Thursday, August 31, 2006

Long Time No See

So it's been over a month since I met my CG members and today, we had a gathering to meet my cell leader's month old baby. The baby is a cute lil' thing but no, I'm still not inspired to have one right now.

I was describing how half my Cambodia trip was spent running in and out of the toilet. Then as I was on my way home, I received an sms "Your bout of purging has made you look better"

Yes, so I lost 4 kilos from that bout... HAVE I BEEN THAT FAT?

Working on Merdeka

I just spent the entire day working at an ad agency to work out final details to my ad coming out on Monday. And it's a public holiday. Upon asking my boss if I will be compensated somehow, he said there was no compensation whatsoever for executive levels. I then demanded that my colleague and I take a day off next week in replacement and he said, "We'll talk about it after the launch".

You bet your @$$ I will certainly talk about it after Monday. I may be enjoying work but I don't think I'd like to give up my public holidays without being appreciated.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Yesterday @ the MPO

Matthias Bamert conductor
Alexander Toradze piano
BACH (STOKOWSKI) Toccata and Fugue in D minor (BWV565)
RACHMANINOV Piano Concerto No.3 in D minor (Op.30)
DVOŘÁK Symphony No.9 in E minor (Op.95) – “From the New World”

This is what Jan and I went to hear at the MPO yesterday. I'm so glad that I managed to secure seats for this as this is the first show of the season. And there isn't any other Rachmaninov that's gonna be played for the rest of the season until next August.

The last time I went to the MPO, I brought two friends who just didn't help in making the experience enjoyable. This time, I sat beside bunch of Japanese ladies, the one sitting beside me was late and was sniffing and coughing throughout Rach 3rd. And behind me, there was this chap who spoke in the most accented voice, I thought it was British guy. He kept talking in between pauses. Walking off later, it was this Cinak man.

I wish MPO would have a solo room but then again, not that I'll be willing to pay for the privacy.

Enough of that, Toradze played very well. Er... in my standards, well means I can't hear anything that shouldn't be there being played or what should be played is not played. I did, however, notice he played some parts a bit too slow for my liking. He was trying to dramatise it a little bit too much and his finalè was slightly drowned by the orchestra. I was a bit worried if he would collapse from the sheer exertion from the 3rd Movement as he looks really old and well, portly.

Nevertheless, it was still really enjoyable watching the Rach 3 LIVE.


It's been a while since I really had so much work to do. But it's fun and I'm enjoying it because of the teamwork involved, because my boss is supporting the whole thing and pushing to get things done, because I don't have to worry about the budget.

So although I will have to work 2 hours longer than I usually go home for this whole week, I think at the end of it, we're all going to have fun!

I can't believe it but I think I'm actually enjoying work.

Sunday, August 27, 2006


Some time last week wrote about some cute cupcakes she spotted on the net and she gave the link. Man, I tell you, this Singaporean lady can do fantastic cupcakes and has the utmost patience to do all the decorations on each.

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I can't decide which photo I like best but here's the one I think she had to put in most work. Grass with jelly worms! This lady is so patient!

Anyways, she inspired me so much so that I bought the white cupcake holders. Was at the shop that sells baking stuff and went crazy. Oh how I love that shop!

Now, to get inspired to DO a cupcake AND decorate it is another thing.

The R Mysteries

Was at one of the shopping malls in PJ last night and wanted to buy an Enid Blyton book for a friend. I was looking for the first book of the Five Find-Outers and Dog (second to the Famous Five) "Mystery of the Burnt Cottage". Do you know how difficult it is to find Enid Blyton books these days? She should have an entire section by herself and yet, in two (mega) bookshops that I walked into, there was hardly half a shelf dedicated to her books.

This of course means that not all her books are offered and I only managed to find one book out of that series by accident. But I stumbled upon another series, the R Mysteries. The Rub-a-Dub-Dub Mystery, The Rilloby Fair Mystery, The Ring 'O Bells Mystery... Now, the names are darn familiar but when I read the excerpt of the books, I can't for the life of me remember the stories! Four kids, a dog named Loony and a monkey. I don't remember if we have or if I've read these books but yet the titles are SO familiar.

