Real People. Real Views.

This blog is one of my side projects and it will touch on random topics / everyday subjects from the heavy to the light-hearted or even candid. They will come from various people from all walks of life - they could be friends, acquaintances or complete strangers. This is not a 5-minute fame kinda thing but more so for us to tell the world that everyone has their own POV - whether you deem them important or not. It is about mutual respect, understanding and most importantly, it is about LISTENING.

p/s : I strive to keep it as real as possibly allowable
pp/s : For those who has a POV to share - do drop me a note!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

An Encounter with...A Vampire

Name    : Juliet but I am also known as Iuven (pronounced oo-ven). It means “eternally youthful”. Fitting,  won’t you say?
Age        : Human or vampire years?
Where Are You From?   : Malaysia
Currently Residing In…  : Somewhere in PJ
What Do You Do For A Living?   : I conceive ideas and churn out the words to persuade people to part with their money for something they don’t really need, usually. No coercion or violence needed. No, really *smiles knowingly*

AEW      : Honestly, when you approached me to interview you on the topic of vampires, I was excited. I would never have thought of it. But firstly – I need to check, you know, just in case – Are You One?  
LV           :  I could be. But one thing’s for sure is that my skin does not sparkle under the sunlight nor do I walk around with a brooding expression acting all misunderstood.
                And personally I think the term “vampire” is commercially overused. These days, everyone loves vampires and they want to be a vampire because they see us as powerful beings of eternal youth with cool lifestyles and a great fashion sense. And it doesn’t help that that teenage romance novel series Twilight has planted such convoluted perceptions in the minds of youngsters where vampires enjoy “hanging out with” and dating humans. This is the twisted reality that humans live in now – they think they can “hang out” with us and bond. They think we love being “human” with other humans but this isn’t an episode of True Blood where humans and vampires can co-exist in some made-up future. I guess this is easier said than done when they don’t have to deal with the reality of that blood craving within you where you need to suppress the maddening urge to feed on the blood of your boyfriend or husband. The reality is this – humans are nothing but a distraction.
AEW    : What’s with your … err… love for Vampires? Was it influenced by Kristen Stewart? Maybe Brad Pitt / Tom Cruise? Or else it was Stephanie Meyer or Anne Rice?    
LV           : I love what I am now. It wasn’t easy in the beginning but I have come to embrace what I have become.
                Twilight? No comments and I prefer not to associate myself with it.
*suddenly smiles* I think you mean Lestat and Louis? Yes, my friendship with them is… what’s that word again? Yes, sacred. And I definitely adore Anne because of her vision and her unique relationship with us that she can tell our stories so very well.
But don’t get me wrong. I do enjoy watching True Blood and I am genuinely fascinated with Bill Compton. He has such fine manners and is a most interesting personality. I am simply enthralled by his character.
However I do not agree on how they are portrayed as such messy feeders *closes eyes in disapproval* The blood is sacred and should never be spilled. My Maker and my brothers will never approve of such messy feedings which you see in the movies these days. Even Anne has stated her disapproval on this. We are cultured and refined, with good manners. We are not the monsters that everyone makes us out to be.
And that sparkly skin is a ridiculous fantasy. We combust in sunlight and to project us otherwise shows a deep misunderstanding of what we really are.
AEW      : Would you then describe your physical outlook / fashion-sense a little on the sexy-vampish side?
LV           : *smiles with a faraway look* There’s really no need to dress or style yourself to look like a vampire when you’re already one. In fact I wouldn’t mind looking a little more human, what with my pale skin…
AEW       : What do you think are the traits that you have that are also…. Err…. Vampire-like?  
LV           : I can’t seem to get a tan *smiles* Which might actually be a good thing seeing how I might just combust under direct sunlight.
AEW      : What about your food preference? Are they influenced as well? Like maybe you prefer red-themed foods?
LV           : Now that’s an amusing question indeed. No, there’s no colour preference in terms of what I eat but I do find myself drawn to steaks now, red meat, which has never happened before…
AEW      : Let’s say you ARE a vampire. Tell me, what’s your daily routine like?
LV           : Hmmm… what’s with the scepticism? *raises an eyebrow*
I wake at dusk usually about 7-ish when the sun is slowly dipping into the horizon. Don’t look so surprised at my flair with words, I haven’t forgotten what it’s like to be a writer *chuckles* I sleep in a cosy bed in a really really dark room with thick sun-proof drapes where no sunlight seeps in. And only sometimes when I need to recuperate or heal myself, only then do I go sleep in the ground. For my safety, I cannot tell you where *smiles mysteriously*
AEW      : What sort of havoc would you create as a vampire?  
LV           : *frowns* What is with everyone’s twisted perception that vampires create havoc? We don’t create havoc just for the fun of watching people suffer or to show our power. In fact we are like other living beings. We only act out when our existence is threatened.
AEW      : Would there be a softer side to you or you think a Vampire has no “soft-side”?   
LV           : I believe I do have a soft side. This is me when I’m not provoked or threatened. You must be feeling really thankful that I do have a ‘soft side” now, aren’t you?
AEW      : Yes, yes. Very thankful indeed. Thank you for the interview, OOoo –Ven. Err, I think the sun is going to rise soon, you better run!

