Friday, 31 August 2012

What It Means to be Malaysian to Me

I promise this will be a shorter post compared to the long posts in my blog.

Happy Independence Day, Malaysia! Technically, it is Malaya who is 55 years old, Malaysia as a country is only 49 years old, formed by Sabah and Sarawak in Borneo, Singapore (who then left about two years later) and Malaya (now referred to as Peninsula Malaysia). Malaysia Day is celebrated on 16th September. :-)

I guess I need to write an essay on what it means to be Malaysian in my opinion.

Here goes.


TO MY FAMILY: My late grandpa (who passed away at the age of 95 in 2007 a week before my weddding) always said: "Malaysia is a peaceful place. You can earn a living as long as you are hardworking." He came from China in the 1930s, when times are hard after the 1911 Chinese Revolution. He travelled with valid travel documents and settled down in Kuching, Sarawak, a state in Borneo, where he started his family and became part of the newly formed nation in 1963 through naturalisation - he was official "British" before 1963.

Same goes to my mom's parents, my parents' birth certificates showed "British" as their nationality as both my parents were born before 1963. British or no British, we are all Malaysians now. We are not even that state-centric anymore, we have relocated from Borneo to Peninsular Malaysia, my siblings and I have found non-Sarawakian
partners, we cannot afford to be state-centric anymore anyway!

TO FELLOW MALAYSIANS: Generally we young people (sweeping statement here, pardon me please) does not really bother about National's Day after we left mainstream education, where we had to line up and sing patriotic songs as well as the National anthem on a day before or after the actual public holiday in the spirit of Merdeka - in Bahasa Malaysia, the national language, Merdeka means - Independence (Free from Colonialism).

The first time I was part of a National Day countdown was on August 30, 2005. I was still a reporter back then, I sat very close to the grand stand (main stage) where all the VIPs were at. By the time the countdown of 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and MERDEKA! was shouted by everyone at Dataran Merdeka - the place where Malaya's Independence was first declared and shouted by the first Premier, Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj - I tell you, I actually felt a lump threatening to choke my throat, I was moved. The feeling was surreal. Here I was, at the same venue where our forefathers fought for independence and with everyone shouting "Merdeka", and I joined in as well, it beats watching a game at the Stadium or shouting for your idol anytime, the feeling is totally different! I blogged about it on Friendster but sadly, it has died a natural death, so I lost all data and pics of that night.

The people globally usually refer to Malaysia as only Peninsular Malaysia and shorten our citizens' name to the MALAYS. That is from the olden pre-Independent days where Malaya was called Tanah Melayu, the Land of Malays. Paintings of South East Asia map labelled Peninsular Malaysia as Malay. Even when I went to Hong Kong and mainland China, they referred to us as Malays. Fine.

For the record, Malaysia is a multi-racial country with Muslim as the official religion while non-Malays can profess any religion of their choice. Malay is the majority, with about 60% of the population, the rest are the Chinese (Chinese descent, not China-Chinese), Indian (Indian descent from India, but not India-Indian), the indegenious people in Peninsular Malaysia like Sakai, Jakun, and also 26 ethnic groups in the state of Sarawak in Borneo (Iban is the majority) and 27 ethnic groups in the state of Sabah in Borneo (Kadazan is the majority) - the two states in Borneo comprises East Malaysia, separated by South China Sea from Peninsular Malaysia.

Inter-racial marriages, and even inter-religious marriages had turned Malaysians into a colourful potpourri. I promised a short blog post, so for more information, feel free to google up Malaysia.

One thing synonymous with Malaysians are its food.

FOOD, FOOD, oh glorious food.

It doesn't matter what style of cooking it is, the Malays will cook Halal (ALMOST equivalent of 'kosher') food, but in Chinese or Indian style, we will have Malay style Chinese Fried Rice, or Indian style Fried noodles, and even the uniquely 'Mamak' or 'peranakan' cooking which is the result of racial integration of mixed marriages. Oh, don't get me started on the food for rest of the ethnicities in Sabah and Sarawak, my homeland of Borneo.

Pix shows some traditional cooking (meat in bamboo over the fire) by my friend's mom during Gawai Harvest Festival in mid-year in Sarawak.

I will not be telling the whole truth if I say we are truly tolerant with each other. However, let me remind you that even in a close-knit family, there will be squabbles and disagreements, what more to say in such a diverse community like what we have in Malaysia? Whoever we vote for, be it pro-Government or pro-Opposition, we are all just Malaysian voters exercising our rights. At the end of the day, we eat the same food, breathe in the same air, stay in the same country.

We are far from Utopia but generally, Malaysians are peace-loving people and once you get to know us and we overcome our initial 'shyness', we are always ready with a smile and will render any help we can. Just don't provoke us or call us names as we pride ourselves in our rich heritage and languages.

Selamat Hari Merdeka to all Malaysians! *Peace be unto all of us*

You may be interested to read more:

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Losing Your Brain Cells after 30

“@UberFacts: After age 30, the brain loses about 50,000 neurons a day. Shrinking by .25% each year.”

