Saturday, 31 December 2011

Year End Reflection - last post for 2011

It is amazing how fast our brain cells connect. As I lay in bed, with a dizzy spell with a hint of nausea, nope, not pregnant or anything like that YET, my mind quickly travelled back to 1984, early of the year during Chinese New Year. I was at my paternal grandparents house and my grandma was still alive then (she passed away in 1985).

The reason that piece of memory jumped out from the internal brain data search is because my feeling of being unwell now reminds me of how I felt nauseated after my aunt gave me plain water to drink, I asked for a second glass cos I was thirsty and I puked my gut out shortly after that and deemed sick by the adults. Lying in sick bed is not fun at all especially during celebration time.

Beloved hubby is now at my parents' place, lovingly packing dinner from my mother's kitchen for me. My sweet sweet husband.

I count my blessings and am happy with who I have around me, my family and friends and I am not in dire need of material things or hunger for love and attention and my health, despite the minor ailments, I'm generally healthy. Looking at my blessings make me contented and tone down any feelings of envy inside. Humans tend to compare with those who seem better off, that's human nature isn't it?

Of course a perpetual resolve to try to conceive (TTC), is a yearly 'resolution' I try to make to achieve and here I am still childless, at the end of 2011. I am exactly two years past my personal deadline to have a baby by 2009. Deadlines don't work this way, you don't go against fate, or the Malay will say you cannot force blessings or 'rezeki' to be showered upon you. Anyway, my journey of TTC continues to 2012.

I tried to look at the Positive side of being childless for years and finally I am making progress. I am trying to enjoy not having a little bundle of joy around, we can concentrate on our twosome time and trips together, the late night movies and all without having to worry about babysitting. Well at least that's a consolation, right? :)

Happy New Year everyone! If the world is really gonna end next year, let's embrace 2012 and live each day as if it's our last, Live Life to the Fullest!!! Have a blessed year. :)

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

TGI Fridays Wangsa Walk Mall's Food Quality Deteriorating

We are a big fan of the dessert minis
Hubby and I have been loyal patrons of TGI Fridays (TGIF) since the beginning of our relationship some 8 years ago.

Of course we are naturally excited when TGIF opened up an outlet near our area at Wangsa Walk Mall some two years back. We were literally regular customers to the extent that we once had dinners at least once every week at TGIF Wangsa Walk Mall. That was how 'smitten' we were as loyal patrons.

We tasted the food at TGIF at other places, namely The Curve and OneUtama, to name a few, and at first we 'tried to forgive' the 'new chefs' at TGI Fridays Wangsa Walk Mall for the food standard that seems a little bit below par compared to the other outlets in the chain.

Then we remembered a survey they requested us to do based on the receipt number, and upon completion of the online questionnaire, we get a unique code to produce to be entitled to a free fajita on our next visit. I remembered doing the survey thrice, the first time I entered a long comment in the box, even touching about the food quality. The second and third times, they removed the comment box and the survey was much shorter.

Anyway, talking about the food quality, the standard has really deteriorated with time. On some days after that, the food was so-so, on some days the food at TGI Fridays Wangsa Walk Mall was barely edible.

We decided to visit the outlet again on Nov 23, 2011. I'm sitting here at the outlet, typing this blogpost, while waiting for our bill.

Sad to say, the food served today is the worst ever in our experience at TGIFriday!!!!

Here are some pix to prove my point:

Pix 1: See how burnt the toast is? It shouldn't be called Tuscan Chicken Melt, more like Burnt Toast with Chicken/Cheese
Pix 2: For the first time ever, this evening, I got my grilled chicken breast partially raw!!! Unacceptable! This is NOT even a steak, if they are trying to achieve a medium rare cooking!

Pix 3: In one of the refills, the server ignored hubby's request for NO ICE. Hubby didn't wanna make a fuss hence he took out all the ice with the dessert spoon.
Pix 4: At least dessert is still nice.

Geez, TGIFridays Wangsa Walk Mall really need to buck up and improve your food standards! What is an eatery without good food quality!?!

We spoke to the new manager (who joined only one month ago), and he apologised for the cooking, and said maybe the cook woke up on the wrong side of the bed that morning... we were like... huh? It's not even funny. He thanked us for the feedback and let's hope something is done to improve and he lasts long enough and won't leave like that last manager!!!

Update: June 2012 - We visited again after a long time, and again a few weeks after that, the cooking has improved to the standards that it should be. Yay!

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

When you turn 30, you feel down, When you turn 31, you feel happy again. :-)

Whoever said "When you turn 30, you feel down, and When you turn 31, you feel happy again", has a point. You don't feel so 'sad', as least not as sad as when you turned 30, and for me, I actually felt okay celebrating my 31st birthday last month. I was even looking forward to it, and truth to be told, I celebrated it thrice. Yup, three freaking times. lol Hey, change a perspective to look at it, you are now just at the younger end of the 30s. Look at the glass as half full and not half empty, think positive and we'll sail through life contentedly. Here's to a lifetime of contentment and inner peace/joy. :-)

Sunday, 16 October 2011

When you have nothing to say

Have you ever been stumped for words when you should have said something?

Or have you just chosen not to say something just because you don't want to or you can't?

I don't know about you, but sometimes too many things happen at the same time that you don't know what to say, hence it may be one of the times when you have nothing to say, really.