** Portrait of Vampire : Photography by Lam Wai Cheong

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

An Encounter with... Chinese New Year

Name    : Kong Tze Ling
Age        : 11+
Where Are You From?   : Selangor Darul Ehsan
Currently Residing In…   : Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
What Do You Do For A Living?     : Student, Year 6

AEW      : Tell me, what does Chinese New Year mean to you?   
TL            : An exciting celebration! Lots of food. Ang Pows.
AEW      : Are you and your family traveling anywhere for the Chinese New Year? Perhaps for a holiday or maybe traveling back to your parents’ hometown for the celebrations?  
TL            : We do not have a kampong. My parents and grandparents are from KL. We are city-bred. But the city is quiet at these times.
AEW      : Do you and your family practice a lot of the Chinese New Year customs / traditions / superstitions? If so, which ones?  
TL            : We decorate our house with red lanterns. CNY decorations and ang pows are stapled onto leaves and hung on trees. We invite lion dancers to our house every year for good luck. We enjoy the festivity and atmosphere. We observe customs like not using unlucky words and avoid sweeping the floor for fear of sweeping away our good luck. We have new clothings, new toothbrushes, towels, shoes for a brand new start.
AEW      : Are your parents also excited about Chinese New Year? Why?
TL            : They are equally excited. I suppose, because it is family reunion time and it’s nice to see the rest of our families.
AEW        : So, have you gotten all your new clothes for the Chinese New Year yet? Do you know why we get new clothes for the Chinese New Year?
TL            : Yes, I got new clothes enough for a whole week! I was told this is to welcome the new year. Everything must be new. This is also a sign of prosperity.
AEW        : You must be looking forward to your ang-pow collection. Tell me, do you get to keep the ang-pows or does your parents keep them for you?  
TL            : My parents keep them for me. I have an account in a bank. So my wealth is growing already *grins*
AEW      : Do you have any Chinese New Year stories that you can share with us? Maybe an old-folk’s tale or a legend that you have read or heard from somewhere?
TL            : I can remember an occasion whereby my cousin, Cecilia was so terrified by the lion dance that she ran in the house to avoid the ‘lion’ . It was so hilarious. But old-folk’s tale and legends… nope. I can tell you about Harry Potter!
AEW    : *laughs* I know Harry Potter very well myself, thank you. Well, Tze Ling, Kong Hey Fatt Choy, ya!
And to the rest of our readers – Here’s Wishing All Of You KONG HEY FATT DAI CHOY! And a year of abundance in wealth and prosperity!  

