Thursday, 16 September 2010

Being a Teenager

High school was a trying time for many of us. I wasn't popular in my second secondary school, but I get along well with others. I wasn't conventionally thin like all the other girls in school. I think I was a bit pretty (oh! the vainess of it all). Sure I had a lot of crushes but nothing materialize coz I never did anything about them. I didn't think anybody was interested in me.

Imagine my surprise when one day, a boy handed me a letter, mail from another boy. My heart was pounding in my ears, I was nervous and curious from where it was from, so I read the letter. In it were a school boy's confession of desire to know me more, and could I please call him at the numbers stated in the letter to get the ball rolling. Lo and behold, he was from my class. I remembered thinking that he was painfully shy and a bit reclusive. But he had the nerve to write me this letter, it must have taken up all he could to muster his courage to compose me that letter.

I never thought of him that way. I was indignant that he couldn't talk to me like a normal person would. I remembered thinking that we are classmates, therefore we are friends, and friends can talk to each other. I thought that I could talk to him next day about this 'thing', and I didn't call him as requested. But he didn't show up in school, and it went on for days. Then out of the blue, he would show up in school but missed lessons, and that became his pattern throughout the remainder of the school year. I felt guilty that he had skipped school because he was embarrassed by my rejection, or lack of response thereof by not calling upon him as stated. I felt responsible for him not doing well in school. We did passed by each other in the school hallways but it became one of those awkwards moments that I quickly pushed behing the corners of my mind.

Did I really made him reacted the way he did? I don't know as I never had the nerve to pursue it. I guess in some way, he was braver than me when he wrote that letter. Or maybe I didn't have the chance to explain myself. But anyway, I thought that a person should determine how his/her life's going to be despite the circumstances surrounding it. I'm not accountable for what happened but it would be nice if I could have a chance to say my peace.

Monday, 13 September 2010


Al-Fatihah to the victims in Datuk Sosilawati's murder case. Takziah to all the family members. I can not imagine what they are going thru now....

This is not a claim to fame, arwah Ahmad Kamil & wife were the same batch with me in Matrics IIU in 96'. However, we are not in contact after IIU but friends used to bring updates about ex-IIU students, so we knew bits and pieces about other friends, including them.

Its sad and shocking to hear something like this happened to somebody we used to know. May arwah be in a better place now & Allah cucuri rahmatNya. May Allah give peace of mind to the families...Ameen

Hope the bastards who did this crime will be caught and heavily punished....Insya Allah..

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Eid Mubarak

Eid Mubarak and Maaf Zahir & Batin to my family and friends.

Hope our celebration is in moderation so that we won't gain back all the kilos that we had shed during the fasting month :p

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Happy Burffday to Me...Yeay!

What a fun birthday this turns out to be. I turned 32 today!!

Last night had an awesome iftar with 2 good friends at TGI Friday's in Wangsa Walk. Ate till I puked afterwards - we ordered the Ramadhan set which had 3 appetizers & 3 main course. Ate till we can't eat anymore. Then had a nightcap at Bangi Kopitiam branch - met a couple of friends till around 12++. Tapau-ed the leftovers from TGIF and I ate them for sahur, but unfortunately puked again. Damn! I must be allergic to the fried mac & cheese. What a shame....

Anyway, we had a Hari Raya video shoot this morning. Everyone was told beforehand to doll up in our finest Hari Raya get ups - the girls in kebayas and baju kurungs and the boys in baju Melayu with songkok, and the odd mat salleh in baju batik!

The video director arranged us in lines, and I had to be in my tippy toes so that my face can be seen. Then the boss have to say a few words and have to shout out the raya cheers and waved to the camera and salam each other.

The boys (2 boys missing from this pic). Note the mat salleh wearing songkok(He's actually our consultant)...hehe...we should buy him a proper baju Melayu with all the trimmings - butang, songkok, sampin, even chapal - to get him ready for all the Hari Raya open houses.

The girls mainly in shades of purple, pink & green

The gediks (ok its just me who's gedik) - secondees from our old job

Monday, 9 August 2010

Room to Expand and Grow

Its easy to stick to your own niche
Sometimes must learn to grow out of your skin
and be uncomfortable just to feel comfortable
Change is difficult and strange
but to succeed one must gain

Responsibilities must be dealt with
Not stashed or swept away
Neither just to delegate nor escalate it
Maybe some help will set you on your way
Perhaps you'll grow to be good at it

Who knows what the human mind is capable of
For sure there's room to expand and grow
Till then I'll try and try more...

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Morbidly morbid

Hubby's been having a weird fascination for airplane crashes these past few weeks, thanks to Nat Geo's Air Crash Investigation series. So when I come home at night, he'd start reiterating the latest serie of the air crash aired that day. He took it to the next level - forwarded to me a website that reports about air crashes that happened way back in the 60s till now, including the Airblue Pakistan doomed flight, last two days.

