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25 February 2007

Off to Vietnam tomorrow

A long time since I last said that...

Wow, it's over 15 months since I last went to Vietnam and now i'm going back there to do some work.

Back in 'Nam. I was in 'Nam, back in '05 kinda story.

Last time was purely hoiday adventuring but this time i've got a crazy schedule that i've organised for myself. Basically, i have to find out about the MICE tourism industry in Hanoi so that means i'm staying at both the Hilton and the Daewoo hotels to make sure their five stars add up.

I'm also going to a few venues that deal with conventions and exhibitions - most notably the Press Club and the French-Colonial Opera House. Then a few spas and spiritual retreats for the incentives section and also I have to somehow conduct another covershoot for issue two of MICE in Asia mag.

Sounds kinda cool, only i'm going there alone and just have to blag it all when i'm there. Most of the places are government [or People's Administration] owned and not only are they hard-core communist [oh, sorry Socialist] bureaucrats, but they're also quite stingey and not the most welcoming of foreigners into their official infrastructure.

So, some of my 'assignment' will have to rely on my 'sneaky ninja' journalism techinques - which just mean acting like the clueless white tourist - wandering into off limits type places, taking a lot of sneaky photos and gathering sneaky info, then either escaping un-noticed or if I get caught, just smile and say, oh, sorry, i didn't know i wasn't supposed to be in here - sorry.


and that approach works everytime. Even better if you have a few spare emergency bribe dollars in your sky rocket.

We'll see.

if you don't hear back from me after a week or so then call the Embassy and say i was in hanoi somewhere for a week and they should start their search there.

Xin Chow Viet Nam [again]!

Off to Vietnam tomorrow

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davymacca said...good luck in Nam kidda, sounds like its gunna be a proper mission. Posted 25 February 2007 19:32


25 February 2007

Excuse me, are you a model?

Ha ha...It was an accident, honest

So I got a call from my friend Wee Chee the other day. He’s a damn good fashion stylist who works closely with our mags as well as every other mag in the country and beyond.

Anyway, he was styling a fashion shoot for a Chinese mag called Nü You [which actually sounds like the word for ‘girlfriend’ in Cantonese.] Basically he said he needed me to help out with the shoot [as an extra] for two shots.

Then sure enough I turn up and they want me bare-chested next to Angie, this 6ft Chinese model and Adriano, some Brazilian model dude. Aiyah, I wasn’t too comfortable with it because for one they were pro models and were knocking out all their best ‘Blue Steel’ strong eye looks and I was just this little white dude who HAD TO STAND ON AN ORANGE CRATE to be the right height.


But when the mag came out, this is the shot they used. My baldy head and hairy white chest in full glory getting cosy with the 6 footer.

And again, all by accident – and a bit embarrassing.

Honestly, I seem to get myself in all kinds of weird situations here, but not so bad really.

And now a [sort of] model. Although I have to go home and practice my ‘Magnum’ look and also how to suck in my cheeks and love the camera, which I don’t.

He he he…

Until next time, ciao darlings mwa mwa [pfffft!]

johnny does fashion - bare chested!

johnny does fashion - bare chested!

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21 February 2007

An Expat it seems - not a 'White Person'

But at least they got the Mat Rempit and Terrorised bit right...

So by Wednesday this week my gripping story was page 2 'Hot News' in the Malay Mail - the main regional Daily. A bit more than i'd anticipated but nevermind

And i got most of what I wanted in there, including the pix of the stoopid bikers who taunted us.

The police were so shocked about the story appearing so soon [which incidentally slates them for being useless, work-shy fops] that the chief called me over to apologise and then conducted a thorough report and even took the 'superman' pix to the traffic department.

So, the power of the media prevails, the police sit up and take action and we carry on with our lives.

until next time...

The End

Page two, 'Hot News' - Mat Rempits Terrorise - ha!

Page two, 'Hot News' - Mat Rempits Terrorise - ha!

Comments Reply to this post

jmc said...i'll keep tryin', you keep readin'. Posted 8 March 2007 16:32

Sweet said...Proper Soap Opera going on over there! Keep the fun going! Posted 25 February 2007 18:10


18 February 2007

Gong Xi Fa Cai? Motormayhem at Chinese New year!

'Mat Rempit' - 'Terrorised' - 'Feared for life'

Well it’s Chinese New Year here and I’ve just spent most of the day in the police station.

Last night I saw how mob rules in Malaysia with the motorbike riding orang Melayu kampung otherwise known as mat rempit.

A lot of ‘youths’ here ride about on little Hondas and sometimes they get together late at night and do stupid stuff like do the ‘superman’, one-handed at 80kph on the highway.


