Sunday, December 30, 2007

What is happening to Malaysia?

The Other Malaysia
by Farish A. Noor
25 December 2007

At the time of writing this, I am in Cairo in the company of my Egyptian friends who are Muslims, Catholics and Copts. Eid has passed and I attended several dinners and celebrations where Muslims and Copts celebrated together, visiting each others’ homes and ate til we could not eat any further. What is worse, Christmas is upon us and so once again Muslims, Catholics and Copts will be heading for the communal table for the communal feast and there will be much licking of chops, munching of bread, gobbling of sweet deserts and drinking for everyone. It is all simply too pleasant to believe, yet it is real and this is what life is like for many in Cairo, the ‘Mother of civilisation’ and home to more than twenty million Egyptians from all walks of life.

What is most striking to the outside observer like me - though rather banal for the Egyptians themselves - is the fact that in all these celebrations ranging from Eid for the Muslims to Christmas for the Catholics and Copts the word ‘Allah’ is used to denote that supreme and singular divinity, God. Catholics and Copts alike exclaim ‘Masha-allah’, ‘Wallahi’, ‘ya-Rabbi’, ‘Wallah-u allam’, and of course ‘Allahuakbar’ day in, day out, everywhere they go. The coptic taxi driver blares out ‘By Allah, cant you see where you are parking??” as he dodges the obstable ahead. The Catholic shopkeeper bemoans “Ya Allah, ya Allah! You can only offer me two pounds for the scarf? Wallahi, my mother would die if she heard that! Ya-Rabbi, ya-Rabbi!”

Yet in Malaysia at the moment yet another non-issue has been brewed to a scandal for no reason: The Malaysian Catholic Herald, a publication by and for Catholics in the country, has been told that it can no longer publish its Malaysian language edition if it continues to use the word “Allah” to mean God. Worse still, the country’s Deputy Internal Security Minister Johari Baharum recently stated that “Only Muslims can use the word Allah” ostensibly on the grounds that “Allah” is a Muslim word. The mind boggles at the confounding logic of such a non-argument, which speaks volumes about the individual’s own ignorance of Muslim culture, history and the fundamental tenets of Islam itself.

For a start, the word ‘Allah’ predates the revelation to the Prophet Muhammad and goes way back to the pre-Islamic era. Christians had been using the word long before there were any Muslims, in fact. Furthermore the word is Arabic, and is thus common to all the peoples, cultures and societies where Arabic - in all its dialects - is spoken, and is understood by millions of Arabic speakers to mean God, and little else. One could also add that as “Allah” is an Arabic word it therefore has more to do with the development and evolution of Arabic language and culture, and less to do with Islam. It is hard to understand how any religion can have a language to call its own, for languages emerge from a societal context and not a belief system. If one were to abide by the skewered logic of the Minister concerned, then presumably the language of Christianity (if it had one) would be Aramaic, or perhaps Latin.

The Minister’s remark not only demonstrated his shallow understanding of Muslim culture and the clear distinction between Arab culture and Muslim theology, but it also demonstrated his own lack of understanding of the history of the Malays, who, like many non-Arabs, only converted to Islam much later from the 13th century onwards. Among the earliest pieces of evidence to indicate Islam’s arrival to the Malay archipelago are the stone inscriptions found in Malay states like Pahang where the idea of God is described in the sanskrit words ‘Dewata Mulia Raya’. As no Malay spoke or even understood Arabic then, it was natural for the earliest Malay-Muslims to continue using the Sanskrit-inspired language they spoke then. Surely this does not make them lesser Muslims as a result?

The ruckus that has resulted thanks to the threat not to allow the publication of the Malaysian language edition of the Christian Herald therefore forces observers to ask the simple question: Why has this issue erupted all of a sudden, when the word Allah was used for so long with narry a protest in sight? At a time when the Malaysian government is already getting flak as a result of the protests by Malaysian Hindus who insist that they remain at the bottom of the economic ladder despite fifty years of independence, now it would appear as if the Malaysian government cannot get enough bad publicity.

The administration of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi came to power on the promise that it would promote its own brand of moderate Islam that was pluralist and respectful of other cultures and religions. But time and again the Malaysian public - first Hindus and now Christians - have felt necessary to protest over what they regard as unfair, biased treatment and the furthering of an exclusive brand of Islam that is communitarian and divisive. The latest fiasco over the non-issue that is the name of God would suggest that Prime Minister’s Badawi’s grand vision of a moderate Islam has hit the rocks, and is now floundering. Just how the ministers and elite of this government is to regain their course is open to question, but what is clear is that some Ministers should get their basic knowledge of their own religion in order first.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

A Visit to the Dentist

After a two year procrastination, I finally dragged myself to see the dentist. After so long, one thing that struck me as constant from dentist to dentist is this:

1. They always ask if I had had braces before, which I haven't.
My childhood dentist (who committed suicide when I was in high school) was a really good one, years before he became a little strange (by asking Ron to pull out six of his permanent teeth to do crowning all because he had coffee stains). Anyways, he advised me to remove all my gigi taring as I had large teeth and small jaw. I listened and now I don't have that 2 protruding teeth at both sides of my mouth. I still have bunny teeth though but it could have been worse.

2. Dentists usually are usually quite awkward when it comes to small chat.
I commented that he had a busy day ahead with so many patients waiting for him outside (I was number 16 and had to wait for three hours) and he started talking about how this happened because it's year end, people feel happier and that bonuses are being paid and if I look at the malls this weekend, it would be crowded. I was saved by the fact that he had instruments in my mouth and merely grunted.


I finally finished reading the last Harry Potter! So sad that it’s finally over. But there was this portion which I had somewhat glossed over, when Harry was having that conversation with Dumbledore and the moaning baby on the floor. That was… weird.

And as it’s been some time since I last read the 6th book, I couldn’t remember many things like Draco disarming Dumbledore with regards to the Elder wand’s owner. So I had a good session with my colleague who cleared all my confusion.

Another thing, I was expecting a bit more for Neville since there were hints about him being the Chosen One instead of Harry. Thought there was going to be a twist somewhat.

Eat, Sleep and Grow Fat

I had a great Christmas, spending time with my family in Singapore. Although we went to several shops, I didn't buy anything except a coffee plunger for making (don't cringe, Ron) Chinese/Japanese tea.

It was a Christmas filled with so many presents! Each of us had a Christmas stocking filled with well-thought of gifts from Grace and Matt (I have yet to read the instructions on how to use the cockroach bait).

And the food! Matt and Grace went all out to give us Western meals and made sure the veggies they cooked were what I consumed! Yay! I've never had so much veggies in 4 days! Thank you, from the bottom of my bowels.

We had the traditional turkey, ham and a German pork knuckle for Christmas lunch and I must say this was one of the best turkeys I have eaten in the recent years. It's not too dry nor was it too tough. We ate and ate and ate. Man. Now I have to start thinking of how to get rid of all this festive flab.

Sorry, my photos didn't turn out very well so here's only a couple of shots.

Christmas lunch arrived in a pretty basket

I can almost smell it again...

Matt carving the turkey

Portuguese Settlement

For the many years that I’ve been in Malacca during Christmas, this was the first time I set foot into the Portuguese Settlement and was I really blown away by all the lights!

Apparently every year, they have a friendly competition to see who has decorated their house the best and some houses really decorated every shrub, tree and corner of their homes. Walking along the brightly lit path, flanked by furiously blinking lights from the houses on both sides, some set up booths at their porches to sell Christmas items or food. Most homes had their gates flung open, welcoming visitors and neighbours as children ran from one home to another. I just loved the neighbourhood friendliness of it all.

Martin, my regular belacan supplier who cut his own album on Portuguese songs, walked around with a guitar and sang Christmas carols to add to the festive mood. Many dressed in Santa suits, kids wore elf masks as they surrounded him and sang along with him.

At the Portuguese Square, a stage was set up with massive speakers blasting more Christmas carols surrounded by more stalls.

Here are some photos of the houses. More on my flickr.




I walked away with a warm fuzzy feeling. Next year I’ll be more prepared and take a tripod or a gorillapod for better pictures.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Human Hummingbird

This is my colleague doing the hummingbird. Taken during my company's recent off-site at Bukit Tinggi. We were playing charades and another game which required animal actions and he invented this:


This year, there is tax exemption of RM1000 for books and magazines. So far, I have only spent about RM350. Two more weeks and RM750 more to spend!

The Complete Gary Larson which is over RM500 sounds very tempting. And I've just finished reading James Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small, which I enjoyed as I love animals.

