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    Monday, December 10, 2007

    One thing they don't tell you when you get a Mac is that you should allocate an additional 20% of your Mac budget for accessories. The first thing you'd notice about anything Apple is that these things are not designed with practicality in mind. You sneeze too hard and you might just scratch something on the Mac. Or the iPod.

    Then there's the white (!) power supply and the white power cord.

    Q: Why is the power cord and power supply for Apple computers white?
    A: So they'd get dirty-looking faster. And since they are likely to be on the floor, you can enjoy little stress-attacks whenever someone walks by and accidentally steps on it while you pretend to act cool as if it doesn't matter.

    Having said that, it's still one beautiful chunk of fragile technology. As the saying goes, "Once you go Mac, you can't.....stop rhyming."

    Tuesday, December 04, 2007

    It has finally happened. Almost reluctantly.

    I got myself a Mac.

    And I have Microsoft to thank for this. Despite the fantastic hardware I have, I just cannot deal with the pain that is Windows Vista. Having been a long-time fan of Windows, it is not easy for me to say it. Even as a music person, I've never been hung up on the Mac for music. It's over-priced and whatever you could do on a Mac, you could also do on Windows (albeit not as sexily.) I could live with XP. As stone-age as it was, it didn't piss me off. But with Vista, it was almost as if Microsoft went all out to do exactly just that.

    I can just hear Jini and Justin doing the yelp of joy with this news.

    Watch this space while I become a shameless Apple fanboy and Vista basher. Can't wait.

    Saturday, December 01, 2007

    It has been a fairly calm past two weeks. Thanks to the release of Faizal Tahir's album on 22 November. Only then I realised the weight of that album it had on me. One year in on/off-production and finally it was over. I am very happy with the results and I got me a new good and creative writing buddy in the process.

    But here's the real news that you should write home about. I went out and bought this book: Music Theory for Dummies.

    You'd think that with me being a music composer and producer, I'd know music theory and.....stuff. But no. Sadly. I don't read or write music. That's why I write my own music because I can't read other people's music. Fortunately for me, there is a market for such a thing: Melodic bullshitting Songwriting.

    Anyway, anyone who has heard my recent songs will tell you that I am either bored with pop music or I am going through a phase. I've been recording a lot of bass lately, instead of playing bass parts on the keyboard. Probably has something to do with being lazy. And I've done two or three string sessions and had the pleasure of working with Genervie Kam. This woman is impressive because she has perfect pitch which borders on being sickening. She can listen to a chord and tell you the notes. While this may be standard issue with the "real musicians", I find this very amazing. What would take me ten minutes to figure out, Genervie will do it in three seconds. Sometimes I want to smack her in the face for that. And when I do figure it out, it's usually wrong. Ask Vernon. He has stories on this.

    Having said that, my limitations have also given birth to my creative skills. So I am not complaining.

    But to be more Genervie-like, I got "Music Theory for Dummies."

    If all goes well, on my good days, I will have 0.2% of Genervie's knowledge on music theory on her bad days. Either that or this book will sit pretty on the shelf next to "Guitar for Dummies", and "Songwriting for Dummies".

    Thursday, October 18, 2007

    Since I am on a roll on making new friends, let me piss comment a little on the over-glorified space program that we have going on.

    Don't get me wrong, I am not against sending space exploration. My favourite movie is Star Wars. But as Malaysians, should that be our priority right now? We did not get to space on our own merit. The government essentially bought a ticket at USD26million. You can probably read other blogs on how that money could have been better spent. Screw cancer research or other healthcare or education concerns. Just fix that pothole on the ramp off the federal highway going in to Jalan Gasing.

    Since being consistent is our thing, we have some minister tell the world that we are going to make roti canai and teh tarik in space. (Consistently stupid.) So not only do we look that we are literally taken for a ride by the Russian, we are also now stupid. And you know people around the world are snickering behind our backs while praising to our faces. (And in other totally unrelated news, Singaporeans have been reported to be laughing more often.)

    Thankfully though, our astronaut...SORRY, angkasawan left his tea dust, condensed milk and loin cloth behind.

    Fyodor Yurchikin: Ack! What is that smell?
    Oleg Kotov: It's the ghee in the roti canai.

    Conclusion. Roti canai is still unhealthy in space. (Thank God for subtitles!)

    In place of the roti canai, our astro-dude and will be bringing up some satay.

    Sheikh Muzzaphar: Here. Have some satay to celebrate the end of the fasting month.
    Fyodor Yurchikin: Yum! Meat on sticks.

    Three minutes later.

    Fyodor Yurchikin: Oh no. Your satay makes me want to take a shit.
    Sheikh Muzzaphar: If you are going to do that, please open the window a bit. Let the air circulate.

    And also some liver samples and other germs for experiments relating to liver cancer, leukemia cells and microbes to benefit medical research. Wait....haven't the Americans already done this in the 70s?

    But seriously, the reason why I think our space program is total bullshit is because we have no legacy in space. Space is not our thing. This is probably a one-off thing. What's next after this? We will build our own spacecraft? Send a man to the moon by 2020? How? Buy another ticket? We haven't even figured out Please child!

    If the government really want to spend money on fluffy dreams, at least do it right. Put it in nuclear energy research or some other form of renewable energy.

    Anyway, it is always fun to criticise and take jabs at the government. People tend to agree and I get supportive comments. But in the end, it doesn't really matter.

    This is false pride. It's right up there with the world-tallest flagpole.







    Fyodor Yurchikin: пребывание из пути!
    Sheikh Muzzaphar: Sorry boss.

    Tuesday, October 09, 2007

    I got quite a range of responses from my post on my gum pile. (OK. Not a range of responses. Just one general type of response. But I won't go into that.)

    But here's something that could change your mind or at least validate just how cutting-edge I am.

    Introducing Bubble Gum Alley in California in the U.S. and A.

    And if the Americans are doing it, it must be cool!


    Who's gross now? Who wants to touch me?

    Wednesday, October 03, 2007

    In my continuing efforts to make friends and to champion for world peace...

    Osman: Eh! Tak puasa ke?

    Me: Well, I am glad you asked. As a Christian, I have the option to fast during Lent. Lent is the forty-day period lasting from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday. (sometime in March) However, in the Catholic Church, Lent does not end on Holy Saturday, but rather, on Maundy Thursday. The forty days represents, according to the bible, the time Jesus spent in the desert, enduring the temptation of Satan.