I saw this on twitter today and I had mixed feelings about it. Glad I know that fact because that explains a lot of things, and not so glad because I am losing brain cells.

It is like a voice inside saying: I am growing old! Oh no!

I know aging is inevitable. Being a woman, through every childbirth, you not only lose blood and bodily nutrients - it is said you lose much of your brain cells with every child. I know for a fact my own aunt lost a molar (big tooth at the back) for each pregnancy she had. She had two kids, so two molars lost it is. You can see your tooth which you lost, how about the unseen stuff like brain cells and your mental capacity?

Should I continue my PhD now or later? I find it more difficult to retain new information lately, even more so in 2012, I am more forgetful and need to set reminders for almost everything at work. I cannot recall people's names as fast as I could last year, one freaking year and I feel my brain has aged so much. Don't get me started on my physical aging!!!

I was lazing in bed this morning and snapped a pix of this - me grasping on to whatever brain cells I have left. Heard that ginkgo bibloba is good for memory retention? Let's hope I won't forget my own name too soon!

Dreaming of GUI Flower perfume, from Guilin, China

I had a very restful sleep last night and I remember dreaming of this bottle of perfume that I bought back from Guilin, China.

Guilin's name is derived from GUI tree which grows in abundance in the area, almost like a 'jungle/forest' which is the "Lin" word. In autumn, GUI flowers will be in bloom and permeate the entire city with their fragrance.

In my dream, a random woman was holding this bottle and while my smell senses are not really activated in my dream, I could smell it as I've smelt the perfume in real life. Call it subconscious mind's memory or what, it was a pleasant and peaceful dream.

Guilin is a beautiful place. Its surrounding cities/towns are even more beautiful, only two hours of driving from Guilin city, Yangshuo and LongSheng are on opposite ends from Guilin. We needed separate days to visit both towns. I regretted not having at least a semi-pro camera to capture the beauty of nature there. My iPhone and 'point-and-shoot' automatic camera cannot do the real deal justice!!!

Besides nature and beautiful scenery, the food is very agreeable to my sensitive tummy too. Being more neutral and bland compared to Northern China cuisines, foreign tourists will not have any problems with eating in Guilin and its surrounding towns. If you fancy a hot(spicy) dish, just add on the condiments.

The second pic below is the Three Gems of Guilin, a bottle of GUI Flower wine, a shrimp paste thingy and a homemade chilli, similar to some Malaysian homemade condiments to add to the rice during lunch and dinner or add to porridge during breakfast.

We will definitely return to Guilin, especially to see the fragrant GUI flowers in bloom. It is truly a beautiful place.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Expendables 2 - Movie Review

The Malaysian movie censorship is pretty strict. Even after censorship, you still can see the gore and blood in the most recent installment of Expendables. Expendables see Jet Li who plays Yin Yang, being featured in the first few scenes and he actually spoke some decent lines (if you can call them decent) and bade farewell to the gang by jumping out in a parachute with a Chinese billionaire, that's it. And he was replaced by a Chinese woman, who isn't exactly a girl and by the reaction I gauge from those seated near me in the cinema, the consensus is she isn't attractive. Sorry Yu Nam. We would expect a prettier face. Maybe Westerners view Asians differently. Anything Asian is 'exotic beauty' I guess.

TO MAKE THINGS WORSE, whoever bought the license for this movie in Malaysia, I hope you will take note that your translator did a 'out of context translation' for the Bahasa Malaysia subtitle.

During the shoot out where the gang ran out of ammo/bullets, they said: "I'm out", and the translation was "Saya pergi" which literally translate to "I am going (out)."

A funnier one which I feel is a disgrace: Arnold Schwarzenegger: "I am almost out"
Subtitle: Saya hampir pengsan.
Translates to: I am nearly fainting/will pass out soon.

This is what happens when translators do not get to watch the movie to get the context and just get thick scripts of dialogues to translate. I don't blame the translators, I blame the decision maker, whoever it is in the company who gains the license to bring this movie into Malaysia. At least check that the subtitles tally before airing it to the Malaysian public?

Back to the review, after censorship by the authorities, the movie only took one hour and 30 minutes and we left the cinema quite dissatisfied. With heavyweight legendary (read: aged and aging) action men except for maybe a man or two, I cannot help but think that their acting could have been better.

Yeah, I admit the old men still got it in the action and buff department, as their bodies could still flex their famed muscles, I still feel Expendables 1 is way better than Expendables 2. Sylvester Stallone, Arnold, Jason Statham, Bruce Willis, Jean Claude Van Damme, Jet Li (appeared for less than 15 mins), and my fav Chuck Norris with his signature music in the background when he appeared, which are more like a cameo - Sorry peeps, you need to find a different genre to diversify or maybe don't accept offers or agree to star in a single movie with too many action heroes, we are confused on who is the real hero in the movie. Nah, as if I'd be confused. But usually the hero will be the last man standing, and we are talking about a gang of men.