And we [me and my friend Melissa] stumbled across about 5 of them showing off - for us – so melissa took some fotos and they loved it.

Then we came to a toll and there were another 5 mat rempit waiting there.

And they weren’t so friendly – so we wound the window up and made haste through the toll, only to notice another group of 15 or so mat rempit about 100 metres or so down
the highway.

But before we reached them, the showoffs and the entire rempit crew from the toll had already caught up with us and were circling the car, slowing us down in front.

It started to get a bit dodgy.

So I just let them know I wasn’t gonna stop, simple.

And as I passed through the group, another 200 metres down were two police cars with lights flashing – nice one I thought and was relieved.

Until a massive thud on the back of the car and 5 or 6 rempit throwing stuff!

And the police just watched.

Then one came up alongside and kicked the passenger door with his flip flops on so we had to cepat cepat and somehow ‘lose them’.

But how to lose a pack of motobikes in a big clumsy car?

Couldn’t go straight down the highway cos there was another toll ahead.

But luckily for us, my house wasn’t far away – although it did mean driving through a kampung street were people just saunter about with disregard for things like traffic, let alone high speed pursuit.

So I pulled up onto the the street that leads to my house – about 300 metres with speed bumps and traffic lights.

And another massive thud on the back of the car – one mat rempit had actually thrown his own helmet at the car – the visor popped off and got stuck in the spoiler of melissa’s car which is kinda funny.

Malay youth are not regarded as the sharpest tools in the Malaysian box.

But we were scared – as you would be.

So I just floored it up the jalan, and not before the car getting hit by a bottle, I started to make headway.

About 90 up the street, lights were on green [thank god/allah?] but I had to swerve a truck to pass a car at the lights and the gates to my compound were 50 metres away.

As I flew over the speedbumps at the compound gates I remember seeing the mat rempit crossing the lights and as I reached further up the hill I saw they had turned around at the gate and were heading back – my security gaurds ARE there for a reason, now I know.

Waaaaaaa, so drama.

But first the shock and fear and then the realisation...

I’ve been terrorised by youths.

We feared for our lives, and considered the consequences of us not being so lucky.

And it’s a new experience for me – mortal fear.

So I went to the police station to write a report – as you do.

I was by myself too. And they were actually very helpful and cheery, even though I knew that really they c[w]ouldn’t do anything about it. In fact the lady officer even asked me why I reported it. The police station was as expected, scruffy and old with fat men [cops no less laid asleep across plastic chairs after lunch – funny.

However, they liked me because saya cakap Melayu sedikit boleh [lit trans: I proficient Malay small amount can.] Who’d have thought that listening to Yoda could help you to speak Malay? Not only can I converse, but I can joke well too – and they like that from orang putih [white person] it seems. And also because I’m apparently ‘David Beckham brother!’

So being in the police station took up a lot of time and because I didn’t have any fotos of the mat rempit actually kicking the car, nothing could be done. I later found out that the reason the patrol cars did nothing on the scene was that they too of course would have been ‘terrorised’. But isn’t that why they have guns and big sticks? Hmmm.

Anyway, I wanted the story to go to the press cos that’s kinda what I do now. Luckily for me, my editor’s boyfriend is a section editor for the malay mail daily paper.

So I called him and the story is going along with the fotos and the police report to his office and they’ll run the story this week.

As long as they use the words ‘mat rempit’, ‘terrorised’ and ‘feared for life’ then I’ll be happy.

I can see it now: ‘White person and perumpuan serani ‘terrorised’ by local youths. Mat rempit bodoh strike again. Victims ‘feared for life’.

Or maybe not.

Anyway, this is me updating me site some more.

Must make it a habit.

Ciao for now and remember, stay away from motorbike gangs.

Do the one-handed 'Rempit Superman' first, then terrorise...

Do the one-handed 'Rempit Superman' first, then terrorise...

Comments Reply to this post

amy said...minta mati cepat Posted 23 July 2007 07:46


16 February 2007

Back from the dead?

i was just hiding...

Check out this site to see some of my foto stuffs:

Johnny foto stuffs!

And also check out the ‘fun stuff’ or the 'latest' section of my gallery here to see the stuff that’s been going on


p.s. don't forget to read me other 'new' blogs below- got loadsa good stuf in there, honest.

Me chillin' at home the other day

Me chillin' at home the other day

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16 February 2007

Where have you been all this time?

...And why the f*%k didn't you get in touch with anybody?

Easy, easy.

Ok, i'm sorry.

It's been what, almost SIX months since I last updated this website and about four months since I sent a group email explaining what, where, why and how my life in Asia has taken me.

Now, i hope some of you can understand why it's difficult to keep up with everything in all corners of the world when your days [and nights] including weekends are filled with cold hard graft.