In my downtime, I started to browse thru the blog and even read some transcript from the black box recording of the crew on their final moments before death. When I got back from work, we swapped stories about the air crashes. I didn't want to do it but somehow got sucked in this conversation.

What is this morbid preoccupation with mortality or other sensational cases?

Is it imbedded in human nature to be attracted to all things sensation, eventhough it involves death? Hubby says, live curiously (taken from Nat Geo)

Normally, I'd be in my own bubble and try to steer away from stories of death, ghosts, etc. Its my way of keeping my mental health so that I won't be afraid of things. Now I am a little paranoid about flying, though I've done it hundreds of time before and not get hung up about it.

Ms Fantaghiro says airlines are very strict nowadays with safety.

Sure, but what about human error, weather and technical error? Things happen, and maybe they happen for a reason. Ms Fantaghiro says when death knocks, even the simplest act can be a cause of death. True that.

Footnote: Hubby's fascinated with a dead cat we saw on the road yesterday and been making jokes about the poor thing turning into a ghost, albeit a flattened one, to haunt me!

Friday, 30 July 2010

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly......

I was jobless for about 6 months after I graduated. I think that's not too bad considering I been cramming my head for 6 years in Uni (matrix 2 years, main camp 4 years). Ok, I may exaggerate with the cramming thingy, but being jobless was quite fun and hopeless then. I tried applying for Master and a few jobs.

Then I got my first job with a goverment department. Stayed there for 7 years. Learning thru experience the way a government works. Still don't understand it though, the politics and all. Hated governmental meetings - especially with all the KSUs and SUBs and Ministries and what have you not. Very "skema" and rigid and beauracratic, and long winded and no decisions.

Then I was seconded to this company, albeit for two years only. It made me open my eyes. Working in a small organizations can be an upside. Everybody knows everybody. Everybody knows what everybody is suppose to do and is doing. The job function is very clear cut, unlike in government department its all matrix system. So, a government staff is like a jack of all trade but master of none. In a small company, everybody does his or her own job with efficiency. We can't afford to delay or push it to other staff - so there is accountability for the staff. In a government department, an higher grade officer can push the work to other officers. Or can push it to other divisions, or even push it to another ministry.

But in a small company, the chances of being promoted can be quite tough as there's no room to grow. But there is freedom in work unlike the gorvernment procedures.

Since I have started out to work in a government department, it is quite scary for me to switch to private sector. Especially with job security and all. I don't know how long this company will last, eventhough it is a GLC. Somehow, we have to make our roles relevant to the gorvernment in order for them to keep supporting us. A lot of GLCs are now having issues, like Sime Darby, and even companies like Pempena have gone down the drain. I have seen some ex-government staff who opted out to join these GLCs, have to come back and beg for their old jobs, after all these years. It is very demoralizing to do that especially if you are approaching the Golden Era.

Only time will tell. In the meantime, we just have to try very hard to be relevant.

We have Moved!

Almost two months have lapsed since I update this blog.

Been busy with the office move and recruitment. Things had been so hectic - with movers, new things to order, new network, new telephone, new PCs, new staff, new work.......eveything is new We moved office on 30 June, and new staff came in 1st July, and throughout July. First day of move, and our PCs are not in yet, telephone lines are not connected, network not installed - the most fundamental elements in any office. Starting from scratch contacting all suppliers can be a daunting task, especially when you think the suppliers are out to get you.

Who knew admin work is so gruelling, especially starting a new office. Good learning experience for me and its quite a challenge as I have to literally manage the office set up from A-Z with minimum guidance but with a good team, managed to complete the tasks. All fast decisions in short lead time - must know what you want or at least decide what you want. No time to be fickle minded and changing decisions every so often. On top of that, have to consider the boss's opinion and take on things, besides the other staff's inputs. The fine art of managing and balancing all at the same time, which I find can be very challenging, and somehow quite enjoyable at times.

Maybe after this I can start my own office with my own business. Heh.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Real Friends or Friends with Benefits?

Since graduating, I found that I only have a handful of friends that I am in touch with. Maybe life has changed when friends got jobs, got married, have kids. Can't expect to see your friends everyday. But then you have friends that you can always count on, are more quality, than quantity.

For me, I am very fortunate Ms Fantaghiro loves coming over. We now diversify our activities...not just hanging out and eat and b***h but we do other stuff together like cooking, exercising, etc. She is one of the longest surviving friend that I have since Matrix days way back in 1996. Oh, and La Signora, too. Though now we have a more cyber friendship since she has moved to Tanah Kangaroo.

But I also have friends at work. Its normal for everybody to have friends at work. But real friends for me transcends the working time. When you work together on projects, have a better understanding of each other, not having to tread carefully with the colleague, then you start being more than just work colleagues. But its taken a step higher when you start spending time after work, to do stuff other than work. You start to be friends, confidante, etc. Maybe berangan together looking for new businesses ideas with Aza De Kaza or holidaying together - which was my first experience going overseas with friends from work.