Anyway, I digress, for the record, I am a woman so I may be biased when it comes to gore and excessive violence.

Only watch it I'd you are a gamer. Hubby had a field time watching the action and shooting. However he also agrees that it could be better. It certainly isn't the best movie released this year or even this month!

Sorry to say that I have one word to describe the movie and it's actually NOT bad, it's "juvenile".

Enough said.

Pix below grabbed from Wikipedia.

End of Week-Long Resolution

My week-long resolution's deadline is over. Seven days have passed and with the end of Tuesday for me, I am pleased to say that I've managed to clear a fair bit of my wardrobe.

My wardrobe can finally breathe now but I admit I can discard of more clothes.

I did resolve to clear out half my wardrobe. I failed. I only cleared out maybe a third or even less. I already gave away 3 bags and put aside a big bag to be sold as preloved clothing.

So mission is 75% completed. My in laws are coming down again next month so I resolve to further trim my wardrobe by next month. At least I've made some progress!!!

All three bags in the pix were given away and dropped into the charity collection bin already!

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Visit to Putrajaya - Government Housing Loan

My father-in-law is an ex-serviceman. Having served in the navy for about 22 years, he opted for retirement and qualified for a monthly pension from the government.

He took on a housing loan for his current house just before he retired and the loan was taken from the government at a flat rate of 4% interest rate. So the loan repayments were deducted from his monthly pension up till now.

His loan is supposed to be paid up by mid-2012. However, the deductions continued way past June and it's already August and September is coming soon.

Hence I drove him up to the heart of Malaysia's administrative hub - Putrajaya.

As an ex-reporter, I have traveled to Putrajaya on assignments/for events. However I don't exactly know where in Presint 2 is the Housing Loan Unit in the Malaysian Treasury under the Ministry of Finance. The Ministry of Finance comprises THREE HUGE BLOCKS.

Thanks to the spirit of 1Malaysia or maybe it's just the friendly security guard, he pointed us to the end of the block from where our car stopped to ask for direction. We parked at the open air parking (after going past BSN bank on the same side of the road).

One thing that we found lacking are proper signages. For that, they have well-informed security guards who gladly answered your queries and pointed you to the correct direction.

Some pix of our journey and the last pix is the contact number of all the relevant departments related to government housing loan. Hope it is of some help.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Quick-Dry Hair Wrap

Another post about how gullible women like me can be. See previous post about how sales people target women's vulnerabilities and insecurities.

Anyway, I bought this hair wrap that is supposed to quickly dry your hair. The salesperson claimed if your hair is shoulder length or shorter, it takes about 3-4 minutes to dry when wrapping your hair in it after washing your hair. For my hair, past shoulder length, it should be about 8-10 mins.

I bought a similar product from a thrift shop (USD1.50/SingDollar2/MYR5 per item). That was a few years ago. I used it once and it didn't do much to dry my hair and I put it down as a 'cheap' purchase with low quality.

This time round, I believed the sales person as she sells other wonder products on demo and I 'gambled' and bought many products, one of them was this hair wrap.

There is this button for you to latch on after securing your hair in the wrap. I tried it once, timed myself and 8 mins later, voila, damp hair, still wet but not dripping wet. I think any towel can perform that function.

Hubby touches my damp hair and said, it did dry your front bang, maybe your hair is too thick. (maybe my hair is too thin in front, sob sob).

I tried it the third time, and today I felt moved to write this blog post. I do feel like a fool but I love this colour compare to my previous 'cheaper' purchase so I am keeping it. At least my hair won't be dripping wet when stepping out of the shower. Call it self-comforting or whatever, women are such funny creatures. :)

And of course, it costs 5 times more so of course I'm keeping it!

Sleep - Skip Food, Skip Fun but Don't Skip Sleep!

Sleep is the most vital activity a human must not miss.

Lack of sleep has been proven detrimental to health and overall well being of a person. There are many cases of people who fell asleep behind the wheels as they were too tired due to lack of sleep and tragedies occur where innocent lives were lost in road accidents.

I remember a case not too long ago where a girl returned to her room after about a week of no sleep, only to collapse after opening the door to her room, she died of exhaustion.

How many hours of sleep do we need? A newborn baby sleeps for nearly 22 hours and only wake up for a total of 2 hours accumulated throughout the day for feeding, changing of nappy and bathing. As humans grow older, we need less and less sleep.

However, it is said that compared to only 30 years ago, our adults nowadays sleep a lot less than our predecessors. From the ideal 8 hours of sleep a day, we wanted to do more by 'borrowing time' from the bed, sacrificing sleeping time. It is not uncommon now to have adults sleeping for only 5-6 hours or even less than 4 hours a day. In the long run, it isn't really good for the body.

How to avoid 'borrowing zzz time' and have quality and enough sleep?

