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: