drama, Negative thoughts, pissed, rant, stupid people, teens, US

Are you threatened by her?

When I first read about Abby Sunderland, I immediately felt a great sense of admiration for the Californian girl.

What’s not to admire about Abby? She’s 16 and her dream is to sail solo around the world. She was so close to achieving her goal but it was dashed by massive waves that smashed her mast. She was rescued about a week ago. Read Abby’s blog here.

She could have died but it was not her ajal (time to die) so she survived and was found by the international rescue team. During an interview after she was rescued, Abby said that she still loves sailing and hopes one day to circumnavigate the globe.

I have no doubt in my mind that she can pull off another solo trip. The next time, she will be successful.

What saddens me is the controversy and negativity that surrounds her family since she was rescued.

People had accused her parents of — being irresponsible for allowing her to go on the voyage at such a young age; of being publicity-crazy; of not caring if their daughter died in the process because, hey, they have six other children and other stupid and crazy things like that. (Click here for an article which criticised the family. Don’t forget to read the equally strong comments from some readers.)

It amazes me how easily people judge a family that they don’t even know.

They are judging her parents as if Abby had sneaked out of her home, driven her older sister’s car and got into an “accident”. (Sounds familiar? I just couldn’t resist myself.)

Abby was not being reckless. She had been sailing all her life and she was not doing anything illegal. Her parents gave her the permission to go on the solo journey. They were all aware of the risks involved. But Mother Nature had other plans for her. A giant and strong wave wrecked her ship, people; she didn’t drive a car into a ditch.

I wonder if they would have anything to say about the Sunderland’s parenting skills had the voyage been successful? Had her failure to complete her mission caused this uproar? If so, boy, people really love to gloat when others fail, don’t they?

As far as I’m concerned, Abby did not fail. I won’t call her a hero but a role model? Definitely.

Sailing around the globe is her dream and she didn’t let fear or age get in the way of it. Many people stop themselves from achieving great things because they let other people talk them into thinking that they are too _____ to achieve their lifelong dream.

I think people are threatened by Abby’s bravery and her parents’ trust in their teenage daughter.That is because while the Sunderlands have a mature daughter who is focused and driven, others are at their wits’ end trying to stop their 16-year-olds from getting pregnant or getting someone else’s daughter pregnant.

That’s the only way I can explain the hate and negativity that they have towards the Sunderlands.

books, drama, family, inspirational, relationships, sister

On to another book

Maybe this is a bit premature but I’m just about 10 pages more to finishing Light On Snow (Anita Shreve).

This is my first Anita Shreve book and I have been curious ever since I read the review in a magazine about three years ago. I got this book as a birthday gift from my sister this year.

I don’t know about other people but for me, this book engages me in waves. Sometimes, I’m really engrossed, and at other times I don’t think very much about the writing nor the plot.

But I noticed that I love reading about the relationship that 12-year-old Nicky developed with Charlotte, the 19-year-old unwed mother. Somehow, to me, Charlotte is the character that I remember most. I actually had to go back to the book to check on Nicky’s name. Not that she is a forgettable character. I think Nicky is so taken by Charlotte (charlotte this, charlotte that) that I think it rubbed off on me 🙂

Finishing this book means that I now have to decide on which book to read next. I think I should finally attempt Three Cups of Tea which my sister lent me early this year (or was it late last year?). TCoT is a bigger, thicker book so carrying it around will be more difficult. But I can always read it before bed, even if that means only reading two pages a night before I pass out.

Well, at least that’s better than not reading at all, ey?

American Idol, business trips, drama

So the drama!

After my trip to Ho Chi Minh, the last thing I expected was to go on another business trip which required hopping onto a plan.

As it turns out, I had to fly to JB for a forum. My trip was confirmed 24 hours before my flight. I didn’t know much about my schedule but I knew that I have to be there by 10am where I have an interview with the vc and the actual event starts at 2pm.