An Encounter with... May 13

Photo of burnt Chinese/Malay Kampung off Hale Road
taken on the 14th May 1969 by Hassan Muthalib
Name    : Aunty May (sorry, I’d rather not have my photo taken for this…)
Age        : 50+
Where Are You From?   : Kuala Lumpur
Currently Residing In…   : Kuala Lumpur
What Do You Do For A Living?     : A retiree

AEW      : Aunty May, I know this is a pretty sensitive topic to broach. But I would like for you to share some first-hand experience and your thoughts about May 13 as you know it from your point-of-view. Where were you on that tragic day of Malaysian history?
AM         : I was at home and home is very near Chow Kit Market.  I was in Form 4 then, studying for my exams. My father was at work and I was with my expectant mother, brother and grandmother. I still remember that it was a very hot day.  
AEW      : Were you scared?       
AM         : Very scared. I was staying at the ground floor of a 3-storey flat and most of our neighbours gathered in our unit because we had a back exit.
AEW      : What actually happened? You have to understand for youngsters like us, we can only know what we read or hear. And there seems to be plenty of versions of this history.     
AM         : Politically, I do not know. You are right. There are so many versions of history today. Whether it was the Chinese party, or the UMNO party, who knows? I was only a young girl then, studying very hard to maintain my grades! I didn’t care about politics! Anyway, on that horrible day, I remember someone ran home screaming that there was a riot at Jalan Chow Kit. Thick smoke could be seen from where we stayed because I believe many vehicles were burnt. In fact, the factory owner near our home had most of his lorries burnt down too. Then there were men, both young and old going out to fight the rioters, to protect the neighbours. I cannot believe I am saying this, but the Chinese triads of the Chow Kit area, the gangsters became our overnight heroes because they went all out to protect us, taking us to another area for safety and really took care of us. Looking back, they had no reasons to do so. After all, what is there for them to gain? I’m just sorry that I cannot even remember a single one of them. Anyway, we had to escape in the darkness with their help. We were told that there was a lot of bloodshed and lots of people were dead. Fortunately, I did not see the dead. We only saw injured men returning to the area to seek help.
AEW      : So what took place when Emergency was declared? What did you do in particular?   
AM         : Our whole group from the Chow Kit Market area was led to the shop houses behind the then International Textile shop to take refuge. We had to stay locked indoors. But the gangsters, I keep calling them gangsters, but there is no other way for me to describe them! I don’t even know their names! The gangsters, they looted food ration and medicine from the markets and other shops to feed us and also to take care of the injured. They risked their lives for us. Sometimes, it is during times of adversity that we see true human character. They may be bad hats during normal times, but truth was, when the push came to shove, their hearts were made of gold. I still do not know what was there to gain for them.  For me, I was just too scared to do anything. Just follow instructions! I did help cook. Our main meals then were home-made Pan Mee in plain soup because the gangsters, they managed to get lots of flours!
AEW      : Were you angry that something like that happened or were you more impartial? That – as long as you were not affected, it was fine?      
AM         : I was very scared and worried about my father‘s safety. We had lost contact with him for 10 days because of the lockdown and curfew. When the curfew was lifted, he went to many hospitals with my uncle to look for us. I am thankful that nothing untoward happened to my parents and my brother and my unborn sister. Of course I was very angry. I wished this riot didn’t happen at all. The feelings and emotions then were so overwhelming that it was all a jumbled turmoil. But definitely I remember being angry that this should take place. Of course, I was living in great fear then. The 10 days were one of the most frightening experiences I ever had. I saw something that I can never erase from my memory and that is the faces of deranged-looking men with parangs and all looking for blood. Then, of course, there is gratitude. That my family is safe. That these no-name Chinese gangsters were protecting us and looking after us. Not blowing cat-whistles at the young girls. *smile*
AEW        : Malaysia is pretty peaceful right now, don’t you think? I believe that racial tolerance and understanding is in abundance in the multi-cultural vista of Malaysia. Do you believe the same?     
AM         : Yes, it is pretty peaceful now. And we have all come a long way from that horrible incident. But if you asked me, honestly, the incident has left a crack in our country’s unity. Those like me who have gone through the dark shadows are still skeptical of the friendship and sincerity of the other races. We’ve lost trust. For those who had suffered have forgiven but not forgotten. Now, do you understand why I do not wish to have my photo taken for this?
AEW        : Do you think any country, Malaysia or otherwise should be ruled racially?       
AM         : A country should belong to all, not one particular race.
AEW      : So how do you think Malaysia will fare in the future if racial-divide ruling is gotten rid of?    
AM         : If racial divide ruling is gotten rid of, the country will achieve more progress because each citizen who are treated fairly would want to be very, very loyal to the country he/she loves. Don’t you think so? I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not particularly patriotic. But at the end of the day, I am thankful that I had led a blessed life.
AEW      : Aunty May, I’m not sure I am very patriotic myself, despite being born on Merdeka Day! And I’m sure quite a number of others share the same ‘patriotism’. Nevertheless, thank you for sharing your experience and story. If I could track down one of those Chinese gangster, I would love to do a story on him. Well, we all can only hope for Malaysia to progress and mature.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

