Thursday, 27 November 2008

Me, Myself and I

Yesterday, my editor/friend/colleague, Fezin said he has almost reach the target of 200 pages of the travelogue that will contain various writings of people who have the privilege to travel with their work, including yours truly who have written on her experience in Venice. He also forwarded my article to other prospect writers as an example. I was elated that my article was good enough to be made an example to others and the sweetest thing is, it may be published! Still over the moon today on the news......the travelogue would be a unique Malaysian experience overseas, with unique point of views and perception......

When I was in Bandung early this month, I had the chance to go to a bookstore there and found two excellent travelogue books in Bahasa Indonesia titled: The Naked Traveler: Catatan seorang Backpacker Wanita Indonesia Keliling Dunia and Traveler's Tale: Belok Kanan: Barcelona! It could be an excellent reference for us to publish the Malaysian version of the travelogue. I'm not sure if there exists other travelogue in the market but Fezin says that the market for Bahasa Melayu travelogue is wider than English travelogue published in Malaysia. Maybe because the readers would prefer more sophisticated publications by world renowned travel writers. Maybe it's true, I don't know.....if I have the time, will check out for existing Malaysian travelogue in bookstores....

Monday, 24 November 2008

While I've Been Away......

Again, I was lagging behind in my posting. But more;

1. Forecast
The Outgoing Boss (which is going to be posted in Bangkok) asked me to do a forecast on tourist arrivals for year 2009. Eventhough I'm not handling statistics now but I was tasked to do it with the help of another assistant officer. We had to do linear regression in order to achive the projection. Kinda like your basic "upwards" chart but have to do some calculation to get the value of y=a+bx. In my desperation, I asked La Signora to forward me Ash's mobile number to help me check on the calculation. She checked it and basically said I'm on the right track. Anyway, we referred to another colleague who had done this years ago and he gave us a shortcut way to do it in Excel, and soon both of us were doing all kinds of regression which included Polynominal, Exponential and Linear. That was basically what I was busy with last week. Today, I found out from my colleague that the Big Boss won't use it as they have come up with another forecast. Sheesh! Time wasted...but at least I can say that I've learned something new, and I know that it's going to be a valuable tool in the future.

2. Meeting in Kuching
Barely two weeks after attending the workshop in Bandung, my Immediate Boss (IB) asked me to attend a meeting on Cruise in Kuching to replace her as I am a senior officer. I told her that I know nothing about cruise, being in Research only for two days and what if they ask me all kinds of questions about policy. Our organisation only focuses on promotion and marketing, policies are under the Ministry. So I pleaded with my IB to bring the project officer of cruise study along to be my understudy, as he has more technical expertise on this. So the two of us went to Kuching on Thursday, 20 Nov and returned on Saturday, 22 Nov. More stories on my adventures/misadventures in Kuching on my next blog posting.

3. Status
On my placement in the office. Again, when I was away from the office, important letters regarding the future of yours truly arrived. This kinda pisses me off as it had been the third time it happened. The first time was when I was in Kuching in August 2008, I received letter informing that I was to transfer to Research Division effective that September. Second time it occured, I was in Bandung and the letter infomed that I was being transferred to Domestic Division effective 10 November 2008, barely two months in Research. I vehemently refused to go to Domestic as 1) feels that I've more to learn about Research and wanna be good at it; 2) Domestic is hot seat division, why trouble myself after what I've been thru for the past 6 years. In this regard, the division had decided to retain me. This is when the third important letter for me arrived, dated 20 November 2008 while I was in Kuching from 20-22 November. It stated that I would be retained for the period of one year starting from the letter's date. What does the events are trying to tell me, whether it is pure coincidence or God's will? Who least now I know where I stand and can be firm about it.

