Posts filed under Memories

Sunday morning in the city

Filed in Memories, Personal

42 kilometres

That’s what I drove this morning from Taman Tun Dr Ismail into the city and back to my little place in Damansara Perdana.

It’s ages since I’ve been into the heart of Kuala Lumpur (Chinatown area) so this morning, finding myself bright eyed and alert at 9:30 a.m., I decided to lock por (Cantonese phrase for “going into town” ) and just drive around.

Oh, on the way, I went by my new office just to check out the parking situation so I know where to find parking when I eventually move there. So, from TTDI, I drove through the private KLGCC road to get to Jalan Damansara, past Medan Damansara and into a little known part of the Damansara area where I literally drove around the hub of shophouses and the new office building to look at where I could park during office hours.

Having found what I wanted to know, I went on my way, past Jalan Beringin and down Jalan Semantan to get into the city. At the bottom of the flyover joining Jalan Duta, a traffic policeman stopped the cars to let some runners pass. Runners could only mean one thing – marathon. True enough, later on, I saw messages on the overhead electronic sign boards (the ones positioned in the middle of roads for drivers to see) about road closures in various parts of the city between 4:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. due to the KL International Marathon.

Road closures?

Yup, and I encountered at least two during my drive into the city this morning.

At the far end of Jalan Duta, going up the flyover to get on Jalan Parliamen – that was closed. I ended up driving some road that I don’t know the name of except along the way, there was a turn-off that led into Jalan Bangsar (but heading out of the city, not where I want to go), and from there onto Brickfields and into the city. Yay!

In the city, I found myself with Central Market on my left, and for a moment, I debated whether to turn into the car park, leave my car there and walk around the Chinatown area. I decided not to, and carried on driving.

I was in the heart of the city, where the Sri Jaya buses used to terminate their run at Foch Avenue and take on a new load of passengers for the return journey out of the city. Even at that early hour, the city was already packed with cars on the road, and people on foot.

I kept to the left and followed the road onto Jalan Tun Perak (formerly known as Mountbatten Road). At a red light, I looked around and saw OCBC Bank on my right. This is where Robinsons used to be, I found myself thinking and took up my handphone to take a picture.

Robinsons was the one and only department store in the city when I was growing up. It was where I used to hang out on Saturday mornings. In it was a music store (I think it was called Music City) where my friends would go to look for me if I wandered off from them while in Robinson’s. But I digress …

With the handphone in camera mode, I looked around me and took some shots of the scene right in front of my windscreen, including this one here:

Overhead, an LRT line; behind it, a cluster of buildings, the tallest of which is the DBKL (or Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur, i.e., Kuala Lumpur City Hall); to the left, next to the traffic light, the beginning of the Court buildings.

I’d meant to turn left to find my way into the city again, but when the light turned green and the vehicles started moving, I found the road blocked for, you guessed it, the marathon runners.

So there was nothing to do but drive back to where I’d come from.

42 kilometres in less than two hours. A waste of petrol or time? Not at all. It helped me to get to know the various roads and to “own” my beloved city once again.

A short history of Chet on the Net

Filed in Memories, Tech Stuff

I made my first web site in 1996. Oh, that’s 10 years ago! It was for HTML practice to help me in a new area of my job – managing and maintaining the company’s web site.

But I’ve been on the Net longer than 10 years. My first foray onto the Net was in late 1989. I was given an email account as a grad student at the University of California, San Diego. One day, a friend told me about newsgroups and showed me how to read them from my email account. That was where I found the kdlang newsgroup and made friends who later opened their homes to me when I travelled around the States before returning home in 1991.

After I came home, I was missing the newsgroups so much but eventually found something similar – BBSs (which I think stands for Bulletin Board Service).

The Internet came to Malaysia in 1995, via Jaring. I was one of the first to sign up.

Dabbled with GeoCities in the early days – didn’t everybody who eventually went on to have their own domains?

After I came back from visiting my San Diego Zoo pandas in 2001, I decided to register my own domain, which was how came about. It wasn’t my first choice domain name, but both and had been taken. I’d used Chet’s Corner from day 1 of my presence on the Net – I thought it described where I am on the Net, in my own little corner. is still there, but hardly updated. These days, I post at Chet’s Chatter, my weblog. I called it Chet’s Chatter version 3, as I’ve had two previous weblogs, all with the same name. By now, you probably can tell how much I love my name, and how little imagination I have.

One of the reasons why is hardly updated is because it uses HTML. These days, there’s CMS (Content Management System) which makes it very easy to update and maintain web sites. My company’s web site, started in 1996, has gone through two upgrades. The first two used good old HTML; the third and current version is run by CMS. I myself just registered another domain which, when it is up and running, will be run by CMS. More information when the time is right.

