business trips, fashion, friends, great assignment, husband, karaoke

Meanwhile, back at the ranch

It has been ages, I know. For that I apologise, folks.

My last post was 15 days ago. Needless to say, I had been up to many good and no goods since then ๐Ÿ™‚

I went karaokeing with my husband and sister (on two separate occasions)

There is this new karaoke place in SA on the topmost floor of a nearby hotel. I promise you it’s not dodgy. In fact it’s quite clean as it is relatively new. It’s arguably one of the cheapest joints I have been to. If you are ever in town, do drop by. I mean, where else can you sing your heart out for only RM25 forย TWO hours?

I had a lot of noodles

I recently discovered N00dle Stati0n. Its speciality is of course noodles but it serves Malaysianised Western food and goreng-goreng as well. But what got me hooked to the eatery is the more than two dozen types of hot and cold beverages on the menu. I recommend this one drink which is blue in colour and tastes like tasty cough syrup ๐Ÿ™‚ Everything there is about RM6. Western food is slightly more expensive. The drinks, on the other hand, are rather pricey. They are also priced at RM6. But they come in tall glasses, so you can share the drink and split the cost.

I went to Ho Chi Minh City for 4 days and 3 nights

I’ve been to Hanoi before (last year) and was quite excited when I was sent to follow a group of 60+ college students on a study tour there. I really had fun because I had good company. We visited a local orphanage, did some sight-seeing around the city, visited local tertiary institutions, interacted with local students, shopped and tasted local delicacies.

I was proud of myself for being brave enough to try the local street food (equivalent to our gerai). It’s a pretty big deal for someone who is so anal about getting food poisoning (excuse the pun). When the host asked me if I’d like to try the local food, I had to grin and bare it. I don’t feel good about forcing everyone to follow my dietary regime. I know we’re supposed to follow our guts but in this case, I refuse to let my gut rule my life. I didn’t regret my decision at all. The grilled fish we had was so tasty and sweet and I loved the way they cooked the kangkong. Sedap!

So, moral of the story: high stakes, big reward.

P/S: I bought imitation canvas shoes which I simply adore for less than RM55. So happy ๐Ÿ˜€

I received lots of free books in the mailbox

I joined this online book swapping club called BookMooch recently. I sent two books to Singapore and Spain and have received two books so far from Spore. These are books that I have been meaning to buy but couldn’t afford — despite having book allowance. Well, you have to have some dough to buy the books before you can claim, right? Anyway, I’m happy that I got these books for free. I only spent about RM20 in stamps to send my two almost brand new books. I’m glad to report that my two recipients were happy with the condition of the books.

I received lots of items I bought online in the mailbox

These include my two tops, handbag and necklaces which I wear to death. I’m itching to make new purchases online. I saw a few nice tops and a pair of pants on cososo which I may just get. Free postage mah!

I’m sure I did a lot more than this but I can’t really remember. Besides, I’m kinda tired. Till next time neh…

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friends, inspirational

Supermom

A former colleague is in austria to do her doctorate. She’s a young mom with a young son and another baby on the way. What’s amazing about her is that she’s doing it all alone there — studying, going through her pregnancy — sans husband and son.

She recently wrote a very touching entry in her blog and I feel compelled to share with her this anecdote.

Not too long ago, I interviewed a woman deputy vc. We were talking about her new post and somehow the topic deviated to children and working moms. I think it started when she asked me if I was married and whether or not I had children.

Well, anyway, she told me that one of the hardest things she has had to do was leave her family to pursue her studies. This was probably in the late 80s and her daughter at the time was below 5. She told me that she remembered being incredible guilty about it, not to mention missing her family like crazy.

But her little girl is now all grown up. One day, as she was helping her daughter clean her room, she found a card she had sent home to Malaysia when she was still studying. The card brought back all the memories and she started crying.

Seeing her cry, her daughter said: “Mommy, it’s okay. I’m all grown up now. It’s okay”.

She thought her daughter would never forgive her for leaving. But the truth is, her daughter didn’t even remember that she had gone for that long.

I have only respect for Che Sabb. She’s setting a good example for her children. She’s showing them that women in the 21st century can do it all – become a mom, pursue their education and careers etc.

She’s doing it all for herself and her children’s future. Think of it this way, how many people can say that their mom has a PhD? From Austria, no less?

