Sunday, 23 December 2007

Domestic Goddess

In my quest to become a domestic goddess, I spent my spare time watching the food series on Astro, from Jamie Oliver to David Rocco to Surreal Gourmet to the ultimate domestic goddess, and my favourite, Nigella Lawson. She is absolutely beautiful and British, and unashamedly passionate about food! Its the way she gorge down the food after cooking each recipe makes your saliva drip :p All the cooking series does give me inspiration to cook wonderful meals for my family.
Still, after watching all the cooking series, I'm still no better. I still cook my pasta the same way, fried pasta that is, with tomato puree, chili & tomato sauce (the Malaysian style!), sausages or with ground beef/chicken. But, hey, the family loves it because it's still a hit for weekend meals, BBQs and potlucks. It's the easiest meal that I can do within half an hour, without fuss. My favourite one dish wonder recipes are: shepard's pie, paella with chicken, fried pasta. Sounds sophisticated but those are really the only things that I can cook in an instant, and can make do with any ingredients available.
I know that I should be cooking more Malaysian dishes really, i.e rice with all the accompaniments, mee rebus, laksa, rendang, etc. But I feel that Malaysian cooking is a lot of hassle, involving lots of ingredients that you can't do without, or it will result with a dish that doesn't taste authentic. Don't get me wrong, I love Malaysian food and the ingredients are what make it unique in its flavour and smell but cooking it is another matter. Or maybe I haven't mastered it yet.
My mum's an expert in simple Malaysian cooking. Last Hari Raya Qurban, she taught me how to cook chicken rendang within half an hour, which involved cleaning the chicken, preparing the wet spice (red onions, ginger and lengkuas) and dry spice (can't remember all but there's star anise, cinnamon stick, ketumbar), coconut milk, season to taste. Dump everything in a pot and add coconuty milk when the chicken has started to cook. That was the only cooking involved, and the rest is just letting the rendang simmmering on the stove, and voila! Delicious rendang for Hari Raya Qurban.
I think I should be learning from my mum how to cook simple Malaysian dishes to please my other half:)

Friday, 14 December 2007

Why Should I?

Yes, indeed, why should I? Adhering to some rules that were created to satisfy some bureaucratic system for the "greater good". What can they do to me, who's breaking all the menial rules, just to maintain her sanity and individuality in this environment that doesn't make sense? The answer is: they won't do anything. But they will judge you based on a pre-concieved ideas that they get through the grapevine. . If they have something against you, nothing will sway them from the idea that they have firmly planted in their mind. Nothing you say or do will change it, ever.
I must confess that I'm an individualistic person working in an environment that promotes team spirit. But all I find is that they are a gossipy lot, who have a penchant for office gossip, non stop yikkity-yak about other peoples' lives. I'm not into this scene, I'd rather do my work, with less bureaucracy, back-biting, and boss-hating environment :p I like people who are honest with their job, and do it with the utmost integrity. There are only a handful of people that have that kind of dedication towards their work. Sadly, the bosses doesn't see it the value of their staff. They rather like pretty words to caress their egos.
I don't believe in appraisals, because it doesn't reflect the true personality of the person who is delivering his/her job. Nor it is a correct judgement on the amount of work that person have done. If somebody is able to suck up to the boss to get more marks on their appraisal, then so be it. I'm not gonna do that, I believe that good will prevail over evil. I suggest that appraisal should be done in other ways, probably judgement of the person/s should be done individualy and focusing on their strengths and improving on the weakness. Bosses are created not only to act as a boss, but to guide the workers into the greater good. If the boss doesn't realise it, then he must be a fool.
Alas, the fool and his ship will soon sink.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

"The Greatest Decision in the Universe"

