Monday, December 25, 2006

To Add, or Not to Add..? That is the Question..

No, I'm not talking about Friendster. I'm talking about Skype.

I love using Skype. The emoticons are improving and voice relay is so much better than YM. I can chat and talk with friends outside Malaysia without paying for more than my internet connection. It's a great way to keep in touch with Abang, wherever he is. And it's a nice medium to chat on while you're working - especially if you just wanted to say hi. It can also be your phone and offers damn good rates for international calls - wherever you may be.

However, some people have begun to view it as a "Cari Kawan" or even "Cari Mangsa" portal pulak. Tried to leave a note on my profile, but found that it's a bit hard to say "I don't have time to waste on flirts with nothing better to do" without sounding like a righteous prude. Anyway, those flirts don't even bother checking your profile. Main request je suka hati depa. Like, people who have 106 contacts - buat collection ke hapa??

I quit accepting "Add to Contact" requests after that fiasco a few months back, but after a while, I started accepting a few and was quickly reminded why I probably shouldn't bother. The bit I hate most is the "ice-breaker" when the new 'friend' would ask me a gazillion questions, some of them quite personal and invasive. After a bit, you sometimes feel comfortable enough to chat with one or two of them every now and then. But most of the time, it leads nowhere. Or they turn out to be impostors or God forbid, con-men. Very few real friends to be found online, it seems.

As a whole, meeting people thru the net is already viewed as very risky, but you can't deny that a sizable number of couples DO meet thru the net these days. So I could miss out on some nice bloke who might turn out to be a keeper if I keep declining requests. But I really don't feel like wasting my time with the flirts either... What do YOU think?

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Peace... at last...

You don't know the pleasure of having your Saturdays off until you get stuck with a 5 1/2 day work week. Seriously.

Had taken the day off, planning to leave for Rantau Abang in the morning. However, due to rumours of banjir in Kuantan, plus Sali's brother actually getting stuck there earlier, 3 of us decided to cancel our plans. Feel bad about letting down En Razali and Eyeda, but I'd rather not have to take emergency leave in case it flooded on the way back. Also have an interview I'd rather not miss on Tuesday afternoon. Cari makan and all that, you know...

It feels good to be home with time to spare, actually. Managed to do a bit of this and that and finish reading "The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood". At first I thought it was some nonsensical book about idiotic American girls. The first few chapters certainly portrayed the girls as frivoulous, but it turned out to be an essential background to what the Ya-yas became later in life. If you read it to the end, you'll find the book to be very insightful and touching. Am now itching to get my hands on a copy of the DVD. Tu la, dulu benda tu on sale tak nak beli...

The past week had been busy babysitting my 3 anak buahs. Due to my brother being away in Taiwan and sister-in-law busy with an event, I was Shanghai-ed into picking up the kids after work and keeping them until sis-in-law makes her way home.

Once they were home, it was pretty easy - let them watch TV while I do other things. But my choice of 'things to do' had to change pretty drastically when you have 3 enfants in the house. Thank goodness they had already bathed at the babysitters', so I had one less thing to worry about. Getting kids to bathe when they want to watch Naruto is no easy task.

First, make sure they drink and have something to snack on until Mama comes home. The catch is, I don't have much in the way of kids munchies at home. So made do with fruits and milk on the first couple of days, then took them grocery shopping to get some suitable stuff.

Next, make sure house is germ free. I sure don't want the kids to get sick on my watch... So cleaning and mopping went higher up the charts and miraculously got done. Such is the power of necessity...

Then, figure out dinner. The main challenge is buying or cooking something nutricious that the kids would eat. Thankfully, Amar & Aina are sensible eaters. They love fruit, veggies & chicken. Only Anis a.k.a. Princess Pinky-Winky yang susah sikit. Getting her to even TRY a veggie is an accomplishment!

But by and large, it was more of doing whatever needed to be done. And using your wits to decide what is important and fair. Like whether you should buy them those doughnuts or buy Adik that party pack just so she wouldn't cry. Or play mediator when the 2 elder ones fight over my precious sleeping bag. Soothe the princess drama queen when she had a stomach problem etc.

Abang came home on a morning flight today, and the whole clan on the other side took off for PD for the weekend. So here I am, at home, with time to actually blog, and take care of chores, and read, and swim, and pay bills, and whatever else needs to be done. May watch a movie if I feel like it later. Might even buy some paint and deal with my moldy wall now that it's finally dried-up. It's kind of quiet though without the kids squabbling and crying every few minutes.

Hope I get that job in PJ. I don't like commuting and I like being close to base just in case one of the kids need a hand. Wish me luck, peeps :-)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Cinta

Went to MidV after work today and got tix for this show.

I'm sure everyone have read the reviews about this movie. No point churning them all out again. I really liked the little, little things that reach out to you. Funny but not slapstick. No bimbo acting the bitchy woman. It has dignity. It's touching. I like...

Seems familiar?

- Dyan pretending she was OK with being stood up yet again. And venting her grief in private.

- Taufiq watching the one he loves loving someone else.

- Dhani who balks at making a move, awkward conversation and a busybody troubador.

- Harris and wife - love type mismatch.

- Flaky Arianna and cool Taufiq.

Things that don't fit in:-
- mainly regarding the rich En Azlan la
1. Kemain kaya, ros sebatang je ke, brother? Bagi la sejambak, standard sikit...
2. The glamer budak kedai buku. Waa... classy dressing... Hrmm....
3. Mega romantic dinner. Well, we can all dream, can't we? Probably he bribed the MPO people to play for them...
4. Proposal on ERL. Kampung 'Azura' tu kat mana? Sabah??
5. Still on the proposal: In the context of Malay tradition - not done. Ye la. At least mention la nak jumpa her parents ker... Ada lak main sarung2 cincin cam tu...

Too cute/ weird: Sharifah Amani. Babe, grow away from Orked.

Awards:-

Dignity: Dato' Rahim Razali and Fatimah Abu Bakar. Excellent

Deep: Rashidi Ishak

Cute factor: Pierre Andre. He's sweet. Reminds me of someone.

Preciously priceless: Alisa

Fave Symbolism: Dream house washed away by the rain

Fave scene:
Lis nak apa2?
No.
Lis nak minum? Nak Milo?
No.
Lis...
Papa. I'm WORKING.

Father and daughter. Identical habits. Awww....

The movie is saying: Love isn't always equal. It doesn't always work out. It doesn't always last forever. But we want it. We need it. It comes in many different forms. It works in many different ways. Sometimes we find it, sometimes we make do with what we have.

Verdict: Very good effort. Not perfect, but good. The standard of our movies is finally improving. Yeay!

Falling in Love All Over Again...



Some of you may be familiar with these photos. They're my favourite view of D'Pangkalan, an eco-resort in Rantau Abang, Terengganu.

Have not been able to visit the place this year due to work. Finally managed to find some time to go over last weekend. Was supposed to go with Aizan and co, but last minute work matters forced Aizan and subsequently her entourage to postpone the trip. I went ahead to get the time out I craved.

Picked up G after work on Saturday, had lunch and headed out to the East Coast by 2.30 p.m. The road was thankfully nice and clear. The weather was good too and we arrived in Kuantan by 5.15 or so. Poji was waiting for us in Paka and we had a very nice dinner there.

Arrived at D'Pangkalan by 8.30 p.m. As En Razali was away in KB, we were warmly greeted by his caretaker, En Harun's wife Iza and their son Amrul. En Harun came back a little later. Settling into the room, I found the bathroom a little below par but the room itself was fine. We chatted for a bit at the main hall before going off to bed early that night. It was perhaps the first time I actually slept in the room, I usually sleep on the beach!!

After Subuh the next morning, went out to catch photos of the rising sun, but left a little late and failed to get the first rays. Also fumbled for quite a long time with the raft's lock which had rusted a little and was hard to open. They had to chain the raft because kids had recently 'borrowed' it and took it quite a ways upriver where it was found!

It was pretty hard work pulling the raft across on my own. The main rope that went across the river had caught water weeds and some parts had become rough. There were knots where ropes were connected and these snagged on the guide rope that linked the raft to the main. Once I crossed the river and got to the beach, I was instantly reminded why I loved the place so much. Heck, who cares about the rooms? We want the beach and the river!! Took photos of the sun, plants and sea as well as videos of the crashing waves. Man, they were scary! I kept a very respectful distance from the sea...

Eventually, I remembered G and went back across the river to pick him up. It was easier with one person pulling and me keeping the guide rope clear. We walked along the beach for a bit before going back for breakfast, courtesy of the staff. Too lazy to go food hunting, just pay a little extra for catering. After the long and lazy breakfast, we slathered on sunblock and went kayaking up the river.