But I do have suppliers and past clients as friends. We are more like activities buddies - we go to spa, salsa classes, new dining experience. A conflict of interest? Maybe...if the other party does have a vested interest by befriending me, like hoping to be awarded a contract or a job just because of the friendship. But to me work is work, eventhough we are friends. Must follow the criteria just like other suppliers does, and the rest is based on merit -if the company is good enough to be appointed. Thank God that I do not yet experienced my arms twisted to appoint a certain company because pressures of friendship. God help me I become objective when that happens.

Oh, and I do pay for my own spa treatments, thank you very much.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Nasi Kerabu - Resipi Kerabu Jantung

Nasi kerabu - Kerabu Jantung
(Ingredients in pic is incomplete coz I forgot to put the fish & kelapa)

One of the weekends, I tried my hand on making nasi kerabu. Not really difficult but need some prep work. Recipe courtesy of Kerabu Jantung.

You may ask what's the difference between the nasi kerabu that you always bought in pasar malam with this nasi kerabu recipe. And, no, its not because of the bluish color of the rice. That effect can be made by adding pucuk mengkudu to the rice that you are cooking. The anwser lies in the yellowish kuah lemak. This kuah lemak is something as it adds flavour to the nasi kerabu. Possibly because of the budu in the kuah lemak :p

Again, it is easy enough to make but a lot of prep work. Here's the recipe:

Kuah Lemak:
250 gms santan
1 btg serai
2 asam keping
dash of cuka/squeeze of lemon/limau
1 tbsp budu or as u like it
(boil everything together)

Daging Salai
Marinade beef with onion, garlic, ginger & bit of soy sauce
(Grill till well done and slice thinly for serving)

Chili sauce:
5 chilies
(blend chillies than add vinegar and water to taste)

4 ikan kembung
3 asam keping
(boil the fish till its cooked, then deboned and fry without oil till it becomes very dry like fish floss)

Young coconut flesh - grated
(fry without oil till it becomes brown and crispy)

Long beans
Bean sprouts
Daun selom*
White Cabbage*
Kacang botol*
(whatever ulam or veggie you fancy - in my case the ones *)

* In a plate combine all the ingredients plus keropok keping, and enjoy!

Wednesday, 5 May 2010


I have been drooling over this dish ever since I saw it in one of the Korean dramas and later with my mum watching the Discovery Channel about Korea. Apparently bibimbap is a popular Korean dish which literally means "mixed rice" and in the old days it was the dish for the Emperors and also for ceremonies. But now it has become a common and popular dish, besides kimchi.

So last night decided to make this for my buka puasa as I thought about it for the better part of the afternoon (!). Saw the recipe here , and here, got the basic idea about bibimbap and improvised on the ingredients. Main ingredients are: rice, beef, and different types of veggies. Its best to have 3-4 types of veggies. I had bean sprouts, carrots, white button mushroom and kangkung in my kitchen. Korean food is all about health, color of food and presentation. It does reminds me of nasi goreng and nasi kerabu, because you have a rice dish filled with veggies like nasi kerabu, yet the all the ingredients are cooked but the rice. Tastes like nasi goreng too.

Here's my version of bibimbap and how to prepare it in a hurry (I did it within 30 minutes for break of fast):

1. Cook the rice with beef stock, let it be moist or slightly lembek;
2. Cook all the vegies seperately with oil, garlic and salt to taste;
3. Beef bulgogi - my corrupted recipe is to season the beef with minced onion and garlic, dark soy sauce, stir fry it;
3. Red pepper paste or gochujang - since I didn't have this, then I just fry my cili boh with some oil and put some seasoning in - like sambal olek;
4. One egg, cook over easy;
5, Assamble the bibimbap - rice first, then arrange all the vegies and meat around the rice. Koreans have a specific way to arrange the vegies so that you have all the colors in order. Then top of with the over easy egg. One tbsp of sambal on top of the egg.
6. Mix eveything in the pot. Eat and Enjoy!

This was how I arranged the bibimbap in a bowl. It didn't look so appetizing coz this was my second helping with one scoop of rice. I was too hungry to take a picture with the first batch.

This was actually my first bowl of bibimbap with two scoops of rice. Mind you I had seconds after two hours (for sahur heh heh)...and still had left overs for tomorrow.

I have never tasted the real bibimbap in a Korean restaurant. I'm sure the taste maybe different - with the gochujang paste, sesame oil, and the sweet element in Korean food, but I'm already liking my version of bibimbap.

This post is dedicated to Ms Fantaghiro who is ever so silly whenever she hears the word bibimbap and to my mum who told me to cook the bibimbap for her.