Speaking of books, I'm upset to hear that Terry Pratchett is having Alzheimer's.

Company Dinner

How could I forget to blog about this?? Last Saturday my department had a Staff Appreciation Night. We don't have annual dinners nor company trips as my company is huge (with over 7000 employees so logistics would have killed the organisers).

So my department of over 350 staff were treated to a dinner for the first time. And, ahem, because I was one of the staff who were going to receive awards up on stage with my Group Managing Director, I felt like I needed to dress up a little.

So early morning, I rushed to Bangsar Village II (as recommended by my CG member) to do my nails. Unfortunately, I didn't realise I needed an appointment and the staff told me to come back 6 hours later. SIX? Bad Luck #1. So I rushed to another place in Aman Suria, PJ and thank goodness they said they would be available in an hour.

Then, when the girl was doing my nails, she clipped one of my cuticles until it bled. I was in such pain but determined to have my french manicure, I grit my teeth. Oh, and when I stepped out from the shop, late for my hair appointment in Pyramid, there was already bubbles forming under one nail. Bad Luck #2.

Hair studio. Recommended by my colleague. The experienced lady was too busy so I ended up having this young chap do my hair. I felt like I had stepped into one of those old Chinese movies and dressing like the Wong Fei Hong era would have suited my hairstyle to the T. And he had all my hair
pulled from my face, making it rounder than ever. I protested but because there wasn't time, I left with my head down as I ran all the way to my car. Bad Luck #3.

On the way to my friend's place, I decided that I would do something about it. Who cares if I was going to be late. I don't want to feel uncomfortable the entire night when I was supposed to be enjoying myself. So I went to the nail studio again (they were a hair saloon too) and got them to touch it up. I still wasn't totally comfortable with my hair but heck, I resolved that I WOULD enjoy my night, stupid hair, bleeding finger, being late and all.

And heck, I enjoyed myself and took loads of silly photos that night. Will get it from my colleague and post some up soon.

Golden Compass

It was ... so-so. Okay, so I was half expecting it to be of LOTR quality. But because I read the book a long time ago, I had only a vague memory of the plot lines and did remember parts of the movie as it happened. Found it a bit choppy though. Star studded cast with a mix from LOTR (Gimli, Saruman, Gandalf) and James Bond (Daniel Craig and Eva Green). At least I now know the pronunciation of the word daemon.

I'm horrible at movie reviews so I'll stop here. Let's just say I wouldn't go out and acquire myself an original DVD set when all 3 movies come out.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


It’s crappy when your boss leaves before you do. The changes and confusion to come is not something most would look forward to. But above all, when your boss is someone who has evolved into a mentor, that’s when it’s the most crap.

One thing I learnt from this boss is that all of us felt we were believed in, that we could reach that star that seems to be just out of reach. The entire team went beyond our capacities because of this faith. No such thing as a stupid idea. The calm anchor when the storm rages. No such thing as “Don’t you dare speak to me like that!” and believe me, there were many occasions when I went beyond the line. No raised voices. Ever.

Motivation is at an all time low. On one hand, you comfort yourself with a, “Would I get the chance to work with him again in the future?” then you realistically remember that he never has rehired anyone who has worked for him before. Then you start to wonder, “Who were you actually to him that he would want to rehire you again?”

But yes, I will be honored to have that opportunity again, as any of us would.

Earthquakes in Malaysia

Yes folks, we are experiencing earthquakes in Malaysia. It has happened twice already in Bukit Tinggi, Pahang. Both times, it measured a 3+ on the Richter Scale.

And did I ever tell you that I once experienced tremors a couple of months back when there was an earthquake in Indonesia? I staring at my computer screen at work when suddenly felt as though I was having a massive dizziness. Holding my head in my hands, I tried to steady myself when I realized everything was actually moving. My colleague looked up at the same time and we exclaimed “Earthquake!” and we got all excited.

The rest of my colleagues couldn’t feel a thing and declared I was hallucinating.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Youth Camp

I just came back from a Youth Camp, even though I'm no longer a youth. It was rather fun, although I still felt a little out of place, being one of the oldest there. The camp speaker is a senior pastor of a local church who is one year older than me and speaks really well.

The youth had a blast of a time, with games and acting, singing and dancing. I got to be one of the judges! I had a great time watching them perform, laughing throughout the afternoon.

One of the committee actually introduced me as a quiet, gentle-wouldn't-hurt-a-fly girl. And yet at work, I'm known to be the one holding the whip. Two very contrasting characters. Hmmm... perhaps once I get used to the youth, then they'd know me better.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

20 Seconds

You know that question, what would you say to a celebrity should you bump into them in a lift? It just doesn’t happen, you know?

Anyway, yesterday I went for another event, the “Oh hi dah-ling, so good to see you!” of which I have been invited to for the last few weeks, rubbing shoulders with the local celebrities. Now the last party I attended, I crashed into the gigantic pair of scissors that was used for cutting the official ribbon. Plus I got drunk after a couple of sips.

So last night, I went prepared. I had dinner first before going so that I could drink without getting drunk. Upon reaching, I stumbled over the tail of some animal floor mat as I walked in. Luckily, I didn’t crash onto the floor. What a klutz.

As I was about to go home, I was leaving with my colleague when he suddenly turned and greeted someone. I whipped around and saw it was Reshmonu. I extended my hand and exclaimed:
J: Hey! I went to the same uni.. I mean, college with you!
R: Sunway?
J: Yeah! But you probably won’t remember me!
R: Er… sorry! *grin*
J: *stupid grin* (trying to figure if I should whip out my business card)
R: But it’s great to meet you again
J: Yeah! *grin* Ok, see you!

My mental 10-second practice was “Hi! You may not remember me but I was friends with the Sudanese girls when we were in Sunway, do you remember them? You fainted behind one of them after class? Yeah, that one. Oh, by the way, I’m Jo and here’s my business card. Yes, you did the launch last month for my product although I didn’t liaise with you then. But do keep in touch!”

Sigh. I’ll update whatever embarrassing thing I’ll do at the next party.

Saturday, December 01, 2007


I'm reading the news about protesters of a religion that is demanding the execution of a teacher for naming a teddy bear the name of their prophet.

I don't think I need say more.

Corridor Survey

My colleagues and I have been doing a survey on the guys, asking a somewhat sexually harassing question, which always bring a lot of laughter. The question is, which body part of a girl would you normally check out first?

It started off by asking the guys at my office and our husbands first. So here’s my results:

Legs – 4
Boobs - 3
Butt – 3
Face - 3
Waist – 1

So far, the legs category is leading with the others fighting for second place. So right now, boobs look overrated.

The other finding was equally amusing. The reaction of the respondents. Some balked and tried to weasel their way out before finally giving one preference (although these answers would be considered not really accurate – one tried to say “brain” *rolls eyes*). Some have been extremely forthright, “BREASTS!” even as the question left our lips.

We have just embarked on asking the girls which body portion we look at in guys. So far the butt rules.

Rubik's Cube

A couple of weeks ago, I spotted my colleague playing about with a Rubik's cube. He completed it in front of my eyes in 2.45mins. I was hooked.

So I've been practising with a lot of guidance from him and I'm pleased to say that after two weeks, I am now able to complete the entire cube. At this point, I still need to refer the last few steps to a self written manual.

At first I was toying with the idea of getting one myself but when I saw the original selling for RM110 in a shop in Mid Valley, I knew I could live without one! Then another colleague saw one selling for RM2 and got it for me. I'm now happily practising with the the cube that saved me RM108.

It's also funny to see strangers reaction to it when I'm doing it while waiting for my food to appear. They stare with rapt attention. I think this will start a craze here in Malaysia.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Shopping Weekend

This weekend is supposed to be a shopping marathon. Because my next three weekends are going to be filled. And my wardrobe refuses to cooperate with my body in terms of size.

So today, I'm supposed to be at the gates of the new shopping mall in Mid Valley as they draw open. Yeah right. Here I am still in Klang. With KS still lolling in bed.

But another thing that is worrying us is the road closures due to some protest that is supposed to take place in KL in front of the British High Commissioner. What's becoming of this country?

Alumni Rep

I'm currently considering the post of being the Alumni co-Rep for my Uni here in Malaysia. Yes, although I have graduated over 10 years ago, however, we still keep in touch with our fellow uni mates on numerous occasions in a year. Thankfully, our Alumni is unofficial, which means there's no pressure to HAVE a function each year and neither is there a fee for everyone to pay nor an AGM to attend.