The water level had risen so much that the river was much wider and deeper. G was initially apprehensive of kayaking, but he relaxed once he felt how stable the double-seater was. It has a flat bottom and a good keel which made it very stable and easy to maneouver. Very safe, I like.

As expected, the river was very, very calm, and it was great to paddle slowly upriver with the refreshing breeze in our face. We took breaks from paddling and just relaxed sometimes. Went much further upriver than I usually do, mainly because we COULD. Decided to turn back before we got too tired to paddle our way home. At one point, drifted close enough to a common kingfisher sitting on a branch by the river; we were so quiet! Found that going downriver a little more difficult since it was high tide and the current was actually flowing UP! We managed, and landed on the beach side and wandered some more, picking up some shells for G's niece. Found a number of beached jellyfish on the sand. Tried to put them back in the water but the surf kept sending them back!

After a while, we decided we wanted our cameras, so paddled landwards and returned the canoe. Got our gear and used the raft to get across again. Took our shots and returned hungry for lunch.














After a good meal, I decided to take a nap and kind of overslept. By the time we had packed and settled the bill, it was almost seven.

Forged ahead and left for KL, wanting to get home before I was too tired to drive. Unfortunately, was already tired from the day's activities, so from the Kuantan rest stop onwards, I asked G to drive. I did feel guilty about sleeping, but nodded off anyways, waking up with a start every so often. Wished it was P driving, I always feel safer with him at the wheel. But I had no choice and I was too tired to drive myself... We switched again after Genting Sempah. Felt much better after a coffee and had no problems getting back to KL.

By the time we got to BTS it was already 2 a.m. But I was soon home and fell asleep almost immediately. It was a good trip, all said. We paid only RM40 for food and lodging, plus the use of the facilities. Add in petrol and toll, it wasn't too bad.

Sali is dying to go during Christmas. Aizan & co will be going then. Poji is intrigued, so will invite the Kertih clan to join us. Anyone interested is welcome to join us. En Razali has already promised a kampung turkey for the festivities. I'm trying to justify going there again so soon, but may end up going all the same. Come la, it's going to be so much fun!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Red Kebaya

Watched this movie last week with a bunch of people in One-Utama. And my opinion keeps changing as time goes by. Even checked out comments at Suanie & Sultan Muzaffar’s sites.

Firstly, I love the cinematography. It’s cool. And I like the first bit with close ups of – what else? – the red kebaya and special effects when the rooms transform. Really nice.

Costumes – I like…

Acting – very theatrical. Well, all of them are from the theatre scene anyway. I won’t say too much about this. It’s exaggerated, like theatre on film.

Realism – because it’s basically “offstage theatre”, they took lots of artistic license with this film. There’s one scene where it’s supposed to be “Maghrib” but it’s terang benderang out there. Plus the “call to prayer” is actually bacaan Quran. And seriously – our journalists DO NOT ask the kind of questions like in the movie. Totally fantasy, pure fiction. Some things just came out of thin air. Like the Chinese boy – who was he? And one key scene is totally illogical, it just isn’t done. Guess they needed it la, otherwise the whole story couldn’t proceed.

Memorable scenes - There were a few hilarious scenes in the movie. Good slices of Malaysian humor there.

Storyline –It’s an art movie, no doubt about that. You have no choice but to read between the lines. At first I thought the movie was rather pointless, like – “That’s it? Like, what’s the point here??” There are no clear-cut “Here’s the crisis” and cumulating “Yeah, you’re the hero” sort of thing here. There’s no hero, even; just the main character. You need to stew over it a little before it makes any sense. Now I can see that it’s more like a short story, the kind that tells you about a certain episode in someone’s life. An enlightening episode. It doesn’t make major changes, but it answers questions the guy didn’t realize he had. And he simply feels good after. Works for me…

As for comments – saw one guy totally hating the movie on Sultan Muzaffar’s site. Said something about glorifying the orang putih and Malay chicks “giving out” (his exact words are simply too crude to put here) to white losers. I so disagree. Nak comment kat situ, it’s a bit late in the day la. I don’t think this movie glorifies whites at all.

Because in this movie, the orang putih not even hero is a lembik, hen-pecked, civil service husband whose only redeeming virtue is his gentleness and sincerity. No Malay guy with a shred of pride would stand for the ridicule he was letting his wife get away with. What I see is that his growing affection for a Malay woman, Azizah, helped him become a stronger person who is willing to stand up to his bitchy wife. I think it’s actually a tribute to Malay women, because she is portrayed to be a sincere, warm and sensitive woman who accepted the poor old mat saleh as he was.

In any case, what’s the problem with this guy? We’re not all SPGs la. Wish he would look at the reasons why many local guys turn us off. Seriously. Besides, the gatal half-Mat Saleh who happily takes advantage of the locals was also portrayed. He was NOT the hero though he played a part in bringing her into the picture, literally.

Azizah did not condemn her deceased ex-husband for abandoning her. Instead, she blamed his idealistic passion. She probably loved the Mat saleh for his down-to-earth behaviour, his connection with her son and his obvious adoration for her. Consider that by supporting her and her son, he is liberating her from an unsavoury job. This protection is a significant proof of his love. Can’t fault that, can you?

Interestingly, the producers have cleverly made it such that there were no scenes that portrayed adultery between the two. The son was always present in the scenes. Even if he was not, there was nothing of an overtly sexual nature in their behaviour. Of course it is quite obvious that if someone moves in with another party, something HAS TO BE going on la. Don’t be so na├»ve, right? But then, it is a large house, they could have slept in separate rooms, could they not? Even in the last bit, the son was sleeping on the bed occupied by the orang putih. Does this mean the mother will be sleeping elsewhere? Hear no evil, see no evil…? There is no proof that she is the gundik what… Ha ha. Go figure. Clever, guys.

One thing that strikes many after seeing this movie is that there wasn’t anything much to do with the red kebaya, actually. Using it as a title suggests that it’s a key element in the story, but actually, it’s not. There IS a red kebaya, but it is not the FOCUS of the story. Unless… hmm… Unless, the red kebaya symbolizes the RELATIONSHIP. Red is the colour of love. The garment, which is demure yet at the same time sexy, suggests a beautiful relationship which retains a sense of the traditional. As such, the kebaya is not the POINT of the story, but an UNDERLYING THEME for the short story it is based on. Hmm… this movie has many layers… most interesting.

I may be guilty of disclosing too much here, sorry about that. For those who have not seen the movie, pergi tengok la. It’s not perfect, but it’s a refreshing change from the usual rubbish we usually get… I like!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

New Heartthrob??

When the orang tak pernah tengok TV tertengok Salina, siap tak reti nak balik duduk depan TV orang. The culprit? Mamat si "Kamal" ni la. Cute giler.

Ahahaha.... So the la macam perangai budak2... Tu la, dulu time remaja tak puas nak buat perangai... Saba ajelah...

Monday, November 27, 2006

Writer's Block - Kononnya lah...


Gawd! What a mess!! This is the latest attempt to finish an overdue project - I dah tak larat dah nak layan projek ni. Tinggal nak buat write-up ajer... Kalau pasal blogging banyak la pulak idea aku. Sabar ajelah.

Macam2 alasan aku nak menangguh keja ni. Hari tu sibuk dengan keja la, social obligations la, nak cuci baju la, nak kemas rumah la, macam2. Bila ada masa, dok main game la pulak. Melampau betul.

Kalau siap keja ni kan bagus. Duit dapat, hati senang, boleh la nak gi berenang ke, nak keluar ke... My bottle is almost empty and my research still not done. Blame it on the smelly house. Blame it on my tired eyes. Blame it on the rain... Hrm... boring, boring. How ah?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Something Wrong Somewhere….

Crime is everywhere, but murders in Malaysia have usually been pretty standard issue compared to the elaborate cases seen on TV. One of the most obvious problems that arise out of killing somebody is getting rid of the body. Therefore, quite often Malaysians would (allegedly) use various kinds of ilmu hitam to make someone suffer instead of killing them outright. The most interesting murder in the past decade was probably the “kerat-14” cutting of a murdered YB by one infamous actress cum bomoh.

Recently, some high-profile dude decided to take his chances with the murder and blowing up of a Mongolian model. Hrmm… must have been watching too much CSI; or perhaps not enough of it! Interestingly, I noticed that when this subject comes up in any gathering, hardly anything is said about morality or kesian and such. Maybe because it’s pretty obvious la, no need to say anymore, kot. What IS often said is, how they could have done it better.

“Haiya, they should have thrown the bits into the sea.”

“Should have burnt the remaining bones la.”

"Use acid, better."

