Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year 2011

It is now 10.10pm, 31st of Dec 2010. In less than 2 hours, we will usher in 2011 - the start of a new decade.

It is now almost a year, when I started to (seriously) write in here - though most of the times I struggled - what with work, family and what not. 

Anyway, the first thing that pops into everyone's mind every New Year is resolution. I'm not a fan. In fact I have never officially list down what I intend to achieve in a particular year. I strive to do the best that I can - professionally and in personal life. I don't see a point of putting resolution such as losing 5kg, only to be depressed because by the end of the year, you actually gain 2 kg!

Other than resolution for the New Year, another favorite topic is reflections. Yup, reflections on the things that the last year bestowed upon you. It's good if it actually triggers  you to do even better....but to cry over spilled milk? What a waste!

Year 2010 was a good year for me...there was ups and there was also downs. I was admitted a few times, but the good news was, I recovered! I finally gained weight - and for the first time my weight exceeded the 45 - 47kg which normally where it hovered. The bad news is that since now I am now of normal weight (instead of underweight) - I can no longer fit in some of my tight skinny jeans. Which includes the limited edition pencil fit brown Levis I adored. On the other hand, it now gives me a reason to shop for new wardrobe.

Yeah - always take positive things in life.....that's a motto that I find benefits us the best.

Anyway, Happy New Year.....Let's hope that whatever we d, Allah's blessing is always with us.....Aminnnn.....

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Comedic Relief

It has been a while since my last post. I know I need to be more disciplined....but hey, I read an article once on the dying art of blogging - with the blooming of social networks and constant on the go update (or shall I say tweets).

What I would like to share today is god's greatest gift to a mum - her child/children. After a hard day's work - it is really a relief to go back home to your loved ones....and what is better than having kids providing you with the much needed comedic relief. Sometimes I do sheepishly mentioned to my other half - what would we do, without these little clowns.....

Case in mind - while having dinner the other day - a ritual which I intend to maintain - a dinner where everybody sit down and share not only food by anything under the sea (I mean, stories) - the conversation was heading towards the rice that we ate. My daughter was asking 'nasi datang dari mana?' 'beras' was my answer....'beras datang dari mana?'.....'padi' was answer.....'Padi tu datang dari Tesco ke?'........

We had good hearty laugh thanks to my dearest daughter....but who can blame her? She has never been in a paddy field....and sure enough, we get our rice from Tesco.....

Last week, she scratched her knee - quite badly I should say - by cheekily daring a neighbor friend with the 'you cannot catch me' catch-phrase. As a result she was traumatized, hardly able to control herself. She refused to even sit down, let alone stand up. After much coaxing, we managed to convince her to take a bath - sitting down. She was really in agony that myself and dearest hubby had to really hold ourselves - refrain from laughing or even chuckled. I had to hold her hand - just like when she was learning to walk! Than hubby promised her ice-cream - if she walk without assistance. After dinner, off they go - to 7 eleven for some ice-cream....The ice-cream trick succeed. She was like a new person - a 180 deg turn from her earlier self. She was talking non stop to - when asked whether she was in pain, she coyly said 'dah tak sakit dah....tadi sakit, cam tak boley jalan...tapi sebanarnye boleh pulak jalan'......

Kids will be kids...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Something to be thankful for....

It was a few days before my bi-anneal executive medical check up when I noticed it. An ultra sound confirmed it. I was advised to consult ENT - but since it was a day before Ramadhan, it got delayed.

Ramadhan came and by the time I was ready, it was the end of Syawal. I went to see the ENT on Monday. Endoscopy was performed.There was the lump but  on the positive side - there were no signs of trauma or inflammation - and I have no difficulty in swallowing. I went for a CT-Scan - which showed a goiter in the thyroid gland. 

I was referred to a surgeon, that afternoon itself. After consultation - it was agreed that the lump shall be removed by a minor surgery on Thursday.

On Wednesday, I was in the office in the morning. After lunch, I went back and prepared 'ayam masak lemak cili api' for dinner and sent my kids to their 'Qiraati' class - before heading to the hospital at 3.45pm. 

I was admitted to the ward and met both the surgeon and anesthetist - to prepare for the surgery. The kids came to visit we had the  home cooked dinner there.  I was reminded to start fasting by midnight.

That night I had my eldest with me in the ward - as companion! He was happy  to comply - as it mean being alone with mama - with no lil sisters bugging! 

The next morning, I was feeling nervous and anxious. I was told that after surgery, I will be  sent to the High Dependency Unit - due to my infections history. It meant that I need to vacate my room as none of the kids will be able to visit me that night. I changed to my surgery gown by 9 am and was wheeled to the operation 'prep room' by 9.30am. I was hooked to an IV - since I was still fasting (not even plain water was allowed!) while waiting for my turn.

I waited, and waited and waited. A few patients already came and go. We were still waiting for my surgeon. I took the time to recite some prayers, to calm me down - hopefully the surgery will run smoothly - and successfully. 

'OK Kak, Dr dah datang'......said the nurse to me - as they wheeled me into the operation theater. The first thing that caught my  mind was the smell - that sterile, distinctively clean hospital smell. The clock on the wall showed 10.45am. 

The room was abuzz with activities and I saw my surgeon, my anesthetist and a few nurses/surgery assistants. They lifted me onto the operation theater. It felt cold and then a sudden rush of warmth....must be a heating pad underneath. They were hooking me up to various tubes and wires. Then a nurse told me 'close your eyes and breathe deeply'. Then she asked me to open my eyes. 'We are going to give you gas - so breathe deeply'. I took a deep breath, another deep breath, another deep breath......

'Kak, kakak...dah siap dah' of the nurses were trying to wake me up. But I felt groggy...and oh, so very sleepy. I can hardly open my eyes....Then another nurse - one which I recognize - as she was the sister in the executive ward - stood beside me and said that I will  be sent back to my room. They lifted me back to my bed and wheeled me back to the my room which was on the 3rd floor. All this while I was still half asleep. Suddenly I heard 'Hey, this is my engineer'. Yeah, yeah...this IS my engineer. Has..Has...' I slowly opened my eyes, only to see my RND Director standing beside my bed - in the elevator!!!! I mumbled something (which I can't recall).

