Friday, 16 May 2008


Since I got time to kill, waiting for my other half to come and fetch me I decided to do a trivia, stolen from Ziah's blog, which she stole from Mrs C, which she stole from Ash. So here goes:

Back to Jakarta again, I want to buy more tudung, more kebayas, more telekung sulam.....

Joyce from Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre...because we were discussing about KL Convention Centre for a possible dinner venue.

Cat food..because it's always at top of my mind and the reason why I go to T.S. Mega.

History, Geography and English.

Definitely wake up late because it's a weekend, then laze around all day in front of the tv and maybe some badminton with Ms Fantaghiro in the evening.

Weekends and public holidays, go figure haha


Err...not good at keeping birthdays but mine's on 25th August. So...hint...hint

Which Sea World? (copied Ziah's answer)

With God’s permission, 3 or 4. (copied Ziah's answer)

My body and how it refuses to slim down (hah!)

DVDs, books, shoes, handbags, more kain.

Strawberries from Puncak in Jakarta. Yeah, I malas makan buah.....

In a pigeonhole. Dreaming of a better home...

I'm easy going.

Not being able to stand up for my self especially in the work place where you are just the ikan bilis.


Yes, I can do breast stroke very well. Not so good with freestyle.

Yup, my other half who's suppose to pick me up right now. And also Lisa, who's in Adelaide. Sob..sob...miss you lisa.

Yup. She's thinner and prettier. She's my soulmate, but damn I can hate her so much if she's on one of her mood swings.

Faris who is in Rompin now.

Discussion with the boss about a dinner event that we have to organize next week. Maybe include Noryn Aziz to perform, Alan Bligh to MC, and some batik fashion show on stage.

Thursday, 15 May 2008


Tehbotol in a box

Yet another trip that I made to Indonesia, just 3 months apart from the last time I went to Bali in January this year. I guess I like going to Indonesia because: 1. Its cheap (RM100 = IDR284,000) 2. Language is not a barrier 3. So many things to buy (textiles, handicrafts, even branded goods are cheaper here) 4. The people are nice and hardworking. Just beware of pick pockets and your belongings.

This time around, my sister-in law initiated this trip after her last one in Jan 2008. Basically, this was supposed to be a purely shopping trip for the girls. But we went sightseeing, so at least we visited some tourist attractions. Some tips if you want to go to Jakarta for a trip:

1. Buy cheap airfare
This is always the major chunk of expenditure for any trip, be it overseas or domestic travelling. With the latest fare squabble between this region’s mightily successful low cost carrier AirAsia and the 5-star airline, Malaysia Airlines, the consumers have a very good chance to get the lowest airfare ever to the destinations of their choice (domestic/international). With the Zero Fares promotion, a trip to Indonesia can easily set you back RM200. As Tony Fernandez said it: Now everyone can fly!

2. Surf the internet for cheap accommodation
To save more money for shopping, you don’t need to stay in 5-star hotels. As long as the water runs, the bed’s made, there’s tv and aircond in the room, provide breakfast, then the hotel’s ok. Extra perks if the hotel got additional facilities like free internet or pool. You would only be back to the hotel at night to sleep. So, staying in a 5-star hotel would be a total waste.

3. Transportation
Book a transport to make sure you don’t get ripped-off by taxis. Easy to get MPV’s like Suzuki Arena or Kijang (Unser). Can book this thru a travel agent on the internet. Normally, it can cost you about Rp500,000 per day, minus petrol (about Rp100,000 per day), toll (less than Rp5,000 per toll) and driver’s overtime (about Rp50,000 per day ). Additional charge about Rp200,000 if you want to go to Bogor or Bandung which is about 1 hour out of Jakarta.

4. Shopping
: Tanah Abang complex. It is complete with about 10 floors, ranging from textile (laces by the metres), ready made blouses, kebaya with beautifully intricate sulam, telekung with sulams, tudung, baju batik Indon, suit for work, shoes, curtains. Cheaper to buy the stuff in 3s or by the kodi.
Handbags: Head to Mangga Dua mall if you love designer handbags like LV, D&G, Gucci, Prada but can’t afford the real thing. The place is really like a pasar, but you can get really good bargains and latest designs for handbags, wallets and some designer sandals.
Handicrafts: Jatinegara mall. If you want to buy handicrafts in bulk for weddings or just for giveaway items, head here to buy it in the minimum 100 pcs. Cute batik purses, woven fans, keychains are some of the items.
Branded items: Plaza Senayan or Pulau Indah mall for real branded goods. Case in point: Lacoste ladies t-shirt costs about RM180 in Indonesia, compared to buying it in KL, which is about RM300.