So, I woke up bright and early at 4.30am last Thursday and my husband dropped me off at KLIA just shy off 6am.

I had fun in JB despite the little sleep that I had the night before and my packed schedule. Hansolo picked me up from the hotel at around 9.30pm so that the JB gang (hansolo, ramblinging and new dad) can watch American Idol on Singapore’s Channel 5 while having ikan bakar together-gether.

I dozed off now and then but by the time ramblinging sent me back to the hotel at around 1.40am and I cleaned up before going to bed, I was wide awake!! I actually had to force myself to sleep. I think I must have fallen asleep by 2.30am. But not before setting the alarm for 6.30am, of course.

But I was awoken five minutes before the alarm rang by a phone call from my husband. He was telling me that my $$ is in and he has paid my credit card bills for me. Yes, at 6.30am!!

So yeah, I managed four hours of sleep and did some interviews before I left for the airport at 2.30pm. Just when I thought that I could just check in and chill… I found out that my flight had been wrongly booked. Instead of flying back on Friday afternoon, the organiser had wrongly booked my ticket for THURSDAY afternoon.

So I had to pay the Rm100 fine and be on standby. Thank god there were a few seats left and I could catch the flight I was meant to take.

I can’t believe I didn’t check my flight details properly! I could have saved a lot of hassle if I had paid closer attention to it. But I guess I was also expecting everything to be taken care of for me. I mean, if the organiser had wanted me to just have a day trip, then they wouldn’t have booked a room for me at Puteri PP, right?

But what’s important is that I managed to come back as planned. But I still have to write a formal letter for a refund. I have to check with Sab_ri for suggestions on how to word the letter.

drama, friends, me, pissed, rant

I refuse to be the fall guy

I think I need to get some counselling from financial experts.

Don’t worry, I am not in any financial woes. At least not one that would make me consider jumping off a building 😛

But I do need some guidance on what course of action to take about this little thing that has been bugging me. Sorry I can’t go into detail. But read on and if you’re smart — and I know you are — you may be able to get where I’m going with this.

Let’s just say that it’s something that, if I don’t clear up now, may cause me problems later. It doesn’t matter that I wasn’t the one who has been running away from my responsibility. But because I am party to it, (yes, I foolishly got myself into it…. well, I was young then) I may — one day — have to shoulder the burden. And I sure as heck don’t want to be the pak sanggup (fall guy/scapegoat).

Part of me wants to strangle this person who got me into this (potential) mess. But part of me sympathises with her. Her life has been one tragedy after another. Still, leaving me to clean up your mess (although not yet) is pretty low. We were good friends and friends just don’t do this to each other.

It’s a pity that I’m no longer in contact with this “friend”. Not out of choice but because this friend has changed her contact numbers. Yes, numbers. Earlier, I had contemplated searching for her. I know where her parents live but I’ve been too busy to play detective.

Besides, I just feel that I shouldn’t be the one looking for her. I mean, she was the one who conveniently left me in the lurch.

If I see this friend again, however, I’d like to give her a piece of my mind. This is what I’d like to say:

Dear friend, if I could afford to solve your problem, believe me I would. But I can’t — at least not right now — and, frankly, I shouldn’t be expected to. Sure, no one saw this coming. I’m sure you didn’t expect your “happily ever after” to end this way. No one did. But I’m sorry, that’s card that you’ve been dealth with. I sympathise but it ain’t my problem. The sad thing is, it has become mine. And it’s unfair. Because of that, I’m pretty p1ssed and I think I deserve to be.

Instead of wallowing in self pity, I think it’s more practical to cover my own @ss. And that’s why I think I want to get that expert advice pronto.

business trips, dinner, drama, food, great assignment, inspirational, living abroad

B0ts

I was going to wait until the internet connection at home is better to blog about my recent trip to B0tswana but it looks like it ain’t gonna get any better. The pictures will have to wait, though.

