Kampungkayell

Food, life, and fun in my "kampung,"(village), KL (Kuala Lumpur). Did I mention "food?"

The Wicked Pitches - "Mostly, We Moon..." 16th to 19th November 2006 at Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPAC)

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

This acappella concert will be in aid of Hospis Malaysia with a CHARITY NIGHT on Thursday, 16 November 2006 at KLPAC. For those of you who don't know where that is, here's a map, http://www.klpac.com/Welcome.asp?c=venuelocation


For those of you can't be bothered to click, here is the map itself! ;-)


Another concert by The Wicked Pitches, Nominated 4 times in total for The Boh Cameronian Arts Awards for 2003 and 2004 shows FUNKAPPELLA! And FUNKAPPELLA STRIKES BACK! respectively.

“The Wicked Pitches - Mostly, We Moon...” features a host of songs featuring Moon...s and Moon...ing about with love songs. The Wicked Pitches adds their own inimitable twist to songs like “Moon...dance,” “Blue Moon...,” “Smoke Get’s In Your Eyes,” and the Mandarin favourite, “Moon... In The City.”

Artistic Director and choreographer; MICHAEL VOON (‘One In A Million,’ ‘Malaysian Idol,’ ‘Aspects of Broadway,’ ‘The Breakers’)


When;

Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday,

16th to 19th November 2006 at 8.30pm

Thursday 16th November 2006 is a charity show in aid of Hospis Malaysia

And a Matinee show on Sunday, 19th November 2006 at 3.00pm

Where;

Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPAC) (http://www.klpac.com)

Sentul Park
Jalan Strachan
51100
Kuala Lumpur

Tickets & Reservations;

Available from Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre AND The Actors’ Studio Bangsar - Tickets go on sale 1 October 2006.

Reservations; 03-40479000 or 03-20949400

Prices;

RM62, RM42, RM30* for shows from Friday to Sunday 17th to 19th November 2006

RM80 for CHARITY show in aid of Hospis Malaysia on Thursday 16th November 2006 *conditions apply for student seats

Langkawi Dream Engagement & Pulau Tenggol

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

Capt Ed and Bolero

Swan 59 Class of Yacht

We've been very very fortunate guys!

We had the opportunity to plan a dream engagement for a couple who won the prize of the dream engagement from Hennessy. The itinerary was truly dream fulfilling. A stay at the 5 star resort of Sheraton Langkawi Beach Resort. An evening cruise on board a racing yacht (Swan 59 class) and a lovely romantic candlelit dinner for the couple plus an excursion to the the misnamed suspension bridge by cable car. Misnamed because it really is a Cable Stay bridge. Something that W, an engineer by profession should know something about. ;-)

The weekend after that we pissed off to Tenggol for a short diving break. It's one of those things that is so addictive, that even a bad experience, like bobbing up and down on the sea for 55minutes doesn't put you off it. You chalk it up to the experience and move on and enjoy yourself. Have a look at the pics. ;-)

Descent to the depths

Blue Dragon Nudibranch

Lionfish

The Flying Dutchman? ;-)

Pic of giant clam copied from D's pic. Frankly, if D wanted to, he could become a truly wonderful professional photographer. As they say, the only difference between a pro and a passionate amateur is that one get's paid for it.

Nemo


Glass shrimp - see if you can spot them

Sea Slug sex or Nudibranch Nookie - Can you spot the penis?

Surfer Dude

Ah...

Idea of North

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy


Had the privilege of attending a Master Class conducted by The Idea of North.

Fantastic acappella group and all round nice people.

Here's a pic of Mimi and I with them. :-)

Messages from the Aethyr

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

Mum, Dad, and myself have been planning to go to Singapore for a couple of weeks now. We were going to go visit a cousin of mine who is not too well and we were leaving on 14 May.

Plans change.

A string of events led to that change in plans. But in and of themselves, they seemed innocuous enough.

Last Thursday, after servicing our Honda, we brought the car back and noticed that the crack in our front windscreen had grown and was now stretching all the way down the left side of the glass. We ignored it.

On Friday, when Allan went to start the car on our way out to a dinner, there was an explosion which we later found out was an exploding battery. Kudos to Honda by the way for the great service and efficient and timely communications! But the service centre later told us that it was not common and our car was the first one that that centre had ever seen happen.