That's what Jamilah told me in the instant messenger. This was her reaction to a thing I did yesterday, and of course she was quoting it from the Nobel Peace prize list :p Anyhow, those words kind of reflected to what i felt for what I did yesterday, the greatest decision in the universe, my universe that is. I don't really like to talk about my work here, but this incident warrants me to do it, as it has to do a lot with me personally. This is what happened yetserday:
My boss, let's call him Boss A (no name given to protect identity), had told his PA to tell Boss B, to tell me at 3pm on 5 December that he has chosen me to be the MC for that night's function at PICC. WTF?! That was too short a notice, but I knew that I could do it. It was a function hosted by a VVIP, for 300 German agents, organized by. I have been an MC for a function of 400 pax, I was also requested to be the MC on the day of the function previously at Prince Hotel, I could do it. Not that I was too a great MC, but I have conquered my stage fright in my earlier days, through training and I could do it. Compared to some people, I don't necessarily have the best voice, or the best words, but I was there and available.
Anyway, when Boss B asked me to be the MC, I didn't exactly said yes, he saw my hesitation, I said better find another person to be the MC. I heard that somebody was approached to be the MC, but they have given the execuses that it was too late. I was feeling trapped, and pissed because I knew that the request came from Boss A. He could've easily ask me, like what he did the previous day to ask me to do something, through call and sms. But he didn't...
There was another incident. I became the MC for a previous function in Prince Hotel, Boss B promised that I would be given a token of RM400. Hey, that's an incentive for you to be MC, so that other staff would do it too. There's nothing wrong in receiving that token, because we have to make some sacrifices like time spent at dinner, where you have to come at 6pm for an 8pm function, which normally would finish at 10.30pm if you're lucky. Anyhow, Boss A refused to sign the release for the payment of the token. That kinda did it for me. Why the hell shouldn't I be paid like everyone else??? Am I not good enough for the money? What about me sacrificing my time?? I don't care for the dinners, and at that point of time, for the money. This is about recognition of your boss for what you did, to the Division, and ultimately to the country. I'm doing something for my country, and why can't he appreciate it??
Anyway, I rejected to be the MC on the grounds that it was a short notice, and I already have something to do that night. I don't think that the event would fall apart without me, and it didn't. I didn't feel the usual remorse or guilt. I have a right to say no, and I exercised it.
I have made a point of standing up for myself, and ultimately I realise, if I don't do it, then nobody else will.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Starry, starry night

On my way to IKEA today, the radio played Don McLean's "American Pie". I was feeling nostalgic, remembering that I had bought his "Best Of" collection sometime ago, and now sadly the cassette has been misplaced. Not that I'd be able to play it coz I don't own a cassette player. Some of my favourite Don McLean's songs are "Wonderful Baby", "Vincent", "Driedel", "La La Love You". Somebody in the office played "Vincent" on her PC last week, I was quite surprised as people in my generation don't normally listen to folk music, not especially Don Mclean. The airwaves nowadays are dominated by alternative, hip hop, R&B and others. Some songs are ok, but I still prefer Light & Easy.
I'd have to say that my dad have influenced me a lot in my choice of music...he used to play the Beatles, Don McLean, Simon & Garfunkel, Ella Fitzgerald in the car. I like oldies, and the 70s music....
Don McLeans songs are quite haunting and beautiful, I'm not an expert in discussing songs and lyrics but song like "Wonderful Babies" makes me feel like I'm in one of those Disney babies cartoon, with the water nymph and babies floating on water...."Vincent" is a tribute song to the tragic but talented painter Vincent Van Gogh - his lyrics:
For they could not love you,
But still your love was true.
And when no hope was left in sight
On that starry, starry night,
You took your life, as lovers often do.
But I could have told you, Vincent,
This world was never meant for one As beautiful as you.
For more "Vincent" lyrics and sample of the song, please visit this website:

Thursday, 29 November 2007

The Land of the Logs

View from my hotel room

I was in Stockholm in September. Never in my life would I thought to find myself there. I don't really know much about Sweden, except maybe, IKEA. I was unprepared with the beauty of Stockholm, the offical tourism website was boring and the pictures looked dead. It didn't really leave a good impression on me. I was forewarned by my colleague to take lots of pictures, but I didn't believe her.

In reality, Stockholm takes your breath away. The cleanliness of the town, plus the gothic buidings, the cool crisp air, all added to the charm of Stockholm. It'd be interesting to know that Stockholm is an archipelago of 14 islands. The Vikings originated from here! How authentic is that?? And to prove it, they have a real life size Viking boat that sunk on her maiden voyage at the Ship Museum. Monuments of the king scattered in the city, the palace of the king and also buildings from the 18th century.

Like most European countires, their stores closes around 6pm, so all your shopping must be done before that. Souvenirs are plenty and affordable, provided that you don't exchange Kronor to RM, or Euro to RM (Euro1 = RM4.90).

There are about 200 Malaysians there, and what I can deduct from my brief visit there is that the Malaysian Embassy worked hard to maintain the Malaysian community by having regular gathering. During the Ramadhan, incidently when I was visiting, we breakfast in the Embassy and had Solat Terawikh together. I can see that the Malaysian community there is quite close and well knit.