Anyway, some food for thought and here's to a good ending to the year in this last quarter of 2012.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

An Eventful Rainy Sunday

What a day!

It's a rainy Sunday morning, the best setting for you to sleep in and get up later than usual, but that's not to be as I needed to 'show face' at work for an event, awaken rudely from my sleep by my colleague who arrived earlier, and there's something wrong at the event.

As I was getting in my car, tried the key on the ignition and there's no roaring sound of the engine, battery weak, I guess, and my alarm went off like a mad woman roaring on such a sweet to sleep-in-Sunday morning. Grrr. Called hubby and he drove his car to beside mine and I let him handle my car while I drove to work in his car. Thank Goodness for sweet hubbies!

Everything was rather okay after that, then the last straw came - I lost my phone at the end of the day and I didn't even know how I lost it.

Called the service provider and the policy is that I would need to pay to get my number back, I'd rather get a new number with pre-loaded credit or something rather than pay to get my number back! Or just get a new number and don't even have to pay anything!

So, this ends my Sunday. I'm kinda happy though, cos many happy things happened in between these 'events'... what an eventful Sunday, and had a fun time with my family, material possessions if lost, can be bought again, families are here at this moment but life is fragile, hence treasure them while you can! Like what my colleague always said: 'Family - No.1'

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Trying to Deal with Jealousy While TTC

For those in the know, you will know that TTC stands for Trying To Conceive. Hubby and I have been TTC for the past four years and still counting. We are still waiting and hopeful for our first child. There, I tried successfully to phrase that positively instead of the doom's day thoughts of childless, hopeless, frustration, etc. Anyway, I digress.

We are humans. The saying keeping up with the Joneses isn't there for nothing. There is some level of envy whenever others have something/someone that we don't have (yet) and hope to have. It is on the most personal level when it has got to do with having your own child/trying to get pregnant as the process of doing so is either through the taboo subject of sex, or via the laboratory test tubes/petri dishes which can seem impersonal/too personal and almost painful to talk about.

On a scale of one being the least and 10 being the most, I would say when I'm with friends, in the public, my level of jealousy for another expecting mother would be almost zero. I genuinely care and usually are happy for pregnant friends/relatives. I love looking at pregnant women and it makes me smile to think of the happiness the family must be having, expecting a new life into their home.

However, when I'm alone and in that private setting, melancholy will set in as the magnamity of my 'loneliness' that we women feel can only be filled by a child to call our own will allow jealousy to kick in - that at a terrifying scale of 8-10. I'm being very honest here, the nights you lay and the thoughts of wanting a child so much you feel you could die, and then reflecting on the most recent news of Ann who just broke the news that she's pregnant.  Or hear from an elder in the family that her friend's daughter is pregnant only after less than 6 months of marriage, etc.etc.

A simple google search gave me this link:

There are so many who are TTC that feel the same way, and I know that since Day 1 of my long journey that hasn't seen the finishing line yet - so I don't feel so bad now.

The percentage of my negative feelings vs positive feelings is like maybe 20% of very intense negative feelings as opposed to 80% positive feelings for those I know who are expecting. Initially I was VERY obsessed about TTC and the jealousy is like 50% 50%. Now I'm becoming more accepting, I guess, but still hopeful and trying not to hard. That is after four years of self-reflection and of course, self-forgiveness, or at least trying not to blame myself for my state, which is more of a medical condition and not a matter of just relaxing and you'll pop out a baby in no time.

I found a cool video on how to deal with your feelings when you are the the worst time of the month when you found out you are not pregnant:

The TTC journey is hard, some had their marriage broken as both partners could not cope, but some are even more in love after the trial, with or without children in the end. I have my husband to thank for support and we really have grown so much together emotionally in this roller coaster journey of TTC.  Baby dust to all who are in the same TTC journey.

Friday, 9 September 2011

When There's a Up, There's Bound to be a Down.

I guess I've been anticipating this blog post for quite some time.

Life has been good to me so far, sure there are minor hiccups now and then but I overcome most of them and survived so I guess I've been doing okay up to this point.

My first blog is now already totally obliterated from the World Wide Web thanks to the first popular social networking site that starts with the letter 'F', I just refuse to type its name so that google will not crawl it and I don't ever want to be associated with the now-turned-gaming social network site which everyone was on back in 2003-2006 (when I was there anyway).

I did NOT save much from my blog.. it chronicled my life from 2004-2007, up to the point where I got married, my joy and tribulation, disappointment and frustration as well as sharing updates with my friends who gets notifications whenever I update my blog. Their meaningful and funny comments, all deleted from the surface of the virtual world.

Anyway, this blog post isn't about that. It is about what I remember blogging about in my first blog (of the same name) - career woes.

I have always considered myself an open book, almost 'too' open, my mother would say, but I think age hasn't closed the book just yet, so here I am pouring my heart out.

Here goes:

I am now in my third year in my current job. I actually blogged about my job and the joys it brings me - interacting with my students, no matter how cheeky or playful/naughty they are, really made my day, tiring as it may be for some notorious classes, I still find teaching/lecturing/tutoring very fulfilling.