You get my drift…

Perhaps it’s desensitization; we have been over-exposed to violence and gory scenes. Even I found myself one day happily eating nasi inundated with asam pedas while watching a bloody slaughter scene on CSI. Chee… asam pedas same color as blood oso not squeamish, ah?

This morning, took a peek at the office paper and saw a blurb –

“Groom arrested during wedding”.

Took a quick look at the article and got the gist of the story. The police had sneaked into a gangster boss’ wedding to nab the man, who was wanted for 2 murders and a slew of other crimes. Relatives “pleaded for him to be allowed to tie the ‘thali’ to no avail”. “The police were heartless”, they complained. Who are the heartless ones here? Seriously.

Do they really want their niece/ sister/ whatever to be bound in matrimony to a criminal? A murderer no less. Now THAT’s heartless.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Are You Left Brained or Right?

You Are 45% Left Brained, 55% Right Brained

The left side of your brain controls verbal ability, attention to detail, and reasoning.
Left brained people are good at communication and persuading others.
If you're left brained, you are likely good at math and logic.
Your left brain prefers dogs, reading, and quiet.

The right side of your brain is all about creativity and flexibility.
Daring and intuitive, right brained people see the world in their unique way.
If you're right brained, you likely have a talent for creative writing and art.
Your right brain prefers day dreaming, philosophy, and sports.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Little Courtesies That Count

Sometimes I still miss my Tai Kor. There’s a way about him that makes you feel cared for, somehow. He’s frank, decisive and he doesn’t play mind games with you.

On being frank:
“Sorry, girl. You’re just not my cup of tea.”
Thanks for not leading me on, bro… : (

On being decisive:
R: Let’s meet up.
A: Sure. When?
R: This week busy la. Next Monday?
A: OK
R: Great. BSC, 6 pm.
A: Kewl : )

It’s not so nice when someone suggests that we meet up but doesn’t make firm plans. A vague “sometime next week” is neither here nor there. I’d be looking forward to something that might not happen at all. That sucks…

Monday: You get there at the time and place
A: Where to meet?
R: What do you want to eat?
A: Your call…
R: Chili’s. NOW.

I like Chili’s. Otherwise I would have asked to change the venue. I don’t like to choose. If he doesn’t like the place nanti I won’t enjoy the outing either. Tak best la.

If he sends you back, he waits until you enter the house before driving off.
If I was going back on my own, he’d accompany me to the car, especially if I’m parked in the basement or a dark area. Later he’d text and ask if I’m safely home. I really like that.

You invite him for something and he actually responds.
Yes: “Will be there.”
No: “Sorry dear, going to my Mom’s tonight”.
- He doesn’t keep me wondering if he’s going to show up. Being left hanging takes up so much of your precious energy!

It’s these little little things that makes life easier for me. Not that my friends are at all bad. Guess I’m just used to these little comforts, that’s all. It’s not too much to expect, is it?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

More Than One Way to Skin a Cat

Not that I would actually do it. The stray that just moved in wreaked havoc in my house last week and I still haven’t banished it to the hinterlands. Do cats REALLY bring good luck, I wonder….

In any case, the phrase means that there are many ways to do something, and some methods work better than others. Or it may be just a case of personal preference.

Digging into an orange this morning, I realised that I actually prefer to tear off the peel, mandarin style, and pop whole sections into my mouth as opposed to eating neatly sliced pieces as I was taught to do when I was young. There was a whole article in a magazine I bought once about your personality revealed by how you deal with your oranges. It said there was something prissy about neatly cutting the fruit as opposed to savagely tearing off the peel to get to the juicy flesh. I forget the details as it didn’t occur to me then that I would start eating oranges any other way.

Everyone knows that oranges are high in Vitamin C and fibers and generally are good for you. But until recently, I avoided them, mainly because of the way I was taught to eat the fruit. You see, eating orange slices is fraught with danger. You never know its acidity level until it comes into contact with your tongue. It MIGHT be nice and sweet, but too often it’s not. And not being an asam addict, thanks to my disapproving father, sour oranges is just not for me.

However, thanks to Siow Cheng, I discovered that the sections will not assault your senses until you actually bite into them. And the knowledge that you have that tiny bit of extra time to be prepared makes all the difference in the world…

So how do YOU eat your oranges? :-)

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Reality of Mentality

During an outstation exhibition recently, there were people selling some stuff which was supposed to boost your antibody. Since I had been feeling like s*** lately, I decided to buy a bottle.

Later in the day, the ‘boss’ of the group came over, pretending he just wanted to ‘lepak’ with me. In the beginning he asked about my work, so I explained a little bit about what I do. Then he started his spiel, citing stories of people at death’s door who had been cured by the miracle product and trying to tempt me into joining his business. He also proudly stated that he had had no sleep for 48 hours. Hrmm… I think it would have been rude to tell him that he wasn’t looking too great at the time.

I've been taking the product for a few days now, and I do think they're pretty good. What scares me is the way people selling these ‘miracle cures’ would often think that the products make them invincible. Fine, we all lose sleep every now and then, and it would be very helpful if we are less affected by the deficiency. But I would rather not make it a habit of it! We should still make an effort to get good nutrition, enough sleep and exercise. It's just common sense, isn't it?

The other thing that gets to me is the focus on beating the effects of pollution on our health. It's a selling point. The world is polluted so we have to buy this and eat that just to enjoy basic good health. Did anyone actually think of what we can do to AVOID polluting our environment?

The truth is, too many Malaysians are sacrificing their good health in the name of convenience. And worse, declining to do something good just because of 'malu' for behaving out of norm. The solid waste management hierarchy is to REDUCE waste generation first, REUSE what we can and then only should be RECYCLE what can no longer be reused.

Is it so hard to walk instead of drive to the nearby bank or nasi lemak stall? Can we politely decline that disposable plastic spoon and use a reusable metal one instead? Can we bring our own container to tapau food instead of packing it in styrofoam or plastic bags? You DO know that plastics can leach chemicals into our food, right? Especially when soft plastic meets hot soups. We might be ingesting more than we actually meant to...

Many people think, it's easier to do first and deal with the consequences later. But there comes a time when we can't afford to do that anymore. We can't always reverse the adverse effects brought by chemical pollution in our bodies. Check out "Our Stolen Future" and read all about why some men behave like women and how some 'females' turn out to be males and many other scary stories, including how it affects the size of you know what in Florida alligators... (hey, don't condemn me, we're talking scientific facts here).

We do know that have to live more sustainably from NOW, before it's too late. What can we do to build a better future? What are you willing to change? Think about it...

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Relieved

After months of miscellanous obligations - puasa, travel, raya - things are finally getting back to normal now. Am relieved to see registrations coming in for my Energy Efficiency briefing next Saturday (18th Nov). Boss is not around, so takde la stress sgt. But still need to make sure things are done for the upcoming briefing and National Seminar. Kalau tak, org tua tu balik je, tengah penat2 jet lag tu, silap sikit mengaruk la dia... saba ajelah kalau dia dah naik angin... he he...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Retail Therapy with a Twist

Why does this insatiable craving for retail therapy always come when you're broke? For whatever reason, today I found myself thinking about, of all things, Estee Lauder lippie...

Okay, it didn't start today. I started having this weird feeling when the level of my three favourite colours started looking a bit low. It's crazy. I've got tubes of lip colour I barely ever use. I've been using the kit for almost a year, and you know lippie is like toothpaste - there's always a little bit more... So I really had no business going to a mall and checking out the merchandise. Yet I just couldn't stop thinking of expensive makeup... When you start on the good stuff, Maybelline just won't do it anymore... Figured I should at least find out how much a tube of the paint costs so I'll know if I can afford to even think about buying it.

Rolled up to One Utama and illegally parked near the taxi stand, something I normally would not do. Fear of kena saman would ensure I don't linger too long and risk whisking out the electronic equivalent of the good ol' "buku tiga lima" to purchase stuff.

Went all around the cosmetics department checking out le tres cher makeups, perfumes and skincare... In short, things I can't afford to buy :p Maybe it's a good thing I'm broke. I knew I wasn't going to buy anything anyway, so there were no limits. Just try everything!! If I had actually planned to buy something, I'd have been less adventurous. And I found some things I actually liked!

Maybe I'll come again and buy something sometime. But for today, the cravings have been appeased, without succumbing to temptation. Went back feeling good. The wonders of retail therapy...

Monday, October 30, 2006

Raya Aftermath





Raya Raya Raya. Selamat Hari Raya, Jalan Raya, Balai Raya

Literally - Raya = Besar. So Hari Raya = Hari Besar... Big Day to mark the end of Ramadhan.

In spirit, it's about.... hrmm... House decorated to the hilt. Special raya foods. Baju baru. Kuih Raya. Duit Raya (for the kids, at least) Forgiveness. Togetherness. Family....