Prioritise, have good time management and don't do unnecessary things which can wait till tomorrow. Is the laundry really important that it cannot wait another day? Is the filing of the documents really important that not doing it tonight will cause your boss to fire you? Why didn't you do it in your office before coming home? Not enough time you said? What did you do in the office today that you need to bring work home? Is there any problem with your time management?

Then if you have kids, it is inevitable to sleep less than 4 hours a night in those first two years. Some are lucky their babies could sleep through the night in a matter of a few months before they even turned one. Okay, somehow you can survive that, true. But once the kids are grown up, are there any other 'valid excuse' to stay up late and sacrifice your sleep?

Sleep is essential for your internal organs to rest and most importantly for your liver to detoxify and perform its functions. You are damaging/putting stress on your organs by pushing them to overwork and not giving them enough rest. Ever wonder why you get pimples/zits when you lack sleep? The Liver doesn't have enough time to detoxify.

The olden people slept more than us, what makes us think we can sleep less than them since our physical body hasn't really evolved since a few thousand years ago. Let's zzz more today.

Pix below of an olden day bed chamber in post-revolution China.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Fourth Quarter 2012 Resolution

I have not been able to fit into my 2006 clothes for the past six years.

One favorite dress of mine was worn once for our official engagement announcement photoshoot (pix below) and the beautiful tailor-made dress hung there in one of my cupboards without a chance to see daylight and has survived many spring cleaning exercises.

I am sticking to my one-week-resolution to halve my wardrobe. I am filling up the big plastic bags with mostly unworn tops.

I hope to fill up at least two big bags with clothes to be given away to charity by today (Sunday) and maybe another big bag by the end of my deadline in two dad (Tuesday).

Anyway, I have another resolution to top up and complement my mid-year resolution to exercise more. I give myself three months to lose some weight, and hope to fit loosely into my 2006 dress by 2013, anytime next year.

I find that by putting my resolution in writing and going a step further by publishing it on my blog, my resolutions have somewhat worked so far!

Keeping fingers crossed.

Now hubby and I will go for an early swim before dinner. Both of us have plumped up at lot after our China trip!!! Rice, rice and more rice, similar to potato and more potato - carbs turn to fat when you are sedentary!

I cut off hubby's face in the pix as the collage doesn't allow full view, all the more to protect his identity anyway hahaha. The Chinese words beside me under the 'Engagement' words are our names in Chinese. :) 2006, seems so long ago!

Hateful Sales People Targeting Women's Insecurities (Part 2)

Continuing from my previous blogpost, I reiterate that I have nothing personal against sales persons. I just detest the tactics they deploy and the things they say, targeting women's insecurities and fears in order to make a sale.

Having worked for (only) a decade and lived past the age 30 mark, one of the advantages of having your own source of income is that you have cash to spare on yourself. Over the years I have sought the 'expert help' for all womanly-related 'problems' as advertised in tv/newspaper/other media, ranging from Slimming to facial, from head to toe beauty services and including health care, by health I don't include medical health care, these are more aesthetic health care, for beautification purposes more than anything.

Here, I'd like to share some personal experiences of sales people I have encountered so far, I shall use abbreviation and not their full names in order to 'protect' their privacy, if they have anything left to call 'private':

Example 1: Slimming Centre MF - In am attempt to push a 6k package, my mother who accompanied me there was roped in to help me pay for the balance my new credit card cannot cover. It was 2 years before my wedding (we decided on a wedding date very early as an auspicious date is very popular and reservations had to be made early). My first encounter with such pushy sales tactics began at the age of 24++.

Example 2: Slimming Centre MF: Upon nearly using up my package, the persuasive sales/consultant pushed another package, half the original price of the first package I signed up. This continued for 2 whole years until the year I got married, in total, I have paid up in monthly installments (all paid up within a year) to this MF centre, a total of over 20k. I am not ashamed of this as I did benefit some, and it is my own money, I paid back my mom after the first sign up. So I guess no regrets here.

Then, since my main motivation to slim down was for my wedding, after 2007, I went back at least twice and that's it. Once was to claim my 3-times-free sessions during my birthday in Oct 2007, and my sweet consultant Teresa and I brought my mom along for a mother-daughter pampering session. The second time post-wedding was also with my mom as I bought her a two-time package.

Example 3: MF Slimming - Then in 2010, I received a birthday card from MF and enclosed are the similar 3-times-free treatment in conjunction with my birthday. My consultant Teresa has since left so I went to the same centre anyway and the new manager attended to me.

She refused to let me claim my 3-times-free treatments unless I sign up for another 6k package targeting my upper body part especially my arms, since I am 'top-heavy'. She didn't even wish me Happy Birthday as it is still my birthday month and I told her I am redeeming my free birthday treatment.

She launched into a sales pitch and made me strip down to my inners and took my measurement and tried very hard to make me sign up. I told her I am saving up to undergo fertility treatments then she said by slimming down it will help to have babies. Then I said I'd prefer not to touch my abdomen area as some of the slim wraps are really cold and not conducive for the womb, as in Asian medication, it is believed a warm womb is most fertile.