    I say "option to fast" because during Lent, Christians are given the option to give up something that is important to them personally. Fasting is one way to do it. And this is for Christians to be reminded of the time Jesus spent in the desert. The temptations. The suffering. Very biblical stuff. (Personally, I gave up coffee and meat.... OK. Coffee and meat but fish is OK. OK. Coffee and meat on Fridays only. But fish is OK. And cannot say bad words.)

    Similarly, during Ramadan, Muslims are also expected to put more effort into following the teachings of Islam as well as refraining from lying, stealing, anger, envy, greed, lust, sarcastic retorts, backbiting, and gossip. Obscene and irreligious sights and sounds are to be avoided; sexual activities during fasting hours are also forbidden. [Qur'an 2:187] Purity of both thought and action is important.

    The act of fasting is said to redirect the heart away from worldly activities, its purpose being to cleanse the inner soul and free it from harm. Properly observing the fast is supposed to induce a comfortable feeling of peace and calm. It also allows Muslims to practise self-discipline, sacrifice, and sympathy for those who are less fortunate, intended to make Muslims more generous and charitable.

    For instance, if I said to you that by asking me this question in the first place, you have proven to be an inward-looking culturally-insensitive ignoramus who thinks the whole world revolves around one religion and culture, you should exercise grace and accept my comments with a smile. Remember, peace and calm. Refrain from anger. May the peace of God be with you.

    Finally, as with the Christian faith, this season is intended to be an exacting act of deep personal worship in which one seek a raised level of closeness to God.

    So, read any good books lately?

    Tuesday, September 25, 2007

    This post is going to make me a lot of friends. I am going to go out on a limb here, shoot my mouth off and probably end up digging a hole for myself.

    The Malay newspapers have been highlighting this matter of the local Malay stations playing more music from Indonesia and not supporting local music. This newspaper interviews a bunch of washed-up veteran producers and writers. Of course, they all collectively blame the radio stations for the state of the local music scene and why they cannot make a living because the radio stations support Indonesian music.

    And today, I read that the government is actually conducting an investigation! As if there is nothing else more important to do in government, the government is looking into this complaint and will probably have a quota on how many produced-in-Malaysia songs they have to play.

    While you may think this is ironic and it goes against my personal interest for me to comment on this, I think this is the most ridiculous and most offensive thing anyone can do to creative works and the free market. Of course, such a ruling would benefit me tremendously since I am a songwriter and I stand to make more money if the local stations are forced to play locally produced music. Hence the irony.

    All the arguments that were brought up by these veteran writers have no merit.

    A radio station is a business. They cater to the demands of the market. (Of course, some stations take this way to personally and actually think they know what the market wants and then become an imposition.)

    The reason why radio stations are not playing as much local music is because no one wants to hear it. And not many people want to hear it because the music, simply put, SUCKS. (That's the technical marketing term, by the way.)

    I am not kissing ass with the radio stations. It's not a conspiracy. The radio stations are not out to kill the local industry. If anything, the musicians and songwriters are doing it to themselves by trying to sound like Indonesians today or Indonesians back in 70s. If I were a radio station, I'd too be embarrassed to play some of the local stuff I hear. Even if I were embarrassed, but if listeners wanted it, so be it. Play it.

    As a producer and songwriter, I welcome the challenge. It bugs me whenever I hear an Indonesian song on the radio. But if it is good, it is good and it deserves its place on radio. I take it as a personal challenge and I want to do better to compete. Understand that I am not anti-Indonesian. I am in awe of their progress but I do not see them as one to emulate (since they are emulating the British.)

    The bottom line here is the radio stations as a business, owe the music industry nothing. They owe it to their customers and listeners.

    And then there was this new argument today suggesting that there should be a law to force local stations to play local artists so that we can have international acts. He cited Australia with Savage Garden and Kylie Minogue. I don't see the logic here. How, by force-playing local acts, will the act go international. (Incidentally, Kylie made it via the U.K. and most Australians probably hate Savage Garden's music.)

    So let's say the government manages to have a quota and radio stations are forced to play local music (but there isn't really enough good local stuff so they either repeat the good ones or start playing crap). First, all the stations will sound like X-Fresh. Or RTM! You can see where that is going.

    But this is what is going to happen: Radio will lose their listeners. Listeners will go to music social networks like imeem.com or last.fm and get their music. Radio will become less relevant. It will become what the railway station is to transportation. And then we would get closer to completing our mission as a nation that takes one step forward but two steps back.

    And when listeners go online for their new music discovery, NO ONE IN MALAYSIA GETS PAID.

    As for the music industry, it's Proton all over again. Constantly expecting handouts and never wanting to look at the real cause of the problem.

    Burn that analog tape machine and take a good look in the mirror.













    Phew! Now I feel better.

    Friday, September 21, 2007

    Usually at this point of a production project, I will show you an image of the final master of an album project I am working on. Unfortunately, I have to photos of the final master. Even though, I've done this a few times already, I still get a thrill whenever I get the final master on CD. (This final master is the CD that goes to the CD duplication factory where thousands of copies are made and then packed and shipped to stores and your simple job here is take a copy of that CD in exchange for your money.)

    Anyway. Back to that thrill. I still get a kick out of it because this piece of plastic represents thousands of hours of work. I think, I stress out, I have sleepless nights, and basically work hard to create little pieces of music on a computer. And then the music gets ripped and goes on the Internet. Some guy downloads it and listen to the first five seconds and then makes some unnecessary comment about the music. Makes me wonder why I even bother.

    Having said that, I think this is the last full album I want to produce. Don't get me wrong. I am grateful that I get full albums to produce. And usually get to do what I want. But given my nature, it's too stressful for me to be the only person bearing the weight of the success (or otherwise) of the album.

    I just had a look at the CD artwork for Diddy's album. Looks great. Sounds great. (I only heard the final mastered versions at Nick Lee's but didn't get a chance to pick up the final master. Hence, no photos.) It's the most complicated project I've ever been involved with, given the number of musicians and sessions (including over-the-Internet international sessions) required. That's all I can say for now. I think there is a gag order and I can be sued by the label manager for saying too much.

    And now that the album is done, I am focusing on finishing this other dragged-out-for-months album for Faizal Tahir (which without a doubt, is the most creative singer/songwriter I've ever worked with and so far, the only writer I can connect and co-write with.) Totally different style of music which in itself is a challenge for me to switch between being ghetto and being rock, and sometimes in between, I am Hannah Montana.

