Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy 2013

2013 is at the door... REMEMBER life is short, break the rules, forgive quickly, love truly and unconditionally, laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that made you smile.


(Excerpt from a modified text message/SMS)

May the coming year be one with peace and harmony for the world.

Signing off,
Sue, Dec 31, 2012.

Pix below is in memory of an amazing woman, Nobel Prize winner Rita Levi-Montalcini. RIP Rita!

Thursday, 20 December 2012


Dec 20, 2012, a nice number 20.12.2012.

This year 12.12.12 took the first prize as the most special date for the year and the next one shall be today. Or maybe Dec 21 tops every other date due to the hype it is the end of the world according to the Mayans? I don't know. Doesn't matter.

Since it has been more than a week since my last update, this shall be another reflection post.

A living miracle is at my home in the form of my mother-in-law who is fighting cancer and I am reminded of how blessed we are in life each day.

She is still alert, still can talk coherently and she still can eat and drink a little although she is mostly bed bound. She can stand up with assistance and support, to transfer to a wheelchair so she isn't exactly totally weak, there is still hope as she is eating and she has energy, although not as much as we'd like her to.

There are ups and downs in the last few months. With each down we are tested again and again, all of us in the family, especially the three of us who are the primary care giver. The learning curve is rather steep. When you are only given weeks to live, suddenly other things in life, it pales in comparison and becomes trivial all of the sudden.

Nothing is more important than matters concerning 'Life and death'. When time is running out and you know the end is near, what will YOU do?

Thought for today, as according to the Mayans, the world will end tomorrow. *chuckle*

The pix is a memorable one taken on Dec 14, 2012, a personal note to self to never ever forget that day. :) A life changing day you can say. *smiles*

Happy Year End, Merry Christmas and a Happy 2013! If the world is really ending tomorrow then I can tell myself I have no regrets. :)

Wednesday, 12 December 2012


A post to commemorate 12.12.12, Dec 12, 2012, a Wednesday.

On this special date, a unique occurrence in our Gregorian calendar, many couples tie the knot and have their wedding today, some plan to deliver their baby today, maybe some plan to depart this world today? I don't know.

For me, I am counting my blessings and the living miracle in the form of my mother-in-law, she defies all odds and she is still alive today despite the bleak prognosis from doctor of her end-stage cancer.

Each day is a gift, an extension from the estimated end, we are living in the moment and taking it a day at a time, each day with her is a blessing. She is alert and can carry conversations with us. We feel blessed she is still with us. I know this means a whole lot to hubby and all at home, it means a lot to me too. We treasure and cherish each moment together.

There is always a silver lining in the clouds and through each obstacle and challenge the lessons gained are truly priceless, whatever doesn't break you makes you stronger. Yeah, I have found out that adage is true.

The past few months have been full of turmoil. Yup, it has been a bumpy ride with emotional roller coaster where we nearly lost Mommy three times but she pulled through each time.

We are all the same yet not exactly the same inside compared to a month ago, a week ago, a day ago... we are ever so growing and learning with each passing day, we are progressing spiritually and growing stronger inside, building our mental strength.

I like who I have become now compared to the me a month or two ago. More resilient and actually 'calmer', yeah, I surprised myself that I can actually be so calm. Conquered my fear of needles as we took turns to administer the jabs twice daily, we hardly cringe now when we see blood and pus oozing out from her sores, and they are improving much to our relief, we faced the Truth and open communication really opens many doors with closed doors, we learned to let go a whole lot and found that by doing so we are able to receive more blessings.

It is true that we don't ever stop learning in life. I am thankful for everything I have and look forward to everything I will ever have in life. Gratitude and humility go hand in hand. Happy 12.12.12 everyone!

Random pix below shows the newest addition to our aquarium/tank, meet Pearly the puffiest, roundest Goldie ever!!!

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Testing your texting skills

How familiar are you with texting (SMS) short forms? Take this test:

I got perfect score...just like the rest of 90 over per cent of the majority... lol.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Quote of the day

Everything can be taken from a man except one thing: the last of human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way. ~ Viktor Frankl.

So don't ever ever say you "don't have a choice". Life is a matter of making decisions and choices about how YOU want to respond to Life.

Everyone has a choice, starting with think positively as opposed to think negatively.

Remember the choice is always yours. Quitters say it is impossible, winners go get it done without much excuses or even negative thoughts about how big the challenge may be.

All talk no action will only result in the below as depicted in the image.

Food for thought on Nov 22, 2012.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Dealing with Terminal Illness and Death

I was taking a video of the congregation of Catholic devotees praying while facing the Mother Mary image that appeared since last Friday, Nov 9, 2012 at Sime Darby Medical Centre, Subang Jaya, Malaysia, when another lady, Blonde haired, blue-eyed, a rare view of Caucasian in this predominantly Asian society, came up beside me and snapped a photo as well.

Her name is Tina, I introduced myself first as Sue and shook her hand and she gave me her name. Apparently this middle-age pretty lady is a teacher at an international school and she was visiting her colleague, a Canadian lady who is battling breast cancer which has spread to the bones.

Tina was actually heading to the opposite direction to wait for her husband to pick her up, unbeknownst to me, yet our short five-minute-conversation drew her towards my direction, heading to the parking lot.

Our conversation went like this (mind you we are complete strangers and I still don't know her last name):

Tina: I am a Christian and I believe in God but to grasp on to such an image, I just cannot believe it.

Sue: Yeah, when the world gets too tough, people tend to look for hopes in all the places, something to cling on to with the hope their prayers will be answered.

Tina: Exactly! They ask me, "Don't you believe in God? I said, "Yes, I believe in God but not like this."

At this point I kept my camera phone and I walked towards the opposite direction Tina was heading. That was when I extended my hand in friendship and said "I'm Sue" and she was taken aback before taking my hand and muttered "Tina", I had to ask for her name again so I can hear it clearer (early deafness in my ears *shudder*).