So as part of an initiation into the duties of a rep, last Friday I was invited to another NZ uni's alumni gathering which was held at the NZ High Commissioner's residence. Preparing for another round of being a wall flower, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the guests were extremely pleasant and hospitable. I ended up staying on longer than I intended.

But then again, these people know each other and have reached a certain status in their life without having the need to prove their worth at functions like these. It was fun reminiscing NZ with them and I found out that if you do a PhD in NZ, your entire family can go, with your spouse being granted a work permit and your school going kids enrolled in local schools. Fees for your PhD and your children are in domestic fees. Which means HUGE savings! And this is open to anyone, not just NZ grads. Interested, anyone?

So on Friday I hear good things about going back to NZ, then on Saturday I meet the pepper spray stranger (who says he's a Kiwi now) at the eerie mall who insists I should go back to NZ to "fight for my rights" and save a million bucks on my children's education. I wonder what holds for me today.

While it was fun, I am still uncertain if I could ever attend functions like these on my own once the current rep steps down. I'm no social butterfly and my other co-rep (yes, it needs two people to fill the current rep's shoes) is worse.
So I'm still mulling over this new responsibility.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Eerie Mall

Today I dragged Jan to go clothes shopping with me to a boutique in Damansara Perdana. We got there at 11am as we figured most shops open at 11am, right? Okay, we were wrong. They only open at noon so we were left with an hour to idle around the place.

We wandered into the mall nearby, Tropics Mall. The last I was there, they had some quirky shops and because it was new, not many were open. But as that was some years back, I thought there'd be more shops there by now.

Wrong again. This was what greeted us at the entrance:
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Excuse my unclear photos as I took it with my camera phone which has never been cleaned/serviced. And there was strong sunlight.

Anyways, so there were these giant vases. And we walked in only to be greeted with more vases and strange looking furniture carved from wood. It reminds me of a particular friend's house in Alor Star who's father carved tables and chairs from wood he found from jungles, while maintaining the original shape of the wood as much as possible. But that's another story.

Then we noticed more carvings. And man, they were HUGE!
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Not to mention eerie. Notice all shops were unoccupied. And there wasn't a soul in sight except for an odd guard or so.

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I got Jan to stand beside the demonic lion for size comparison. There were others like the 8 dragons chasing a ball of fire carving and three enormous peacocks that were larger than this lion.

Then there are strange ones like these:
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I'm sure these have something to do with feng shui as otherwise who would have thought of a pair of some large flamingo-like creature balancing one foot on a dragon-headed turtle while the dragon is trying to snap at it's other foot? And I thought Ents were of awesome imagination.

I'm also wondering if people actually buy these things and put them at home. What a fright to encounter these carvings when you go downstairs for a glass of water!

We later encountered a stranger at the mall who chatted with us for more than half an hour and gave us a pepper spray and a VCD on occasions when you'd need to use one.

Folks, the Twilight Zone exists in Damansara Perdana.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Yes, I finally had my first bite of THE current best doughnut in Malaysia. Had a meeting at Pavilion and convinced my boss and colleague to queue for half an hour just to get a dozen J.Co doughnuts.

Unfortunately, my stomach was acting silly and I only managed to take a puny quarter of the peanut butter one and a mouthful of the glazed doughnut. After that, I felt so jelak and was almost gagging with the thought of the next bite.

No, the doughnuts were fine just that I was still recovering from my alcohol the night before combined with the starchy gnocchi swimming in cream that I had for lunch just before the doughnuts. In fact, they were more than fine. The dough was different. Softer. Without the doughnutty taste, you know? Or maybe it was because it was eaten really fresh. Whatever it was, I think I will attempt a second 30 minute queue for them.

Now I'm really curious how Krispy Kreme tastes like.


Yesterday I visited an Alternative Health Fair at PWTC for the heck of it since my company was participating in it. Walking around, I came across this booth which said they could read your health status via looking at your eyes. Curious, I sat down and the doc took a photo of my eyes. He then proceeded to tell me things which I already know and things which I thought was absolute bull. "You have back pains", "Your menses aren't regular" "You are moody and if you have 2-3 kids, you might even become insane!"

After listening for a few minutes, I just laughed and excused myself. His assistant chased me down the hall and told me his consultation cost me RM20.


My Work Area is Happening!

Recently, my office area was swamped with a massive protest. I was, fortunately, not in town at that point. Go search Bersih anywhere on the internet for more info.


Speaking of being drunk, there was one particular event back in my old company when we had wine tasting. I was in charge of the reception and couldn’t resist a few sips of the white. This was the first experience of taking wine on an empty stomach. It was quite embarrassing because I became extremely chatty and giggly.

And when a local writer turned up, I made him sign at the back of my card because “I have your book, I SWEAR I HAVE YOUR BOOK! I’ll stick this at the cover of your book!”

He gave me a strange look but obliged. I know I really chatted with another stranger and when I see his card in my cardholder, I still cringe in embarrassment. And I never want to see that writer again. I still have the book with the carefully stuck card that says, “You have been very kind”

Wall Flower

My new job scope requires me to attend functions, where alcohol is served with little or no food. My previous job had already exposed me to a myriad events where one will encounter air kissing celebrities and the happenin’ folks of Klang Valley. But the last time, I had a few colleagues to drag along who were as happenin’ as I was – NOT (sorry, Monster & Wei Kim, not to say you guys weren’t happenin’ but I think you know what I mean).

So last night I went for a store opening with my boss. Him being the boss, was ambushed by the store owner while I was left fingering the expensive silks and pretending to blend in with the Camelia’s (I only recognized her), some famous designer and the higher echelons of the society. I took a few sips of the white on an empty stomach and couldn’t walk in a straight line. I actually crashed into something but thank goodness for a timely phone call that allowed me to walk away from the mess with as much dignity as a drunkard could.

Anyways, the entire night was spent trying to walk around and looking for anybody vaguely familiar (met an ex-colleague whom I was never really chummy with) and basically wanted to disappear into the walls. My boss conveniently used my illness as a scapegoat to excuse us from the event as early as it was politely possible.

You can tell I’m such a social butterfly. What the heck was I thinking when I said I wanted to do this new role?!

They're Growing!

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Ever since Jan and I planted the bulbs, we’ve been watching the pot every single day, so much so that I actually had dreams about people destroying the pot, digging them up and basically killing them. Yes, I have very weird dreams. Of course, this is related to the fact that I have absolutely no trace of green hands so I was worried for a while there.

Until the little things started popping out of the surface! Man! I felt like I had given birth! I cooed and excitedly talked to them. And do you know, they grow so fast, an inch per day. This is so exciting!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Bukit Tinggi Again

Just got home from my department's second off-site brainstorming session yesterday. And I'm now on MC from the flu. This time around we went to Bukit Tinggi, Gracehill Orchard Lodge, where I went in August for my cell group's multiplication.

It wasn't as gruelling as the first brainstorming as my boss was more into having fun. And fun we did have, going to the waterfall, swimming in the pool and playing games til past midnight.

I think this time around I have gotten used to the complains around me. It's never easy to please everyone on location, on food, on facilities. Not sure if my boss will ever let me organise another one after this though! None of them liked the fact that there was no electricity for most part of the day.

As for my birthday, I spent it on brainstorming, visiting the waterfall and having McD's for dinner with my colleagues. It was great.

Saturday, November 03, 2007


Two surprising conversations today. I have been called many things so far but today, my colleague topped it with "You are very brotherly...". Of course, his ears exploded with my tirade that immediately followed. He then explained because he didn't know if there was such a word as "sisterly" and promptly got another firing from me.

He is not going to be allowed to use the toilet at our upcoming brainstorming and I'm only going to equip him with a plastic fork to dig his own shit hole.

Second one was while talking to Jan, she was talking about a friend who tried a Jamie Oliver recipe. And she doesn't know who he is.

"Well, it's not as if he is as famous as Martha Stewart. You do know who Martha Stewart is, don't you?"

My sister, whom I swear does not live in a crack between some limestone hills somewhere in Borneo, has never heard of Martha Stewart.

My 1st Planting in Over 10 Years

Actually, I don’t remember the last time I tried to plant anything. Ron’s lily bulbs arrived from Australia, short by a few days right after Mum left and so the planting was left to me.

With almost detailed instructions (I shall explain why), I set out looking for two pots for the four bulbs. Measuring tape in hand, it wasn’t as easy to make the selection. Plastic? Ceramic? Settled for ceramic because it was RM5 cheaper. And because Mum says all her plastic pots haven’t lasted her.

