"Re-cy-cle. That's what we do..."

Putting up a stand-up comedy show is hard. Putting up a stand-up comedy show in Malaysia is harder. Meeting the expectations of the Malaysian audience, much much harder.

Especially when it comes to repeating / recycling jokes.

I can't blame the Malaysian audience. Most aren't comedians or joke writers, let alone be privy to the workings of 'a joke'. As a comedian myself, I'd like to think of jokes as a comedian's children. A joke (usually) starts off as a grain of thought, just like how we human's start off in life as a sperm. This grain of thought, and just like a sperm, will gradually grow, hopefully, into a fully grown adult. But of course, humans reach adulthood in 21 years. Jokes, however, might reach that stage faster and sometimes, slower, depending how dedicated a comedian is. I have been writing jokes for 7 years, and one of my first jokes began it's life as a minute long gag and now, it's has developed into a 8-minute long joke set. I am still developing this joke. Just like how we humans can't top 'developing' as a person.

Developing jokes, from a grain of thought into the perfect infectious laughter trigger, is a lot of work. Somehow, comedians have this habit, this insatiable quest to find the right words, the right tone of voice, or the right pair of shoes to make a joke work, no matter how long the joke is. Sometimes, whilst marinating in a pot of ideas for jokes, one joke occupies our thoughts more than most and we can't move on this one bloody joke is perfected. Such are our ways. And long story short, jokes take time to develop.

So, to assume that comedians are able to churn out joke sets or whole new stand-up comedy shows in a matter a few months is just ridiculous. Ridiculously stupid. Comics don't even shit funny when their stomachs are feeling funny. Comedy is the only form of performing arts where the audience constantly expect something new. No, really. Have you ever been to a Coldplay concert then complain you didn't hear any new songs? As a comedian, I'd like to say sorry for this. We don't have a comedy farm where we can pluck the freshest jokes and throw it away before the joke starts to smell. 

Jokes are much like porn movies - First time, OH YEAH! Second time, not so YEAH more. 

You may want argue that "those Americans, UK, Mozambican, etc are doing it so why not us Malaysian comedians." Well, let's do some simple math. There are around 15 shows in KL in a month and around 25 active performers to rotate from. Now, let's say you watch all the show. Chance are, you may be able to recite some of the jokes as early as week 5, depending on your memory and attention span. In that same period, you might also hear a few new jokes but hey, guess what, those jokes are still at their infant stage.

Oh, why are we so slow compared to the rest of the world? People tend to compare Malaysian comedy with the US, UK, etc etc. Well, they have an industry. An industry that is many years ahead of us, in terms of quality, sustainability (to live as a comedian) and talent. WTF am I saying, we don't even have an 'industry' in Malaysia. We don't even have enough comedians to make a bloody Harlem Shake video.

In the States, believe it or not, some comedians have 5 to 25 writers working for them and all they have to do is to come up with an hour-long HBO Special and BAM! 

"The comedian is suddenly world famous! Loved by all Malaysians! Downloaded by all Malaysians! Malaysian comedy will never be at their level!" 

Hello. They have 51 states to tour and by the time, they are done, a year has passed and one fucking year is more than enough for 25 writers to come up with another HBO Special. How is anyone going to complain about these 'greats' repeat jokes? Unless, you're a roadie. 

We Malaysians only have Kuala Lumpur. That town ain't big enough to escape from recycled jokes. So, if you find yourself allergic to recycled jokes, perhaps you can wait for a year, and I guarantee you, you'll get your own hour-long Malaysian HBO Special.



An everlasting end

If the Mona Lisa was produced today, will it be remembered tomorrow?

I am comedian and writer. Suffice to say that my mainstay is selling either my talent or ideas.

I still recall, as I was starting out, I wake up every day hoping to create greatness - an original idea so simple and brilliant that my clients can or have reasons to remember me for. This was a time before the democratization of creativity through the use of the Internet via various channels like 9Gag, Imgur, Facebook, Twitter and what have you. Note, I did mention I'm a comedian and these channels are within my own discourse.