When the present engulfs you and consumes your every waking moment, it's easy to lose track of the past.

Anyway, that could just be an excuse. Whatever it is, i'm here again now - trying to update my site and make an effort to reintergrate back into the world of www.jayemmcee.com

However, I might just add that there is an unforseen circumstance that actually rules my life in a way I never knew possible. It's the strange affair of living on the equator.

Whaddaya mean like, Johnny McGeorge?

Well, i just mean that in Malaysia it's a hot summer's day every single day of the year.

Imagine that.

there are slight variations of the weather - what with having three seasons - hot, hotter and hottest.

it messes with your bonce a bit and as such, the concept of time eludes me. It could be August or April or whatever month it is now [it's february, i only know cos it's chinese new year this week].

But yeah, it's slightly odd.

When the [supposed] season changes, it just means that the daily thunderstorm lasts for an half an hour rather than ten minutes - and sometimes on the morning it's a bit cloudy - then the rest of the year it's blazing 30+ degree heat.

So, when someone told me it was gonna be christmas some...time ago, it was really easy to ignore.

but also, i've come to realise that my internal clock was so used to seasonal change that now there's none, time just flies by.

Honestly, i don't work in days of the week or even weeks and months per se, I clock myself simply on numbers. Like, oh deadline on 23rd or fly out on 16th. What month it might be is of little importance.

Liberating, but a bit weird to say the least.

And no winter to dread is a good thing, but no spring to look forward to is not. And the orange and brown nip in the air of autumn, i kinda miss that too.

But anyways, that's another reason [excuse?] why i've been 'away' for so long - cos I had no idea what time it was - and now it's like five past 2007 or something isn't it?

So, for the last however long it is[over a year now it appears] - i've been living and working [ahem, wtht wrk prmt] in Malaysia - as you probably don't know.

And in that time i've been working primarily as a photographer, but [accidentally] because of an apparent ability to form sentences in print with some degree of proficiency, i inadvertantly fell into editorial work for a few magazines.

But I love it. Writing for mags is great fun. especially as the mags i write for are just my cup of tea and look a treat.

One problem though, writing in Malaysia is not a particularly lucrative profession - however, photography is, so that's a-ok.

So... there's Plan B magazine. It's a men's lifestyle mag [whatever that means?]. And for that I write about all me favourite stuff like travel and music and movies and art/design, fashion and new cool stuff and basically whatever I find that might be worth writing about. And the best part about it is the creative freedom. My English sense of humour here is carried aloft in a king's chair by the few that understand what's what.

So i just write funny stuff about whatever, you know, like fighting bees and the joys of electrocution that kind of stuff. And at every opportunity, subversively advocating the use of mind-bending drugs.

Now this mag is for men, but here in Malaysia [where we are a reasonably tolerant Islamic Nation] men's mags don't fill their pages with go-nowhere knocker-flashing page 3 models, which means that all that boobiespace other men's mags across the world utilise - has to be filled up with 'other' stuff.

stuff that doesn't have knockers in [or bikinis, or drugs or swearwords] or other kinds of naughty stufs that are allowed in most countries. [however, there's much graphic imagery of massacre and carnage in the daily press...hmmm]

so instead we fill the pages with meaningful features about artists, designers, worthwhile celebrities and creative foto-essays that actually mean stuff.

it's nice - and there's no way to cop out by having a 'who's got the biggest jugs' contest.

although, granted, we do have to feature some mainstream stuff when it comes to music and movies etc, cos well, over here, the exposure for 'alternative' arts is minimal - and the arts in general are grossly underfunded.

anyway, here's the blogsite for the Plan B mag - have a look, it's nice.

plan b site

The really fun part about working for Plan B is producing photoshoots and stuff with celebrities and doing interviews with such people.

Because we're all quite guerrilla when it comes to these kinds of things so much like McGuyver we manage to create amazing things out of not much more than 2xAAA batteries, a rolf harris stylophone and some chicken wire and shit.

If you go to the gallery on this site and have a look at the fun stuff section, you can see how we do. Like transforming my entire apartment into a 6 location fotostudio to shoot discovery channel presenter Asha Gill for the November issue - Or when we did a Parkour/Yamakasi shoot for a Nike campaign - made up on the spot with yours truly as the stuntman, jumping out of second storey car park windows and other reckless nonsense that seems more dangerous now looking back than it did at the time.

And that's Plan B magazine, one of three mags I work for.

I like it - a lot.

plan B 'Style Issue' cover

plan B 'Style Issue' cover

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16 February 2007

Is that it?

But what else have you been doing?

Well, along with Plan B magazine, at the same publishing house I write for a design magazine too – called Form.