Well, I think it's mainly about relationships. Especially family ties. It's the time when we take the trouble to go all across the country (or city) to visit people we don't often meet.

When we were young, we tagged along with our parents visiting people we barely knew. We took solace in playing with other kids and getting duit raya. As we grew older, we started communicating with the elders and learning to deal with life.

Currently, I visit relatives with my sister, paying our respects and keeping family bonds alive. It might not be enough, meeting people once a year, but I guess it's better than not at all...

I wouldn't go all the way down to Singapore if not for my 'darlings'. I'm so annoyed with the ridiculous things Singaporeans put us through just to visit once a year... Autopasses that need to be updated with our car road tax info and expires after five years. And I got a saman for parking at "season parking area" where there are no prominent signs... Urgh. Abang Ali told me to ignore it and fight back if they send me a letter. Hrmm. Menyusahkan betul.

This year the Suratman clan had a get together at Cik Jak's place in JB. We had the obligatory makan2 with original lontong, sambal goreng, lodeh, and so on and so forth. We had tahlil for those who were no longer with us, and doa selamat for Pak Ngah who was hospitalised. Of course, gatherings are filled with bantering and laughter when our gregarious crowd gets together.

Thankfully the drive back was smooth and we got home quite early. I'm pretty tired out after a week of constant munching and driving all over the place... It's not quite over, though. There are clothes to wash and things to straighten out.

There'll be more houses to visit in the weekends, mainly friends; but at least the high ranking elders have all been covered already. I don't think I'll have the energy to do a full blown open house because it usually means I'll have batches of people coming all day long... Maybe a simple tea on Sunday afternoon will do.

To all, Selamat Hari Raya & Maaf Zahir Batin. :-)

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Make room for the gray

Do you like gray? I don’t. It’s such an inconclusive colour, neither black nor white, neither here nor there. . . Grey is… moody. It’s kind of depressing. It possesses not the vibrancy and passion of red. Nor the coolness of blue. Or the cheer of yellow. As opposed to the calm of green.

Yet it’s undeniable there. Something which exists whether we like it or not. As do grey areas in our society. Reality. Red-light districts, bohsias, bohjans, gays, lesbians, affairs, sugar daddies, GROs, fanatics, heretics, Ayah Pin, Mama Ais, drug addicts, etc, etc, etc. They exist, whether we like it or not.

So why the insistence on sanitizing and sterilisation of these very real, though unpalatable, issues? Isn’t the first step to solving a problem is acknowledging that one exists? The bigger a problem is, the longer it will take to solve it. So why do people insist on an instant cure for a terminal disease? Sweep it under the carpet and all is well again. If you can ignore the bulging mound in the middle of your hall, that is…

There is an unfortunate tendency of “clean” and “pure” people to condemn the ‘damned’ - those who have sinned, those who had crossed the line into the dark side. They demand that these people must instantly denounce the demons and return to society. But will someone choose to return to a society who has marginalised and shunned them for their mistakes? It’s basic psychology. They fail to understand that these people did not choose the dark in a heartbeat. Is not darkness the absence of light? So where were the ‘pure’ beings when their kin was in need of light to show them the way?

I was in this conversation with a new group recently. They were lambasting the sins of “Gubra”. Without even watching it, they discussed the sinfulness of the whole production. And I had no choice but to defend the concept of the movie that tried to bring into awareness the grey areas that exist in the background of our sheltered lives. Those who were forced into prostitution had little choice in the matter.

From a totally different perspective, grey lightens the burden of darkness and shades us from the blinding brilliance of whiteness. It has potential to move in either direction. All it needs is incorporation of the healing powers or forces of destruction. It is our choice – to help or to punish. Which one would you make?

Monday, October 16, 2006

What Kind of Coffee Are You?

You Are a Cappuccino

You're fun, outgoing, and you love to try anything new.
However, you tend to have strong opinions on what you like.
You are a total girly girly at heart - and prefer your coffee with good conversation.
You're the type that seems complex to outsiders, but in reality, you are easy to please


Source: Asma's Blog

Change

Change is normal, isn't it? Everything changes. Life, work, feelings... Change of address, change of scenery, some even more drastic ones...

Where were we ten, fifteen, even twenty years ago? What did we care about? What did we want? What did we think about then?

Some change is good, some not. Yet one of the constants is life IS change! Some things refuse to change. Some change so subtly that one day you wake up surprised to see what has changed. But if you go too long without any changes, it would be pretty odd, don't you think. Maybe some things shouldn't change, but it doesn't mean you shouldn't change the way you do it...

All said, sometimes you just need to either accept it, or do something about it. Accepting is hard, sometimes. But if you try hard enough, it does get done, eventually... :-)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Trip

Guess the bit I hate most about intercontinental travel is jet lag. It hits me pretty bad, unlike boss who can be back on schedule the next day. Hrmph. He's a robot, I say... I generally have trouble shutting down at night and starting up in the day... cheez. Being exhausted and dehydrated and cramped on a KLM seat don't help, either...

Arrived in Stockholm last Sunday morning and took the Arlanda Express to town, as advised. Checked in to the hotel, but my room wasn't ready yet. So I asked if I could shower somewhere and was shown to the spa. Went downstairs to the sauna bathroom and found the smallest pool ever! At 5m x 5m it could have been a wading pool or something. Took a swim anyway until I got pening from turning around so often. Heh! Shower was reminiscent of the TKC shower stalls - no doors, curtains only. Chee... lucky the place was deserted!

Once I freshened up, left my stuff at the hotel and went a wandering. They gave me a map and directions and off I went to Gamla Stan (Old Town) to look see look see. The weather was nice at 14C. Got gazillions of photos of the fabulous old buildings and interesting plants, plus a few birds. The photo above shows one of the bridge entrances to the town which is located on an island. The town is full of quaint shops, chocolate boutiques, restaurants, souvenir shops, whatever. It's lovely! Took my time strolling the streets and eventually went to the pier to catch a boat over to the Vasa Museum.

The public boat was a convenient way to cross the lake to the other island where the Vasa ship Museum was located. It houses reconstructed parts of an ancient Viking vessel and its treasures. I was too reluctant to pay the 80 SEK (eq to RM40) entrance fee and ended up in the free Museum nearby. It was interesting, with stuff like fashion trends and old doll houses on display. But the thing that amazed me most was....

...the toilets and locker room!! It was the coolest thing I had ever seen :D Afterwards crossed the street to the park opposite and watched some mandarin ducks
swim about. It was lovely just to be outside. Much later, I took a bus back to the hotel. Room was ready and I gratefully settled in for the night.

The next day, I visited the mosque before going to a new development which was supposed to be very sustainable and environment friendly. Got lost and stumbled across a bank of recycling bins. Cool stuff, for people like me, at least... Got to Hammarsby Sjostad at abt one and had a nice chat with Josefine, the girl in charge there and later walked around the area. It was a very nice development. Also liked their very efficient public transport system.

Tuesday and Wednesday were conference days. I found it to be not too interesting. Maybe not enough new things or experiences, perhaps. Flew out to Netherlands Wednesday night itself. Stayed over at Oshani's place and took the train to Nix's place in Sittard in the morning.

Nix is a very, very old friend from our primary school days. She's in the middle with her kids Maryam and Zacharia here. Yup, that's my other Zach :D We also refer to them as Yami and Adik. Just spent the day hanging around the house with a brief excursion to the store in the evening. Found it colder here than in Stockholm although thermometer shows 18.5 C. Must be the continental effect.



The next day went shopping for foodstuff in Germany which was actually 10 minutes drive away. Then we went in the other direction to Belgium to look at clothes. Didn't buy anything, just enjoyed the view and the outing. Too soon, we had to head home and pack my bag. Seems someone's mulut is masin 'coz i brought back almost as much as I took there...


Left at 4.00 to catch the 4.16 pm train to Schiphol. Alas, I kena again with the Dutch train problems. Dah la all announcements were in Dutch... Mujur almost everyone spoke English. Terpaksalah tanya diorang every time an announcement is made. This time, we had to take a bus between the 2nd and 3rd stations. Nasib baik the driver saved me a seat. maybe I looked like I was ready to do battle kot... Heh! Then I had to change trains in Utrecht instead of Eindhoven as scheduled. The worst bit was lugging my heavy bags up and down platforms and trains since there were few lifts and escalators available. While fasting, I might add...

