Sunday, August 31, 2008

My First Byline

I guess it's a writer thing. I'm not exactly thrilled with my first article in a commercial magazine. The few others published in DOE newsletters are even less exciting la. I really feel it could have been better. But there's always a first time, and I have loads to learn...

So ladies and laddies, please pick up a copy of the September issue of Her World. Guys, I'm sure yr wives would appreciate the gift. And as a bonus, there's a voucher for a session at Body Contours spa inside. Males are welcome too. I really liked the session I had the other day. It's worth more than RM100, at least. I'm not sure what the catch is, but T&C applies.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Go-mei food,ah?

As everybody knows, I like to eat. I budget for two to three 'makan besar' sessions with pakcik & my darling girlie friends a month (provided I have money la). And now, I get to makan besar free now and then. Also got vouchers for slimming session free afterwards. Heh. Don't care la, local or imported cuisine, for me, food must be wholesome and worth the hard earned money. Last night, Manhattan Fish Market had some kind of media thingy to promote their Ramadhan Berbuka Package (Worth 26.90). The the verdict is the same as previously... Not Worth The Money.

I can't write this in the magazine, but personally, I think they're a bunch of frauds. First thing, the company has nothing to do with the US. The food has never gone anywhere near the Manhattan Fish Market. It's most probably locally sourced, or imported from a nearby country. They don't use top quality ingredients. There's not much imported cheeses and ingredients to justify the high price. The recipes are bland. Whether local or western food, they're neither here nor there. Portions are not as big as Chili's or TGIF. There's no ambiance like the other spots. They're basically fast food that's charging like crazy.

In fact, the company is actually local, with one Singaporean partner. I don't care if a company is local. It's OK if they're local and selling western food. But I hate overpriced food. I think they're only expanding because everyone suckered to eat there paid so much for the lousy food that they cannot rugi.

Compared to Dave's Deli, they can't win. I think the food at DD is really tasty and good value for money. I don't know why they seem to be disappearing from the local food landscape, though. I should check it out again sometime. Without Pakcik, because he scoffs at the shepherd's pie. Heh.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Woman's Reflection ..........................

Read & Reflect

The article below is an immensely well written article. Looks like the writer is an Iranian woman. However, whoever or whatever she is, I think she deserves full marks for a very well presented article.

Woman's Reflection on Leading Prayer: Yasmin Mogahed

'Given my privilege as a woman, I only degrade Myself by trying to be something I'm not--and in all honesty--don't want to be: a man. As women, we will never reach true liberation until we stop trying to mimic men, and value the beauty in our own God-given distinctiveness.'

On March 18, 2005 Amina Wadud led the first female-led Jumuah (Friday) prayer. On that day women took a huge step towards being more like men. But, did we come closer to actualizing our God given liberation? I Don't think so.

What we so often forget is that God has honored the woman by giving her value in relation to God not in relation to men. But as western feminism erases God from the scene, there are no standard left but men. As a result the western feminist is forced to find her value in relation to a man. And in so doing she has accepted a faulty assumption. She has accepted that man is the standard, and thus a woman can never be a full human being until she becomes just like a man-the standard.

When a man cut his hair short, she wanted to cut her hair short. When a man joined the army, she wanted to join the army. She wanted these things for no other reason than because the 'standard' had it. What she didn't recognize was that God dignifies both men and women in their distinctiveness—not their sameness. And on March 18, Muslim women made the very same mistake.

For 1400 years there has been a consensus of the scholars that men are to lead prayer. As a Muslim woman, why does this matter? The one who leads prayer is not spiritually superior in any way. Something is not better just because a man does it. And leading prayer is not better, just because it's leading. Had it been the role of women or had it been more divine, why wouldn't the Prophet have asked Ayesha or Khadija, or Fatima-the greatest women of all time-to lead?

These women were promised heaven-and yet they never lead prayer.

But now for the first time in 1400 years, we look at a man leading prayer and we think, 'That's not fair.' We think so although God has given no special privilege to the one who leads. The imam is no higher in the eyes of God than the one who prays behind.

On the other hand, only a woman can be a mother. And God has given special privilege to a mother. The Prophet taught us that heaven lies at the feet of mothers. But no matter what a man does he can never be a mother. So why is that not unfair?

When asked who is most deserving of our kind treatment? The Prophet replied 'your mother' three times before saying 'your father' only once.