Yes, I slept over this and am awake first thing still puzzling over this. Sigh, okay, hopefully the Rach 3rd afterwards will help me focus on something else.

Friday, August 25, 2006


I've just been put in charge of a launch which is going to happen on next Monday (yes, that's one week away). Unfortunately, since this was never my project in the first place, I fought this with bad grace with my boss. Complained that I was only told in with such a short lead time, that I never followed the progress of this project since my colleage was handling this right from the start and he's almost out of the picture for the launch of his product.

So anyway, I have been doing this grudgingly for the last couple of days, with new things being added to the launch on a daily basis.

But after speaking to KS about this, perhaps it's about time I move out of my comfort zone. And just perhaps, my boss is trying to hone my leadership skills. And I've come to realise that another colleague is perhaps encroaching into my leadership "space". Heck, I would rather have this colleague lead it and assist her but as mentioned, when will I ever step out from this "assistant" role I'm so comfortable with?

With renewed vigour, I'm suddenly inspired to work on this project and prove myself. Yes, this is a Friday night and I'm inspired to work. Either I do it now while the "chicken shit is hot", or wait for it to blow over and lose the spark.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Funny Cambodian Moment

We had our meeting to review our Cambodian trip and reminded me of this incident which happened to Jan. She was visiting a home with an old bedridden (or rather, floor-ridden) couple and she was explaining to them the gospels, from Genesis right up to the resurrection of Christ. Off and on, the local pastor and translator would ask them if they understood what she was saying and they nodded diligently.

Finally, they asked the lady a question to test if she really understood all of this. "So, do you know when did illness and evil come into this world?"

She nodded and answered promptly, "In the Year of the Tiger!"

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Mission Reviewed

Tomorrow night the mission team is meeting up with the Missions Pastor and we are given 5 minutes each to present our testimonies.

I don't know why this is worrying me. All I can think of right now is my purging (which still causes cramps at nights and disturbs my sleep) and since two nights ago, I've been having dreams about this meeting. Sure, I hate presentations but this is ridiculous.

Anyways, it will be good to see the team again after one week.


Blogspot just updated my blog to a beta version, whatever that means. So when I just tried to get in, I couldn't and I freaked out. Thought my blog was completely wiped out!

Anyways, I have not much clue as to what this new version means but heck, as long as I can keep blogging that's ok with me. So don't panic if you can't seem to log on to your blog.

The Rach 3rd

Happened to be at KLCC for an errand and spotted the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra banner. NEW SEASON it says and the first thing they're playing is the Rachmaninov 3rd Concerto. Next Sunday. Tickets ranged from RM20 to RM85. I would have paid RM85 for this. In fact, since the MPO started years ago, I wanted to watch THIS one. The rest were by-the-ways.

If you remember, I just managed to secure front row seats for the Rach 2nd Symphony eight months before. So yeah, the tickets are all sold out on the internet. Bummer.

Called this morning and successfully secured 2 seats for Jan and I! Yay!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Welcome Back

Guess who came to say hello after our long break?

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Dat Fella!

She appeared on Sunday morning, excitedly meowing and sniffing around the parked car. When I opened the door and called her, she bounded through the gate with such a loud grateful meow while running towards me that I'm sure it would melt anyone's heart.

I was wondering if she would disappear since we had been away so long. This is the longest adoption we've had so far here in Klang.

Lodgings in Cambodia

Oh the relief to be able to go to the toilet!

Anyways, won't go into detail but I'm feeling much better and glad that I'm on MC again today. Went back to work yesterday but it was sheer pain when my stomach acted up again.

What can I tell you about today? Ok, let me show you our lodgings in Cambodia. See this picture? This is the hut KS and I stayed in.

