BTS: Kau & Aku Season 2.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A couple of months ago, I received a very interesting email inviting me to a TV set to watch the filming of a Malaysian drama. Naturally, being a paranoid Asian having grown up to the repeated warnings of my mother to avoid strangers, I was a little apprehensive.

What if it was a scam?

Was it a joke?

And so, I asked a few questions and did a little Googling here and there about Kau & Aku. Thank goodness I did for pretty soon, I was on the way to the studio for my first brush with television shows.

This was months ago so forgive me if my failing memory omits anything important.

 
The studio was decorated modestly, resembling a restaurant more than anything else. Except, of course, for the autographed posters and records on the walls.

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With Elena Kersey, the publicist. She was the one who contacted me and gave me this great opportunity. =)

Elena took me around the set, showing me places I’ve always wondered about but have never seen. At that time, I was in the midst of practice for Shine and was in a huge performing craze. It felt so exhausting having to practice for a scene over and over again & I thought that being on TV would be so much easier. However, after witnessing the actors at work, I’m not so sure anymore.

With that, here are 5 things I’ve learnt on the set of Kau & Aku.

1) Entering places you aren’t supposed to gives such a thrill.

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No entry! cool 

I was practically bouncing with excitement when walking through that door for the first time. Inside, there were corridors with movie and series posters hanging everywhere!

2) Actors are normal people too.

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When I entered the wardrobe, I was immediately greeted by the sounds of raucous singing and wild laughter. A quick glance around the plain room didn’t reveal the source of the noise till I turned around and spotted a black curtain.

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Behind it?

There were a group of actors on the ground, crammed up together, singing along to songs on their phone. I’ve always wondered what it would be like being a TV actress and when I saw those group of friends sitting together, laughing like nobody’s business, I realized that they were just normal people.

Just like us in Shine, they goofed off when they could, and were serious when they had to be.

3) I am an awkward interviewer.

I was allowed to interview the actors that weren’t filming at the time & forgive me for my presumptions, but I assumed that they wouldn’t bother accommodating me and my measly blog when they’ve probably been interviewed for newspapers and magazines. I was definitely wrong.

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This is Alif Kadam who plays Emran in the series. When I interviewed him in MALAY, with my awkward laughing-y fail interviewer voice, I found out that it was his first day on set and that he was a new character to the series. Alif was really nice and down to earth and was smiling throughout our conversation.

When asked about his audition, Alif said that it was a long process and that when he went in to audition, they got him to make all sorts of faces. (happy, sad, etc.)

“Your cat died, Alif! LOOK SAD!”

Gosh, I’m such a horrid person. =)

This gorgeous girl (the one on the right wink) is Putri Fateen Nasuha who plays Cici in the series. Cici is basically the bimbo of the show (just like my character, Britney!) From the way she spoke, it was so apparent that she loves what she does. But then again, who wouldn’t?

I wanted to get her to sing for me and she was about to, but when I pulled out my phone to record it, she immediately shut her mouth and refused to sing at all. =((

This is Anith Aqilah Sulaiman who plays Elena, one of the series’ main cast. New to this industry, Anith is still schooling and has to juggle both her newfound career and studies. She was definitely one of the warmest people I’ve ever met, even gracing me with a hug once our interview was over. Anith thought I was either Chinlay, Chindian, or Filipino. A cat person, she is neither a fan of Twilight or Harry Potter. O.O

While interviewing her about the audition process, I was so fascinated that I wanted to land my own acting job as well! If you haven’t watched Kau & Aku and Anith looks familiar to you, that’s because she was in One in A Million before. During her audition, this amateur actress managed to bag the role by singing, dancing, and acting.

Her character, says Anith, is the most challenging part of the whole process. Elena is an all-rounded performer & a high achiever, creating her some admirers and jealous enemies as well.

4) Sets are cool.

To be honest, when I first saw the studio, I wasn’t very impressed. It lacked the glamour of those Hollywood studios, with its almost-bare walls and simple furniture.

However, it was an entirely different story when I entered the set. An unassuming door led to a room which looked so different from the rest of the studio that I recall standing there, with my tongue in knots, too stunned to speak.