There are some Malaysians who calls Stockholm home, like the couple who owned Restaurang Tullange, who hails from Melaka. Their children are born and bred in Stockholm, but still they kept the Malaysian citizenship. The sad truth is, Asians are second class citizens in Stockholm. They are usually looked down upon and bullied. Even if you became their citizen, it would still be the same. Therefore, it's wiser to keep the Malaysian citizenship than rather be a second class citizen in a froeign country.

Swedish are quite eurocentric, but surprisingly they are also adventurous, in the culinary sense. We had invited our driver to break fast with us, and they had gladly accepted Malaysian hospitality, trying every local cuisine that was served, even eating sambal belacan! Not an easy feat for an European.

Visiting Stockholm was interesting and I would definitely go there again if have the greens to support me! *sigh*

Monday, 12 November 2007

What UMNO General Assembly means to me:)

Every year we will have the UMNO General Assembly in PWTC and it only mean one important thing to me and my! Yep, that's right. We don't care about the politics mumbo jumbo, we only care about the hundreds of sellers bringing in their goods during the assembly. You name it, they got it....from the lowest quality of songket to the most expensive songket you'd ever come across in your life, from the best quality of brooches to the really cheap ones, and also, good quality hand painted batiks (now that the government is enforcing everyone to wear batik on every 1st and 15th of the month).
It's a jungle out there, with the thousands of UMNO delegates bumping and touching God-knows parts on your body. But being out there and bargaining for the wanted items is part of the fun. Some weird and outrageous things on sale this year: the tree that died and brought to life (elixir of life?!), terubok masin (fine in the market, but not in the open exhibition), RM500 kebaya top, RM6000 songket, the Dempo snow creams (hate them and their promoters), ladyboy selling perfume, Caely bras.
Can't wait for the next UMNO General Assembly. It's a shame that they always have it in the middle of the month, when your pockets have run dry!

Monday, 5 November 2007

Malaysia, and all that jazz

I've worked in the tourism industry for 5 years, and that by the industry's standard is still a baby. Because tourism is a life-long industry, its based on relationship, networking, trust and marketing. Well, you got to know how to market your country, u got to believe that your country have something special that others don't. That will be the edge that put you above or at par with the rest. Not just doing some event like the open house celebration just for the sake of doing it, but truly doing it from the heart. Malaysia is still lacking in terms of hospitality and attitude in the service industry. The degree of our professionalism is still questionable.
I've travelled to some parts of the world, and sometimes you are humbled by the fact that other countries have history older and richer and more enrooted than Malaysia like the Vikings. What are the Malays, but having orginated from Indonesia, the Chinese from China and the Indians from India? Aren't we all immigrants initially, and that's why people wants to ensalve us!
Western countries are more modern and developed, sending people into space can be part of tourism now. We have just sent an astronaut to space, and that by the western definition is not an astronaut but a spacetourist eventhough he had gone through NASA training....and we spent billions for that...not an easy feat.
Malaysia is growing on its own pace...we have natural beauty and history and the fact that we are truly multiracial, makes us truly Asia...other Asian countries may beg to differ, but can they argue that they have three major races that still practice their language, culture and religion freely? That is Malaysia, my friend, a true melting pot of culture.
Am proud to be Malaysian, but the government really need to buckle up with the development of the country whilst at the same time maintaining our unique culture. Too much politicking and cronyism could ruin a country.
I rest my case.

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Of being me

I was feeling pissed this morning. I received emails from people who just don't know how to do their job and in turn made my life hell. I called and yelled at them. Those who know me might think that it is out of character for me to act this way. Unless, of course, it's THAT time of the month again.

I guess PMS have to do a lot with me being so bold and having the hell-I-care-if-I-hurt-your- feelings atttitude. I was a bad ass today, I yelled and said what comes in my mind and I knew that this is just temporary. PMS gave me the extra boost to be the person that I think I can become - controversial, daring, independant.

In reality, I would avoid any controversy or any kind of confrontation. I would always be nice to my workmates, and there's no animosity and tension, which makes my working environment more peaceful . Sometimes I wonder if I'm being a hypocrite, but I decide that I don't like to quarrel with people or create a negative working environment, which in turn would make my life miserable.