Tina: So you are here to visit a patient?

Sue: My mother-in-law is sick. She has cancer, terminal stage. (I didn't answer if I was there visiting or just getting meds or any other reason as that is immaterial).

Tina: I am here to visit my friend too. She has breast cancer, had both her breasts removed and now it has spread to her bones and she is refusing all treatment from the doctor. We went out for a movie last week and she was still fine and now she is back to the hospital as she has been vomiting.

Sue: Why is she refusing treatment?

Tina: She says she believes in the alternative healing and she goes for acupuncture and herbs which she believes really help her. She says she refuses to believe she will die of cancer. She quoted her own mother who removed one breast many years ago and now at 80, she is still alive, so she will be like her own mother, she said she will not die of cancer.

I shook my head while I think back of many personal experiences of people dealing with death and went into serious denial as that is their coping mechanism.

Sue: That is serious denial.

Tina: Yes, she is in denial. She is beyond counseling and we all know she is stubborn. She says she is planning to go back to Canada because that is where she is from, but not now because she cannot get all the alternative treatment there. She will only go back to die. And she believes she is NOT dying.

Sue: Of course we hope she will recover, there are cases where willpower creates miracles but if her condition deteriorates which they usually will, since her cancer has already spread, she will no longer be fit for a long plane ride back to Canada soon! Didn't anyone tell her that?

Tina: She is stubborn. If you tell her to fly back to Canada now that is like telling her you will die for sure. And she cannot get her treatment there (alternative healing) which she believes is helping her get better.

Sue: That is a difficult situation. Does her family know. Didn't they talk to her?

Tina: Yeah, they know. But she is stubborn. She hasn't even named the beneficiary of her EPF (Employees Providence Fund).

Sue: Is she married to a local then? How old is she?

Tina: No, she is single. She's 52. There's quite a lot in her EPF which she plans to give to her mother.

Sue: 52, So young. But someone's gotta go to her and 'shake her' to let her see the reality of the situation?

Tina: Yeah. I am going to talk to my colleagues at the international school.

I was about to pay for my parking fees when I motioned Tina to pay hers but then she realized she is way off her route.

She asked me how to get out from there to the entrance and I pointed her out.

In a spontaneous gesture, just like how I first extended my hand in friendship, Tina muttered "Thank you for the chat, you are so strong to care for another person" and she extended both her arms, wide open, and we hugged. I said "This can happen to anyone regardless of race. Cancer is very common nowadays. Good luck (with your friend)."

We smiled genuinely at each other, and I can never forget Tina's clear sky-blue-eyes.

Then we parted ways. Two strangers who crossed path just because we love taking photos with our phones. Nov 16, 2012, Friday.

You may be interested in:

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

When our best is not enough

"Sometimes it is not enough that we do our best; we must do what is required." ~ Sir Winston Churchill

What is required means what is needed and hopefully what is right, morally, ethically and socially.

Food for thought on Nov 14, 2012

View taken from my mother-in-law's ward when she was still hospitalized at Hospital Kuala Lumpur on Nov 11, 2012

Saturday, 10 November 2012

"If" by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build them up with work out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!

P/S - And the women shall be equals? Ah well, we get the drift, Kipling. Shall strive to excel and persevere while keeping our virtues. Thanks for the motivating poem which tide me through my preteen years and now in my 30s.

Happy 11th Birthday to my eldest god daughter Rachel dearie, 11.11.2012 and she is 11! Gotta love her birth date! Mommy loves you too!

Quote of the Day

“@RealTalkKim: Powerful people empower others. Only the weak need to break down people to build themselves up.”

Pix grabbed from Groovy Reflections, look for the page on fb!

Nov 10, 2012

It is already a third of the month of November and you are still with us. We are truly glad.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Reminder to Self

This is a scheduled post.

No matter what happens, remember that this too, shall pass.

Nothing is forever bad, nothing is forever good. Just like the wheel the high point will become a low point at some point in time. Change is the only constant.

Hang in there.

A Hand Reaching Out to Touch Her Son

Pix showing my mother-in-law's hand reaching out to touch her youngest son's leg on the hospital bed at the emergency ward today, oh is it two hours past midnight already? Yesterday then. Nov 7, 2012.

A pix to update my blog and they say a pix speaks volumes and a pix can say a thousand words? Why limit to a thousand? Just saying. Mommy, we love you. Hugs.

The Beginning and the End:

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Child's Play - Wildflowers and Playing House

Seeing these wildflowers, a sense of déjà vu came over me.

Some 30 years ago, or maybe less, the little Sue used to pick wild flowers and play 'House' or in Malay, 'masak-masak'. Once in awhile, there will be a wedding and sometimes due to a lack of boys playing the game, a girl shall be the groom. The bride always wear the wild flowers in her hair, tucked behind her ears, every little girl wanted to be the bride so we can look pretty with the wild flowers in our hair.

Fast forward 30 years later, half of us have married and quarter of us are mothers. Another half are still single. The game has taken place on a bigger setting called "Life". How far we have come from those bygone days of innocence and child's play.

Life has been quite good to me with many lessons along the way. I look back with no regrets. Hope it is the same for everyone.

Post script: I think I just showed the whole world my palm. It's okay, as long as no random fortune teller/palm reader gives me a similar prediction he gave Arnold the California Governor that he isn't gonna live beyond age 49 and see how old he is now. Random, I know. :)

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Quote of the day on Halloween 2012

“@WEPromote: Love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation. Kahlil Gibran”

These past two months (since Sept), relationships have been pulled closer as the martriarch of my husband's family, my mother-in-law (MIL) is diagnosed with cancer and the battle with the disease actually brought all family members closer together.

The one thing that is the most significant is the husband and wife, my in-laws, the couple who had been married for 40 years, who never held hands in public or kisses or even hugged or shown any public display of affection (PDA)... They have grown not only closer but more loving in these past two months. It is true that love manifests itself especially more so if you know you risk losing love.