And yet even when God honors us with something uniquely feminine, we are too busy trying to find our worth in reference to men, to value it-or even notice. We too have accepted men as the standard; so anything uniquely feminine is, by definition, inferior. Being sensitive is an insult, becoming a mother-a degradation.

In the battle between stoic rationality (considered masculine) and self-less compassion (considered feminine), rationality reigns supreme.

As soon as we accept that everything a man has and does is better, all that follows is just a knee jerk reaction: if men have it-we want it too. If men pray in the front rows, we assume this is better, so we want to pray in the front rows too. If men lead prayer, we assume the imam is closer to God, so we want to lead prayer too. Somewhere along the line we've accepted the notion that having a position of worldly leadership is some indication of one's position with God.

A Muslim woman does not need to degrade herself in this way. She has God as a standard. She has God to give her value; she doesn't need a man.

In fact, in our crusade to follow men, we, as women, never even stopped to examine the possibility that what we have is better for us. In some cases we even gave up what was higher only to be like men.

Fifty years ago, society told us that men were superior because they left the home to work in factories. We were mothers. And yet, we were told that it was women's liberation to abandon the raising of another human being in order to work on a machine. We accepted that working in a factory was superior to raising the Foundation of society -just because a man did it.

Then after working, we were expected to be superhuman-the perfect mother, the perfect wife, the perfect homemaker -and have the perfect career. And while there is nothing wrong, by definition, with a woman having a career, we soon came to realize what we had sacrificed by blindly mimicking men. We watched as our children became strangers and soon recognized the privilege we'd given up.

And so only now-given the choice-women in the West are choosing to stay home to raise their children.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, only 31 percent of mothers with babies, and 18 percent of mothers with two or more children, are working full-time. And of those working mothers, a survey conducted by Parenting Magazine in 2000, found that 93% of them say they would rather be home with their kids, but are compelled to work due to 'financial obligations'. These 'obligations' are imposed on women by the gender sameness of the modern West, and removed from women by the gender distinctiveness of Islam.

It took women in the West almost a century of experimentation to realize a privilege given to Muslim women 1400 years ago.

Given my privilege as a woman, I only degrade myself by trying to be something I'm not--and in all honesty--don't want to be: a man. As women, we will never reach true liberation until we stop trying to mimic men, and value the beauty in our own God-given distinctiveness.

If given a choice between stoic justice and compassion, I choose compassion. And if given a choice between worldly leadership and heaven at my feet - I choose Heaven.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008









Sunday, August 24, 2008

Translation Horrors...

Linguistic nitpickers like me cringe at bad translations. And there's A LOT of them out there. Here's my all time unfavourite.

From Lord of the Rings:
... the ring that was forged...
...cincin yang dipalsukan...

Right... Forgery = palsu. Heh. Korang ni tak reti cakap Melayu, tak faham Inggeris. Hampeh!! Ever heard of the word "tempa"??? Sheez...

Right now am helping Chitra edit a screwed up translated document. Tu la, aku dah banyak kali offer nak tolong buatkan korang punya documents, hang pi hantar kat ntah sapa2 tu buat apa? Buat lagi hantar kat kroni. Kan dah susah nak kena cari editor.. It's obvious whoever did it was not strong in English, and weak in BM. Everything out of context. Ada parts yang tertingal-tinggal lagi. Very sloppy. Saba ajelah...

On the other hand, it's well understood among translators that knowledge of a subject matter is crucial to get good results. A finance person will find environmental jargon a mystery. Too often, you'll end up using all sorts of foreign phrases that does not fit into the professional lingo of the material being translated. I awal2 dah angkat tangan kalau legal document. I DO NOT speak legalese!!

But I did land in hot water because apparently I didn't do a good job with an Annual Review. Have to admit financial reports are not exactly my cup of tea, but at the time I thought I could swing it. But then, they have failed to provide me proof that it was indeed poor quality that held up my payment, instead of the fact yang diorang memang liat nak bayar freelancers!! Planning to pick up a copy and check if this is really the case.