But for once, I would also like to be the person who speaks out for herself, not afraid to be looked at if I made any mistakes, be more independant and more self assured. I guess that's something that I have to learn along the way and not just bank on my hormones during PMS :P

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Weekend round trip

It was the weekend leading up to my first year anniversary and I had plans to go to Melaka on Sunday to celebrate. The weekday was quite a hellish one as there were endless meetings, presentations, arrangements, last minute requests and dinners that I had to entertain. So I was looking forward for the one night stay in Melaka and just hang out.
Then, my other half decided that we should go back to Batu Pahat to pick up some durians from his abah's kebun. I was not too excited about it but I was telling myself that I only had to endure it for one night and the next we will be off to Melaka. Anyway, to cut a long story short, we went to BP on Saturday and Sunday we were off to Melaka. But we stopped by at Ayer Hitam as my mother was asking me to look for some souvenir items for my brother's kenduri. I have now officially became my brother's wedding plannner team. My task is mainly:
1. scouting for appropriate souvenir items to be given to guests; and
2. procuring the said souvenir items.
If I wasn't married to somebody from BP, I wouldn't have known about Ayer Hitam. The place is like shopping haven for Malaysians its like Bukit Kayu Hitam or Nilai 3. You can buy all sorts of gifts, hantaran arrangements, bunga dulang, ornaments, wood products, kerepek, plastic flowers, etc. Anyway, this was my second time scouting the items. The first time my mum's theme was bakul mengkuang, which I had bought a few samples but none of which she liked. This time around it was swans, so I had to scout for replicas of swans, which I had found and again, she didn't like any of it. So she decided that we should go to Nilai 3 this coming saturday.
Coming back to my journey, on from Ayer Hitam, we drove to Melaka and arrived around 4pm and checked in to Aldy Hotel. The room was quite small and typical of a 3 star hotel but the toilet and wardrobe area was quite new which I can tell by the look of the tiles. I always thought that I can travel cheap and easy but years in tourism have spoilt me and now I have developed a liking to luxury hotels. Well, who doesn't? But you need enough dough for it, and of which I am seriously lacking of :P
Nonetheless, I think that Aldy Hotel has the best location in Melaka as it is situated in front of the strecth of road from the Stadhuys leading up to A'Famosa. Walking around all the historical places was easy and the first place we visited was the A'Famosa, and we actually went to the Dutch graveyard after the azan maghrib, it was creepy thinking of the dead people in their tomb but we walked on till we reached the end of the graveyard leading out to the back of Stadhuys. Then we went for some ikan bakar at perkampungan Ikan Bakar Terapung Umbai which only took 20 minutes journey and a very excellent place for all the fresh seafood by the sea. Our meal of half kilo kerang, half kilo kupang and one ikan siakap was only RM38 ringgit. Compared to the RM7 prawn each in Langkawi, i think this meal was comparatively cheap. Definitely a must if do in Melaka! My other half even suggested that we do it again if we go back to BP via Muar, hence save toll and also have a delicous meal on the way.
All in all, it was a good getaway and not such much on the anniversay celebration but the most improtant thing is we have spend it together in a meaningful way. Can't wait to plan my next holiday :) now, just to persuade for my other half to agree for the snorkelling thingy at Pulau Lang Tengah in Terengganu....

Thursday, 28 June 2007

The Plan

Me and my other half have decided to got to Melaka for the anniversary. Well, rather I decided that we should go to Melaka and he just agreed with the suggestion. The plan was to go to Melaka, go sightseeing and see all the historical places, maybe take a river cruise and go for ikan bakar at Umbai. My other half digs places with sightseeing oppurtunities.
I remembered this quaint little hotel during my last visit to Melaka in 2005, the Aldy Hotel. It's situated right beside the A'Famosa Fort and within walking distance to all the other attractions like the Stadhuys, Jonker street, museums, etc. So, for this trip I decided to book the hotel online. It's a 3-star hotel, and have won an award for Best 3-star hotel from the Government of Melaka in 2005. The response to my email enquiry was quite prompt and the price is quite cheap RM135++ for Superior room. Checkout the website:
Can't wait to go on holiday again, eventhough its a short one and the distance is very near from KL. I think maybe I'm experiencing burn out from work. I can hardly come to work on time nowadays, usually go for long breakfast and lunch breaks, go home early as my mind stop working at 5.30pm (official working hours ends at 5.30pm for me:)). My sister acused me of being a typical government officer because of the freedom and I also have access to the internet, unlike her kedekut company:P. Normally, a 3 days off work can reenergize me by staying at home and doing nothing but I think this time around I need a longer break, or go attend courses (which Training Unit haven't send me in a long,long time) or be reassigned to another division (job rotation).
Talking about job rotation, maybe that's one of the reasons that I'm feeling this way. We are supposed to be rotated to other division or regional office or overseas office every 4 years, which I am overdue. Also, my organisation is going thru a major restructuring and our division will be dissolve. A few close colleagues have been transferred to another division, and I'm still stuck here. Maybe I need the change so that my motivation level will be up!

