I left/came Home

More than a decade and a half ago, I left Brunei Darussalam for my studies but I returned and stayed there for quite a number of years after that. And now, it’s been a little more than a week since I left again – this time for work.

Although Sarawakian, I spent most of my life in Brunei so leaving and going back to Malaysia was, in a way, awkward?

I felt like I left home (Brunei) but then again, I came home (Malaysia)?

Currently, I am 5 hours away from Brunei by land. That means I could always drive back on long weekends and my friends and family in Brunei could visit me here. So it’s not too bad. (When I was away for studies, I was even further!)

With barely a full week at work yet (last week was my first week but I started on a Tuesday) and earlier this week was still the Gawai holidays (ie. public holiday) there’s really nothing much to say yet except I quite enjoy the work environment so far. Everyone is friendly and already I am in the whatsapp group. LOL!

Being able to go back to my village during Gawai was an obvious plus now that I am working in Sarawak. Had I still been in Brunei, that would have required me to take leave off work, but not here. It was a nice reunion with the grandparents and uncles/aunties and cousins after so long.

Another thing I appreciate here is that I am able to speak Bahasa Melayu Sarawak again (and I was fairly impressed how it isn’t rusty at all in spite of not using it for years hehe) and yet still converse in English. Best of both worlds really.

Living accomodation is a work-in-progress though as I am currently living the “suite life” in the local Inns while looking for a place to call home here. Have contacted a few people and have a few prospects but nothing confirmed as yet.

In the meantime though, the past week and so since I left has felt more like a vacation than a relocation – especially since my family is currently still with me since Day 1. They will be returning to Brunei in the next few hours though so maybe then the full reality will sink in.

Anyways, I do hope to actively blog again, at least to update on how things are happening this side of Borneo, so yeah, follow my blog to be notified on future posts! :)

Blogging on WordPress – A Willingness To Share

Originally posted on HarsH ReaLiTy:

The blogosphere is as connected as you want it to be. You are as connected to it as you wish to be as well. There isn’t an “online community” here on WordPress. There are thousands of communities, groups, and support groups here doing our own thing. We all contribute to the noise that is the blogosphere though and that is what binds us even if we don’t care for one another or one another’s views.

1) I am a blogger. I support bloggers because that is part of what blogging is about. At least to me. The reason people seem to care so much about what I say is for two reasons. I help a lot of people daily. You may consider a “reblog” or a share of a post a small thing and that is your right to an opinion. But let me ask you this unnamed blogger. Have…

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Winner of Asia’s Got Talent Season 1

The Asia’s Got Talent (AGT) Result Show last night opened up with an awesome performance from The Finalists.

And in between revealing the results, stellar performances by David Foster and Charice, Anggun, Consentino & The Superstar Judges (Melanie C, Van Ness Wu, Anggun and David Foster).

Asia’s Got Talent Judges ‘Let’s Groove’ Single is available to download now! Click Here! http://getmusic.lnk.to/letsgroove

Proceeds from the sale of this single will be donated to charitable organizations committed to aiding victims of the earthquake in Nepal.

The Final 9 became the Final 6 after it was revealed that Gao Lin & Liu Xin, Gwen Dorado and Dance Thrilogy had the lower votes of the 9.

Gao Lin & Liu Xin was, for me, a top contender so I was quite shocked they were out so early. I guess with internet being regulated in China (no Facebook etc), determining the winner via the voting system was their downfall. (I think the same is what happened to Oscar Chu.) Undoubtedly, they are the winners in the Game of Life though as they are left the show engaged. Congratulations and best of luck to the two lovebirds as they dance off into married bliss!

Next, even more shocking, it was revealed that Triqstar and Junior New System had to bid their farewells leaving only 4 acts remaining…

Triqstar had always been a favourite (for other favourites, click here) and among the finalists, I decided to vote for them in the Finals, alas it still wasn’t enough to get them through. As for Junior New System, with 4 acts for the Philippines I guess the divided votes was not enough for them. Gambatte Triqstar & I want to see more from you!!!

Next to leave the competition was The Talento! Boy is the show full of surprises! Congratulations The Talento for making it to the Final 4 and the youngest act to do so too. #AsiasGotFutureTalent with these boys.