Cat Killer

I am deeply saddened by the act of this person who commited freely that he had stomped on his cat just because the cat bit him hard when handled. As a result the cat died. May Allah bless the soul of this cat and may it not suffered till the end. And the guy wasn't feeling remorseful or guilty by his act. He even kept the ppicture of the dead cat on his phone, bleeding and all! What a bastard!

Cats are animals, and thus very instinctive. We have to be patient with cats. Especially when you just bought the cat to a new place. Its understandable when it's scared and refused to eat. Give it time, not stomp it to death. What a waste of RM1300.

I do admit I lost my temper at times with Mami the cat, when she did something wrong. But cats know when you're angry with them. They'd sulk and try to avoid you. But its a love hate relationship. They always come back to you, and you to them.

Makes me wonder what kind of a father this person would be to his children in the future.

Monday, 3 May 2010


I was in Shanghai for work last April. It was so cold - about 10 Degrees, with rain and wind blowing. Luckily, I was mostly indoors for the tradeshow, so only feel the cold while waiting for our driver to bring us around.

Shanghai is a metropolitan city. It's not the same with Beijing which is more cultural and more chistorical. I didn't see much of Shanghai due to hectic schedule. But the thing I remebered most about Shanghai is the food. seems that my entries lately is centred more around food...anyway. I managed to sample lovely Xinjiang musim cuisine which is easy to find in Shanghai. Just look for the food signage with Mosque logo and "Halal" and InsyaAllah you'll be greeted with Chinese men wearing ketayap.

The food is cheap and delicious, and most importantly, fresh. They favour beef and lamb in their dishes, and lots of spices. Its very hearty and fullfilling. We went to three different types of Xinjiang restaurant - posh steamboat restaurant, roadside shop and another posh restaurant.

Eatery 1: Xinjiang steamboat restaurant

Enjoying steamboat on a rainy night - hot soup with thinly sliced beef, a garden of vegetables - including lotus root, green veggies, mushrooms, potato, etc

Eatery 2: Roadside shop

We ordered stir fry beef with a type of long beans, then beef with potates - taste similiar like padprik but more spicy

My menu: freshly made noodles which tasted like pasta al dente with beef and with a type of long beans - whihc tasted sweet and something like asparagus. Due to language limitation, we'll never know what it is!

The propreitor of the shop with his family

Me and Siti whose living in Shanghai and spoke basic Mandarin but enough to get by with ordering food! She told me once she had tried to ask for a an extra plate from the shop and pointed to the plate in the menu and the waiter brought her a plate of dish! Talk about miscommunication...

Eatery 3: Posh restaurant

Stir fry chicken with lots of spices, one of it looks like ketumbar but has a very stinging and numbing effect to the tongue...not really pleasant but the chicken was good!

Lamb with long beans - another spicy dish but this one was overtly salty. At first we thought that the dish was intentionally salty but Siti confirmed that normally it wasn't so...

And my verdict? Eatry 2: Roadside shop - even though very humble looking but it was unpretentious with food for real people. My favourite dish of all was the freshly made noodles with toppings of beef and type of long beans/asparagus like. I think I can try to make the dish out of pasta noodles but it won't be the same as the freshly made noodles.....


* Another person from the office just resigned 24 hours. Again! What the hell is wrong with everybody, quitting their jobs is like missing school kah? The thing that pisses me off was that person had prior knowledge that the day was coming because that person was interviewed a few months ago. At least gives us a heads up lah....haiyo, mah fan lo!

* Suffered terrible jam last Saturday - I had to attend a cousin's wedding in Melaka. We departed from home at 11.30am and reached Melaka at 4pm! The jam was terribel, it was just lots of cars and everybody rush to enter the Ayer Keroh exit, whcih took us one hour to complete the last 5km to the tol Ayer Keroh. Never again travel on public holiday.

* Job interviews going on for the new office set up - 14 job positions all in all. Hope to have a really good team so that we can start fresh.

* Office renovation finally underway after the Boss signed the approval. Estimation of completion: early June. Estimation to move in: Middle - Late June.

* Currently reading " A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hoesseini. Awesome book and love the writing style, so precise and concise. Makes an easy reading but very touching at the same time. But loved his earlier book - The Kite Runner better.

Monday, 5 April 2010

TGI Friday's

Last week I was introduced by my friend Sha to TGI Friday's. We went to Life Centre last Saturday after a heavenly session of spa at Samsara Spa.

The TGIF branch at Life Centre has interesting paraphernalia on the walls - American antiques

I didn't know what to order, and everything on the menu looked good. So to make things simple, I ordered something which have a lot of things on it so that i can sample everything on one plate - Friday's Three for All. It has loaded potato skins with beef bits, Buffalo Wings and Fried Mozarella. The loaded potato skins was ok-lah coz it wasn't crispy enough. The Buffalo wings wasn't so nice as the ranch dressing was only sour and not strong enough. Love the fried mozarella though as it was very crispy and goes very well with the marinara dressing.