When I was finally in my room - the sister asked me' Was that your boss, just now?' 'Yeah, he's my big, big boss!'....It was 1.15pm and I was alone in the room. Half an hour later, my hubby came. He was surprised to see me there - as I was expected to be in HDU. He mentioned that my big boss called him - thanks to the lift incident! I looked like crap - what with my surgery gown and the bandages over my neck!

As the pain killer subsided, I started to feel the pain and had difficulty in swallowing. I can't talk properly, and my voice was very soft. The Dr came in about 3 pm and clarified that after surgery, they monitored my vital for half and hour - and since everything was great - they decided that I did not need to be in HDU! A piece of good news.

It was 4 pm and I have not had a drop of I asked my hubby for a sip. I was on painkillers and more antibiotics. By 5 pm I took a few sips of milo and removed my surgery gown. My supervisor and and a friend came to visit. I felt a lot better, though swallowing was still very painful.

I was told that the pain was due to the  (huge!) tube that was inserted inside my mouth up to my throat - and also because of the strain - as my head was pulled way back to clear the base neck area...fuh.....

It is now almost a week - and I have gotten the good news that the lump is indeed benign....Alhamdulliah....thank you ALLAH.....

Friday, October 8, 2010

Back Again

Wow, has it really been a month since my last entry??? It's not that there were nothing exciting/worthwhile to fact it was the opposite - lots of things happened this last month!

Well, let's don't waste on (trivial) excuses. First there was Ramadhan, which meant that I hardly had time to write. This was also the first Ramadhan that both me and hubby did not bow down to temptations - and managed to steer clear of Pasar Ramadhan! This also meant that I scrambled to reach home on time to cook dishes for iftar. Since the children were fasting - including my 4+ yrs old - I had to prepare dishes based on their preference as well. Alhamdullilah everything went well and my youngest managed to complete 12 days of full day fasting! A feat by itself.....

Then came Raya. The night before Raya was a blast! We prepared home made sate and barbecued them that night, with the kids (and my sisters) messing with the firecrackers!

Then it was UPSR for my first born. I do not want to comment on that....In fact I pity him. Having parents who are professionals and a father who was Pahang's SPM Best Student meant that people will assume that he will sail through!

Urrggghhh...there were so many going-ons recently. Lots of sad stories. My long time dearest friend lost her father to the big C. Then I heard about news of broken marriages of friends which was a major shock.....well, life goes on..... 

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Short (Temptation) Entry - 1

It is Ramadhan, but I guess I am not strong enough to resist temptation! Yeah, I was getting more and more frustrated with the old Krazr. But since the 2 months old Nokia was pricey (being a latest model), its replacement is a current model (read: cheaper) - but still with a 5MP camera so that I can indulge in my favorite pastime - taking pictures....The pics quality is perfect - being a Cybershot. No complaints there. There's only one reminder from dear hubby 'me, electronic gadgets and the washroom - does not go hand in hand'....ha..ha..ha...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Short (Memorable) Entry 1

Instead of writing long winded ramblings - which, based on my typical speed will take like forever - I am going to start writing - once in a while - short entries, normally of memorable moments.

My youngest daughter is being toilet trained - night time. She's doing great except for the occasional 'Abah, seluar saya basah' cries at 3am.

So there she was, bedtime, lying on her back, reflecting. 'Mama,  tak buka seluar macam mana kencing?' Huh ? She was actually puzzled, why did she wet the bed, when she did not remove her pants! Ha..ha..ha...

Hubby teased her ' Yeah, you did not remove your pants, that is why it was wet'. I guess she did not get it - since she still said ' macamana kencing tak buka seluar'....ha..ha..ha....

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Good and Bad News

Our daily life is a struggle and filled with good news and bad news - yours truly included.

First the bad news. My baby is now gone. My first Nokia. Hubby bought it for me - knowing how much I love taking pictures - he chose the latest model with 5MP camera.  I love the phone! The pictures are crystal clear and the video is also awesome - note: I am comparing this with my previous 3.2 Cybershot Sony-Erickson phone! I seldom use my phone other than  for calling home and hubby and texting families. So it was a great fit for me - as I got to snap and snap away - good quality pictures. 

But  unfortunately my affair with the phone did not last. After about 2 month, an accident happened. Since it is obvious that the phone is not  designed for IP67X (for those designing radios, this should be familiar, right?) - it could not be resuscitated. It has been almost 2 weeks - and still the repair shop could not power it up....hhhmmm......

Let's move on to the good news. About 2 weeks ago - after months of delay - I was finally at the Wellness Center for my bi-anneal exec medical check-up. There was a form in which we had to answer questions related to our lifestyle. Questions like whether you smoke, consume alcohol, exercise, take leafy greens, take oats, take grains, etc. I handed them the form and waited for my turn. First was the blood test, followed by the flexibility test - where you have to flex yourself on a bench! If only I am a contortionist....

Then it was measurement of fat and what not - using a machine - which calculates (magically?) your weight, body fat, lean fat, etc.

I was getting nervous for the most dreaded part - the treadmill. The treadmill came after ultrasound of the gall bladder, heart, kidney and liver. By that time it was already after 10am, and I was getting hungry (needed to fast for some of the tests). I was ushered into the treadmill room - and the nurse asked (probably she was trying to make a conversation) whether I was nervous. Off course I am nervous! This is the most physical part of the test !!!

She tried to cheer me up - by saying that it's no big deal. When told that my aim was 10mins, she then casually said ' orang yang umur 60 thn pun boleh sampai 10mins'.  I (quickly) retorted 'owh, itu org tua yg selalu exercise, kakak tak pernah exercise'....hi..hi..hi....

Anyway, the moment of truth finally arrived- as I climb onto the treadmill and serenaded by the calming visuals. Stage 1....stage 2...stage 3....the treadmill  was getting faster, and the slope was getting bigger.....I was trying to take my mind off my cramping feet. Mind over matter...mind over matter....look at that scenery....amazing.....
Finally stage 5....I could not hold any longer...exhausted...stop...stop...The result? 10mins! 

Yeay !!!! Mission accomplished!

A week after that - a day before Ramdhan - I was again at the Wellness Center - but this time around is to pick up my result. I went to see the Dr, who went through my results. Your weight is perfect, your fat is perfect, your cholesterol is perfect, your heart is perfect, your kidney is perfect, your gallbladder is perfect......probably the Dr's favorite word is perfect!

