Sunday, April 29, 2012

After six

London, 2006

Vientiane, 2012

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. N'est-ce pas?

I was so happy to see Helene again after more than four years. We hope to bring the ex-housemates together for a reunion in Asia next year. Keeping my fingers crossed that it will be in Japan.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Transitive Verses, part 3

I took so many photos on my recent trip that I needed to balance them out with words.

walang pamagat

pahintulutan mong mangyari
ang lahat ng itinakda
ng unibersong maalam.
hindi magaganap ito
kung hindi ka sumang-ayon;
hayaan mong magkatotoo
ang mga dating hula.
hindi magtatagal at mauunahan ka ng tadhana
tanggapin ang bawat alay
at iyong ibigay ng buo
ang bawat kataga at hininga.

bawat yapak ay ipinangako na.
ikaw at ako ay hamak na tauhan
sa isang masalimuot na dula
kung saan hindi tayo and bida.

[21 April, Suvarnabhumi Airport]


there are no lifesavers
but there is no tide.
let the boats pass by
and melt in the breeze.
wish the sands were closer
without having to row.
let the vessel tilt but not precariously
the clouds won't be heavy
on this mid-day cruise.
we've shared so much sun between us
an hour more upstream,
disconnected from home,
lulled by the humming of an engine.

[22 April, on a boat on the Mekong river, Laos]

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Transitive Verses, part 2

Flying is a great time to clear your head.


The city is a network of synapses,
constantly fired by an unknown source.
Unseen in the daylight,
resplendent at night.

[20 April, AK836 KULBKK]


across the aisle,
a crossword puzzle teasing each empty square.
across the room,
the blank tile on a board of words.
across the sea,
a trail of messages floating on unseen waves.
across this table,
the vast void between you and me.

you are nothing but a character in my head,
floating in a plot i am itching to finish,
its elements suspended in limbo--
a story waiting for a writer
who cannot find his pen.

ultramarine on teal,
a band of midnight blue
lightning flashes behind the space
where darkness kisses
the last flares of sunlight
over a rusty hue.

the fading symphony of colour
arranged in seven bars.

shivering in this well-lit cabin,
wishing for warm arms
to fight the blues and yellows.
the odd fishing boats scattered
below me like fallen stars.

[20 April on AK836, KULBKK]


Maghapon sa loob ng paliparan,
Hindi man lang makalipad.
Nakapusturang pormal
Habang nakaupo sa tabi,
Nagsusulat ng mga pangalan
Ng mga hindi nakikilala
Ngunit paparating sa ilang saglit.
Nakikita mo ba ang palatandaan,
Napapansin ang paparating?
Pagod na naghahanap ng anino
Habang nakasabog ang mga papel sa sahig.
Walang katapusang paghihintay,
Walang humpay na pagdagsa,
Ang listahan ay walang hangganan,
Laman lamang ang iyong pangalan.

[20 April, Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi Airport]

Monday, April 23, 2012

Transitive Verses, part 1

This is the first installment of short free verses written in transit. I'm rusty at poetry, so by making these attempts public, I am forcing myself to polish what I write and cause as little embarrassment as possible. Here goes.

Nine Hundred Seconds

As the pink flames beckon me to take
The first one hundred and twenty steps back to earth,
A single thought crosses my mind.
When the lights perform their reversal,
The twinkling beacons are bittersweet reminders
Of your sudden absence.
And then I question the loneliness of heights--
Perhaps a spiteful poet's invention.
In my head nine hundred seconds
Go on perpetual repeat,
My feet retracing each step
Back to the moment when
I bid you a silent goodbye.

[LRT, 18 April, 7:15am]


waiting for the red dots on the clock to blink
into their next configuration.
a trivial game is better
than the thought of a lifetime's splendid summers
fading before your eyes.
even the radio kindly lends an upbeat tune
to pick up the speed of a heart
beating ever so slowly.
waking up with dry, uneasy eyes
and squeezing words from silenced lips--
a terrifying routine as comfortably hidden
as rehearsing lines never to be spoken.
the lonely umbrella against the door
is the sole witness to the distant but visible
pulse of the lighthouse,
measuring the distance between us
as muted memories drown
in these clipped, vague replies.

[Skybus, 18 April, 8:10pm]

Saturday, April 21, 2012


I was looking for shoes at Sungei Wang in Bukit Bintang (a pair of mine breathed its last on Friday night) and left with a new bag instead. Shopping fail it was, but I was very happy with the bag store I discovered on the 6th floor. The brand is called Mimiwiwi and the bags are made in Thailand. I would say that in quality and material, it's on the level of EGG in the Philippines. Most of the bags are RM 40 (P560), which I think is a reasonable price for good materials and construction. Here are a few more designs I spotted on the Mimiwiwi Facebook page.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Makan 1

Food from the past three weeks.

Cafe Little Penang, Suria KLCC
Little Penang Cafe, Suria KLCC

chicken briyani
Chicken Briyani at the team's favourite banana leaf place, Nirwana Maju in Bangsar

More store-bought Japanese. Not so good, but looks interesting. Carrefour The Sphere.

Cilantro Pesto Primavera (or something like that), cooked by me

Pao Xiang Bak Kut Teh, Pavilion KL
Pao Xiang Bak Kut Teh, Pavilion KL

Umai-Ya, Suria KLCC
Umai-Ya, Suria KLCC

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Hey now, you're an Allstar

Get your game on, go play.