Jan and I took about an hour just trying to plant them according to the emailed instructions (locate the pots where there’s only morning sun, plant them at a 45 degree angle, sprinkle snail poison on the surface) while our neighbour watched in amusement, punctuated by our curses exclamations.

Finally, when the task was done, I SMS-ed Ron, who immediately called and asked if I had planted the bulbs facing inwards. Now, this was NOT in his instructions so I had to dig them out all over again to see if I had done so. Of course I had to carefully pick out the snail pellets one by one before digging into the soil.

Jan still doesn’t understand the love of gardening. I feel the same but I guess when the flowers start blooming, you feel that satisfaction. However, I know some flowers will take over 2 years or if you are not careful, the flower may die even while it is still a bulb and you have to wait for another year. THAT’S the part I don’t understand either. So, for someone who’s grass is dying, we’ll see in a few weeks if our planting is successful!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Geli Photo

Last Monday, Jan spotted these two roaches mating in the bathroom at midnight. They struggled to separate as she blasted a can-ful of insecticide and failed. They died like this.

I just HAD to take a photo and gross myself and colleagues out the next day. My breakfast was left uneaten that morning after looking at the
enlarged photo as it filled my screen.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Alternative Medicine

The papers had an article about alternative medication the other day and it just fascinated me on how some of these can be really good for one’s body. For example, I had an ex-colleague who had to eat cockroach/cockroach droppings after she showered within her confinement month and caught “wind”. She claims it absolutely cured her. I pray I will never get that desperate.

Another ex-colleague swallowed live baby rats wrapped in some leaf to cure asthma. Her father had a hard time looking for these rats. She took this monthly for a couple of years.

And yet another ex-colleague bought some medication named “5 stars” and as she was pouring the dried ingredients into her pot for boiling, a dead fly dropped on the table. She threw it away and later considered she had thrown one of the 5 stars from the pack. And this is absolutely believable.

So far in my new company, I haven’t heard anyone taking weird stuff yet.


I know most people will have one eye larger than the other and one foot larger than the other. But have you heard of the left waist being 2 inches higher than the right??

Monday, October 15, 2007

Review on the Auto Cleaner

For once, I woke up excited about wanting to clean my floors. I let the Auto Cleaner (aka Roomba) run around in the dining area and watched it with great interest. It's supposed to have 21 sensors to sense where there's dust. I can tell you now that it DOESN'T do this. Some intervention was required in order to navigate to a particular spot.

And because there are some things which shouldn't be on the floor while it is doing it's cleaning, I had to stand around making sure nothing got sucked in accidentally. For example, some thin wires will get trapped and the robot (I'm going to start giving it a name soon) struggled to get free. Also, if there's a small difference in floor level, it will go ahead and fall. Then I had to pick it up as it tried to do a reverse unsuccessfully.

All in all, it's fun. As for being clean, well, it's not as clean as mopping the floor but hey, it suits my needs for the moment.

Haven't scared the cat yet. She's not going to be happy with that thing scuttling around making loud noises!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Fat Arms

Was trying on some clothes today and horror of horrors, my arms have ballooned! I have FAT ARMS! When did that happen? Have I not been looking at the mirror on a daily basis?

What started my noticing of fatness was also yesterday when Jan tried out one of my old dresses which I wore only once. I bought it from Sportsgirl in NZ and it was a size 8 dress. Really lovely one. Of course it couldn’t fit me anymore, even before I came back from NZ. Anyways, I’m digressing. And it fitted Jan so nicely and she looked really good in it!

I don’t remember being a size 8! The one time I wrote it, I still looked fat in it, with my breath sucked in to keep my tummy in. Whereas Jan wore it effortlessly! Don’t we have the same genes?!

She says she lost a lot of weight preparing for her marathon. Heck, am I inspired enough to go sign up for one now? Er…

After Years of Waiting...

I usually take months and loads of consideration before I purchase an expensive item. Take for example my painful purchases of my handphone and digital camera – painful for those around me.

So it was to my very own surprise that I just went ahead and bought something that was rather expensive. A vacuum cleaner which is 4 times more than the normal one found in electrical shops.

And what’s so special about this vacuum cleaner? It’s a Roomba-like one. Yup. The vacuum cleaner created for lazy people like me that moves on it’s own, detecting and cleaning every speck of dust on the floor. And when the battery is low, it will automatically find it’s way back to the base where it will attach and charge itself. It looks like the space aliens from Batteries Not Included.

The price advertised here for the Roomba was initially over RM2,000. That’s like almost a month’s salary! So while walking in 1 Utama today, one of the shops were selling a similar one for RM900 (original price was supposed to be RM1,500, they’re only limiting it to 50 units blah blah blah). So I literally jumped at it! My mum’s jaw dropped at my spontaneous purchase.

Of course, one is Roomba while the one I bought is called… wait a minute, it doesn’t even have a brand! It’s just called Auto Cleaner! Crap! Oh boy. Okay, never mind, I’m going to try this out as soon as I get home. I will write a review of it later.

Organ Donation

A couple of months ago, I was gung-ho about donating my organs. After calling the foundation to get the necessary forms, I started distributing the extra forms to my colleagues and encouraged them to sign up for the cause.

Then, as I looked at the forms, I suddenly felt uneasy. Why? Because while I completely believe in the good of donating my organs when I’m gone, I lack the faith in the execution of the process. In other words, I do not have the faith in the doctors who may pronounce me brain dead while there still may be the chance that I might revive.

There have been too many stories of doctors doing certain things to bring in the cash. One recent example is that of my colleague, who went for an eye operation and came out worse. He was only told after the operation that this is expected and that he had to go back for a second operation in 12 months.

So questions like, “What if the doctor has a relative/friend/buyer of an organ and persuades the family to start donating the organs prematurely?” is stopping me from registering.

Plus now the government is trying to make it a rule that once you have signed for the organ donation, the family members are not allowed to protest against the harvesting. Perhaps what I’ll do is to leave the decision to KS or my family, to release my organs when the time is right rather than signing the form.

I Met Bono

A couple of days ago, I dreamt I was livid when my boss asked me to shift places from where I currently sit. I know I was trembling with anger and was screeching at him while pounding him with my fists. After a few strikes, I realized I was holding a pen, which could have stabbed him.

Anyway, I stopped and walked off in a huff. Then I remembered that U2 were scheduled to play football at a field downstairs of my office, which had transformed into an old mansion.

Football turned into touch rugby and because there were 10 people against Bono, I stepped in to help. It seems Larry, The Edge and Adam couldn’t make it for the game. In the end, we started throwing weeds at each other instead.

I managed to chat with Bono after the game and he was telling me his favourite airline, which unfortunately had to always stop by in Yugoslavia every time he flew back home. And I expressed my regret to Bono for not having a list of questions I would have liked to ask him should I have the chance of meeting him.

What have I learnt? That I should not be holding a stabbing object when I'm pounding anyone and that I need to start on my list of questions I want to ask Bono should I ever meet him.

Sunday, October 07, 2007


I've mentioned about Wing before. Ron's friend actually bought the CD so I just HAD to get a copy of it. Now that I'm listening to it, I'm feeling a little cold with the hairs on my arms standing. Hey, that's another selling point for Wing! If you're feeling warm, listen to Wing!

The Ronald Syndrome

Hopped into Jaya Supermarket last night and went to scout if they had Butternut Pumpkin and Portobello mushrooms - they DO! So I can plan for my next dinner invite with carbonara, pumpkin soup, baked pumpkin, baked potatoes or a roast...

Happily, I ended up with some bacon for breakfast this morning. When Jan saw my purchases, she just laughed and said I had the Ronald Syndrome - the desire to cook after visiting Ron. It happened to her as well but after a few weeks, it died off.

Ron, you made cooking look so easy. I hope this syndrome will last until January, so at least I'd have prepared some of your meals for Christmas/New Year. By the way, I'll need to get the instructions from you again on everything.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Crazy Australian Food Portions

When we were in Sydney. Not really knowing where/what to eat, we stopped by two food courts for lunch and dinner. Check out the portions.

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We had a salad and roast pork for lunch. Everyone around us was eating sandwiches while we looked desolately at our plates, trying to imagine how it would all fit into our stomachs. Of course, we didn't manage to finish it.

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You'd have thought once bitten, twice shy, but no, we went ahead and ordered two meals again for dinner. This time, we went to an Asian food court and I ordered the soup noodles. The bowl is bigger than my face. And it came with two fried chicken drumsticks. Again, we didn't manage to finish it.

We hope we have walked off all the food we consumed by now. I enjoy walking in Australia as I am not drenched in sweat in 10 minutes. It's been a walking holiday as we walked the streets of Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.

