Fashionably late?

Published in the Ottawa Business Journal and on its website.
May 18, 2009 (May 20 on

Click here to view this article on

An OBJ reporter joins the search for a popular retailer and other peddlers of fashionable wares

Ever since those surreal television commercials began airing in March, depicting a curly-haired blond and swarthy suit-clad man in rooms with ladders and Alice-in-Wonderland doors, I’ve been one of many Ottawans wondering if Swedish fashion retailer H&M is close to opening its first store in the nation’s capital.

Local retail industry observers have been buzzing about the possibility for years, and devoted Facebookers – yours truly included – have bombarded H&M’s discussion boards with pleas to bring the store to Ottawa, especially in the wake of new openings in smaller cities such as Peterborough, Ont. and Dartmouth, N.S.

Posted one online commenter: “Ottawa’s … full of young government workers who have loads of disposable income, and not one store … It’s almost insulting … Maybe one day Ottawa will be deemed ‘worthy.'”

It seems the time is nigh considering that Continue reading →

Entering a new “grey zone” of shifting cultures

Published in
Sept. 20, 2006

A still from Tsai Ming-Liang’s I Don’t Want
To Sleep Alone
Photo taken from the website of the

I had the privilege of attending the North American premiere of I Don’t Want To Sleep Alone (Hei Yan Quan) last Monday at the Toronto International Film Festival.

The film is Malaysian-born Taiwanese filmmaker Tsai Ming-Liang’s treatise on the lives of foreign migrant workers in Kuala Lumpur, and a reference to his own experience as an immigrant in Taiwan.

The film was an enigma, virtually devoid of dialogue between the main characters, featuring long, loooong still shots with no camera movement whatsoever, and a curious absence of any shots of the KL skyline (besides a few glimpses of the outside of Pudu Jail and some coffee shops downtown); it could really have been filmed anywhere in the world if not for those fleeting references to local landmarks and the smattering of Malay spoken in the beginning of the movie.

Even more intriguing, however, was the question asked by Continue reading →

The real “Malaysia, Truly Asia”

Published in
March 27, 2006

When we Malaysians think of Malaysia, we often think of the fabulous food, incredibly cheap and trendy shopping, and beautiful beaches with almost year-round gorgeous beach-bumming weather – all characteristics of a tourist haven.

But if we’re so darn tootin’, why aren’t tourists flocking to our shores?

For that matter, why aren’t we Malaysians exploring our own country more?

Sadly enough, I can attest to the fact that I’ve only been to four states, including my home state, Selangor/Wilayah Persekutuan. And despite being awed Continue reading →

Young filmmakers focus on success through the lens

Published as an Arts Editorial in Centretown News.
Oct. 14, 2005

It’s film festival season in Ottawa, and there has never been a better time to be a filmmaker.

Amateur filmmakers are getting involved in what was once considered an elite art form.

And it looks like the lure of movie-making magic has captivated the younger generation as well.

Youth filmmakers – those who are younger than 30 years of age – are getting a chance to get their hands dirty as film production equipment becomes cheaper and more readily available. Continue reading →

Are Canadian jazz artists being left out of the spotlight?

Published as an Arts Editorial in Centretown News.
Sept. 30, 2005

The Ottawa International Jazz Festival is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year and is just beginning its winter lineup.

On its website, organizers tout the festival as having the “biggest loyal audience of any event in eastern Ontario” and boast about the big-name acts the festival has brought to the Ottawa stage.

But have we forgotten our homegrown talents in the quest for bright lights and big box office hits? Continue reading →