Two months into the job, I'm very proud to be an Allstar working for a great airline brand, one of the great Asian business stories of the past decade. Everyone at RedFort, our freezing-cold HQ, works hard and plays hard, from the ramp boys to the FAs to the office staff. There's so much talent and dedication here that it's catching.

Formula 1 drivers in the office? Check!

A fun corporate culture: Allstars in beach wear to celebrate the Philippines' AirAsia launch

Barclays Premier League Trophy visits RedFort

It's an office with no doors. You can literally walk up to our Group CEO, Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, to say hi. (I did.)

In total, there are nearly 10,000 of us working across the region. It's quite a change coming from a company of 15 to a department of 150, but I'm thankful every day for the chance to do something I enjoy.

Our latest TVC

AirAsia (say ehr-EYzhuh) flies from Clark to Kota Kinabalu and Kuala Lumpur. Philippines' AirAsia now flies to Kalibo (Boracay), Puerto Princesa (Palawan) and Davao from Clark. More destinations coming soon. We're also hiring. Fly with us!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia: Favourites from the collections

I returned to the Islamic Arts Museum, one of my favorite museums, after nearly four years from the time I fell head over heels for it. Start from the top floor, advised Brandie, who had been there just the week before. So we did.

Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia
The first display that greeted me was vaguely familiar

The museum still feels fresh, almost entirely new to my eyes. Growing up Catholic, Islam has always been a mystery to me. It still is, even if I'm living in an Islamic country. But that's what being enamoured is: there is so much to know about your object of desire that you want to learn it hard and fast.

Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia
I'd like to believe that Islam is a religion of peace... but the Islamic arms and armour section is pretty striking

Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia

Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia
The Church has its treasures, and so do they

Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia

Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia
A very fine chess set

Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia
This has to be my favourite sign!

Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia
Like Celtic patterns, Islamic patterns are highly mathematical

Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia

Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia

Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia

Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia
I'm a fan of the model mosques

Ari, who grew up Muslim, says that the term "islamic" should not be used so loosely as the museum does, that is, for everything that Muslims created. But to me, the adjective sums it up all too neatly: a marker telling me how little I know.

Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia

Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia
The artefacts I'm fondest of are those on paper

Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia
Like illuminated manuscripts, with much bigger borders

Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia
The most detailed Moleskine-sized book I've ever seen

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Friday the 13th

An interlude before the Islamic Arts Museum post.

Friday the 13th, you are full of surprises. NoKor's missile fails to launch. Jessica Sanchez gets saved on American Idol. Young people stage a flash mob at SM Megamall.

On my end: a field trip without the hoped-for flight simulation, a Scrabble game (which I lost) while Grease played in the background, and lastly, my housemate knocking on my door to ask me to cut her hair (which I do).

For a supposedly unlucky day, this was quite interesting. Now if only my weekend could top that.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia: The Domes

Looking up can be rewarding.

Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia dome

Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia dome

Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia dome

Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia dome

Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia dome

More on my return to one of my favorite museums in the next post.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A very special dinner

frangipani, kuala lumpur

"Is it your first time here?" asked the host who greeted us at reception.


"There is a pond in the middle of the restaurant. Do not step into it."

I burst out laughing.

So began an incredible birthday dinner at one of Kuala Lumpur's best French restaurants, Frangipani on Changkat Bukit Bintang.

There were two kinds of bread with a creamy herbed butter that was almost like cheese. Then...I'll let the photos do most of the talking.

frangipani, kuala lumpur
A thumb-sized canape to start off a three-course meal (well, four with dessert).

frangipani, kuala lumpur

A complimentary appetizer. A crunchy cracker with two kinds of dip. So simple but the contrast of textures makes you excited for the first dish.

First course: Fresh tiger prawn ceviche with avocado cream, dried tomato reduction and
frangipani, kuala lumpur
In a word: frrresh.

First course: vegetable terrine
frangipani, kuala lumpur
Very pretty. But I actually liked the salad more than the terrine itself. Reminded me of Viv's salad in Belper five years ago, only in miniature.

Second course: prawn risotto
frangipani, kuala lumpur

Sorry, but it couldn't hold up against...

Second course: Warm tea smoked salmon with confit potatoes crème fraîche and salmon roe
frangipani, kuala lumpur
I had a smoked salmon sandwich for lunch that day but I wanted more. This is the most unbelievable salmon ever. An out-of-body experience, to be perfectly polite about it.

Interlude: sorbet as palate cleanser.
frangipani, kuala lumpur
Cool and refreshing. Would have also made a nice dessert. Or drink.

Mains: Three kinds of ravioli.
frangipani, kuala lumpur
The cheese one is a dream.

Mains: Grilled Wagyu beef cheek with braised red cabbage, mole sauce and pumpkin dauphines
frangipani, kuala lumpur
Super soft, as expected, but not so flavourful. Would have been tastier with gravy instead of mole sauce, but then that would have been very American. Tender and fat nonetheless. I mistook the cabbage for beet and the pumpkin for potatoes. No wonder they were sweet.

Dessert: Flourless chocolate mousse cake with vanilla sauce and chopped nuts.
birthday slice of cake
My birthday (slice of) cake, the third one for the day. So rich that a few bites are enough. (And in case you're curious, a lot has happened since I was 20. Let's not go back there. Hahaha!)

Dessert: Crème brûlée, glacée, flambée
frangipani, kuala lumpur
Light and sweet. Better if the flame had lasted a little bit longer to get rid of the alcohol...and give me a chance to snap a photo.

I have no words left. Time for dinner!