I took the day of on Thursday in preparation for my flight that night. A major drama actually took place that morning – major as in HUGE. Needless to say that I left Malaysia with a heavy heart. If it had been a personal trip, I would have cancelled but it was work and I had to fulfill the commitment I made. But suffice to say that drama now has been sorted out.

The drama during the day probably tired me out because I slept even before they served supper on the flight to Jo’burg from Spore *lol* That was good tho because I sure didn’t want to stay awake on a 10-hour flight. It was a good thing that I had slept about 6 hours on and off because it made me too groggy to be stressed out about the turbulence we experienced. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would give the shaking a 7. The plane literally swayed from left to right for what seemed like an eternity (maybe 10 minutes). At one point, we felt the plane “drop” (I believe this is what people call the plane being caught in an air pocket?). I actually woke up a few seconds before it happened. The turbulence was THAT bad. But I have experienced worst. I was on a plane to Sabah, I believe, and the plan “dropped” 3x in succession with about 5 seconds of breaks in between “drops”. I actually let out a nervous gasp on the third drop and the lady next to me was looking panicky herself. I must have scared her more *lol*

Anyway, that was the not so good part about the trip. There’s actually another one but I’ll save that for later.

The flight on the whole was not so bad. Me and the rest of the entourage got to Jo’berg airport feeling a little groggy despite the long walk lugging our heavy hand luggages. Did I tell you we were warned against checking in our bags? Valuables and, worse, bags and their contents have gone missing at Jo’berg especially for passengers whose final destinations are to other african countries. One staff of l_k_w didn’t get his luggage until the day he was to leave the country. Boleh? Ghetto giler k?! You wouldn’t think that something like that can happen in such a modern airport. I mean, I can tolerate things being “removed” from the luggage but for the entire luggage to go missing? The scary part is it happens to so many people on a daily basis. Macam tak ada undang-undang je 😛

Note: Just to show you how serious it is, I googled jo’berg airport lost baggage and found a NYT article on the subject. Here is what the article said:

In Africa, Johan Breytenbach, an analyst on iJET’s Africa team, said that theft at the Johannesburg airport, Africa’s busiest with more than 13 million passengers a year, occurs daily – NYT

Anyway, we arrived in Gab0r0ne about 10am. After a short briefing by one of the l_k_w staff, we were taken straight to our hotel. We were warned that our hotel room would be “cute” (i.e small). But the rooms turned out to be cosy and pretty. I loved my room and I loved the idea of having the tv “suspended” like tvs in hospital rooms. The only bummer was that the rooms didn’t have any phones. It would not have been so bad if we had roaming. None of the services – nope, not even cel-to-the-com – have roaming there. So we had to knock on each other’s room to communicate/make plans/etc.

After I showered, I heard a knock on my door. It was the kakak from B*H. She asked me if I wanted to see the town with her. Frankly, I was scared to go out but because she had asked, I said yes. I mean, we had six hours to kill before dinner, so what the heck? I was with her and she looked super confident, so off we went. I’m glad we did because we managed to see a bit of Gab0r0ne, its people and shopping areas.

We learned that cars in B0ts are cheap so no one rides a motorcycle there. They’d rather walk than ride a bike. I’m joking. But the truth is, I didn’t see any bikers at all. I saw many people either in cars or walking, though.

Just like in Shah Alam, there are actual taxis and teksi sapu in Gab0r0ne. If you ask the drivers if they have receipts, they’ll say yes even if a notepad is all they have to write your “receipt” on. Cute, huh?

I notice that Gab didn’t have many places in town selling crafts. That made looking for small souvenirs difficult. They had all the wood carvings which are nice but not exactly practical for travelers who can’t check in their bags. What they had in abundance were mini marts and shops selling clothes and shoes for “cheap”. Fruits and veggies are cheap and so is beef or chicken. But other things can be pricey because they have to be imported from next-door-neighbour-with-the-port S.Africa.