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This gorgeous set is the music room in the show and the producers clearly put a lot of thought into it. Everything from the lights to the books on the shelves were placed in relevance to the show.

One half of the set is completely bare, while the other is decorated completely to fill its role.

Looks can be deceiving and as long as the set looked like a music room on camera, it was irrelevant if the instruments worked or if the paintings were real or in this case, if the floor was actually wood.

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Yes, dear readers, you saw right! The floor was not wood, but in fact, a sheet of paper-plastic thing that resembled wood.

HAVE I BLOWN YOUR MIND!?

5) Filming is not easy. At all.

This is Akim, one of the main male leads of the drama. When I visited the set, he was already midway through filming the music video for one of the songs. He was lip syncing of course, having pre-recorded the song at a studio ages back, and had to do it over and over and over and over again.

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There were big cameras everywhere & reshoots over and over again to get the scene just right.

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Girls were running in between takes to touch up Akim’s makeup & hair. 

Within moments of being near such expensive equipment, I had a major freak-out session, proceeded to get myself tangled up in almost all the wires, trip, and fall flat on my face right in front of the camera.

It was so embarrassing I had to pay them to delete the footage.

Okay, no not really. I was joking.

But it could have happened.

If I’m not mistaken, this was the director. He basically sat in front of this screen throughout, speaking in completely strange jargon, asking the cameraman to move the camera here and there.

Akim was on set for hours, needing to get the song filmed over and over again with various instruments. The moment I saw that, I had a new found appreciation for TV actors.

Despite how long practices for Shine was, when we finished the whole act, the act was over. (Duh.) However, filming isn’t as forgiving for despite the lack of pressure of having to deliver a live performance, there’s the added stress of having to reshoot scenes over and over again till they come out perfect.

       

A huge thanks to Vision New Media, Kau & Aku, and Astro Ria for giving me this opportunity. Writing this post has gotten me all excited about acting again. I really hope that one day I’ll be able to do something like that – to be involved in a series or a movie. =)

Season 2 of Kau & Aku started airing on the 23rd of November, every Tuesday at 9pm on Astro Ria (Channel 104).

Be sure to check it out when you can! =D 2

How To: Piss People Off

Friday, December 3, 2010

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Getting someone angry isn’t a very difficult thing to do. In this modern age, most people are sufficiently frustrated with the world to react unfavourably to a few insensitive comments. Hopefully, this guide will help you anger more people to help ensure the world becomes a more hostile place to live in. =)

Things you need
  • Thick skin
  • A big mouth
  • No tact whatsoever
  • Nerve
Steps
  1. Most people don’t like being insulted. In fact, for some reason, most people actually become offended when they have been insulted. In order to make someone angry, you have to pick a target which isn’t very weak. There’s this saying I know which applies very well in this case. Repeat it like a mantra and you will go far.

    You don’t want to make people cry; you just want people to scream and throw things.

  2. With that in mind and with your intended target in sight, stride towards them confidently with a friendly smile. Although it may be difficult, try your best to keep the sneer out of your face. Don’t worry! Your reward will come soon.

  3. Start conversation. Begin on nice terms. Compliment them on their clothes. Tell them their hair looks nice. Just as they’re starting to feel a little bit better about their pathetic selves, deliver the blow with a crushing ‘BUT’. Nothing deflates joy as quickly as a ‘but’ following a compliment.

  4. That’s not it of course. Remember: the comment after the ‘but’ can’t be too crushing. Pick at their insecurities. If they didn’t have insecurities before you spoke to them, plant the fear. Plant the paranoia! For example, “Your hair looks nice today, but it’s just too bad that your teeth are kinda weird.” Your choice of comment has to be true (or at least believable).

