Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Merdeka parades

When I was young, mum and dad actually brought us to watch the state-level parades in Penang was a pretty enjoyable experience....we would wake up early to bag great front-line spots....and if that failed, dad would rotate perching us on his shoulders, allowing us to savour a vintage view of the morning merdeka activities from time to mum and dad were the ones braving the crowd for me and bro...floats and marching bands and dancing and chingay...a very colourful spectacle indeed

but as i grew older (and bigger)....such a privileged seat was no longer bro and i were also old enough to participate in the merdeka celebrations ourselves...i especially remember this joint effort in Std 6, in which a couple of schools in Penang were selected to present this senam-robik presentation for the state-level celebrations - it wasn't particularly easy-peasy as practices were routinely scheduled under the sweltering hot evening sun for many months before the actual event...but despite that, I made new friends and had tonnes of fun! :)

nowadays,we tend to end up watching the parades on national tv instead. Dad would always wake up early and put on RTM 1 or TV 3 for the live crossover...and although we would be doing other things simultaneously (e.g. surfing the net/ reading the newspaper)...we would always have one ear and one eye, at least, trained on the live crossovers beamed from KL and Putrajaya

Particularly fun would be the patriotic "karaoke" sessions....the segments where hundreds of participants decked in the national colours of red, white, blue and yellow...usually waving the Jalur Gemilang enthusiastically and performing choreographed formations....i mean, as much as we used to grumble having to sing the litany of songs weekly at the school assembly...the feeling (for a reason I cannot seem to explain)is a little different on Hari Kebangsaan....hehehehehe....its fun and catchy and the enthusiasm is infectious...especially when my younger cousins (who are primary school kiddos) are around....and am not exaggerating when there are times when the whole family (including mummy dearest!) bursts into song, and claps along with the music....hahahahahah

In recent years...there are also the brilliant muhhibbah drummers....absolutely representative of the melting pot of cultures in Malaysia - different yet syncrhonised as one.

And as I am blogging, now...I am tuned to a spectacular display of confidence from youngsters reciting sajaks and syairs...and now even entertaining choral reading in Bahasa Malaysia and English!! Am sure there are many more amazing and heart-warming performances lined up this morning....a BIG thank you to all participants for making Merdeka parades an annual event, and more importantly, for helping to bring the Merdeka spirit yang membara-bara right into all homes around the country

Salam Kemerdekaan

Seandainya kemerdekaan tanahair kami tidak dituntut, mungkinkah:

Malaysia masih diiktiraf dan dihormati di arena dunia
Erti sebenar "kebebasan" dapat kami fahami
Rakyat jelata pelbagai kaum dan agama masih bersatu padu dan hidup aman sentosa
Diri kami masih berazam tinggi dan yakin atas kemampuan diri kami
Eksport tanahair kami ke luar negara hanya sekadar getah dan bijih timah sahaja
Kami masih berjaya mengecapi kemajuan dan kemakmuran yang kami kini nikmati
Aku masih bangga tampil ke hadapan mengakui diri aku seorang anak Malaysia


The above took a lot more effort than anticipated...pardon the quality of Bahasa Malaysia...but in view of the infectious Merdeka spirit around the blogosphere, thought it was an appropriate moment to show my little ounce of patriotism via an attempt to rekindle the use of my very rusty National Language skills.

For more Merdeka spirit, check out The Merdeka Blogger Project

Sunday, August 28, 2005

"Por Lor Pau"

This morning, bro decided to break the monotony and introduced my grandparents and me to a new venue for our
yum cha session - we had the usual siew mai (meat dumplings), har gau (prawn dumplings) and yu dan (fish balls), but bro also deviated from the norm and ordered the following:

This was apparently the "Por Lor Pau"...literally translated as Pineapple Bun. Depicted as a popular staple of dim sum parlours in the standard TVB serials, I suppose bro's curiousity was piqued. they say...the test is in the, we eagerly sunk our teeth into it.

EEEEEEWWWW!!! Its so horrifically SWEEEEEEET!!!

Well...of course we'd anticipated any item purportedly containing pineapple to be sweet...but really...this was over the top and gulps and gulps of tea hardly helped to wash it down any easier!