An Ecounter with... Line Dancing

Name    : Lilian Lui
Age        : 57
Where Are You From?   : Kuala Lumpur
Currently Residing In…   : Petaling Jaya, Selangor
What Do You Do For A Living?     : A tutor for primary school students

AEW      : Hello Mrs. Lui J I happen to know that you are a big fan of line-dancing and have been dancing for a long time now. When did you start doing line-dancing?    
LL            : I started in September 2002, after  I’ve opted for early retirement
AEW      : What actually got you started doing line-dancing?     
LL            : I’ve read about line dancing and I thought this would be an interesting exercise especially accompanied with music and songs. And I have been with it ever since.
AEW      : Tell me more about this line-dancing. What is it actually? Is it just people dancing in a group? In a line?   
LL            : Line dancing is dancing in a line as a big group. It includes country and western, latin (mambo, tango, cha-cha, waltz, rhumba) and funky dances. These dance steps are accompanied by evergreen songs, or even Top Of The Charts like Lady Gaga’s numbers.
AEW      : Lady Gaga, huh! You must be one hot mama! I heard also that you not just dance weekly, but you also perform and even enter line-dancing competitions as well. Have you won any line-dancing competitions?
LL            : I am glad my dance instructress has trained us to perform for functions and charities. Yes, my group has participated in dance competitions and had come out third. The exposure to competitions is good. We can gauge ourselves against other groups who are good in their music and costumes too.
AEW      : How do you feel about performing? I mean, do you enjoy performing? What about when you are performing? Are you nervous? Excited?    
LL            : I enjoy performing very much. I am normally relaxed and I enjoy the stage performances. When we get rounds of applause, I am very happy.
AEW        : What would be “next step” for you in terms of line-dancing? From what I heard, you are pretty good at it. Would you consider teaching?   
LL            : I’d rather be a student than a ‘teacher ‘in line dancing. 
AEW      : Oh... Why?      
LL            : Well, I’ve been a school teacher for more than 26 years and now I want to enjoy line dancing and not feel so ‘stressful’ teaching adults. I did sit for 2 levels of ISTD line dancing exams.  I did very well but it was only for the experience and to gauge my own achievements.  I’m happy with just that.
AEW      : Is your husband a big fan of yours too?   
LL           : Oh yes! He is very supportive. He gives me a lot of encouragement because he knows that I really like line dancing. He chauffeurs me to the venues and is also my ‘official’ photographer!
AEW    : *grin* That is nice indeed. Well, Mrs. Lui - here's to many, many more years of line dancing and winning competitions!

An Encounter with... An Ex-Communist

Name    : Loh Weng
Age        : 70+
Where Are You From?   : Malaysia
Currently Residing In…   : Tanjung Tualang, Perak, Malaysia
What Do You Do For A Living?     : Not working now. Looking after grandchildren.