    So after Faizal's album, no more full albums for me!

    I now sleep three hours a day. I am desperately trying to go to bed early instead of the past 5a.m. I am clocking in for the past four months. I eat poorly. I am hardly ever at home. I am tired all the time. I forget easily. I haven't been exercise or doing my manly yoga. I don't watch TV anymore. I just found bread in my fridge that expired in March 07. I haven't been back to my mother's in Melaka since Chinese New Year. And I am quite sure that Smurfs are living in that giant mushroom I have outside the balcony. And for the love of all things sacred and pure, I am collecting hair in my bathroom's drain hole and I have an art piece made with chewed gum!

    This is what full album productions will do to you!

    Incidentally, Diddy's CD drops 25 September 2007.

    Friday, September 14, 2007

    After my previous thought-provoking blog post, I felt that the floodgates of my personal life has been busted open. So share, I will. Since I've introduced Harry Klump and Satu, let me share another joy of mine. I don't have a name for this (torn between "germfest" and "midday cream" but this is a pile of gum I've collected. Not just mine, mind you.

    Me: Hey Maya. Would you like a piece of gum?
    Maya: Sure.
    Me: But you realise that I am not giving you this piece of gum right? I want it back?
    Maya: What? Why?
    Me: It's a gum loan. After you are done, give it back to me and I'll add to this.

    You should take a moment. Click on the image above for a larger image and admire the intricacies. And if you stare at it long enough, you might see the face of someone you know or a new position for human reproduction.

    I wanted to show this off and offer a piece of gum to Siti. But I didn't want her to think I was weird or something.

    As always, feel free to save this and have it as your desktop wallpaper.

    Coming soon: Ever wondered how much finger nail a person clips off in a year? Find out next week on Batdude!

    Thursday, September 13, 2007

    The Reluctant Music Label Executive

    About five years ago, I met Colin Pereira, one of the directors of Fuse, a then-new audio production house doing mostly music for advertising. They also had talent management business and they managed rather interesting music acts including Deanna Yusoff, Discomafia, Nightlife Camera, and Reshmonu.

    I was at the tail-end of a kinda-sorta-failed business. I was broke, in debt, and honestly, quite lost as to what my next step was going to be. I was introduced to Colin and I was given a shot to work on some music of a commercial. It was something new and I struggled at it. But after a few months, I think I was getting it.

    After almost three active years and almost a hundred productions in advertising music, I think I finally got it. And shock horror...I was making money. While advertising music was paying my bills, I still did album work here and there whenever someone gave me the chance to.

    But those years in advertising were interesting. I had a few defining moments:

    - I annoyed Malaysia (and Maxis and DiGi) with my Celcom 5sen SMS song: "Gimme gimme gimme...what I want" and the many many variations after that.

    - I did the music for two Malaysian Airlines TV commercials which I am proud of: The one where things move backwards in time and the one introducing the airline's new jumbo Airbus

    - For my advertising productions, I recorded, for my first time: Clarinet, Steve Thornton, Coni Soliano, some singer from Hungary (or some Eastern European country), string players from the MPO, Mia Palencia, Jaclyn Victor (before she became Jaclyn Victor), and recorded at King's Studio on freakin' analog tape!

    Underlining all that, my heart was still in local music scene. And more specifically, Malay-language music. But it was frustrating because there was not a lot of room for creativity and innovation because major labels do not take risks on new ideas. Up until 2005, the major labels were still in control. Kinda.

    I was frustrated with where the local music industry was going. Not because I am patriot. It was because there was something more exciting going on the flip side which is the local English-language scene. And that made the Malay-language scene look like a dinosaur. Malay-language music became something that is old and outdated. When you say "Malay music", you think "ugly old rock music or screechy ballads."

    When you question why? And why not try something new? The lame-ass answer would be "because the market loves ballads." So name me one ballad that has had an impact and I will name you two non-ballads that have. The market will try to take what we give them. If they don't like it, they will find what they want some place else. And that "some place else" is Indonesia.

    Moron: This is a cool song. Who is it?
    Me: It's Peterpan.
    Moron: No wonder la.
    Me: *Sigh*

    One would not associate the words "modern", "new" or "progressive" when it comes to Malay-language music from Malaysia. But when it comes from Indonesia, then it's different. When it's "Malay" and it sounds good, then it must be Indonesian.

    Idiot: This is a cool song. Who is it?
    Me: It's Dina from Malaysian Idol.
    Idiot: Wow! Really? The music sounds really good. I thought it was Indonesian.
    Me: You are an idiot.

    Putting it in a nutshell, it has come to this: Malaysian music only sounds good when it sounds like Indonesian music.

    Moving on to June 2006.

    Me: I want to make the kind of music I want to make which I think will work. Not because the label tells me to. I am not on a "syok sendiri" trip. I want to make music that sells. I want new pop music in Malay. I want lots of people to like the music and not just the urban few. There is a new segment in the music market. The kampung folks have moved up the social and economic ladder. Not all Malays want to listen to old-school rock ballads. I want that same excitement I felt when I heard Sheila Majid's "Warna" or Zainal Abidin's "Senang-senang" for the first time back in the 80s. I want that excitement when I heard Innuendo and OAG for the first time back in the 90s. I want to make Malay music cool!
    Colin: OK.

    So I decided to do producers do when they want to prove a point. I will find talent. Develop and produce an album for them. Sell the masters to a record label to market and distribute, and get Fuse to manage the artist. And then I move on to my next project. Clean and straightforward. That way, I won't have to depend on labels to jobs. There's risk but at least I have some control and I'm more proactive in making sure I have an income. After all, didn't Adnan do this and discovered Siti Nurhaliza, Liza Hanim, and Misha Omar?

    Seemed like such a simple idea but God had other plans for me.

    Fast forward to August 2007. Everything I had planned for has fallen apart evolved. There has been personnel changes. Roles have been redefined. Over the course of the past few months, things have taken shape and I've come to terms with it. I am now part of a record label.
    I have taken the role that was the very source of my frustrations. I'm struggling to digest this.

    Today, we had a media event. To see the artists all in the same room was a little overwhelming but at the same time exciting. Never have I had so many opportunities to screw up one's career.

    Today, I want to tell you of my association to Satu.