Monday, 25 June 2007

Wedding Anniversary

Next month I'll be celebrating my one year's wedding anniversary. One year?!! Already? So soon... can't believe its already been a year since we got married. I don't feel my life changing so drastically, we still haven't bought a house or a second car or produce any little ones. Maybe we are taking it easy unlike my good friend's aspiration, Mrs Curmudgeon. She recently got married and won't be working for a while, so her plans are: start making babies!
Ok, now back to my anniversary....Ms Fantaghiro suggested we do a barbecue or a steamboat party at my mum's home. I like the idea, but what I'm thinking more is like a getaway with me and my other half. This is my 1st ever wedding anniversary, and I should set a tradition like a romantic getaway, or do something special, so that we would be practising it again next year and the year after. You know, keep the flames burning. I can't think of anywhere brilliant to go at this moment, maybe somewhere near like Melaka, or Genting or PD and stay somewhere affordable and just hanging around, enjoying the food, culture and atmosphere. For now, I'll be hunting for the prefect getaway. Maybe It'll happen, maybe not. Depends on what other brilliant ideas I might have or how much more money I can spend for this.
God, I wish I had more money to spend, so I can splurge on whatever I want, whenever I want it! My other half is always complaining that I splurge too much and not saving enough for rainy days. But hey, a woman's affair with the shopping complex is neverending, there's always something that we need and we find excuses for them: that particular pair of shoes or bag that we've been eyeing is on sale, or I've run out of perfume and the new Bvulgari is a must have. For me, shopping is therapy, it relaxes the mind and empties the pocket. That's why by middle of the month, we'be turning to our husbands for pocket money :P
Just hope I'll find the perfect getaway or we'll just find something to do:)

Monday, 18 June 2007

cReAtiVE hAnDS

Some people have it, some people don't. Some learn it by attending classes or thru their friends. Some are gifted, they only need to see the end product and they can imitate it so well, you won't know which one was the original creation. I'm actually talking about creative hands, making handicrafts.

Unfortunately, I am one of those who don't have the skill and passion and patience to do handyworks. My mum on the other hand, is very creative and knows how to do beautiful bunga dulang. Apart from becoming our culture during wedding festivals, it has become a work of art, creating beautiful bunga dulang to be adorned on the tray bearing gifts to the groom/bride .

But my mum always strived to be unique and indepent in her creations and I think the end result comes from the sincerity of her heart. She does it for my wedding, my brother's engegament and now, helping friends out...and I think she is actually quite good in this! Her creations have matured with the experience of her hands. I hope my mum continues creating beautiful things.

This blog is specially dedicated to my mum:)

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Beautiful Langkawi

I visited Langkawi on 10 May (which was the last day of school holiday) with my other half, we came on a Sunday and stayed on till Monday and managed to avoid the school holiday crowd:) Regretfully, it was a very short holiday but a most enjoyable one for me. We only spent one night in Langkawi, at Awana Porto Malai. I must say the view from the hotel room was really awesome as it is situated in a cove and the water is so blue with clear skies. It feels so calm to be so close to the sea, like your worries are blown away by the sea breeze....

I've always liked blue seas, I think all seas should be blue instead of brown, muddy colour. However, Emi begs to differ as she is so in LOVE with Frangipani Langkawi as it has one of the best sunset points in Langkawi. Great for sunset viewing, she says. Well, sunsets are not really my thing. I just like the blue, clear water.....its surreal like you're looking at a painting. You can never get the pictures right as the way you view them with your own eyes. That, or my camera sucks heh heh

I found Langkawi really enchanting and breathtaking and now I understand why people say its beautiful. On my previous trips to Langkawi, it was for work and you can never enjoy the place if you have to worry about work and the bossess :p This time around I came as a tourist, and I was on a mission to cover Langkawi as much as possible in 24 hours!

Well, we managed to visit a few touristic places like the Gunung Mat Cincang Cable Car ride (a must for anybody who wants to visit Langkawi, its like going to KL but not visiting the Twin Towers!), Underwater World (I must say bigger than Aquaria KL and more impressive), Pantai Pasir Hitam (or the Black Sand Beach, but a bit disappointing as it was dirty and unkempt), the Pantai Cenang stretch (good food, good shopping). We wanted to visit Beras Terbakar, but it was pasar malam day on Sunday at the entrance so we ditched the idea as it would be a hassle to find a parking space and go thru the pasar malam.

I'm still thinking of the wonderful memories that I had in Langkawi and I feel that I need to return to Langkawi for another holiday :)