While the car was being serviced on Saturday, we made alternate plans to drive Dad's Merc down to Singapore. The car had just been serviced and it was running nicely.

With my car being serviced, and Dad using Mum's car, I had no choice but to run around in Dad's car. When I switched the airconditioner on, warm air blew out of it and remained that way for the next 10 minutes, the time it took me to get to my next destination. Yes, the airconditioner was on the fritz.

At this time, Dad and I agreed that maybe we should try the busses to get to Singapore. So off he goes to try and get tickets.

By now, looking back at the string of events that had occurred, I was not quite comfortable going to Singapore. It seemed like something was trying to tell us not to go.

The phone rings and it's Dad. He tells me the bus tickets are full. Going down on Sunday. Hmmmm! At that point I decided that we're not coming down.

Something was telling us not to go. I'm certain.

KELLIE PICKLER has been kicked out!

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

YAY! YAY! Joy! Joy!

And yes, "American Idol" is my guilty pleasure!

Continuation of my previous blog on "Gubra."

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

Ustaz Khoiron
By Karim Raslan
Published on August 20, 2002
http://www.ytlcommunity.com/karimraslan/article.asp?theid=30


The Holy Koran opens with the words “Bismillah Ar-Rahman Ar-Rahim” – “In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, The Compassionate.” The immortal phrase follows you wherever you are in the Islamic world – it’s inscribed on the walls of mosques and homes and yet very few people, let alone believers actually stop to consider its meaning.

Clearly, forgiveness is an integral part of Islam’s timeless message and the prominence with which these two qualities – mercy and compassion have been singled out from the Ninety-nine names of Allah has, over the centuries provided a source of reassurance and solace for believers.

But man is flawed and all too often practitioners have been anything but ‘forgiving’. Instead, faith and belief is reduced to little more than a list of ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’. In fact, contemporary Islamic practices in the Middle East (and especially the vein associated with Wahabism) appear to have sidelined the idea of forgiveness. Public debate – the Friday khutbah or sermon concentrates almost exclusively on transgression, on sin and on the suitability of punishment. Ritual has become all-important, assuming precedence along with a series of nasty ‘fire and brimstone’ lectures delivered by men (and occasionally women) who have no comprehension of humanity or a capacity for compassion.

However, the capacity to forgive and to be compassionate has not been entirely forsaken. Faith – true faith – can and does flourish in adversity, manifesting itself in the strangest places. Last month, in the heart Surabaya’s grimy, red-light district of Bangunsari – just ten minutes away from the bustling port of Tanjung Priok, I came across an understated couple who showed me – without realizing it themselves, that man hadn’t entirely failed to live up to the powerful and persuasive message.



Ustaz Khoirun with Suparti and Titin, photo by Rama Surya, Surabaya
Ustaz Khoiron and his wife Roudatul possess the quiet confidence of those who are truly religious. They are comfortable in themselves, they know that actions spoke louder than words: they don’t need to show off or pontificate.

I knew they were unusual even before I’d met them. I’d heard about the work they were doing in the lokalasasi (a designated area set aside for prostitution) – about the two schools they’d set up, the prayer classes and the ceramahs they organized as well as the impressive thirty-three meter high minaret that Khoiron had recently added to the local mosque. Located at the entrance to the lokalasasi, on the lane that brought many of the clients and ‘johns’ to Bangunsari, the Masjid al-Fatah’s striking minaret was an indication of the area’s growing sobriety: the encroaching world of the middle classes. Khoiron had also pointed out and proudly the small library alongside the mosque. In the evenings the building was as lively as one of the whorehouses, crammed with youngsters who had nowhere else to go.

Still, it took a simple and unexpected gesture by the forty-one year old Khoiron before I really sat up and took notice. At the time, I was observing a ceramah that Khoiron and a local community leader, Gusrianto arranged every Friday afternoon for the neighbourhood’s prostitutes. One of the girls (Linda, a 29-year old from Jember) had just completed a heart-felt, if halting recitation from al-Nisar, (The Women) the fourth Surah of the Holy Koran. Her voice was hoarse and her throat was obviously dry. Just then, Khoiron leant forward to offer her a small plastic container of water.

It was ingenuous act. However, given the woman’s profession his thoughtfulness was almost shocking. Most ustaz’s I knew would have been disgusted and appalled to have been in the presence of so many prostitutes even though all fifty of women were dressed demurely. But, for Khoiron, the women were a challenge. They were his challenge. Somehow, they gave him justification: they were his target – his objective: he wanted to win them over.

