Wednesday, January 21, 2009

ABBA - Thank You For The Music

This evening, my family watched 'Mamma Mia' movie on Showtime channel. The film is based on jukebox musical with a book by British playwright Catherine Johnson, based on the songs of ABBA, composed by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus. It was an early example of the jukebox musical genre and helped to popularize the form. Although the title of the musical is taken from the group's 1975 chart-topper Mamma Mia, the plot is fictional, not biographical.

ABBA has been one my favourite groups since primary school and their songs are still as great as ever.

Bye Bush

Bye, asshole

Bush's time as president has finally come to an end. And so begins his new life as an internationally hunted criminal defendant desperately trying not to end his days in the Hague alongside roommates with names like Ratko and Slobodan.

Some people were moved by Obama coming in.

(Photo: He's all yours now, Laura. )

According to AP, Bush left a note in the White House for Obama. Dana Perino was mum on what was in it, saying only that "the theme is similar to what he's said since election night about the fabulous new chapter President-elect Obama is about to start, and that he wishes him the very best." Which will probably be Dana's last lie.
So what was the last sentence spoken by Bush before he left. No word on that, but here's a few of our best guesses...
"That stain was there when I moved in."
"You mind if we go out the back door?"
"Is Johnny Cochran still alive?"
"No tonic, I'll take it straight."
"Those pushy black people want the house, too?"
"I thereby pardon myself."
"Somebody plug in Dick Cheney, it's time to leave."
"Oops, my bad."
Angry white guy says goodbye

Turns out it was harder saying farewell to Bush than we'd thought -- or at least for Dick Cheney, who was so overcome that he may have nodded off.
As for the speech itself? This sums it up:
"There is legitimate debate about many of these decisions. But there can be little debate about the results."
On that, we all agree.
Other than that, it's strange that Bush's presidency was book ended by plane crashes into New York City. The outgoing one seems appropriately happier than the first.
So for those that weren't nodding off during the speech, what were you thinking?....

OBAMANIA - Please deliver Your Promises Mr. President

As long as I remember, it was my first time watching the US presidential inauguration ever. Never bothered or interested before. Together with my family (minus Saifullah), we were watching with billion others for a historical moment in our lifetime.
Faidhi was really impressed with Obama's oratory skill and selection of words, "Is he memorising the whole dictionary?"
While Muhaimin asked a lot of questions as well as commented about anything on Obama and past US presidents, like, "Why Bush did not contest again?"
As I told my kids, we will remember this event for a long time to come, and perhaps one day, we may drop by in Washington to visit Obama....with the impending visit of Pak Lah to Dubai tomorrow, if we ever get invited to meet the outgoing PM of Malaysia these kids may have different views....such as, "Is this our leader?"

‘To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward’
Barack Obama steps into history as he takes the oath of office to become President Obama, the first black leader of the United States.
Millions around the world and record crowds in Washington witness the swearing in and inaugural address.
The newly-sworn president lays out the many problems facing the country in a hopeful but sober speech.

"To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect." President Barack Obama.

Take a Break and see the world

Few of my friends took a year off after graduation to explore the world. I had the same idea but due to then economic crisis, I was exploring odd jobs as an unemployed graduate back home, something to cherish about.

It could be my umpteenth times to take a break from work. Last year, I was offered a place for a master programme in the UK but did not proceed. A good decision during this trying time.

It could be this an article says, who said taking time out to explore the world was limited to teenagers in between studies? Some ideas already flowing through wild imagination, such as round-the-world in 80 days.
Today there are countless opportunities for volunteering, learning a language, taking a career break and even a little something for singles. Whatever your status, there is something to match your needs.
For those who have to drag themselves out of bed just to make it to work on time, now is the perfect time for a touch of inspiration. You might even love your job but feel like getting a change of scenery.

Sabbatical, not leave
Browsing through the malls or walking along the Dubai coastline as the sun sets flawlessly over the water might simply not be enough anymore.
Perhaps a trek through the jungles of Vietnam, salsa dance classes in Argentina, learning Italian in Florence, pitching a tent in Canada or volunteering at an orphanage in Zambia would do the trick.
According to, around 90,000 people take a career break each year in the UK and it has become an accepted part of an employee’s development.
These “time-outs” range from a few weeks to several months, after which, employers say they notice a positive change and an improvement in skills in the employees.

Be informed
A friend of mine recently decided to take three months off from working in the UK and split her time between sun-bathing in Dubai and exploring Cuba.
Her final six weeks saw her living and working at an orphanage in Thailand — an experience, she says, that changed her outlook on life forever.
Of course it took plenty of research and lots of planning, since there are so many sites on the internet that you need to make sure you go with a reputable and trustworthy company.
If it is a group tour, you should try to get information on the other travellers.

Strike the right balance
For example, with one tour group, my friend found that she would have been the only single traveller among three married couples.
She immediately ruled out that option and kept checking until she found the group that suited her better.
Another friend, a Dubai-based headhunter who also escaped the routine for a while. For him also, it proved a to be life-changing experience.
“After ten years working in executive recruitment, I decided to take a break; luckily, my employer Talent2 International agreed to allow me a six-month sabbatical, so I set off for South America by myself — without a plan, mobile phone or knowledge of Spanish and Portuguese!”
One of his favourite places was Colombia, despite all the warnings and reports of threats to tourists.
Croft says being there and experiencing the culture and kindness of the people made him want to return someday.

Fresh enthusiasm
“My adventure allowed me to focus on what’s important in life and at the same time made me very determined to rejoin my employer with a new sense of enthusiasm and purpose,” Croft says.
Now, whenever he has a bad day in the office, he recalls those less fortunate to keep things in perspective.
Kristina Roe, communications manager for says those who seek a break from want some time out away from it all, others want to enhance certain skills and their CVs and some are looking for a total career change.

Top Tips
1. Think very carefully about the type of break you want. Do you want to go traveling? Do you want to give something back through volunteer work? If so, do you want to go abroad or do something local?

2. How much time have you got? Be realistic with this time and set yourself goals - don't be too overly ambitious. You want to return feeling as though you achieved something but not more exhausted than when you left!

3. If you want to volunteer abroad, take the time to research the different options. All volunteer projects should be based on a real local need and work in partnership with local people rather than being dreamed up by a travel company’s marketing department.

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