Anyway, I was surprised to see that although I have gained at least 4kg compared to 2 years ago - my total cholesterol has actually reduced from 4.2 to 3.2. My LDL - the bad cholesterol - is also small. And to top it up - my health age is 6 years younger than my actual age !!!!! Yeay !!!!!

The Dr has noted that I need to slow down, as stress has taken its toll on my body. My body is showing signs of stress (read: thyroid). So I am taking Surbex Zinc for the stress and fish oil which hopefully can do something to increase my immune system.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

State of Affair

I was intrigued when I heard about the short-lived second marriage of one of Malaysia's sport personality. Intrigued because his first marriage - sometime last year - lasted for about 12 days, and the cases were splashed all over the news - as it was dragged to court.

Anyway, like a month ago, the fella got married again - so we thought that's the end of it. Lo and behold, he's on the news again - this time for uttering the 'I cerai u lah' word to his wife, 2 days before their first MONTH anniversary! Made us think, doesn't it?

Reminded me of a story of a friend of a friend. That friend was having problem with the roommate. Then she changed room and another roommate, but the problem persist. And the next year the same thing again - in which my friend casually remarked to me "if our friend is having problem with her roommate - and it is happening every year with different roommates - could it be that our friend is the one that is actually the difficult one (to live with) " Make sense doesn't it?

Coming back to the Malaysian sport personality, even before I finished writing this entry (I really need to speed up!) - there is already a new twist to the story. Well, you can read it on your own. It is everywhere - the internet and also on MSM. The story is chronicled there - both the short and long version, so I'm not gonna repeat it here. The odd thing that I noticed is that both the ex-wives were introduced to the fella by the person who is now charged by the (now ex) wife - as having an affair with the fella. And that person is a married woman with is so much older than the fella (what age gotta do with this?)

Someone cheekily said 'probably there is some kinky arrangement there '...he..he...

We don't want to delve into that, do we?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What Are We Turning Into?

The recent spat of child-abuse cases are really disheartening. I can't imagine a soul who would want to harm a helpless little child.  Cases like the 3 years old Shafiyah Humairah who was stomped to death. 

Then those daily news on abandoned new-born. Some were fortunate to be found alive...but some were not destined to share the world we live in. How could any human being be so cruel to abandon their own flesh and blood - to leave them to their fate - some were bitten by ants and bugs - some were left in the cold morning.....and worst some we simply dumped in dumpsters, in rivers, in drains....what are we turning into? Have our heart turned to this dark cold stone?

There are more depressing news in this holy month. The mentally unstable husband who killed his wife and injured his daughter.  The children losing their mom and dad in a span of a couple of hours. 

Then the case of a drug addict father who splashed his wife and kids with acids - severely damaging the 8 years old  face and body. Imagine the life that the small girl is going to go through. Scarred - physically and emotionally - for life.

What about the rampant cases of molestation, rape and incest. We had a few weeks ago cases of van driver - ferrying primary school children to school - raping these girls. Some are molested. And these people are already married, with kids of their own. Aren't there any more fear in their heart? As parents with school-going children, off course I am deeply disturbed.  

Something needs to be done - urgently - as it looks to me that our family institution, our society are disintegrating. Moral values are of no importance anymore. We have to go back to our core values. Go back to religion. I am sure all religions do not condone rape and incest.... 

May Allah bless us all.....

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Of Structures and Arches

Since Italy is famous for it's Leaning Tower of Pisa, Penang - until a few days ago - was in contender for - Leaning Arches of Penang.

It never ceased to amaze me, what all these people are thinking (errr, hopefully not just to make a quick buck). First somebody thought that 'hmmm.....I got RM X mil to beautify the Botanical Garden....why don't I put an arch there'. 'Lots of people will be really really happy'.....So in lightning speed it was approved and executed.

The result? The RM150,000 pair of arches - which looks to me -  like an eye sore! This is coming from someone with no expertise in architecture! People (more like visitors to the park) started to complaint (I guess they have eyes as mine). And not long after it's completion - it was found that the whole structure was tilting!

After much brouhaha, finally it was decided that the arch must go - demolished! It was said that this was based on the request of the people. The decision was based on a survey which noted that 71% of  the people wanted the arches be demolished. Funny thing is, while the thing was being planned  - the people was never in the picture! 

And the best part is, the demolition was costing taxpayer RM90,000 (it was later rectified that the actual cost was RM70,000 - was that supposed to make us happy - that it is cheaper???) 

Wow... that's ****** kind of money...hhmm...demolishing cost is half the cost  of erecting the structure. Probably I am in the wrong profession..... 

And by the way, for you guys out there - Muslims guys only - if you feel like fulfilling your quota, then fear not. If you don't get your missus signature for the approval of your subsequent marriage(s) - don't bother - just prepare yerself RM1000. That'll be proven recently!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Welcome, Ramadhan!

Ramadhan datang lagi....Alhamdullilah, kita telah dipanjangkan umur dan diberi kenikmatan untuk bertemu kembali dengan Ramadhan, penghulu segala bulan.

Today is the first day of the holy month of Ramadhan. Being a Muslim, we look forward to this month - which is full with blessings. Muslims everywhere strive to purify their hearts and seek for forgiveness and blessings from Allah.

Fasting is not just about abstinence from food and drink during the day - it is  also about sacrifices and character building. How it feels to be less-privileged. But only if you stay true to the teachings.

With temptations of various Bazaar Ramadhan, it is easy for us to sometimes forget the true meaning of fasting. Indulging ourselves with never ending lavish food for the breaking of fast!

Fasting with kids is a joy! I trained my kids to fast at the age of 5 years. Slowly at first - and by slowly I mean that they'll do different kids of half-day fasting. My second daughter who is a picky eater, completed her full month full day fasting at the age of 6! It was easier with her - since she is not crazy about food to begin with! 

Me and hubby - we always had a good laugh - reminiscing about her first full day fasting last year. By 4 pm, she was already in delirium, crying, yelling - to no one in particular - just to let everyone - how starving she was! I managed to calm her down...asked her to sleep...which she did....after an hour or so, she will start again with the crying and screaming. It was funny!