The first thing I dread about this job is the never ending marking. Okay, it seemed never ending because it is a continuous thing that comes again and again with each new semester. It's a vicious cycle. I was barely tagging along and barely keeping afloat with all that marking, sometimes with crazy deadlines like having to finish 3 essay questions, 190 scripts within 72 waking hours, not including your time on transportation to work, invigilation duties, eating, and definitely no family or leisure time, you are turned into this zombie/robot that marks, marks and marks. Oh, I said 72 waking hours, taking away the sleeping time and other not-to-be-mentioned waste disposal activities. It has happened to me, and to top it off, I had another batch of papers with the same deadline. I felt like I wanna die. The deadline is inhuman.

The second thing I dread now is the ceaseless paper work. The forms to fill and the stupid policies that keep changing again and again. I won't go into details but quality time has been sacrificed and it is at these moments that I felt like giving up and just leaving. But everyone is in this boat together, nice colleagues and nice immediate supervisors, who accompanied me on this journey of unreasonable demands from us. It got to a point where my normally calm and non-confrontational husband would utter the remark: What is this crazy job you are having? (and it's supposed to be a leisurely job, teaching).

Sure there are perks that people see like more or less the usual, and somewhat flexible hours but unseen are the slugging late at night in research/preparation and marking. All the hours taken away from you and your family/friends/personal life.

I don't know what will happen in the next five years. I only know I've made my mind to stay on in this job at least till I complete my 3rd year.. and maybe 4th year.. heck, I planned to retire in this nice job, before things got to be this crazy with amendments after amendments to the procedures. Now I'm not so sure anymore.

I only hope I will be strong enough to persevere on a day-by-day basis now. And please don't let me be disappointed by my new batch of students because they are the only strong reason that keeps me sane in this job. Looking back at my career, the job that I missed the most now is my first job - to be a reporter/journalist again. Sure the hours were erratic and I had to work on weekends and evenings.. and even graveyard shifts at one point - but I found pure joy and job satisfaction from writing the news/feature articles. It was my first passion and will always be my passion. I guess I should find comfort in the knowledge I knew what I enjoyed doing and I knowingly gave it up to prepare to start a family with my guy back then. I am a woman after all, hence the need for that choice for a career change.

So, I try to live in the now, and with no regrets. We'll take one step at a time and see where this path takes us. I'll try to smile in the meantime. :-)

I try to live by this maxim nowadays when things get too hard, oh yeah, it's difficult sometimes but we need to hang on cos you never know when the gold is just at the next bend:

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Love is...

Love is when you keep on encouraging me when the going gets tough. Love is when you stayed up till 2.30am to help me count, tally and double check the numbers even though it is not your job. Your support warms up my heart and I feel very much cared for, protected by my man.

Love is patient, love is enduring, love is accepting. They say action speaks louder than words but soft, gentle words can melt a heart more than action can do, at least for ladies. So, speak it, do it, love it!


Protect your lady like Donald Duck did in this pix!

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

I love this song! (Here we go again)

Okay, this time it isn't a Japanese song, referring to my recent craze for the song Tegami by Angela Aki. :-)

It is this song - Gabriel's Oboe (Whispers In a Dream) - which is the second version of lyric-added to the original musical score of Gabriel's Oboe. Sarah Brightman introduced Nella Fantasia with Italian lyrics and now Hayley Westenra introduced her version of Gabriel's Oboe with her own composed lyrics - enjoy the song!

Gabriel's Oboe (Whispers In a Dream)
lyrics composed by Hayley

Whispers in a dream
The world is quiet and waiting
And all around the air is still
And sings the angel.

When all has come to pass
The storm has breathed its last
And the rain has washed our fears away
Love will fall.

Whispers in the wind
The clouds part to let the light in
And all around the people sigh
As birds take to the sky.

When all has come to pass
The storm has breathed its last
And the rain has washed our fears away
Love will fall on us all.

The world will smile again.


Whispers in a dream
The world is quiet and waiting
And all around the air is still
And sings the angel.

When all has come to pass
The storm has breathed its last
And the rain has washed our fears away
Love will fall on us all.

And we can smile again. 

I love Hayley Westenra as well. Here's a tribute to her - a decade of her musical career:

Friday, 12 August 2011

New Passion - Kinda Crazy Though :-)

I have a new (crazy passion). Guess what, guess what? *grins*

I finally acted on my long-time-wish to learn a second (classical) musical instrument. I don't count the recorder that we learned back in primary school as a second instrument to my piano. I've been talking about it since I was in my teens, then kinda put it on hold when I was busy with tertiary studies, then work, then marriage.

Now, thanks to my childless state, which is a curse or blessing in disguise depending on how you are looking at it (I want a child more than anything at this point but wanting too much of something you don't have yet is very painful, so I decided to pick up and pursue my girly dream, which I figured is a good distraction) - I adjusted a bit of my schedule and found time to enrol in a music school nearby home for my first music lesson in a decade (or maybe more than a decade!). I actually started teaching music in 1998 when I was still studying and hadn't attended another music class after I 'graduated'.

I believe I've always been musically inclined since young. I've been exposed to almost everything parents could afford, from kiddies song since young up to classical music education (piano) up to my teen years; the rich experience of both English and Chinese oldies and then some (read: three) singing classes before I left my hometown and everything in music behind as I moved to Kuala Lumpur and even had my piano sold in the last decade.  Now that is one complex sentence, I'm just long-winded and don't practice what I preach (simple writing is always the best, don't use too many brackets, etc.etc.).

