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    Wednesday, December 01, 2010

    Since you asked...

    This morning, for the third time this month, I forgot to pack my clothes to wear after my workout at Bangsar Village.  Again, for the third time this month, I had to go to a store in my gym clothes and get a whole new outfit.  Today was extra special because I had specific clothing requirements for a photo shoot later in the afternoon: Plain white T-shirt and dark jeans.  (Thank you Anugerah Juara Lagu!)

    I walk into Ted Baker on the ground floor.  I can sense the Ted Baker retail staff looking at me thinking "Why is this guy in shorts and a gym shirt here?  He can't possibly afford this!"

    I am the only customer.  Three retail staff.  I get no assistance.  This has happened before.

    Hurriedly, I pick out a pair of jeans and a white T-shirt.  I try them on.  Seems OK.  The price tag on the jeans says "RM420" but it has a "30%-off"tag on it.  I sneak in the reason why I am in a hurry.

    I'm thinking, "RM294 for jeans."

    The T-shirt is RM99 with 30% off.  Never thought I'd pay RM60 for white T-shirt but since I screwed myself over, I'll pay the price.

    I get to the counter and the total is RM519.

    You see, the price tag is AFTER the discount.  To which I am thinking, "Sneaky bastards!"  If you are already going to put the price after the discount, then why bother put the discount percentage there?  You might as well put "90% off"!

    Of course, I could have not paid for it.  But I needed the clothes and I didn't have the time.

    My beef is not the RM519.

    So, I pay and leave.  I go the gym and do my thing and experience the wonders of the treadmill.  Take a shower and put on my new Ted Baker clothes.  Damn, the RM100-white T-shirt seems a little large now.  I put it on anyway and head back to Ted Baker.

    I explain to one of the three retail assistants.

    "I just bought this shirt.  May I try on a smaller size?"

    I understand how it looks.

    "I just took a shower and this shirt has only been worn for less than 2 minutes.  Less time than if someone where to try on the clothes in your store.  And I am fresh out of the shower with Adidas Team Force Shower Gel.  I am sure you have had filthier customers try on your clothes and then put them back on the rack.  If it will make you feel better, I could go back and change."

    The three stooges looked at each other dumbfounded.  After watching them struggle for about 2 minutes, I just walked out.

    "It should not be that difficult to satisfy a customer."

    Here is a business that has no concept of customer service.  They are giving me shit over a RM100-T-shirt after I paid RM400 for a pair of jeans.  You can imagine how much desire I have for wanting to shop at Ted Baker again.

    Ultimately, I blame Ted Baker management because they failed to empower and train their staff to handle these situations.  More importantly, they fail to allow them to exercise common sense.  As a result, they lost me as a future customer.  I have ill-feelings towards the brand and I will communicate this within my friends.

    The burning question now is, would they have treated me this way if I were a white guy?

    (In response to the comment posted below: It is not an issue based on racism but I'd expect them to be chicken-shit about it and give the expat what he wanted. Possibly out of fear, intimidation, pseudo-worship, or a combination of all the above. This double-standard exists. Don't kid yourself.)

    Friday, October 08, 2010

    It's that time of the year again. October.

    Monday, August 16, 2010

    The Great Facebook/Twitter Find!

    I want to write and produce a song for a random singer I choose from Facebook or Twitter! Any genre or style. Pop, rock, rap, urban, folk. Whatever.

    Send me a sample of your voice. Record it on your mobile phone and email me the clip along with a link to your Facebook profile.

    I will decide based on the tone, character, and quality of your voice as well as your music personality. The quality of the recording does NOT matter. So sing your heart out!

    I'd prefer someone new to the industry; never recorded or released any music successfully.

    Why am I doing this? Because I am just that bored.

    Email your voice demo to giantpurplemonkey(a)

    Looking forward to hearing from you soon!

    Monday, August 09, 2010

    It's a tragedy that government policies do not support the music entertainment industry. I am talking about music entertainment here...the stuff that the mass market listens to and not cultural music that gets used as background music for a documentary on the National Geographic channel.

    Millions are allocated for movies and not much (if at all) is put into pop music. Why is that?

    Tuesday, June 15, 2010

    Check out my new home on Tumblr.


    Friday, April 02, 2010

    Ning and I are almost done recording vocals for her new album. One more song to go. I'm very excited because you're going to hear Ning like you've never heard her before. I know people say that about their music all the time. This could indeed be one of those moments.

    Wednesday, March 24, 2010

    I am sure this has been mentioned many times before but why is it that whenever there are vice raids, the men get off the hook and the women get arrested?  No wonder women and children go first when the ship sinks!

    Friday, March 12, 2010

    After Faizal's first album "Aku.Muzik.Kamu" won AIM's Album of the Year in 2008, we wondered what we were going to do next.  It's a tough act to follow.  I feared that the next album would be self-indulgent OR we would stick to formula and repeat ourselves.  (Personally, it's easier for me to "syok sendiri" and come up with a "musician's album".)

    Then I remembered Zainal Abidin's "Gamal" and decided that I will "syok sendiri" for his fifth album.

    So we came up with Adrenalin instead.

    1.  Adrenalin
    This is one of the earlier songs that I presented to FT.  After he heard it, he said that it will be the first song on the album and he was going to title it "Adrenalin".  This is why I think FT is a natural marketing genius.

    2.  Superhero
    This is the very first new song we worked on and it was supposed to be for Anugerah Bintang Popular 09 in March.  We thought it was too predictably "Faizal Tahir".  So we put it aside and came up with "Bencinta" instead.  I feel that "Superhero" is a safe song that everyone will like.  It's almost to remind listeners that "Hey! This is still a Faizal Tahir album after all."  I like it that I got to play those Queen's "Radio Ga Ga" analog synth parts.  And the title? Again, natural marketing genius.