Then she recommended just targeting my arms (what happened to her earlier speech about losing fat all around he belly to increase chances of conceiving?), really BS and I was too nice. I should have just retorted and pulled all the weaknesses from her sales pitch and throw it back at her. I left with a sour taste in my mouth and threw away my free birthday gift voucher as she refused to add the 3 sessions into my account. I vowed if I ever go back, I shall turn on my voice recorder and post it up on YouTube to show just how ridiculous the arguments are. Be forewarned, MF.

Example 4: Still on MF Slimming, I received a phone call a few months after Oct 2010, it was early 2011 and a telesales/consultant spoke in "broken English" and said I haven't been there since 2007 and my "treatment is has expired", I said coldly that I have just been there last year a few months back. She asked when, I said in Oct during my birthday. She said "Bye" and hung up, I was like "huh?"

Very very bad impression.

Message to MF management, your customer relations and public relations are in dire need of improvement. The reason I stayed that long with MF is because of one person, my lovely consultant Teresa Chan. It has gone downhill since then and you are just like any other outlets who are out to fleece women (and men) of their money. Your treatments are still one of the most effective though, with a good core, if you brush up on your PR and CRM, you should regain your reputation and market share.

I have changed my mobile number and won't step in a MF outlet until I feel I wish to be subjected to such 'treatment' again, I still have some unused treatments left.

Example 5: Slimming Centre LWM. With a name of a Western country, you'd think it is Western-owned, however it is more name than substance, the boss is a Chinese from China. For all their products that originate from China, I found it outrageous it is so expensive.

I went through the first 'free trial with free product to bring home'.

The consultant had a big mole (beauty mark) on her chin and talked a lot. After a half-hour sauna session, I had a second slim wrap which involves being wrapped up like a tortilla/spring roll in aluminium foil blanket and being steamed for about half an hour.

I nearly fainted in this second session as I became dehydrated and felt faint, to make things worse, the consultant forgot about me.

By the time she came to me, I was very dizzy and told her I felt like I am about to faint. She got worried and poured me many glasses of drinking water and made me drink them, I think about 3 or 4 glasses at one go. She even tried to inject a sense of humour to the situation and said: "I actually forgot that your time is up and left you for too long" and she giggled. It's NOT FUNNY!

After the final part of the slimming session involving machine, I rushed through the post-treatment consultation. My weight has dropped about 2lbs/1kg but I put it as water loss, remember my dehydration in the second session?

I conjured up some excuses that I need to rush and quickly signed all the necessary papers to prove I've redeemed my treatments and in my rush, I forgot my free slimming products to bring home. No loss as I am lazy to apply body lotion anyway at home! My first and last time at LWM! They called after that but I refused to be 'bought' again.

Example 6: Mole and beauty marks - this happened in 2003 when I went to China on a press junket when I was still a reporter.

I was privileged enough to extend my trip for a good three days after official 'work' was over, and with two other journalists, we travelled down to Shenzhen from Guangzhou to take advantage of the special free accommodation at Shangrila Hotel (the sales director was our fellow countryman).

In these two amazing cities, we toured with buses as the other two journalist friends are Chinese literate (I only speak Chinese and not literate, I am almost blind in reading and writing Chinese words). We visited a shopping district twice.

In the first visit to the shopping district, one woman attracted me, she was promoting a herbal beauty product that is said to lighten dark pigments and eliminate moles. I have always been self-conscious when people pointed out the moles on my face. Just magnify my profile pix and try to count them. :)

I thought about it in the following days and when my journo friends suggested we visit that shopping district again, I was really excited as I decided I wanted to try the product.

Since it was nearly a decade ago, I forgot the price of the product but it shouldn't be too expensive as I only just started working not too long at that time, so it should be under USD100 to be considered 'affordable' for the 2003-me.

To cut a long story short, I was completely vowed over by the sales pitch by that woman who coincidentally had a mole under her eye (I forgot which eye). I paid up and brought the bottle home. I religiously use it after toning daily, and hoping to see my moles disappear, or at least lighten them.

A week went by, then a fortnight, and finally the bottle was depleted in a month. Nothing happened.

I was crushed. Lol, I can laugh about it now but back then I was in denial and kept pumping the empty bottle in hope there are something left and maybe, just maybe that last drop will do the magic the promoter claimed. I was barely 23, and after leaving my early 20s, I hope I am considered no longer so gullible.

On the other hand, I was lucky nothing bad happen to my skin. Some were conned by bogus products and had irreversible damages on their skin. Consider it a lucky escape and an expensive lesson learned.

Example 7: Skin - Facial: I only had a few basic facial sessions at the hair salon at the home of my mother's friend before my mid-20s. They only cost USD10 each one-hour session to clean my face with the regular extraction. My sis had breakout problems in her teens and I followed her there as mom paid for my session anyway, so that's about it.

Then just before my wedding, I had a free facial session at a huge chain of skincare franchise.

I signed up for a package worth nearly 3k for 10 sessions. I was vowed by the half-face-proof of how my skin was firmed up on one side after applying the product during the facial treatment session.

That begins my long journey with NYSS.

Five years on, I still have 6 sessions remaining and I am dreading each time I drag my feet for my facial.

They will try to make you part with your money in each visit.

There was once my consultant took a photo of my face stripped bare with eyes closed during treatment without my consent and saved it into the computer despite me asking her to delete it as it was really unflattering, she said "why should it be deleted, you look just fine", I guess being plump has its merits, since I have a chubby face, the shot was really 'fat' and was never used for commercial purposes (advertisements), but still I felt violated.

Anyway, in the past one year, I have, 9 out of 10 times successfully managed to dodge the sales tactics to buy more home products/treatment sessions, etc. That one moment of weakness is when they knew me too well and checked when my last installment of the last purchase will be up and attacked me in that month.

I am a woman and our love for beauty is inborn.

Example 8: Hair - This is when I accompanied my mom to her first consultation which is supposed to be free and comes with free home products and free first trial.

My mom was losing hair at the crown of her head and the thinning was aggravated by work stress a decade ago.

I hated the manager's guts.

The conversation went like this:

Manager: I recommend you invest xxK to return your hair to its former glory.

My Mom: But it's so expensive.

Manager: We have 0% installment for 12 months with credit cards. Which card do you have?

My Mom: But still...

Manager: Do you want to look beautiful? Don't you want your husband to see you as beautiful? Are you not scared he will leave you if you are unattractive with a balding scalp?

I WAS FUMING MAD but bit my tongue as I saw that my mother really wanted to give the treatment a shot. Her mind was already made up the moment she saw the newspaper advertisement.

Nearly 10 years on, she still goes to the same outlet (changed branch once to follow her young consultant), and I lost track of how much $$$ my mom has paid YNH.

She is still working so I guess it is alright.

I still hate that manager's guts for playing with my mother's insecurities and fears that first time. My mom told me the manager left after a year, good riddance. She seems happy with her current outlet so whatever makes her happy, I guess it's okay.

Example 9: This is a summary of the few healthcare product sellers I have encountered over the years.

Offers free health checkups including blood pressure measurement. The tag line FREE always attracts people.

Launch into a sales pitch and present some common problems of humans nowadays. Tap into the fear of death and fear of illness and pain. One such salesmen even threaten 'cancer' if we leave it untreated. Then they present to you 'the solution' which is prevent it before it happens.

In the form of capsules/caplets or pills, these products are your 'savior' and defense against all your fears. You are now saved and healthy. Sounds familiar?

I have this urge to draft and print out an 'agreement' and make my so-called beauty/health consultants to sign and agree not to launch into a sales pitch and pressure me to part with more money with each visit. I bought the services in the first place to allow some 'relaxation', not to add more pressure to my life. Oh well.

Hubby said this is their job and the best way is to avoid going altogether. That isn't solving the problem either

I have cut the number of calls from the outlets I have stopped frequenting by changing my number last year.

For the few I still go to, I just wish to stop but I still have unused sessions.

I just have to resist their coercion and persuasion each time and that doesn't really aid my relaxation.

They will try to use all sorts of tactics and lines like - if you can stop aging right now in your 30s, why not stop it now and don't let it age more into your 40s?

Hey girl, you are younger than me so easy for you to say. Wait till you turn 30, 35, then 40 and 50. Aging is inevitable!

I think I shall go to my next session with this attitude and will demand to see my consultant first and NOT after so I can warn her not to launch into a sales pitch or else I will leave half way through and will change/transfer branch/outlet.

The way they make me feel is: "OMG, that's such a horrible condition, your eyes, poor poor eyes, you MUST USE OUR EYE PRODUCT (worth 3k for 10 times of use) or else it will be too late!"

It is way overpriced and I refused. I knew logically they just want to make a sale. However, they shook my self-confidence and later that night I was looking into the mirror and checking out my eyes, patting them. Hubby said: "See! They've got to you! Don't let them get into your head!"

When I told hubby I am fat, he said he doesn't mind and love me all the same.

When I told hubby the facial girls said I look old or my skin is sallow, he said you don't look old, I am older than you!

When I told hubby I am balding like my mom, he said no, you still have a lot of hair on your head, stop thinking that.

Thank you hubby for pulling me back to reality and keeping my purse intact.

I cannot change these sales people, it is their job and gotta make a living. I can change the way I react though and I am sure I am one customer to remember. :)

Pix is a wall decor of one of the health outlets we visited.

Hateful Sales People Targeting Women's Insecurities (Part 1)

The Media has evolved to such a state that it has penetrated every household and no longer confined to the square box we call tv.

Social media has emulated traditional media and allowed advertisements to be shown to its users, much to our chagrin.

Personal selling has gotten more 'vicious' as well. People who practices personally selling have many names, (read: sales people disguised as 'consultants', advisors, assistants, promoters, etc) but their ultimate goal is to persuade the 'target' to buy and part with their hard-earned cash.