    (Imagine that! A Malaysian entertainment company with a Malay name that even a white guy can pronounce.)

    I hope to achieve several things with Satu and they are mostly related to my thoughts expressed earlier: To change the perception of the market to Malay-language music. And to open new markets for local Malay-language music. Satu is not competition. We will not produce power ballads. So help me God...to have our Malaysian sound. I want the Indonesians to one day say "Let's make it sound Malaysian!"

    Putting it simply, I want to make Malay music sound cool. And I also want to double the size of Harry Klump II.

    I am still writing and producing for others because I see these artists as an agent of change. I am always grateful whenever artists puts their trust in me and give me the freedom to come up with something I think will work for them. It's always a risk when you go with an Audi Mok song. ("It sounds cool but where do I breathe when I sing the chorus?" :-) But that opportunity is something I appreciate and would be foolish to pass up.

    So there you go. A new chapter for me. A year from now I will know if I've completely ruined my career or I'm onto something and I actually do some good for the industry. Needless to say, I need all the help I can get. So if you want to impress me or have me in your debt, now would be a good time.

    (Suddenly I feel like Steve Jobs with his open letters.)

    Got music here: satu.fm

    Thursday, September 06, 2007

    I'm sure you notice the hair at the drain hole in your shower. You'd notice it even more if you have females with long hair using the shower. (And it's not limited to just the shower. It extends to the rest of your dwellings.)

    But let me ask the tough question here. While shampooing, have you ever wondered what would happen if you just left the hair there? Perhaps, a month? Maybe two? Well, like you, I asked and I found out. (Sacrifices!)

    Call me Captain Obvious, but after eight months, I got a huge pile of hair. Just know that the pile could have been one year but my mom visited and threw it out at four months. I was devastated. So was my mom, but for different reasons.

    I had grown rather attached to it. I even named it: Harry Klump.

    The pictures below do not do justice. But I have to admit that it started getting creepy after the sixth month because it would look like a hairpiece on the bathroom floor or some dead animal. That's when I decided that I may have to let it go.

    And before you judge me, I did take good care of Harry. I'd shampoo it once a week. Granted, I used my feet for this task, but still...

    Anyway, I've decided that it had to go. Mom's visiting again and we don't always appreciate the same things. One man's Harry is another woman's drain clog.

    Feel free to click on the image for a larger and more detailed view. You will appreciate its intricacies at a larger view. And by all means, make it your desktop wallpaper. Please. I insist.


    Monday, September 03, 2007

    It has finally happened.

    I recorded Siti Nurhaliza this morning. I am not sure if I am even allowed to make this statement. But screw it. I recorded Siti Nurhaliza this morning! I remembered she said "Hi". Everything else after that is a blur.

    Who wants to touch me?

    Tuesday, August 21, 2007

    I've been watching that Arabic channel on Astro recently (Channel 5). It is quite entertaining. At first, I was watching it because I was getting cheap thrills from watching beautiful people speak Arabic. Imagine: this pretty model thing speaking like she is trying to hock this hunk of phlegm out of her throat.

    Then the shocking revelation. Their music.

    I am not sure if what I saw on TV represents what is going on in the Arab world but the music is fantastic. And the industry, while I am sure, is also plagued with piracy and illegal music downloads, seems so much more vibrant compared to what is going on in Malaysia. You'd think as Islamic countries, they'd have their women artists wrapped up head to toe. But no. The music and image are far more appealing and modern (and of course, sexier) than what we have going on here. Compared to them, Malaysian artists look antiquated and old-fashioned.

    I am going out on a limb to say this. But damn the torpedoes. I blame the media (to a certain extent) but I also blame the phase of the moon that clashes with Neptune.

    A singer here shows a little too much bare shoulder, and everyone gets on their case. A singer gets a little attention from some religious department, and that story becomes an exclusive. Siti Nurhaliza shows some cleavage and that makes the front page with her cleavage blurred out.

    With such backward and regressive thinking, it is no wonder our music industry is still in the stone-age. The only excitement is when a singer is embroiled in scandal. But never about the music. What does that say about us as a people and as a race?

    But I hear that people still get stoned to death in some Arab countries though. Go figure.

    Tuesday, August 14, 2007

    Feeling rather patriotic, I came to a quiet realisation a few days ago amidst our almost-reckless national ass-kissing pre-Merdeka celebrations. Like most Malaysians, I am quite proud of Malaysia's achievements. But (there's always a "but" when we say something positive about Malaysia) it is the same kind of pride you get when you look at some under-developed African country and go, "I'm glad to be Malaysian."

    Still, pride nonetheless.

    Anyway, back to my realisation.

    We look to become this "world-class city" with "world-class people." Sadly, I do not think that's going to happen in my lifetime. Simply because we already have a model of the kind of country we are but may or may not realise. But we think we want to grow up to become something else. Perhaps like Tokyo. International city with it's own identity and culture. Proud and productive people. And economic superpower.

    Unlike, say, Singapore. International city. Total sell-out. In 20 years, there will be more white people than Asians in Singapore. But the leaders of Singapore seem to be OK with that because they already speak with an accent. The difference here is that Singapore has been pretty clear about what they want to be when they grow up: Hong Kong.

    So back to Malaysia.

    I am driving to KL. Traffic was slow. I take some time to soak in the sights. I am really looking around. I've driven down this highway before but I had never noticed that building or that sign. Then it hits me. Kuala Lumpur is not a friendly international city. Look at the street signs. I am on the Sungai Besi highway. The entry road to the city for most foreigners who fly in to KLIA. Yet the street signs are in Malay. Are we suppose to expect our buddy Dieter from Germany to know what "IKUT KIRI" is?

    You'd think I'd think "Hey! We have our own language. Why not show it and make our visitors feel like they are REALLY in another country right? After all, those Germans do the same!"

    Sadly, I didn't think Germany or Japan. What came to mind was Mexico.

    Yes, Malaysia is like Mexico.

    And that's not necessarily a bad thing. (!)

    Both countries have very similar characteristics and you can see where this is going. So, we are really like beautiful Mexico. Only difference is, we will hang your ass if you sell drugs here. Other than that, we are almost there. We even have the Spanish soap operas to prove it.

    Friday, August 10, 2007

    There are two things I really do not get. (Actually, I don't get a lot of things!) The first one is the popped collar. (See pic below.) I see that a lot with guys wearing their polo shirts. I want to come right out and say "I don't get it." It's right up there with the hip hop rapper guy who pulls up one side of this pants up to his ankles.