In adversity good things rises, like a Phoenix that rises from the ashes, so shall we overcome this difficult challenge and pull through as a united family, loving and caring. We are cautiously optimistic now.

Pix below: The third bouquet of flowers/roses from my father-in-law to his beloved wife. No roses for 40 years and suddenly three bouquets in two months. Love is great, love is wonderful. :)

Monday, 29 October 2012

Quote of the Day Oct 29, 2012

Quote of the day: Don't expect anyone to understand your journey, especially when they have never walked your path.

This is a general blogpost not meant to lash out at anyone.

Some may even say, I understand what you are going through but that is like mocking because no, you don't really understand because you have not been through it so just zip it, or say I'm sorry or just say I wish you well.

Saw this shared on fb and it is worth pondering on. Yeah, they may not understand but maybe not 100%, maybe they understand some of it or a fraction? Oh well. I blog so that I can 'let it all out', so those who understand shall read this, whoever you are, thanks for reading my blog. :)

If you love reading, do check out my 'letters' under the labels menu. :)

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Third Letter to My Younger Self (Tegami reprise) アンジェラ・アキAngela Aki 手紙 ~拝啓 十五の君

I am listening to my favourite Japanese song, Tegami, google up アンジェラ・アキ Angela Aki 手紙 ~拝啓 十五の君 which tells of a story of how a 15-year-old found it hard to live on in life and wrote a letter to her future self and her future self actually replied.

Here is another letter to myself. You can read about my previous letter here. Or just click on 'letters' on the labels menu for all the letters I've written, more like open letters, I'm an open book anyway. :-)

Dear Sue (myself) who just got married in 2007,

You should still be grieving for the loss of our little one (RIP 09092007) who did not even have the chance to be born and breathe his/her first breath of life... the pain is raw, especially in the first four years, but trust me, by 2011, you can talk about it calmly without shedding a tear. The sadness is still there, but I guess we just get stronger as time passes.

I know by now, end Oct, you feel like life is ending for you, you are blaming everyone and most of all, we blamed ourselves, and lashed out at the closest person, our darling husband, bless his kind soul. He is not a man of many words and yes, he is a loving man, despite his lack of sensitivity, he will surprise us, dear Sue, yes, I never knew love has no limit, I love him now even more than when I first married him. Guess this is what love is all about, not bound by any limit?

No, we don't have a kid yet five years plus from now, the pregnancy test kit is still showing the single line of negative. Trust me, all the months of trying and disappointment is a 'training' for us to be stronger and face what lies ahead of us. What you may ask? I didn't see the answer back then but now I can tell you this:

With the many happenings in my life right now, example - this, I find that my husband and I (and generally the whole family and everyone linked to us socially), are growing by leaps and bounds especially when it comes to self-reflection, character-reflection, changes in life's outlook (thoughts and opinions) and I can sum it up with one phrase: we all learn how to be true humans. My mother-in-law taught us all that.

In the past, in healthier times, our mother-in-law would do all she could, cook, clean, care, cook, clean care, she repeats all these with a fervent desire to give the very best to her loved ones, she does not discriminate even if it is a stranger asking for a glass of water at her gate, or the last customer to arrive when she was about to pack up and go home when she was selling cakes and delicacies called "kueh" (gway), sweet stuff she made and I was told her generosity extended to the extent she literally gave away free "kueh" at the end of the day.

There is not a single thought of greed in this noble woman, not a single shred of selfishness, she is truly selfless and only live to serve others. Some more materialistic people may think this is foolish, but over the years, the short five years I have been her daughter-in-law, I began to see things from her point of view.
You don't lose anything just by being helpful and generous, instead, you gain satisfaction and you gain more by giving.

Our mother-in-law truly embraced the meaning of giving unconditionally, loving unconditionally, she found joy in serving others.

I plan to write a book on her and I have started a bit on that, starting with this blogpost, I shall take November off from work and accompany her, be by her side wherever she goes, and I shall start typing away on my laptop, I shall remember to save everything and back it up on my thumb drive just in case my laptop fail me. I shall ask her questions if I am stumped, but that won't be much, I remember almost everything, every little story, every anecdote she told me since I first called her "Auntie" in 2004, up till now, I call her "Mommy". I guess every woman who talks a lot remembers a lot too as we relate and repeat the stories to one another.

My summary is:
In the past one and a half months, coming to two months, I have learned and still learning the art of living from this admirable woman I call my mother-in-law.

She is a simple woman, some may even call her one of the simple country-folk, a typical housewife, but to everyone whose lives she touched, she is more than that! She is the epitome of the perfect woman, virtuous, God-fearing (she believes in the Goddess of Mercy and surrenders her fate to Her), generous, always putting others before Self (she has truly learned the art of mastering "Anatta", Buddhism teaching for no-self, no-ego), even in the past two months, her learning curve is pretty steep and she has actually perfected her character and started to let go a lot! I feel like she is almost a saint, my mother-in-law!

To the Sue five years ago,
I know you feel like life is at the bleakest now, especially when you yearn so much for a child and have him/her taken so suddenly away from you, it is rough on darling hubby too, but let me tell you this, if we have a cute adorable five-year-old now, we cannot do what we are doing now. We cannot grow as much as we are growing now (not growing fat, but growing up).

Darling hubby is growing up too, we are actually more mature and we are learning new things everyday, the meaning of what it truly means to be human.

It is simple, no religious incantations, no prayer, just one word: "ACCEPTANCE".

Remember how we used to ask: WHY? Why me? Why now? Why not?

Now I know why and I tell you this:

Everything happens for a reason. Whatever that happens, no matter how bad, it must be good. There is always hope in despair. Even when the going gets tough, the tough always get going. Yeah, I know, cliche but they are all TRUE!