And so it stands, the Top 3 for AGT were Khusugtun (Mongolia), Gerphil and El Gamma Penumbra (Philippines) – and Gerphil had the lower number of votes. I was speechless for as I did NOT expect Khusugtun to be so favoured much less be in the Final 2?! I have my reasons for not rooting for them, but I guess it is for that same reason they had an advantage with the winner being determined via votes. (Dear AGT, please screen your contestants next season! It is an UNFAIR playing field when you pit established groups against those unknown talents.) As for Gerphil, she need not worry. Her future is secured by David Foster. You can bet on it!

Thankfully, it was EL GAMMA PENUMBRA who were crowned the first Asia’s Got Talent winner!!!

From the very beginning, I had appreciated their talent but I did not vote for them in the Finals as I was certain Philippines would not let them down. THANK GOD indeed!

So, CONGRATULATIONS EL GAMMA PENUMBRA!!!

Hope you use this win as a platform to continue inspiring people and make a change in the world with your beautiful shadow masterpieces!

Here’s a video recap of their AGT journey:

Judges Audition – earned them a Golden Buzzer straight to the Semi-Finals.

Semi-Finals which earned them their 2nd Golden Buzzer that brought them to the Finals

The Finals – which won them the most votes and the title of being Asia’s Got Talent winner!

And this marks the last of my AGT posts, hope you’ve enjoyed the journey as much as I did.

(And don’t forget to catch AGT Semi-Finalists, Sada Borneo tomorrow at Miri City Day!!!)

See you at marg.wordpress.com! :D

Asia’s Got Talent Season 1 Finalists with hosts Marc & Rovilson

Asia’s Got Talent: Personal Favourites

The Results Show tomorrow night will reveal the first Asia’s Got Talent (AGT) winner, marking the end of the first season of AGT. This post is to compile those acts that I enjoyed, my personal favourites, but did not make it to the Final 9.

In the order of their Judges’ Audition:

Time Machine

Their Judges’ Audition earned them the very first Golden Buzzer of the show securing them to the Semi-Finals. Unfortunately, they lost on votes in the Semi-Finals. Click here to watch their Semi-Finals performance.

Toshan

I loved his BIG voice as soon as he opened his mouth to sing! Unfortunately, he lost on votes in the Semi-Finals.

Alttype

I never knew that skipping ropes could be so cool! But they too lost on votes in the Semi-Finals.

Fe & Rodfil

This odd duo didn’t get past the Judges’ Audition. He’s funny and she is a great singer. I guess the combo just didn’t work to their favour.

Sensational Stefano & his puppet Shawn Chua (oh wait! It’s the other way around! :P)

My first time to see an Asian ventriloquist act. I had hoped they would have been selected for the Semi-Finals but they didn’t make the Judges’ Cut.

Oscar Chu

He is simply awesome & I was so glad he made it to the Semi-Finals! Unfortunately, he lost on votes in the Semi-Finals. Click here to watch his Semi-Finals performance.

Han

She was another talented singer – but I guess not talented enough to make the Judges’ Cut.

Miss Tres

They really were da bomb! I wondered why they weren’t selected for the Semi-Finals but then again, perhaps after the element of shock/surprise is gone, there’s nothing much left to offer? Guess we’ll never know.

D’Intensity Breakers

Now they should have made it to the Semi-Finals. For me, they were more talented than some of the dance groups that made it to Semi-Finals. Unfortunately, the judges didn’t agree. Oh well.

Sada Borneo of course!

Very personal to me, they are the reason I even started blogging about AGT in the first place. And you can bet I will be keeping a close eye on them here in my blog even after AGT. Eventhough they lost on votes in the Semi-Finals, this isn’t the end of their journey – look at what they’re up to alreadyClick here to watch their Semi-Finals performance.

Neil

This guy can really beatbox. I read online that he couldn’t be in the Semi-Finals due to studies. That’s a shame. Oh well, maybe he’ll come back for Season 2.

Sydney

She has class. I really wanted her in the Finals, alas she lost on votes in the Semi-Finals. Click here to watch her Semi-Finals performance.

Vilas Nayak

He is talented. Though he should have asked for the golden buzzer, at least he didn’t go home empty-handed!

Who were your AGT favourites?

For other AGT videos, click here.

Sada Borneo at Miri City Day, then off to Kuching!

Their time in Asia’s Got Talent (AGT) may have ended… but indeed Sada Borneo’s journey has just started!

As soon as we find out who among the Finalists will be crowned the first AGT winner this May 14th, Sada Borneo is already scheduled to perform in Miri, Sarawak, Borneo, Malaysia on May 16th!!!

WOOHOO!!!

They will be performing at the Miri City Day 10th Anniversary Concert on 16th May 2015.