Later when I talked to Roudatul at their small home, I began to get a sense of the passion that had propelled the couple. Roudatul was thirty-three years old and despite the seedy environment she was always generous with her smiles. She wore a hejab, albeit casually. Still, the plain, white material couldn’t quite hide the beauty of her warm, guileless face. She cradled her youngest son in her arms as we talked.

“Khoiron and I had an arranged marriage. I was a pesantren girl – ten years studying at Bangil. I certainly didn’t know I was going to end up living in an area like this! I was so upset when I first arrived: I was angry and embarrassed. The prostitutes were right outside the house! They were everywhere. But later I realized that this is ‘my’ battle. I wouldn’t move anywhere else now: you must help people and we – Khoiron and I – must help these women to change their ways.”

The forty-one year old, Nahdatul Ullama ustaz Khoiron laughs when I ask him about his work in the lokalasasi. He’s a handsome man: darker than his wife and well built. He has a firm handshake and an easy manner: like a businessman. As we talk, there are moments when he looks slightly Arabic. This is not altogether surprising given the Pesisir’s (the north coast of Java’s) strong historical and cultural links with the Arab peninsular and the Hadramaut in particular.

“Can you imagine how bored I’d be if I was living in a quiet little community surrounded by santri (or religious students)? When I first started here, twenty-five years ago there were three thousand girls. Now there are only 900. You ask anyone about Bangunsari! It’s so close to the port and full of seamen. It was notorious!

“From a philosophical viewpoint we must remember that Allah is very loving. He gives food and drink to all men and women: good and bad. Who am I to judge? Who am I to say you’re evil or you’re good? My responsibility is straightforward: I must win the people over. Besides, if everyone was good I’d have nothing to do!”




The girls listening to Ustaz Khoirun's talk, photo by Rama Surya, Surabaya
Living in a tiny house along a narrow gang (or lane) in the middle of Bangunsari, Khoiron’s home is little different from the girlie bars that surround him, except that there is mushollah (a small prayer hall) on the first floor. The family is clearly industrious and hardworking. His mother who still wears a tightly wrapped traditional Javanese baju kebaya every day runs a small warung and his wife supplements her income with a Wartel (a telephone store). Otherwise the ustaz’s home is essentially as simple as his neighbours’.

The Nahdatul Ullama does not support individual ustaz’s: the families are on their own. Essentially, they depend on the surrounding communities for their livelihood. As a result Khoiron earns his income by giving ceramahs, officiating at weddings and even accompanying pilgrims to Mecca. His wife also organizes religious classes for over six hundred children every week: the parents pay Rp2,000 (RM1) per child per month. The house shudders when the kids dash up the external staircase to reach the mushollah. Their shrieking is almost deafening but Roudatul is so used to it she’s says she’d miss the commotion if it were to stop.

Every Friday afternoon, Khoiron and the local community leader arrange a small ceramah for the prostitutes. The location is neutral: the hall nearby – not the mosque. Having followed Khoiron as he walks through the lanes of the lokalasasi and watched him talking to the women I know the ceramah will be interesting. He is polite with them, respectful even. He smiles and says hello. He doesn’t treat them disdainfully and they respond positively to his manner.

As M’bak Yah a prostitute in her forties says of Khoiron: “He’s a good man. He treats us decently. I like his ceramahs – lots of us go. He isn’t proud or haughty. He encourages us to go home to our families.”

Gubra, Religion, & Entertainment

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

At first glance, the title given to this post seems contradictory. Paradoxical almost.

But after having watched "Gubra" you know that the 3 can perfectly coexist.

"Gubra" is a film that finally restores my faith in the potential of Malaysian cinema as well as, dare I say it, Malaysians in general.

I had the fortune of sitting next to a doyen of Malaysian cinema at a dinner party not too long ago and we had an amazing conversation. Datuk L. Krishnan has directed more films than I know during the 50s and 60s and spoke with conviction when he said "I keep telling these fellows to produce MalaySIAN movies, not just Malay movies."

Never was a truer word spoken.

And yesterday, I had the privilege of watching a true MalaySIAN film which entertained, tugged at your heart strings, made you laugh, made you cry, and made you believe that the best in our society is out there.

SPOILER ALERT!