This year she is all smiles - except for the sahur part. We still saw the tears running over her cheek during the first sahur...hmmm....

The difficult part now will be my youngest. She is not yet 5 years - and loves her milk. It will surely be a task - that one! We'll see how it goes.

In the mean time - enjoy this holy month....may we all be blessed by HIM, always.....

Monday, August 9, 2010

World Breasfeeding Day

August 1 - 7 - was World Breastfeeding Week. Articles and pictures splashed over the pages of daily papers reminded me of my own experience.

When I had my firstborn - 12 years ago - there were only about 100  of us engineers in RND. Out of these, there were only around 10 females. Half of them were single so when I was pregnant,  it was no surprise that I was the only one at that time - in the office.

When I delivered my son - I exclusively breastfed him during confinement . The first 3 months were chaotic - as  the baby started to adjust to our world.  My son would wake up every 2 hours for a feed, but fall asleep after less than 5 minutes. No amount of poking of his cheek or  caressing of his mouth will waken him! Since he was sleeping on a baby cot - I remembered feeling like a robot. Baby cried, I sat, picked him up, breastfeed him, put him back in his cot, continued with my sleep and the repeat the pattern 2 hours later!

When it was time to be back in the office, I found it  a struggle to pump and store my milk. Being an inexperienced mom made it harder. Coupled with being a junior engineer at that time which meant that it was just too difficult to manage my time - with tasks and meetings to attend. I ended up giving my son formula milk during the day and exclusively breastfed him at night. It lasted for about 4 months. 

When I was expecting my second child - my determination was high. I was mentally prepared - and most importantly through advise from a friend, I bought a simple battery operated pump. That turned out to be a purchase worth buying! My daughter was not introduced to formula milk and and 2 weeks before I was due back to the office, I started to store up the milk in the freezer.

I would take the milk to the nursery - and the teachers there would put the bottles in a bowl of hot water, come feeding time. In the office, I found out there is no such thing as 'mother's room'. There was not even a proper place in the small in-house clinic which I could use. The nurse asked me to use the 'sick room' - but most of the time - there would be somebody there - having headaches or migraines or what not.

So my best best option was....the ladies room! Yup, I would go to the ladies room and spent 15 - 30 mins to fill up the bottles. I was earlier informed that there used to be a fridge in the in-house clinic. But unfortunately I was told that the fridge was under repair. But the nurses there were very helptful. They helped to get some ice cubes from the cafeteria, put it in a bucket - and then put my bottles in the bucket.  Clever huh! So my routine before I called it a day was to go down to the in-house clinic and picked up my bottles. 

I had to juggle with work and the visit to the loo - to pump! It was not easy and requires time management and loads of patience. Over time I managed to master some skills to shorten the time to pump. Before I knew it - I had achieved the 1 year goal of exclusive breastfeeding!

It was a milestone much cherished. Something that looked impossible at first glance - considering the hassle required to pump! A few things that I noticed was that during that 1 year, my daughter had less problem - specifically health problems. She was rarely sick - unlike my son who was frequently down with something - especially if one of the kids in the nursery was too.  And the additional benefit - the saving of $$$ - I'm sure you know how outrageous the prices of infant formula milk is. 

Come baby no 3, the routine continued. A visit to the loo to pump, but this time around I skipped the visit to in-house clinic and instead just put the milk in a warmer in my cubicle - as the place had aircond on full blast, anyway! Again, I managed to achieve my goal of 1 year exclusive breastfeeding. 

When my youngest daughter was born, I determined to continue my tradition.. Finding time to pump was slightly easier as I had more control of my tasks and meetings. The night feeding was also bearable - as all my daughters - unlike my son - had longer feeds and thus I had longer sleep cycle.

The battery operated pump was great and I managed to use them for all my 3 girls - a very good buy, if you ask me!

I am also very proud that my persistence in fully breastfeeding my girls had inspired other engineers - following my steps. Some of them were amazed at my determination, calling me supermom and admitting that she was using me  as idol! After my youngest daughter, I noticed that breastfeeding has gained momentum in our office and coupled with the fact that there are now around 800 engineers - the environment has also changed. There is now a 'Mother's Room' - where new mom can pump in comfort. I envy them....but that is truly a good change.

Cheers to Breastfeeding!!!!!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Bandung Chronicles - Day 4 - Au Revoir

Day 4 - it is finally 'Au Revoir' Bandung! After a tiring 4 days in Bandung - it's time to pack our bags and head home. Fuh, the number of bags that we needed to lug down the stairs! We had to call the helpers from the hotel to  bring them down. Extremely heavy!

Breakfast was this amazing 'nasi uduk'. Similar to our nasi lemak. The gravy looks like rendang - and the sambal bilis with crispy potato bits were to die for! It was really good! We had to wait for almost an hour before our van finally arrived. During that time we took the opportunity to take more pictures and also to buy some knick knacks (fridge magnet, key chains anyone?).

Our flight was supposed to be at 12 pm - which will give me an hour to make it to my connecting flight to Penang. Unfortunately 12pm came and go....and still no sign of us leaving! After half an hour we were finally inside the flight - a good 45 mins delayed! There goes my connecting flight!

I was with mixed is always sad to leave a place...but at the same time, I missed my family terribly - can't wait to see all of them again.....

We landed in LCCT at around 3.45pm, and as expected the counter to Penang wasl already closed! I left my friends after taking my luggage and headed straight to the AirAsia Sales counter. What I saw next frustrated me! About 50 people queuing - with 3 counters open - but the queue hardly moved!

The guy in front on me seemed friendly. He smiled and then I thot - well, since I'm going to be here a while...might as well I make small talk with someone! That must be the best decision I had that day! 

The guy was very friendly. He was waiting to buy tickets to Singapore. I told him about my all-girls trip to Bandung. He cheekily asked whether it was a kind of bachelors party - in which I had to smile! Nope...I said it was just us girls....and he casually asked whether I'm already married. And he was quite surprise that our hubbies let us on the trip! Then he asked whether I am 'mamak'.....errr......a quick no there. Did I say that I conversed with him in English? Anyway, I'm going to flatter myself here and assume that my English is great that he probably thought I am a descent of Indian as well....ha..ha..ha...