Blocked Ears

You know how when the plane is descending and your ears get blocked? I get it most of the time and it's not fun. In fact, it can be extremely excruciating if it's not cleared, as I've tried before. So when I hear kids screaming, I feel really sorry for them for they know not how to get rid of it and their parents aren't able to do anything about it.

Anyway, I was told to just yawn to get rid of it. Unfortunately, it doesn't work for me. Instead, I have to blow my nose really hard until it pops. Yes, I've heard how this is the WRONG way to do it but I'd rather not suffer the pain. Is there another cure for it?

Funny Chicken

Thought I'd like to share this video of a chicken trying to fling it's comb away from it's eye. Spotted at the Perth Royal Show. Cameron was so tickled with the video.

Monday, October 01, 2007


Just joined the network and still haven't had the hang of it. Attempting to play scrabble with my sis-in-law in Perth.

By the way, I'm back. Perth was fun filled with the Perth Royal Show. Was hankering after a show bag but didn't feel any of them were worth it (yes, even with over 200 show bags, I couldn't find one that I liked). But it was really fun! You'd never get a carnival like this in Malaysia, especially with the show bags.

Managed to squeeze in a couple of hours visiting Grace in Singapore. So, our holiday was really packed to the brim!

Allow me to crash until tomorrow - thank heavens I took a day off to recover! Zzzzzz....

Friday, September 28, 2007

Great Time!

We're now back in Perth, after a whirlwind of Sydney for 3 days, 4 nights, Melbourne for 3 days, 2 nights. Managed to do all the things we intended to do plus more. Managed to take a respectable amount of photos (in my standards) and felt like a full fledged tourist with my camera around my neck. I don't know how the pictures actually look like on the computer screen yet. Thanks to Wendy's timely advice, I used the P setting on my camera for most shots instead of auto.

Sydney: We walked the entire city on the first day we arrived. From the Opera House to Darling Harbour to Paddy's Market. And it was a really cold day too. Next day went for a day tour to Blue Mountains, stopped by a Wildlife park, went to see the Olympic stadium and took a ferry under the Harbour Bridge into the Quey (alamak, I can't remember what the name of the Quey is!).

Met up with KS' relatives, it was good to spend time with his aunt as I've only met her once before briefly. She's lovely. Also caught up a little with Andrew, the eldest son.

Melbourne: Ron took us to the Tulip Festival (where we discovered there are SO MANY types of tulips) and then to the Yering Estate vineyard. Very gorgeous place.

Next day we went to Soveriegn Hill, Ballarat. I couldn't quite remember it from the last time I went over 10 years ago. But it was great this time as we didn't have to rush and meet the tour guide's short timings. Attended some shows like Musket Shootings, Making Carriage Wheels and Gold Purifying. Again, it was a freezing day.

Then yesterday we went to the city and walked all over the place. KS finally got his Melbourne city photo taken at the Yarra river.

And all throughout our stay, Ron prepared fantastic meals, which he made look simple to prepare. I shall henceforth be inspired to try out at least once the carbonarra and baking of pumpkin & potatoes with some meat. Of course, what took him less than half an hour could very well take me over an hour.

So, today, we're going to shop in Perth and our first stop would be at this interesting place that sells soap Chilli mussels on Sunday!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Parting Ways

My colleague had her last day on Friday. She was my closest colleague and has really been a friend especially during these last couple of weeks. With her, I can be as zany and carefree as I have ever been. She's my stress reliever, my confidante, my occasional profane conversationalist, my her-Chinese-is-worse-than-mine-so-it makes-me-look-better banana partner...

And because she first thought Mozilla Firefox had something to do with Godzilla, I know she will never find my blog and see this pix of her taken while she was super angry:

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I am so going to miss her :(


You know, sometimes you wish for something and you go all out to get it, and when you finally get it, you don't feel that joy that you're supposed to?

It's happening to me for the last couple of weeks now. Decisions made, from career to gadgets to food, can't seem to please me. Suddenly the grass seems greener on the other side and I get agitated thinking I've landed myself with this decision that's going to be somewhat permanent. That feeling of loss opportunities rather than being glad about achieving what I wanted in the first place.

Hate this fickleness. Or maybe I'm just going through a rough patch at the moment. Man, I so need my holiday.

5 More Days

Can't believe we are flying off in 5 days. Reason for saying this is because I am so ill prepared mentally to leave, what with my darn project which will be launched while I am away. There's things to pack, what bag to bring, cash to convert, logistics on where we're leaving from etc.

And yet, on this glorious Saturday morning, I awoke thinking about work.

My New Camera

After much internal debate, I finally got myself the Canon S3 IS. Since it is an old model, not many shops stock them, and had to face insistent salespeople who wanted to push the S5. Special thanks to Monster for tagging along and basically held my hand as I swiped my credit card.

Anyway, I'm now trying to learn how to use it, not very successfully. Am not too happy with the images, as I had expected to see sharper pictures. Either that or I haven't mastered the art of focusing. But hey, when it's on automatic, it SHOULD focus automatically right?

I've posted 4 pictures up on my Flickr. The one with the sky was taken from the rooftop of my office. Got slightly arrogant, thinking I roughly knew how aperture, shutter speed and ISO settings would affect my pictures. Thus the grainy effect, alas! So, since then, I still don't know what is the effect of all those things on a picture. I need a crash course!

Sunday, September 09, 2007


Branding has always been company logos, taglines, corporate colours, less popularly jingles or short clips (think Harvey Norman and Intel) but "I personally believe..." (sorry, can't help but quote Miss South Carolina there) that there is the branding of smells, which is not very apparent to most people.

I received the 2008 IKEA catalogue and it smells of IKEA. And when I drive by the IKEA warehouse in Shah Alam, it smells of IKEA. The wood-smell always makes me think I'm breathing in sawdust. Now that the catalogue has sat on my desk for more than 48 hours, the smell is less pungent. There must be an IKEA fragrance out there which they soak all their stuff in for this branding.

Talking About Persistence...

Since we aren't home most of the week, we bought the cat a feeder which is able to store quite a fair bit of cat food in a container which then is supposed to spill out when the bowl at the bottom is empty. You know, like for chicken feed.

Unfortunately, the thing doesn't quite work and the food refuses to naturally tumble out of the storage. Ang Ku just eats what's in the bowl and has tried once to paw the food out, she's given up after that first try.

If we come back next week and the whole thing is empty, we might have just fed the entire neighbourhood strays. Oh well, at least we would have tried. And what with our trip coming up, she won't have her weekly feed for at least 2 weeks.

At Last!

I've just finished watching the final episodes of Gilmore Girls and I'm happy to announce that the two main characters finally, FINALLY got together again. When she married the other guy, something didn't feel quite right but the finale made everything right.

So, after 7 seasons, they kiss and make up. And just like this drama, I have 2 friends who's had their boyfriends wait for them like forever, one for less than 5 years and the other one, at least 15 years! Despite circumstances not looking favourable to them, these fellows waited and watched on and continued to hope.

Fuen, as you can see, I am still shaking my head and smiling at your news about finally dating Seng Yeu. No, Josie didn't spread the news, so let me do the honours! :) The first time I knew he was after you was when we were about 15 years old. If this were a drama, it would have been in Season 16! All the best to you both.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

That's It!

For the past year, every time I visited the loo at work, this tune would keep playing in my mind. Unfortunately, I can't describe it so that Ron can tell me immediately what it was. I wasn't bothered to write down the notes and was hoping that as soon as my Skype worked, I'd be able to sing it to him.

Anyways, yesterday at CG, the hosts were playing some songs for their baby, one of those Classical for Babies, while we were having our dinner. Suddenly, the song played and I stopped everyone's conversation just to listen to it and demand that I know the title immediately. I guess they must have thought it weird.

Now I know it is the Polovtsian Dances (Prince Igor) - Dance No. 17. Now I can hum that in peace in the loo, knowing the title.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Self Censorship

Okay, so I practise self censorship. Guess I'd rather not remind myself of moments of anger.

Anyways, this Sunday, I will be going for a talk on how to use Adobe Photoshop C3 (I can't remember what course it is) to enhance your digital photos. And thereafter, I'm going to get my camera! Yay!

Very sleepy. Will blog more tomorrow.

Friday, August 31, 2007


On Monday, on the way to work, we were caught in a massive jam because roads leading to Dataran Merdeka were closed for Merdeka rehearsals. After being enclosed in a world of my own, I haven’t been reading papers nor listening to the radio on what’s been happening. Either that or the typical Malaysian way was to simply not inform the public of road closures. I reached work at 10am.