From the beginning, Gubra was a film that took risks. A Muezzin who pets a dog, which must be shocking (but watch what happens when the dog "walks" off) to our more fundamental brothers, a bare (but cute) bum flapping in the wind along with the hospital robe, pork being chopped in an ostensibly Malay film, penis jokes, Muslims who looked the part of "Koran" Thumpers but subscribed to the best part of Islam, a devout muslim couple who took time to make space in their lives for a couple of prostitutes, a meaningful loving hug for an HIV positive person who rejects it at first, a delicate discussion about non-Malays in our society ("Sometimes I wonder if you guys realise how hard it is for the rest of us to live here. It’s like being in love with someone who doesn’t love you back."), and most of all a juxtaposition of prayers which for once highlights the similarities between Christianity and Islam.

I've always believed that being brothers of the Book, Christians and Muslims have had their faiths hijacked by vocally aggressive fanatics who have no compassion or mercy or love. And for faiths that are 99% similar in preaching peace, brotherly love, truth, honesty, and compassion, those same vocally aggressive fanatics also set the agenda for discussing, arguing, fighting, and warring over that 1% of difference. A difference that can be attributed to nothing more than differences of understanding the same message.

From the opening scenes right up to the closing and the surprise ending (after the credits) I was marvelling at the humour, the heart, and the outright talent of Malaysian filmmakers and actors. "Gubra" articulated the best in our people. Fancy that, a film that makes me say "our people" without hesitation. This film made me proud to be a Malaysian. It just goes to prove, that with heart and passion, Malaysians are capable of being the best of the best.

I can't encourage, urge, coerce, or push everyone enough to go and see this stand alone sequel to "Sepet."

In the words of Jellaludin Rumi, which is flashed onto the screen at the end of the film, "The lamps are different but the Light is the same."

Well done, Aunty Yasmin!

Mo-ayy or Mw-ett?

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

Many years ago, I had the privilege of visiting the Champagne region of France during a school break. Those were the heady days of RM3.80 to the £1. No visas were required, so it was literally a hop, skip, and a jump by ferry over to Calais one Bank Holiday weekend with two friends. My Greek buddy, an American friend, and I picked up a Pug (a Peugeot 305) in Calais and drove down to Paris through the Champagne district of France.

It was the first time I ever drove a Left Hand Drive car. I didn't really have any problems and it was late spring/early summer. The weather was, as they say in "Famous Five" books, glorious! Just the type of day for a picnic with bags of tomatoes and lashings of ginger beer!

I sorta had a thing for this Greek guy. So it made it all the more interesting. His name was Angelos. He had these really intense Meditteranean eyes and that accent...

Of course, I wasn't out yet, so had to yearn after him in private. It didn't help that he was very affectionate. He used to have his arm around me all the time. I put that down to the European in him. But then on some mornings to wake me up, he'd climb in to bed with and cuddle. Years later I actually wondered if maybe he was trying to tell me something. It was sort of a lesson I learnt; never miss an opportunity!

Anyway, I digress.

The sun was shining, the breeze was balmy, and we were in our late teens, early twenties. We thought we were such hot shit! NEXT was the big mid range clothing store of the day and bright jumpers, baggy pants ala Duran Duran/New Romantics were the rage.

We drove into Reims, parked and proceeded to be tourists. First, we visited Reims Cathedral, a gorgeous gothic icon. Next we visited the House of Pommery. A very popular brand of champagne then and now. They had these magnificent chalk cellars left behind by the Romans which keep a constant temperature year round. Although I doubt Methode Champenoise was invented then!

After that, we went to Moët & Chandon. As we were being taken round, by the resident tour guide who was also one of the employees of Moët, I noticed he kept on closing out the 'O' and pronouncing the 'T' of 'Moët.' Sort of like 'Mo-wett." I of course, being the impatient soul I am asked him about this, because the French don't usually pronounce the 'T's', and I had always thought it was pronounce 'Moh-ayy.'

He explained that Claude Moët was a French citizen but that his family was originally from the Netherlands. So Moët was actually a Dutch name. Hence the pronounciation 'Mo-ett' with the hard 'T'.