That one’s great too. I get to write about architecture and interiors and product design and fashion and graphics and also do interviews with more designers etc.

And that mag looks great too. [unfortunately though we don’t have any web resource for that] so it’s difficult to show you all how it looks.

For these two mags there are FOUR people who produce them – and we all muck in together – Four people to write and edit a men's monthly and a bi-monthly design mag. Quite tricky to be honest. There’s Eugene, he’s my best mate and the editor of Plan B and the contributing editor of form. Then there’s Jen, she’s the editor of form and editor-in-chief of Plan B. Next up is Aziz, he’s style editor for Plan B and assistant editor of Form. Then me, I’m the staff writer and sometime photographer of both. We have a few regular contributors too. Some more of my very good friends.

Two damn good photographers to note – Choen Lee [creative pixman extraordinaire] check out the stuff he does at:

choen’s site

He’s good!

Then there’s my other good friend Chris A [incidentally my first real contact here in KL], the man guilty of introducing me to the magazines and whom I am indebted to for said reasons. He’s a fashion photographer from Singapore who’s worked for stuff like Vogue and other high fashion stuff all over the world [particularly Amsterdam, Milan, Barcelona, Paris, Rio de Janeiro etc etc…]

His stuff is also really good too – have a look:

Chris A foto

Then there’s a few other writers like Sam Yen, [a 25 year old, amazing writer who just happens to be an economic analyst for some major petrol firm but still manages to write and produce plays in KL as well as contribute for the two mags]. Then there’s Matt Armitage, an English kid who’s been here for about 8 years. Nice to see another white face and chuckle at the same kind of nonsense from time to time. Matt contributes for just about every worthwhile magazine in KL and is a household name around town.

So that’s about it for Hyper-Elevation Media Sdn Bhd – the publisher of those two mags. With them I work in the office three days a week and then location, hunting, interviewing and shooting whenever necessary [which usually ends up about 9 days a week, every week – but love it]

And then there’s some other stuff I do too...

Comments Reply to this post

16 February 2007

What about that business mag you were harping on about before?

What's it all about?

Oh yeah, a while ago I was introduced to a woman who wanted to set up a new corporate tourism magazine that would send me around Asia on assignment as a photographer. So after many months of red-tape and prep, we finally got round to making it. I am the main contributing photographer and now storyteller too. Double scoop for me?

So the mag is called MICE in Asia and we deal with Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions throughout Asia.

Look: MICE mag

For this one I got the chance to do my first covershoot plus I also get to stay in the best hotels and resorts around – for free! And I MUST review all spas to make sure they give good massages and other stuff [that's free!:]

It’s quite a touch to be honest – if not tiring. So far, I’ve been sent on assignment all around Malaysia, to some island retreats, to cover the Monsoon Cup yacht race, Indonesian design hotels in Jakarta, Thailand resorts, Singapore nightlife and next week I’m off to Hanoi again to do another covershoot and collect some stories about 5* hotels and the MICE industry in Vietnam. We only launched issue one a few weeks ago and already I’m working on issue 3 assignments. Research and planning is exhaustive but all expenses paid so…thanks, I’ll take that.

And all of that stuff I have to do when I’m not working for the other two magazines. Which usually involves me travelling on weekends and holidays to do more work.

Tired but happy.

And that’s it for the mags up to now.

The othe freelance work I do is photography for a few advertising firms and event photography on the Datin circuit for PR agencies. Generally involves taking pictures of rich aunties sipping champagne at expensive cocktail parties – musn’t grumble. I made a cookbook not so long ago and I did the entire campaign for a property development too. also recently finished writing the copy for a swanky bathroom catalogue - again, musn't grumble.

All the while, I was studying capoeira, the Brazilian martial arts/dance form. So I learned how to do somersaults [front, back and sideways] and many flips and spins I never honestly thought I could ever do.

And then sure enough, my thumb snapped – again.

So I had to quit Capoeira because the main focus of the art is floorwork – with handstands and backflips as the main ingredient.

I was gutted. But me being me, i just learned how to do it all one-handed, hmmm... Anyway, three months passed by and now my hand has been relieved of it’s thermoplastic splint and I’ve managed to regain my former thumb strength and manoeuvrability and now I’ve began training in Wu-Shu Chinese boxing. You know, just regular kung-fu but incorporated with T’ai-Chi Gong and weapons training.

Wooooo! Shu.

And no need to worry about over exerting my poorly thumb so all is good.

Anyway, that’s it for now.

Check out my picasa folio online at:

Johnny foto stuffs!

Take care and see you all when we get there...

MICE in Asia issue one cover

MICE in Asia issue one cover

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