Got to Schiphol airport a little late, and again had to carry my bags long distances in the airport itself. Grrr... Could not check in using the machines and had to wait a long time for the guys before me to get sorted out. It was the usual routine with security checks and stuff before boarding. Flight was largely boring since I sat between an Ozzie who might be a little hard of hearing and a Norwegian who did not seem to notice I existed. Chee... Prefer the nice Indon guy I sat next to on the flight out. In any case, KLM seats are cramped. My buka puasa meal and sahur was one and the same due to the time factor. I didn't have much to drink and had a hard time fasting in the mega-dry cabin air. Almost 12 hours in a darkened cabin and hardly moving is not my idea of fun!

Finally arrived in Malaysia and eagerly awaited my luggage at the carousel, only to discover that it had been left behind in NL!!! AAAAARRRGGGGHHHH!!! B****y Dutch!! Dah la I terforgot to move my house keys to my daypack... Adoi... Had no choice but to report the missing luggage and ask Abang to pick me up coz he had a spare key. Ended up lepaking at Abang's house sampai malam. Conked out the moment my head touched the pillow and woke up at noon the next day still quite exhausted. A nice massage would have been great, if I knew where to get one.

Spent Sunday at home waiting for my overdue bag. By the time it arrived in the afternoon, the fruits had spoilt and the cheeses were soft. All my clothes were stained with berry juice and smelled funny... Ended up with more washing than I liked, but had no choice there.

So there you go... 2 extra days recovering from my "ordeal". Sigh. Hope to be back on schedule by tomorrow... Should go now. Ciao!!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Hello from Stockholm

It's been a wonderful 3 days here in Stockholm. The conference is dull as dishwater, though. Could have been more exciting. But I managed to visit a new sustainable housing development and checked out their public transport system. Food is expensive as well as internet connection. Sightseeing on the other hand, has been great. Flying out to NL tomorrow night. Will update when i get a proper connection. I'm using the hotel computer for the time being... :D

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

"Energy Crisis"

My gas tank sure knows how to commemorate special events. It will happily run out on the first day of puasa, the eve of raya or some such auspicious date…

I kena again yesterday, right in the middle of warming up my buka puasa food. And the best thing is… the “Uncle Gas” punya number can’t be found! Haiya…

We buy gas something like every 2-3 months, so it’s hardly likely for me to remember his number. I think I keyed in his number in the old cordless, but not the new. My PDA gave up the ghost recently, so I couldn’t check in there. Checked the handphone and… no, not there. The so called house phone book has disappeared. Went looking up and down for the elusive super slim little book without any luck. I swear I had the contact backed up in my Outlook, but once I checked - nope… no such luck.

Have been cooking on my trusty old CampingGaz for 2 days. You can cook pretty well with the gizmo. Thank God I bought the model that uses refillable butane tanks. Topping it up with a can of butane lighter gas, a relic from Abang’s smoking days. It’s old, but thankfully hydrocarbons don’t expire. Of course there is the rice cooker and microwave, but you know la, Asian cooking, easier done by gas stoves.

Was starting to feel quite annoyed with the situation when K Ayu remembered she first got the number from Aunty Rose next door. So she called her and managed to get the number. Hope we can get a new tank of gas tomorrow. I really much prefer cooking at home than braving the jams and crowds trying to buy food in TTDI, not to mention the cost!

Selamat Berpuasa, all :-)

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Room Service?

Haven't gone birding in so long that my ID skills were getting rusty. Everyone, including myself have been so busy. And when I was free, I relished the opportunity to catch an extra 2 hours sleep rather than go looking for avian friends. As if to remind me what I had been missing, I was treated to "special previews" and "home delivery" today.

As I was leaving the office I caught a glimpse of a tiger shrike (upper photo) leaving the front fencing. And in the afternoon, saw 3 pink-necked pigeons (lower pix) fly over to the telephone lines just outside my bedroom window. It doesn't come much closer than that to room service when it comes to wildlife watching!

It's always a treat to look up and see beautiful and rare species up close and personal. There is often drama - a cat catching a bird feeding in a bottlebrush tree, Sea-eagles swooping to catch water-snakes from the river surface, a family of otters following your boat. You don't have to touch a tree-frog to appreciate its beauty. People sometimes fail to come close enough to learn to appreciate nature, which is a pity as we live in a virtual paradise here in Malaysia.

The migratory season is here, there would be wagtails and bee-eaters and flycatchers aplenty up in the hill stations. Perhaps I could find some time to go up Fraser's soon... I do miss the place. Hey Lorett, any chance we can make a run up the hill in October?

Photo credits:
Tiger Shrike (juvenile) - CWM (sorry, not sure who)

Pink-necked pigeon - Mr Lim Kim Chye

Monday, September 18, 2006

Exhaustion

Some words I hardly ever use. Like "Penat la..."

Unfortunately, there will always come a time when all that pushing and exertion catches up with you and you succumb to the inevitable - you fall asleep when you don't intend to...

Had the previous weekend relatively free, until I got pretty bored staying home staring at things i was SUPPOSED to do. Did, however, go to a Blood Donation drive my colleague organised that Sunday. Had lunch and went looking for some stuff I needed to buy. Had dinner with Sali later on. Guess what? I didn't care one whit abt the other stuff I was SUPPOSED to do... Nasib la, I needed some time off.

Had a pretty constant week, making final preparations for my briefing in Melaka on Sunday. Friday onwards was quite tiring. Had a meeting in the morning, two in the afternoon and drove down to Melaka immediately afterwards. Checked in to City Bayview hotel and checked in with those 2 guys in Melaka. Risq had some kind of emergency to deal with, so went for dinner with Wardi. We went to a Nasi Padang shop which was kind of posh, but regretted that there wasn't much in the way of fresh veges. Got back to the hotel and tried to finish translating the presentation I wanted to use the next day. Subsequently I got little in the way of rest that night.

The briefing itself went pretty well, attendance wasn't too bad, and participation was good. I was starting to feel tired by noon, so let Risq take me to his favourite shop and ate asam pedas. What else do you look for in Melaka, right? Started back at abt 2.00, but headed towards Senawang for a family thingy. Stopped by in Ayer Keroh to solat and rest a little. Got to Cik Ju's at 4.00 p.m. Had to wait because it rained so heavily, and left abt 6.00. Missed a turn and had to crawl thru Seremban town. Highway was pretty busy. It was jammed after Sg Besi and pretty much all over town... By the time i arrived home it was 8.00 pm. Was supposed to solat and go get dinner, but instead fell asleep until 2.30 a.m. Hrmph... saba ajelah...

Sengaja bangun lambat on Sunday, then lepak watching CSI. At 4.00 went over to Busu's for his "surprise" birthday party. Lepak there quite long and came back late. Still tired...

Today started early and was in Armada the whole day helping run a workshop on Energy Efficiency. Balik, jumpa Joanna kejap, baru balik rumah. Was so tired carrying in all my miscellanous stuff that I forgot to get my car keys. Nasib baik the one who saw it was my opposite neighbour and not some crook. Sheez...

Have made dinner, so I guess I'd better get showered and eat it quick so I'd have more time to deal with *stuff* then go to bed early... For once, I don't mind saying, "Penat la..."

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Hidden

Eyes watch behind hidden doors
Watching the world as it goes by
They see much
The heart understands
Pain must not be revealed

Time passes by
Love comes to naught
As it is shared
Given
Broken
Stolen
Taken
Discarded

Emptiness
Haunted dreams
Longing
Unwanted
Uninvited

Minutes are hoarded
Seconds of tenderness recorded
As the traveller in a burning desert
Begging for the coolness of rain

They watch while others stake their claim
Shall I run? Shall I stay?
What difference will it make
Things openly revealed
Matters not to unseeing eyes

Slowly laughter ebbs
The heartbeat slows
As the spirit wanes

The heart has no worth
When there is nothing to offer

Monday, September 11, 2006

Treasures

Went to the Pay Less warehouse sale on Saturday with Chris' brother, Kelly, in tow. Now, HE had to limit the number of books he got due to flight luggage limits. I, on the other hand, had no such worries. Am so pleased with the pile of books I got.

11 novels, 2 cookbooks and a kid's book - All for the grand sum of RM50. As all people who read in Malaysia know, this is a bargain since books are darn expensive over here. Wanna see what I've got?

(click on photos for larger images)
These are just part of the smorgasbord. A few of the books have been redistributed throughout the house, hence, not available for the photo shoot.

The most expensive of the lot is the kids' book featuring real South American endangered species in a tale revolving a treefrog's journey to stop the destruction of the forests for the sake of cattle ranching. A true conservationists' effort to bring awareness to the young ones.

Have always wanted to read Michael Oondatje's "The English Patient". I wanted to see what the movie failed to portray. Believe it or not, a new copy costs RM63++. Tak jadi I nak beli... This copy I found on the bargain table.

1 book - RM3
3 books - RM8
5 books - RM12

So this copy cost me RM2++. Am SO pleased.