So, hang in there Che Sabb. Dani’s going to be fine and you’ll pull through and come back to Malaysia with the initials d and r before your name ๐Ÿ™‚

friends, me, music

I thought we didn’t care?

I think people are strange. When I say people, myself included.

We’re strange because we tell ourselves that we don’t care but we do. For example, we’ve forgotten that old ex-boyfriend whom we haven’t seen in years. But when we realise that we might bump into them or, God forbid, have to attend a function with them, we still dread the thought. We’re excited but at the same time we think, “God, I’m not ready to meet him. I look like crap!”

But why? I thought we didn’t care??

I just had that “OMG, I hope I don’t meet him because I look like crap” moment just now when I saw some pictures of this “old fling” doing what I was supposed to be doing with his sister in the near future. I don’t think he looks particularly hot these days actually (did he ever?) but still, the thought of even bumping into him makes me want to get a liposuction or something.

Like, I want to one up him in terms of looks.. at least. I want to be able to say (in my mind, confidently), “Look at me! I’m gorgeous and I’ve got me a man. See the ice on my finger?”

Secretly, I want him to say, “Man, she was the one that got away… *sigh*

Hehehehe… I think I have issues. I suppose we all do.

Speaking of issues, I still have a bone to pick with the my t-shirt thief. Why god why?? Not my NKOTB t-shirt!! *loud sigh*

Anyway, I ripped the songs from my NKOTB Greatest Hits CD and transfered them to my iPod. I shall go to sleep with Jordan Knight serenading me tonight.

Oh before that, I had chilly crab with husband and friend for dinner. Am not a fan of crabs but after a long hiatus from eating the crustacian, I was wallopping it like nobody’s business.

Anyway, here’s a pantun dua kerat.

My stomach’s full and my eyes are heavy. Good night everybody!

business trips, child, cosmetics, dinner, food, friends, great assignment, Happy thoughts, inspirational, job, lucky, me, technology

Post Hong Kong

I’m back people!!!

My working trip to HK was — in short — successful, inspiring and memorable. I met really nice people there, was wowed by the efforts of the teachers who attended the forum and amazed by the sights and sounds of Hong Kong.

There were nine of us from Msia — 3 media reps, 3 moe reps, 2 ms reps and 1 teacher/quarter-finalist. Most of us had only met for the first time at the airport. Having gone for the regional event in Hanoi in April, I was already familiar with the 2 MS reps and teacher. It turned out that one of the media reps was formerly from BH in JB (hansolo, I’m sure you know who she is because she left the company a few months ago to work in KL). We had met each other perhaps a couple of years back but both of us couldn’t remember what assignment or occasion it was. We became fast friends anyway.

We left Msia at about 9.30am. That meant leaving the house at about 6.15am to check in by 7.30am. I had omellette and watched Baby Mama on the plane. I really recommend this movie because it is funny as h3ll!! I laughed and cried watching this movie — the guy sitting next to me probably thought I was crazy. If you’re into spoilers, read all about Baby Mama here.

I could relate to the movie because I’m trying for a baby myself. It hasn’t been particularly easy for me so this movie, about a successful business woman who’s trying to have a baby alone at 37, hits a chord with me. Tina Fey and Amy Pohler were both hilarious and excellent actors. I knew that they were funny from the Saturday Night Live days but I never knew that they could do drama as well. Believe it or not, the movie was categorised under Drama under the Movie on Demand list. The script is brilliant at mixing hilarious moments and touching ones all in one scene.

I loved the film so much that I recommended it to the former BH girl but too bad the movie was removed from the play list on our flight back to Msia. I wanted to watch it again but because it was no longer available, I decided to watch Wall-E. The missing narration makes it a bit boring but I still think it’s a sweet movie. I must be really hormonal then because not only did I cry watching Baby Mama, watching Wall-E go about his work all alone on Earth too almost moved me to tears ๐Ÿ˜› I loved the movie. Well at least I didn’t fall asleep watching it as I did while watching The X-Files right after Wall-E. Not that it was incredibly boring or anything. I think I was just tired by then.

My stay in Hong Kong was wonderful. I would have loved to do more shopping but I find HK to be rather expensive. I mean, a bottle of Evian costs RM5 there. A bottle of regular mineral water costs RM3. So you can pretty much tell how expensive other things can be. It didn’t help that our hotel, The Langham in Tsim Sha Tsui is right across a Louis Vitton boutique. It was an exclusive area, so shopping around the jotel area was limited.

