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


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


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

Haunted dreams

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


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...