AEW      : Hello Uncle. Thank you for being willing to participate in this interview. This is a difficult and long-forgotten topic. But I would like to know about your time with the Communist Party of Malaya. Do you remember when you joined the CPM?
LW          : During the Japanese Occupation of then Malaya.
AEW      : What motivated you to join the CPM then?      
LW          : We were anti-Japanese  soldiers and that was what the CPM was fighting against then.
AEW      : Do tell me, what was your actual involvement as a member of the party?    
LW          : To fight against the Japanese soldiers and to ensure the safety of the people. After the Japanese Occupation ended, we were fighting the British instead to gain independence for Malaya. It was funny, because I think when we fought the Japanese, we were fighting together with the British.
AEW      : What was the toughest period you had to go through during the war against communism in then Malaya?  
LW          : It was tough when we had to hide and live in the jungle and all the while, knowing that the that the Special Branch police (the “eyes and ears” of the then government) were harassing members of my family.
AEW      : Were your family involved with the CPM too or was it just you?     
LW          : Only me and one of my brothers.
AEW        : Was it difficult to assimilate back to normal livelihood after the CPM days were over?    
LW          : No. When we gave up, we were given a chance to undergo an assimilation course to readjust back to society and back to our lives.
AEW        : Do you regret that this was part of your life’s history?      
LW          : No. We were fighting for a cause then and if we turned back time, I would still do it again.
AEW      : What are your hopes for Malaysia now?    
LW          : A country whereby there is fairness for everyone.
AEW      : Thank you for your time, Uncle! It was insightful and yes, we all have the same hopes for Malaysia too!
           For those who wish to read up on the CPM's point-of-view on history - AEW recommends reading Chin Peng : My Side Of History.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

An Encounter with... Macaroons

Name    : Sunny Yaw
Age        : 39 years old
Where Are You From?   :  Malaysia
Currently Residing In…   :  Kuala Lumpur
What Do You Do For A Living?     :  Patisserie

AEW   : Hi Sunny. I am looking forward to this interview because I hear you make some really great macaroons. Forgive me, but I am only great with the eating part of it. I’m sure macaroons are more than just a dessert, yes? What are they actually?       
SY      : It is a meringue-based dessert, made from a mixture of egg whites, almond flour and both granulated and confectionery sugar.
AEW   : Are the flavours endless for macaroons? Can “savoury-type” macaroons be created as well?
SY      : Yes they are endless! Savoury type can be created like white truffle or even foie gras  macaroons.
AEW   : So, the flavours that you created for your macaroons – are they of any specific country’s variety?
SY      : The flavours can be from anywhere up to your imagination. Not necessarily from any specific country.
AEW    : So, usually, I’ll pop the entire macaroon in my mouth J  Is there any more specific ways in which one should enjoy his or her macaroons? Instead of my “bottoms-up” way :)            
SY        : I usually prefer to bite into them over a warm black coffee. Bliss, I tell you.
AEW   : You know, for Christmas, people usually have the Yule Log Cake, Zimsterne, Brunsli or Kipferl. But I see you are showcasing your Christmas Macaroon Tower. What’s the inspiration behind it?      
SY        :  Macaroons can be a class of its own. They are pretty as individuals. Creating them into a tower makes them look classy. And beautiful.
AEW   : The cake base of your Christmas Macaroon Tower – what is that made of?     
SY      : The cake base can be any type of cake from butter to red velvet. Again – up to your own imagination. So I have to say that for our Christmas Macaroon Tower, we customize the cake bases – depending on what our customer wants.
AEW   : You know how we have fashion trends in the fashion industry. Are there any “cake trends” for the pastry industry too?       
SY      : Yes, of course. But it doesn’t change as frequently as fashion. I believe in being trendy! Make a dessert statement! *grin*
AEW   : For 2011, do you have any wild creations that you will showcase?      
SY      :    Top secret for now. Stay tuned on my Facebook page *grin*
AEW :    Well,  I cannot wait to see what “dessert statement” you will be creating for 2011. But all the best and I will certainly be tuned in!
                For those who would like to follow Sunny’s colour creations, click HERE!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

An Encounter with... A Publisher

Name    : Zeeshan Pasha               
Age :        1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1….. (Yeah tell me about it…takes a lot of patience and focus to count them all, well they add up to 33)
Where Are You From?   : Born and brought up in Bangalore, India.
Currently Residing In…   : Perth, Australia
What Do You Do For A Living?     :  Entrepreneur, Marketing and Business Strategist