But Ladies Market was just four MTR stations away. I didn’t really like it there because I found the bargaining process really tiring. Some of the proprieters are rude — they just shoo you away. But I managed to get the usual souvenir stuff — fridge magnets, t-shirts etc — for not-too-bad prices. The t-shirts were of good quality so I’m happy with that. I wanted to buy a bag for myself but I ended up with a pair of flat shoes instead. It was for RM32. I’m happy with that because it looks good with my jeans.

I loved watching the young women in HK. They dress really well, very trendy with their calf or knee-length boots. HK this time of the year is slightly cooler than in Malaysia and less humid too. You don’t need a coat or anything. You’l be fine with your t-shirt. But if you were to wear your jeans and t-shirt, you’ll look slightly out of place in Tsim Sha Tsui area where the girls were shorts, dresses or pretty blouses with skirts and boots. Sure, there will be people in just t-shirt and jeans but they’re mostly guys ๐Ÿ˜›

Books in HK are pretty expensive too. If you think your RM34 paperback is pricey, wait till you have to fork out RM45 for the same paperback in HK! I’m never taking book prices in KL for granted anymore. Of course, I’ll buy them online so I’ll get a 30 per cent discount.

Sasa in HK is cheaper (certain items) and bigger. I almost bought a Sasa-brand lengthening/volumising mascara for HK$98 (98xRM0.46= about RM45) but decided against it. I didn’t really need it. I already have my Maybelline mascara that does the job for less than RM40. Never mind that I still think about it now (I think I’m in love), enough to make me want to go to a Sasa store and see if they sell it here too. But I bought 3 miniature perfumes — Eternity (15ml) and two Burberry Weekend (5ml) — for RM50 from there. Not bad eh?

All this talk about shopping makes you wonder whether I did any work at all in HK. Of course I did ๐Ÿ™‚

I was there to cover an international forum for innovative teachers and met teachers from 60 countries who are not short of inspirational. If all these teachers were to work in one school, that would be one heck of a brilliant school. These are teachers who worked outside of office hours to create games, movies etc to enhance their teachings. You will be amazed by what these teachers can do. Some of these schools are rural ones that have no Internet access at all. Yet the students learn with the aid of technology everyday.

I really want to do justice to the article which I will prepare in the coming days. I hope I will do a great job at it.

Anyway, after spending four solid days in Hong Kong, staying at a 5-star hotel with great breakfast and company, it still feels good to be back in the comfort of my own messy room and table writing this entry.

Oh, that just reminds me of something. I need to register the free MS Office One Note 2007 software I got from the forum online and also check out Piggley’s blog. Piggley is the mascot of a school in rural Nothern Ireland. From his blog, I could see that he had a whale of a time in Hong Kong. Read all about him here and also notice how Piggley asks the students to look up some information on Hong Kong and its culture. This is the kind of learning that these teachers are promoting. Fun, isn’t it?

Well, I’m signing off too. I wish I could have done a day-to-day blog like Piggley but to tell you the truth, the Internet charge was too expensive and I frankly didn’t have the energy to even switch my laptop on at the end of the day.

Anyway, see you soon!

P/S: No pictures yet. I’ll probably transfer some photos tomorrow and I’m also waiting for some REALLY good pictures from MS representatives. More of that next week I guess. I’l probably upload them on FB. Later!

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 ๐Ÿ˜›

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.

cousin, exercise, family, fashion, food, friends, holiday, husband

All you can eat weekend

Looks like it’s going to be a weekend of eating, eating and eating.

It started with my friend, Shah’s 30th birthday bash on Thursday. It was a cosy get-together. He had some food catered but many of the guests brought their own. It was almost a pot luck affair. Some of them brought triffles, roast chicken, creme puffs etc. I loved the white chocolate birthday cake. Normally, I hate white chocolate because it’s too sweet. But this one was different. It had almond in it and it was not sweet at all. Just perfect!

The venue was our friend Sh3gar’s boutique-cum-office. He’s trying to develop his own clothing line and already has, at least, two local celebrity clients – both girls have been VJs and are top local actresses. As the office is quite new, he hasn’t come round to fixing the prices on his clothes. I told him that his designs are something that I would definitely wear. If they’re not too expensive, I would definitely buy em ๐Ÿ™‚

To burn off all the calories I consumed from the party, I went to the gym and had a good 40-minute walk/climb/run on the treadmill. I think this is the perfect routine for me because although “switching gears” is hard but it made the time fly by. Before I knew it, I was already on my 35th minute!