Next day, I decided to take public transport – the LRT. Because everyone was avoiding the jams, the trains were packed and when I finally squeezed in, I found myself wedged facing this foreign worker (I think he was Bangladeshi). After a few stations, my instincts told me this guy was trying to touch my groin in a series of natural rocking motions, which were not present during the first stations.

The space was really tight so I couldn’t move off. Instead, at the next station, I switched positions and had my back facing him. Next thing I knew, I could feel a fumbling at the fabric of my pants. I loudly said “Excuse me!” and whacked his hand away. Everyone turned and looked but because I couldn’t turn my head to glare at him, they looked at me instead.

I know I could have done much more, like shout “Pervert! Keep your hands to yourself!” but at that moment, I was simply frozen and boiling mad that I couldn’t kill him on the spot. There’s no one whom I can report to and know that he will go off scott free. Which he did.

It will be a very long time again before I will take the LRT during rush hour mornings. Someone suggested I carry a pin or needle with me the next time. Apparently carrying my Swiss Army Knife might get me into more serious trouble.


As explained before, it took me 2 years of talking, getting opinions etc before I finally got down to buying a new handphone, after the insistence of KS who couldn't take it anymore.

Hence, the decision making for a camera will likewise be as painful but hopefully take a shorter period because I need to get one before my trip.

I won't bore you and will keep the decisioning process to myself. Let's just say I'm now looking at a prosumer (probably the new Canon S5 IS). Why? Because, thanks to a website Grace recommended,, an SLR requires:
1. Dedication - constant cleaning, keeping it moisture free, carrying a huge bag around. If you know me, I simply can't be bothered by dust.
2. Constant upgrades - tried my friend's D50 and already wasn't happy with the standard lens
3. Price - although it's only a couple of hundred more than a prosumer, a prosumer has more complete features. By the time you want to add on a better lens and a better flash for a DSLR, it would cost more than an entire months pay.

Ok, I promised I wouldn't bore you.

50 Years of Independence

Malaysia celebrates her 50th Merdeka. I was actually at the heart of the celebrations, right at Dataran Merdeka. Went there to do a prayer walk, otherwise I would never have gone there. Thousands and thousands of people were there. Didn't get to see much because of the wall of people lining the street.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

School Choir Songs

Running through my head now is some choir songs I used to sing at high school. I can't remember the full lyrics and unfortunately, for once, Google fails me. "Rindu", some Japanese-sounding song... oh I can't remember the titles!

Hey Alor Star gang, do any of you still keep your choir song lyrics? I must go hunting mine down and immortalise the lyrics on the internet once and for all.

Ok, going off to PJ now. Another long week of work. Oh, by the way, Malaysia's 50th Independence is this Friday.


I used to be able to tolerate crowds but just now, at a brief visit to the hypermarket nearby, I was absolutely repulsed with kids running, screaming, trying to balance on the edges of the trolleys... It's a Sunday night, for cryin' out loud! Go home and sleep! Tomorrow is a school day, dammit!

And people speak in Hokkien and other forms of Chinese! Sigh... gimme PJ any day. I readily admit I'm a snob.

Decided - Somewhat

Yes, my indecisive nature is exhibited blatantly in my title today. I have somewhat decided that I WILL get the Nikon D40. Easy entry into the DSLR. Cheapest, upgradeable plus it's a Nikon. Nothing wrong with the rest, just that I guess I've always leaned towards Nikon since... ok, I don't have an answer to that.

Question is, when will I get it. Definitely before my Aussie trip, which is less than a month away. Plus, I'll have to practise how to use it. On top of my lovely project at work which is killing all my spare time.

Bring it on.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Parting Friends

Two good friends are leaving my social radius. One is my colleague, whom I am closest to, she's resigned. She's been a source of energy, changing the atmosphere at the office, spark of mischief and a cheerful coach, urging me on when I'm stressed. We're all going to miss her.

Second, is my uni mate, who has been my constant reliable support, my IT/techie chap, my on-the-spot mechanic, my event co-planner, my I'm-in-a-fix SOS call guy... he's migrating next year. I guess I always took it for granted that he'll be around always, our pivotal point to any uni mate around the world and it's devastating to have my strongest pillar of a friend not being easily contactable. He'll leave a gap that will be too big for anyone else to fill. I'll miss him tremendously.

Breaking Records

Warning: Boring talk about work.

I was out to break my record of staying late in the office but had to leave a 11pm last night because, well, because I was really tired and couldn't really think anymore.

At work, my boss is also breaking all sorts of records, and to that, hats off to him for living on the edge. I've told him whilst it is exciting, I have aged considerably over the last couple of weeks, have nightmares about my CEO writing nasty emails and dream about my business partner being very angry with me over this project. All in all, I'd rather not go through this type of boss-inflicted stress again, thank you very much.

I'm a bit worried that the delays will affect my trip to Australia. But I'm demanded that my boss permits me to take leave as my reward for all these late nights.

Actually, despite being ashamed to be known as the person behind my new product (because the design is oh-so-ugly, and that the partner is perhaps not the most suitable for the target market), I'm quite excited about the product I'm launching. There's so much potential for this product but it has yet to be marketed properly. Oh well, I'm building the foundation to launch similar products in the future and hope I can do another one with loads more improvement from this one.

Ok, will stop here about work. Wait, let me think if I had a life in between the late nights and endless nightmares.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Mini Breakthrough

Starting on Monday, my church started a 21 day fast and prayer. We attended the first 3 morning prayers at 5:30am. Felt somehow rejuvenated maybe because we had enough sleep and spent the morning praying which kind of uplifted the whole day.

This is in preparation for our shift to our new premise in Sept. In the meantime, it is also a good time for us to seek God in any area of our lives, putting away our pains and hurts etc.

What came out of that was already something which I felt was a breakthrough towards the end of the week. Managed to have a heart to heart talk with someone without causing offense to the other person while giving what I felt was really good advice. The talk was sorely needed for some time now, just that the opportunity never surfaced until now.

Then at work the next day, another colleague sought more advice, which I again hoped was useful to him.

James 1:5

Will attempt more prayer mornings this coming week.

gettin' my internet fix

'ave been back coupla hours now... eyes barely open, bloodshot but i'm lovin' it... fast internet connection!

just been intro-ed to iphone. readin'/watchin' up on it. the phone that will almost fly u to the moon. n the new microsoft surface. man. jes told ks dat i wish i were 10 yrs younger. then when i'm my age now, i'd be surrounded with all these gadgets.

hope to blog more after i sleep. tomorrow, tomorrow, i luv ya...


Sunday, August 12, 2007

Holiday Stress

We're in the midst of booking our Australian flights and find it rather stressful. Credit card payment, has it gone through? The dates and timing, are they convenient for our hosts? Are the dates correct? Changing prices on Virgin Blue?

Our travel plan is also mad:


All within 10 days. Good luck to us both.


Over the last couple of days, my body has been very "heaty" so much so I'd had blood in my phlegm again. I swear, I consumed coconut taken two days in a row and this morning no more blood! But since I couldn't get hold of one today, I'll see if the blood has returned or not tomorrow.


Okay, so it's not true. No blood today.


So the monkeys are called the Proboscis, the one with the long noses which depict size of the male genitalia. Of course, size matters.

Another correction is that I took more than 30 photos of my KK trip! Not that this is anything to shout about, but at least it doesn't sound as pathetic as 13.

Uploading more photos on my flickr account as I type. Gawd, I love broadband!

Friday, August 10, 2007

DSLR Or Not?

Last week at a work event, my colleague brought his new Nikon D50. I played with it for a while and was esctatic with taking all those shots with fantastic effects. I now know the name of the type of shots I always wanted, bokeh shots.

Feeling itchy, I went on a scout to the malls looking for a DSLR and was toying with the idea of getting the D40. Surfed the internet for more feedback, comments and reviews. Got the brochure. Talked to the camera shop guy. Weighed it.

After all, when I go to Australia next month, I'd surely want to take loads of photos, wouldn't I?

Then after my KK trip, I realised a few things:
1. I took a grand total of 13 photos during my 3 day stay.
2. Lugging around my Coolpix was fine as it fit into my handbag. The DSLR would have to come in it's own bag.
3. My photography sucks.

So, no bokeh shots from Australia for me. :(

Another Dinner, Another Headache

My company is sponsoring a dance competition soon and I'll be going, partly to work and partly to enjoy the ballroom dancing. Thus, my usual headache would be, "WHAT ON EARTH DO I WEAR?".

