme!! Yippee!). Me, Eddie, and Bryant then rode around to nearby Awana Porto Malai resort.. another nice resort.. and then headed back to return our scooters.

We headed to the beach again this time with full-force and the sun's out, and this time we were really playing around in the waves, under the nice hot sun! We thoroughly enjoyed the beach, letting the big waves hit us and push us around to the shallow parts of the beach! It was so fun, and the waves strong, that even after all of that, the effects of the waves pushing me around stayed for a couple of days! When we sit down, we could still feel that floating feeling from the waves pushing us.

After all that fun, we had lunch at the first Chinese seafood restaurant again, and after sending off Roger, we headed back to the resort, packed and checked out. We hung out at Oliver's room for a couple of hours, jamming at the shaded side of the beach again, until it was time to leave for the airport.

I managed to get home by taking the LCCT bus to KL Sentral, took the Komuter train (decrepit and croweded as always, even the LAST train), and took a cab home by 11.30pm.


This was really a wonderful vacation for me, at least it felt like that to me. I haven't felt this good and refreshed in the previous holidays I've had. Looking forward to the next one.

Pictures coming up soon!