AEW   : Congratulations on the launch of NifNex. I heard this has been a long time coming. How are you feeling now?     
ZP      :    I am definitely excited with the launch of Nifnex. We have been online for a few months now but the publication certainly gives me a true sense of launch.
AEW   : I’d really like to know about the journey you took towards the launch of NifNex. Pray tell.  
ZP      :    This simple idea came to me one day when we were living in Canberra. There are job boards for employers to advertise their positions vacant and job seekers flock there to apply. Why wasn’t there a pool of job seekers who without revealing their identities can be found by employers on one site and they request to meet you? Really turn the tables.
As professionals we certainly don’t have time or a real need to see what other jobs are out there that requires our experience and skills. It is not necessarily a bad or greedy thing but sometimes it’s just good to be informed and know for yourself what’s out there.
Considering I had no experience in the recruitment industry, I didn’t know for sure if this is something that could work but as a job seeker/professional sales person/ prospective candidate, I would have loved to have this facility but only if it is confidential, doesn’t reveal my name, age, sex etc.
I then got into the recruitment industry (traditional recruitment). I found that I do have a passion for recruitment and was good at dealing with candidates, employers and also had the gift to link the right candidate with the right employer. All they needed was facilitation by the right recruiter (me).
This brings us to the name Nifnex. It stems from the word Nifty Nexus meaning Smart Links. It is the link between employers, candidates and recruiters. Two platforms – online and print.
All the above reasons led me to setup Nifnex.
AEW   : I understand NifNex is essentially both a print and an online platform catering to the recruitment process. Can you sum up how this works?  
ZP      :    Although the online platform seems to work for most, we wanted to also tap into the market that enjoys the print format. Uncle Joe who runs a coffee & pizza shop around the corner would have no idea how to find staff on Fridays except he would get his nephew to fill in for a few hours and possibly stick a sign up on the window saying “STAFF WANTED”. There’s got to be a better way. What if we had a career paper just like a newspaper with people looking for jobs within various industries and categories and it was delivered to businesses? Job seekers are identified only by their registration ID, experience, skills and personality. This is the core info that all employers look for in any given industry. The publication needs to have articles and current information for business owners in areas such as tax, accounting, legal etc. Add to that some positive reinforcements on how to grow their business. Well, that’s what NifnexPublication has. This can be downloaded from Nifnex
AEW    : So, can someone like me actually also apply as a Candidate / Employer? Or is it strictly for Australian citizens / PRs?           
ZP      :    Currently Nifnex is limited to people looking for jobs in Australia. However, the New Year will see the launch of Nifnex on a platform that will allow international registrations.
AEW   :  Oh! Nice. I see that there’s even a “modeling” section in your publication and I assume this is targeted at models-wannabe? Why was this created?     
ZP      :    The modeling section is a platform for models looking for work.  There are a lot of people looking to promote their businesses and Nifnex provides them the ease of finding a promotional model to be the face of the business or for a launch of a new product.
AEW   : It’s truly a versatile platform that you have built and you have a lot of avenues for advertising opportunities – which is good. I don’t suppose you have any plans in the near future to launch into ground events as well as social media marketing as well, do you?    
ZP      :    Who knows…for Nifnex it’s all about being current and up to speed with the latest marketing trends. As the name signifies, we are different, trendy, energetic and wanting to be innovative. Right now however, the focus is to go national with the publication and take the online platform international. 
AEW   : Wow. Big stuff coming up, yea? Tell me, what is your ultimate goal for NifNex.      
ZP      :    Ultimate goal is for all employers, candidates and recruiters to be linked through Nifnex internationally.
AEW   : Achieving this is definitely part of achieving your dreams, yes? Any words for the rest of the world out there who are working towards achieving their dreams?      
ZP      :    Stick to your idea and think outside the square as to how you can make it happen. Family comes first, so as long as you are not compromising your family and your commitments, move along steadily and don’t give up.
AWP :   Aww… that was a nice touch there. Family comes first. Well, Zee, I wish you all the best in the future undertakings for Nifnex. Again – who knows what is out there yes? Just BELIEVE *wink*
For more on Nifnex, click HERE!