5. Food
: Jakarta people sure like their donuts! Dunkin Donuts shops are practically everywhere. Other local brands like J.Co Donuts, Ring Master, i.crave which offers really soft and creative donut toppings are also available.
Baso: Noodle soup with beef balls are a must have when you’re in Jakarta. Try the Baso by Es Teller branch. Another one is Bakmie, noodle with chicken strips and clear soup on the side.
TehBotol: Indonesian national drink in a bottle. I was hooked on this throughout my stay. Even brought two kotak back, courtesy of my sis-in-law.
Special Roti bakar: thick slices of breaded toasted with cheese and chocolate rice, and a dash of sweetened milk on top. One word: Yummy!

6. Must see attractions
Safari in Bogor
: Superb open zoo where you go thru the animal’s habitat and can even feed the animals with carrots and bananas sold by the peddlers outside the safari. Mind you its illegal to feed the animals, because they are well fed and taken care of. But if you don’t feed the Llamas and the zebras, they’d block your car and you won’t be able to move. Naughty creatures, but I’m sure some conservationist would say that we have spoiled the animals’ natural instinct by feeding them. Same thing like eagle feeding in Langkawi, the new breed of eagles doesn’t know how to hunt for their food. Instead they just wait around Sg Kilim at 10am for their breakfast. Nonetheless, it’s amazing to see wild animals up close and personal.
Puncak in Bogor: The scenery is quite similar to Cameron Highlands where they plant tea and even strawberries. Cool climate to enjoy, but beware of peddlers selling knick-knacks. Its sad, but the peddlers only make about Rp20,000 – Rp30,000 per day, which is only about RM10 ringgit per day.
Taman Mini Indonesia: Life size traditional Indonesian houses for a cultural tour.

7. Tipping
Tipping is a must, it’s a way of life in Indonesia. Our driver have to tip the attendant at parking eventhough we have paid the parking, then another for stopping the traffic. Bell boys should be tipped at all time. Drivers should be tipped by the end of day or for meals (about Rp50,000 per day or whatever amount you think fit. Mind you, each meals costs about Rp10,000). Our driver said he earned as much as a Lacoste t-shirt, which is about Rp550,000 rupiah per month.

Now, to plan for my next trip, for next year……….

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Cleanliness is next to Godliness

I had half a mind to report to the authorities about the conditions of our pantry, which is quite abominable, and I’m sure breaking a lot of health code. For starters, it is overrun by cockroaches that can be seen running freely up and down the countertops where people are having breakfast. In the area where they prepared hot drinks, again the cockroaches running about as usual among the cutleries and bread and butter.

By the way, this pantry is operated by an individual who got the contract thru a tender process, and who supposedly had a connection with a minister. That’s why he got this contract in the first place. And that’s why the service is so lousy. He had no previous background in catering, and his staff was equally as bad in delivering their service.

Case in point: the pantry have to provide our meetings with refreshment, normally hot drinks plus 2 types of kuih or sandwich. They would always deliver the refreshment at least half an hour late, when you’ve already started the meeting, especially with outsiders or foreign guests. I almost died of embarrassment when the boys sending the refreshment, late by half an hour, setting the table with cups and saucers, their bodies very smelly from the sweat, wearing white shirts which was almost grey, their fingernails dirty. Setting up the glass for mineral water holding the mouth of the glass. The foreigners wouldn’t dream of drinking from that glass. I wouldn’t drink from that glass. Other horror stories such as the cup smelling of cockroaches (probably from the cockroaches running up and down the pantry) and my colleagues have discovered cockroaches legs inside the hot drinks (eep!).

Last week I was surprised to hear that his contract got renewed even though the service was so bad and that the minister who’d be able to influence the appointment was no longer in service. Reasons for renewal was because he hadn’t been able to pay up his loan that he took when he started this service. Go figure, with bad service and cleanliness issue, people aren’t going to the pantry to eat. I for one have stopped going there for ages. People should boycott him so that his service can be terminated and end our suffering. Period.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Ladies with Soul

Last month I went to the KL International book fair with the hope of buying some great works of literature, I have even searched thru the web in “1001 books to read before you die” and in Oprah’s book club. Some of the interesting titles that I had found were Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity & Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird. Hard covers like Nigella’s Express costs well over RM100.