  5. In most cases, your target will brush off your comment with either a joke or they’ll pretend they only heard the first part of it. If they choose to ignore it, then continue to press on. You could either point out how attractive they would look without such a defect, or various other insensitive comments. Other times, your target could respond with a “I don’t care” or a “I’m working on it". These are very good opportunities for you to anger them by pushing the issue onto them. Politely point out that they should care and that they should be working on it immediately. Make it seem as though it’s a big deal that’s bugging you personally. Do not, under any circumstances, let the issue slide, especially if the person seems eager to avoid the topic. After all, nothing makes a person angrier than when you deliberately ignore their wishes.

  6. If all goes well, your target would have been irritated or at least annoyed by this point. Of course, annoyance isn’t enough to spark anger. If you look closely, you should be able to see a shimmering of anger beneath their exterior. If that isn’t present, you clearly aren’t doing enough of a good job & should give up immediately before you embarrass yourself. If the anger is there, good job! You may proceed.

  7. If there is still enough for you to nitpick about their defect, keep doing it. But, at times, there are occasions when you’ve squeezed all you can out of a topic. The next best thing to do is to insult a family member or close friend of theirs. Do it subtly. For example, “Ohmygoodness, look at that girl. I heard she’s a horrible person and that she sleeps with a different guy every night!” Pretend as though you don’t know that the person is her sister/friend. After the attack to to the target’s own appearance, an attack to his or her family member/friend is usually enough to break the target’s facade of calm and hell will be unleashed.

  8. Sit back and watch the explosion. Keep smiling calmly as the target’s anger increases. In most occasions, the target will storm off in a huff. If that happens, congratulations! You’ve successfully pissed someone off!
Warning
Targets may become violent. If that occurs, call the police immediately. The law is on your side as you have done no physical harm to your target – only emotional.

Disclaimer
The methods stated in this guide are 100% guaranteed to work. If you fail, it is due to your own incompetency, not the fault of this guide or tiffanykml.com. Obviously, there are other means to anger a person, but the one stated here is proven to have the longest lasting effect on one’s self-esteem. If any injury or death occurs due to the advice given on this guide, please get the attack filmed and sent to me for entertainment purposes. Thank you.

A taste of Malaysia, a dash of Penang.

Friday, November 12, 2010

There’s nothing quite like the colonial buildings on the streets – some personal residences, others used as collages, the Hokkien hawkers with their lightning fast hands, stirring & mixing like there’s no tomorrow, procuring delicacies for foreigners and locals alike, the cobblestone streets – a reminder of who once ruled, and the smell of the sea & the taste of the salt as walks by Gurney Drive bring in the sea breeze.

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Then there’s the narrow roads and olden temples, the smell of food in the air, the tinkling of the trishaws’ bells on the streets, and of course, the cheap clothes & misspelled knockoffs.

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Yes. There’s nothing quite like the island of Penang.

As I stated in my last post, and no, I didn’t really end up in the hospital, I was off to Penang for two days for a little local holiday to soak in the humidity of Malaysia which I missed so dearly in China. While there, we were planning to get ourselves registered under the Khoo Kongsi (more on that later) and to indulge in gluttony for two precious days.

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Lunch #1: Nasi Kandar from Pelita.

Upon arrival, we immediately headed for my father’s childhood hawker centre, where the same person who my father knew as a little boy, is now an old man, frying the same tuo pan kuey teow he did almost 30 years ago. It isn’t any surprise that we ordered a dish.

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Lunch #2: Tuo Pan Kuey Teow, which basically resembles wan tan hor.

After our second lunch, we still weren’t satisfied! We went all the way to Penang and we weren’t eating the delicacies? And so, we ended up with..

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Lunch #3: Asam Laksa, Penang style. If you think you’ve had good asam laksa, you may want to think again for nothing beats the taste of authentic Penang asam laksa, with its perfect balance between sour and spicy. =D

Of course, we couldn’t neglect Penang’s other famous dish now, could we? After a little hunting around, we got ourselves..

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Lunch #4: Char Kuey Teow. Normally, I can’t stand char kuey teow because the excess of oil gives me a headache, but in Penang, it’s an entirely different story. Always accompanied with at least two gigantic prawns, the fried kuey teow of Penang is a culinary delight. wink

At night, we walked to Gurney Drive for our dinner, where we proceeded to order almost every single Penang dish available. =)

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Penang’s tourist trap. -.-' 

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Fried oyster – I normally love fried oyster but the one sold at Gurney drive was really really bad. Instead of the usual yummy gooey stuff, this one was full of flour & hardly any oysters. =S 2 It seems that the quality of food there has degraded over the years. =(

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Rojak! I only eat the crunchy bits. =p

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Chee Cheong Fun.