It also gave me the chance to pick up stuff by lesser known writers. Kalau tak best pun, tak la rugi sangat. So many not so famous writers write enjoyable books. Great opportunity to explore :D


And cookbooks? For someone whose modus operandi is to just throw things together and hope for the best? Let's just say it gives me ideas - I LOVE exploring new ways to throw food together. That's why most of the time what i cook can't be served to guests - It's a beta version - work in progress. Ha ha...

Ahh... so pleased with my bounty... This will last me another six months or so.... :-)

Cheers, guys. Have a good week ahead!! :D

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Back to Life, Back to Reality...

As I was whining about being despatched to Miri during my birthday season, Anthony joked that I should be grateful to be given a free holiday as my birthday gift. Hrmph! Trust that guy to twist things around like that... but in a way he's right, though. Went over looking haggard from lack of sleep, sick due to haze and came back well rested. God bless my boss and ex-colleague who quit and gave me this much needed break :-p

For starters, I started work at ten, so I can get up later than usual. When I'm ready, I have a buffet breakfast waiting downstairs. Sometimes I even have some extra time to catch a nap before work. "Work" means sitting down in a shopping center and entertaining people who ask about our exhibit. When I'm free, Speedy video opposite our booth plays movies non-stop for my viewing pleasure. Granted, they show sections, not the whole thing, and i can hafal oredy scenes from "Krissh" - the Hritik Roshan superhero movie and "Shaggy Dog" (Tim Allen). But hey, it's easy work. Sometimes I get stray internet connection coming in. I had time to work on the Organic Farming database... When I'm bored, i go jalan2. Lunch is cheap and easily accessible. Evenings I either lepak by surfing, watching DVD, listening to music or spending time with Pzie & Zana.

When I get back to the hotel, the room is clean and tidy again. I can get a hot bath without having to boil water and lugging it upstairs. I get fresh clean towels without having to do laundry. I got a king sized bed and the aircon thermostat actually worked. Excellent!

More importantly, there is so much less demand on my time. There are no bratty cats waking me up demanding food. I don't have to cook or clean. I don't have a list of 15 chores I need to do before going to bed. I don't need to worry about the garden, hall, toilets or floors. Damn, I could get used to this!

My birthday was all right even if I had to work all day. Pzie & Zana cooked up a storm and invited friends. There were messages and calls from friends all over (God bless the people who invented mobile phones, Skype and SMS!) Thanks, guys. Really appreciate it.

But as soon as I got home, reality strikes. Sigh.

Housemate moved hall furniture to a weird formation that made no sense at all, presumably to annoy the hell out of me. She succeeded. The wires are all tangled. Pots I didn't have time to clean were still in the sink, 5 days later. Expired food in the fridge have not been removed. Tables, counters and floors were still dirty. There was *stuff* on the floors. As if la I didn't have unpacking and laundry to do when I get home. Doesn't it ever occur to her that I might be tired from travelling? Why can't she take care of things when I'm away? Does she expect me to somehow clean up "my" mess even when I'm not there? If I had the time to do it before i left, I would have done so!

How can someone happily come home late and go watch TV when there is so much to be done around the house? Guess it doesn't matter to her how filthy the house is. I'm the one yang malu when friends come over. And she knows that somehow I'll find time to take care of bills and clean up even if I have to sleep late. And I wonder why I look so haggard!

Damn. I can't wait for the day i can finally get my own place, without a parasite living in it. Sorry guys, I'm just so sick and tired of being taken for granted...

Friday, September 01, 2006

Miri, oh Miri…

Today was all right, exhibition wise. People in Miri are much more friendly and interested in saving energy than people in Penang and Peninsula in general. Reason: electricity is expensive here, as it should be, to deter wastage.

I had thought the journey to the Boulevard from Dynasty was rather far in the morning, but my boss assured me that it was “walking distance” in the evening. So against my better judgement, decided to “walk a bit”. But by the time I decided that it WAS too far, I discovered that taxis in Miri do not go around picking up passengers! I had walked for what seemed to be 5 km without seeing ONE taxi passing by. I kept turning round at the sound of a car, hoping that it was a cab but saw none until I got to my destination.

All I saw were a few cabs near the shopping center, all parked with no driver in sight. The guy that came in the morning took forever and drove like a nut. KL cabbies are angels in comparison!! And they charge REALLY expensive rates – RM10 for a distance of less than 5 km. Plus RM2 tip for calling them… Ouch. Like that satu hari RM10x2 koyak la…

Dah la internet susah sket kat sini. I get SOME reception at the hotel lobby, very little in the shopping center. Dah la takde Starbucks or Coffee Bean where I can tumpang the signal… Signal keeps going on and off. Sabar ajela. Need to find a map of the town, I suspect I walked the long way. I guess it IS walking distance, I hardly feel tired. But the problem is that I was wearing sandals, not walking shoes, and I carried a heavy daypack with laptop inside, so now my sole is really sore! Ouch…

Sigh… another 3 days to go… Nasib baik Pzie & Zana ada. Lallalaaa…

P/S - have found excellent internet connection on 2nd floor. Cheh. Buang masa je I try to subscribe to TMNET hotspot tadi...

Monday, August 28, 2006

Hanging Tough

Lived all my life bumbling and bungling my way to adulthood. Even now I'm still struggling to find some kind of peace. One thing still evades me, though, and the quest for it can sometimes be fraught with pain. You do your research and brace yourself for bad news. And you know what? I survived. Fear paralyzes you more than truth. Even the painful truth. And the quest continues... Well, I wasn't not dubbed the iron lady for nothing, did I? :D

I've Never Been To Me

Artist: Charlene

Hey lady, you lady, cursing at your life
You're a discontented mother and a regimented wife
I've no doubt you dream about the things you'll never do
But, I wish someone had talked to me
Like I wanna talk to you.....

Oh, I've been to Georgia and California and anywhere I could run
I took the hand of a preacher man and we made love in the sun
But I ran out of places and friendly faces because I had to be free
I've been to paradise but I've never been to me

Please lady, please lady, don't just walk away
'Cause I have this need to tell you why I'm all alone today
I can see so much of me still living in your eyes
Won't you share a part of a weary heart that has lived million lies....

Oh, I've been to Niece and the Isle of Greece while I've sipped champagne on a yacht
I've moved like harlot in Monte Carlo and showed 'em what I've got
I've been undressed by kings and I've seen some things that a woman ain't supposed to see
I've been to paradise, but I've never been to me

[spoken]
Hey, you know what paradise is?
It's a lie, a fantasy we create about people and places as we'd like them to be
But you know what truth is?
It's that little baby you're holding, it's that man you fought with this morning
The same one you're going to make love with tonight
That's truth, that's love......

Sometimes I've been to crying for unborn children that might have made me complete
But I took the sweet life, I never knew I'd be bitter from the sweet
I've spent my life exploring the subtle whoring that costs too much to be free
Hey lady......
I've been to paradise, (I've been to paradise)
But I've never been to me

(I've been to Georgia and California, and anywhere I could run)
I've been to paradise, never been to me
(I've been to Neice and the isle of Greece while I've sipped champagne on a yacht)
I've been to paradise, never been to me
(I've been to cryin' for unborn children that might have made me complete)
I've been to paradise, never been to me
(I've been to Georgia and California, and anywhere I could run)
I've been to paradise, never been to me

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Letting Go...


Broery Marantika & Dewi Yull


Jangan Ada Dusta


Ketika pertama kujumpa denganmu
Bukankah pernah kutanyakan padamu kasih
Takkan kecewakah kau pada diriku
Takkan menyesalkah kau hidup denganku
kasih


( 1 )
Memang kau bukan yang pertama bagiku
Pernah satu hati mengisi hidupku dulu
Dan kini semua kau katakan padaku
Jangan ada dusta di antara kita
kasih


( korus )
Semua terserah padamu aku begini adanya
Kuhormati keputusanmu, apapun yang akan
Kau katakan, sebelum terlanjur kita jauh
Melangkah, kau katakan saja

( ulang 1 & korus )


I wanted to send someone this song. I didn't get the chance. He disappeared. Does anyone ever really disappear? I don't think so. He probably just ditched me and switched to a new ID. Maybe it's better that way. I have no time for sweet talking con men. I have a life to live. Poor guy probably had nothing better to do...

Just in case he really died or something, I've put his files in a folder and stashed it away, just like he asked me to do. Like his last wish? Hah... Ye la tu... sometimes we need a ritual to help us let go, so why not, right? :-) I'm OK. I have things to look forward to.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Congratulations, Yuz & Nue!!

It's been a while since the D3Katians had a chance to meet up. Semalam we finally got together to attend Yuzaini & Nooreen's wedding in Shah Alam.