Sha ordered the Chicken Caesar's Salad. Loved the romaine lettuce sprinkled with cheese and grilled chicken. Very hearty meal.

On another, visit I tried the fried Mac and Cheese. It was ok, but not creamy enough. Maybe next time I'll try the real mac and cheese, instead of the fried one.

I'm not really a fan of desserts but I find that TGIF have the best dessert ever. My favourite is the Brownie Obsession. The dish is a contrast of warm and cold. The ice cream is brain freezing cold, while the brownies is warm and toasty. I really, really enjoyed it and think that it is better than Chili's brownies.

Another excellent dessert is the Mocha mud pie - its a choc almond mousse and coffee ice cream drenched in choc syrup, toasted almonds on top as well as sprinkled with choc crust. Not a fan of coffee, but the pairing of mocha and choc is palatable for non-coffee lovers. Frankly, it's awesome!

On yet another visit, my friends and I tried the Boneless Wings, Fish & chips and Chicken Fajitas nachos. Love the tartar sauce of the fish & chips, and the chicken fajitas nachos is crispy - better than Kickin' Jack Nachos at Chilis

1. I love the environment as it is less crowded than Chilis and they have great music - try TGIF at Wangsa Walk, as they have a lot of space and still new.
2. Price wise, the ala carte menu is a bit expensive than Chili's.
3. Appeal to the wallet as they have the 2 course menu for RM29.90 every Mon-Fri. Choose one entree and one main course to share it with your friend.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

The Etiquette of Quitting Your Job

I have never quit from a job before, possibly because I was fresh out of Uni and got a job at a government department - that's for life security. The only experience I have of a changing workplace, is being transferred to another division. Even so that involves with some kind of procedure/etiquette.

However, being in the middle management now, I have had experiences with people quitting on the job under my watch. Well, two to be exact, eventhough they were on temporary basis. I don't mean to judge their reasons for quitting, but I just want to share how I feel about being in this kind of situation and how the said employee/s could've done better from just leaving their jobs.

We hate that you quit in the middle of a task before finishing it. Know how hard it is to pick up the pieces and continue from there?
For the employees who are about to quit their job, please give ample notice to the company based on contract be it 1 or 2 months notice, or whatever period it may be. This is because you may have some task that were not completed and the company needs to find a replacement to continue the job or you may need to train the next person who will come in to take your place.

We hate that you have didn't leave a progress report or finish your task

The company may want to have the updates on the progress of your work at that point so it is better to tie the loose ends by finishing the said task or do a proper handing over job by prepraing notes and notifying it to whomever you are reporting to.

We hate people who beg back for their job because when they quit they don't give a f**k what happens to their colleagues and the company
Never ever quit before having a secured job in place. Think long and hard before quitting, or if you can't think properly, take a few days off just to sort things out. It is one thing to quit the current job, but it's another thing to beg for it back, especially when you realised that you have made a mistake and because the other thing didn't work out.

My advice is never ever leave the company high and dry by just quitting without turning up to the office without any reason. It will be long lasting impression that you are a bad employee, and maybe this will stick in your records. The company may not be so generous to give you a second chance.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

The Birthday Celebration

We had a birthday celebration at Chili's for Ms Fantaghiro's birthday after work on Wednesday.

Ms Fantaghiro in her many vain poses

Ms Fantaghiro doing her best Amanda pose

Ms Fantaghiro with her birthday card

Ms Fantaghiro with her Southwestern lamb grill. Yummy!

Ou regular menu at Chili's - the Triple Play's awesome!

Ms Fantaghiro happy and full

Tuesday, 23 March 2010


Critically acclaimed vain pot, Ms Fantaghiro

Its her birthday today!!

Ms Fantaghiro has many passions in life
10 things that she loves:
1. She loves food of all kind, but mostly she loves Chilis
2. In love with Bradley James - from Merlin
3. In love with Jang Hyuk - from Slave Hunter
4. Love all the pretty boys - Used to love Ben Barnes
5. Loves stripper shoes
6. Loves Kopitiam
7. Loves to be a couch potato
8. Loves magic-related series - Charmed, Merlin
9. Loves books
10. Loves Hindustani movies & songs - though at one moment in her life she boycotted them

10 things that Ms Fantaghiro hates:
1. The heat - it gives her migraine
2. Migraines
3. Other vain pots - nobody can topple her crown of vainness
4. Skanky b*****s
5. Rude drivers
6. Rude people in general
7. Cruelty to animals
8. Being called fat
9. BlueHyppo
10. Undisciplined parents & children

So, Happy Birthday Ms Fantaghiro
Many Happy returns of the day
May Allah bless you always
May we remain good friends no matter how...

Saturday, 20 March 2010

How to Not Give Advise

I have a dear friend who is on the brink of a life changing situation. The problem was that she wants things to change but was afraid to take the next step. She wants to take the next step now, but I cautioned her to be careful and not let her emotions to get the better of her. Its not as if I didn't want her to move forward and be happy, because I can see how miserable she is. Its beginning to affect her at work. I just felt that it was unfair that she didn't receive her dues. I want her to be happy.