Out conversation then centered into the reason for me queuing there. Then he asked to look at my flight schedule...and said ' this delay is caused by AirAsia...not your should complaint...go to their customer service'. Errr...I looked back and saw there were around 15 people behind me - with around 45 people in front....understandably - I was reluctant. He said to me ' Tell you what, you go and fight your case...make sure you get to the next plane for free...but if everything else can always comes back and queue behind me'. With that...and lots of thanks, I dashed away to find the customer service.

There was a couple in front of me - at the service counter. From what I eavesdropped (shame!) - they missed their flight as well. I asked the guy and he confirmed that he missed his flight to Penang as well - and was asked to pay rm65 each for the replacement flight. That seemed like a good deal - I checked to make sure I have the cash on hand. The when it was my turn, I relented my story to the girl. She checked my booking and then said that she'll book me on the next flight. Unfortunately the next flight will be at 9.45pm! It was 5 pm - so it was going to be a longgggg.....wait. I had to say yes - and to my surprised - the ticket was given to me - FOC!

I was truly surprised! To the guy who advised me to go to the customer counter - a big THANK YOU ! I did not managed to bump into him - to personally thank him. I asked hubby to check for MAS flight - but the RM359 price tag blew me off!

So there I was, my friends were all on their back to Pekan. I had a long early dinner of nasi lemak...savoring the food and the surrounding. Then it was back to Hercule Poirot while waiting for check in. 

The flight was finally announced - and being given seat 1A - meant I was on 'hot seat' and was the first one to board! By 10.30pm we landed in Penang, but unfortunately, a delayed in luggage pickup - we were running around in 3 aisles - meant that I finally got to hug my children at 11pm!

That was sure a

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Bandung Chronicles - Day 3

Day 3 agenda includes another trip to Pasar Baru as one of my friend wanted to get some more telekung - which she missed out yesterday. She actually drifted away from 4 of us - and ended up dishing more than we did (for the same item)  - and determined to get some of those awesome things that we bought! 

Breakfast was rice with beef rendang and cucur jagung - very unassuming - but surprisingly delicious (could it be that we were very hungry?). Oh yeah, we had to make changes to our booking - as the travel agent that booked the flight for my 4 friends did not include check in luggage! Imagine their genuine surprised when asked to pay, during check in in LCCT! Not sure whether that is simply ignorance from the travel agent - surely we'll have check in luggage - unless they assume that we'll be buying everything including bags in Bandung! Anyway, since it is cheaper to edit the luggage request online, that what I was doing.

To my horror, since the website was upgraded over the weekend, the login info was also changed - and to make matters worst - my friend forgot her password. Rather than wasting our time in from of the computer, we decided to go to AsiaAsia counter in the airport instead. Our luck changed from bad to worse - as there were at least 4 people in front of us - with 2 counters open - but hardly moving! It was like 45 mins before my turn came. My Indon is smattering (as in smatteringly bad!) - so I opted for English instead. It was not too difficult to get my points accross but the girl was super slow - and then I noticed her tag 'trainee' - duhhh! After about 30 mins - we  were finished. I upgraded my luggage to 25 kg and my 4 friends added theirs.

Then it was Pasar Baru - where we were given 2 hours by Haikal. We bought what we wanted and then headed to the ground floor - in which rows and rows of stalls selling 'jajan' - chips and what-not - are located. Other that the pisang salai - I also bought malinja chips and the surprisingly delicious samosa with beef rendang filling. Buying those jajan were not easy as we were swarmed with locals trying to push their wares to us - plastic bags, knick knacks, etc - and then there were those beggars pestering you for something.

Next destination : Tagkuban Perahu. This is a very famous tourist destination - a crater in the mountain top. It was quite a distance away, but we enjoyed the ride. As it is in a Highland, the Avanza had a hard time trekking up - so much so that the supir kept switching off the aircond. There were lovely stalls set up along the way, with numerous fruits on display - plus rabbits! Yes, you herad me, rabbits selling for about RM5 each. cute those fluffy animals.

Anyway, halfway through - it started to rain - and it got heavier and heavier. By the time  we reached the mid point, were we advised to turn back! There goes our plan! So turn we did and instead headed for 'Kampung Daun' a cultural village. The place is magnificent. Huge area with well built shelters for diners. It was really a feast to the eyes - and the good food complement the whole experience. 

With a full stomach, we set for our next shopping destination.  We headed to Kartika Sari, the famous pastries of Bandung. The building is clean and spacious. On the top floor, there was a shop selling Bandung t-shirt with unique artworks. The Kartika Sari shop was abuzz with customers. My experience there was slightly marred by the attitude of the

We went thru the Chimplas Walk....a place made famous by the numerous denims and leather goods. The shops lining the road were beautifully (?) decorated with giant statues of Aladdin, Rambo, you name it!

Alas, we did not stop there and instead headed to Toko 3, a famous jeans outlet. I bought a pair of Levis which was cheaper than what I can buy here in Penang. Let me see, my cheapest Levis bought in Penang was RM150, and the most expensive was the limited edition pencil slim in a unique light coffee color - bought around RM300.

Anyway, my friends were enjoying themselves - trying out pairs and pairs of jeans - each claiming to be 'smaller' (in size) than the other! It was loads of fun! 

We finally call it a day and headed back to the hotel at 8.30pm. Next was the hectic few hours of trying to fit all of our coups the last 3 days - in the designated luggage - which was not a small feat!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Bandung Chronicles - Day 2

Day 2 started early. Since it was a budget hotel, we got 2 adjoining rooms that can fit 5 - and surprise, surprise...the rooms are adjoined via a bathroom! So there you go, 5 ladies sharing one bathroom!

By 8 am Bandung time, were were in front of our meager breakfast. It was some kind of soup with blended beef and corn - I dipped bread into it - not bad! Haikal called to inform us that he was caught in bad traffic - which meant that we spent almost an hour and a half for breakfast.

When we were finally on our way to Pasar Baru - sure enough, the traffic was outrageous. People were everywhere - lots of them! Haikal dropped un on the fourth floor and gave us 2 hours to shop - while he and Anuar (another medic student - who was to be our supir for the day) will wait for us in the masjid. 