Whatever it is, have committed to fixing up the freaked out file, so guess I'll just wade through as best as I can.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Under Siege

As I've often said, dreams are messages from your subconscious. The other day I had a pretty disturbing one. The country was in chaos, we were under seige. Bands of guerrillas roamed, striking fear into everyone. Don't say it had anything to do with "Blood Diamond', because i watched that one ages ago. Anyway, someone aimed a gun into the place where I was hiding with a pile of other people. I was hit - somewhere at the neck-shoulder juncture. Somewhat reminiscent of the injury Warrick was inflicted with. I bled profusely, I thought I was going to die. Fortunately, it being a dream and all, I survived. Someone patched me up. The bullet? Donno la, still there or not. You know la, mimpi. Kena tembak pun tak sakit. Like weakening only. Next scene, injury was healing already. The country was still a little chaotic, but recovering.

So what would all this mean? I hardly remember my dreams, and usually they are pretty tame. But this one was pretty intense. The only thing I can associate it with is my work and finances la. It's been hard going for a while, with cheques being lost and payments being delayed - I really felt I was bleeding to death. Mainly because the job necessitates a lot of travelling, while petrol and parking can be very expensive. Plus, I don't have much time to cook, so a lot of the time, I have to eat out. Luckily, every other day or so I get fed at events. Now payments are starting to come in, plus extra work, so I hope to 'get well soon'.

Sayang, will have to farm out new assignments under Peregrine, but have to be practical la. My job can be rather demanding- my TO DO list is a mile long and I have to juggle 7-8 assignments at a time. I stay back a lot to write, because days are filled with events, calls, meetings, interviews and shoots. Needless to say, I don't have much time for Peregrine anymore. Even weekends aren't sacred. Right now I have a couple of small projects under way, and even that is straining at the seams. But I'd like to keep it going. Peregrine is my baby. Will have to sub out the big chunks and just take a little here and there. Well, everyone knows that life is not easy, so I'm going with the flow, and praying everything works out.

Cheers, everyone. Have a good week/weekend ahead!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Overload alert!!

My boss had warned me earlier to tell her if my workload becomes too much. I think she needs to stop piling on the platter for a couple of days so I can clear my plate. Kind of difficult with last minute assignments vying for time with current assignments. Last week's happy2 assignment was fun, but it stole precious writing time and now I'm struggling to catch up. It's a bit hard when your body's tired, but the mind can't rest until the job's done. Someone was sidetracked from working on a column so mine was fast forwarded, which mucks up the schedule even more!

Top it up with a couple of personal projects and I'm seriously feeling the strain. Sigh. Will need to clear some of the load tonight so that I can breathe tomorrow. Deadlines, deadlines... Gotta suck it up la. No choice. Gotta go. Work's waiting...

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Penniless & The Peugeot

Was excited to be assigned a test drive trip on Thursday. A bit on edge, though, 'coz I'm pretty much penniless at that point. Most meals will be covered, but you know la, if anything happen, kena ada duit jugak kan? Luckily, we were quite well pampered for this outing. Even got a bit of pocket money from the organisers. So happy..

On arrival, found that most of the party are guys. Only 3 girls from the media - so we shared one car. By 9.45, all of us are in our 407s and heading on to Lumut. The first part, highway, Huey Ling drove. I took the next bit - the federal road from Bidor all the way out to Damai Laut. Needless to say, we all fell in love with the car la. Such a sweet car to drive. Very comfy, great suspension, special v-cool like windscreen, great handling, good brakes, great acceleration. I'm usually quite apprehensive to overtake, but with this baby, no problem! The boys really put the car through its paces, but we pushed pretty hard as well. But seriously.. as a passenger - it was so stable that I felt totally comfy even while cruising at 150 kmph. On the small road towards the resort, we tested braking and suspension when I failed to notice a speed bump until the very last minute. Result - back passenger still happily seated. Coming back from an outing, i witnessed the xenon lights - excellent beams. Bright as daylight, but automatically leveled down so as not to blind oncoming traffic.

Being on 'the gravy train'. as pakcik says, we had a good time at the resort. BBQ, karaoke and island hopping was part of the package. I managed to make use of the pool and did a bit of work in between, but it was mostly a pleasure trip.

The only challenge for me was to look for the interesting food, 'coz that's the angle of my story. It was pretty slim picking, I must say. In between the activities, couldn't run out on my own in an unfamiliar spot. Did manage to get some tips from one of the guys, so at least I got SOMETHING to work on... We were supposed to stop in Bidor to buy fruit on the way back, but we missed a turn and ended up taking the Sabak Bernam coast road instead.

