Saturday, February 25, 2012

7th Wedding Anniversary

Today there was a course for the youth in church which I decided to attend. Before we broke for lunch, Siu Fai, one of the youth leaders came up to make an announcement and started to appreciate KS for his involvement in the Youth Ministry. He invited both of us to stand in front of everyone while he continued his speech.

Puzzled as to why the sudden public appreciation, Siu Fai then announced we would be celebrating our 7th wedding anniversary tomorrow. Light-bulb exploded *ting* Oooooh...

Then came the balloons, flowers and cake. Balloons were Angry Birds as KS likes playing Angry Birds. Flowers were gerbera, the same flowers my hand bouquet was 7 years ago which Jan in Singapore asked me a few days before to which I unsuspectingly told her. And fresh chocolate cake with cream cheese from A Slice of Heaven... yum! I don't know where they hid these but we didn't see a trace of them and were completely taken by surprise.

Although we did try to come up with somewhere to go, we decided to skip a trip as we'll be travelling heavily in March and April. So our anniversary was going to pass uncelebrated hence it was sort of out of mind.

Large Angry Bird helium balloons with Ang Ku posing as a comparison.
Seven gerberas to mark each year
Us, right after receiving our surprise gifts.

We have such fantastic friends who somehow always remember our birthdays and anniversary. I purposely engraved my wedding date inside my ring so lest I forget and yet these friends annually wish us on a yearly basis. Very touched, humbled and blessed to be surrounded by thoughtful friends. Thanks to those who organized this.

And yes, KS, I'm glad you're in my life too ;)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sales Convention & Johor Premium Outlet

For the first time in my banking career, I was invited to join the sales convention which was held in Johor this year. I've heard of how well these events are organized, how memorable moments are created especially when you travel with your colleagues so I was more curious than excited about going for the convention.

I hitched a ride from my colleague in a packed car. As a typical topic of conversation, we shared about ghost stories along the way to keep us entertained. And I also threw in a handful of Eric's Misadventures to lighten the mood.

The convention was held in this place called Pulai Spring Resort in Johor. The place was HUGE, easily accommodating over 900 of us. The resort style really was quite impressive however there was one big flaw. It was nowhere near a beach nor a lake so it felt a bit strange to look out over the pool to see... houses.

Can't really see the houses beyond coz I didn't want to spoil the photo.

As one can expect, there was a lot of ra-ra going on and everyone was so energetic! There were shows! There were contests! Dances! Performances! Parties! And I was... drained! from just watching all the action. =) Yes, still the party pooper...

Banners lining the path
Girls dressed as Greek goddesses
The packed marquee
The noisemakers
My very sporting boss who boogied with the hired performers
My car-mates =)

I did enjoy myself somewhat despite not joining in the nocturnal activities. And despite not being able to sleep both nights (a rare occurrence since I usually am able to sleep anywhere). So on the last morning, I gave up trying to fall back to sleep at 6:30 am and sat by the pool, lulled by the splashes until screaming kids came along.

On the way home, we also stopped by the much talked-about Johor Premium Outlet. I was determined to get a new pair of sports shoes since my old faithful came apart after years. People ask if the stuff is really cheap. I don't know how to answer that because I'd be the last person to know what a Burberry bag costs or er, some other brands. But Levi's was cheap, only if you had the waist size of 23 inches or apparently some branded shoes if you're a size 4 and below or 9 and above.

The place is gorgeous , very un-local like structures and layout. It's just off the highway so it's convenient to hop onto the highway after that (I won't know how to get there from the highway though). There's nothing surrounding the place at the moment, flat land waiting for further developments.

Would I recommend anyone to go? Well, yes if you have some hours to spare and if you don't mind past seasons. I guess this warehouse concept is pretty common overseas but this could be one of the first few in Malaysia hence the hype.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Celebrating Chinese New Year

Happy Chinese New Year everyone! It's a bit late but it's still within the 15 days of celebrating the CNY. :)

How has this CNY been? Same old, same old. The reunion dinners, the gathering of the clans, the feasts that followed, the exchanging of mandarins and ang pows...

But what's different this year was the fact that I realized how so many people out there who do not get to celebrate CNY like how I've come to take for granted with family and friends.

How it started was that I spoke to my colleague who's father is Chinese and her mum Thai-Indon. Her parents are divorced and she lives with her mum. One CNY, her mum went to church, leaving her all alone during the eve or CNY night itself. She had to cook her own instant noodles and cried to herself while eating it, with a determination that took root that she needed to marry a Chinese man in order to celebrate CNY properly.

Then KS and I went to visit my uncle Lay Kim at the old folks home in Melaka. He's my mum's half brother and he used to bring me and my cousins a boxful of firecrackers every single CNY. I noticed he was still in his room upstairs despite it being a lovely day outside. When I asked him why he wasn't walking in the garden, he replied, "They don't let me walk out of my room at all. I feel like a prisoner here". :(

So here's a thought to those out there who do not have families with to celebrate CNY with, this is the best I've done: I've eaten on your behalf and put on weight for you.