Had to go home after work since I not only left my phone at home, my wallet pun tertinggal jugak! Shoot. How to pay toll la like that? So had to rush home, change into my baju kurung (which I had actually brought to work) and rush over to Zura's. By the time I got there it was already 2.00 and we still had to wait for Anaz to escape her badminton game... Tengok2 ada goody bag pulak kat rumah Zura... Stuff she got us on her travels tapi tak sempat nak bagi. Thanks, sis! Love the gifts :-)

By the time we got there, bersanding dah selesai.. He he... managed to ambik gambar beramai2 dengan pengantin kat meja makan though. Ok la tu... Yuz encemmm & Nue lawa giler... He he he.. They make a lovely couple :-)

We had lunch with Naza, Marina, Ayaz, Poji & Puad. Lepas makan pakat ambik gamba lagi. He he, standard la, Tekadmons - giler bergamba... Lepas balik tuh we all pi minum plak. Then gi lepak kat rumah Zura. Kalau dah lama tak jumpa macam tu la. Next outing - buka puasa kot :-)

In any case, congratulations to Yuz & Nue. Semoga berbahagia & diberkati Allah selalu. Amin...

Friday, August 18, 2006

Of Love, Trust and Respect

Love….
Supposed panacea for all ills.
Possible cause for conflict.
Said to be blind.
Has the power to hurt.
The better half of hate.
Etc, etc, etc, ad infinitum.

I’m usually a bystander. I watch things unfold. I learn by default. Well, I do get burnt sometimes, but not so badly. In any case, I have been watching this – love undone by lack of trust and respect.

It occurred to me, so much hurt could have been avoided had these two people could have maintained trust and respect in their relationship. I eventually came to this hypothesis that trust and respect may well be the most important thing in maintaining a healthy relationship, any relationship. It fits any test.

If you were stuck with an arranged marriage, or someone you barely knew, the only way the union could survive is if you both earned the trust and respect of the other. You can be as different as chalk and cheese, but with these 2 factors firmly in place, you could weather any storm. On the other hand, the most passionate love affair would be severely eroded by lack of these two essential elements.

Don’t we all trust and respect the people we love? – Our parents, our spouses, our friends, our colleagues…. Sadly, too many people demand respect. They believe it to be an external process which must be demonstrated no matter what. They fail to understand that respect must be earned; it doesn’t come free. People can strive to ‘show respect’, but ultimately it’s a hollow victory.

Relationships aren’t all sugar and spice, are they? Hope I’ll find trust and respect in my relationships too :-)

I am a....

You are a New Age Girl!

You're bright, opinionated, and dedicated to changing the world.
Even if it's one hybrid car at a time, you do you part to make things better.
In fact, you may be so busy with your causes that you have little time for love.
Take an extra yoga class or two, and you just might meet New Age Guy!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Cranky Ol' Me...

Some dude just Skyped me and I practically blew his head off... Hrmm... poor guy. Sorry la, so not in the mood to be chatted up right now.

Darn, Yuz's wedding is on Saturday and I haven't bought the prezzie yet. I so need to go shopping... Jase, can you get the gift pweeeeaaasseee...? I really don't feel like going out these days... Feel so tired and I'll be home only this weekend. Next week kena balik Johor, then I'll be in Miri sampai 4th Sept. Gonna have me birthday in some far away place where no one knows me... Boo hoo hoo... Wish I had Pzie's contact :( At least ada gak kawan kat sana...

Sigh, someone had better come back PDQ. I'm getting crankier by the minute!!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Wal Asri...

Hrmm...

Had to waste time swallowing a novel whole. Went late to pick up something from Sali, stopping to get food on the way since she was too sick to go out. Poor thing has been sick for the last week or so... Came back and read some more. Slept a little. Woke up again to deal with project laptop...

Have been working on my own laptop while partner uses the Dell. Now that he's left,
I need to move my work there and get the thing organised. Also need to look for some missing files for Boss. Shoot.

Had taken it back to update the antivirus. Office is still on dialup, so any internet work is a major pain in the ass, even simple things like updating the website. The project lappie wa so overrun with viruses that I dare not move my work there until everything had been rectified. At one point, there were 3 AVs fighting for supremacy and jamming the system up.

There still are some programs I'm not familiar with. Need to sort things out before hooking up a network and moving my files... As it is, got quite concerned when Norton detected viruses after I cleaned up using Zone. But Norton can be a pain as well, so got rid of it. Put in Spyware Doctor which can also be a pain sometimes... Sigh. Still have to come up with project proposals nih... lallalaa...

Monday, August 14, 2006

Addiction...

Like morphine, some things can either be a blessing or a bane. A friend introduced me to Limewire a few weeks back. Have been busy, as usual, so not been downloading so much. But lately have been rather addicted to the thing. Sometimes the songs are not of the best quality, sometimes there are so many versions of the same song that you don't know which one is best, some songs you want are elusive, and Malay songs can be slow to download or just unavailable. Feeling kind of stretched now after a marathon session :-p

Spent Saturday afternoon with Abang & the kids. Then malam took care of the bills and lepak. Semalam technically free, but had difficulty deciding what to do. One part of me just wanted to vegetate and enjoy the break, the other was pushing me to take care of stuff... So somehow did a little bit of both :-) But still feel unrested after just 1 day of break. Shoot. Bila la nak 5 day week balik nih... Sigh...

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Sometimes you forget...

Just a quick one. I'm dying for a little more sleep than yesterday :p
--------------------------------------------------------------------

Called Abang and asked him about where he was.

"Kat rumah la..."

And my glib answer was, "Rumah siapa?"

P would understand why this was funny. Abang didn't.

I forgot how sensitive he can be. And he's my brother... Go figure!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Just Grab It!

Kiasuness is a necessity. Check out the time, folks...

I'm staying up late because I had to distract myself before actually writing a proposal I promised a prospective employer... Still owe Graham a sample report. Eeps!

Now what did I do tonight?
Called Anaz
Chat dgn Suzi
Play games
Kemas my table
Layan kucing
Download lagu
Dengar lagu... You get the idea...

Have to grab whatever opportunity i can get these days... So no matter how late it is, a promise is a promise and you'd better deliver if you value yr reputation!

Facts of life:
- No one's gonna give me anything on a silver platter
- I have to work for what I want. Sugar daddy ain't gonna appear at this late date :-P
- I have to take the challenge even though the boss/ job scares you s***less
- Success is sweeter for having worked for it. Yeah, yeah... Show me the money!!

Monday, August 07, 2006

And They All Think I’m a Swinging Single…

Was bemoaning the cost of the vet to Anthony the other day, and he pointed out the obvious, “That’s why… Who told you to have children?”

Like it or not, pets ARE in a sense, our children. They’re part of the family, right? You take responsibility for their food, healthcare and happiness. You spend time to care for their well-being, and they can cost more than human kids… Thank God they don’t go to college! So Loretta, now you know why you don’t need kids – you already have enough running around the house.

Finally sent the 2 idiots to be fixed last week. Both of them are ‘in confinement’ right now after their respective surgeries. Am spending extra time taking their food up and coddling them in the sick-bay (Abang’s room). GGirl aka Chiquita was a darling in UPM, everyone loved her when she was there for spaying last week. Boboy aka Leo wailed his head off all the time at Dr Hasnul’s clinic – he hates being confined, and I guess he was scared too. So much for being the macho-man at home!! Insya-Allah he should be OK and roaming free by tonight. Chiquita will have to stay confined a bit longer, until the end of the week. As it is, I’m a little worried about her incision area which looks swollen inside. Will have to get her an E-collar today; maybe should feed her haruan too :-p Maybe will move Ggirl to my room so she won’t be too lonely all by herself…

Sheesh… sounds like motherhood, doesn’t it? And they all say I’m a swinging single…

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Dear Azura,
Here is your horoscope
for Friday, August 4:


The stars are giving you the green light to treat yourself kindly. If someone gives you a hard time about this, remind them that you take care of others plenty, and that it's about time it was your turn, thank you very much.


Yay!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Lost?

Do you ever feel like you've been very 'busy' yet you're getting nowhere? Kinda feel that way right now. Not sad or angry or anything... just... a little lost, I guess.

For some reason there are 233 messages in your inbox, a good part of it discussions which you have lost track of, your daily copy of "le Monde" which you couldn't be buggered to read, jokes from kids which you know would require opening 10 attachments before you get to the lame stuff they forwarded... There's a meeting tomorrow which would require homework and it's already 1 a.m.

Brother wants a family gathering. Legal stuff need to be sorted out.

Miss D3katians pretty bad.

Need to plan for energy efficiency briefing.

Office website needs updating.

Room needs cleaning.

Laundry need washing.

Table needs sorting.

Bills need paying.