The kakak and I were impressed with the fact that we didn’t see beggars on the street at the three shopping areas we went to. We were starred at a lot – being non-Africans – but no one came up to us for money or anything. But I suppose Africans in Gab0r0ne are getting more used to seeing Asians now that the Chinese have set up businesses there. You’ll be amazed with the number of Chinese restaurants and shops which have mushroomed at Gab0r0ne. There’s one halal Chinese restaurant just next door to one of the l_k_w’s campuses. The food there, apparently, is brilliant.

When it comes to “fine dining”, Gab0r0ne has a lot to offer. On Friday night, we went to this place called Bull and Bush (or something), a steak place. Before you ask, beef in Gab0r0ne at least is halal so the muslim staff there have been happily wacking beef since they arrived. Portion sizes are huge. I ordered the finest fillet cut and still couldn’t finish it. I loved my meal but was disappointed that my side veggies were blended beyond recognition. They were probably delicious in their original form but after being blended? Yuck!

The B&B place was very “happening” on Friday night. They had a cute young caucasian Dj who played songs by Sean Kingston, Neyo, Chris Brown etc. People of all ages, shapes and sizes shaked their booty on the dance floor. One black guy was really good. I bet he does break dancing.

It would have been a great night if not for the fact that the so-called bouncers of the restaurant insisted that I pay for the “cover charge”. BS-lah. Mana ada cover charge. Sesuka hati mak bapak dia je nak suruh orang bayar. One of them actually grabbed my arm and bag so that I won’t run away. I told him sternly to take his hands of me and he did. He later came to our table and spoke to the l_k_w staff. I didn’t hear what they said.

To give you context to what took place. We had entered the place, sat down and made our orders. Then, one of the l_k_w staff asked us if we wanted to see the handicrafts outside. So we went and when we wanted to make our way in again, that was when I was stopped. Well, kalau betul ada cover charge, where’s your stamp to indicate that I have paid? There was none and there was actually no cover charge. Come on, it’s a freaking restaurant! So, that unfortunately had ruined an otherwise good night.

We wanted to dine outside (still within the restaurant compound), where they had picnic tables and a bar much like the one you see in Blood Diamond, but there were too many people already. The food, as I was saying, was nice but service can be a little slow. If you’re hungry, do have something light prior to leaving the house. But the waites and waitresses are well trained. They talk to you, ask you if your food is fine and if you’d like another drink etc. This service at your normal pizza-hut or kfc, ok? Not bad kan?

I wish I could take all of you to this plant nursery place which has a cafe in a beautiful garden we went to on Sunday, just a couple of hours before the event we were suppose to attend. There is a h-u-g-e fig tree in the middle of the garden which was nothing like I have ever seen in my life. Come to think of it, I don’t think I have ever seen a fig tree 😛

Another highlight of the garden is a tree house for the kids. There was a really cute, chubby boy (toddle) who was playing with his older brother and the older brother dug some dirt and put it on the lil brother’s head! I didn’t get a picture of that though.

The l_k_w staff said we must have coffee there, so we did. I had already taken breakfast but I wanted to order the tuna salad because I had a feeling we won’t have time to have lunch – which was true! The tuna salad was fresh. The tuna did not come from a tin and I can vouch for that. It tasted un-tin-like *lol* I shared the salad with the kakak and we cold hardly finish it.

At 3pm, the event we flew all the way from Msia to attend took place. It was a convo ceremony unlike anything I have ever seen. Students were singing songs like Hero, Simply the best, Wings beneath my wing between scroll presentations, boleh? I have a video but I don’t think I’m going to youtube it. Kalau nak tengok, see me personally.

The ceremony was over in about two hours or so. We then went to the press conference, did some interviews and went for dinner. We flew home the next morning. The flight home from Jo’berg was much, much better this time. No turbulence at all and I managed to see two movies – Resident Evil: Extinction and The Invasion.
I wish I had the time and money to go on a safari in Bots. I was told that Bots safari is the best in the African continent. Well, kalau umur panjang, I will get to go there again. Insya-allah.