They will use many tactics but I think I need another blogpost just to list out the tactics I have been exposed to by these sales persons. I have nothing personal against them. Anyway, I just missed yesterday by 7 mins so I typed too long too much again!

To be continued... In the meanwhile, this may pique your interest to read:


Friday, 24 August 2012

Long-Winded Vs Curt Messages

“I like long text messages, because I appreciate the effort that's put into a complete thought.” Quoted from twitter @TheseDamnQuote

This quote caught my attention and struck a chord in me.

I am known to be long-winded and one with many many many words. I have been talkative ever since I learned how to talk before I even turned one.

With speech, when I started to go to school, I learned to love writing as well. When people are screaming inside, in protest, in language classes when they are given essay exercises, I find myself actually smiling with glee.

Just run a random check on my other blog posts and you can only count a handful of half-hearted lazy (short) posts. Majority of the posts are quite long.

Anyway, I digress, this phrase 'Anyway, I digress' has been quite a regular 'guest phraseword' in my blog, as I tend to write as if I am talking, branching out to many things before finally coming back to the topic at hand. I can go on forever before going back to the quote: “I like long text messages, because I appreciate the effort that's put into a complete thought.” *forces self to return to topic of the day*

Let's start with an example:

A: Hi, how are everyone at home? The weather is hot over here and the kids are coughing this past one week. Hope your kids are fine. Oh, have you heard from Cherry? Her husband Larry got a new job and is coming back to our town for good. Just to let you know so that we can catch up when Cherry has settled down after her move. Should be happening in the next two months! So excited to meet up with you girl's again!

B: Ok. TQ.

A: See you soon in two months ya? Take care and best regards to your family. Send my love to all.


A: .....

End of Example 1 (text message)

I don't know about you but I have been A my whole texting life.

Emails, letters, any form of correspondence (including the restrictive Twitter), I tend to maximize my words.

Even when I was forced to economize on my words when I was interning at a national news agency (which I joined as a full timer two years later for another two years) I try to rebel and maximize my maximum five paragraphs by writing 30 words in each para as opposed to the recommended 25. I am flouting all journalism rules in my blog anyway so there you have it, a long-winded me.

Back to Example 1: what can you say about the character A? What can you say about character B?

This debate of long vs short, let's keep it to text messages and not anything else, I wonder how the Search engine result will be with the short vs long keywords, anyway, here I digress again.

I have already made a stand by the title of this blog post. Long is a neutral adjective. Short is a neutral adjective but I chose 'Curt' instead of short. Curt is too short, in my definition, to the point of bordering on rude and impolite. This is just my personal opinion and in my short decade of texting, I have learned not to take short messages personally, not to take the curt messages to heart.

It is the same effort like remembering people's birthday. Too much hassle? That means I am not in your priority. And short text messages - wanna save money and keep it within 160 characters? Or another excuse of "I just don't know what to say", or simply dismiss people who are similar to Character A, as "too long-winded" or "a chatterbox", then they conveniently forget to reply, with a thought at the back of their mind, "if I bump into them and they asked why did I not reply to their message, I will just say I forgot and I am too busy".

So, in other words, they are either lazy, no intention to communicate with you, don't wanna bother with making effort to maintain a relationship with you or all of the above. This list isn't exhaustive.

This is another rant, more to musing I think as I have come to terms that not everyone can write as long and as much as me.

However, whoever said people CANNOT CHANGE or are born that way, please take back your words. My man of a few words have been conditioned by yours truly to type longer messages and one of the requirements earlier in our courtship (dating) was he needs to write me an email a day when we were still apart, physically. If not for words, I would not have found my husband. We fell in love even before we held hands or even see each other in person. You see how I manage to steer a neutral topic to a mushy one? End of post. :)

Post-script note: I am NOT advocating long-windedness. More than two syllables in a message are more than welcome and may open up more room for communication and strengthening relationships. 4 characters in a text message costs the same as 160 characters. Communication is the key to building relationship. I teach and lecture on communication, I should know. *wink*

A random pic taken in China of a France's Louvre replica which is actually the roof/entrance of an underground shipping district. Just thought it is random enough to decorate an otherwise picture-less blog post.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Have you checked your heart?

Have you checked your heart lately? Not matters of your heart or feelings, I'm talking about one of the most vital organs in human body, the heart that pumps blood throughout the body, blood that contains liquid and precious oxygen that keep humans alive.

I brought my mother, my own mother whom my face greatly resemble, to a cardiologist today. The Heart Specialist of my choice when my mother called to ask for my opinion for a cardiologist on Kuala Lumpur area is Dr Yeo of Tawakkal Specialist Hospital, of KPJ Group, a pix below shows Yeo's Heart Clinic reception area, the clinic is located inside the hospital.

Being menopausal, my mother is worried her heart may be at risk as she is now lacking the precious female hormones pre-menopausal women could produce, hence she wanted to be on the safe side and have a heart check.