I discovered one trick to distract me while I’m running, especially when I’m not listening to the iPod – play games on the treadmill. By that I mean as I run, I make a square. One second I’m on the left side of the conveyor’s belt and another I’m on the right. It’s like I’m running in a zig zag motion. I found that although I was on a relatively comfortable speed, I exerted more energy just to keep up. Whatever it takes to get my heart rate up, yeah?

After the cardio, I did some squats, walking lunges, sit ups on the exercise ball and threw some punches with a 5-pound dumbell on each hand. Just moves that I remember reading from my health magazines.

Right after gym, I had a shower and met my husband who played three rounds of volleyball on the rooftop. After both of us were done, we went straight to my husband’s cousin’s place. An@s (the cousin) had a going away party/kenduri doa selamat. He and his wife, A1re3n will be leaving for Istanbul on the 12th as he will be doing a three-year dentistry postgraduate course there. Istanbul is also where his parents-in-law are. His FIL is the malaysian ambassador there, if I’m not mistaken. I think by the time they come back to KL, they would have had a kid or two ๐Ÿ™‚ Insya-Allah.

Just this afternoon, his uncle of his had a housewarming party. I’m still stuffed from the beriyani and ayam masak merah.

I suppose tomorrow we will be eating in. But since Mak Na (his aunt) and her husband, Uncle J0hn and two children – Ad@m and B3n, are down here from New Castle, mom-in-law is sure to have some dinner plans.ย 

Now usually all this eating would make my stomach go haywire. But since I started taking DigestAid, I have had little to no problem. The only uncomfortable side effect is the flatulence. Either I’m farting all the time or I’m having difficulties passing wind. But that beats needing to urgently pass motion. It’s one evil or the other, I guess. Remember, beggars can’t be choosers!

But I think I’m going to try to substitute my DigestAid pills which contains papaya and pineapple enzymes for the real thing – papaya and pineapple fruits. Like on Friday, I missed breakfast, so I took a long piece of papaya just before lunch. After lunch, I took a pill. The surprise was, I was fine. No stomach cramps and urgent need to go to the toilet. Success!

I think Princess wants to do dinner on Monday. More eating! But I must reconfirm with her. So, later!

P/S: I have Rihanna’s Take A Bow minus one. Next singing contest, I’m singing Rihanna for sure ๐Ÿ˜›

family, food, friends, husband, inspirational

No monkey business

ย ย  I just got back from visiting my cousin-in-law’s newly opened cafe in banting. She is 27 and an mba holder who has always been business-minded. So her decision to open up her own eatery (with her long-term boyfriend) does not come as a surprise to me.

However, I have to admit that when I heard that she was setting up food business in banting, I was a bit sceptical. The question running through my mind was: “can a cafe selling mostly-western food work in little banting?”

But having seen her and her friends manning the restaurant in their second day of operation, I think she made the right choice.

What her business does is filling a need. Apparently, there isn’t a western-food restaurant within the vicinity. Nearby eateries are all selling goreng-goreng and tom yam, so she is not competing with any of them specifically. Also, no one in town cooks good western food, so that is also an advantage for her.

Since she doesn’t have overhead issues to think of – the land where her cafe stands belongs to her family – all she has to worry about is making good food and giving good service to her customers.

Right now, the customers are mostly family and family friends. But they’re quite impressed with the food as well as the fact that the business is run by youngsters – my cousin-on-law is the oldest among her staff.

My husband has also resolved to come to banting every weekend to help out in the kitchen. For those who don’t know, he studied culinary arts in college and has quite an extensive experience of working in the kitchen of hotels and coffee houses. Unlike moi, he looooves getting his hands dirty in the kitchen. Being all busy in the kitchen, rushing orders from the customers is almost therapeutic for him. He says that being in the kitchen keeps his mind sharp.

I don’t think I can work in a busy kitchen because I panic too easily. Leave the dirty dishes to me but don’t ask me to take the orders and, god forbid, prepare the food!

Anyway, we are going there again tomorrow morning. I have to remind my husband to buy some bananas before that. He wants to feed the pet monkey (kera) they have over there. The kera got so friendly with him that it refused to let go of him. It even decided to climb on his back and sit on his neck while eating rambutan taken from the tree behind the cafe. I have it on video – I took using my mobile – and I promise to upload it on Yahoo! videos soon. Watch this space!