My shoulders have been scarred from the sunburn earned while I was in Singapore. So no slingky or shoulderless dresses. Which also means I have to go shopping since I don't have any other decent gowns.

Have I mentioned how I dislike dressing up? Sigh.

Kota Kinabalu

After weeks of stress at work, my body is finally breaking down. I'm on MC today and in PJ.

It's been so long since I last blogged properly that I'm actually having blogger's block.

Okay, let me blog about my trip to Kota Kinabalu. We now know that staying there for 3 days isn't enough. There are many things to do there, namely climb Mount KK, visit the Kinabalu Park below it, go to Poring Hot Springs nearby, take a river cruise to see the Probicous monkeys (I actually know what a Probiscous monkey looks like, thanks to a First Day Cover I worked on back in my old job!), go white water rafting, go island hopping and if you're a diver, visit the famous Sipadan and Ligitan Islands (also appeared on a First Day Cover).

So now that I've told you the things we DIDN'T do above, we actually spent the time walking around KK. The shopping malls around there remind me of the old Alor Star shopping malls, with cheap clothing stashed upon endless waist high shelves which are place narrowly together so you end up walking in single file just to cross the section. Why we went shopping was because we were searching high and low for souvenirs. We didn't want keychains nor do we drink tea so I was actually looking for Sawarak layer cake. Yes, while in Sabah. Well, I did see a poor collection of it in the morning market so I had hoped the shops would sell them too!

We went to 2 islands and because I wasn't very keen to add on damage to my already sunburnt skin, I just sat on the beach under the shade and enjoyed the different shades of turquoise and azures of the sea.

Other than that, KK is well known for its cheap and good seafood, which we had a sampling on both nights. Unfortunately, both KS and I are not seafood lovers and do not appreciate this as much. We think Klang has better prices too.

We will find our way there again one day, perhaps to climb Mount KK once all senses have left my brain.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Good To Be Home

Just got back from Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. Just went around discovering the town and found it to be quite similar to the many small towns in Malaysia.

Now just catching our breath before we pack as we're staying in PJ the whole week again starting tomorrow.

Will attempt to write more about my trip soon.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


This week, we're staying in PJ again. Since it's the rainy season, the traffic will take a good 1.5 hours which we aren't prepared to face on a daily basis.

So, it's another week of living out of a bag. Then this weekend, we're heading to Kota Kinabalu. Yay!


Just got back from Bukit Tinggi. Didn't realise how affected I'd be from the cell multiplication. Kept looking at those whom I would not meet on a regular basis anymore and just feel really sad.

Anyways, we stayed at Gracehill Orchard Lodge and despite the horrible road which led into it, the place turned out to be a surprisingly good place. Fantastic for a group outing with dorms and plenty of places to meet. Not to forget, an "initiating" pool, with a 10 feet high deck for jumping off into an 8 feet deep pool filled with river water. At first it looked okay, but as soon as I was about to make the jump, the darn thing looked pretty scary. But hey, carpe diem right? Water up my nose was just part of the parcel.

Starting this week, we will be meeting separately. :(

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Bits N Pieces

Stayed in PJ almost the whole week and was always punctual to work! Great stuff. Need to do this more often. Only thing is, extremely slow internet connection in PJ and a starving Ang Ku to come back to.

Jimmy Choo finally opens its first store in KL. I'd probably plaster myself on the window just to see what the big fuss is about. An entire month's pay for a pair of shoes? I am quite certain I'll not be owning one in the near future.

A chance to donate blood. KS has an ex-colleague who's mother needs 12 bags of blood. Donation hours are from today, 9am - 5pm and Monday 9am - 6pm. Today, we're going up to Bukit Tinggi for our cell multiplication so I can't go. And Monday is a working day. Maybe next time. When I shed the chicken shit feeling of donating blood too.

Been working late every night for the past 2 weeks (or has it been 3? I've lost track). Not fun. Tried doing work at home until 2am but found my brain ticking despite my body screaming in tiredness as I tried to sleep after that. Never again. Can't imagine how other people (ahem, KS) work at this pace.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

New Specs

I'm about to bid goodbye to my black plastic rimmed spectacles. Tomorrow, my new frames, selected by Tony of Bishan, Singapore, will make it's appearance at work.

Tony is this guy who owns a specs shop in Bishan and he has a knack of selecting the right frames according to your face. The fact that he knows his stock and that he is able to make good recommendations made us go to him to buy the frames. Plus, his frames lean more towards the funky.

In Malaysia, most stores will not make any recommendation and would rather leave you to decide on your own. Most of the time, we aren't able to make good decisions for the lack of knowledge of the choices available or what really suits our faces.

So when this guy started pulling out frame after frame which really complemented my face shape, I was more than happy to fork out extra for his service. Wore it to a gathering tonight and got positive feedback already.

So far, Grace, Ron, Jan and myself have gotten our frames from him this year. Now Mum is also interested in going to see him for his recommendation.


Just got back from a 1st Birthday party of my CG leader's youngest son. There were so many people there and it was good to catch up with so many friends whom we haven't met in a while. Pastor Daniel and Pastor Chris were there too with their wives so it was one of those rare times being able to speak to them outside of church.

Managed to set up my Dad for a potential tennis gang when he shifts back to PJ, through Pastor Daniel's recommendation of which CG Mum and Dad would feel most comfortable in. We've been trying to get them to attend a CG but Mum's just not ready and prefers a smaller church. Dad is raring to go in DUMC so we'll help him in his transition, with the hope that Mum will also be able to fit in nicely when the time comes.

Friday, July 20, 2007


Today was one of those days where I felt appreciated at work. I went for a meeting which I had been dreading for fear of being questioned by the MD but ended up having my views being listened to and he avoided making much demands.

He insisted on taking us for lunch, made me sit beside him and later called his driver to send me back to the office as my boss had to rush for another meeting. His staff raised eyebrows at the hospitality he extended to me but I'm really thankful and accept it as a gesture of appreciation from him.

And no, he's NOT a dirty old man. I KNOW the type and he is not one.

I guess it's cause I said a quick prayer before leaving the office this morning. Again, reading back my diary, I have been blessed by so many hospitable people in my life and he's one of them.


Actually, what was quite funny was that on the way home, KS tried to show me how "privileged" he was by getting an SMS from AutoBavaria. That he was actually considered part of their target market, as though his social standing was suddenly elevated by this very SMS. Then I shared my story above which kinda burst his bubble a little.

High School Teacher

Just like many other kids in school, my first ambition was to be a school teacher. Mum, being one, dragged that thought out of my mind and stomped on it and if it still twitched, she'd stomp on it again.

So I ended up doing Management Studies majoring in Marketing & Communications due to the lack of exposure as to what is really out there in the job market.

Anyways, I just did my Tickle Test, thanks to my sis who forwarded me "What breed of Dog are you at work?" (I'm a Beagle!) and I found my way into doing a "Right Job/Wrong Job" test. Guess what, the "right job" match for me is a high school teacher.

Oh well, some people in the office already call me school teacher anyway.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Never Been THIS Stressed

For a few days now, I haven't been able to sleep properly (or that I am really tired at the end of the day) plus, I haven't been having an food cravings. Although my stomach is aching from emptiness, I just don't have the mood to eat.

My colleague actually noticed it too since I had only a fistful of rice with some mutton and egg, yet I couldn't finish it. Me, the girl who has the capacity of eating a tai pau and two char siew paus at one sitting, cannot even finish half a plate of rice.

I've been stressed before but never had this effect. Oh well, I only hope I'll lose weight in the process.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Roald Dahl's Treasury

Last week, the Youth Pastor (who married KS and I) and his family came for a visit. I discovered that their eldest loves to read. She's always found with a book and they're usually Enid Blyton's. So, I was thinking of lending her some of mine.

I was hunting the house down for a Five Find Outers and Dog which I bought last year for someone but I couldn't find it.
The only suitable book I have with me is the Roald Dahl's Treasury, which I just bought yesterday at a book sale. Was ready to pass it to her today but luckily this morning, I read through the first few stories.

And there was a poem about an owl being deeply in love with a cat. Something along the lines of "Oh lovely Pussy! Oh Pussy my love!" to "I couldn't make love with a beak up above" and " I wouldn't want kittens with feathers".

My hunt for the Five Find Outers and Dog continues.


I'm still reading through my diary and it has made me contact friends I have not heard from in years! Happened to read a portion about a friend's birthday, Chooi Ming, on the exact same day 7 July so I wished her happy birthday. Then I came to the chapter of my college life and contacted Ming Ling, another friend I haven't heard from in ages.