As the dish was ordered by bro...he fulfilled his obligation without much grumble and polished off one. My grandparents shared the other...while I was left, woefully eying the fist of a lump of sugar on my plate.

Shucks....what was i going to do with mine...I attempted a few more valiant bites before concluding that there was no way on earth I'd be able to voluntarily shove that thing down my throat. Bro kept shooting amused looks at me and mouthing..."hahahahah....i'm done with just do your part and eat up!"

Sneaked him the evil eye...*hmmph*

In view of my grand dad's philosophy on waste, there was absolutely no way that we would leave prior to me finishing the half-eaten pineapple ball there I sat nursing my cups of tea, displaying an air of nonchalence, but in actual fact, racking my brains like crazy for a way out of the spot I was in....

Then suddenly, a light bulb went off when I vaguely recollected this particular Mr Bean episode in which he provided a step-by-step guide with respect to the discreet disposal of a revolting meal at a smart French restaurant...

well...what works for him should work for i decided to adapt and adopt the principles ...and improvisation led to the following scheme:

Whilst granddad got up to get the teapot refilled (he has this strange insistence of doing this personally), bro helped to distract grandma, as I quickly scooped what was left of that offending ball into an empty bamboo steamer. Deftly, I placed another empty bamboo steamer on top, effectively hiding the unfinished spectacle from sight.

Voila!! Mission accomplished.

hahahahaha...bro and I were pretty chuffed at our smooth execution...and all seemed to go well, with the usual chatter and conversation flowing.... right until a diligent waitress cleared the table of all empty plates and steamers...all, save the particular steamer with the skeleton in the closet!

ello!?!? when a customer goes to such great lengths to bury some left-over morsel in a sea of empty can only mean one thing: Please take it away (discreetly) without further comment!!!

*groan* - silently hoped that grandpa had not yet seen it as i tried to strategically shift my arm ( if that was the most natural thing for me to do!) to obstruct his line of sight.

Back-up plan would have worked only if bro had not started giggling at the development of events...the little self-restraint he thought he possessed soon errupted into a hearty was just as lucky that he had not begun spewing tea all over the table as well!

Kicked him hard in his shins...and shot him another evil eye...but alas...twas too late!!

Grandpa had seen the ball of sugar and was insisting that I finish it off....nevermind all the excuses I could was clear that there was no way I could worm myself out of the dilemma.

Need to think out of the box, need to think out of the box....

Couldn't conveniently export it to neighbouring tables as they were all occupied by patrons. The nearest dumpster/rubbish bin was nowhere in sight.

Then i reasoned out a compromise....what i hated was that solid sticky filling....was ok with the crust as Grandpa, yet again, rose to refill the teapot....I quickly sprung into action:

Dug out all the offensive filling (pretty much the consistency of lotus paste) and hid it all by stuffing it under my downward-turned spoon...and when grandpa was back at the table, I was obediently finishing off what was left of the crust.

He beamed at me and said: "See...that wasn't so bad after all..."

Bro and I began doing shots (well, as best as possible) with cups of hot tea....we simply could not risk leaving the last pot of tea to be savoured at leisure ...just in case another diligent waitress comes along and reveals all.....

For me, that was probably my first and last "por lor pau" for a heck of a long time!!

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Flying goons

With AirAsia, flying is very much more affordable .....and perhaps therein lies the reason as to why there seem to be more idiotic goons lurking around at the airports nowadays. During my short flight yesterday, I'd noted the following types:

Goon 1: The opportunist
Whilst boarding the plane, 2 lines are open. One is for priority passengeers (i.e. the disabled, families with kiddos, old folks aged 55 years and above, pregnant ladies) and the other is for the rest of the world. Even with clear definitions spelled out by the attendants on duty, you'll be surprised at the unabashness of these individuals as they conveniently queue up in the former line, feigning ignorance.

Dirty tricks employed may vary as follows:

Tactic 1: to falsify kinship with the person in front by tailing him/her very closely and pretending to blend in with the travel group which qualifies for priority seating.

Tactic 2: to pretend not to understand English/ Bahasa Malaysia (and I know because I overheard these individuals discussing the option of lining up at the wrong line in said languages prior to boarding time).

Tactic 3: to pretend that the notion of priority seating is merely a joke pulled by the attendants on duty on unsuspecting individuals and try to laugh and force their way through the gates nevertheless.

There was this expert opportunist who chose to employ all 3 tactics, one after the failure of the other, in desperation....right until the exasperated attendant on duty had had the last straw and enquired loudly: "Excuse me sir, are you pregnant? and how many months due are you??"

Little pity as the waiting hall burst into laughter at the remark whilst said opportunist reluctantly slunk, red-faced, to the back of the correct line.

Goon 2: The socialite
These are people who just cannot live without their handphones being switched off....despite the countless reminders announced re the necessity to turn such devices off during the flight as they may intefere with the aircraft's signals.

In their minds, turning off their handphones would mean missing:
  1. that much-awaited phone call from that hot chick/ hunk
  2. closing the deal of the century
  3. saving someone else from the brink of suicide

Oh nevermind that by keeping their handphones, they choose to risk the plane crashing and burning, not only killing themselves but sacrificing the lives of other innocent passengers who actually took the reminders seriously, but had the misfortune to board the same flight as these idiotic die-hards.

Goon 3: The kleptomaniac
What is there to steal flying on a budget airline? well, well...i was surprised when the chief air stewardass made the following announcement when we touched down in Penang:
"Kindly note that the removal of life jackets from the plane is a very serious offence." - now those are really items with a high resale/ reuse value.

Enough said.

Friday, August 26, 2005


Despite my attempt to delicately hint to mum that I had better things to do in KL this weekend, my conscience did not allow me to worm my way out of keeping my word to her. Dad's insistence that I come home this weekend further niggled me - as far as the nightly phone calls reflect, all was well in Penang...but I guess mum and dad are worried about me spending my weekend all alone in KL as hubby is away on a business trip again.

So this evening, I was due to head to KL Sentral after work to hop on the ERL and catch my flight back to Penang at KLIA. not loaded with $$ but it is just that AirAsia is the only alternative in which I could definitely guarantee myself a ticket to the North without having to personally collect the ticket physically prior to departure date...yes, have been that tied up the entire thank God for the internet and ticketless travelling

With the astronomical car parking charges at KL Sentral, little wise me had a brilliant idea: why not catch a taxi? after all, the station was hardly a 10 minute drive away from my office

And so I clocked out on the dot this evening, hand clutching bag...stood at the bus stop outside my office premises and tried my luck. It was the peak hour...and there were plenty of taxis coming my way..most of which, unfortunately, were already occupied.

After a little while, Taxi 1 stopped. Heaving a sigh of relief, I opened the passenger door and plonked my bag beside me

Me : KL Sentral please
Driver 1 (rude snap): Oh wrong way
Me: Excuse me?
Driver 1 : Going there no problem but I'll go through hell coming back due to the jam. No deal.

I got out of the car in a huff, feeling a little miffed and indignant...did cabbies have the right to dictate such terms? Anyway, no time to waste dwelling on such matters..I had a plane to catch.

Shortly after, Taxi 2 drew to a halt at the bus stop. Having just encountered the negativity of Driver 1, I exercised a little more caution this time around. Peering through the half-wound down window, I was about to enquire whether Taxi 2 was willing to drop me at my destination, when Driver 2 beat me to it:

Driver 2: Am going to Klang to pick up a booked client at 6:30pm. Is your destination on the way? If yes, can give you a lift


Me (pushing my luck) : Well, am heading to KL Sentral which is just around the corner..
Driver 2 (apologetically) : Sorry mdm, I wish I could but I wouldn't be able to keep the 6:30 appointment then
Me (reluctantly): No worries then... thanks least Driver 2 was honest and polite.

I tried my luck again, flagging taxi after taxi. Just when I was on the brink of resigning to the last resort of having to drive and park my car in KL Sentral after all, Driver 3 honked.

Me (a little dejected after my 2 failed attempts): KL Sentral?
Driver 3: OK

Wow! Way stunned that that was so easy peasy!!

So did manage to catch the ERL and checked myself into the flight just in the nick of time. Looking back, things could have been a lot worse - I could so have been flagging taxi after taxi in the pouring rain!

Thursday, August 25, 2005


Food for thought:

  • Is flirting bad?
  • Is there reason for the loyalties of attached individuals who flirt with others be questioned?
Well...I suppose it depends on the definition of flirting. Some view flirting as a ritual only to be practised in the wooing game, others are of the opinion that flirting is done to seduce others into doing your bidding (whether it is to reduce the price of goods sold during a bargaining session...erhm...many girls are guilty of employing this tactic, whether done consciously or not; or for some, a means to a hopefully "cosy" evening in)

Personally, I prefer to regard flirting as a means of friendly communication with someone you're attracted to. And, with the sea of different people in the world...I guess it would be an outright lie to say that the only person you find attractive would be that sole partner in life. He/ She may be the most attractive....but seriously, once attached, it seems a little unfair to start restricting our friendships to exclude people of the opposite gender whom we'd like to get to know better. Life then would be a tad sad, I'd say.

I reckon flirting can be fun and "safe" as long as both sides are well aware of each other's circumstances. For those attached, I guess a little maturity and caution is needed plus due respect given to the other-halves coz undeniably, flirting is still very much a touchy issue which is potentially dangerous when not handled with care.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Keeping in touch

This morning, was pleasantly surprised to receive an e-mail from an old schoolmate:

-----Original Message-----
From: BP Chang
Sent: Tuesday, August 23, 2005 9:07 AM
To: munsta
Subject:Free to meet up?

Hi munsta, yeh, am finally back from my holidays...was wondering if you
are free to meet up this weekend?


Having just raised mum's hopes yesterday that I might be popping back to Penang quickly this weekend, I hesitantly replied:

-----Original Message-----
From: munsta
Sent: Tuesday, August 23, 2005 9:10 AM
To: BP Chang
Subject:RE: Free to meet up?

am not sure about this weekend yet...may have to make a quick trip back to pg..will keep u updated!


Her next mail shocked me:

-----Original Message-----
From: BP Chang
Sent: Tuesday, August 23, 2005 9:15 AM
To: munsta
Subject:RE: Free to meet up?

aiyah..then, i'll just have to cut to the chase then since i don't have
enough time here...I'm leaving for Sydney on 9th of Sept...yeh, for good
(for now). Have tendered last friday. Tot of catching up with you before
i go off....


SYDNEY!!??!! THAT'S MIGHTY FAR!!!!!!!!!!! WHY???This was way out of the blue???? so cautiously, I sent:

-----Original Message-----
From: munsta
Sent: Tuesday, August 23, 2005 9:19 AM
To: BP Chang
Subject:RE: Free to meet up?

Oh Shoot!!

Quick questions, only if u feel comfortable replying lar:

1. Why? -should i be excited and happy for you??
2. When will u be in KL till/ going back to Penang?
3. When is ur last day with Co A in KL?


Heaved a sigh of relief when I received her answer:

-----Original Message-----
From: BP Chang
Sent: Tuesday, August 23, 2005 9:31 AM
To: munsta
Subject:RE: Free to meet up?

Answers in similar order

bf is there,study and work. Yes, you should be happy and excited for
Won't be going back to Penang. Have done that last week. Next weekend,
have a family gathering. Hence, that leaves me with this weekend to
catch up with you...
not sure when is my last day yet...will find out today but i'm guessing
it'll be on 30/8.


Of course, I am happy for her...but despite that, something in me feels uneasy....

You see, BP and I have been close friends since our secondary school days. If I sometimes come across as sacarstic/ mean...well, it shows that I've picked up quite a thing or two from school, she had a reputation for a tongue which was sharp and quick...nevertheless, after SPM, I guess she's mellowed down quite a lot. Whereas I've still retained most of my tom-boyish traits, BP has blossomed into a lovely girl.

I was in KL for college whereas she stayed on in Penang for STPM; I headed to UK whereas she won a scholarship (with no bond!) to Sydney University; those days, the only times we communicated were through isolated e-mails (I think we could probably count the number of mails on both our hands!!) and my once-off visit to Sydney with my boyfriend back at the turn of the century. The amazing thing was that when we did meet up in Sydney, it was as if we'd never been apart! Conversation was just so easy...and we'd just pick up from where we'd have left....catching up and filling in the blanks in each others' lives....

Its been easily 3 to 4 years now since the two of us have been back working in cosmopolitan KL. And yet, we hardly meet up. Even ringing one another isn't such a common occasion. There were always excuses...boyfriends, work, families, other commitments etc. And when we did see each other, we'd always part vowing to improve at keeping in touch.

*sigh* i think we've both acknowledged that we're crap at maintaining friendships so that it is just as good that we're both equally forgiving of one another's lack of effort! *grin*

....but i feel sad. I know I will miss her. Despite the lack of contact after our secondary school years, I just can't help feeling sad about losing a close friend who has been for the past few years, just a convenient phone call away.

Note: Before anyone leaves any sarkie comments, I am fully aware of the convenience of international phone calls and e-mail, but my emotions are rarely rational, ok!? can't really replace spontaneous episodes of "Let's meet up at the mamak/ mall/ cafe" ...*sigh*

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Career suitability

According to a career quiz I just took:

I would be very happy in a career that utilised my level-headedness, and allowed me to work mainly on my own. I want a career that allows me to be creative, without having to be involved with lots of people. Some careers that would be perfect for me are:

  • Artist
  • Historian
  • Banker
  • Novelist
  • University Professor
  • Photographer
  • Vet
  • Paralegal
  • Graphic Designer
  • Online Content Developer
  • Webmaster
  • Producer
  • Managing Director
  • Nutritionist
  • Advertising
  • Nursing

I like working and being alone. I like to avoid attention at all costs. I tend to keep to myself, and not interact much with the people around me. I enjoy spending time with a few a close friends. I like to listen to others, but don’t like sharing much about myself. I am very quiet and private.

I am very practical, and only act after thinking things through. I don’t like being forced to answer quickly. I have to evaluate the situation completely. I make decisions based on what I can verify with my senses.

I like to be deeply involved in one or two special projects. I like to be behind the scenes. I am very logical and fair. I feel I should be honest with others and protect their feelings.

I trust my gut instincts. I am easily inspired and trust that inspiration. I am very innovative. I analyse things by looking at the big picture. I am concerned about how what I do affects others. I worry about my actions and the future. I tend to use a lot of metaphors and am very descriptive and colourful in my choice of language.

I am very creative, and get bored easily if I don’t get to express myself. I like to learn new things. I don’t like the same old routine. I like to leave my options open.


Now, I am even more confused *grin*

What if....

During the week, a new colleague had commented "Wow! I bet you must be so pleased to have completed your ACCA exams...with your 3-year experience, you're essentially a full-fledged accountant!"

With a dead-pan face, I'd replied "Hmmph, doesn't mean anything to me." - and left him with an open jaw and a totally bewildered look.

My statement is true. I had finished university vowing never to pursue an accounting professional qualification...after all, I'd discovered during my tertiary education that I did not like accountancy much. Reason why I'd done finance and accounting as a degree was because:
  1. Accountancy was deemed a "safe" career good or bad times, accountants were required.
  2. I was offered a full scholarship to take up the degree overseas.

Nevertheless, when I returned to Malaysia, many friends had committed to continue with an accounting professional qualification. Worrying that I'd be left all alone at the bottom of the corporate ladder and egged on by mum to do something worthwhile with my spare time, I'd jumped on the bandwagon and followed the crowd too.

I have put in effort and made sacrifices in pursuit of the qualification and upon completion, I was happy and relieved that it was done and over. But, unfortunately, I do not feel proud of the achievement, nor do I feel like this is a feather-in-the cap in my career advancement plan. To me, I have just fulfilled the expectations of those around me, but I can't care less if I were ACCA qualified or not.

Am currently dabbling in corporate tax...and must say that life isn't all that bad. But these few days have been wondering:

1. What if I had been braver and gone on to take up architecture instead??

Back in those days, although I had the grades, I'd opted for the Arts stream, knowing fully well I had no interest in being a doctor/ engineer/ anything remotely related to the science subjects I had to take...nevertheless, I'd opted to do additional maths and kept up with art as a the event I'd decided to do architecture, I would have the necessary subjects to qualify. But, the degree would have taken many years, plus scholarships for achitecture were unheard of. If i had failed to get a spot in the local universities, private education would have been impossible. To make matters worse, the economy wasn't that great...and mum and dad used to tell me: "It'll be difficult getting a job...let alone, a stable income"

2. Would I be happier working in a PR firm?

I've had experience working in the corporate communcations department of a conglomerate before...assisting in press releases and event management and I'd had fun doing it. Things are hectic but could get very interesting indeed. Admittedly, I was only a trainee back then so stress was very much shouldered by my bosses....things would be a lot different when one was a grown-up employee! :)

3. Maybe I could set-up a business - nothing near the corporate world, but maybe something closer to daily needs, like a catering service/cafe?

hmmph...yeah easier said than done! but really...I wonder if I'd be able to make things work? There could be many other brains behind the scenes, but I could volunteer to be in charge of operations, something more hands-on......hmm, requisite experience and funding may be a problem...hahahahaha

Sigh...many people I meet cannot believe that I am an accountant, specialising in tax. They always think that I'm more suited to be in a more "happening" industry - ideally in service and communications....and it makes me wonder, could they be right?

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Much ado about Batik

Mum called yesterday, perplexed, posing the millionaire dollar question of the week: "What is the definition of Malaysian batik?" cut a long story short, there has been a recent circular declaring it compulsory for all teachers in the country to parade Malaysian batik on school corridors on the 1st and 15th of every month. Nevermind that most Malaysian teachers are made to work like mules and yet are not paid a high salary, nevermind that batik can cost an arm and leg, nevermind all that....because Malaysia Boleh!

Not only has there been no mention of an allowance to aid teachers afford such luxurious clothes, matters were made worse when mum's boss turned into a discerning batik connoisseur overnight.

Although it had been internally agreed that the first official batik catwalk in school would be scheduled after the school holidays, many enthusiastic colleagues had proudly donned the gems they had scrambled all over the island to procure/ tailor in voluntary compliance with the new ruling. Their glee, however, was shortlived....apparently only one individual out of the thirty teachers-turned-models-of-malaysian-craft had bought the correct batik...more precisely: Malaysian batik. The rest were curtly told to go do some more shopping.

Apparently, not all batik made in Malaysia (be it in Langkawi, Terengannu or Kelantan) is necessarily Malaysian batik.

For example, this is not Malaysian batik:

nor are these:

or cool as it is, this:

Anyone out there knows any better? Please help. This bunch of teachers have more pressing things to do then suss out the definition of Malaysian batik by the 1st of September.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

A muggle's premonition of WWII

Have just finished the latest Harry Potter saga and predict that in the final showdown of WWII (i.e. Wizarding Wars II):

1. The official mobilisation of Dumbledore's Army in search of the remaining Horcruxes, unwittingly glossing over the possibility that there was one just right under their noses (i.e. the Chosen One)

2. More snogging, teenage angst and sop (undeniably sex sells, but considering that this is a children's book, JKR will settle for the next best option) - believe we have not yet heard the last of Viktor Krum.

3. The resurrection of a previously assasinated character through the revelation of the identity of the mysterious R.A.B.

4. The Half-Blooded Prince will be a key character in the final instalment in whom, good had always triumphed over evil since WWI

5. The discovery that the Chosen One and He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named are father and son (very akin to Star Wars...hahahaha)

6. The outwitting and dramatic slaying of He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named in a one-to-one face-off with the Chosen One

7. The reunification of the entire Weasley family

8. A happily-ever-after ending for Harry, Ron and Lupin, complete with a corny joint wedding rejoiced by all mystical creatures and characters in the wizarding world

Hmmm...let's see one year from now how accurate a muggle without a crystal ball can be! hehehehehe....


As highlighted by many other Malaysian bloggers , the thick, heavy blanket of haze shrouding the country the past week has left me depressed and somewhat ill (watery eyes and a dull head, at best)...certainly did not help that this coincided with the final week to the 2004 tax submission deadline for the group of companies I work for!!! So even in the event whereby I could have honestly claimed a sickie....I unfortunately was desperately clawing my way to the office early every morning, in a determined bid to get the tax returns of the group of companies signed and submitted on, am a far cry from the ideal model of a value-for-money-over-dedicated employee...rather, it is $$ which rules - am just not prepared to tempt fate by antognising my boss and risking my head on the chopping board in times when I need the dough.

Ha! Admittedly, the past week has been living hell.

I literally felt cooped up in a small claustrophobic room, locked in with another 1,000 individuals below (standing room only) with no escape route available:

Was bracing myself for an equally grey and gloomy weekend, but lo and behold...come early Saturday morn, the acrid cloak of dust had lifted due to the kind change of winds! Nice blue skies and warm cheerful rays of sunshine streaming into my bedroom!!! Yippee yay...such rare commodities in the past week!!!

Unfortunately, not everyone was of the same view. Some bozos have inadvertently formed a fond attachment to the haze...deprived of smog...they have taken upon themselves to manufacture some instead, and with kind intentions, to distribute them among the masses.

Encountered one such inconsiderate fool during lunch at Imbi Palace - fairly posh restaurant with no-smoking signs conspicuously placed. No reading skills required...after all how hard is it to understand this:

Well, Mr Bozo confidently lit up in the packed restaurant while talking ostentatiously on the phone....the smoke quickly offending the senses of the diners around, most of whom had paused in the midst of riveting conversation to scout around for the source of the offensive fumes. His wife and two young daughters were evidently conditioned to such behaviour as they seem oblivious to the dirty looks shot at their table and the accusatory murmurs around. Mr Bozo, on the other hand, had developed skin as thick and unpenetrable as the armour of a tank - in all probability had obliterated the words "consideration and embarassment" from his already limited vocabulary - and continued to light up a couple more ciggies after the first. *puff puff*

Despite numerous complaints from neighbouring diners, waiters and waitresses did not dare broach the subject with Mr Bozo. Hmmm...perhaps a well-respected kingpin in the local underworld?!?!? this case, even "bo thak chek" is too kind a compliment for the obviously visually and hearing impaired ass.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Yum cha sessions

Every time I head back to Penang, I have to rely on hubby's generous gesture in consenting to wake up at the ungodly hour of 4am to drive me up north, so that I would arrive in Penang just in time to pick my paternal grandparents up for their ritual yum-cha session. My paternal grandparents are early birds and anything later than 7:30am is scandalous.

Yum cha sessions are a ritual which my bro and I have been introduced to when we just little kids. Back then, we both had our favourites - my bro was easily attracted and conned by rainbow coloured dim sum, which most of the time fared miserably in the taste department...whereas I would tend to go for good old standard boring, but reliable stuff like siew mai, fish balls and har kau. Having filled our little tummies then, we would squirm uncomfortably in our chairs and watch in despair as my grandparents refilled pot after pot of tea. They used to tell us: "Yum cha sessions are in reference to tea drinking and chit-chat...dim sum is merely an accompaniment"

As we grew up, yum cha sessions became more tolerable as we were then able to participate in conversations, and heck...sometimes the stories my grandparents told us were pretty interesting too. And this was primarily how we bonded with my paternal grandparents...over cups and cups of tea. During these sessions, we heard about the World War, about how hard life was in the kampung in Kedah, about our dad's and aunt's many antics and of course...many lessons were imparted - some wise, and some not so wise, coloured as they were by my grandparents' prejudices.

The older we grew, the less time we had for yum cha sessions. What used to be weekly affairs on Saturdays diminished to perhaps once a month sessions during our school days when even weekend mornings were dedicated to school activities or tuition classes. After Form 5, I missed many more yum cha sessions, having moved to KL for college and subsequently to the UK for university.

I realised that these sessions were sorely missed by my paternal grandparents. They lived on their own, and bro and I were their only grandchildren. I knew that they loved us to bits as bro and I were totally spoilt rotten by them. Anything we wanted and pointed out, we would undoubtedly get. *grin*

I used to "make up" for my long absences every summer break my accompanying them for yum cha sessions every single morning. Chit-chat sessions which last well to mid-day! But now, having to work and settle down in KL....yum-cha sessions are merely limited to the occasional trips back to Penang.

It is still the usual fare....but my paternal grandparents are getting old. My grandpa is stooped, hard of hearing and has developed a limp whereas I am witnessing my grandma getting more senile every time I visit.