Today, we see a constant flow of 'creativity' on these channels. They may not be original but because these channels reach out to so many, authentication and originality suddenly become irrelevant, and sometimes, even unnecessary.

Today, creativity works in tandem with speed - it's not about who says it anymore, it's about who said it first. An idea one might have today, might be someone else's tomorrow - all it takes is to get beaten to posting the idea up on the channels available.

Today, it is much more difficult to judge the quality of one's work. There's almost no cannons, judges or who gets to say whose quality of work is better, not mention whether the work is of quality. Quality is now judged through quantification - the more 'Likes', the more views, the more 'retweets', the better the quality. We can even say that quality is now all about popularity. If an unknown artist's work has more 'Likes', 'retweets' or 'views' than, say, Da Vinci's Mona Lisa, who is to say that this unknown artist's work is not of quality?

If Da Vinci was still alive today and he reveals the Mona Lisa today, will his work be appreciated as much. Will his work even be remembered tomorrow?

Back in the day, creativity, talent and even popularity had a gauge. Does the artist have skillful brush work? Can the singer hit a particular note? Can a bassist play a particular bassline without getting finger cramps?

Today, whether or not an artist knows how to hold a brush, whether or not a singer can even sing... speed of creativity is the KEY. We produce and digest so many ideas everyday that there is no time to truly appreciate one's creations anymore.

Having said that, allow me to return to this blog's title -  An everlasting end. In my opinion, within the domain of love songs - we have so many songs about love, whether it's good or bad, there won't be another song album that can be named Everlasting Love Songs anymore.

Creativity will never last as long. It will only get replaced. It's just a matter of speed.  


I think therefore I am...NOT

You may have heard the statement - "I think therefore I am" If you didn't, now you do.

And for the more perceptive of beings, you may also know that some French dude came up with this statement as means to proof one's existence; "I am able to form thought, so I must exist". If you didn't, now you do. 

But I really do wonder if this still rings true in this day of age - an age where we have so many levels of existence - the self, the subject, the 'digital' self, etc. If this statement still applies then my thoughts go out the man who died in his office cubicle and was left to rot for 5 days by his colleagues, who never treated him like he existed. I wonder what were his last thoughts and whether he pondered about Descartes' famous statement. Descartes is the French dude, by the way.

And how many people even 'think' nowadays? I 'think' therefore I am? How about 'I assume therefore I am'. That could work, right? I'm sure we all know someone who is convinced that he or she exists in some form of 'assumed existence'.

"Oh, I performed at a 3-minute open mic stand-up comedy show. I'm a stand-up comedian now. I assume therefore I am."

"Oh, I'm an extra in a TV commercial. I'm an actor now. I assume therefore I am."

"Oh, I'm married to someone who is now the Prime Minister of a country. I'm the first lady of this country. But what happens when my husband is no longer the Prime Minister? Will I continue to 'exist' then? 

Oh, fark that shit - I assume therefore I am."




List of "achievements"

I always think achievements are a bit subjective -- we tend declare what we've achieved something based on our own definition of achievement. To me, achievement is something that others recognize you for. But a friend told me that listing down your own achievements can be quite therapeutic so...

Here's my list of "achievements":

- Born, son, first swim since I was a sperm,

- kindergarten: 2nd best in 1st year of kindergarten, 2nd best in 2nd year of kindergarten, 3rd best in kindergarten monthly exam, 3rd placed on sports day "Sukan Beraneka"

- primary school: 2nd-best in class Year 1, met my wife in Year 2, first acting gig in Year 3, class monitor (several occasions), school football team in Year 4, inter-classroom football champions, 2nd-best in class Year 5, President of Kelab Sains, jogathon champion in Year 6, 2nd place in 100m dash Year 6, 2nd place in high jump Year 6, 1st place in 100m 4x4 rally Year 6, aced UPSR, Bintang Sekolah 1996