Despite getting lost in Meru, we managed to get back to Glenmarie before seven. Was gatal enough to go to a media party that night, but decided to call it quits at eleven. There's only so much loud music my poor ears could tolerate. Seems that I'll be paying my dues this weekend. Had to attend an interview this morning, and God knows how many articles need to be sorted out in the next couple of days. A little worn out right now, but no choice la. I suppose I could steal some time off here and there. I'll survive... Urm.. girls, spa, anyone?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Prioritize, priorities...

Am in the mood to finish the e-abuse story, but will have to deal with the other one first. Hrm.. sigh... A few pieces are lagging behind - I need additional info, so can't do anything about it now. A few other things are waiting, waiting. Lalala... Now, should I go to that party on Saturday? Mmm.. donno la. Loret, u going, ah?

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Gedik Gedik...

Lesson learnt: It's fun to be gedik. From gedik clothes to gedik shoes, there's a certain feel to being gedik. It's the ultimate expression of femininity. It says, I don't give a d*** about being ayu. Look at me being gedik in my ultra gedik heels. Am off to a pampering at the spa. It makes me happy.

The kitchen will always be there to pull you back to reality when you get home. In the meantime, power to the ultra gedik!

*Disclaimer: author may be under influence of happy-hormone inducing spa treatment. Ladies, anyone interested in a session at Body Contours? I can get 50% off.. Offer ends in a couple of weeks.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Ntah Hape-hape Story

Selepas 2 1/2 minggu berlalu tanpa cek yang kununnya dah dipos, aku pun mintak la cek pengganti. 2 jam kemudian, accounts dept diorang telepon - kalau stop cheque, bank charge RM15. Sanggup tak tanggung kos tu? Iya ke? Bank aku takde pun charge. Kalau orang dah bank in nak stop mungkin la. Ini cek hilang. Siapa lak yang nak bank in? Takkan la malaun nak masukkan dalam akaun aku? Cek tu berpalang, bukannya dulu2 cheque takde palang. Takde palang pun orang bubuh palang. Standard procedure dari zaman tok adam lagi.

Aku yang dah naik menyampah dengan orang2 yang ntah hape-hape tu finally kata - whatever la. Asalkan korang ganti cek baru. Dalam hati, aku rasa cek lagi satu tu diorang tak pos pun. Sekor kata, setau dia dah pos. Sekor lagi kata, dia kasi kawan dia pos. Hrmph. Jangan2 dia pos kat tong sampah, aku kat sini dok menunggu macam orang gila. Duit gaji lagi 2 minggu. Duit article - lambat lagi. Duit website - tunggu jugak. Hampeh.

Alhamdulillah, nasib baik la ada rezeki dapat keja time tengah semput ni. Tak sabar nak tengok my first 2 articles kuar bulan depan :D Tungguuuu!!!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Cramming it all in

I don't think I've ever felt as exhausted as I was the past three weeks. I kept dozing off any time I lie down! Finally, on Sunday, something snapped and I regained my lost energy. Oh! What a relief to finally be able to deal with the poor old, neglected house.

I still have a few unfinished business, which I'm trying to complete during my spare time. And I try to meet all deadlines, so sometimes I do work until late at night. Right now, I'm trying to at least get the gist of my interview down into a document which i could refine tomorrow. Well, today, I guess, since it's already past midnight.

Had joined up with the gang for dinner earlier, and later we went off for a drink. Forgot how overpriced pubs are and paid an arm and a leg for a glass of lime juice. Darn. Remind me to ask for plain water next time. I must have been more tired than I realised, because coming back, I did a number of silly things like stash the parking card in the bag instead of on the dash..

Feel a little tired now, but still want to finish that little piece. Now, what am I doing, blogging again? Geez, my brain needs straightening out..

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Frustration Is...

.. when you were too busy to pick up that long awaited payment, and now it's lost in the post. I feel like screaming out loud, except that it won't do me any good. Work payment has not come in. I'm wondering if it's going to be paid on the 15th, since that's when I started. Wow! What f**king bad luck I have. I suddenly have a spate of gatherings and no money has come in. Plus the amount I spend on petrol these days due to necessary work travel. I could ask them to cancel cheque and issue a new one, but somehow I have the feeling that the moment that happens, the missing cheque will reappear. Is it as bad as looking into the mailbox everyday willing the cheque to be there and only to find a pile of rubbish? Am getting really antsy now.. Geez, this sucks!