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Wan Tan Mee.

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Kuey Teow Soup – It was pretty good, with delicious soup and loads of fishballs, but nothing can beat Ipoh’s kuey teow soup. wink

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Apom! Penang’s famous crunchy delicacy.

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Fried Chicken Skin. Crazy sinful, but really good. Everything sold at the shop was deep fried. Before this visit, I hadn’t heard of it but it’s supposedly very popular. O.O

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We had Tau Fu Fa as well. One with normal sugar while the other had..

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Black sugar!

The next day, we searched for what we couldn’t find the day before.

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Thankfully, we managed to find acceptable fried oyster in its full gooey oystery goodness! =D 2

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To my utmost delight, we had a plate of lobak too!

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A trip to Penang wouldn’t be complete without some peanut-covered muochi either!

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And to beat the heat, a bowl of cendol each. Not as good as the one in Taiping, but oh so very welcome in my ever expanding stomach.

With that, let’s put the topic of food behind us and move on to the other aspects of Penang. Daddy drove us around, giving us a brief tour on Penang, while injecting stories of his past as a kid there.

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The now-defunct cinema my father used to frequent.

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The Snake Temple close to my father’s old kampung.

We decided to visit the Snake Temple for a complete tourist experience and got out of the car to be greeted by hundreds of snakes. O.O 

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Inside, it wasn’t much different. There were snakes everywhere! There were..

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Small snakes with poisonous fangs and..

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Big snakes with swollen bodies!

Tourists could wrap the snakes around themselves for a photograph & we saw this Arabian man doing exactly that.

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It could be just me, but is that terror on his face? =D 2

Outside the temple, there was a souvenir shop with really cheap items.

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Chloe & I got both these hats for only RM20. =)

Even with our large hats, we didn’t feel tourist-y enough. And so, it was time for the ultimate Penang tourist experience.

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You guessed it! All six of us divided onto three trishaws and had a ride around Penang.

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Clockwise from left: Kakak Ella, Tiffany, Dominic =D

I shared a trishaw with my darling sister and it was so much fun!

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The trishaws were like the kings of the street, with cars and motorcycles avoiding us, leaving the roads clear for the trishaws.

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Our trishaw driver a.k.a. the man with our lives in his hands for a few precious minutes.

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The Khoo’s other two trishaws!

Being on a trishaw was such a thrill, as we went over road bumps and made sharp turns, taking in the beautiful fluffy clouds in the sky while squeezing through narrow alleys.

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Soon, (too soon perhaps) the ride was over. =(

And now, it’s time to talk history. It’s time to talk about the Khoo Kongsi. The Khoo Kongsi is basically the Khoo clan, a place where Khoos can gather to track their history & find their relatives.

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I’m not sure if other families have a clan like this, but I felt pretty privileged to be a part of such a thing. It’s pretty Khool being a Khoo. wink

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The Khoo Kongsi is one of the most elaborate temples I’ve ever seen, even compared to the ones in China!

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According to Mr. Khoo (the one in charge of the temple), maintaining the place takes up quite a bit of money.

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Inside the temple.

In Penang, being a Khoo is a pretty big deal. There are even streets named after famous Khoos!

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My grandfather almost had a street named after him, but as he moved to Kuala Lumpur, that privilege had to be revoked. Gosh, if that didn't happen, I’d be running rampant in Penang.

“Your grandfather’s road, ah??” people would ask me.

“Yeah, it sure is!” I would say.

But alas, that can never happen. =(

Anyway, allow me to tell you this hilarious story about a man we asked directions from.

Dad: Do you know the way to Khoo Kongsi? *in Hokkien*

Man: Do you speak English? Good! Where did you park your car?

Dad: Uhh, behind there. Near the police station.