- high school: 1st place in 800m run, 3rd place in 100m 4x4 rally Year 7, inter-classroom football champions, 1st place in 800m run, 1st place in 100m 4x4 rally Year 8, my first job in a manufacturing country, aced PMR, acted in 1st school theater production "The Ten Penny Tragedy", job passing out leaflets, had sex, went on a Jamboree, Vice-President for Interact club, Discipline Officer of 10th PJ Scout Troop, acted in 2nd school theater production "The Miser", passed SPM

- college student: co-directed 1st college theater production "Save The Last Dance", made 1st TV appearance "Katakan...", joined Mass Communications Course, co-directed and acted in college theater production "The Miser", President of Society of Performing Arts, directed college theater production "Hip-Hopera: The Dansical", co-founded The ComeBackKings, 1st gig as a skit-based comedian, wrote first skit-based script, inter-year futsal champions, 2nd best in Public Speaking final-year presentation, won talent competition with The ComeBackKings, received Diploma

- university student: co-directed college theater production "Importance of Being Earnest", won another talent competition with The ComeBackKings, directed college theater production "Old Saybrook", first outstation show with The ComeBackKings, went to Australia, 4 days without sleep, played first rugby match, survived first bone-repair operation, survived Australia

- Theater Supervisor, writer+actor+producer for Media Prime on ad-hoc, wrote 15 scripts for 15 www.gua.com.my videos, PR Executive, ad-hoc PR advisor, did first stand-up comedy gig, helped kick-off Time Out KL Comedy Thursday, writer, joined Malaysian Association of Chinese Comedians, freelance writer, freelance sub-editor, voice-dubbed 2 seasons of Bola Kampung, Best Actor for Short+Sweet Malaysia 2010, successful proposal, got hitched, wrote first TV commercial script, acted in first TV commercial, acted in first Internet commercial, full-time comedian, 1st official theater production "Corporal Punishment"

And that's all I can remember. Hmm, I'm supposed to feel better right about now...


1st blog of 2012: Retiring jokes

Jokes are like porn videos. They're not as good as the first time you were exposed to it. - me, 2011

Some comedians, like me, retire jokes. Why? Because the jokes have gone stale. Because certain topics - current affairs topics, are not current anymore. Because the jokes do not evoke as much emotion from the audience as before. So, every year, I retire a few jokes and these jokes are mainly not evergreen topics. Topics like:

Joke 1: Malaysian football:

[Wear Malaysian national football team jersey 2010]

You must be wondering why I'm wearing this jersey. It's because it's my most favourite Malaysian jersey. Not because Malaysia won something, it's because this is the most Malaysian of ALL Malaysian jerseys. Look at it -- like some bloody rempit ran over me like that. So Malaysian.

We wore it when we won the Suzuki Cup. The Suzuki Cup. [Do riding motorbike gesture] So Malaysian.

Maybe the players think they can really win motorbike. [Reenact scene]

When we won, we got a public holiday. I didn’t know the Suzuki Cup so important! We didn’t get a holiday when our squash player become number 1, badminton player become number 1. Not one holiday. Half-day also don’t have.

Imagine if we win the World Cup -- whole week holiday! If we ever qualify -- 1 month holiday.

Remember the final when we beat Indonesia 3-0 at Bukit Jalil. Create such a bad PR towards the Indonesians - they send their football team here, we beat beat them. Send their badminton players here, we beat them. [Under breath] Send their maids, also we beat them. This is bad.

And in that match, some smart Malaysians who brought their laser and shot lasers at the Indonesian goalkeeper, trying to blind him. When Indonesia lost, ALL the Indonesians got angry. But why, Indonesians?
[WAIT, ARE THERE ANY INDONESIANS HERE? Don’ have right? I know 'cause got no lasers on me.]

So, why you so angry? We just blind your goalkeeper, ONE goalkeeper, all Indonesians get angry. Every year, you send your haze and blind ALL of us, we also not angry!