So which instrument did I choose? Guess, guess, guess?

The flute. Still involving pressing the keys albeit not on the keyboard but on the keypad of the flute. It's so heavy compared to a Chinese flute! My dad had a flute's Chinese cousin and I remembered him blowing the Chinese flute in my younger days. He stopped as we grew bigger and he older, lack of stamina, I think.

And man, it really does take a lot of stamina to blow, and the use of the correct breathing technique from the thoracic diaphragm is essential to produce the correct sound/pitch from the flute. Took me about 10 minutes of soundless blowing as I adjusted my oral cavity and my lips and my body stance before I produced the first audible deep B note from the flute!

I was nearly giving up and the instructor/teacher was encouraging me to be patient cos it takes some time to get used to the blowing. It was a one-on-one class, it's a male instructor (I don't know why but I prefer this term more than 'teacher') and he's very polite and very gentleman, asking prior permission and apologising in the few instances there are bound to be necessary physical contact like adjusted my fingers on the keys and my wrist holding position of the flute and my chin against the lip plate of the flute. 

It was only 45 minutes (with a few minutes extra time as it was the first class) -- but man, I talked about it endlessly after that while narrating to my hubby about it, I was excited and erm, I think passionate is a better word. I plan to buy a flute to keep practising at home. Put that on the tab of my darling as my upcoming birthday gift then. *wink* I just discovered how expensive flutes are and found out that it's because they are mostly handmade as it's a very sensitive musical instrument. There are even gold plated ones because the better quality the metal is, the better the sound is!

The good thing about learning a second instrument at such a mature age (read: old) is that you are more prepared to absorb what the lessons had to teach as you pay for it yourself, and you are more focused. Younger students usually are 'forced' at a young age to learn the piano or violin and it doesn't help that music lessons are so exam-based - think ABRSM (abbreviation for Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music) and Trinity College music exams.

The disadvantage of taking up a second/new instrument when you are an adult is that you are slower to pick up on certain things, i.e. your brain and body coordination is a bit slower if you've never tapped into that area ever! Like playing the electone where you need to use both hands and legs at the same time, like driving, like playing the piano, or any other musical instrument or even dancing.

Trust me, I cannot NOT admit old age is catching up. I feel a bit like a failure after the first lesson cos I can barely blow the notes, the sound coming from my flute is like lacking energy and not even 50% of the richness of my instructor's. Maybe it's the ego/kiasu'ism inside me, cos I consider myself a fast learner. So I'm even more determined to get myself a flute to practice!

Oh yes, I'm continuing this passion. Will learn flute for long term and it's more portable than a piano anyway, I can bring it anywhere like a laptop, lol. It's so cool! Why do I choose the flute? Because of the haunting, melancholic but smooth melodious sound.

The music centre which I picked to have my one-on-one flute lesson seems to be lacking online presence, they are on fb (via foursquare check-in) and on foursquare though but lack of review and other info about them online. They are here - Dream World Music:

I shall end this blogpost with a soothing tune of a flute duet for the classic song, "Unchained Melody".

I sang this song as a duet with my husband at my wedding dinner in 2007, and my goal is to be able to play it on the flute by my next wedding anniversary next July 2012. It's a kinda crazy goal cos my instructor said it will take 3-5 months just to learn 'Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star'! - but I'm determined. So I decide I'm gonna enjoy achieving my goal!!! Wish me luck. :-)

I have decided to start a whole new blog to record my 'journey' into mastering my second musical instrument here:

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

When You Had Your Heart Broken - When Relationships End

Girls, guys, ever felt like how Beyonce is singing in the video above?

Ever gone through the "Why?" phase when you read up anything and ask anyone you can get hold of to get the reason why it ended? You are not alone. Many has gone through that phase and they survived and put it behind them very soon.

I was looking for the most accurate proverb (谚语) for my observation of today's incident, August 9th, 2011. A girl was crying while concerned friends talked to her, and she was wiping her tears away with a tissue paper while continuing to narrate her story. Let's gloss over the details in respect of the privacy of the girl and the parties involved (which involves young love and heartache and of course girl-boy, that much I can say).

What would you say to a crying girl who had her heart broken? That brought me back to all the incidents in the past, the movies I've watched and the songs I've heard and played over and over again. The songs of heartache and heartbreak are not popular for nothing... the sentiment is echoed in many hearts, young and old alike and the resonance is so strong the songs become popular. 

The first thing that popped to my mind is 'This too, shall pass'.

Then the vision in mind is my memory of a scene from a poignant movie I watched (back in 1990s) and how two adults confided in each other and the other said, "My grandmother always told me, that 'This too shall pass'," I cannot recall the movie or even the gender of the characters but I remember that particular scene with that particular advice.

Hurt will pass, happiness will pass, emotions are temporary. Like the wheel, you seem to be at the same place but if you are a dot on the wheel, you are sometimes up and sometimes down. Nothing is fixed, especially not your feelings.

Even the most loving couple will have their down times, and it is through overcoming these adversity and difficult times that we learn to grow and improve in life.

Yes, I had my fair share of having been hurt and had my heart broken when I was younger, read: Before age 23. My parents said I was just dramatising and seeking attention cos they are adults after all but back then it felt like the end of the world for me.