Why are we still childless? The way I look at it, it is because we are meant to be serving this noble woman who have always put others before herself. How can we fully concentrate in caring for our beloved mother-in-law if we have a toddler or two towing along? We will feel bad if we neglect our kid(s) to care for an elderly, knowing our motherly instinct!

It is as if the jigsaw puzzle pieces are coming together and I can finally see the whole picture, mommy (yeah, we call her mommy now, we truly love her now, you know), mommy needs us to be by her side, and we are willing to be by her side and THANK GOODNESS we are childless now. It is a blessing in disguise. We are still in our early 30s, Sue, we can still try. Mommy needs us now. We shall be strong, child(ren) can wait.

It is a chance denied to many, to care for the elderly and repay all their love for us. I feel blessed, so hang in there. All will end well in the end. Have faith!

Yours lovingly,
Sue (Oct 27, 2012)

If you wish to read more, follow these in chronological order:

Since they are already published anyway, just sharing these if you have a few minutes to spare:

Read this first:

All written from my heart.




I admit I still have a lot to learn and I am still trying to improve on my manners, speech and thoughts. Sorry if I have offended anyone with my direct speech sometimes, and my hormonal emotional outbursts especially when I was younger and just newly married to the Lee family.

My reflection on mommy's illness started the second day after I found out (Dr Catherine told me at just before 5pm on Sept 5, 2012) - a snapshot of my 'journey' and what I have learned the past one month plus:

Then I started to reflect and wrote this one:

After we visited nenek in Sarawak, or when we decided to visit nenek in Sarawak:

Then I reflected on the meaning of love and caring:

On my birthday this year I wrote this:

Then hubby and I went for counselling at a Hospis (free of charge) and I was moved by this hanging on the wall:

Then after mommy told me directly she isn't afraid of death, I wrote this:

And finally my third letter above:

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Accepting Death

Death is not as morbid as some of us might think.

As a Buddhist, I reflect on death. We talk about death quite often, we even have a reflection on death and one of the three important teachings: Dukkha, Anicca, Anatta, the element of impermanence (Anicca) is reminding us humans to reflect on the impermanence in life, with life, it starts with birth, and it will surely end in death. Death is inevitable!

As Christians and other Creator-God-theological teachings will say, God gives us life and He shall take it back and we return to Him one day. I took catechism classes for six years (shorter than my own mom who went to church all the way till she was 19, she is also a Buddhist, we mother and daughter became Buddhists in 1993) and I remember the teachings. Going to church before classes on a weekly basis and praying "Our Father" the first thing before classes, making the cross sign and then end it with "Glory Be" at the end of the day before school ends. In between we gave thanks to the Lord for the food we are about to receive and then one more prayer of thanks for the food we savoured during break/recess. It is a good discipline, a discipline to be Thankful for what we have.

My mother-in-law has been warded for more than two weeks now. Her spirits are high, and she is battling cancer. No details on that but here is something worth sharing:

This morning I talked to my MIL and she said she is okay in accepting death. She knows about her own body condition.

She even said: I have no regrets. I feel blessed already. If my time is here, I am ready to go.

I stayed the night with her and saw her sleeping peacefully... as per my tweet at @suetiong. I worried for awhile then I meditated and calmed down. This woman has gone through a lot, she is a survivor even without cancer. How can a small thing like cancer hold her back? That's when I muster enough courage to ask her the next morning when we both woke up and having breakfast and she calmly replied to all my "what if" questions. It is as if she has been expecting this talk and we both acted very naturally. It felt like a sacred moment.

Then she shot me this question: Tell me, did doctor say I am dying?

I replied without missing a beat spontaneously: Mommy, everyone will die one day, it is just a matter of time. Doctor did not say you are dying, nor did she say you are not dying. With cancer, which you know already you have, it is extremely hard to say, it can be big or small, dangerous or otherwise very fast. If doctor says you are dying and you did not die, then she would be lying, if the doctor says you are not dying and you died, then we would be saying she is lying, so it is not black and white.

She kept quiet and nodded, saying it made sense.

Then we joked and talked about light-hearted matters and recalling her past happy memories.

When we were going for radiotherapy, she in wheel chair and me beside her, she told me this: "Sue, thank Goodness for you. Having you around (since the beginning) ease my fears and I am not scared when you are around."

That's enough thanks, I don't hope for anything, only a peaceful mind for her till the end. I will love her all the way till the end and beyond.

I have truly accepted the truth, and I am thankful for each passing moment, each minute that we have together, quality time. She as my mother-in-law and me as her daughter-in-law, a special bond no one can take away from us.

Love, Sue

Never give up

Saw this today and I snapped a pix of it to share. Truly meaningful!!!

Our Ray of Hope

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Air Perm 2012

In conjunction with my birthday in 2012, I decided to change my hair from straight to curly so I permed my hair.

I know I made a vow not to straighten my hair anymore this year so this is a good change I guess, haha, this is relatively maintenance free, as long as I have the mousse or the gel or whatchamacallit to keep the curls in place and make them bouncy. My hairstylist called this method 'air perm', don't ask me why, haha. I was so happy it didn't cross my mind to ask why is it called 'air'.

Anyway, hubby doesn't really like it a first but I guess that is because I have never permed my hair in my adult life. It takes some time to get used to changes.

Whatever it is, I don't care.

I'm loving it. :)

Some pix of before and after dye/colour.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Becoming a WWF Donor

I was walking into a supermarket in Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia, to buy something for my kitchen/pantry when I was stopped by a lady wearing a WWF badge. I have heard of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) since I was a little girl more than 20 years ago.

Within five minutes, I signed up for a monthly contribution/donation to WWF Malaysia at RM58/month. There is another option which is RM38/month but I figured if I can already contribute more than that for kids from other countries (under World Vision), I might as well save the environment and wildlife in my own country.

I signed up in good faith and to skeptics who are reading this, please reserve your skepticism and keep your doubts to yourself. I feel good doing good and I am truly glad to play my part for the nature.

Quote from the WWF booklet:
"We shan't save all we should like to, but we shall save a great deal more than if we never tried!" ~Sir Peter Scott (1909-1989), WWF Founder.

Simply Siti New Perfume - Memoire

I was traveling in Air Asia flight and an elegant packaging I knew was a perfume box caught my attention as the steward and stewardess pushed the merchandise cart past me.

It was the new Simply Siti range of perfume - EDP (Eau De Parfum). Retailing for over RM70-RM80, the three scents were only retailing for RM59 EACH only on Air Asia flights

Being an ardent perfume lover, especially EDP, I asked them which is the best seller among the three and was recommended Memoire, 50ml. I took the chance and bought it. Hubby got himself 'Aura' perfume which is only RM17 on board for 100ml.

Here are the pix of the EDP. I love the scent, it is light and 'flowery', sweet and pleasant, not too heavy and just nice for day wear yet subtle enough for dinner functions. I will definitely try it again if the price is right!

P/s- Simply Siti is a brand founded by Malaysia songbird Siti Nurhaliza.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

2012 Birthday Wish

On Oct 2, my birthday, I wish myself a pleasant day ahead and may I have a good year ahead with just the right pinch of trials and challenges as well as the sweet satisfaction of a job well done, be it a job/task in career, family or any of the roles I need to play in life.

May my loved ones and friends be blessed with good health, peace and happiness. May nothing hinder them from good, and everything negative is overcome with ease. May your days be filled with laughter and joy, may your footsteps be light and may you all eat, sleep and live happily with the lightest heart filled with joy and gratitude. I wish you all the very best.

May those who dislike (or even hate me), my 'frenemies' or 'enemies' or those who are hostile towards me, I wish you peace of mind and may your hearts find peace in the coming year. I do not condone what you say/think/do but I respect your rights as an individual. By bashing me or talking and thinking negatively you can never find peace within. I just wish to wish you inner peace from the bottom of my heart.

With each year that I age, I resolve to only better myself and practice kindness and positivity in my life. May I have the strength and perseverance to achieve success with minimal harm or damage/inconvenience to others and may I have the resolve to overcome all things negative which I hope will turn into something positive at the end of the day.

May 2012 (the last quarter) be a good one for everyone and 2013 be an even better year. As corny as it sounds, I wish for world peace. Peace begins at home. Peace - That is my fervent peace.

I just blogged to say... I love you all (radiating the love/'metta' to all). Happy birthday, Sue. Happy birthday to me. *Peace*

Photos copyright reserved, Taken 3 days before my 2012 birthday. I am blessed to be so loved by my own mom and hubby's mom.

The first year I did not wish for a baby, I got one the following year.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

The Importance of a Good Quality Business Card

I came across this tip to attract business prospects, and this brought me back to about five years back when I was working as a PR consultant, yeah, some sort like an expert in Public Relations to help organisations build and maintain mutually beneficial relationship with the public through the media, and get paid good money to spin it. :)

I was attached to the more dire entity you call a company. Why do I say that? The man we called "boss" wanted to minimize operation costs and did not subscribe to newspapers. The junior associates in that PR firm and when we do have them, the interns, would go to the 24-hour-convenience stores to browse through the newspapers for free. That way, our "boss" can save about less than 10bucks a day, and we are a public relations company dealing with media coverage and news.

For those uninitiated, one of the more mundane jobs of a public relations practitioner (PRP) is to scour the newspapers DAILY including Sat and Sun. Since the office does not subscribe to newspaper (I think we Were the only PR firm without a newspaper subscription), on weekends, forget sleeping in or waking up late, as the "manager", I was responsible to grab the precious copy by either reading them first or buy them if our clients' news or their competitors are featured. Usually I just bought them right away and read later, I do know how to read the sign "Please pay without reading"... and each time I submitted my claim, I got a short lecture on how we should minimize buying the newspapers so there won't be clutter in our inventory, save the trees, etc from that moustached man we called "boss".

Hence it did not come as a surprise when we are given Pre-printed name cards with considerable white space and we were given a RM6 chop (RM6=USD2), and a ink/stamp pad and even the consultant (I was the next in line after the boss) had to chop her own name, position and phone number on that card. Don't get me wrong, the card was made of superior quality but that black stamped bit of details spoiled the image of 1. The bearer of the card, 2. The firm, 3. The owner of the company (that miserly man we call boss) and 4. The entire Malaysian PR industry players.

The man we called boss said the black stamped ink blended in well with the card and no one noticed, but in our first meeting with a big client (French-based), the director pointed out the stamped ink on my card in front of that stingy man I called boss, and hey, who said no one noticed again?

I left the firm in August 2008 and I even turned down a part time consultancy (and managerial) position offered by this man I called boss. No thanks. I have enough money skimping experience to last me a lifetime thanks to him. Oh noticed how I said this man I CALLED boss? I just want to emphasise the past tense. Let it remain a past that taught me the extreme end of cutting costs and to the extent of cutting corners but that is another story.

Below is the screenshot of the tweet which brought back these memories, they seem funny now but back then, my was it frustrating!!!

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Do money and success change people? No.

RT “@gr8benj: Money and success don't change people they merely amplify what is already there.- #JustSaying”

I came across this quote today and I totally agree. By the way, do follow @gr8benj as his tweets are simply awesome!

So Do money and success change people? No. They only amplify what is already there.

If the person is already greedy, then with more money, the more the greed will grow.

If the person is already a miser, then with more money, the more miserly that person will be.

If that person is already so full of himself/herself, in other words, egoistic, then with success, he will only feel even bigger and be filled to the brim with over inflated ego, like a balloon that can never finish expanding, never popping.

This reminds me of the Malay proverb/peribahasa Melayu: "Bagai resmi Padi, makin berisi, makin menunduk".

Literal Translation: Like the rice grain in the field, the more it is filled, the more bent it is.

In Asian countries, rice is the staple food just like wheat, bread and potatoes are to the West.

The meaning of the proverb is to remind humans that in our daily life, we must emulate the staple food, the rice, by being humble regardless of how much you are filled, be it money, knowledge or fame.

Traditionally when I was a little girl, we learned this proverb in class and the teacher taught us it is to keep highly educated people grounded. Now I'd like to reinterpret it according to my own interpretation - this applies to wealth and success as well as knowledge.

This reminds me of another saying in Chinese: The bigger the tree, the more it will attract stronger wind (and fall).

It is not wrong to feel proud and motivated once in awhile but over inflated ego and a lack of humble nature are a lethal combination as a human. Think about it.

My birthday is in 3 days on Oct 2, hence writing a more philosophical blog post to commemorate an additional year to my age. Oh I feel so wise already, lol, haha just kidding. Happy birthday to me!

P/S: Random pix of hubby's pet goldfish. Goldie, Blackie, Goldfish 1, Goldfish 3, Goldfish 3 and Goldfish 4. I only named two of them. :) Blackie is that black mass in the background, zoom in to see that strong black fish. We call them our babies that we can never cuddle. :)

Friday, 28 September 2012

What is God? What is Buddha?

If you have 15 minutes to spare, check out the following video.

This is a very interesting excerpt of a talk by HE Tsem Rinpoche in Malaysia on youtube:

A very well-spent 15-min of my life. :-) We are responsible for our own actions, don't blame it on anyone else, don't shirk your responsibilities and don't try to run away from the consequences of your words/thoughts/action!

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Love and Attention

“Attention is the most basic form of love, through it we bless and are blessed. ~ John Tarrant”

There are many who claim they love someone but do not act accordingly.

How do I define accordingly?

By paying and giving attention to the ones you love.

Loving is caring, caring is providing attention no matter how brief to your loved ones.

You cannot just give lip service and say "Of course I care, I love you", but your action speaks "I am busy, I have no time for you, sorry next time baby".
That is not loving others, that is loving yourself, ie selfish.

Food for thought. Do you care enough to pay enough attention to reflect your love?

Friday, 21 September 2012

When the darkness seemed forever, the first ray of sun renews your hope in life

That is the longest post title ever for my blog, I think.

When the darkness seemed forever, the first ray of sun renews your hope in life.

To whoever feels like they are in constant darkness deep in the night, have faith and hang in there. As surely as the sun will rise, this too, shall pass and when the first ray of sun broke through the darkness, know that dawn has come and all isn't that bad after all.

Click on this to see Our ray of hope

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

How we should treat the elders

This is a good read.

See pix below.

How many of us can truly say we have done all these when dealing with the elders, especially our own parents and in-laws?

Monday, 17 September 2012

In the Fog and Mist

I feel like I am in the thick fog and mist right now. I made an essential trip recently, full of hope and desperation, for the sake of a loved one.

Will blog more about it when the time is right. Time is precious now. I need to rethink my mid-year resolution on my Blogging frequency and make it once a week instead of three times a week as something more pressing is way more urgent to attend to in life right now. Prayers for speedy recovery appreciated. I love this person too much to lose so early.

Till next week, may all be well and happy, free from pain and suffering and mental anguish and anxiety. Pix taken from the plane to reflect my feelings -End-

Spending each precious moment together

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Open Letter to my ex-students (Soon-to-be College Grads)

Dear students,

Class (as I always addressed all of you)

I know some of you may not be in my Advanced class anymore, if I ever see you again after this, chances are, you will be a grown-up, an adult who are working or married or become parents yourselves. Gosh, makes me feel so old and like you are part of my life and me as a 'parent' in a small role in shaping your future.


I am but a human being, I am not perfect, but remember, neither are you all.

I make mistakes, I am late for some classes, I do procrastinate sometimes (especially marking and returning your work), I talked too loudly, my words are not 'filtered' and I have emotions and feelings which may not be all happy and cheerful at all times, in other words, I tend to offend some of you at one point or other.

For every heart that I break or hurt, I am sorry, there are no excuses, it is something I could prevent but didn't.

For every feeling/mind that I hurt/scare, I am sorry, there are no excuses, I put it down to feelings of frustration in trying to control the class hence I resorted to threat and punishment.

For every barbed/harsh words I said, I am sorry, my mouth is faster than my brain sometimes, I regretted saying it the moment I see the looks of hurt and pain and even shock in your faces right after the words flew from my lips. I am truly sorry, I am still imperfect but I vow to improve, especially my speech.

For all my shoddiness in terms of professionalism at work, I am sorry, I have my lazy days too, that is not an excuse but remember, only 12-15 years ago, I was just like you all, a student of Mass Communication with an indisputable lazy bones, I amaze myself sometimes, why did I choose to be an educator?

The reason is simple. The reason I stayed on as an educator is due to all of you, my students.

You make me feel young and full of energy, you make me laugh and sometimes push me to the edge with anger and frustration, yet when you showed improvement or understanding, I felt so touched I can cry! I only want the best out of you, not only in exam results and assignment marks, but I wish to have a little space in your mind/heart that when you think of certain stuff like the 'Yellow M' you always call, you correct yourself and said to yourself, "Ms Tiong said it is the Golden Arch", and remember that Nike has a "Swoosh", it is not called a 'tick'.

For DPR3, I think my trademark most-used phrase is "Ada faham?", Do you understand?

For previous batches, I changed my most-used phrase from "Dunno", and my most recent phrase "Ada faham?".

Each batch is uniquely different and trust me, even if some of you can be a pain, I enjoy every moment with you all, bad or good.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for the journey with me, for helping me to help you to be better humans (I hope), sometimes I feel like I wish I could just upload all that I know and experienced to all of you with a click of the mouse or by connecting to your USB drive (like Avatar), however you will then be denied a chance to truly live and make your own mistakes and learn.

I apologise for all my short comings and trust me, you all have touched my heart and become a part of me no matter how you were in my class.