First thing first....we headed to the fabric shops. I bought the silk chiffon my sister asked to buy plus another chiffon for myself - that is exactly the same as the one bought by 2 other friends. This shall be our 'uniform'...let it be the envy of others...ha..ha...ha...

Then it was off for the telekung (or mengkana - a term used by folks in Pekan). It was pure dizzy! Aweasome - we were spoilt for choices! I snagged 3 and then hunted 3 cute colorful ones for my girls. Then it was the 'bju kurung sulam'. Again a dizzying experience. Knowing us to be Malaysians, the shop assistants lured us 'kakak, belanja kakak'....belanja referring as spending money in their shops....

After a fruitful few hours in Pasar Baru, our next destination was Rumah Mode - the exceptionally famous outlet mall. Fuh, looks like this is the well heeled Indonesians shop. You can see kids seated - absorbed in their Nintendo  and PSPs, while their parents scrounging for branded fashion wear. I walked off with shirts for dear hubby and some shirts for the kids. Hopefully they'll not outgrow them - those are meant for Raya!

By the time we were done with Rumah Mode, the faithful Avanza is almost full! It was then an early dinner....a good one! Then another round of walk in the area - where outlet shops are located (small ones). We were back in the room quite early - and fully exhausted!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Bandung Chronicles - Day 1

Thanks to Air Asia, now literally - everyone can fly....The fares are so affordable that friends of mine are flocking to Singapore, Bangkok, Phuket, Ho Chin Minh, Bali - you name it!
So that was how it old friend - from my home town mentioned about the cheap air fare - and that we should plan a getaway together. Before I know it - the 5 of us were on our way to our selected destination - Bandung!
It was my first trip together with friends. I used to travel to Bahamas, US, China, Singapore - but those are all alone - and for work purposes (though I have to admit - I have squeezed a lot of shopping in between the various meetings, audits or conferences). 

Leaving my children with dear hubby was not something I that I look forward to. Now that the kids are grown up - they were a lot of questions to be asked. Hence my promise to buy them stuff = more shopping!
Due to some delays here and there - I ended up in LCCT around 8am - with a flight for Bandung scheduled for 3.30pm ! Luckily my younger sister in Kajang is able to pick me up from there and I had some time to wind up in her place. I met up with the 4 others there and thanks to another friend - we were safely in LCCT - on time for our flight.

It was a generally smooth flight - except for that one turbulent - that left almost half the passengers screaming in shock - I  believe the plane hit a clould - but for some reason dropped a bit -  as I could feel that sudden surge down!
When we reached there - the weather was perfect...slightly chilly - just as I expected it would be - Bandung being a highland. One thing I did not expect was the immigration procedure - palm print, thumb print, retina print - reminded me of my US journey. And for some unknown reason - I was (the only one!) asked to open my luggage. The young immigration officer noted that my bag is empty and playfully asked whether I am planning to shop - which I replied with a smile. Anyway, a thorough check was done - with them looking at the seams, stitching and what not....hmmm....I wonder.... 

The hotel driver was already there and we were whisked to our hotel in no time. It was not that far from the airport - but I was quite bewildered at the roads taken. It looked like we were driving on someone's backyard - and the road condition - was horrible! But to my amazement - our driver (supir) managed to maneuver splendidly! 

Our designated tour guide is Malaysian student - Haikal - who happens to be a relative of my friend - who is doing his medical degree there. He picked us up around 6.30pm which was already dark (7.30pm M'sian time).

The traffic was horrendous. It seemed that the weekend is the last day before school opens for the year in Indonesia. So you got parents scrambling to do last minute shopping. It also meant that a lot of people especially from Jakarta were down there. But I have to say, I am impressed with the driving skills of those people. Somehow they can maneuver in tight spaces and have lots of tolerances towards each others. The horns are blaring everywhere - not so loudly - and not done in anger - but just enough to alert other drivers. Same goes to the numerous 'kapchai' seen on the road. 

The kapchai are using full faced helmet...nice looking ones....and most of them with leather jackets. Probably owing a kapchai in this city is already considered as another status quo.

Anyway, off we went to Paris Van Java - the so-called hip mall  of Bandung - which was supposed to hold a midnight sale. The mall looks like any other slightly upper class mall - something like Gurney Plaza (albeit smaller) - but not as upscale as Pavilion or Gardens.

Nothing much there. We have a quick bite at J.Co and then queued like forever to pay for some of the stuff bought at Sogo. I bought a few shirts for the girls there....reasonable - and something that I could not find in Penang - at that price! The queue at the counter was hardly moving - the culprit? A few dissatisfied customer hogging there....arggghhh....

It was already 11 and we were extremely hungry! Haikal asked us to wait at the car park - saying that the supir had parked at the roof top. After waiting for about 20 mins in the hot and stuffy car park area - we decided to go back in the mall and waited near the exit door. The clock ticking - and still no hint of Haikal not the supir. After about an hour and a half...we met Haikal who told us that we need to walk to the entrance of the mall. 

But still the supir was nowhere to be found. The traffic was a nightmare. Scores of cars coming out of the mall - making traffic almost to a stand still. With the 6 of us, waiting by the roadside...inhaling the sweet smell of fumes - in an empty stomach. All of us are getting irritated (mostly due to lethargy and off course hunger). We were then told to walk to Sukajadi Hotel...since the supir will be waiting there!

What the **** was a good 10 mins walk...not something that you want to do at midnight and with aching feet and hungry stomach! Finally we found that stupid supir...and had to drive for another 20 mins before we finally arrived at the restaurant (which was thankfully still open!)

There you go...after lunch at 10 am, I finally had my 1am Malaysian time.....

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Pitch Fever!

The fever is now pitch high!!!!

Some of the more shocking result includes the elimination of the last champion and 1st runner up - Italy and France.
And then off course the totally devastating (at least for me) defeat of Brazil to Holland! They were leading...and yet lady luck were not with them.

So far, my favorite team is doing awesome! They managed to thrash the 3 Lions - 4 to 1, which needless to say, saw a lot of Malaysians sobbing away. Probably the BPL is close to heart of many Malaysians - thus their loyalty to the team. But German played magnificently. Their counter attack was awesome! Thanks to a mostly very young players - they had that stamina that looked lacking in the England team.