At that time, I felt like wishing the Earth would open up and swallow me inside cos I was so ashamed to face my social circle now that I am no longer part of the couple they identified me with. Back when you are younger and the peers mean the world to you, and conformity is a must, it seemed like a dead-end for me.

Another time I felt like flying away like in a dream to a land where no one knows me.. and I'd be lying if I say I never thought of ending my life. Thank goodness I never really acted on that last thought! Many negative thoughts went through my mind like the film reel at those low points. I felt like no one could understand how I felt. I blamed the other party first, then turned self-destructive as I turned the blame to myself, saying I'm too fat (I was only less than 110 lbs back then at one point!), maybe I'm too ugly, too insensitive, not good enough, and that's why the relationship ended. I had done a few things back then in retaliation, now that I look back, they are kinda embarrassing but I learned from those humiliating instances. Now that I'm past 30, no one cares anyway!

If the pain was RAW at that time, then I'd say I'm RIPE with age now that it doesn't really matter anyway! :-) Can I copyright this line here?

Looking back, as I'm writing this, I tried to relive the pain and the answer from my heart, is a dull numbed scarred pain, very faint, and I cannot believe how much it hurt back then. It has passed. Yes, it has passed!

How do you mend a broken heart? 

The best remedy is self-forgiveness (and ignore the wrong-doer) and let time heal the pain. As for the one who wronged you, let him/her be, or let them be, karma is a b*tch that will get you back, so let karma do her job.

Turn inside yourself and start enduring. Enduring and forgiving a person are two totally different things. Like you endure having to save a patient's life cos you are a doctor but you cannot forgive that person because that patient killed someone you loved. Enduring is doing the right thing in life, to continue in living, and forgiving is something more personal and takes time, so no hurry there.

There will come a time in the future that the past does not matter anymore. The chapter will be closed and you will read back that chapter with neutral feelings.  The heart isn't made of glass, which I would like to believe back when I was a naive young girl. Silly young(er) me believed my heart was broken into tiny shards of glass and could never recover anymore after the heart breaks (yes, in plural form).

Nope, the heart is more versatile than you think. It is NOT made of glass. Time is essence when it comes to heart break. The pain is yours and yours alone, when the time comes, let it go and be amazed at the revelation that will only follow after we let go. Never close your heart for new wondrous opportunities. I'm an optimistic fool and I'm glad the optimism paid off to a certain extent in my life so far. 

*This advice comes from a girl (now woman) people call 'weak' and emotional. If I can come this far, so can everyone else*

A quick search on google came up with this link and the proverb 'This too shall pass' has roots so far back!

Both girls and guys had their hearts broken either way, so here's a song sung by guys to end this blogpost, that is only fitting since this blogpost starts with a song sung by a woman. :-)

How do you mend a broken heart from BeeGees (1971) but sung in 1998 video:

This is a continuation of A creature called woman: FEELINGS - from negative to positive (Part 1)

Friday, 29 July 2011

I love this song!

I managed to look up the song that my friend Pei mentioned in her comment two blog posts before this, it's called Tegami, which means letter.

Where a 15-year-old wrote a letter to her future self in despair. Then the second part of the song is a letter from the future self comforting her and encouraging her to have strength and faith to persevere in life. I love Angela Aki too! Love her rendition of Tegami (Letter)!

This is a reminder to everyone who needs a little boost in life.

The lyrics in English:

Dear you,
Who's reading this letter
Where are you and what are you doing now?

For me who's 15 years old
There are seeds of worries I can't tell anyone

If it's a letter addressed to my future self,
Surely I can confide truly to myself

Now, it seems that I'm about to be defeated and cry
For someone who's seemingly about to disappear
Whose words should I believe in?
This one-and-only heart has been broken so many times
In the midst of this pain, I live the present

Dear you,
Thank you
I have something to tell the 15-year-old you

If you continue asking what and where you should be going
You'll be able to see the answer

The rough seas of youth may be tough
But row your boat of dreams on
Towards the shores of tomorrow

Now, please don't be defeated and please don't shed a tear
During these times when you're seemingly about to disappear
Just believe in your own voice
For me as an adult, there are sleepless nights when I'm hurt
But I'm living the bittersweet present

There's meaning to everything in life
So build your dreams without fear
Keep on believing

Seems like I'm about to be defeated and cry
For someone who's seemingly about to disappear
Whose words should I believe in?

Please don't be defeated and please don't shed a tear
During these times when you're seemingly about to disappear
Just believe in your own voice

No matter era we're in
There's no running away from sorrow
So show your smile, and go on living the present
Go on living the present

Dear you,
Who's reading this letter
I wish you happiness

Do check out the mash-up of the song too, gave me goosebumps:

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Career Change? What Made Me Stick Around? Wacky Students (College "Kids")

This is a photo of students emulating the 'adults' in the working world. The spokesperson looks convincing, eh?

My students in action.
My ex-students during their Mock Press Conference in Class 2011

I think by now, if this isn't the first time you're reading my blog, you'd have known I'm a lecturer by profession, at least atm. Been in this job for the past two years and still counting, so far so good, my 'record' for the longest ever job I've held in my short life.