And then, just 3 weeks later, on June 5th, they are scheduled to perform in Kuching, Sarawak, Borneo, Malaysia!!!

At this rate, we’ll soon lose track of the boys’ whereabouts so do follow their official Facebook Page: Sada Borneo for updates on future performances/shows/etc!

Looking forward to more chances to catch them LIVE!!!

Continue to Keep Our Legacy, Sada Borneo! =)

Asia’s Got Talent Finalists

These 9 acts (I wrote about their Semi-Finals here and here) battled it all out in the Asia’s Got Talent (AGT) Grand Finals last night.

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Now it is up to us to vote and determine the very first AGT winner! A daunting task but having followed their journey from Judges Auditions to Semi-Finals and to the Grand Finals, here’s my thoughts on last night and who should win the coveted title and USD100,000 (plus USD100,000 worth of flights with Jetstar across Asia! SWEET!!!)

In the order of their appearance at the Grand Finals:

1. The Talento
There is no denying that these boys really do know how to rock! Performing “Final Countdown” to kick off the Grand Finals really brought everything into perspective of how it really is the final countdown to determining the winner of AGT. INTENSE! I wouldn’t be surprised if they grew up to became those long-haired tattoo-ed head-banging rockers who smashed their equipment at the end of their concerts! Oh dear, that’s not my kinda thing.

2. Gao Lin & Liu Xin (2 times Golden Buzee)
Having breezed through the Judges Audition and the Semi-Finals with the Golden Buzzers, they are obviously the Judges’ favourite act – and who can ever complain about that?

Eversince their audition, we have seen how their unconditional love for each other is really captured by their dance and last night’s performance really really really was the epitome of what they have consistently shown us at the competition. I had GOOSEBUMPS watching them last night! And the difficulty of the moves they did just blew me away!

The proposal at the end of it really truly is the icing on the cake. Forget about pre-wedding photoshoot, they have a pre-wedding dance video! Aaaaawww~~~

3. Gwen Dorado
Last night’s performance was better than the Semi-Finals but to me, she hasn’t really found her identity and is still experimenting with her talents. Firstly, in the Judges Audition, she sang and played the guitar and I really loved her roar. Then, in the Semi-Finals, she sang more than she played (and her singing was off). And last night, she didn’t play at all but just sang instead. Yes, she has a great voice (though not perfect, there was a minor glitch I noticed at a point) but I wanted the original Gwen with the autographed-guitar.

4. Dance Thrilogy
My feet were actually twitching and had I been watching alone I probably would have started tap dancing along with them (or at least try to and perhaps injure myself while at it)! Apart from that though, their performance was good but I feel they still have a long way to go to be the best they can be. They have the potential. They are one of #Asia’sGotFUTURETalent but that’s not the name of this competition…

5. Khusugtun
They did a wonderful job bringing Mongolia to us but that is expected for they are already professionals in what they do. They are a well-established band. They have already been travelling and performing all over the world (David Foster even referred to them as the “One Direction” of Mongolia) and so since the very beginning, I felt it unfair for all the other acts to be competing alongside them when they do not need to win this unlike the other acts. Imagine One Direction (proven talent, already famous, has the means to make it in the industry) competing with a lesser known act (never been heard of, needs finance to pursue their dream) – hardly fair right? They are known talents and they do not need a show to tell them that. And that is why my vote will not be going to them.

6. Triqstar
From the very beginning, I always saw them as Duracell bunnies – especially when they do their fluid-yet-robotic moves in slow mo! Weirdly wonderful was used to describe them and they are indeed that.

I have always enjoyed their performance and even voted for them in the Semi-Finals (in fact, they were the only act I voted for in Semi-Finals that made it to the Finals!) so it’s no denying that I like what I’ve been seeing. But they didn’t completely win me over and the competition in the Finals is really good. I am torn…

7. El Gamma Penumbra (2 times Golden Buzee)
The only other act to have glided pass the Judges Audition and Semi-Finals (along with Gao Lin & Liu Xin) thanks to the Golden Buzzers, these guys never fail to tell an inspiring story or give a beautiful message with their shadow-play.They certainly did it again last night and touched us with their piece on Mother Nature. They are undeniably an inspiration to many in what they do and I am certain they will go far.