Conversations now are like an on-going tape recorder playing endlessly on loop...most spent reminiscing the olden days when things were tough/ when my bro and I were young and supposedly, very cute and cheeky. My grandma sometimes treats me as if I were other times, I am eighteen. It never registers that I am now earning a living and am getting married soon.

Things have so changed...I should make more efforts to go back to Penang more spend more time with least while my grandma can still recognise me as her only granddaughter.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

A new low

How much lower can you get?

....well apparently there's still room to drop.....

...and if you thought this was the pits....

...wonder why they even bother with the trousers!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Should I or should I not? hmmm.....

Considering the huge hype over the release of the new Harry Potter book and my previous claim of being a fan of the series (I like things which convinces me that I am still a big kiddo...ahhahaha), I surprised everyone when I declared nonchalently to my mum that I wasn't bothered to reserve the book in advance at MPH.

I mean...what's the fuss....if in England, yes the book may be oversold...but what are the chances of that happening in Malaysia where easily 90% of the population does not read, let alone spend money on books?!?!? and if past track records are anything to go just has to wait for a month or two before discounts are offered by bookshops who are almost too eager to free-up some shelf space for other new titles.

erhm...This supposed nonchalence, however, did not stop me from conveniently popping into bookstores to sneak a peek... oh ok, many peeks then.

Despite constant bombardment from adverts and newspaper clippings that the new release was the 6th in the series, it only dawned upon me during a detour into MPH 1 Utama that I only had the first 4 of the Harry Potter books in my collection!!! mean there was a fifth????? how come I totally like er....missed that?!??!?!

OMG!!!! I felt like I've lived in a time bubble of sorts!!! How come I totally missed the fifth??? and this was despite the fact that I have been waltzing in and out of bookshops every once in a while....have I just been totally blind?!??!?!

Rationalising, I comforted myself that last year's release probably coincided with my tax filing peak period (was attached to the tax arm of an audit firm then, so hours were crazy long!!!!!!!!!!!!!) and my ACCA finals...must have been the lack of sleep causing me to zombie in and out of shops without registering that something new and hot was out!! Furthermore, the 5th book does look very much alike the 4th one, no??


Ok, to me both covers look very similar...both have something with wings poised in mid-flight, flames and are of an reddish-orangy hue....

and in case you're wondering...I readily admit that I don't fare very well in those spot-the-difference exercises you come across in some obscure magazine which assumes its readers have nothing much better to do than stare intently at a page, noting down the dissimilarities between 2 pictures which have no value-add whatsoever in their lives...anyway I digress...

So yes, how could I now buy the 6th book without having read the 5th one? and by the way, where the hell were the new books....I see posters, but try as I might I could not find the stack of goodies!!!! ha....a bemused security personnel kindly informed confused and disoriented me that MPH stashes the stock at the counter...hmmmm...i wonder why?

anyway, since I haven't read the 5th book yet, may as well just get it....oh!!! and wonder of wonders...the paperback version is now only retailing at RM40 as compared to the normal hardback price of RM99.90! Yippee...I just saved 50%....and at the rate I am going, maybe by the time I get around to the 6th book...the paperback version will be out as well....another 50% of savings.....boy!!! Am i getting good at scrimping!!!! eheheheheheh

so yes....the last few week nights, have been pouring over the 5th book....and as i went through it, i thought to myself...hmmm...this seems familar.....deja-vu!??!?! Half-way through I even had a premonition that Sirius Black wasn't going to be around for long....and I didn't even attend Professor Sybil Trelawney's divination classes....then *boing* I remembered that I HAVE READ THE BOOK ALREADY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Aaaah.....I now remember having camped at MPH Mid-Valley after work for one whole week (hubby used to work there and we while waiting for him, what else better to do eh?)...hehehehehe....reading the book for free! Don't get me wrong....I have always intended to get the book, but obviously having finished it then, I'd conveniently forgotten about actually forking money out to purchase it later! *sheepish grin* sure am not the only one...which also explains why MPH now wisely locks up its new Harry Potter stocks behind the cashier as well!!! tee hee hee

and btw, have succumbed to temptation and bought Harry Potter the 6th today....*sucker*....can't wait to whizz off to my 6th year at Hogwarts