And here I am, blogging... Go figure!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

What Can I Do (The Corrs)

I haven't slept at all in days
It's been so long since we've talked
And I have been here many times
I just don't know what I'm doing wrong

What can I do to make you love me
What can I do to make you care
What can I say to make you feel this
What can I do to get you there

There's only so much I can take
And I just got to let it go
And who knows I might feel better, yeah
If I don't try and I don't hope

What can I do to make you love me
What can I do to make you care
What can I say to make you feel this
What can I do to get you there

No more waiting, no more, aching...
No more fighting, no more, trying...

Maybe there's nothing more to say
And in a funny way I'm calm
Because the power is not mine
I'm just going to let it fly

What can I do to make you love me
(What can I do to make you love me)
What can I do to make you care
(What can I do to make you care)
What can I say to make you feel this
(What can I do to make you love me)
What can I do to get you there
(What can I do to make you care)
What can I do to make you love me
(What can I do to make you love me)
What can I do to make you care
(What can I do to make you care)
What can I change to make you feel this
(What can I do to make you love me)
What can I do to get you there
(What can I do to make you care)

And love me... love me...

[Fade out]

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Bosan

Am supposed to man a booth in Times Square this weekend. Don't really mind that, except for the fact that strong winds on Friday toppled the display boards over and destroyed them. AGAIN. Just days after being repaired. So I'm left with a table to display stuff on. As usual, the general public in Malaysia is not that interested in energy savings... So it becomes quite boring.

Since Times Sq has free internet access, took the opportunity to look for a conference to attend. I need to go by September to justify the cost to our project donors as project will end in February next year. Found it quite difficult to find a relevant conference to attend. Will attend one in KL next month, but yet to settle on one overseas... Have to skip US since they're so sticky about people entering their exalted state. Hrmph!

Also annoyed with a guy I met on Skype. Don't ordinary Malay guys (that excludes my friends) have anything better to do with their time other than wasting other people's time? He was trying to convince me that he wanted to get serious, and this morning a girl picked up his phone... Explain that, please. Fortunately I have learnt to take these guys with a bucket of salt. However, I do resent the amount of time and effort I spent being nice to him when he is already in another relationship. So much for trying to find new friends! Hah. I'll stick with my tested and true friends from now on, thank you very much. At least they are genuine, interesting, normal and have better things to do than lead people on.

Will now prepare emails to Risq & Wardi to arrange for a briefing in Melaka. After Maghrib.

Excuse moi... Je suis tres irrite.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Saya tiada simpati untuk anda

A gem from K Su...

Aku pun tak tau pasal apa aku seronok sangat baca cerita nih... Ha ha. Ngkorang yang paranoid sangat takut boroi tu, ambikla iktibar, ya? :-D

Azam (bukan nama sebenar)Doktor saya risau ni. Saya baru sebulan kahwin,
sakit kepala, sesak nafas, cepat lapar, saya takut badan saya semakin naik!
Saya; Siapa masak di rumah?
Azam : Isteri saya
Saya : dia kerja tak?
Azam : kerja
Saya: Siapa kemas rumah
Azam : isteri saya laaa
Saya: Sama sama kerja , tapi dia kena kemas rumah , dia kena masak,
belanja bersama, duit anda guna beli rokok dan kekedai kopi sebab dia
korbankan duit dia menunaikan tanggung jawab anda untuk nafkah keluarga.
Azam Tersengih.
Saya: mari saya periksa.....selepas periksa...Anda di sakit perut,
sebab mungkin tak biasa dengan masakkan yang pedas, sebab isteri masak
pedas, sesak nafas dan cepat lapar berpunca di situ dan mungkin juga
sakit kepada dari punca yang sama.
Azam: jadi saya tak boleh makan pedas sangat ya? Memang isteri saya
masak pedas!
Saya: Nanti bila dapat anak siapa jaga agaknya? Kalau anda takut gemuk
..sama-sama lah buat kerja rumah tu.....Rasul saw buat kerja rumah,
potong daging , jahit kasut sendiri....
Azam: tersengih lagi
Saya: ok ambil ubat di kaunter...kalau sakit lagi sebab tak tolong
isteri masak dan kemas rumah dan jadi gemok sebab itu, saya tak ada
simpati untuk anda!

by Dr Suriyakhatun Osman

K Su is a spiritual healer as well as doctor. You can read more about healing at http://holisticleaders.com

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Dr Lee Grismer’s Talk: Reptiles & Amphibians of the Seribuat Archipelago

Have not been joining any MNS activities or attended talks for quite a while now. Missed the Awana trip due to Reeza’s wedding, missed Yang Chong’s talk on bird calls due to what reason I cannot remember... With Chris mostly gone and Loretta busy with stuff, not to mention me working Saturdays and travelling on weekends, have hardly even gone birding this year.

Was lepaking with Sali on Sunday night – we watched Pirates of the Caribbean:Dead Man’s Chest – good stuff, go watch!

She brought up Dr Lee Grismer’s talk scheduled for the next day. I was interested, had heard a lot about the guy from Jeet and Chris. So in the end made it a date for Monday night. Had dinner with her in Amcorp and drove to MNS HQ after Maghrib.

Found the auditorium to be packed, a lot of unfamiliar people were there along with the regulars. As usual, according to Malaysian time, the talk started at 8.20 (it was scheduled at 8.00), but it was awesome! Dr Grismer knows his stuff, and he’s a great presenter. Not at all like the dry old perfessers of old.

Dr Lee Grismer is currently the Professor of Biology at La Sierra University, California and the Visiting Research Professor at LESTARI, Universiti Kebangsaan, Malaysia. He is the Adjunct Professor of Biology at the Department of Natural Sciences, Loma Linda University, and also at Centro de Investigaciones de Baja California Sur, Mexico. He is the Honorary Professor of Biology at Hainan Normal University, China, and Research Associate at San Diego Natural History Museum, California.

He spent 22 years doing island research in the Gulf of California, Mexico before starting a research program in Malaysia in 2001. He have also worked in South and Central America, Japan, China, and Cambodia, and northern Africa. He currently have approximately 150 scientific publications.

OK, that bit was cut & paste from his biography...

On the left is his home turf - deserts and on the right, his playground - verdant rainforests of Tioman. For the uninitiated, the Seribuat Archipelago is a series of 60 islands in the vicinity of Pulau Tioman, in the South China Sea.

Their research has found 14 new species, including 10 types of lizards, three varieties of snakes and a frog in the area. It is believed the richness of biodiversity was contributed from Borneo and Peninsular Malaysia, and further adaptations yielded new species.

Thinking only of my blog, couldn’t resist taking photos during the talk and got told off by Lorett. I plead guilty, your honour... So as not to waste what I had blinded people for, here are some of the slides that were shown that night.







The first is a mock-viper, a snake that defends itself by LOOKING like a poisonous viper. It's not, actually.

The next, a frog that is toxic. It killed his specimen-bag mates in a matter of minutes. Moral: Do not touch black frogs with yellow spots. (Hmm... it looks awfully like the one the boys put in my lap in Lentang in my student days... I WONDER...)

And the last, a new species. A blue pit-viper. Yup, the only blue viper in Asia. BEAUTIFUL, isn't it? And named after the org bunian, since they're supposed to be the guardians of the forest.

During the talk, Dr Grismer cited a lot of stories about the funny funny things that happened while in the field. He told about how new species climbed into their trap buckets, accidentally finding new species, toxic toads and stuff. You'll find stories of this kind common among field researchers - the best things are very often the result of LUCK. He also told of the idiosyncracies of each species he showed. He's a great storyteller... It made for a very interesting presentation. Not boring at all...

At the end of the day, the presentation was about passion, something crucial for scientists and field researchers. Camping out on site for days and weeks on end can be hard, walking and climbing long distances extremely tiring. Their prize - finding rare or new species, or crucial information that will help in conservation. Only a field biologist would describe a Mangrove Cat Snake (Boiga negriceps) as non-venomous and beautiful, even though it chewed on his thumb and made his arms swell for.. well, ONLY a couple of days. Yup, it’s a labor of love, all right, lots and lots of it!

Dr Grismer fielded the many questions afterwards expertly and encouraged people to do research and write-up their observations. He is more than just a hotshot expert, he’s a mentor. His excellent photos and interesting explanations can make anyone fall in love with the beautiful amphibians and reptiles, especially the lovely, lovely snakes. Glad he’s on our team...

Went back feeling glad I attended the talk. Almost wanted to come up with a research project to work on... Almost... except that I’m totally daunted by statistics and am a lazybutt to boot. So... maybe not la... :-p

Hmm... something just got postponed, so my weekend just opened up. Maybe should try to go out to FRIM this weekend :-)