My impression of Gab0rone? It has a lot of potential as a tourist spot. But the people of Bots must know how to “sell” the country. The simplest example? Produce more souvenirs that tourists can pick up and place safely in their bags. I’m talking about I’m talking about good quality souvenirs – fridge magnets, pens, etc. I found that these were sorely lacking.

I thought that Gab0r0ne was not so prepared for tourists. I wondered to myself, apart from the safari – that is probably 20km away from town – and the food, what else can a tourist like me see and do? I actually asked someone this question and they were a bit stumped for an answer.

I hope with the presence of a creative university in town, the country will be able to produce creative human resource who can transform the country into a vibrant economy. That the country is sponsoring the tertiary education of 90 per cent of its young people means that the country is heading in the right direction. I wish Batswana (people of Botswana) all the best!

career, drama, job, pissed, stupid people

Happy 2008!

Happy New Year everyone! Where and how did you spend your NY eve?

I had to work on Dec 31 but left early – around 4.30pm – to spend the night at a three-bedroom apartment near Awana Gent1ng. This is my second time spending NY there (or is it my third? I really can’t remember). Everyone dressed up to the nines for the private party but as usual, I was the most dressed down person. I was in my sweats and yoga pants and my hair was wet because I had just washed it.

It didn’t occur to me at all to bring my new “cocktail” dress I bought from Message. But then again, it would have been pointless because I would be asleep even before midnight 😛 Also, I figured who is there to impress anyway?

It didn’t make sense to dress up because half of the time I was up in my room finishing work. Yeah bummer. But good thing that I have subscribed to digi’s high speed mobile access data unlimited plan which costs me RM66 a month. Of course I’d be happier if it were any faster – home wifi kind of fast – but beggars can’t be chooser, can they? I’m sure digi is working hard to improve the speed. In the meantime, I suppose I have to make do with 900+ kbps per second, which isn’t too bad.

I’m just grateful that using my Nokia 5700 MusicExpress phone, I was able to get on the Internet in my room and get some work done. I even got to chat on google talk with Princess. That’s not too bad, no?

When the clock struck 12, I put on Colby Caillat’s Older. True, Colby. It IS tough getting older. It’s tough because there’s bills that need to be paid, family to take care of etc.

But some people never grow up. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’m still a big kid but I know when it is time to assume responsibility and when not to menyusahkan orang lain. Speaking of menyusahkan orang lain, my colleague and I had an argument with someone from the office on NY eve at work – let’s call the person Si Polan.

We have given Si Polan face many times but enough is enough. The final straw was when Si Polan was suppose to attend a meeting with us to discuss work. Si Polan not only turned up close or more than an hour late and gave excuses which were questionable, BEST OF ALL Si Polan did not complete the task given to Si Polan before the weekend.

On Friday, we had all agreed to work during the weekend to make sure that by Monday morning, we would be able to sit together and discuss about this project of ours. The task was simple – go over a list of 28 websites, choose the best ones and provide reasons to support your claim. SI Polan came on Monday mid morning and unsheepishly announced that Si Polan had only managed to view 6 of 28 sites because Si Polan has neither a computer nor Internet access at home. But Si Polan managed to view the 6 sites because Si Polan came to the office on Saturday. This would have been alright if Si Polan had been a mother who had to take care of her sick infant.

Si Polan is single and lives just 5 minutes away from the office. Si Polan kept silent all through the weekend despite numerous sms-s from the project leader (my colleague) to see if “everything was ok”. If there was a problem, why didn’t Si Polan inform during the weekend. Why did Si Polan decide to surprise the project leader on Monday during the meeting?

My colleague and I – married women with house to clean and husbands to layan *lol* – had completed more than 3/4 of our lists which also had 28 or more items.