Of course being a thrift shopper, I like my books cheap even though it’s not a Booker Prize winner or a Times best seller’s list. My preference with novels are those with lots of dialogue. But I always buy books which have good recommendations, so if it happens to be a bestseller than I’m lucky. So I went to Payless Books to get discounted paperbacks novels. This time around I was looking for a specific writer, Anne Rice. Inspired by her novel, The Body Thief, following the adventures of Lestat, the vampire from Interview with the Vampire. I was excited to find two of her other titles, The Mummy, or Ramses the Damned and The Witching Hour. The other author that I was lucky to find was Amy Tan’s Hundred Secret Senses and The Bonesetter’s Daughter. I’ve read Joy Luck Club, but I didn’t remember the book having a huge impact on me.

I find that even though Anne Rice’s story in with The Body Thief was intense and exciting, The Mummy was a bit flat and ludicrous. Its like watching a B-grade movie, except I was reading it. I mean how ridiculous for a mummy (Ramses) to be resurrected after thousands of years and then falling in love with the first person that he sees. And Ramses being able to accept the world so easily. I would’ve expected that he turned evil like that dude in “The Mummy” movie. Another painful book by her, is the Witching Hour which was said to be her most ambitious novel ever (haha I’m a bit outdated as she’s written this sometime in the 90s). It’s a terribly slow read as she painfully describes each character with unnecessary details, which I couldn’t care less about. I’ve yet to finish the book, but probably I’ll come round to it once I’m out of reading materials!

Amy Tan’s books are just wonderful! Both of her books are about family relationships and Chinese traditions or rather, superstitions. I feel like, being an Asian and having some Chinese blood myself (albeit several generations removed), I was able to identify with her Chinese characters. Her writing is both funny and informative and the descriptions of Chinese traditions are quite vivid. Its both believable and entertaining. In the Bonesetters Daughter, the story revolves around several decades where once upon a time dragon bones were collected for medicinal purposes. It’s a really touching story about a mother and daughter and the way Chinese families function. In The Hundred Secret Senses, its more funny and lighthearted as the second main character’s sister can actually communicate with Yin people (the dead) and having conversations with them which spooked her half sister (the main character). Amy Tan is now one of my favourite writers, as long as she keeps writing about Chinese family living in America (which is her recurring theme in both novels). This is her forte. I think she will suck if she writes about something else because this is her life, being a Chinese heritage living in America.

Friday, 2 May 2008

Art of Presentation

Last week I was in Langkawi attending a course on Training of Trainers. The course is about how you train those under you, and one of the important skills that you must have is demonstrating a skill or presenting some information. The trainers, Darren and Amanda are using the Australian based structure for this course and they have promised by the time we finished the course we look at presentations with a different eye. How true the words are. I found myself grading my boss’s conduct during a meeting, with some technical improvements that he can apply during his presentation. Just to share about the things that I’ve learned during the course:

1. Plan your presentation
Do some research to get more info, and structure your presentation to make it more impactful.

2. Introduction is very important to capture an audience’s attention.
The first two minutes is very crucial in making or breaking your presentation. Do an interesting introduction to link the audience to the topic that you are presenting i.e asking questions to the audience on their existing knowledge on the subject or do a role play to catch their imagination. Lots of ways to do an interesting introduction.

3. Gauge your audience’s background and learning abilities
There are visual, auditory and kinesthetic learners. A powerpoint presentation caters for all types of learning as it has written words and colours for the visual learners, the words that is spoken for the auditory learners and some movements in the PowerPoint itself that can catch the kinesthetic learners’ attention. Better yet, do a demonstration or activity to make the session fun and everyone involved.

4. Learning outcomes
Line out the outcomes that you want the audience to learn by the end of your presentation, so they know what kind of info to look out for in your presentation.

5. Present something which is close to your heart
You wont need a script if you present something that you are really familiar with. Some cue cards or pointers on the board/PowerPoint would b able to prompt you for the presentation. For my 10 minutes presentation, I did a demonstration on basic movements of Taekwondo, which I can do with my eyes closed, literally!

6. Proper body language and intonation.
Appropriate gestures to punctuate your words, should be controlled for more effects, instead of just nervousness. Too much gestures would distract attention to your presentation. Proper high and low tones to emphasis the points that you are making instead of just a monotone. People can get bored to death with monotone presentation. Check out death by presentation in YouTube.

7. Ending the presentation with future opportunities
Mention some of future opportunities to learn more about the topic with suggestions of book, websites or even contacting you (the speaker) directly.

I feel after attending this presentation, I would be able to plan and build up a proper structure for my presentation. I also feel that I’d be able to present confidently and effectively in the future.