Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Tree Hugger

I read Karen's blog with interest on the movie An Inconvenient Truth. KS showed me the preview more than a year ago but I didn't know when it was coming out. It has an interesting quote:

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his NOT understanding it" - Upton Sinclair

It reminded me of a conversation that took place recently with my boss. I was lamenting about how there are so many people out there who doesn't care about being green, eating endangered species just for the heck of it, wasting paper in the office etc. He then said, "Unlike me, I know I shouldn't be wasting, just that I'm not bothered. Now, those who even realize that they ARE wasting the earth's resources are the worst kind of people."

To that, I retorted, "No, your type is the WORST because you know very well that you shouldn't and you still don't bother. At least the ones who are currently ignorant can be educated and there is hope for them to do the right thing."

He didn't have anything to say to that.

Now I really want to get my hands on this DVD and pass this around to everyone in my office.

Of Curtains

Let's see, we shifted into the house close to 2 years now and we've had our curtains for just as long. Since it never looked really dirty, we only just removed it last weekend to send it to the laundry.

I was then told by the laundry lady that it is a good habit to wash your curtains every 9 months because the dust will actually eat away at the fabric and make it brittle so that when you put it for washing, it tears. So there you go, learn a new thing every day. No wonder Mum always washes the curtains back home so frequently.

So, okay, 9 months from now, in early November, I will have to take my curtains again for a wash. Otherwise I could wait for another 2 years and buy new curtains.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Mud Shoveling

This weekend, I have the opportunity to go to Johor to help those affected by the flood to shovel mud from their homes. My church is organising teams to go down for the weekends to help with the massive clean ups.

However, I am still hesitant because I still haven't fully recovered from two weekends ago and because my own home badly needs cleaning up. Jan has already signed up though. The "Martha" in me is screaming, "Just go!" but I know I have to fulfill my responsibilities here first.

The call has gone out to able bodied and tough volunteers for this job, as we are told, requires wheel-barrowing mud and furious scrubbing. Muscles, bones and backs are guaranteed to ache after. And do you know who are the ones signing up? Yes, the girls are signing up. Where are the men?

Just a little side observation, I see a trend of modern girls who are tougher than men, who fearlessly (and sometimes, stupidly) race down highways and who strive for independence. This is the new women of this society.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Frasers Photos

Here are some photos taken during my weekend trip to Fraser's Hill.

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From the driveway

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The entrance of the cottage.

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This is the caretaker's home. Isn't the brick wall gorgeous? Yeah, we don't commonly get brick walls like these here in Malaysia.

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Corridor inside the house.

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This is the living room where we had most of our brainstorming sessions. I love the "wing" chairs, they're so comfy! And the windows!

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And here is where we had our meals.

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The waterfall at Frasers. It was overflowing and muddy the day we went.

As you can see, we were stuck in the house most of the time. I wish I could go there again, minus a brainstorming session. I really liked the cottage and am privileged to be able to go there since it's only meant for senior management.

And finally, a "family" photo.
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It was a really fun trip all in all.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Exercise!

Yes, I finally went to a gym last week. Surprisingly, I didn't go away feeling like my muscles were going to cause me so much pain that I'd be bedridden. In fact, after two days, I feel great and that my shoulders have suddenly squared a little. Of course, throughout the entire course of the simple exercises, I was highly embarrassed. To me, it was like doing an absolutely foreign dance and that I was making a fool of myself.

What's worse was when KS's friend, who is the owner of Cnergy, the gym affiliate I've joined, had to watch to see if I was doing my lunges properly. Gawd...

But the exercises were good and light. Hopefully I'll use my membership to it's worth!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Exhaustion

Went up to Fraser's Hill last Saturday for a brainstorming/team building session with my office mates. Since I was the organizer and had to prepare team building games for the entire duration, I was absolutely bushed by the time we were about to return to KL. Hence my silence from blogging for some time.

Fraser's Hill is internationally renowned for its bird watching and jungle trekking. We did none of that, though. The only time we stepped out of the cottage was to visit the waterfall nearby and have a brainstorming session there. So much for seeing the sights!

This project allowed me to see facets of my colleagues that I never would have seen under normal circumstances. Differences were patched up and friendships tightened with honest and open discussions with one colleague whom I was not really close to.

We had heaps of fun up there though, despite the brain drain. We brought the house down with screams of laughter and our boss bore the brunt of our jokes sportingly.

Now I'm still just tired and want to rest until every weary bone is energized again. Sorry, can't explain much either right now... my thoughts aren't very focussed at this point. Good night!

First Days at School

At the start of each year, many Malaysian parents will take leave, so that they can take their children to school. For those who have kids just starting Standard 1, they would normally take one whole week to ensure their child fits in comfortably at school.

I remember when I first started school, back in Alor Star in a Kebangsaan school. Mum accompanied me for the first few days but I believe when she stopped thereafter, I wailed and demanded that someone comes to school with me. That’s when Dad started to send me to school and watch my classroom until he had to leave for work.

It never struck me as strange until one day Dad asked me if I wanted him to push me in a pram on the way to school. I looked at him in astonishment and puzzled as to why he mentioned that since I couldn’t fit into a pram by then.

Later, I realized it had already been several weeks (perhaps two months) since school started and he was the only parent standing outside my classroom day after day. Now I can’t believe that he actually did that for me! It must have been most embarrassing for him but he still did it.

Shopaholics!

I recently borrowed the first instalment of the Shopaholics series. It’s been several months of indulging in mystery, thrillers, murders, lawyers, detectives with a smatter of fantasy books. Hence, thinking a change is needed, I borrowed the Shopaholics.

The fact that I borrowed it at the start of this month, and I haven’t read beyond the fourth chapter says quite a lot. Contrary to popular belief, I am NOT a shopaholic as described in the book.

The main character talks about buying that dress, that shoes and that handbag, followed by detailed descriptions of what she is wearing and where she bought them from. While reading that portion, I was dressed in my scraped heels, pants which I’ve owned for more than 2 years and a top I bought off a factory warehouse. And what matching knickers? I felt like a washed out rat.

And despite all that, she’s flat broke and maxes out her Visa. I have NEVER been that irresponsible and hope I will never be.

Needless to say, the book doesn’t resonate with me and I shall henceforth be returning it to the bookshop unread. At least this has scratched that nagging thought that perhaps, just perhaps I would like chick lit.

Back to Discworlds and murders/thrillers/mystery for me.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Free Flights Part II

My first booking to fly to Kota Kinabalu for free didn't go through. But luckily, I went in again two days ago and confirmed another weekend in August.

Now I'm up on an unearthly hour in the morning trying to book some destination for my parents.

Classical Immersion

Coming home from work today, I was expressing my stress about work to KS. It's been a tiring week and it promises to get more "exciting" next week with a much dreaded presentation on Monday morning. I hate presenting.

We were on our way to Thai food to celebrate KS' birthday with my family. We over ordered and could not finish our food, which is an unusual thing for us.

I'm digressing. Anyways, we went back to the PJ house to hang out when Ron wanted to show me some DVDs he has. One was a Master Class conducted on Rach 2nd Concerto. This is my first time seeing how a master class is held. How pressuring! How CAN you play with everyone's eyes on you, trying to pick your faults?

The second DVD was all the Strauss compositions conducted by Karajan.

(Side track conversation between Ron and myself:
"Did you know that Karajan came to Malaysia recently?"
"Oh really? When?"
"About 2 to 3 years ago?"
"Karajan died in 1989. What form did he appear in?"
Later I found it was Ashkenazy.)

Back to the Karajan DVD, one piece had a sopranino, who's name I can't remember now, Katherine Someone, such a fantastic voice, another had horses dancing to the music, yet another had ballet incorporated into the piece. My eyes were glued to the tv for the one and the half hours. Poor KS spent the remaining hours of his birthday trying not to fall asleep.


It's been a really long time since I immersed myself in classical music. But as I drove home, I realised how destressed I was! Work could not disturb my bliss. Now I want to burn all Ron's DVDs and watch them the next time I possibly can! Dang, why oh why didn't we buy a DVD burner?

Teamwork!

This is what my boss is emphasizing on this year. As one of my colleagues said, "We must LURVE each other!". I'm ecstatic that he intends to build the team together since I thrive teams working together.

So I've been put in charge of a team building getaway. Next weekend. In Fraser's Hill. Which I have never set foot on. Oh well. About 5 other people volunteered to help me out. Hmm... I don't hear anyone volunteering to help me out on my new product I'm supposed to be working on!

But it promises to be fun. Three bedrooms, 14 people. Three days, 2 nights. Me leading the trekking where people have gotten lost before. Again, I've never been there. If you don't hear from me after the 22nd, read the national papers.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Giving Up Downloading

I've finally given up on trying to download Gilmore Girls from Bit Torrent. I only have about 4 episodes of Season 7 and it's taking me forever to download ONE of Season 5, where I left off.

So today, when Dad took Ron to the DVD seller, I got myself the entire set of Season 5. Can't wait to start on them!

But for now, it's sleeping time *yawn*. KS has been working really late and it's taking a toll on us. We sleep later, but are supposed to wake up earlier to beat the jams caused by the toll increase. I'm bushed.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Being Spontaneous

In the spirit of Cuti-Cuti Malaysia, KS and I discussed which state we would like to go. So when I received an email from AirAsia to say they have a million free flights to be given away, I jumped and booked two seats to Kota Kinabalu for 3 days 2 nights in May, without refering to my diary or even knowing IF we are available to make it there!

Now to look for an affordable hotel there. Man... I can't believe I just booked a flight to KK.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Goals

While many people have taken the last couple of weeks to reflect on what they have done for the year 2006, I have been left grappling as to what I have actually achieved. Sure, it wasn't as though I didn't do anything but somehow I felt as though I haven't been... fruitful?