The following paragraph is only meant to be read if you are REALLY interested, if not just skip it. It's also to record my career progression while I still remember them before my memory deteriorates.
Been a journalist - both a news reporter and then a subeditor, left mainstream media for good, then I joined the new media and became Senior Editor for awhile, then changed to another company when the earlier new media company 'collapsed' and became Editor for another web-based company - eventually accepted my first lecturing post but the long drive to and back home (minimum THREE hours a day on the road) took a toll on me, especially my stress level and my health so I left that job. Decided to put my Masters to use (Corporate Communication) hence I took up a consultant job offer to offer Public Relations 'expertise' as an external agency to companies/organisations. Burnt out too fast in that job too.. and then I took up part time lecturing and odd jobs on a contractual basis (mostly editing and writing jobs) before landing myself this current position. 

My dad used to call me a 'grasshopper'/BM:Belalang, because I job hopped faster than you can say "change", that's an exaggeration, but when within 8 years you have had held 10 jobs after your undergrad years, I guess it has some truth to what my dad said.

So what made me stick around this time? My wacky students. They can be a pain sometimes but most of the time, they brought a smile and maybe a chuckle, and sometimes a roaring laughter to my otherwise 'dry' career. :-)
They dress up for the occasion when need be.

I think if you enlarge this pix, you will see that she's trying to be a local celebrity/supermodel.

They are certainly eye candies. Nice to look, nice to teach. I'm a female, so this is just another female appreciating female beauty. When you got it flaunt it while you still can!

The "Bad Boys" group will always be there, but without them the class gets a tad dull.

They are willing to go the extra mile to print out actual props for their assignments.

They show their potential and gave me very heart-warming moments when they showed me they get it, yes, gave me the feeling that I managed to drill that many information into their head!

They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, height, ethnicity, religion, temperaments and behaviour. 
Some are self-proclaimed "Soh Poh" (silly girl)

Some improvised (a lot) and come up with less than tasteful props like these microphones

However hard they 'worked' and 'studied', the kids are always full of smile and fun to be with.

They imitate, they learn; they practice, they learn; they play, I think they learned too.

Some are wise beyond their years, some just look wise but still playful.

Don't you think this "Golden Arch" resembles our rear end?

Some of them are really memorable, some cos they have name like Onn Rei, some cos of how they behaved, some cos of how they looked like.
But most of all, it's their guts that only a young person will have that got to me, to remind me of youth that I'm leaving behind is being lived to the fullest by a newer generation (I'm not THAT old, but still.. the sentiment is there).

Taken just today: July 19th, 2011 - they are very creative in attracting people's attention - in pajamas and cross dressing. lol. Left to right, Elaine, me and Desmond. The boobs are too fake lah!

This should be Part 1 of many other parts of my life with College Kids. :-)

Monday, 18 July 2011

My First Letter to My Future Self - July 18, 2011

This is meant as a reflection, to write down my thoughts and also as a reminder of the frailty of human life.

Dear Sue (in the future),

I'm writing to you, my future self, at this point in time. Today is a cool, cloudy Monday, July 18th, 2011, and our fourth wedding anniversary on July 14th just came and went without much 'feeleefaalaa' - remember that's our favourite phrase for 'frills'? :-) *chuckles softly to self*

This is kinda cool, writing to you, my future self, we are the one and same person, and we share the same private joke. :o)

Okay, let's start the reflection. You know I always think that I can become like my mother and be happily married, have beautiful children who grow up to be successful, and have a fulfilling life. So far I have all that my mother has accomplished at her age now, the only thing lacking is a child. By the time she was my age, she already 'closed shop' and already popped out her third and youngest child. I know this kinda thing cannot be rushed or compared that way, but we are just humans, comparison is a sure thing to make sure our species advanced in life, so comparison is only natural.

Last Saturday, July 16th, I was waiting for my turn at the specialist clinic (gynae/BM: Klinik Pakar Sakit Puan) - the Bersih 2.0 rally/demonstration on July 9th, the week before caused all the doc's appointment to be pushed to last Saturday, a week after the rally. It took me a whole 5 hours just to return home after leaving home for my appointment, and the doc is only 10-min-drive away. Oh, the drive was okay a week after the rally.. it's the number of ladies waiting cos they are all cramped into one day due to the cancelled appointments, hence the long wait. -_-

So in that four and a half hours of waiting among all the other ladies waiting to see the very patient and gentle male doctor, I read my newspaper from cover to cover, and suddenly a deep sense of loss and emptiness engulfed me. Around me, were many baby bumps carried proudly by ladies in all stages of the trimester. Some are alone, some are accompanied by their partners. Of course there are some who are middle-aged and some who have flat tummies, but they are in the minority, including myself.

The deep sense of vacuum inside quickly overcame me and I find myself tearing up. First, sadness cos I'm still childless. Second, the feeling of blame came - at first I blamed life for being unfair (as usual), then the blame turned to myself - I started blaming myself for being useless for not being able to make my husband a father. I blamed myself for not being able to make my own parents a first-time-grandparents, I also started blaming myself for not being able to be a 'normal' woman, what's the use of being a woman, and being married, and not being able to conceive naturally? Geez.. it was a downward spiral down the dark abyss deep inside me, it's so scarily alone down there.