When we told Si Polan that dia punya excuse was lame, Si Polan got defensive. In fact, Si Polan was in the defensive from the start because Si Polan knew the scolding that was coming Si Polan’s way. Well, Si Polan deserves it. It takes a lot to tick off my colleague and I. I think Si Polan thought we were going to excuse Si Polan again this time – “just give me 1 hour to finish my list!” like it’s going to take Si Polan just ONE hour to do so. Boy was Si Polan in for a shock!

The worst part about Monday was that Si Polan didn’t see why we were upset. Of course it was “only Monday” and there was time to finish Si Polan’s list. But the point is, SI Polan was suppose to complete it during the weekend. It we could, why couldn’t Si Polan?

Put it this way: if it was Donald Trump who had called for the meeting, do you think he’d give Si Polan just another hour to finish Si Polan’s work? I don’t think so. Si Polan would be fired there and then.

The lesson to be learned here is respect other people’s time, honour your words and do your part. Susah sangat ke?

So, how did the argument end? Boss intervened and said that Si Polan is to be removed from the project. Clearly embarrassed and upset, Si Polan told the boss that Si Polan needed 10 minutes to do entah apa and we never saw Si Polan again after that.

Tomorrow’s going to be really awkward. I’m hating the prospect of Si Polan apologising for what happened Monday because frankly I’m not quite ready to do so. Si Polan will probably ask what Si Polan needs to do to make amends. I’ll tell Si Polan to honour his words. Say something and mean it.

I’ll also tell Si Polan that what Si Polan did on Monday only proved Boss’ suspicions right. Boss was unoptimistic that Si Polan would actually do the work assigned to Si Polan. My colleague and I thought we’d give Si Polan the benefit of the doubt. Clearly, Si Polan did not do Si Polan’s self any favours.

In boss’s eyes, Si Polan’s rep is as destroyed as it can be. I’m afraid to say that it’s the same with me. Sorry, Si Polan… you brought this upon yourself.

Happy New Year everyone. Hope you learned something from my NY’s eve story.

anal, child, drama, inspirational, Negative thoughts, pissed, powerful, rant, relationships, stupid people

Good riddance!!!

I tell you, a bully will always be a bully.

I got an annoying sms from this guy abut an hour ago bearing news that I already knew. Well, he thought I didn’t know but in fact my husband had told me all about it.

What I hate about the sms is his “threats” of involving people who should not be involved. That’s not only unnecessary but imature as well. This is just between kita-kita aje, no need to involve other people lah.

I don’t even want to reply to the sms. I realise that by not replying, he probably thinks I am so livid (with my husband) about it and that he was doing me “a favour”. Nak aje reply: Tell me something I DON’T know. Btw, thanks for the advice but I don’t need it. And yeah, hasta la vista @ssh0le!

But no, I’m going to leave it at that. If you think I am scared or that I have nothing to say, think again because boy do I have PLENTY to say. But sometimes silence is golden. Actually, silence IS golden MOST of the time. Besides, I don’t want this to be anymore complicated than it already is.

It’s not that I’m closing one eye to the “problem” or that I am sweeping it under the carpet. Let’s just say that that the wrong and the one wronged have sat down to discuss this matter maturely.  Sure, I am not so happy with what had transpired but I’m willing to focus on the bigger picture. THIS is something which I’m sorry my boy YOU could never do.

You know, I am actually glad that this happened. At the very least, now I know that, and to quote Mary J Blige, we’ve been too strong for too long. This ain’t going to shake our foundation. YOU certainly won’t break it down.

I’m a positive person and I can see the silver lining in this situation. The No 1 benefit from this whole mess is never having to see or hear from you ever again. Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!

I don’t feel sorry that this had ever happened. I’m just sorry that (a) we met, (b) your significant other met you, (c) you’re an obsessive freak and a bully and that (d) I wasted this space talking about you.

I guess there is only one thing left to say: Good riddance!!!!