Then there were the quarter-final against the Argentine. Maradona - his usual self - was brimming with confidence. They were fresh from defeating Mexico and showed their fighting side. But alas it was not enough! They were actually thrashed by German 4 to nil ! Something I (or most of football fans) never imagined would happen in the game between 2 giants.

It was a bittersweet victory for the German team - bitter as Mueller had another yellow card which meant that he will not be able to play in the semi final. It was a sweet revenge - where Mueller at least got Maradona to remember him - for a long time to come! It was noted that back in Jan 2010 - after a friendly match with the Argentine - Mueller was there - sharing the table with his coach and Maradona for the press conference. Maradona - thinking the young man is one of the ball-boy - were furious that he had to share the stage with a ball-boy and refused the press conference - unless he is alone on the stage ! Huh, served him right - that he is now humiliated by the young man !

And tonite - actually it is 2.30 am - we will see Germany fight it out with Spain. Germany was defeated in 2008 in the Europe Championship - that has been the yardstick so far. What with superstars lining up the team - Xavi, Alonso, Torres, Tevez - Spain is definitely a power to reckon with.

Germany shall need all the tricks that they have - for this match. May the force be with them......

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I am no techno-freak.
I don't leap to the the front of a store - just to score myself the latest gadget. It amuses me to see the long lines in front of the Apple Store - in anticipation of the iPhone 4. The chaos it created in Japan - the tech-savvy center of Asia (?). 

                                Motorola Droid - Another Trendsetter

But there is such a market for gadget obsessed beings. Probably some of them are really into the technicality of the gadgets, but some of them - I suspected - joined the bandwagon - just to be seen as cool! Or glamorous or special - whatever you call them - the trendsetters! 

Me, I just make sure I have just enough information before buying a gadget. My first handphone was a huge Erickson (circa 1997) which I got for free from Citibank. Then there were a slew of Motorola phones - bought under the affordable employee discounts program. Last year was my first venture into the world of non Motorola handphone with the purchase of a Sony Erickson phone - which was cheaper - with a 3.2M pixel cybershot quality camera.

I use my handphone mainly to call (and sms) hubby, my house and (mostly) take pictures. I don't actually listen to the music stored or play games on that tiny screen.

Recently hubby bought me my first Nokia. The only reason that we bought it was because of it's 5M pixel camera with Carl Zeiss lens! It was the latest model and much cheaper that the 5M SE - which is older. I love taking pictures and videos of the kids - and replayed them - with laughter with the whole family....

And I have to confess that I have been wanting to buy myself a netbook - for the mobility and low priced it offers. I can easily bring the small netbook on my balik kampung holidays and gets connected. 

I made sure I made my homeworks. Learnt - among other - that most of the netbooks are using Intel Atom processor 1.66 GHz. The specs are about the same - RAM, resolution, etc - varies mainly due to the different hard disk offered. Toshiba typically will set you around rm300 more than say, Dell, HP and Acer - I believe due to their sleeker physical look. Sony will set you back at least rm500 more - well, it's the name!

I finally bought one - and have not looked back.

Gadgets - you sure can't live without them!

First born...

Something my dear hubby said to me triggered me to write this.

We were having dinner at a fast food restaurant - which was packed - peak hours. Since there were not enough drinks to go around, and the queue was simply too long, dear hubby suggested that I go an buy a drink at one of the small kiosk. The kiosk is quite a distance away, and since there is also a mamak restaurant near by, I told him that I am buying teh tarik and asked whether he wanted one. He said no.

Then off I went to buy the ice lemon tea - dropped them for the kids - and went again for the teh tarik. Ordered one myself (to go). Once I reached dining table - hubby took a look at my teh tarik and commented 'Satu jek?' 'Mana I punyer?' 'Aik, kan tai I tanye, you kata tak mau'. 'I tak mau sekarang, untuk bekal balik nak la'......ishhh....

Then he went on, 'very typical of anak sulong - so jangan nak marah Haziq'. 'If it was me, I will definitely buy extra for you'

My instant reaction was defensive (as usual) - but then I resigned myself to it - well, what he said is true - to some extend - I mean, as first born, there are some traits - that commanding nature, that (ashamedly) self serving nature. I took his word for it...never to reflect that he actually wanted it - that I might  want to show him that I care enough to buy him anyway.....hmmm....
I am not actually a first born to my dad - but I am to my mom (if you know what I mean). And I do display the independence and strong characters - typically linked to first born. Selfish? Yeah, probably when I was growing up. I wanted the best of (almost) everything)

But being a first born as well meant that we are bound to be more responsible.

Case in point, though I was very interested in language - and thought of doing translation in university - but shoved it off, as I was not sure whether it is stable enough - as at that time my dad was already retired. So I pursued science - and the rest - is history. 

I have been extremely lucky - I got good results (that is not a coincidence, by the way!) - and as soon I completed my final year exam - was offered a job - with an engineer's salary! Dad was a laborer with the PWD - so it was a relief that I got a job - so soon - to help the family. I assisted my siblings in their studies - and forgo my lecturer's offer to further my studies - as I was sure that the pay could not match the one that I received. 

Isn't that sacrifice itself? How I envied friends who pursued MSc and PhD - because they do not need to think of how that decision affect others...

The stigma that first born are selfish might not be accurate - as I have read a lot of stories about first born sacrificing their studies and even lives - to ensure that their siblings led a better life......

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


The fever is on - actually it started almost 2 weeks ago. And as usual, I procrastinated and kept intending to write - but I guess is not disciplined enough.

Anyway, unlike yer typical fever - this one keeps getting hotter towards the end. Yup, I am referring to the current World Cup Fever. I am not going to ramble on the performances of the team - the shocking defeat of elites such as Spain, England and Germany. The dismal performance of France - which caused them an early exit. A mutiny of the French players - yup, there is such a thing!

I am going to reminisce on the good old time. When I was growing up - I was very close to my dad. There were me and my 4 sisters. By that time my 2 older sisters and a brother were already out of the nest. With no male in the house - somehow I felt that it is up to me to act like the son of the house. Hence, I was the one holding the chicken to be slaughtered and off course the one to accompany my dad watching football.