Joke 2: Sissy Camp

Heard of the camp in Terengganu for effeminate boys. Effeminate boys means those boys who are very sissy, very girly - I don't [insert victim] told me. [*point at one corner* YOU SEE THAT! Ah, those boys in the crowd who turn their head very fast are most likely effeminate boys, and they are probably folding their arms now. While pouting.]

You see, this camp has 66 boys with effeminate tendencies, who religious teachers claim that they might become full-blown transvestites, cross-dressers or Aznil, if they are given masculine behaviour training.

Masculine behaviour training? What IS masculine behaviour training? Their timetable is how? 2pm: wake up with a hangover. 3pm: get out of bed and have a cigarette for breakfast. 3.10: Check Facebook and Twitter. 5pm: Play DOTA, Left For Dead or Skyrim. Midnight: Sleepy, so check 9Gag first. 1am: Feeling horny so look for porn. 1.05am: clean keyboard with tissue.

And is this camp suppose to scare effeminate boys? What happens when you tell an effeminate boy that he's going to a camp with other effeminate boys? [Act out: "OMIGOD! I'M LIKE SO GOING THERE! WE'RE GONNA WATCH GLEE, HAVE PILLOW FIGHTS..."]

Effeminate boys in a camp? Haven't they watched Brokeback Mountain? Two boys is enough and they now have 66 boys. Even number some more. And don't think the number 66 look like 2 people spooning?

What's scary to me is, this camp is going after all the effeminate boys in Malaysia. I can't imagine who Malaysia will be without effeminate boys? Who is going to host Akedemi Fantasia? Who's going to teach us how to cook? WHO ARE WE GOING TO SEND TO OUTER SPACE?!


More jokes to follow this path, I'm afraid. Gotta do more evergreen topics.


Inane babbles

Since nobody reads this shit, I'll make this blog page a junkyard for my half-baked, undeveloped, unfunny and, at times, mind-boggling statements, which were once jotted down somewhere and waiting to be revisited and refurbished into, well, jokes. Here's one prime example -

My name is Chi Ho. Chi, as in Chinese feng shui... chi. And Ho, as in good... hou. So, in some sense, my name literally means Good Feng Shui - your house needs me.

You don't need to buy one of those mini water fountains with those spinning balls on it 'cause I've got 'em ... two. You can't see them but they are spinning. On some liquid.

And good feng shui is all about the elements and I assure you, ladies, I have all the element. Metal because I'll be your knight in shining armour, earth because I'm down to earth, water because my money is like that -- always flowing, fire because I have passion, in bed; and wood... *snigger*




Strange thought. Ever pondered how remarkable towels are?

A towel can be used to 'usher in' life, as sheets to cover babies right after birth.

It also can be used to 'take away' life, as a weapon to gag or to suffocate a victim or victims.

A towel can be used to wipe away imperfections to help one accentuate external beauty.

It also can be used to hide one's imperfections.

A towel can soak up the sweat of one who works hard.

Or one can 'throw in the towel', to signify a premature end to one's hard work.


Love is like a joke...

Spent the last ounce of my writing mojo rehashing one sentence for the past 4 hours, another writer's block seem imminent. Perhaps, I should just lay back on my chair, pour me a shot of whiskey, light a cigarette and clear my thoughts, but that's not my style. Cigarette smoke makes my curtains smell.

However, it in such moments, something in my head always light up, like a bulb, but a low voltage one since I'm into green technology. And emanating from that light this time is a realization of the co-relation between girlfriends and a joke. In many sense, girlfriends are a joke, but not in a derogatory manner lah.

Also, it's not the idealistic, pure version of girlfriend too but rather, the more 'manufactured' and 'commercialized' version. The one we were all thought or accepted in this day of age, whether you have the propensity or genitalia to be a girlfriend or not. Apologies, that was the Monash Commie side of me talking.

