Saturday, March 29, 2008

Eamon Sullivan, world's fastest swimmer

Last week, Australia's Eamon Sullivan broke the world record for 50m freestyle swimming.

Four years ago, Sullivan and I were sharing a table at KFC KL Sentral.

Really, I am not making this up. He and two of his team mates, Adam Lucas and Jim Piper were on their way back from the Athens Olympics. They were on a 4-hour transit at KLIA so I guess they came to the city to lepak.

At exactly the same time, Cedric, Wong and I were having our weekly cartoonist meeting at KFC. It was fasting month and we were waiting for buka puasa.

As is normally the case during fasting month, the restaurant was packed with people waiting to buka puasa.

That was when these three young Mat Sallehs approached us and asked if they could share our table. We said sure.

We didn't know who they were but during small talk, Cedric asked "So what do you guys do?" and they said, "Oh, we're swimmers."

Australian Olympic swimmers, no less. We almost fell out of our chairs.

Moral of the story #1: When you meet people, ask what they do. You might be surprised.

I'm sure the swimmers were equally surprised to be sharing a table with a group of Malaysian cartoonists. So we all had a lot to talk about.

Cedric, Wong and I showed them our cartoon works. They... had no cartoon work to show, so they showed us their new Athens 2004 tattoos instead.

Even so, we still wanted to check if they were telling the truth so the next day we googled their names. True enough, they were in the Australian swim team. Although they were not as famous as Ian Thorpe, they were already winning medals at the Commonwealth level.

Sullivan, at 18, was 'just' a junior member of the star-studded Australian team but today he is a leading contender for gold at this year's Olympics.

Moral of the story #2: You can eat KFC and still be Olympic champion.

The story doesn't end there. Unbeknownst to us, it was raining cats and dogs outside.

By the time I got home to Kajang (my wife and I were living with my parents at the time), I discovered that the house was flooded! Water was almost knee-deep inside the house!

Books and carpets were soaked and some of the furnitures were damaged. Cars had to be parked elsewhere.

I was reviewing a new iMac at the time. Luckily nothing bad happened to it.

We spent the whole night pushing muddy water out of the house, which was nothing compared to some other families in Kajang whom we heard had to be evacuated to the dewan orang ramai that night.

Like the chance meeting with the swimmers, it wasn't something that happens every day in Kajang.

Moral of the story #3: If you bump into Australian Olympic swimmers and it's raining, get the hell out of there and rush home. Because chances are, your house is about to get flooded.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Paris je t'aime

Saw a movie called Paris je t'aime Friday night. It's a French movie that consists of 18 short films (about 5 minutes each) featuring famous international directors and actors.

The title has the word Paris in it and it has the word love in it so I guess you know more or less what to expect.

Nonono, this has nothing to do with Paris Hilton's sex tape! The 18 short stories revolve around Paris' 20 or so arrondissements (neighbourhoods, from what I understand) and the directors use them as the settings to tell the audience what their idea on the subject of love is.

I mainly wanted to see one particular story about hijab.

So how did it go? Most people in the cinema were couples who must've thought they were in for a lovey-dovey time. Which they were. But they also saw a young woman in a hijab and her grandfather in a skullcap extolling the virtues of covering up. And they were both speaking the Language of Love. And it's a movie that has Hollywood actors in it. It must've been surreal.

Overall however, Paris je t'aime is an entertaining movie. Some funny parts, some sad parts. Some of the stories I didn't quite understand so I'll try to catch it again if I'm permitted by the twists and turns of next week.