How to not give advise? I mean I did not want to be imposing my opinions on her. There is a very, very fine line when your advise can be poisonous to your friend. Just keep your opinions to yourself, lest you influence your friend to take actions that doesn't come from her heart. They might regret making the decision that wasn't theirs to begin with. They might even blame you for that decision in the future, especially if it backfires. But if it doesn't backfire, they would always wonder if they make it because they want to or because you push it to them.

As a friend, you must always be objective about your friend's problems. Approach it from a different angle than what they present to you. See it outside the box, because you are the observer. The point is for you to be objective about it, because you friend will be emotional. Try to suggest a structured approach, see the pros or cons of the situation, give some recommendations but never impose it on them, try to help your friend find a solution, then closure. Be there for your friend when she needs you. Even if you don't give any advise, just be her listener.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Thank you for the Vote of Confidence

When you're down and out nobody wants to help you.

But when you're up and about, everybody wants to be with you.

It just shows how success can attract people. But it also makes me annoyed cause when we're down and needed help the most, some people just scoff you off.

Take for instance, the new company I'm working in now. It is essentially a sister company to my old company. A few colleagues and myself are only seconded there for two years. But everybody treats the seconders like we're lepers, eventhough we are doing our job to help the sister company for the benefit of all. Why this type of mentality? Because they think we are a corporate company, hence we have more money. Because they think our salary is much more than theirs that they think its fair to dump a truckload worth of jobs & projects on us. Without taking into account that we are newly established and there's only 10 of us for a work worth for 35 people.

So we struggled and preservered. We took 4 new temporary workers. Work seemed to be moving along, we were slowly and surely establishing the new company. Baby steps. Now some of the sceptics began to say to us, "wow you guys now ok lah now oh, you got additional staff" and "when is your office hiring". Now you want to know eh....cause we've done all the hard, groundwork. You think you just wanna come in and reap the benefits, be glamourous in this new shiny company.

Me thinks not.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Snow White & Poison Apples

Snow White died by poison apples, organizations died because of poison letters.

In this case, the organization that I'd worked for for the last 8 years.

I don't know about other government departments, but it has always been the trend in my organization to have a few of this poison letters flying around. Whenever a group of people are not satisfied with the some issues, they write poison letters. The most popular issue for poison letters : overseas posting.

There would always be people who would not be satisfied the other person can get overseas posting. All the slanderous remarks like: "she's sombeody's oxigen, that's why she can go for posting" or "what's so special about this person that he can be cross posted" or "he/she did not perform, there were many complaints about his/her work".

The funny thing about these remarks was that, those people who've wrote the poison letters were probably in that exact kind of position before. Oh ,we do know who wrote the letters, because there are also rumours flying about the writer/s of the posion letter/s! How ironic, right? But when you are in the same organization long, you tend to know who's who and what they're capable of, or so they're rumoured to be! Sometimes they'd brag about it and talk about the issues, and you wonder how they get this kind of info. Sometimes its a mole within the organization who leaks this kind of stories.

Another popular issue is leadership. My organization is quite notorious for having aDG faced with bribery accusation but was acquitted later on. That time there were so many of his supporters, they all were behind him. Now when's he's back in work, some people started to question about his actions such as doing reorg or to send certain people for posting. They say he had ulterior motives. Where are all those people who put him in a pedestal before? Answer: they all been posted overseas for being vocal and disobedient in the eyes of the management. What a cool punishment eh? So now left all those people who were not satisfied with his leadership, and even more dissatisfied cause they can't go for overseas posting for being obedient. They are now free to criticize him, buy they dare not say this to him or bring this on the proper platform. Solution: poison letters.

My take on poison letters: you can't satisfy everyone cause there will always people who won't be happy with how certain things are handled. Its like politics, either you're PR or BN, you play the dirty game. It doesn't matter who's side you are on, dirt would always get stuck to you. Its only a matter of time when the wheels will turn and you'd be up or down, depending on where you were before. Me? I stay away from office politics, and do my work and try not to step on other people's toes. If you do work, rather than waste time thinking and stabbing other people trying to climb the corporate ladder, then I think you'd have more personal satisfaction. Plus we must have a balance with personal life. Leave work at workplace, enjoy your life to the fullest at home. I know that's what I do.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Home remedy: Castor Oil

A few weeks ago, I sprained my right waist because of some exercise. I was in pain for a week, I couldn't bend down or sit down in one place for a long time and I had to pray sitting down in a chair.

My mum introduced to Cik a remedy for knee ache when we went back to Rompin. It's drinking a teaspoon of castor oil mixed with half a glass of warm water before going to sleep. It helps to "grease" the joints. They both drank it and felt generally better the next day.

Then we saw the Yoga for you programme on Astro. It says that the Ayurvedic treatment for osteoperosis is by drinking 1 tsp castor oil mixed with 1 tsp ginger powder and half glass of warm water, because the Ayurveda believed that osteoperosis is caused by wind in your body. It helps to expel the wind in body and strengthen bone density.

So I though maybe I should try the remedy for my waist ache. The oil & warm water concoction tasted like burnt peanut oil. Its palatable unlike the bitter taste of some herbal remedies like jamu, for instance. When I woke up the next morning, lo and behold, my ache was totally gone. It was like a miracle cure. Cik said it was probably due to wind in my body too.

Last night I tried the ginger + castor oil + warm water. My body felt great today and some of the aches I experienced were also gone. Cator oil is known to be a laxative and helps with bowel movement. It is easily found in Indian stores where you can buy the ginger powder as well. Its also known as minyak jarak.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Nasi Dagang

Nasi Dagang made fresh this morning!

Last two weeks I went back to Rompin with my mum. Hubby asked me to buy nasi dagang to tapau back, but it was already noon and nasi dagang is always sold in the morning for breakfast in the East coast area.

So hubby must've been craving for nasi dagang, coz last friday's pasar malam he went out to buy one. Then he was harping on me to cook nasi dagang. I am not good with Malay cooking but fortunately, I copied down the recipe from Cik when I was in Rompin. So yesterday we went out to Carrefour to buy the ingredients including ikan tongkol.

Misplaced the original recipe, called Cik on the phone for the ingredients and made a scaled down version of it and it turned out ok!

So here goes the recipe for Nasi Dagang for two persons, from scratch:

1.5 cup of ordinary rice
0.5 cup of pulut rice
(soak both rice in water for at least four hours)
5 tbsp of coconut milk - add sugar and salt till its very, very sweet & salty
1 tbsp halba (fenugreek seeds)
Red onion, ginger - sliced thinly

1 whole ikan tongkol
(cut it to 5 pieces, cook with water + salt + asam keping)
* can substitue with other types of fish such as tenggiri, kembung, etc or prawns, chicken.

Wet ingredients:
500 ml Coconut milk - or as much as you want the kuah to be
10 pcs of dried chillies - deseeded and soak in hot water
2 inches lengkuas (galangal)
1 inch ginger (halia)
1 inch kunyit hidup (live turmeric)
(blend chillies, lengkuas, halia, kunyit hidup)

Dry ingredients:
1 tbsp of fish curry powder
1 tbsp of serbuk ketumbar (coriander powder)
1 tbsp of serbuk jintan manis
1 buah keras (candle nut)
2 buah pelaga (cardamon)
3 bunga cengkih (clove)
1 bunga lawang (star anise)
1 inch kulit kayu manis (cinnamon)
(dry roast without oil then blend all ingredients)
2 inch gula melaka

1. soak for 4 hours
2. steam the rice, about 15 minutes into cooking or when its half cook, p0ur cold water on top of the rice
3. close lid, wait till throughly cook

4. once rice is cooked, wade thru rice with coconut milk + sliced onion & ginger + halba till it has a glowy sheen. Easy on the coconut milk + halba, or you rice will have a very strong, overbearing taste.

1. Simmer all the wet ingredients till it boils
2. Add fish + 2 pcs asam keping till it boils again

3. Add dry ingredients, and simmer till the kuah becomes thicker (about 30-45 mins) and oil breaks on the surface & season to taste

*Serve Nasi Dagang with cucumber salad (vinegar+onions+cucumber+pineapple - optional)

Cooking nasi dagang seems like a daunting task, especially somebody like me who rarely cooks Malay dishes (not sure if I can do a mean curry). But cooking nasi dagang is simple enough, its just that the ingredients looks like a lot be prepared. Once you have everything ready, its just a matter of throwing eveything into the pot!

P/s: hubby had a second helping!

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Middle Management

With great power comes responsibility, or so says Superman. How did I end up to be middle management?

Being a government servant for the past 8 years, I was always the middle person. I was the go between the bosses and the rest of the staff under my care. If the boss assigned me to do something, I'd call my team and we discuss how best to do it and then we do it. It was mostly one way traffic.

I think it started when I was in Research Division when they entrusted me to take care of 20 research officers (ROs) that was situated all over Malaysia. Their job was to do surveys that the division ask them to do. My job was to monitor them through their work. This includes their quality of work, discipline, salary etc. I barely knew them as my stint in Research was only one year. I've only met 8 out of 20 ROs but I had to do their appraisal as I was their supervisor. How the hell was I suppose to do their appraisal when I don't even know them well enough, some I've never even met?! To be honest, I had to wing it. I had to source info from various parts such as the previous officers who've handled their affairs, state office directors, other officers who've used them on other surveys and on paper - reports, attendance, etc. I had to form an opinion on each individual based on those things, and to best of my knowledge, did their appraisal. That was my part as the first valuer for the appraisal.