    Maybe I am old but is this supposed to be cool? The way I see it, only two two people can do the popped collar thing: A priest and Dracula. On anyone else, I just don't get it. If you know me, and you pop your collar, please explain it to me. The only reason I can think of is for neck-area ventilation. Better air flow? You tell me. I want to understand.


    And then there's this "babe" thing. "Hey babes!" or "Hi beb!" And there's the "sweetie." Somehow, these people think they are in an episode of "Friends" or they are white and in a teen high school movie.

    Stop it.

    Sunday, August 05, 2007

    It's 8 a.m. Sunday. And the mixes are done! All eight songs!

    Life goes on. And it is going in the form of the McDonald's Sausage McMuffin™.
    It's 6:38 am on Sunday. I've been sitting in the studio since 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon. And I have two more songs to go. I am about to pass out now. I just hope that the mixes won't sound like crap when I listen to it with fresh ears later today. There is nothing glamourous about being a music producer.

    Saturday, August 04, 2007

    Today I am finalising the mixes for Diddy's album. And while waiting for the mixes to be exported, I have decided to blog aimlessly.

    Before I begin, I would like to announce that the "NO BLOG UPDATE MONTH" for the month of July was a great success! *Applause*

    On with the show.

    Let me tell you about this party I went to last week. I do not usually go to parties. In fact, I do not get out much. But this one, I had to go because.....

    This is a very exclusive party and only a handful of people were invited. I think the only reason why I was invited was because I am a close friend to this person. Not because of my personality or that I've ever shown any affinity for this kind of lifestyle. (And come to think of it, neither has he.) Anyway, it's a costume party and we were to dress up like members of the "Village People".

    So exclusive is this party that we were not told of the location but were told to meet at this place in KL. Once everyone arrived (about 20 or so), we were searched and our handphones and cameras were taken away from us and put into little bags.

    I thought to myself, "Oh goody! We are going to get a sneak preview of "The Simpsons" movie!"

    Not so.

    We were led like cattle to another place and whisked away into a suite. (When you are dressed like the "Village People", you have to be "whisked away". And I am sure I heard someone say "Look at them. They must be going to a self-improvement seminar in personal style and fashion!")

    Well, we open the door to the suite and I see pretty men in their thongs serving drinks...hairy butt cheeks and all. Then we have more pretty boys in their cotton whities dancing in the four corners of the room. And let's not forget the one pretty naked boy sitting at the fruit table with fruits and vegetables cover his crotch.

    The things people do for a living...

    And now, I shall pray and ask the good Lord for healing.
    This past week, I'd been feeling a little depressed. And I finally found out why just last night at about 3 a.m. right after I finished the final "Harry Potter" book. After I finished the last page of the book, I felt some relief. I reread the last chapter because I had some withdrawal symptoms.

    Finally, it is over. And that damn book actually made me sad! Largely because it's the last thing I read before going to sleep. And it's usually a dark moment in the story. So I go to sleep with it and that "darkness" just brews in my subconscious when I am asleep. And I wake up with it and carry it with me for the rest of the day. It shows when I start referring to my friends as "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named" or "Asshole-Number-One". And this has been going on for over a week.

    Now I can go back to my other book and watch Star Trek before I go to sleep.

    Friday, June 29, 2007

    Blog update! Alert the media!

    I have a Dell notebook for sale. :-)

    It is an Inspiron 6400 but the parts are all pimped out. I bought this notebook about 6 months ago with the intention of using it for music production. With everything maxed out, I paid almost 5k for it. I am offering this for sale at RM3500. Let me know if you or anyone is interested.

    Intel Duo Core
    15.4" wide-screen with TrueLife (tm) 1280x800 resolution. (This is very cool.)
    2GB RAM
    60GB SATA drive 7200rpm
    9-cell battery. 5 hours!
    DVD burner

    Email me if you are interested. audimok(at)yahoo.com

    Monday, June 11, 2007



    This is a pop band.

    Saturday, June 02, 2007

    As cool as it may look, black is not a practical colour for cars in Malaysia unless you enjoy that "bake-while-you-drive" feeling.

    Tuesday, May 15, 2007

    I saw this "punk'd"-wannabe show on NTV7 a few weeks ago, just before "Thursday Night Live." The setup was that they tell this woman that her children were kidnapped and she gets a call from the kidnapper stating his demands. And if not met, they will harm her kids. They drag it out as they do and this poor mother was crying and terrified. After it gets old, they drag it out some more, and finally when they run out of time, they tell the woman it was candid-camera moment.

    What kind of moron would find this funny? When someone asks "Do you know where the smart people are?", you can say "Not in television. Especially not at NTV7."

    Monday, May 14, 2007

    I attended the wedding of someone I consider a very good and close friend today; Farah Asyikin. It was a grand wedding at Dewan Perdana Felda. So grand that Datuk K and Siti Nurhaliza and the Pahang Menteri Besar were there too. Then there were people from other countries. So I walk up to her table to make sure that she sees me and knows that I made it to her wedding dinner. (She was upset that I almost couldn't make it. But that's another story.)

    Sure she is happy to see me. I wasn't sure if our usual hugging was allowed. Anyway, Farah introduces me to this handsome woman sitting next to her. Couldn't hear a word she said due to the grandness going on. On with the introduction, I think this is Farah's mom. I extend my hand for a handshake and do the obligatory "Hi Aunty."

    Let me type that out again: "Hi Aunty."

    Yes. That's what I said. Then my eyes notices the guy sitting across this "aunty".

    Allow me to recap my ran through my mind in 2.3 seconds.

    "Gosh, that guy looks familiar. Is that Sudirman? No wait, he looks an awful lot like our Deputy Prime Minister, Najib Tun Razak. Wait a minute. He is! And this woman must then be his wife."

    I am still shaking her hand and now there's a weird look on her face.

    So here is something I don't do everyday. I called the wife of the Deputy Prime Minister, "AUNTY!"

    HELL YEAH!

    Then I walk back to my table with my tail between my legs and I starting beating Jaclyn Victor up for not telling me.

    "HI AUNTY!"

    I still can't get over it. I hope "Uncle" is doing well.

    Thursday, May 03, 2007

    I am feeling proud today. While the rest of Malaysia were enjoying the double holiday, to my mother's great disappointment, I was "working". First achievement involves clearing out my work space. That took almost five hours and I am still not completely done. I have just managed to organise my mess.