I blogged this because in the last 2 days I've heard numerous people pronouncing 'Moët' 'Mo-ayy.' And me being the infinitely curious soul I am, had to do a bit of searching to confirm my suspicions. Call it my bit of OCD. I can't stand NOT knowing. So, I headed over to Google and this entry came up on Wikipedia;

"Commonly mispronounced "mō-way", the actual pronunciation is "mo-wett". Moët is indeed French champagne, but it is spelled with a diaeresis, and this is where the confusion lies. Claude Moët was born in France in 1683; however, his name is not French, it is Dutch."

In any case, the subsequent drive to Paris was every bit as exciting as every tour book, and everyone said it would be. We lounged at cafes, picked up baguettes to eat with ripe Brie and Camembert along the River Seine. Ate at underground French bistros serving rustic French food, and of course, to wash it all down, straight from the bottle, sans glasses or cups, our "Mo-ett."

M! The Opera

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

It's so easy to be negative. And perhaps for some of those who post on kakiseni.com, they feel it's clever, but I feel it defeats the purpose of CRITIQUE; especially when it's not even dignified with the inclusion of their own name. Which, to my mind, makes their opinions so much hot air.

It's a lot tougher to be constructive.

Antares wrote a brilliant review. Balanced, constructive, and he called it like he saw it. He was diplomatic, almost to a fault; but in this country, it's tough to know where to draw the line. Especially since the community is so small. Having said that, he was, I felt, compassionately honest.

My 2 cents...

Generally, I enjoyed the show.

I was awed by the creative energies that were so evident in the show. The amount of time, effort, and most especially, the talent that was poured into the show was nothing short of stupendous. It made me proud to sit and watch a show produced, created, and staged by fellow Malaysians that could be staged anywhere in the world.

That's not to say it would have been as kindly received! ;-) As we know the world's press is a lot less "forgiving" than our local establishments. And of course, sensationalistic negativism always sells more papers. Being bitchy is always seen as being so much more "clever" and witty.

The music on the whole displayed flashes of brilliance. Staging was really good. The cast, to a man, sang well. The mix of pop voices and operatic voices worked well. The costumes were, in short, fabulous!

My partner saw it twice. And he felt that the show was better the 2nd time around. Because of changes.

Therein lies my first problem.

Changes during the run?

A show of this magnitude should strive to be as consistent as possible, during the run. Changes during a run can only mean that the creative process, while certainly awe inspiring to a first time viewer of M! like myself, was allowed to run unfettered. At the beginning of a production, that is a good thing. But when you come to the actual staging of the show, it is not. Especially when you need to make sure the mass audience consumes a consistently high quality product.

In other words, the artistic has total control to the detriment of the commercial. There needs to be, I believe, a balance of both. With the slider bar moving from "art" to "commerce" closer to the date of performance. A certain discipline needs to be exercised to draw a line. It's not easy.

My second issue lay with the coherence of the Opera. The music was brilliant, if somewhat inaccessible during the more experimental bits. Some of the ballads were heart stoppingly beautiful. Saidah Rastam is indeed a composer of international stature.

However, a leitmotif to tie the entire opera would have made a huge difference.

As it was, I felt I was watching vignettes rather than a seamless Opera. The entire feel was choppy.

The use of recitatives to move the plot along interspersed with individual Arias (that's what they were) were classic Opera devices.

The libretto was at times, somewhat enigmatic. There were some deep metaphors which were being explored which meant that you really had to think about what you were watching. This may be culturally accurate. Malay plays I believe use metaphor a lot. But for an opera which aspires to the international stage AND to be a commercially viable piece, it can make it tough for the mass audience to understand. The question is, how do you make it subtle enough not to be sledgehammer obvious for a certain amount of sophistication, but not to shroud the whole thing in metaphor that too much thinking on the part of the audience is required?

Which brings me to my summary of M! The Opera. In general, I really liked it. On a cerebral level. There were flashes of absolute brilliance. The staging, music, costumes and performances were up there with almost anything I'd seen before.

But it wasn't something I felt in my gut. I did not step out of M! gushing. Nor did I come out hating a particular character, nor did I leave humming a particular tune. For all it's brilliance, a theme, a motif would have been the ribbon on the present.

Kudos to all the performers; George Chan (who stole the show from Khir Rahman, who himself was very very good) Doreen Tang, for her singing, performance, and obviously, her tireless efforts at portraying a muse. Cindy Yeap, Peter Ong, Timothy Ooi, Azean Irdawaty, Paula Malai Ali, Maizurah Hamzah, Mia Palencia, and the ensemble for delivering above and beyond the call of duty. Yes, I heard about the rehearsals! ;-)

But above all, Kudos to Saidah, the producers, Chako Vadaketh, the director, Jo Kukathas and everyone involved with the show.