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It has a fan which works when the generator is on for a couple of hours in the evening, a thin mattress, a table fashioned out of cart-wheels, just like the rest of the theme. Most tables, railings are made out of these pony cart wheels.

Which reminds me I learnt something new in Baray. I saw a lot of ponies pulling carts and wondered out loud where were the horses since ponies will eventually grow into horses, right?? At that precise moment, I felt like Jessica Simpson exclaiming about tuna not being made out of fish.

Back to the lodgings, we have a mosquito netting which is hung above the bed and tucked under the mattress to keep out creepy crawlies. Still, some were clever enough to find its way in.

One thing that kept waking us were the crowing of roosters at 3:40am on the first few nights but once we shifted to these huts, we were serenaded to by geckos. I wish I saw a gecko because they are said to look like small crocs and they make the strangest sound ever. It starts off with a warming up of a series of rattles followed by a short burst of high pitched calls that sound like "GECKO!". And another gecko nearby will answer this call with another "GECKO!". Too bad I didn't manage to record the sound. But if you don't know what the sound is, you'd freak out in bed and wonder what monster is about to attack you - like I did the second night.

I hear these geckos eat cockroaches and rats. I really wish I could import some here.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Pleasant Fly

At the Phnom Penh International Airport, we spotted this banner at one of the restaurants:

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Fly in your soup noodles and drink, anyone?

Day By Day Account

I've decided not to type endless pages on my trip but instead will summarize it as much as possible. Since many of you will eventually read Jan's postings (I hear she's already done 5 pages on Word on a detailed account of the trip), I'll spare my fingers the agony.

Our flight was delayed for nearly 3 hours which was inconvenient as we only arrived at Baray District (which is a 2 hour van ride north of Phnom Penh) past 10:30pm which is extremely late in Cambodia. The van ride there proved to be surprising and eye-opening as their vehicles are left hand drive so we were very confused throughout our stay there especially when we had to cross roads. Then, the horn is used excessively for everything such as overtaking a bicycle, to prevent cows, kids, cyclists anything from straying into the path of the vehicle. Thirdly, I doubt if there is a speed limit especially in the rural parts of Cambodia. Most of the time we kept our eyes shut after the first few minutes of screaming "On-coming truck!!" or "Watch out!!!".

There is no electricity and the last person in the toilet was halfway soaping herself when the generator went off. In pitch darkness, we fumbled our way into discovering various types of flying insects in our bedchambers. And just as we started to get comfy, we heard a loud explosion from afar. (We found out the next day that a tyre from a lorry exploded at high speed).

Day 1:
We visited some homes to invite some youths to the Youth Rally we had organised. Here, we went to the villages and saw how the Cambodians lived. Houses are built on stilts similar to the kampung houses here in Malaysia. The poorer the family, the poorer the materials the houses were made from. Children walked naked, their hair yellowed from malnutrition, bare feet stepped into cattle droppings and into homes and onto their beds. Stomachs bulged. Most of the people I met are farmers who often do not know where their next meal is coming from.

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Dalmation pig with her piglets

Their poverty is sharply contrasted with their temples as they believe in giving their money to build guilded temples. Massive structures tower over the shabby houses surrounding it.

Sickness is rampant and many are blind due to high fevers. Many had typhoid from drinking unclean water.

There are wells dug in these villages by missionaries. Otherwise, they will drink from the yellowed rivers. There's an NGO who has helped supply filters for the well waters but the penetration of these facilities hasn't reached all corners of the rural areas. Plus the Cambodians don't see the need for filtered water.

Day 2:
This is the day we were sent out one by one to various churches to preach. I was nervous but was touched to see how the congregations were fervant and strong in their faith. My translator was Pastor Samreth whose churches I preached at. At first I didn't speak much to him and didn't really connect but over the days, I grew to admire this quiet and steady man. He pastors 4 churches (the most amongst the 10 pastors) and his love for his people is apparent in his actions. His second daughter passed away last year yet he shows no bitterness but presses on.