8. Gerphil Flores (Golden Buzee at the Auditions)
She has a powerful voice and she knows it. However, I have yet to truly be blown away by her song-choice. I was hoping she would do a song from a musical (Phantom of the Opera or Les Miserables, for example) but at least she did “The Impossible Dream” – still better than the song-choice in the Semi-Finals I felt. I am pretty sure that if she does not win this, she will be signed up by David Foster himself. She is, afterall, his Golden Girl and he guaranteed she will go far. That said, she does not need to win this as her career is pretty much secured already – and that is why I am definitely not voting for her.

9. Junior New System (Golden Buzzee to the Finals)
From the very beginning, these groups of boys have been portrayed as coming from an underprivileged background and winning this competition would no doubt greatly assist them and their families. But while I enjoy their performances, they never really blew me away with it. I wish them all the best for the future. They can only get better. But for the moment, for the now, talent-wise, I feel other acts deserve this win more.

At the end of it all, I applaud all of them for bringing their BEST performance yet seen in the competition but I am not looking forward to having to choose only ONE to vote for to win Asia’s Got Talent!

And at this point, my vote is torn between Gao Lin & Liu Xin OR Triqstar as I feel it will count more towards either.

Voting has opened since last night and will close by Monday, 11th May 2015. I still have a few days to deliberate…who do YOU think should be the Asia’s Got Talent winner?

~~~

And here’s how to vote:

There are 3 ways to vote (visit http://asiasgottalent.tv/vote/ for full instructions)

Method 1 – via SMS(unlimited)

SMS “Act Number″ -refer picture above (eg. AGT2 for Gao Lin & Liu Xin) and send it to your country’s designated short code (For Malaysia, it’s 33200 – for others, click here:http://asiasgottalent.tv/vote/)

SMS charges apply.

Method 2 – via Facebook (only ONE vote per user)

Just go to this link and vote:

On computer: https://www.facebook.com/asiasgottalent/app_1598372720404428

On mobile: https://fbvotenow.asiasgottalent.tv/

Voting on Facebook is free.

IMPORTANT: Each user is entitled to ONE VOTE ONLY (so vote wisely!)

Method 3 – via the official Asia’s Got Talent app(unlimited)

Just download the app (available on the App Store and Google Play) and start voting. You can purchase 1, 3, 25 or 100 votes at a click of a button. (WOW!) Read the Terms&Conditions for more information on purchasing votes and voting.

IMPORTANT: You can vote as many times as you want via SMS and the Asia’s Got Talent app but the producers reserve the right (at their sole discretion) to exclude any votes which they feel have been placed to unfairly manipulate the results.

Check out the Voting FAQ section if you have any other doubts: http://asiasgottalent.tv/vote/faq

Tribute to the Semi-Finalists (Part 2 of 2)

They were the 24 Acts chosen to proceed to the 3 Semi-Finals’s Round out of the countless number of acts that auditioned. In achieving that, they are talented in their own rights and although the Asia’s Got Talent (AGT) journey for some has ended, I hope we will be hearing more about them in the future.

What follows are my personal opinions/observations but after all is said and done, this post is to applaud what they have achieved thus far (in order of their appearance at AGT Semi-Finals):

For acts #1 to #12, check-out Part 1

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13. Bao Cuong
On the act: Cannot. Stand. To. Watch. Grimace. Gag. Flinch. I truly truly truly do NOT like this act at all!
On the outcome: I was appalled (in the full sense of the word!) that the judges allowed them past the Auditions – especially when they themselves had problems watching the entire act with eyes wide open! Thankfully, we do not need to subject ourselves to such torture since they didn’t get into the Finals. Phew!
Message to Bao Cuong: While I am sure there may be a few people in the world who can stomach your talent, please just keep it for their eyes only. Not for me please. *Shivers*

14. Sydney Uke

On the act: Talented talented young lady who plays the ukulele.
On the outcome: Her audition was nice. And I really enjoyed her Semi-Finals. So very much that I voted for her. Unfortunately, Gerphil & Khusugtun got the 2 spots for the Finals instead.
Message to Sydney: Is Uke your real name, or is it because you play the Ukelele? (I just noticed.) Anyways, you, young lady are very very talented. At your Semi-Finals, you reminded me of Sungha Jung, the Korean ukulele prodigy! Keep on playing and keep on smiling as you do. I really want to hear more from you in the future!

15. Fathin Amira
On the act: Singer with a big voice
On the outcome: She surprised everyone with her audition. Could she be the wedding singer turned super star? She could have but her song-choice during the Semi-Finals wasn’t the best. At least she made it to the Semi-Finals, so she may yet go further!