    Second, I finished this song I had been working on and it is going to radio. I feel like I can breathe again until when the song gets on radio. Then I'd be holding my breath to see if people like it.

    Finally, today I actually worked for my money. I recorded someone. And the very thought of the whole recording session is causing me to have sinful thoughts. If there were ever a reason for me to become an alcoholic, this session would be it.

    I just needed to get that off my chest!

    Monday, April 30, 2007

    I have been to two award shows in the past month: Anugerah MACP and the recent AIM 14, which everyone who wins an AIM award will say it's the "local Grammies" as if to validate the importance of the award and their win. The MACP award show was just too much of a goner for me to even make a comment. But the AIM last night just did it for me.

    At about the 28th minute into the show, it all came rushing to me as to why I do not go for these award shows or any kind of live TV telecast shows: It makes me suicidal and makes me not want to be part of the music industry.

    Nothing has changed. Everything is still old. We are still looking back. No wonder this country is so ass-backwards. It infuriates me that the industry is still feeding the people the same crap over and over and over and over again.

    There was this part of me that wished a bomb would go off and kill everyone in the hall. Then the industry would have to start all over again with fresh blood and new talent. But wait...I was there too. So scrap that thought.

    Especially when it came to the medley by the nominees for the Best New Artist award. Five of them. One after the other. I thought they were all singing the same 48bpm ballad until Sean Ghazi came in and did his salsa piece. Only then I realised that there were four different ballads before. Maybe Aubrey used the same piano sound for all the songs. That's why it sounds the same. Right.

    Sunday, April 29, 2007

    I have concluded that this whole Qing Ming festival that has Chinese people all over the world burning stuff to dead people is totally unnecessary. Then there's that whole global warming thing. There must be a better way to send money to dead people besides burning it to hell.

    Thursday, April 12, 2007

    It's quite tragic when I am able to get tracks out more often than I get my blog updated. It really means I have nothing to say except to say that Dina has a new track out: "Malu Tapi Mahu." Coming soon to radio but you heard it here first. Go tell all your friends how special you are.

    Please love this song. Request for it on radio. My career depends on it.

    Sunday, April 01, 2007

    Sunday, March 25, 2007

    Greetings folks! I appreciate and I am very grateful and glad that you like the music I have here and on my imeem page. However, please do not ask me to email you any of these songs to you. It's already questionable that I even have these songs on-line. So, emailing it to you would be pushing it.

    Go buy the CD. If you can't buy the CD for whatever reason, contact the label directly and tell them why you are not buying. Ask me for the contact information.

    It could be for anyone of the following reasons: Too expensive. Or you only want one song and the rest of the songs on the album just suck ass. Or you can't find the CD in stores. I think the label should know these things. And if your email them and they give you a lame-ass response, let me know. Only then I will play pirate and email you the MP3.

    Until then, please don't ask. I hate to be rude but I won't reply your email.

    Thursday, March 22, 2007

    My parents are not young anymore. As obvious as that is, I just came to realise it recently. It is one of those things in life many take for granted. I've always just saw them as the same parents I've had since I was a child. In other words, they are still 35. Now both my parents are old and it is showing. Sometimes I feel sad when I think about it. And I just have this feeling I will regret for a lot of things I did not do with my parents while I had the chance. Eighty seven percent of that would be not spending enough time with them. I regret not spending more time with my grandmother. I regret not being able to visit China with her. But then again, I didn't have the means too. So the grandmother incident is making me realise a lot of the potential missed opportunities I could have with my parents. Perhaps that is what grandparents are for: To make us realise these things. It's a cycle. All this naturally leads me to question my own mortality. Yes! I have now successfully managed to depress myself. It must be the time of day and the music I am listening to and working on.

    Listen to my "Chicken Love" again.

    Saturday, March 17, 2007

    I am sure I am not the only one who thinks this but I hate MySpace. It's ugly. It's crippled. It's slow. It's stupid. So, MySpace can kiss my ass. I have moved my music profile and MUSIC blog to imeem where it is a lot more flexible for music people. (My regular blog is still here!) At imeem, you can upload more than four songs! Nuff said!

    http://audimok.imeem.com

    Now if only someone could tell me how to pronounce it the right way.

    Monday, March 12, 2007

    I was lighting this candle. I leaned forward and my hair fell into the flame and my hair...a-blazin'. Took out part of my eyebrows too. Then there's that funky smell of burning hair. And the eyelids sticking together because the melted eyebrows turned into this weird sticky paste.

    At least now when my future kids ask me, "Dad, did you have set your eyebrows on fire?", I can confidently give a resounding "Yes!" Followed by "Who's your daddy?"

    Saturday, March 10, 2007

    It doesn't matter who you are, how cool or how much money you have. You could be a supermodel but 87.2% of effective nose-picking happens in the car when the driver is alone with 68% of auto-nose-picking happening while waiting at traffic lights. You can tell when the person winds down the car window, sticks their fingers out and starts flicking their fingers to get the snot off. It's a thing of beauty.

    Friday, March 09, 2007

    Just yesterday morning, I was holding on to my morning beverage of green tea. Then I felt this sensation on my fingers. I realised that my finger was in very hot water. The strange thing was that it took me at least two seconds to register: Finger. Hot water. Pain. Put mug down. Scream like a girl.

    So now I got a funky skin displacement thing on my thumb. Apparently weird liquid will fill up the loose skin and I will have to pop it to get the juices out. What a treat for me!

    Just the other day, while have a meal with some friends and their family, this father said to his son, "Don’t drink when you are eating. You get full faster." I’ve heard that before, especially when I was a kid at the dinner table with adults. But isn’t it the point?

    Perhaps if you eat and drink, you’d get full sooner but you are not really full of food but full of water (?) which means you will get hungry later. So, it is really a faux full. Maybe I’d buy that argument. But in this situation, the guy who dispensed this info-nugget didn’t take it that way. He didn’t drink just so he could eat more. So the kid didn’t drink. He looked parched. But I am sure he will be full for awhile. Probably get fat too. Needless to say, these people are Chinese China.

    I think some people out there might think I am one of those people who reverse discriminate whenever I piss on Chinese people. It could not be further from the truth. I am very proud that I am Chinese. Of all the races in the world, I am glad to be Chinese. (Although I wish I were Jedi or at least got a discount when I buy a house or I didn’t have to compete for five seats at a local university with 60 trillion other brainiacs from my own race.) Wa-hey! Yet another rare social and political rant. Moving on up.