OK, OK, here's what I think. You know how when you tell a joke, it's funny, people around you laugh but there's always this party-pooper at the corner going, "Wait, I don't get it." And after a customary retell of the joke from the joke teller and, if necessary, followed by the voluntary attempts of explaining the joke by those who got the joke, the buffoon at the corner goes, "Oh, I get it now. Means, you're saying Siti Nurhaliza had taken off her tudung before, but in front of another man and not Datuk K, which she is not supposed to do, as an examplary Muslimin. Yup, I get it."

If you happened to be in a similar situation of this buffoon, you ARE a buffoon (too), and that although those around you are, genuinely, grateful that you got the joke, when in actual fact, you did not get the joke at all. You either get the joke once the joke is told or you just don't. You just have to know.

Now apply this to relationships, a girlfriend-boyfriend situation. Girlfriend can't decide on what to have for dinner, boyfriend throws in a few suggestions but nothing tickles her fancy. In the end, boyfriend picks the wrong choice of food and girlfriend ends up silently sulking. Boyfriend asks why she sulks but girlfriend says nothing. Nothing is never ever nothing to a girlfriend. You either get what your girlfriend says once she has said what she said or you just don't. You just have to know.

But in this girlfriend-boyfriend example, Japanese or Korean food would be a every boyfriend's wild card. If not, be it mamak or The Chicken Rice Shop, just take photos with your girlfriend. That'll shut her up. Too.

General Jamban

I like visiting my in-laws but the shit thing is, there is no place to park my car in that neighbourhood except for the neighbourhood’s communal toilet - a grassy patch stretch along the roadside, where all the pet’s from that neighbourhood and other neighbourhoods nearby pay their debts to nature.

You see, that’s okay when the sun is still your visual aid. But when night falls, the moon’s inherent ability as a visual aid pales in comparison, you see.

So, walking back to my car, I have to entrust my Blackberry to moonlight as a torch, which, in this case, provides little reinforcement to er, moon light, to somehow help me through this shit-uation. In a futile feat to navigate a clean path around the faeces convention that is present each night, one only can leave it to luck on whether one will end up with clean soles or unclean soles.

When luck is ditches you, it's better just to have one shitty sole.

Or better yet, one shitty sole that is not smudged on cat poo.

Or better yet, one shitty sole that is smudged on dried out cat or dog poo.

Or better yet, one clean sole but you’re not hopping into your own car.


A funny thing happened on the escalator...

My motivational levels have been running low lately, much like the excuses of our government to justify their ‘good governance’. My self-prescription for this rare condition of mine was retail therapy, after consulting my financial advisor in the form of an ATM, of course.

Retail therapy took just 40 minutes and in that 40 minutes, I bought two things which I don’t have time for these days - a toy and some books. After satisfying my mental state and having nothing left to spend, besides on a glass of teh tarik and on the parking ticket, I decided to leave.

With my new toy and books in a pink plastic bag hooked onto my index finger, I stepped onto the escalator, which will take me to the ground floor from the fourth. After a while I noticed everyone, on the opposite escalator - the one heading up - looking at me, before veering to the family in front of me and then back at me. Baffled, I looked at the family before me and saw what these people saw.

On that same escalator, there before me stood (what looks like) a Poh Poh or grandma, Kong Kong or grandpa, with their granddaughter and grandson (whom are still eligible for kindergarten, I think). Hooked onto this boy’s and girl’s index fingers was their own respective pink plastic bag and in those pink plastic bags, their own respective toy. Now, zoom out and see the whole picture, with me, holding onto my own pink plastic big that holds my own toy. Zoom out some more watch me as slide, quietly down, from the fourth floor to ground, with this family of four before me. I AM NOT THEIR GRANDCHILDREN!

Damn you, coincidence! Some times you’re on my side but when you put me in a joke, why must I always be your punchline? I wish I had the guts to pull out my phone, press it against my ear and shout, “Look, the kids miss you, okay! THEY MISS YOU! THEY ARE YOUR KIDS TOO! They are too young to understand what is D-I-V-O-R-C-E. Why don’t YOU buy toys for them the next time YOU spend time with them!”

(And repeat after, in the next flight of escalator, on the next floor.)