I remembered waking in the wee hours of the morning - to watch live telecast of World Cup. That was when my interest in the game started. I remembered rooting for Brazil, Germany and Italy - my 3 favorite teams! Past heroes - I still remembered their names - Karl-Heinz Rumanigge, Roberto Baggio, Lothar Mattheus, Paolo Rossi. 

Yeah, Diego was a star back then - but somehow he did not catch my fancy....ha..ha...Probably the 'hand of god' had some impact on me!

England...I am not quite a fan. Somehow their game - at least to me - who is not an expert - lacks the much needed adrenaline. I always find England's game to be too tame to my liking. Don't get me wrong....I used to love Gary Lineker and I rooted for Spurs when I was in lower secondary.

Once in college and now working - my rendezvous with football becomes fewer. What with my new adrenaline-laden interest in F1 - football gets a backseat. Now I watch it when there is a final of EUFA or Champions League and off course World Cup. I keep updated on the different teams and the going ons - just to make sure I can be in conversation with dear hubby....

World never fails to bring back fond memories.....

Friday, June 4, 2010


It is so disheartening to read about the cruelty endured by our Muslim brothers in Gaza...
And now, the flotilla carrying medicines and foodstuff to Palestinians were crushed by the Israelis commando. At least 19 were dead with a 30 or more injured. The commandos were armed with machine-guns and assault weapons - to confront volunteers - who are mostly harmless journalist or the likes. 

Threat has been voiced by Ehud Barak - any ships planning to do the same - will receive the same fate as the Mavi Mara....

Only Allah will be able to help our Muslim brothers now...let's pray to HIM and seek for his assistance - as HE know best...insyallah.... 

Be Grateful, You &*#@!+$

I need more discipline....there are so many things to write (nag?) - I am sometimes really fired up - but by the time I reached home - the fire became mere flicker....he..he...(excuses, excuses)....

Let's see...I shall start with the hooha created late last week - courtesy of the person responsible for the so-called 'transformation program'. Suddenly we are bombarded (just flip any MSM) - with figures - incredible figures - to show how addicted we Malaysians are. We have the cheapest cooking oil, the cheapest gas, the cheapest sugar, yadda, yadda...and it is sinking the country. usual, comparisons are done using conversion to Malaysian ringgit - gas in Singapore is rm3.80 compared to rm1.80 in Malaysia.But then, do Singaporean earn in Malaysian Ringgit ?? Their salary is at least twice (if not more) than Malaysian - and this is without conversion! Why can't they - when making comparisons - convert it to a neutral currency - such as USD. And aren't Purchasing Power a more accurate measure?

The bogeyman is at work (overtime?) - the same (old) scare tactic is in full force.

You better be grateful you %^*$#.... Surrender the addiction to cheap food stuff - else we will be following Greek's footstep in a couple of years. Mind you that there are a lot of differences between the 2 countries - though we can't deny the similarities are there - the corruption, nepotism, cronyism, inefficient civil service, etc. But wait a minute...are Malaysians really spoiled brat??? Is the standard of living so high? The poverty line so high - and nobody lives under the poverty line???

There are a lot of Malaysians earning a meager RM500 per month - such as KAFA religious teacher. With removal of subsidy, prices of everything will soar. Do you think that by increasing the price of gas by 20 cents - the price of teh tarik will not be increased - by a minimum of 10 cents? History has shown over and over again - no matter how  laud the minister emphasize that an increase of 20 cents of sugar will only increase a cup of teh tarik by 0.02 cents.

And wait a it really we - the 'rakyat marhean' - the only ones addicted??? What about those businesses who got preferential tax? Those IPP - that bled TM dry - who are given substantial subsidy - with tax relief to boot - but do not managed to stream those to the customers - and instead tariff keeps escalating. Windfall tax? They just need to whine a bit - then quickly the government withdraws the proposal. The result? Build more IPP - it does not matter that we already have access capacity. Those cronies need a cow to milk dry!

What about public money used to save sinking ships of failed businesses?? And public money used to erect white elephants. Humongous stadium for a state sport - which by the way collapsed after a few months of completion!
What about fiascoes such as the PKFZ which caused RM12.1 billion of public money into the drain - and is any of the culprits brought to justice ??? The person who tried (or seemed to try) - to expose the wrongdoing - now found himself ousted as a minister!

What about leakages?? Buying a RM8000 desktop - an expired model!. RM400 screw drivers...oh, gosh.....I feel like screaming here!

The blatant use of public money - and now you are asking the publicto tighten their belt - to scrimp? With everything going up, and salary static - how will the economy move? People won't be able to pay taxes....arrrggghhh....


Thursday, May 27, 2010

All Things Good Must Come to an End....

As I am writing this - I am actually watching the Grand Finale of American Idol - Season 9 - which also marks the departure of the much loved (or hated - it's a thin line between the two) of the eccentric judge - Simon Cowell.

                                          The Winner of Season 9

The show today is as much about Simon as it is about the crowning of America's Idol. Simon looked genuinely emotional - especially upon seeing his eye candy (that will be Paula!). I'm not sure how the series will fare - once Mr Mean is not there anymore - I mean, I always look forward to his comments - which I typically find less credulous than the others (don't let me start on Ellen!). 

                                              The One and Only

All good things will (eventually) come to an end....This month also marks the departure of my beloved obsessive compulsive detective. Yup, I had to finally say sayonara to was a bitter sweet...I will miss him terribly...I will miss his eccentricity - I will miss his lame jokes - I will even miss Randy's lame jokes! But (luckily) they make the last episode to be such heart warming. What with Monk finding the killer of the Trudy, Natalie found love again - someone eerily resembles his departed husband, Her daughter away in Berkeley and even Randy promoted and in relationship - with Sharona! I shall get the DVD - just to make sure I revisit Mr Monk from time to time.....


This month also mark the end of Heroes. The series that started with a bang - that showed so much promise - but somehow managed to fall flat by it's second season! I have to admit that I was Heroes crazy - by halfway thru second season - I started missing episodes - then finally I watched it when there is nothing else worth watching! 

                                       Heroes no more....

With the departure of these favorites - the door is now open - for new series to tantalize viewers. For now, other than Glee - I am also a sucker for Leverage, House and Criminal Minds. And don't forget - Midsummer Murder (which never cease to amuse Mr Hubby)....

Till then...sayonara all....