I wish you all the very best in life and do not forget what it truly means to be human - to not feel sorry at the end of the day when you are about to leave this life. Ms Tiong loves you all.


Sunday, 9 September 2012

End of mid-year resolution

Having followed through with my mid-year resolution to blog at least once daily up till Sept 7, 2012, I missed Sept 8, 2012.

I shall hereby make an amendment to my resolution by taking 3 days off a week from blogging and only blog 4 times a week. Quality better than quantity.

Things are getting more packed in real life hence the need for adjustment, gotta be realistic now.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Citibank ING (Malaysia) Credit Shield Premier A Scam?

Hubby received a telesales call in mid-2012, and after hearing out the offer, hubby agreed to sign up for a totally free Credit Shield Insurance Plan offered by ING insurance company in collaboration with Citibank Credit Card (Malaysia).

The terms he was told (and double confirmed in that phone call) is that he doesn't need to pay a single cent if he has no credit card outstanding balance every month. He was sent a terms and conditions booklet in the mail and kept it, did not think too much about it.

Anyway, come August, the statement reflected a 21bucks charge for Credit Shield insurance premium. He double checked with the terms and conditions and the previous months for any outstanding balance and confirmed that he has paid up all his credit card outstanding balance IN FULL every month. The Credit Shield premium was first reflected as 0bucks in July statement. The deal was he is given free insurance as a reward for paying his credit card balance in full every month. No extra charges for the insurance coverage.

He called Citibank and was told that the insurance plan is only free the first month and will be charged a nominal fee based on subsequent months' outstanding balance of credit spent every month. Hubby was livid and pointed out there is no mention of that clause in the written agreement he received. However, the customer service person finally said they will refund the 21bucks and asked hubby to email or fax to request for a termination of the insurance coverage. He claimed that it is ING's fault for changing the clause. Oh, well, then it is their fault for overlooking that change!

Anyway, just a rant because this is the second Citibank Credit Card issue hubby encountered so far. At least this time, the result seems amicable. Keep it up, Citibank!

Crazy Housemate - Death Threat

Date of incident: Sept 7, 2012

My sister's boyfriend, Jac, rented a room directly from the landlord and moved in only yesterday.

Apart from him, there is another guy who rents the Master Bedroom, so there are the two of them in the house. Let's call this other guy Lay.

After Jac spent the first night there, an unexpected incident happened on the second evening which is today.

This housemate of his, Lay, suddenly banged his door repeatedly. Jac opened the door wondering why.

The moment the door was opened, Lay immediately charged in and grabbed Jac's collar and shouted at him for disturbing his peace in the house. He then raised his voice even more and said Jac occupied his spot on the show rack (the shoe rack is virtually empty), and he encroached his personal space. Jac started pushing Lay back when Lay started to grab his neck and tried to strangle him. Luckily Jac is of bigger built and could shake him off.

Lay said: I have tolerated you enough. You have been causing so much noise and trouble since you moved in a week ago. If you make anymore noise or trouble I will take the knife and stab you to death.

That is crazy talk as Jac only moved in a night before despite paying in full since a week ago and first met Lay. How could Lay say he has been making noises that made him couldn't sleep for that whole week since Jac only spent the first night there a day before? Psycho housemate!

And to make death threat over something ridiculous!

Jac called the landlord immediately and the landlord who was staying nearby came.

After much talk and Lay denying everything - Jac found out that this is not the first time Lay threatened the other tenants in the house.

Jac told my sis an hour later and my sis roped in our help and the five of us took umbrellas and sticks up to his room while helping Jac move out. Luckily he doesn't have much stuff yet so the five of us could carry all the stuff at one go. The crazy guy did not even exit his room once while we were there.

Jac called the landlord and said he wants his money back as the psycho housemate freaked him out and he fear for his life living there. The landlord agreed.

This incident added another streak of colour in our already colourful life. Just glad Jac is safe and sound and only broke his glasses which Lay stepped on and did not lose or break anything else.

The end

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Craving for Chinese Bun

I took this pix of my Mother-In-Law's delicious meat bun and peanut bun, with rich filling some time ago.


Craving for the buns again now and thought of this pix hence I am blogging about it to at least 'release' some of the craving, haha.

For more info on how to make your own Chinese bun,

Spending the Last Moments Together

What will you do if you know your days are numbered?

How will you spend your time with your loved ones and close friends?

Will you have a bucket list and do all the things you deemed crazy but now that you know death is surely looming near, suddenly they don't seem too crazy anymore like bungee jumping and touring the world in 80 days, that's nearly three months, errr maybe it's part of their wish to die a traveller.

How about if you know someone you love and care about is nearing death? Say, less than six months to live.

*takes a deep breath*

I would want to do all I can for that person and spend all the time I can with him/her. Screw those who says Quality is better than quantity. When someone's days are numbered, quantity matters, every second of it!

No matter how painful, relationships, no matter how close or good, will end either via separation or death. Why is it so difficult to accept death? Attachment and feelings of love, but that is another topic.

If I know someone close has less than six months to live, I shall not repeat the same thing I did when my beloved grandpa was diagnosed with cancer in 2007 and passed away just before my wedding reception.

Back then I only flew back about four times in a span of 5 months to see grandpapa. I wasn't even at his death bed. I cried and wanted to return for the funeral when they told me a bride-to-be cannot attend a funeral so close to her wedding. Somehow, I got my wish and attended his funeral and delivered my grandpapa's eulogy. I still miss him sorely and it seemed like just yesterday when he was a healthy 95-year-old. He would have been 100 years old last month (August). So many "what if"s and so many regrets, so many words remained unsaid....

I vow that the next time a similar situation happen again, I shall spend every waking moment by creating happy memories while providing relief for the dying close one/loved one. Even if it means sacrificing my job.

Our time on Earth in this lifetime is already short enough. You can always find another job but not another same person. Treasure life, cherish the time we still have on Earth because we are all living on borrowed time.