I think Top management have it easy. They only amend on the things that you have done. Same thing with the appraisal. The second valuer just put in their score based on my original score and write shorter comments. Middle management do all the work whilst top management just checks my grammar? Hardly seems fair as top management is required to do the thinking and planning. Not just planning to go overseas, but actual planning on how to be more effective at work and achieve our targets. Not just become the boss in name and dumping everything to middle management to settle it.

Middle management is tough. You are the middleman who has to take care of their own backside too. On one hand, you have to please the boss, on the other hand you have to appease your co-workers with their issues - working with inadequate resources, no proper SOP, no backup/support from other div. You have to become the trouble shooter and lend your hands to help them and lend your ears to listen to their problems.

Send me to Management school!

With the new bureau, I became the middle management person. It was conveniently thrust upon me by my so called CEO, as there was no other officer higher ranking than me. Not that I was that high ranking, but I was at the right place at the right time. That said, we are terribly understaffed, overworked and in dire need of a buffer between me and the boss. I can't possibly do all the thinking, planning, executing, monitoring.

Send in the reinforcements!

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

How to Network

Being in this line work, we really have to network a lot. Networking with people we already know is easy-peasy. You just reinforce the connection that you already have with that person or the company that they worked for, and add on to that with industry news or other people that we knew in the cricle. And bam! You get the conversation flowing.

But how to network with people you don't know? It is quite painful, especially when you have to make the first move. What do you say to that person standing next to you, looking as akward as you are? Or if you don't make the first move, just nursing the drink in your hand, hoping someone would speak to you cause you don't know anybody there. It can be quite uncomfortable.

They way I see it when I go to this kind of functions, is to bring your associates or friends. Then you'd feel less embarrased to talk to people. Or you friend can introduce you to her acquaintance, or you can introduce your acquaintance to your friend. There's pros and cons to it. You might end up huddling in your small cosy group and not do much networking.

But if you set a purpose coming to functions to establish contacts and network, that you have set a goal to reach a certain quota or meet a few pertinent people, then you'd use the hours wisely. I see people like this all the time;

1. Always look confident when approching people, there's brazen confidence and there's quiet confidence - it's all in the personality;
2. Never sit in a corner or stuck to a location - mingling around means you have to work the crowd, or the least go to all the corners of the room;
3. Always ask about the other person, don't only talk about yourself - get to know what they are about, and maybe you can connect that with your line of work;
4. Stick to topics relating to work, or the industry or if you have no common ground, talk about current issues, but never talk about politics. Networking time is when everbody is neutral and relaxed, don't mar that with politics;
5. Always bring your business card - important! to establish contact and follow up later on;
6. Never leave the function without thanking the host - must be polite.

The steps may or may not work for you. You just have to find yourself and be comfortable with it.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Happy New Year

Happy New Year...I am still in the zone to wish everyone Happy New Year :)

I know that I had been neglecting to update this blog.

New Year started out with a bang for me. It's as if I never left 2009, that I didn't take the well-deserved 10 days break at the end of the year. But I did took the break, and felt refreshed and ready for work.

My first task was to organise a half day seminar for the industry for 100 pax. I did it within the span of two weeks. Sending out the invitations via email and getting responses overnight. Made arrangements of the speakers and venue through emails and calls. It was easy for me. The response was good and overwhelming too. Last RSVP was 105 pax from 44 organizations. But 92 pax turned up from 41 organizations. The no-show rate wasn't so bad. We'd prepared for 100 pax anyway.

Everybody raved about the seminar. The contents were concise and very informative. This type of seminar they couldn't get anywhere in Malaysia, plus it's FOC. Usually they'd have to attend overseas course/seminar for the meeting industry like ICCA or CMP, somewhere in Europe where'd it cost a bomb. It feels good that we are doing somthing that mattered to the industry.

Our consultant suggested to have this seminar every two months, just to educate the industry. Somebody suggested to do it on the road, maybe move to another venue, apart from Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. Hey, if you guys wanna pick up the cost of venue & F&B, by all means. It'd be fun to change venue and see how other venue works.

Next on the agenda is Ministerial briefing in February. That is briefing to all the relevant departments in the ministries. A daunting task because you can't just email to them. Must send letters of invitation, all government style. Plus you have to be patient and follow up with calls. Once sending invitation, must give them at least a week to respond. Cause there's chain of command. You send it to the KSU, it will go down to the DG, DDG then Directors, then the staff. It will take longer than response by private sector. Plus we gotta do it at PICC because that's where all the government departments are.

Plus, I got a gozillion things to to do. Appointment of contractor for office renovation, hiring of temporary staff, still doing servicing & bidding, plus undertaker for everyone else who's got a gripe with the boss comes to me and expecting me to do miracles.

Thta's why I love weekends and look forward to it. Dang, it's only Tuesday.