I feel that with a certain amount of editing and judicious scoring M! The Opera could be a certifiable hit. It has all the right ingredients. Love, hate, jealousy, murder, remorse! Everything a good Opera needs.

I certainly hope the hoops and the hurdles won't stop this bunch of merry people from moving forward. M! The Opera, for all it's faults was a very big step in the right direction.

LowTee Swimsuits

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

If you have an old favourite tshirt (mine is my black, Halloween Hard Rock Maui T shirt with Skeletons surfing), you can now save it by sending it to LowTee and have it converted to a speedo style pair of swim trunks.

Check Maddie's concert tour tshirt out;



I've got a sneaky suspicion however, that the creators of this fashion brainstorm must be targetting a certain fit segment of the market. Their sizes max out at "L" for Large at 34-36 in waists.

Honda Ad

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

If you're an acappella or music lover, check this out.

http://84.40.3.164/

Facettes de la petites mort

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

Guys, you all watch porn of some sort right?

Get a load of this...

Beautiful Agony

You know what they say about the French and how they're so romantic and all. Well, in this one particular area I must admit they are. Who else in the world would call an orgasm, the 'little death.' Or La Petite Mort.

It makes it sound so noble, so self-sacrificing, so yearning.

But on top of that, whoever would have thought that an Australian company would run a subscription "porn" site based on facial expressions of that climactic moment (if you'll excuse the pun).

They call their participants "artists." I'm wondering how you get chosen or how you contribute. Do you contact them and say "I want to cum for you?" Or maybe they have scouts who go around, spot relatively decent looking people and say "would you like to have your face shown on the internet at the moment that you cum?"

It's questions like these that keep me awake at night. NOT!

Couple-dom

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

My belief in couple-dom has been revitalised, restored, and otherwise reinvigorated.

Actually, not that it ever needed revitalising, restoration, or reinvigoration.

Hmmm...

I've always believed that the most successful relationships were based on mutual trust, a certain amount of compromise and 3 very important attributes; the right time, the right place, AND not necessarily the most important factor, the right person.

Those who believe in Hollywood's notion of "amour" must be up in arms about now.

How can the right person NOT be the MOST important attribute?

Simple really...

People, I believe, are inherently good. However, in their bringing up and experiences, most people are TAUGHT to act out in fear rather than in love. It takes greater courage to act on the latter than the former. People who say "I need to protect myself by cutting my losses" needs to perhaps think "what is the right thing for me to do which will help the other realise what needs to be done." We can only control our own actions, after all.

In any case, more often than not, if both parties are willing to work things out as they go along, cross each bridge as they come to it, live day by day, rather than wondering about some far off nebulous future, they really have a pretty decent chance at success.

Don't you just luuurrrrve the effusive use of cliches?

The wisest thing I ever heard about being "married" was what my Uncle said at his 40th wedding anniversary; "Bernie (my aunt, Bernadette) and I woke up in the morning, took the kids to school, went to work, came home, put dinner on the table, went to sleep, and the next thing you know, it's 40 years later."

I took it to mean that they lived one day at a time, worked out each problem as it came up, negotiated every settlement, accepted that the other person doesn't ALWAYS come up to the the mark of what we expect in EVERY area, and more than anything, lived in a spiritual environment of wanting to work things out!

Christmas and New Year was a period when Allan and I were invited to a 25th Wedding Anniversary, a 17th Anniversary, a possible civil union in the UK, and to meet a new couple here in KL.



Suffice to say; Paddy and Jo, you are an inspiration of steadfastness and love.



Ian and Jogy; your courage has helped you cross continents to be with each other. If that isn't a testament to love in action, I don't know what is.



Petra and Jackson, for being loving and accepting of Allan and myself, and for being such a wonderful light for companionship and loyalty after so many years, we admire and aspire to your spirituality and attitude.



Dan & Chui; to the best "bro-in-law" and "sis-in-law" a guy ever had. Live long and prosper. ;-) Next dive trip we promise we'll go. But I'm looking forward to Siem Reap! Their secret...do stuff together that they love!





Loved these 2 pics of Sean and Whye Mun with Allan and I respectively. So included them in this post too.