Don't sweat the small stuff, don't worry about the big stuff. Gratitude/counting our blessing is the way to go.

When the highway of life comes to an end, I always believe that it's the little things in life that matters in the end. Have you told your loved ones "I love you" today?


Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Chinese Fried Rice

Chinese Fried Rice will never be complete without rice and eggs. :)

There are many types of fried rice (including Indian and Malay style) in South East Asia. As a lady of Chinese descent (born outside China and I'm NOT a Chinese national), one of the first 'dishes' we learned how to 'cook' besides washing the rice grains and boiling water is to fry the eggs, omelettes, whatever you wanna call it, eggs and ways to cook them are the first ingredient one masters in a Chinese kitchen.

Hence it is almost always certain to have fried egg with fried rice.

It is said fried rice cooked with a Chinese wok over open/real fire tastes way better than any other ways.

Anyway, the pix below show the ingredients that I usually prepare for fried rice as the main dish, if my overnight rice seems lacking, I shall Westernise my Asian fried rice and dice some potatoes to add more volume to the starchy dish.

Sliced garlic and onions are a must for a start, fry in hot oil till fragrant. Then the rest, it's up to you!

Some swear by frying the eggs first after the garlic and onions turned fragrant. Some only add the eggs after everything else were added and cooked. If you ask me, being a 'fair' person, I add half the eggs first, then cook and add everything then I add the other half after. Fair and square, so you can have two different types of egg tastes.

If you want to go a step further, especially if you are a big egg fan like me, use a clean wok, heat it up, beat the eggs and lay the beaten eggs flat on the wok or the pan if you find it easier. Scoop up the flat fried egg piece onto a dry chopping board, slice the eggs thinly and add the sliced eggs on top of your fried rice before serving, that's your dressing and you get an extra differently cooked egg with a different taste in a single dish!

The usual ingredients are meat slices, meat cubes, mixed vegetables frozen or fresh, diced carrots, corn, green peas. Sometimes I take the short cut and cut green leafy vege instead, hey, call me lazy to dice or cut the vege into smaller cubes and opting for green leaf vege which requires less preparation but they give you the fibre and roughage you need - all the same and hubby doesn't mind the taste!

It is advisable to cook the meat before the vege.

I usually add the meat first (after fragrant garlic and onion), then add the meat, wait till 80% cooked, then add in the harder to cook vege like stalks or green peas, cook for awhile and only then add the rice and I add the soft green leafy parts after the rice is more or less evenly heated up. Usually overnight rice left in the fridge is best.

For seasoning, add salt to taste, sprinkle a few dashes of pepper powder, some like to add sugar, or add chicken essence powder, shrimp paste or Chilli powder/flakes, anything goes!

For people like me, my hubby's fav is when I add dark sweet soy sauce. So I get salt and sugar all in one! Hence the blackest pix below is truly mine. The other two are cooked by my cousin. :) you can even add sesame seeds (the nice round presentation in the first pic below).

As for oil, any cooking oil will do, however I like to add a little bit of sesame oil for fragrance. Sometimes I do experiment with olive oil too. I think if you read my old blog posts, I would have mentioned I experimented with almost everything!

Practice and practice and before long, this will be the easiest and one of the quickest dishes to prepare! Bon appetit!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

The Magic HooLoo (Hu Lu) 葫芦

Once upon a time, in the Central Land of China (中国) there was a magical HooLoo (Hu Lu) Chinese: 葫芦.

Usually a vegetable, (bottle-gourd/calabash), this magic Hu Lu's only similarity with its plant brethren is the shape, it cannot be eaten.

Then what is so special about this magic Hu Lu, it isn't that useful of you cannot eat it, is it?

There is a little boy, his name forgotten as it was too common, just say it was Hwa Hwa. He discovered this magical Hu Lu which in turn unleashed Hwa Hwa's magical powers. I use a boy in this story but it can be any child, boy or girl.

Before long, Hwa Hwa was fighting demons and wild beasts with the power of the Hu Lu. The Hu Lu is small but can swallow up the baddies once the opening/cap is removed. When the time is right, Hwa Hwa will open the Hu Lu and release the baddies to be surrendered to the authorities. So this magical Hu Lu can suck in the baddies and spit them back out. The Hu Lu isn't defined by its actual size, the inside is actually bottomless with no surrounding walls, it is limitless.

The Hu Lu is a common magical item in Chinese legends and folklore. I was holding the small Hu Lu in my palm and this story popped into my mind.


I would liken the magical powers of the Hu Lu as our inner self. Even though our physical self is measurable in inches or centimetres, it is reassuring if we know our inner being is actually NOT bound by ANY LIMIT OR BOUNDARIES. They are all self-imposed.

Unleash your magic Hu Lu inside you today.

Swallow up the negativity and don't let it manifest in anger and blame, spit out the negativity once the moment is right to allow positivity into your inner being.

May the magic be within all of us. Stay positive and don't stop believing. :)

Monday, 3 September 2012

Love - Can you measure Love?

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways - Shakespeare

You only hurt the deepest when you love the deepest - romantic love, parent-child love, family love, friendship love, love of a passion/hobby, love, love, love.

Can we measure love? No, that's why we have the simile - I love you more than the highest mountain and the deepest sea, my feelings for you are true just like the tale as old as time, as old as the sea. A mother's love knows no bounds and extends with each child she has, she has limitless love for each and every child.

So how do we measure love? We don't. As simple as that.

However with every logic-thinking person, they will try to reason and measure love. Some even Prioritise their love, hence we have favouritism, biased preferences, etc in organizations, institutions, in the society and closer to home, in the family. Why do we need to choose? Didn't they sing that love makes the world a better place? Heal the World with love?

It beats me. I guess hatred is easier to feel than love. Prove me wrong please, people of the world.

Food for thought to start a brand new week. 2012 is ending in less than four months. Have we loved enough so far?