In fact, I had to read my blog as to what goals I had set for 2006 but saw that I decided to do without them, and wanting to take it easy. Somehow, there's a hollow feeling like I didn't carpe diem and that one whole year slipped by.

So, as much as I dislike doing this, I guess I will have to work out on what I'd like to achieve this year. A little pain for gain, I guess. All those management fellas screaming, "If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail" clich├Ęs seem ... right. Sigh, so time to sit down and list my plans for the year.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Ball-less Boy

We have just recently discovered that Ang Ku is a male. He sprays to mark his territory. The MUST mean he's a male, right?

Love & Hate

Okay, okay, so I wouldn't really describe it with such passion but AirAsia just announced they will be flying to the UK for seats as low as RM9.99. As Monster puts it, the price of a Happy Meal.

Why hate? Let's just say it is because business dealings with these people are jaw droppingly exploitative.

Why love? Sigh, it's because London is suddenly closer to the pocket for all consumers. They're apparently going to fly to Melbourne too. They will have 2 categories, Economy and Super Economy. Which of course, bring to mind what on earth is Super Economy?

"Velco seat belts and sitting next to quarantined livestock suddenly come to mind - Monster"

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Tolls, Tolls and MORE Tolls

I hate the toll hikes.

The first day of going back to work, we paid RM11.20 for the tolls to and fro work. Our usual was RM6.20. The reason for this is because thousands of motorists try to take the no toll way which resulted in a 2.5km jam unless we took two extra tolls (which have also been increased) to get to where we wanted. Hence, the additional amount paid to Samy Vellu.

If this continues, I can very well be paying almost 10% of my salary just on tolls per month.

Tomorrow, we will attempt another way to work, through the notoriously jammed Federal Highway. In the process, we try to wake up earlier to leave earlier to beat the jam, hence my grumpiness.

This Sunday, I just read that there's going to be a protest on the toll hikes in front of Sunway Pyramid at 4pm. More details under Comments in www.jeffooi.com under "For Whom the Tolls Toll?"

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Japan?

KS sis just came back from Japan and she was showing us her photos of her trip. Needless to say, we were salivating at the food, so much raw fish! Green tea every single meal! Gorgeous scenery and landscapes!

She went there free and easy, just based on Lonely Planet and managed to move around quite easily.

She also brought back some lovely Japanese green tea with burnt rice. I have been drinking it every day since! Oh I so want to go Japan now!

Cliff Richard in Malaysia

Dad is excited about Cliff coming to Malaysia. He was telling our dinner guest the other night that since my uncle in Canada went to watch Dixie Chicks, he'd also like to go for a concert by his favourite artist.

Am trying my darnest to grab tickets but they seem to be all sold out! Package rooms have been all snapped up too. Cross fingers that there are still tickets left!

End of My Holiday

Today is the last day of my holidays. My hopes for waking up every day at 6:30am since going back to Alor Star have been unfulfilled. I just got up at 11:15am. Let's see what happens tomorrow!

It's been a great holiday. Most of it was done shopping for bargains, as though this shopping desire have been bottled up the entire year and spent during these holidays!

And of course, my time spent with my parents were great too. What struck me most was their mortality. Mum was saying they planned to buy a new matress since theirs have been around for the last 20 years. I told her to get a really good one, don't spare on the expenses since they'd be sleeping on it every day. Then Mum said, "Not like we're going to be around for long to enjoy it!".

I would love my parents to care and play with my kids so yeah, I will be spending this year psyching myself to prepare for a kid. God help me.

New Shoes!

Since I'm supposed to sign up for a gym this year, I have been shopping for my "gym things" in Singapore and back here. Looked for sports shoes in Singapore but most of the sale prices were still high, after conversion.

So yesterday I went to 1 Utama. The first shop I walked in didn't have my size and instead of picking up the phone to check if their other shop in the other wing of the mall had my size, they sent me to check it myself. Of course, the other shop was absolutely ignorant and simply said, "No, we don't have New Balance shoes on sale here".

Skechers was on 40% sale storewide. Unfortunately, the sales girl was too concerned about getting her off-shoulder top adjusted at the right angle to be bothered about serving me. When I asked her to check the sizes for me, she pulled a long face. So I was absolutely glad when the Skechers shoes were not as comfortably fit as the New Balance one and left without buying anything.

So yes, I bought myself a pair of New Balance shoes, at 30% off, from two very friendly and helpful shop assistants in the NB shop itself. One insisted on checking my foot size before he went in to get the size I requested for. Shop assistants really play a important role. Skechers should really sack the horse faced off-shoulder girl.

But all in all, I'm really happy about my purchase. Now I really want to go to the gym!

Monday, January 01, 2007

New Year's Greeting

My Mum has such cool friends. One sent her this:

May the fleas of a thousand camels infest the ass of the person who screws up your year and may his arm be too short to scratch his ass. Happy New Year!

I don't normally send out greetings for Christmas nor New Year but I thought this warranted some friends whom I knew would appreciate it.

Happy 2007!