    But to paraphrase Chris Rock, there are people who are Chinese AND there are people who are China. It is a social occurrence in all races, not just with the Chinese. You can tell when a person is China when they have the S problem. The S can mean two things. If I want to be majorly lame and say they have an S problem, it could mean they have an ass problem meaning that Chinese people have no ass. Which is not necessarily an exaggeration.

    But the S problem I have in mind is the China’s inopportune use or lack of the S. We get “Starbuck” instead of "Starbucks". Softwares. McDonald. Furnitures. Microsoft Window. Desperate Housewife.

    And then there’s the totally unrelated yet related "onlai" as in "I want to go onlai the internet."

    What up with that China?

    (Before you leave a witty comment, I wanted to add "equipment" to the list but thought it was too predictable after "furnitures".)

    Saturday, March 03, 2007

    I am still trying very hard to get used to the taste of cardboard oat. So I got this 3-in-1 oat mix by Quaker, maker of fine oat products. Sadly, it still tastes like cardboard; albeit fine cardboard. I look forward to the day I can enjoy a bowl of oatmeal without it being a test of my gag reflex.

    Just yesterday, I reluctantly went to a Chinese New Year dinner thing. Reluctant because I didn't know the host but her person who invited me has..... Let's just say I had to go and so I went. It was a new experience for me for several reasons. First, it was the home of a very rich Chinaman Chinese businessman. Second, he lives in Cheras. Rich Chinese businessman who lives in Cheras. It's almost too good to pass on an experience of witnessing a display of wealth and good taste.

    As expected, big-ass house. Maybe it's a mansion. I am not sure when "big house" crosses the line and becomes "mansion". Whatever it was, it is huge. Lots of wall-to-wall marble action. Swimming pool. Home theatre. Marble. I think it has nine bathrooms. Marble. It has a separate temperature-controlled room for the altar. Religious folks they are. Did I mention the marble?

    Then there's the excess of everything except lawn space. And the three roast whole pigs complete with the head. And the volume of their voices. And then there's the trash can that has a sign that says "TIN ONLY" but it is filled with aluminum cans.

    I see the person who invited me reach into a trash bag and pick out two beer cans and put them in the "TIN ONLY" bin.

    Me: Wow Cindy. I am impressed that you care for the environment. You recycle. You are changing my impression of Chinese people that we do not care about anything except for money.
    Cindy: Environment? What environment? Each tin I can get 5 sen! Who dowan?

    For a moment there, I thought I lost touch with my Chinese-kind. But all is well.

    Monday, February 26, 2007

    For those who are interested, I have a music blog at www.myspace.com/audimokmusic. You will find music that I've put online without permission from the rightful owners and all kinds of musical things. I will keep this blog for non-music related smart-ass comments.

    Thursday, February 22, 2007

    It's the Chinese New Year again. Usually also known as "The Annual Batdude Blogfest" held yearly in Melaka, this time things were different. For one, I did not plug into the Internet for more than four days! That's a record for me. And I survived.

    And the reason why I had blogfest in the first place; which is to keep me from hurting myself with blunt but still usable knives due to the boredom that Melaka offers, I was not bored this time. For this time, I planned well. One week before I left, I downloaded 14 episodes of "Heroes" and I brought that along with my "The Office" DVDs.

    That about sums it up: "Heroes" and sleeping, waking up only to eat. I am talking about 15-hour sleep days.

    This Chinese New Year was also different for another reason. It's the first time for me to be in Melaka celebrating CNY without my grandmother. So that was weird for me. And that also meant that the reunion dinner was at my parent's. When you only have ONE sister who lives in the same city as you, a family reunion dinner seems pretty silly. The moral of the story here is to have lots of kids. Family reunions are more fun that way.

    Now I am back in KL. I start making music again tomorrow. I am excited.

    Friday, February 16, 2007

    Because of Mr. Manager...

    Six Things You Did Not Know About Me.

    1. It takes me less than five seconds to fall asleep once my head hits the pillow.

    2. I watch the "Special Features" on the DVDs I buy and hardly watch the actual movie itself. Even if I do watch the movie, I watch it with the commentary.

    3. My favourite kind of music is jazz.

    4. When I write a song, the greatest practical motivation for me is money. The creative motivation is the artist I am writing for.

    5. I do not read or write music notation.

    6. I have more than 15 black T-shirts.
    More often that not, Malaysians (which includes The Star newspaper and RTM TV) do not realise this. It is not polite to refer to Japanese people as "Jap". While I am at it, it is also impolite and downright rude to refer to people from Pakistan as "Paki", or to refer to black people as "nigger" or "negro". Don't say I didn't warn you.

    Thursday, February 08, 2007

    This is how pathetic I am. I just recently discovered jambu air. I've seen it around but I never got around to eating one. Then a friend offered one to me about six months ago. I can't enough of it.

    Also called "rose apple" or "water apple", the jambu air which is of genus Syzygium, and is in the Myrtaceae species, native to Malaysia and Indonesia. Other common names include wax apple, love apple, java apple, wax jambu, and bell fruit.

    It retails for about RM5.00-RM-5.50 per kg.
    This blog update is dedicated to Azlan Abu Hassan, winner of Anugerah Juara Lagu 2007 with "Terlalu Istimewa." He owns three Universal Audio UAD-1 DSP cards and has every string and orchestra sample library known to man. He is also on a quest for that 1-terabyte grand piano sample library. Still, I love him and call him a friend.

    Saturday, February 03, 2007

    This blog update is dedicated to Omar K.

    Thursday, January 25, 2007

    There is a very disturbing trend in the music industry.

    Me: Hey! Where are the remixes and that song we recorded?
    Singer: Oh. It's not going to be in this album. I am saving it for the repackage album.
    Me: Why?
    Singer: Dunno. Everybody is doing it.

    Yes. It's is the curse of the repackage album.

    So in Malaysia, the singer comes out with the pre-repackage album. The album doesn't sell well and somehow they think repackaging the album will do better sales. But wait, it might. They will add a new song. Which makes me wonder. Why wasn't that song in the album in the first place.

    The moral of the story to the consumer is to wait for the repackage album. Don't buy the first version. The cover sucks anyway. Wait a few months and get the repack with bonus tracks and all.

