Thursday, December 11, 2008

Recap 2008: A Few Of My Favourite Things

2008 was definitely a very eventful year for me. The first half of the year was racked with one misfortune after another. I won't bother to recount them anymore but suffice to say that I am really really glad to see this annus horibilis go the way of the dodo. Instead, I prefer to count my blessings and in spite of it all, I have been blessed plenty this year as well. ;) So without further ado, here is my list of my favourite things this year.

1. Favourite Gadget: Canon G9

My trusty S80 is still working (or was, as the lens cap jammed recently and I have yet to get it back from the repair guys) but the problem was with the underwater casing. I had been having trouble with the buttons which seemed to not work the moment I hit the waves. Since they've decommissioned this camera, instead of finding a replacement casing, I decided to get an entirely new camera, one which has been getting rave reviews by underwater photography enthusiasts here in Malaysia and Singapore. With 0.0 cm super-macro capabilities and the clincher: Advanced Image Stabiliser (which was sorely lacking in the S80), I could see why. I tried it out in Komodo back in November and the results were, if I may say so, breathtaking!

2. Favourite Album Track: Permanent (David Cook)

You guys absolutely have to check out this beautiful, haunting and personal song written and performed by the American Idol 2008, David Cook in his new self-titled album. The first time I heard it, I remember I was in my car, and as the first few lines came on the car speakers, ".... Is this the moment when I look you in the eye, and break my promise that you'll never see me cry.....", I stopped the car by the kerb and before long I had tears welling up. This song was written specially for his cancer-stricken brother and his emotion-laden vocals really got to me. I still get get misty eyed every time this song comes on my iPod.

3. Favourite Person: Lynn

The camwhore, we called her. She burst into my life as the fun-loving, obscenity spewing, chain smoking, beer guzzling underwater supermodel that one would find hard to forget long after the last morsel of compressed air was exhaled into the blue waters. We had so much fun the first time round (in Weh) that plans were underway for an encore adventure even before we had finished packing our gear back into our divebags. So Dive 2.0 in Komodo ensued six months later, and Lynn was, in the words of Tyra Banks, "fierce!" as she produced shot after shot of utter posing brilliance against the backdrop of the Indian Ocean. Made me forget I was there for the fishies. Well... almost.

4. Favourite Experience: Being part of Election '08 that shook the entire country

It was a watershed event for Malaysia and one which had everybody at the edge of their seat as the election results trickled in, seat by seat, polling station by polling station. Dissatisfaction with the ruling coalition's recent performance coupled with the economic slowdown made the voters long for a change of guard, in the hopes of better governance, transparency and an end to corruption and cronyism that had held the country back in the global race for economic development. The 'landslide' victory of the opposition has given me hope that this nation has finally grown up and is neither afraid nor too ignorant to voice its opinion and move forward into future as one people, and not as Malays, Chinese, Indians or Lain-lain.

5. Favourite Book: The Power Of Now

Long before Oprah made Eckhart Tolle a global phenomenon when she publicly supported his self-help masterpiece, A New Earth, I had already been mesmerised by the concepts he expounded in his previous book, The Power Of Now, which arguably was the self-help bible that led to 'Earth'. His easily digestible delivery of what was perhaps very profoundly revolutionary ideas about how we, human beings, have become caught up and then enslaved by our own minds, helped me to understand why and how I had become so bogged down with all the minute daily grievances and as a result, missing out on what was really important. He helped me to appreciate all that Life has to offer and allowed me to once again "smell the roses by the roadside". Read it, or try A New Earth. It's, in a word, mind-blowing.

6. Favourite Amazing Race Team: Pam and Van

And from my favourite show of year, the Asian edition of the Amazing Race, comes my favourite team, the Malaysian sisters, Pamela And Vanessa Chong. I could never tell them apart, not because they looked alike, but because both were equally bumbling comics which made the second season of the show utterly enjoyable. Kudos to them who, despite multiple traffic infractions, a minor head concussion and countless Aiyoh!s, managed to snag the first runner-up spot and even beat the hot favourites, Marc and Rovilson of the Phillipines to the finish line. Malaysia boleh!

7. Favourite Youtube video: Ken Lee

No words can describe the hilarity of this clueless Bulgarian Idol contestant who, thanks to youtube is now even more famous that the eventual winner of that programme. Ok, all together now..."Ken Lee!!!!.... Tulibu dibu douchoo......"

8. Favourite FB Application: Wordscrapper

A pair of Indian computer programmers was shot into the limelight (not for entirely good reasons) when their Facebook application Scrabulous veered too close to its real-life boardgame ancestor, Scrabble. The resulting legal wrangling between the boys and the American copyright owners of Scrabble gave birth to the Wordscrapper that is currently available only to non-american users of FB. Its a game with similar rules and features to Scrabulous / Scrabble but with the bonus tiles randomly spread out over the board. I am stoked everytime I get to use a combination of quadruple and quintuple word score tiles to make a word worth .. oh say.. 6oo points! Wicked!

9. Favourite Movie: Wall*E

Everybody's favourite trash compacter came to life in Pixar's lovable animation classic of 2008, Wall*E. In a post-apocolyptic Earth (caused by none other than Mankind's own folly of unbridled garbage production), this lone recycling robot showed us how one person (or robot) can make a difference in our struggle to make Earth habitable again for everyone. My favourite scene has got to be the one where he has an outer-space rendezvous with his more advanced girl-robot-friend, Eve, charming her pants off with nothing more than a fire extinguisher and his peculiar sense of wit and humour.

10. Favourite Dessert: Mango On Sticky Rice

No list of mine would be complete without at least one gastronomic entry. And this year no other dessert was more delicious or memorable that the famous Thai delicacy Mango on Sticky rice. Funnily enough we had to hunt for almost two hours under the sweltering Bangkok sun for this dessert that oddly enough, not many locals (well at least not the ones at Chatuchak) knew about. Hmm... could this be another one of those tourist traps that the Thais secretly laugh at us about? No matter, I would gladly be the laughing stock so long as I can have my sinfully sweet concoction of fresh mango and glutinous rice topped with rich coconut cream.

And so there you have it. My favourite people, places, things and food for this past year. I am confident that next year, God willing, will be yet another memorable one and until then, I wish everyone a Happy 2009 and may the new year usher in lots of good health, great wealth and lovely memories for one and all.


Victor said...

Glad you could see though the not so pleasant things happened earlier this year and still count your blessings. I'm sure if you were to list your blessings of 2008, it could easily be longer than your favourite things.

I wish you all the best for 2009: more memorable holidays, more hot gadgets, more true friends, more people reading your blogs and less grumbling patients : )

Also health and happiness to you and your family members!

Anonymous said...

Awwwwwwwww. You are so sweeet! You just made my day! I've never been anyone's favourite anything before. Not even for a year. LOL!

Happy 2009 uncle!!