Malaysia – Day 30

Today I had the chance to go to Channel V with Jon. As I’ve mentioned before Channel V is south-east Asia’s music channel. It would be like going to Much Music headquarters in Canada. We presented the latest changes that GXM has made for channel identification spots. It’s pretty cool stuff and it made me wonder how hard it would be to try and make some channel identification ads for Much Music. I’ll look into it when I get home.

On my way back to the residence I finished Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (audio version). I had heard that it wasn’t as good as Douglas Adams celebrated novel, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, but on the contrary I found it to be just as good and recommend it on the same level.


Malaysia – Days 27 and 28

A Great Queen

I took a ride down south to the ancient city of Malacca this weekend. We left Saturday afternoon and stayed overnight. There are some really beautiful and historic things to see. The city itself is very old and the old churches and mosques seem that much older with their thick stone walls and missing ceilings.

The monument pictured here was constructed on behalf on Queen Victoria. The inscription reads: “Victoria Regina 1837-1901 Erected by the people of Malacca in Memory of a great queen 1904”.

The church on the hill used to have a bell tower to warn the village/city of impending attacks via sea. I believe it was built some time in the 1600’s. It had a tunnel leading to another building on another hill. Here is a panoramic view from inside the church.

Old Portuguese Church

On Sunday we raced back to KL and caught up with the group (we were a little late but luckily they waited for us) and headed up North to see the fireflies. This trip to see the fireflies was already paid for and we had a nice meal before heading out on the river in a really quiet boat. It was quite dark and the fireflies looked a lot like blinking Christmas lights. They congregate around a specific kind of tree and blink in unison. It’s quite something to see. Unfortunately there was no way to photograph them, at least with my camera.


Malaysia – Day 29

Today at work I helped flesh out the basic script for a corporate video scheduled for shooting in the next couple weeks. I really enjoy working at GXM and am lucky to be able to work here.

I went for a little treat in the Sunway mall yesterday. I was thinking about taking in a movie but instead enjoyed a Maple Walnut and Raspberry Vanilla Sundae at Baskin-Robins instead. Definitely an expensive treat (especially by Malaysian standards) but oh man was it ever delicious.

I almost stepped on a rat on the way home. It startled me, but I’m pretty sure the rat was more scared than I was. He did an instant 180 and slipped back under the fence from whence he came.

Time is going by very quickly now. I’ll be home in 18 more days, I’m both excited and saddened by this fact; I love Malaysia.


Malaysia – Day 26

Jalan Petaling Street
Jalan Petaling Street

I shot a few photos on my way to work this morning. This one is of the Jalan Petaling Street sign that marks one of the main roads in Chinatown. At night this place fills up with booths hocking cheap watches, belts, fake cologne, shirts, shoes, and just about anything else that tourists like to buy. I’ve been told not to buy anything from these guys because the shirts fall apart after one wearing and some of the DVD’s don’t actually work, etc. The advice for those that do want to shop here, is to take whatever price they originally give you and try to get the item for half that much.


Malaysia – Day 25

I’ve been working on a few different projects here at GXM. Today they had me record my voice for a small Channel V identification ad they are putting together. I don’t know if they will use my voice, but if they do – that’ll be kind of cool.

This evening I just took it easy and had a good old western style meal. It was a chicken sandwich and fries from Nando’s. It was a great meal.

The thing that I find most different about the Western meals here vs. what I’m used to back home is that here they kind of skimp on the fries. I ordered a second Chicken burger (I probably wouldn’t back home but I figure I need to eat as much as I can while the food is so inexpensive) and to my surprise the second plate had even less fries than the first. Also they were slightly undercooked.

Even at McDonald’s, famous world-wide for its french fries, they seem to skimp on the deep fried side order. I have begun upsizing my orders and still only get about the same amount of fries that I would if I ordered a regular sized fries back home.

I guess it’s obvious but the fact that back in North America they serve more fries on the side must be one of the reasons why there are so many overweight people there.

Not exactly an earth-shattering observation, but anyway that was my day.


Malaysia – Day 24

Usual stuff happening today. In the evening I went out with Jon to a Chinese food place. I got full mostly on rice but I enjoyed having a little bit of everything. I’m still not completely used to some of the flavours but I’m only here for awhile so I’m trying to get in as much as I can. The strangest thing we had to eat—at least from my point of view—was frog toad. I only had the smallest bit; it wasn’t nearly as scary as you might expect. I’m not sure if I had a very good piece or not, I was offered a “better piece” but I declined. It seemed like a lot of skin and bones and as they say, “tasted like chicken”. Actually to me it tasted more like fish.


Malaysia – Day 23

Today I spent the morning trying to arrange a trip to Iran but it looks like it’s not going to happen. I went to the Iranian Embassy and after waiting in line for about 20 minutes I was told that unfortunately I needed to get my visa from my home country or country of residence. Since I don’t have a visa to be in Malaysia (I don’t need one to visit) I can’t get one for Iran unless I go back to Canada first. So that’s that I guess.

This afternoon I’ve been working on a couple of models in Maya. I’m not really proficient at it yet, but it’s good practise.