Man: Okay, you see. In Penang, you have to pay 40 cents to park your car for an hour.

Dad: Well-

Man: After an hour, you’ll have to pay another 40 cents. Which would make it 80 cents! So, then you see, when you park two hours, that will be 80 cents.

By then, us three siblings had broken out into fits of giggles over the funny funny man.

Man: YOU! *pointing at my brother* This isn’t a joke! Listen closely. Are you listening? Closely? Good! What I’m saying is very important. Not a joke!

Dom: Okay, okay! Not a joke!

The man then turns back to my father.

Man: Okay! So after you pay 80 cents, they should give you a red piece of paper. That means paid. If not paid, you will get a yellow piece of paper. Are you listening?!?!

Dad: Yes, yes. I’m listening.

Man: Okay! Good. What I’m saying is very important. Then, when you pay, you will get a red piece of paper. Is that clear?

Dad: Aha, yeah. I’m actually from Penang. Actually, we were planning to walk there from here.

At the word ‘walk’, the man sprang out of his seat and started getting more excited.

Man: AH! WHY DIDN’T YOU SAY SO!? Okay, you see, from here, you walk straight, and then you’ll see this store. That store sells very good fried oyster, you must go try! Then, you’ll walk by another store that sells good noodles. It has a red sign. Keep walking straight. STRAIGHT ON, I SAY!

Dad: Yes, straight on. *trying to stifle his laughter*

Man: OKAY!? YES. STRAIGHT ON!

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Man: After that, you have to turn left! Left until you see this building where there’s this man that sells oranges!

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Man: *blablablabla* ARE YOU LISTENING!?

Dad: Yes, I’m listening. Very closely.

Man: Okay, good! So, then you turn right! And it’s there.

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By the time he was done, all of us, including my mom, were red in the face from the supreme effort of trying to control our laughter. The man was so funny! He was so enthusiastic and comical, so much like a make-believe character from a TV show. As we were walking away, he continued to speak.

Man: If you can’t find your way, come back and find me! I hold myself personally responsible for you. I’m responsible ah! Remember! I’ve been living here for sixty years! You won’t get lost.

Dad: *thumbs up*

Man: Remember! I’m responsible for you! I will make sure you reach there! Follow my instructions carefully!!!!

Dad: *thumbs up* Okay! Thank you! Byebye!

Man: Bye bye! Remember! I’m responsible for you!!

Ahh, what a funny enthusiastic man. My dad reckons he’s really really lonely. To his credit, his directions were so detailed that we did manage to find our way in the end. Till now, my mom jokes that if we had let him continue believing that we were taking our car there, he would have explained how to turn on the engine. =p

When we got to Khoo Kongsi, we were given Visitor passes for free (it costs RM10 per visitor) as we are Khoos. =)

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Khoo Kongsi is also known as Cannon Square.

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Pay attention to the Historical Names. =)

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In China, I was so excited to see World Heritage sites but there are sites here in Malaysia too!

When we entered the office, there was paperwork all around as well as maps stuck on the walls. All these papers and maps were being used to track our ancestors and relatives in China.

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“Good morning, Mr. Khoo. Which Khoo is this?” the secretary greeted my father.

In the office, we managed to look at digital records from years ago. My great-great-grandfather was named Khoo Teng Khoe and is the earliest record available of the Khoo lineage in my family.

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According to the records, I’m the 21st generation Khoo in my family.

Besides finding more about my lineage, the temple also houses a mini-Khoo museum.

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Inside, there were records from ancient times, family trees and many more.

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A chart of middle Chinese names supposed to be undertaken by the Khoo males. My great-grandfather didn’t follow the chart and now all the boys in my family have messed up names. Ah well! =)

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One of the information signs of an old ancestor.

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Grandma & Grandpa Khoo having dinner. =p

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A structure outside the temple, which has my brother convinced that the Khoos invented rock music and hand gestures. -.-

All in all, the trip to Penang didn’t only fill us with laughter and food, but with knowledge as well. Two days well spent, I’d say.

Two days well spent, indeed.

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