Then the last feeling came - self-loathe. I hated myself for being less-than-a woman for not being able to carry a baby inside me. Just as I thought it doesn't get worse than that, I actually felt the first drop of tear threatening to wash down my face. I folded my newspaper (which I was reading the second round anyway), and started turning to my mobile phone and started texting to share the magnamity of my feelings at that moment. I sent so many text messages (sms) that day, in that short 2-3 hours, that I think my girl friend didn't know what else to say and finally after awhile, they left me alone. Sorry girl friends, I didn't know what to do without distracting myself, or else I'll be this nutcase who's sobbing while reading the newspaper at the gynae's waiting lounge.

To cut a long story short, got back home, the heart still felt heavy. Then when I was walking through the door, my in-laws greeted me, they were staying with me for the past two weeks, with their grandson (eldest son's son, my hubby's nephew), who is also our godson. The 14-month-old toddler could barely stand up unassisted, so he crawled quickly towards me from across my tiny living room, with a big grin on his face, showing some of his half-grown teeth, and when he reached where I was standing, the little baby held on to my pants for support, stood up and looked up at me. Gosh, at that moment, I felt like crying in joy, I smiled instead. I held him up in my arms and it was as if a sudden force pulled me up from the dark abyss of my emotions just to see a child's unconditional smile at you.

It doesn't matter that he is not mine, at this point in life, I'm part of his world. And for that, I'm thankful. I count my blessings and opened my eyes a little bit more to the little things in life to be grateful for, and not to count our losses or emptiness so much. It is natural to be down sometimes, but with each down, there will be an up. So I'm hanging on. :-)

Yours truly,
Sue (2011)

post-script: The first comment on this blog, CS, is my husband. Thank you so much for reminding me of how much loved I am. Hugs.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

8TV discontinued my fav show Hellcats & replaced it without prior notice/without proper ending!

Hellcats has been around, shown on Malaysian tv for quite some time and I've been watching it since Episode 1 and suddenly today, it's replaced by some other show, even though they have not aired the final episode! A rude surprise, cut short like that with the ending left hanging!  No, No, there wasn't even a final episode so how can there be an ending to be left hanging!!!

Suddenly today, I see no such show that I usually watch on Tuesday evenings.
I ran a search on their site for their broadcast schedule and saw that there were only two results found, and the most recent show was last Tuesday, 5th July 2011.


A rude surprise, cut short like that with us viewers left hanging! Grrrrr. How can 8tv discontinue Hellcats just like that?!?

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Part 2: Brow Raising Experience - My Adventure of a 2-year-investment EyeBrow Tender Treatment (similar to embroidery but NOT tattoo)

This is a continuation from Part 1 of my brow raising experience:

As shown in the pix: The offer on mydeal which made me one of the 38 'unsuspecting' customers who bought the RM99 voucher for eyebrow tender session (they claimed it's more natural than eyebrow embroidery) - and for only RM99, I thought why not? I've asked around and the nearest beauty salon in my area offered it for RM430 for 3 sessions, but I backed out because the lady beautician who did her colleagues eyebrow definitely did not do a good job as her eyebrows look really weird!!!

Anyway, I bought this mydeal offer for RM99 in February and waited till May before I made that phone call to make appointment as the expiry date for the voucher was on June 2nd, 2011. It is now or never, or else my RM99 will just be burned. I was asking around AGAIN after I purchased the deal, and the 'pain' stories kinda freaked me out.

So I asked hubby to accompany me to that part of Kuala Lumpur that is kinda far from my place, cos I didn't know what to expect after the first session and was scared I couldn't drive cos my colleague said I'd better get someone to drive me home because she felt like her "eyebrows were being boxed repeatedly that you have a huge headache afterwards". Luckily it felt nothing like that! Maybe a dull tightness around your brows but overall the first session was okay.

Anyway, when I reached their Kuchai Lama outlet, they promised me that it will be over within an hour, so hubby read his book at Oldtown White Coffee just opposite the road. They lied. The aggressive selling and trying to convince me to take on packages and me negating them, etc, took nearly half an hour - by the time I was done with everything, it was over 2 hours and hubby was becoming impatient.. sorry hubby!!!

Anyway, I feel kinda cheated cos the RM99 is only for ONE session and we usually need at least TWO sessions for the process to be 'perfected'. They then offered me a RM488 package which comprises THREE sessions that won't be expiring anytime soon, and is good to use two years down the line.  I redeemed my voucher at their Kuchai Lama outlet and they are saying if they have new outlets nearer to my place, I can go for treatments/sessions elsewhere too.

It says here it uses a machine-process but the only 'machine' I saw when the cotton pads are taken off my eyes are a needle which the first 'specialist' Sophia, refused to show me - my second touch-up saw a nice guy specialist (I forgot his name!!!) who showed me the needle - 14 fine needles, or was it 16, microneedles that poke on your skin!
Like it or not, I don't wanna end up with not-balanced-results with only the first session, so I signed up for the package with the assurance that I can use the balance two sessions (after the two sessions) by 2013, hence I consider it an 'investment'. I already have the RM99 voucher which entitles me to one session, so top up with another three sessions, I'm good for two sessions this year and another two sessions in 2013.

They tried to sell me a RM998 or nearly 1k (forgot the exact price) of a 3D very natural brows package - mind you, that is only for 3 sessions... I was like thinking "are you crazy"? I politely but firmly said no, I only want the eyebrow tender 3D session. We are supposed to continue to trim our brows anyway after either session, so why go for the super expensive one?