Message to Fathin: Well done for making it to the Semi-Finals. Wish you the best in your solo career!

16. Junior New System (Golden Buzzee to the Finals) – Finalist
On the act: A group of street boys dancing their way into a better life. Talented and not afraid to be feminine either!
On the outcome: Impressive dance at the audition and they danced in heels at the Semi-Finals. Theirs could possibly be a “Rags to Riches” story if they win the title as the Asia’s Got Talent winner in the Finals. More on them in the Finalists post.

3rd Semi-Final Round
17. El Gamma Penumbra (2 times Golden Buzee) – Finalist
On the act: Shadow play that tells a story. Very talented and the only other act to get the Golden Buzzer twice (the other being Gao Lin & Liu Xin).
On the outcome: I was engrossed in the story they told in the audition and they repeated it with the visual storytelling in the Semi-Finals. I feel this group of talented guys (who also aren’t afraid to cross-dress) still has some more stories up their shadowy sleeves. More on them in the Finalist post!

18. Dance Thrilogy – Finalist
On the act: Cute tap-dancing goodness.
On the outcome: Never have I ever seen such very young professionals yet always cute and smiling as they tapped their way into our hearts. Watch out for these lil ladies in the Finalist post.

19. Sada Borneo
On the act: They write and play their own music by combining traditional and modern music and the sounds of nature together. They are the only other Semi-Finalist I’ve seen perform live (the other being Khusugtun) and who I really wish to see at Rainforest World Music Festival one day.
On the outcome: They impressed all 4 judges who gave them 4 YESes at their audition but David Foster wanted them to be traditional instead of combining traditional and modern. When they remained true to themselves at the Semi-Finals, the judges were divided. Alas, they did not make it into the Finals. My earlier post, Dedicated To Sada Borneo already clearly states my opinions.
Message to Sada Borneo: My dearest Sada Borneo, this is not the end of the journey but only the beginning. I know it’s been a rollercoaster ride so far (more of those will come too!) but keep on pursuing your dream and do not give up. Make your music (not David’s or others but your own) known to the world. Keep on improving and continue to Keep Our Legacy boys.

20. Alttype
On the act: Jump-Rope and Double-dutch. Skipping ropes, how I miss thee!
On the outcome: As a child I skipped. These guys made it way cooler but there is only so much rope you can have right? (Pun intended.)
Message to Alttype: You guys are already Guiness World Record holders for the Most Number of Double-Dutches! So life ain’t that bad. All the best with your future endeavours.

21. Talento – Finalist
On the act: Kids rockin’. Nuff said.
On the outcome: Rock isn’t really my most favourite genre. But I can see these boys do have it in them…I just wonder what will happen when the singer reaches puberty and his voice breaks. Hmm. But in the meantime, they are off to the Finals. More on the Finalist post.

22. Time Machine

On the act: Similar to Triqstar-style of dance (except theirs is modern/future while Triqstar’s is more traditional) they are also very talented.
On the outcome: With that observation, I couldn’t help but wonder if somehow they didn’t reach the Finals because Triqstar already did…anyways, I enjoyed their audition and the Semi-Finals.
Message to Time Machine: Well done in making it to the Semi-Finals. Keep on doing what you guys do best and good luck with your future conquests.

23. Toshan
On the act: Opera singer. Me gusta!
On the outcome: When he opened his mouth to sing at the audition, I already fell in love with his voice. I really felt he could go far so I was happy to know he made it to the Semi-Finals. However, the song chosen then wasn’t as effective as the audition in showing off his voice.
Message to Toshan: Hi Toshan. Firstly, I applaud you for your song-choice. It might have made it more difficult for you to win the votes of men but I am sure Our Father is smiling at you. May you be blessed and I pray that one day, you will be as good as the likes of Luciano Pavarotti! I know you can. :)

24. Billy Chang
On the act: Very expressive, he really loves to dance.
On the outcome: He was graceful at his audition and in the Semi-Finals we got to see the wilder side of him. A talented dancer, there is no denying that.
Message to Billy: Dance Billy! Dance! I can really see that you really put your heart and soul into your dance and it is beautiful. Keep on dancing and all the best with the floors being opened up to you.

And so there you have it, my Tribute to the Semi Finalists.

Congratulations to the 9 acts that made it into the Finals: Gao Lin & Liu Xin, Gwen, Triqstar, Junior New System, Gerphil, Khusugtun, El Gamma Penumbra, Dance Thrilogy and Talento!

Who do you think will be the first Asia’s Got Talent winner?
Here’s my guess (Finalist Post)