4. Connection
Hubby recently bought a black casing yet transparent desktop with BenQ's 19-inch flatscreen monitor, instead of fixing his busted laptop. It cost him a cool RM1750.00, the monitor being RM450.00 only! Now he's in front of it every night playing cyber soccer. Well, at least we won't be fighting for the TV, plus I urged him to subscribe to Astro's movie channels by next month.....I'm in my heaven....lalalalala

Will update more on my trip to Kuching....

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Ms Fantaghiro's outing

View of Chiang Mai taken from Wikipedia

Missing the company of my best friend...Ms Fantaghiro's out on company outing to Chiang Mai since Thursday (13 Nov) till Sunday (16 Nov). She was supposed to go to Bali for the company trip, but what with the recent bomb threat for Bali, the boss decided to cancel the Bali trip barely 24 hours before departure. Ms Fantaghiro was devastated coz she was looking forward for this trip for months. Then the boss decided on Chiang Mai. She wasn't keen to go and had a long face on when she came to my house on Wednesday nite to borrow my suitcase and camera. I told her to cheer up, any trip would surely be a relief from office, just keep an open mind and enjoy it.....

Texted her yesterday but there was no reply...maybe sms didn't get thru international roaming like my time in Bandung recently. Anyway, am waiting for her to get back to get details on her trip and pics too....

Meanwhile, Air Asia's been having promotion on the no fuel usual travel mate's been pondering on the destination of our next trip.......still pondering....

Friday, 14 November 2008

Happy Birthday Mum!

14 November 2008 was my mum's 51st birthday. I called her yesterday to tell her that I'm going to Sarawak on 21 November and inviting her to come along with me on the trip. Then she casually said " Today's my 51st birthday!"....then I said "no wonder the date today seemed so familiar!"....I am so bad with birthdays!!! Anyway, a Happy Birthday to the special lady we call all sorts of name....starting from:

Mak, mum, meemok (kolat's specialty), the General (my dad's specialty) and of course her pseudonym: Kerabu Jantung.

Many happy returns of the day and May Allah bless you always!

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Bandung: Site Visits in Botanical Garden & Tea Plantation

I was in Bandung from 3-9 November for an agrotourism workshop, which had about 20 participants from various countries such as Lao, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Philippines, India, Taiwan and of course the host, Indonesia. After a gruelling 3 days workshop filled with presentations, we were ready to say goodbye to Bandung and go to agrotourism site visit namely to the Archipelago Botanical Garden in Cipanas and the Gunung Mas tea plantation in Bogor. It took about two hours from Bandung to reach Cipanas using the hilly road, and witness one motorcycle accident on the way, which thank God was not a fatal one. We arrived first at the botanical garden and had about two hours to walk around. There were different types of garden such as the French garden and American garden that was cultivated as part of the landscape.
Gunung Mas Tea Plantation
Tea plantation in Gunung Mas in Bogor

Tea pickers

The participants in factory garb - minah kilang huahua

Watching the workers airing the tea leaves

The group in front of the tea factory

The Archipelago Botanical Garden in Cipanas
a peacock with seasonal flowers in bloom for its tail

French garden

View from top of entrance

Agnes from Philippines and Hong from Vietnam with me in front of the garden's entrance

Mediterranean Garden: Love the cactus!

"Clown" flower from Vietnam

Didn't have time to go thru the maze, so just took a picture of it from the observation deck

Hydrangea in bloom

My mum loves this flower, she said it's called bunga Siti Zubaidah
The participants on our last nite out in Bandung, only managed to go to one factory outlet.
But we did went to the Bandung Electronic Mall (BEM), which is just like Low Yat plaza, really. We came back by angkutan kota or van sapu which cost about Rp5000 or RM1.75 per pax. By taxi, it could've easily cost about Rp50,000 for night fare (without meter).

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Indonesia: Culture, Signboards and Sights,

In Indonesia, the time difference with Peninsular Malaysia was about one hour. However, their sunrise is very early, which is at 5am and sunset is at 6pm. Therefore, 8am here feels like 10am already. It rained almost every afternoon when we were in Bandung. Couldn't do much shopping at the factory outlets.

Some of the things which really left an impression on me was how similar but yet different the culture and language of both countries. Its funny that Malaysia and Indonesia have the same language, but have different meanings, for example: bed in Indonesia is called ranjang but in Malaysia it's called katil. Katil in Indonesia means the bed in which you carry the dead (spooky!).

Also, some words which have the exact meaning in three different countries: goat is called "kambing" in Malaysia, Indonesia and also the Phillipines. "Ulam" means dish that accompanies rice in Tagalog. "Bahsa" means language to Sri Lankans and Malaysia, but it means "read" in Tagalog. Filipinos calls chicken "manug", whereas Sarawakian calls chicken "manuk". So many Tagalog words that have the same meaning in Malay: kanan, putih, lelaki. This trip has been a wonderful experience of language and culture with all the different countries, which I've never really experienced in previous job assignments. To experience it to such an extent that I feel we are bonding beautifully as a group of participants to the workshop.

Some of the pics i took on sights around Bandung and some signboards which amuses me.
Roadstall was up and running by 7.30am in Bandung

Bandung road in the morning

Traffic in the morning in Bandung

Cigarette ad

Road stall in Bogor selling avocados, sweet yams and the white things hanging are called singkong or cassava - tastes like tapioca. Reminds me of that song really..."aku suka keju, kau suka singkong..."

Bogor area

School kids by the roadside - view from bus

A lot of roadstalls like this selling food like baso, satay padang.

I've tried mie ayam pedas and mie baso...but haven't tried mie babat - or perut

Very catchy advertisement

and tada! My favourite advertisement - because of the bold colours and bold words :)

Words are everything in Indonesia. Next time you're there, open your eyes to the advertisements. It can be hillarious but at the same time very catchy and truthful. No beating round the bush that you won't get the meaning. Nothing lost in translation.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Updates for November

Hi cyber friends...I'm back!!! Some updates on what happened to me during the hiatus:

1. Attending a course in Indonesia
Was attending an agrotourism course in Bandung and Jakarta from 3 - 9 November 2008. I have been to both Jakarta and Bandung, but it's nice to revisit the places again. One important thing is that, I need to go SHOPPING! but couldn't do it in Bandung coz the workshop ended at 5.30pm and it rained in the evening, so what a bummer...but managed to do some shopping in Tanah Abang complex in Jakarta. Besides that, Ministry of Agriculture Indonesia was kind enough to bring us for a field trip to the Archipelago Botanical Garden in Cipanas and also Gunung Mas tea plantation in Bogor. More updates on the trip on my next blog posting.

2. Job movement, again!!!
While I was in Bandung, received a phone call from my colleague informing that I'd received a letter dated 5 November to move to yet another division. This time around to Domestic Promotion Division. I was stunned to hear the news because I was just transferred to Research Division only two months ago. Have not reported duty to the new division, which was suppose to be on 10 November coz I was on leave. But my current Division is going to appeal to not move me to that Division, because I'd just started to adapt to the work. Anyway, see how it goes on the decision from the top management. For now I was told that senior officers (like myself) are needed to be on the operation side to do marketing and promotion. My personal opinion: It's a hassle to move again, but I think it's better to stay than move to Domestic. That is a hot seat division as Minister is now focusing on domestic promotion.

3. Laptop still busted
It's been that way for the past two weeks and I hadn't the liberty to update as often as I would like it to be. Note to self: Will continue to nag on hubby to fix it hehe

4. My kitties
I had given away all my kitties. Have some pictures on their last day with me and drop off but couldnt upload yet. I've given two kitties to Gojie, my office mate and another one, Kemek, to my sis in law. Kemek is now known as Meme, and she actually responds to that name. I was informed that all three kitties are behaving well and still go to their litter box. What a relief! Seems that I'd train them well. I had to get rid of the kitties as my house is too small and for health reasons. My mum is convinced that it's the cats' furs that are making me cough.

So that's it for now...will update again soon.