Now I truly appreciate my recordings of whom I met and the explicit details of what happened when. Because I'm horrible at names and remembering people.
Also, with a diary, you get to keep all sorts of strange things between the pages of the book. But ask me to start one again now.... weeeeeelll... let's just say I prefer typing to writing now.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Harry Potter Video

Laughing my head off...

Still Undecided

My Head vs Heart decision has become more complicated. The person I'm dealing with prides himself with being a good negotiator, and if what he says comes through, then hats off to him really.

So I've got the whole weekend to consider and talk to more people. It's consumed my thoughts and haven't been paying attention to anything else. But oh yeah, I've finally added my flickr badge to the blog. Now to start playing around with it and take more photos.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Head Vs Heart

I absolutely dislike Head vs Heart decisions. I'd rather have them black OR white and not gray, thank you very much. Being tugged at both ends is extremely stressful.

I experienced this about 4 years ago, when I was offered to take up a different position from a communications exec to a direct marketing exec. My colleagues were fantastic, my job was great - flipping through magazines, spending company money, attending and organising events and yet, there was that curiosity that egged me to take the other job. I ended up crying in front of my old boss, much to my embarrassment.

On one end, I needed the extra pay and position was a plus point. On the other, the comfort zone was urgently beckoning me to stay on. I survived the decision and never really looked back with regret.

For my present situation, I guess I just need to convince myself that I will survive this next phase of my life. Let me just sit by my corner and cry and blame it on my PMS.

Autobots, Roll Out!

Was supposed to watch Transformers this Friday but since Harry Potter is out on Thursday, all the THX halls would be showing HP instead of Transformers. And you gotta watch Transformers in an THX at the least.

So what we did was to rush over to Subang and caught the last show with Dad and Jan. I really enjoyed it even though KS didn't. Guess I never was really into the cartoon back then so I don't know each of their characters. But for many characters, there was a lack of depth although most of them had promising possibilities.

I'm glad I finally watched it. Now to sleep.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

How I Pill My Cat

This entry was done when Ang Ku had sore eyes. Pictures aren't very clear though:

Step 1: Lure the unsuspecting feline into the house for food, closing the door behind her.

Step 2: Allow her to finish her meal and make herself comfortable in her favourite corner for a few minutes.
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Step 3: Pick her up and place her in the middle of an available floor mat, with front paws sticking out slightly.
Step 4: Wrap her like a popiah, as tightly as possible, taking special care to ensure her front paws are secure.
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Step 5: Carry her as you would to feed a baby. By this time, her eyes will narrow and ears flatten with suspicion.
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Step 6: Pull head back slightly with left thumb and middle finger wedged closely to the ends of her mouth.
Step 7: Hold the pill with your right and with your right middle finger, pry open her mouth. Legs will be rigidly stretched, warning meows issued and claws protruding but one has to remain determined.
Step 8: Pop the pill into the back of her throat and shut jaw quickly while stroking throat. Until the tongue flicks out, hold that position or induce swallowing with a water-filled syringe. Another way is to cover the nose for 2 seconds.
Step 9: Release the non-too-happy camper who will bolt through the door to freedom.

Repeat twice daily. And every time she’s happy to be tricked through the first 3 steps.

The Northam

In Penang, I stayed at The Northam. Man... the suite was really huge and this is just a normal room but what bowled me over was the huge jacuzzi tub. I managed to squeeze time in to soak in my first bubble bath, just like on TV! And read a book while at it. Bliss.

When I told my bosses how impressed I was with the room, they glanced at each other pitifully. They've apparently stayed there a few times and been to better hotels. So katak bawah tempurung.

It was a good trip. My usually extremely private boss (who wouldn't even tell me what time his flight to Singapore was when I asked) actually shared some embarrassing stories when I whipped up some "icebreakers" to fill in the silence during the drive home.

My Eric's Misadventures actually drew a lukewarm response for once. Must consider timing and audience the next round.

Friday, July 06, 2007


Okay, so now that the keys have been handed over, I'm gonna finally mention about my parents shifting to PJ. Yes, they will be shifting back to PJ, which means once our house is sold in Alor Star, there isn't any reason for me to go back to Alor Star. Which means, no more fried kuey tiow at the Cowboy Market, no more gazing at the yellowing paddy fields I grew up with... :~(

Anyways, my parents have been bringing as many stuff as they can with each trip to PJ. This trip, they brought me my diary, which I kept since 1991. I was in Form 3 at that time. And I admired this girl in school by the name of Eileen Tan. And I actually called her - several times, to chat with her. In fact, from what I've written, I practically stalked the poor girl! *cringe*

And all my crushes were described shamelessly, being absolutely "perasan" being the main theme in my entries. "I'm sure he was looking at me!" *double cringe*

Absolutely private stuff. And I bet my family has gone through it already. One indication was when Mum told me my diary was still at home: "Do you want me to burn it?"

Okaaaaay, so I may not be the saintliest kid around the block. And there's a bookmark on one of the most revealing pages.

But this is so fun! I have gone through only a few pages but there were many times I laughed out loud because of all the foolish things I was thinking and going through. I wonder if, in years to come, that I'll re-read my blog entries and cringe too!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Living Out of a Bag

Been away in Singapore over the weekend and now just got back from Penang.

Had a great time in Singapore, especially with the two boys. I love them at this stage, where they are playing with each other and when you listen into their conversation, you can really laugh. James was just scolded for doing something wrong and he and Cam had this conversation:

C: God will punish you if you are naughty.

J: Yeah. But he won't scold like how Mummy does.

Long pause.

C: Yeah. He will give you ulcers.

Didn't get too excited about the Great Singapore Sale. After all, I am more familiar with shopping in the Klang Valley than Singapore and when I translate everything back to RM, it doesn't seem worth it. Bought just one top on a whim.

Okay, I will write another day as I'm about to collapse with fatigue.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Choc Chip Cookies

Recently my cousin Karen whipped up a recipe for me to cook. Since I hardly ever cook (is 4-6 times a year considered "hardly ever" or "never"?), she was trying to inspire me to start, throwing in a picture of her weeds green vegetables for good measure. So Karen, here's a recipe for you:

*But first, a little disclaimer, none of my recipes are original since:
1. I am not one to deviate from supposed tried and tested recipes. I just don't have the courage to switch anything. Except maybe reducing the sugar especially when the recipe comes from America.
2. Why reinvent the wheel?

Anyways, here's one for Chocolate Chip Cookies, the kind that are supposed to be chewy although here in Malaysia, everyone prefers the crunchy type.

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup caster sugar
125g butter
1 egg yolk
1tsp vanilla essence
1 1/2 cups self raising flour
1/2 cup choc chips

1. Beat sugar and butter.
2. Add yolk and essence.
3. Add flour and finally, the choc chips.
4. Roll them into balls, flatten them just slightly on a lined baking pan. They will expand just a bit.
5. Bake for 12 mins (I put it in for longer as I prefer it crunchier) at 180 degrees Celsius.

Easy, ain't it? I'll upload photos later. One thing though, I reduced the caster sugar to 1/4 cups but it still is too sweet for me.

Source: The Occasional Epicure which is hardly updated anymore.

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Comments from my colleagues:
"Too sweet!"
"Lau hong" (masuk angin) - I had to explain that this is a chewy cookie to almost every single person as they commented this.

This gives me a good excuse to try again! Anyway, they were all gone by the evening.

But there was one who pissed me off a little. She complained right from the first bite but ate the most pieces and even had it for her lunch.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Unusual Stuff

Lately at work, I've been trying to go around looking for tetsubin, or cast iron Japanese teapots Ron asked me to get for him. Walked around Chinatown and developed blisters but all I was rewarded with were blank stares, "Japanese teapots?". I reckoned they would know where to get teapots since their entire shop was filled with Chinese teapots and to me, Chinese/Japanese, they are all the same.

They recommended me to try Isetan. There, this sales boy also gave me a funny look and pointed to the ceramic ones, to which I shook my head and repeated, "Made of iron, NOT ceramic!". To my disgust, he delivered the most typical line any sales person in Malaysia would say (besides "I don't know"):

"Oh, I think we've run out of stock for those".

I shot him a look and enunciated "You mean you actually have the teapots and they're really just sold out?"

"What pots again?"


Anyway, the other unusual thing I'm looking for is a kneeling chair.
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I sat on one many years back and it felt really comfortable to the backbone. I just don't know where they sell them here in Malaysia.