    3.  Selamat Malam
    This was the second single.  I love this song.  We recorded a string section which was exquisite.  I was inspired by the energy of the extended ending jam of The Beatles' "Hey Jude."  In fact, you can hear the guitar softly playing the line from "Hey Jude" at the last chorus.  This CD version is a little different from the radio single.

    4.  Karma
    Hands down, this is my favourite song in the album.  FT magically came up with the riff.  He wasn't even sure what he was playing but it triggered something in me.  Then we realised that it was in this odd time signature.  It's in 7/4 or 6/8 alternating with 4/4.  Some Berklee graduate told me that.  FT was sure about this song but he was cool enough to go with it.  It was going to be my "syok sendiri" song.  That's why I had that guitar/synth/breakbeat interlude and the lyrics are also a little risky.  It's about a girl who was abused/raped by her father.  He goes to jail.  Later gets our of prison.  Surprisingly, his daugther welcomes him back only to kill him.  I had dialog and sound effects but I took them out when it became too dark.  To soften it up, we had a female voice do the "hey hey" in the chorus.  Guess who?  It's the amazing Siti Nurhaliza who was so generous and cool to do it!

    5.  Hanyut
    My second favourite song after "Karma".  For a recovering ballad-hater, Faizal loves this song way more than I do.  I just wanted to do four things with this song:  The first verse and the second verse are different.  The chorus doesn't repeat itself in it's original form for the ending.  Double bridge.  And an a capella intro inspired by Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You".  After I got that out of my system, I could move on.  But what makes this song work is Faizal's amazing performance and his God-given voice.  This is HIS song.  No one else can sing this song in this arrangement and give you the emotional response you get when you listen to him.

    6.  Bencinta
    This is the first single which we feared no one would get or like.  Thank God it worked!

    7.  Muzik
    This is one of two last songs we did after FT's hospitalisation.  I think FT wasn't sure about this either but I had a feeling it would work with his voice.  (I actually love it when he thinks something might not work.  It means I am pushing him out of his comfort zone!)  This is the one song where I've doubled his lead vocal track.  (He is singing the same thing in the same way twice.)  And we have that Queen-esque chorus.  I love how lyrically, the chorus nuetralises the seriousness of the verse.  Faizal and I are not serious people and we still enjoy fart jokes!

    8.  Semesta
    This is the kind of song that I'd like to hear at the end of a concert.  We wanted a "Thank You" song because as cheesy as it sounds, we are here because of the fans.  And also, because of God.  So this song has a dual perspective for me.  Musically, we borrowed from our inspirations.  We have "Hanyut" and "Sampai Syurga" in there, some Alanis Morrisette, some Guns N' Roses, Prince, and some of my other personal inspirations.  We thank you and everyone.  Hopefully it will guilt those who downloaded the music for free to go buy the CD.

    Amazingly, FT and I worked on this album in secrecy.  His label did not hear any demos and I thank Ahmad Izham Omar and Edris Adrian, the label manager, for letting us get away with it.  It take a lot of courage and trust.

    Finally, I want to rebut those who say that I write the best songs or only reserve the best songs for Faizal.  The reason why FT and I work so well together is because he knows who he is as an artist.  My job (if you can call it that) is to amplify who he is with music.  With FT, it's not that difficult.  85% of the magic you hear is because of him.  I would not be able to come up with this sort of music if it weren't for him.  I am just glad and grateful that I was invited to the party.

    I told Jennifer Thompson and FT at supper at PJ Hilton back in 2008 after the AIM win, that the next FT album will make the first album sound "bad".  I think we did it!

    Tuesday, February 16, 2010

    It is time for me to bring R&B and hiphop back and make it cool again. Help!

    Tuesday, February 09, 2010

    I just got done with Faizal Tahir's album mastering at Nick Lee's.  It sounds great and I can't wait for it to be released.  It may surprise many people.  It is also one of the more satisfying projects that I've worked on because this Faizal guy is just one rare talent.  Hope this album does well.

    I am officially exhausted but I cannot wait to move on to new projects and new music and more sleep. 

    Saturday, January 23, 2010

    I did something today that I have not done in a long long time.  I actually listened to an entire album without stopping. And I didn't want to stop.  There are songs that takes effort to listen.  You just want something to happen or want it to end quickly.  But not Jay-Z's "Blueprint III".  This is why I believe albums still work and can still sell.  (The CD format is another matter altogether.)  And this album also made me realise two other things:  1.  How bad and pathetically funny the quality of beats and lyrics of Malaysian rap and hip hop is; and 2. why such an unattractive man can get Beyonce.


    Look!  No DJ scratches!

    Wednesday, January 13, 2010

    As a fairly faithful Christian in an industry with predominantly Muslims, I am used to attending events where there are thanksgiving prayers before an event starts. It can be an album launch or a kenduri.

    When that happens, as a Christian, I take the opportunity to pray with my Muslim friends. Obviously, I will pray to my God (that's Jesus, by the way). Even though I am praying in the midst of Muslims, there is no confusion or temptation for me to want to convert to Islam.

    So to those Muslims who are afraid that they might be duped into Christianity, fear not my fellow Muslim friends. Let me introduce you to my new product called "Free Will". With this new revolutionary product, you cannot be converted to any other religion unless YOU WANT TO BE!

    The Crusaders could drag you into a church and force you at gun point. You could be praying in a church, on your knees and yelling out "Hallelujah", and if in your heart and mind, you are a Muslim, gosh darn it, a Muslim you will remain.

    Order "Free Will" today for only RM299 for a limited time only.

    Monday, January 11, 2010

    I got a lot of SMSes telling me to stop picking my nose when I'm on camera. But it felt good.

    Sunday, January 10, 2010