    As if it isn't difficult enough, music labels and singers are making even more difficult for themselves to sell music by imposing an entrance fee: The first crappy CD.

    But in other news, I got a bit of a thrill today when I heard one of my tracks reproduced in English: Drama. I recorded Ning's vocals here in KL (with stories which will require a new blog) and the vocals were shipped to London for the music by Jesus From Ibiza. I am very happy with it, although I was expecting them to totally pimp out the song to the point that I wouldn't recognise it anymore. You can check it out on my MySpace page.

    Malaysia Boleh!

    Thursday, January 18, 2007

    There is no easy way to eat the McDonald's Chicken Foldover. Collin told me to keep the thing in the paper wrap and the environmentally-unfriendly cardboard box. I have eaten it that way before and I would end up with a chicken pattie and lettuce at the bottom of the paper wrap. So that didn't work well.

    I took it out of the cardboard box and put it on a plate. To eat it, I had to tilt my head and eat it side ways. I am sure this is a yoga pose. Even then, I had to be careful to make sure stuff do not fall out of the foldover. You just can't win with this thing.

    Wednesday, January 17, 2007

    No matter what they say, it is very possible to burn your hair with a hair dryer. No, it doesn't mean a fire like a burning bush. But it starts to smell funky and you noticed something is missing.

    I recorded Ning and Dayang in two separate sessions these past two nights. And once again, I am given some faith in the music scene. I cannot stress how appreciative I am working with them. Only one word when it comes to their craft: Professional. Both were faced with circumstances that were less than perfect. Both came through. No little part of me died inside.

    Ning had to learn the song that is....let's say "questionable" then and there. She came through and we had a few laughs in the process.

    Dayang was sick. She still came to the session. She tried. I made it quick. I told her to do her best for 20 minutes. She did and we wrapped up the session in 18 minutes. Then we watched the Golden Globe Awards on TV.

    PROFESSIONALS.

    In contrast, some singers don't even show up for their session and then blame their manager for not telling them. But he did. But she didn't get it the message. But he told her already at that nasi kandar place in Ampang last week. But she said she needed directions. But he said.....she said...he said...shave your balls and call your mother.

    Monday, January 08, 2007

    I can't say this enough. I'd rather lick a cat's butt than to have my picture taken or be interviewed. And this time around, they made me wear makeup. I felt compromised. Violated. I am not sure if I will ever be the same man I was again.

    However, the experience reminded me somethings I sometimes forgot in the thick of things. I feel truly blessed professionally. And the interview this afternoon somewhat made me realise that. I have been blessed with people like Mr Manager, Badrul, Izham, and many others that have taken a chance with my work. And they did not ask for ballads. However, it really could be that they had no one else to ask and are just desperate for something different and they'd dessert me at the drop of a hat if someone else new came along. (These people are just bastards!) For now, I am going to think otherwise because there is really no reason why a Chinese guy from Melaka who can't read music and only know five chords should be in the Malay music industry.

    That's why I need 15 takes to spit out these lines.

    "Jangan lupa. Saksikan Kemuncak AIM 14. Setiap Jumaat, 8 malam, hanya di NTV7. Saluran ceria anda."

    Thursday, January 04, 2007

    I had lunch at House + Co., located on the third floor at Bangsar Shopping Centre. This is actually a furniture store but they have a little cafe at the back. They serve the best curry laksa. And the kuay teow soup and nasi lemak are excellent as well. It is not a casual statement when I say the curry laksa is the best in the world. It's a fact.

    Over lunch, my lunch buddy tells me about her friend who was to be married. Her fiance's parents visited those creepy Chinese medium guys at the temple. They got into a trance and told her that her fiance was meant to be alone in life and that if she married him, she would die. Yes, she will DIE. So what does she do? She did what any superstitious-feng-shui-believing-cockle-loving Chinese would do. She called off the wedding.

    I feel for the guy. What can he do? It's about the most cruel thing that could happen...right up there with involuntary castration by a strong overzealous crotch-grabbing child. Even if he married her, they'd have this cloud hanging over them for the rest of their lives. And perhaps to the point where it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and she actually dies. This is exactly the sort of thing that could ruin his day.

    Anyway, check out House + Co. As tables and seatings are limited, please check with me to make sure that I do not plan to eat there as well. I don't need the challenge.

    Wednesday, January 03, 2007

    So this is what life was like before the Internet. Sort of.

    I just have not been bothered to go on-line these past few days because my connection to the Internet just sucks royal ass. I thought the concept of the Internet and the World Wide Web was that we’d be able to connect no matter what. Traffic will be rerouted if one part of the Internet goes down. Hence, World Wide WEB.

    Anyway, these past few days were different. I’d go on-line for awhile. I can’t get to the sites I want. I get frustrated. I have hateful thoughts then I’d just turn off the computer.

    Suddenly I have all this time in my hands. I had no idea I spent that much time on the Internet doing stupid things like downloading TV shows I don’t have time to watch or digg for stories at Digg.com researching the meaning of life.

    And suddenly, I am living again. I am watching TV. I am exercising. I am cleaning the apartment. Folding laundry. Separating the expired food products in my fridge by year. Visiting other parts of my apartment like the living room.

    I could get used to this.

    And why is it that whenever foreign press write news stories on Indonesians and mention a name, it is almost always followed by “who goes by just one name”. Really…who cares? I don’t think any reader who reads “Sipan is tired of crying” is going to go “I wonder if Sipan is his only name or he has more than one name.”

    Tuesday, January 02, 2007

    You might want to know this.

    I mentioned this in Clara's blog some time ago but I was again recently confronted with a situation which require some gift-giving. And it is gift-giving of the worst kind: Giving a gift out of obligation. What’s worse than that is giving a gift out of obligation to someone you hardly know but you know you have to because you don't want to come off looking like a bastard.

    Well. Glad that’s out of the way.

    Recent events made me realise that a situation can sometimes call for something more and sometimes, the best gift is not necessarily material gifts. And I do not mean something tacky like a gift certificate or a donation made in that person’s name.

    I am talking about something more radical and heartfelt. Something that this person will remember forever and write folk songs about it.

    I am talking about the gift of honesty.

    And it goes a little something like this.

    Me: I am giving you the gift of honesty this year. In all honesty, I don’t know or like you enough to buy you a gift.
    Sad person in shock: Thank you.

    It’s that simple.