Day 3:
We went to two villages to hand out rice, have children's programmes and visitations. We split into groups of three and visited the poor. Some we gave rice, others we gave away used clothes. This day was the highlight of my trip.

It's uncomfortable to enter someone's home, make small talk and tell them about the gospel. The last house I wanted to chicken out and stay with the children. Somehow, I was prompted to go and was really glad that I did. We went to one home with Pastor Somreth as our translator and connected with the people there. It was just an old couple at first but we were soon joined by their daughters, son-in-law and neighbour. Just from this one visit, it was enough for the local pastors to start a church in that village!

Day 4:
Preparation for the Youth Camp started. There was a buzz of excitement in the air as youths started arriving and we had games for them. The Youth Camp was held at a nearby church, a 5 minute walk from where we stayed.

I also interviewed someone from Khmer Life, a cloth business set up by my church to help the Baray community which I will blog about separately.

Day 5:
The Youth Camp starts and breakfast of porridge caused the start of my purging. I spent the rest of the day on hammocks back at the lodgings and running to the toilet. No medication in sight.

A 7 year old girl was knocked down by a van along the road nearby and was killed. There was a taped Buddhist chanting going on the whole day to announce the death.

Day 6:
Thought I had gotten all my poison out but no, was still running to the toilet. The Youth Camp was in full swing. Managed to attend the campfire that night.

Day 7:
We performed our play to over 500 youths. It was amazing. This is how they arrived:
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We then prepared to pack up to leave for Phnom Penh. Our trip had interesting stops for fried spiders, local fruits and a stop at a hammock village.

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Fried spiders on trays

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Jan ate one

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Enjoying corn on hammocks

At Phnom Penh, we visited the Toul Sleng Genocide Prison. This is one place that really made me cry at the atrocity of the human nature. This place was originally a school. The first room I stepped into had a torture bed and the tiled floor was bloodstained.

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Hundreds were tortured to death here. All the things in the school meant for the education of the Cambodian future was warped into instruments of torture.

Pictures of how the Khmer Rouge soldiers would grip babies by their legs and smash them onto tree trunks, flinging babies into the air and shooting them like clay pigeon. The fact that these people are not from another nation but their very own kinsmen makes it even harder to swallow. I felt like throwing up and took a very quick tour and left. Jan took photos on my camera.

After that, we went on a boat ride along the Mekong river to watch the sunset.
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That's it, in a nutshell. Now I shall go take a nap since I'm on MC.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Handphone Search

My handphone screen has finally decided to give up. My precious old phone! That only means I have to start shopping for a new one - by tomorrow! What has taken me forever to "look" around has suddenly become an urgent quest.

Now I have to balance between what I want and what I can afford. Nokia? Sony Ericsson?


I very nearly kissed the ground as soon as I got down from the AirAsia plane (and now I can't type as I've forgotten where the keys are after so many days of not seeing a keyboard). But no, my lack of typing skills isn't what I want to talk about.

Yes, I'm back and suffering from purging since Wednesday. Cambodia wasn't that bad. Just that right now if you asked me if I want to go back next year, it will be met with a resounding "No, thank you".

So I have regrets for going? No. All will be explained in due time. Now is time for me to enjoy my creature comforts of a matress and breathe in cool air-cond air that isn't filled with sawdust and insects. Bliss...

Friday, August 04, 2006

New Beginnings

Today is my boss' last day. I'm going to miss her a lot.

Also, nothing significant but my toothpaste has finished, my facial wash is used up, toilet roll has reached its end, my toothbrush needs a change, my soap is a mere sliver. All at the same time. That means, heavier toiletries to carry to Cambodia.

Anyways, adios for a week. I suspect Dat Fella won't be around to meow for food when we reach back next Saturday night.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Call Me Angelina

KS’s colleague asked what he was going to do in Cambodia and he answered that he was doing NGO work, like giving food to the poor, have children’s programmes, feed them medication.

Her response?

“Oh, like Angelina Jolie!”