Going to the Movies

Filed in Memories

“I called you this morning, but you were not in. Where did you go? ” I asked my sister when I saw her at mother’s on Saturday afternoon.

“I was at the movies, ” she replied.

The movies on a Saturday morning? That was a surprise, as she’s usually in her office at that time, even tho they work five-day weeks. Except last Saturday was a public holiday and I did remember she was late home the previous evening because she was trying to finish some work so she didn’t have to go in the next day.

But it wasn’t a surprise that she’d gone to the movies on her day off. Going to the movies was something my parents gave to us when we were kids.

I have very vivid memories of Saturday night at the movies – all five of us, mum, dad, my sister, brother and I. The most vivid memory of all was after the movie when my father would walk up to wherever my brother was sitting – or sleeping, as was usually the case – and rouse him to go home. Usually, he would end up carrying my brother to the car.

In those long-ago days, cinema halls on a Saturday night were not crowded at all, there were empty seats, which was why my brother could wander off to a seat by himself to watch the movie, and to fall asleep in.

A whole family going to the cinema together in those days was also a rather unusual affair. I didn’t understand why then, but I think I do now. My grandfather had wanted all his children and their families living under the same roof, so my parents would take us out on Saturday nights to have some family time together. Even though by the time of those Saturday nights at the movies that I can remember my uncles and their families had moved out of the “family house” (the Chinese herbal shop that came to my father and where I grew up), we continued to go out as a family on Saturday nights. Later, there would be less movies but we continued to take a drive in the car, go for an ice cream (A&W’s, the first fast food restaurant in Malaysia more than 40 years ago, believe it or not), and generally just drive around town.

Speaking of the movies, I haven’t been to the movies in ages. The last movie I went was Narnia last December. Alone, of course, as I do all things on my own, by myself. Which probably explains why I haven’t been to the movies in ages – it’s a group thing, and one person does not make up a group.

Oh wait, Narnia was not the last movie I went to the cinema to see. More recent than that, I’d gone to the movies while in London. I’d come out of a meeting with the auction house handling my father’s numismatic collection, gone to Chinatown for lunch, and found myself in Leicester Square after lunch wondering what to do, where to go, next. Looking around, I noticed a familiar face on a movie poster and walked up for a closer look. Jodie Foster. With Denzel Washington and Clive Owen in Inside Man. Went to check the screening times, found the next one was just 15 minutes away, so bought myself a ticket and went to the movies in London. On my own, by myself.

A man (and his voice) from my past

Filed in Memories

As part of her UK tour last month, Janis Ian was interviewed by various local radio shows there. One of them was The DLT Show.

DLT stands for Dave Lee Travis, a name which brought back mega memories for me, and which will forever be associated with the May 13 race riots in Malaysia.

The whole country had been under curfew in the aftermath of the riots. To keep us occupied, TV Malaysia started broadcasting a variety of programmes that had never been shown on air before. One such show was Beat Club, a pop music show made in Germany and featuring an English deejay by the name of Dave Lee Travis and a female co-presenter called Valerie (I still remember their names after all these years).

My sister, brother and I were over the moon with the show as we were pop music fans. And when Cliff Richard came on, my sister screamed. He’d been a favourite of hers for many years and it was the first time she was seeing him “live” anywhere. Since the whole country was on curfew at the time, there was no traffic on the road and the house, plus the neighbourhood, was very quiet. My sister’s scream, the loudest sound to be heard, earned her a scolding from my uncle who reprimanded her for “bringing attention to the house” .

A few years back, I found Dave Lee Travis on the BBC World Service and listened to him for a while, after which I lost track of him again. Until recently, when he featured Janis Ian on his show. And yes, I heard it, thanks to the Internet – lots of radio stations, including BBC Three Counties which hosts his show, these days stream their shows online for anyone to listen to anywhere in the world, so long as you have an Internet connection.

False Alarm?

Filed in Memories

The fire alarm in my apartment block went off about half an hour ago. I spent about 2 minutes wondering where I’d kept my IC and whether I should switch off the electricity, which was followed by another minute or so putting on my long pants and getting my keys to unlock the door and gate. The alarm stopped about the same time as I got to the padlock. I walked out to have a look – no smoke; in fact, nobody around. The whole place was calm and quiet.

The incident reminded me of a story my Linguistics professor told in my first year in university. He told of how he’d set off the fire alarm one night at his university just to see who came out of whose room.

A few months later, we had a fire drill in our dorms. I was already up and getting ready for class so I continued and left with my books and all. Outside the dorm buildings, most students assembled were still in their jammies. Some walked out with someone from another part of the building. Go figure …