I think tonight I’ll try and watch Star Wars: Episode III. Hopefully it’s not too crowded.


Malaysia – Days 18 through 22

What a Nice View
I went to Tioman Island over the weekend. We hopped on a chartered bus through the night and then took a boat the next morning. It seemed a little disorganized in the heat and with the lack of sleep (it’s hard to sleep on a bumpy road through the mountains when the bus driver thinks he’s in a race). The ferry was late picking us up because the tide was too low to come in. I’ve always thought the tide comes in at about the same time (based on the lunar cycle of course) and I couldn’t help but feel like they should have known whether or not they’d be able to pick us up when they said they would. Finally they decided to deliver us to the ferry via speed boat. And then everything got a LOT better.

A Nice Little Island

Getting to the island was a nice trip. But seeing the Island? – wow! It was the most fantastic place! The beaches were truly magnificent and the jungle was gorgeous. I had a great time doing everything from snorkeling to trekking through the jungle in the rain.

On the first day we snorkeled out to a small island. The water was great, nice and warm, and full of beautiful fish. We had a great supper, especially because I had been really craving some western meals.

On Saturday Danny and I rented a scooter from some guy for the hour. It was just his private bike but we had a great time going down to the village and back. I got going about 60 km/h on the way back when I tried to see how fast I could get up to going down hill. Probably too fast for no helmets, but all’s well that ends well. Later that afternoon we went on the Jungle Trek. It rained pretty hard and my shoes were soaked. The jungle trek started half way up the mountain after walking through the golf course. I found it ironic that we just waltzed right through the same golf course that requires golfers to wear golfing shoes. I guess because we weren’t on the greens it isn’t such a big deal? Either that or it’s a case of what they don’t know won’t hurt them. On the way back the rain was really coming down and a few of the others in the group used the golf course as a gigantic slip and slide.


The next day Andrew and I headed off to the other side of the island. It was fantastic. We hired a taxi driver to take us in his 4×4 through the muddy roads over the jungle covered mountain. The beach was huge and even more beautiful than the side with the resort. I enjoyed having it all to ourselves and meeting some of the islanders. I did get a little sunburned from snorkeling for an hour in the hot sun. I didn’t notice it until it was too late.

We headed off the next morning and to our delight the guys running the show told us we’d be heading back via speedboat the whole way. The “speed boat” is a lot faster than the big ferry that brought us there, but it’s quite a bit smaller too. They stopped at another dock (to pick up more people?) but because the dock was designed for bigger boats, this one was being swished back and forth and when it hit the dock it smashed in one of the windows. I heard a loud snapping sound and then what sounded like water rushing in. I thought for sure we’d have to abandon ship. The water sound was actually broken glass spreading out over about three seats and four or five people. The dean of management was one of the ones to get hit and had a couple of tiny cuts on her arm and thumb.

After that we just headed out to sea without further incident. It was a totally perfect weekend — with exception to the fact that I got sunburned, but even that wasn’t so bad and totally worth it. I’d love to go to Tioman again. I’ve been told it’s not even the nicest island around here — which is hard to believe because this place is amazing, but that’s what they say.


Malaysia – Day 17

National Air Cargo

Today we shot a video for National Air Cargo (the Malaysian division) and I got to be an extra.

I posed as a customer asking questions about the company.

Later in the day I worked on some proposals for channel V and checked out some cool New Media related sites (the first three are portfolio based, the last one has AfterEffects tips):

Got any good ones for me to check out? Leave them in the comments.

Five days after I posted these links, Patrick O’Brien (AKA Transfatty) was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease). He decided to make a movie about it.


Malaysia – Day 16

Today I had a good long chat with Anna-Maria. That was nice, but it put me a little behind schedule. (My own fault).

On the way to work I was approached by a woman who wanted to know where I was from. This was the second time in two days that someone approached me and I didn’t have a good feeling about. Not that I was afraid of her, but just that I felt she wanted something from me. Not to mention the fact that I was going to be late for work. She couldn’t seem to read that I was in a hurry and close by her was a man who also tried to stop me to ask for the time. They seemed to be working together. I didn’t have time for them whether or not they were just being friendly. I gave him the time and kept walking. I am suspicious that the guy was the same guy I ran into yesterday but I never got a good enough look at him. All I can say is that it was weird, and not weird like hey some stranger on the bus wants to chat you up because you look like a foreigner, but weird like, spidey senses on alert — these people are up to no good.

Anyway weird people on the street aside, I had a great evening. At the end of the day Jon took me to Channel V, Malaysia’s version of Much Music or MTV, to get the specifications for a new project GXM Studio is doing for them. I got to meet Jeff Selamutu, director of programming and production at Channel V, and take notes at the meeting.

Later we went for dinner and had a great time talking about everything from how Jeff got into the business to how new artists enter the music industry, to what direction music television is going. I liked Jeff because he’s a really fun guy that likes to call it like he sees it. He reminded me a lot of the directors and producers that I met recently in Vancouver. They have a kind of fun yet ambitious personality that I find magnetic. He told me to keep in contact and that if I have time during the week he’ll show me around the studio.