The small ampoule I got for 'Free' from the male consultant, SAM, cos I was comparing them to Bluunis, which gives a better package. I then realised that if you buy 'ala carte', that one ampoule of FGF costs RM38 and you are supposed to apply on your brows after the session so that the healing/colour sticking process can be better, more vibrant colours, etc.  Bluunis offers the gel for free as part of the package.

Immediately after the session - my sister said they looked like caterpillars. Ala-Crayon Shin Chan
Day 2
Day 2

Day 3

Close-Up Day 3

Day 3 - Close-up

Day 3 Close-Up

Day 3

The colour is dark brown and there is this layer of CAKE, I call it 'cake' cos it feels like mud sticking on it, cakey feeling.

My mum said the shapes are irregular, but then again, I don't have perfectly symmetrical eyes, so I don't really mind.
Day 3 - when I wanted to wash my hair - I used plastic sheet and tape it to my forehead because we are not supposed to let the eyebrows be in contact with water for at least a week -- lol.

Day 4 - the 'cake' is starting to crack. UGLY! You need fillers and this time your eyebrow pencil comes in handy.

DAY 5 - the cracks were more prominent - this is when the 'cake' is shed and the ink is already absorbed by the skin. Looks and fell like a snake shedding its skin at this point!

SUPER UGLY DAY 6 - As expected, it did not turn out 'balanced' after the first session, hence we need the second touch-up session.
CLOSE-UP of the cracked brow cakes. I call them cake cos they feel like mud that stick on your brows and feel cakey.


DAY 10 after first session - THE 'CAKE' Layer is gone - the colour is kinda bland, but hubby likes it, so did my younger bro - but when I stepped into the salon for my second touch-up, they were maybe 'pretending' to be 'appalled' by the faded colour and wanted to promote me their special FGF oil (shown in above pix of the small ampoule)
So the above showed the first session's progress from Day 1 to Day 10 - I was supposed to wait 30 days (a month) for the area to be less tender but my consultant booked me for 14 days later cos I was 'rushing' for a family portrait photoshoot in mid-June, hence I went ahead with my second session early June, barely two weeks after my first session, and I still feel a bit sore on my brows!!!

Immediately after the second session - they didn't look too thick the second time round.

DAY 5 AFTER SECOND SESSION (I peeled off the cake this time, and did not stupidly wait for 7 days before washing my brows/let water touch my brows)



The first time round, I told my consultant I don't wanna feel pain, so he applied the numbing cream twice, which took 10 minutes each time to 'set'. So the first session was virtually painless, save for the slight sting towards the end of that one hour when the numbing cream effects are starting to wear off.

The second time round, as I didn't wait one month for the next session, I went there on Day 15, it was still sore and tender so it hurt till tears fell down naturally. The second session's specialist is gentle and very attentive to my reaction and he did all he could to make it less painful so it was bearable, maybe men in the beauty industry really are more attentive to women compared to a woman-to-woman.

I do pluck my brows for trimming purposes since my teens, hence the pain is somewhere in between the first time you plucked your brow (which will cause your tears to fall unknowingly) and the usual plucking pain. Still bearable. I heard that the pain that comes with eye-liner tattooing is WORSE! You can read more about it HERE, that blog post made me decided NOT to go to Bluunis.

The first time round it was okay for me, and different individuals have different pain threshold, so I suggest you go for the double layer of numbing cream like what I had the first time round! And don't go back too soon for the second touch-up, some centres even ask you to return within a week, that's too soon! Wait at least 30 days before your next touch-up session.

What I've learned is that it doesn't matter what you do, just trust your instincts.

They tried to sell me a nearly RM400 set of ampoules FGF which is supposed to be called Gold Feathers whatever it is called, award winning product, and the consultant in the second session showed me the print-out on A4 sized paper in a clear holder, and I checked out the ingredients - main ingredients are jojoba oil and tocopherol - which I remembered as the scientific name of Vitamin E.

So I decided NOT to buy despite their pushy sales pitch and made a mental note to drop by a pharmacy on the way home to buy Vitamin E serum. I saved myself RM400 on that extraneous award-winning-ampoule and bought myself a RM30 Vitamin E serum, which worked just as well. I also thank my common knowledge of scientific terms to be able to identify Vitamin E in its chemical compound form. lol.

I will NOT go back there for other stuff from now until 2013 simply because it is a good 30-minute drive on clear traffic - quite far from my place. I will definitely return two years later for my touch-up, which I expect to have a second touch-up, and will finally use up my remaining two sessions that I have pre-purchased.

I am quite satisfied with my brows now. I have bangs/fringes, so my hair usually covers my brows, but you can see the shape through the fringes, and the compliments so far are consistent : They look natural. Yeah, they don't look too dark or fake partly cos I don't allow them to stay on for too long after the second session and I peeled the cake off on Day 5... lol.

The funny thing was, during the first few days after the first session, the 'cake' got too thick and I had difficulty frowning cos it was too tight and it hurts to frown. The second time round, I didn't allow the cake to be too dry cos I washed my brow area on Day 3, so it softened and didn't cause me discomfort with my facial expressions with my brows.

It definitely was a brow raising experience, I have a phobia towards needles but in the name of beauty, anything goes (but not to the more invasive ones with shots/surgery). Not at this point, and hubby does not mind how I look as old age is imminent, and he means it. I love you, hubby! :p