The doctor suggested non-invasive procedures like ECHO and stress test.
My mother passed with flying colors.

We left the specialist hospital with lighter hearts, figuratively speaking, we are glad nothing is wrong and my mother's heart is beating strong, as is her zest to live. :) Wishing you a long life ahead, mama!

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

August - Decluttering Resolution

This is my 7-day resolution to declutter my home and specifically my own belongings.

I have about 7 days of relatively free work days starting tomorrow afternoon after the final exam invigilation at work. Aug 23, 2012, Thursday.

My in-laws are coming down to stay with us for a week starting today, Aug 22, 2012, Wednesday. Arriving in about 3 hours from now.

If you have been following my blog, you would have read about how blessed me and hubby are, my parents-in-law, hubby's parents are both in their 60s, and having not been idle for a single day in their life, they always keep themselves busy anywhere they go, including their sons' homes. My mother-in-law (MIL) shall take over the kitchen, usually much to the delight of her daughters-in-law, and my father-in-law (FIL) shall take over the other household chores like sweeping and mopping the floor, keeping the floor spick and span clean! He mops at least twice a day!

So with the daily mundane stuff being taken care of starting today, and my in-laws are leaving for their home again on Aug 29, 2012, Wednesday, I have exactly 7 days to do something 'productive' besides blogging and relaxing (if you can call relaxing being productive). I won't count the accompanying my in-laws to run errands and visiting government offices with them as they live in a small town and need to do their official stuff in our city, etc., shopping for groceries trips, I still have at least two hours to myself with their help, which I greatly appreciate.

You see, it's like this. Usually my time is taken up by preparing meals and cooking in the kitchen. Since at least two hours a day is taken away from my must-do-list, I resolve to spring clean my stuff and give them away to the recycling bin/charity bin which accepts used stuff which are still in good condition. I have thought about selling them off online at a fraction of the original price, that would need some effort and more time, maybe I'll save about 10 items which are still in pristine condition to 'sell' and the rest shall be given away.

My wardrobe is bursting at its seams!

So this is Sue's resolution starting tomorrow. I vow to halve my wardrobe and only keep for sale, 10 items from each category if the condition permits, and give away the rest. Once halved, my wardrobe shall have more space and I shall wear each item more frequently because with more space created, it will be easier to view just how many items I have in my wardrobe. As of now, I have two wardrobes with another double rack outside as both my wardrobes are too full, no kidding. I shall skip taking pix of my two wardrobes as it is difficult to close back the doors once open, he ce here is the pix of my make-shift-rack-turned-exposed wardrobe. I am in dire need to declutter my wardrobe (my store room is another story altogether, let's start with my wardrobe first. :)

On the upper right side of the pix below you can see a glimpse of the white steel bar, there are two white steel bars and both bars are hung fully with hangers and clothes, and this is only the outer wardrobe, not including my two proper wardrobes! I know I am messy person, guilty as charged.

I am actually humbled at the thought that with only one body, how many clothes can I actually wear in a year? How about some other women in the more unfortunate places in this world who only have two sets of clothes, one to wear and one to wash?

With this decluttering exercise, I shall also resolve to 'reduce' shopping for more clothes unnecessarily. I have made a huge achievement by NOT buying any blouse or tops or shirts from my recent trip to China! Let's see if I can keep this up this Christmas and New Year!

Up next shall be a resolution to curb my 'hoarding nature'. Let's leave my hoarder habits for another blog post. Happy Hump Day!

(P/S - Wednesday is called a Hump Day as it is the Middle of the week).

Note: I find blogging strangely therapeutic and resolutions made via blogging seems to be working so far, hence I am sharing my really messy self especially my wardrobe to 'motivate' myself to kick this messy habit of mine. The challenge is to keep it UN-messy after this resolution has been achieved! Wish me luck! Oh, don't mind the pix, hope I didn't scare anyone there! And yes, my bedroom walls are painted pink! Never too old for pink *wink*

2012 is a Vicious Dragon Year

According to the Chinese lunar calendar, 2012 is a Dragon year, there are 12 animal zodiacs in the Chinese tradition.

Dragon babies are much coveted as scores of couples strive to conceive AND deliver babies in this auspicious year. The number of infants born in such a 'lucky' year almost doubled in almost every Chinese-descent-populated areas in the world!

However, too much of a good thing isn't too good as well. The powerful Dragon energy does not augur well with the frail and elderly. Consider it the 'overwhelming' power of the Dragon, which may cause illness for some and even death for many. The powerful Dragon is said to cause Flood, natural disasters, and natural illness that cropped up from no where for individuals.

I have attended a funeral on my hubby's side earlier this month, August 2012. From Chinese (Lunar) New Year in late January up to August 2012, I have heard of personal losses of those surrounding me almost every other week. That should be more than 20 deaths of someone related to someone I know. Two students have lost their dear fathers (young fathers who barely turned 50 and another less than 60 of age), at least five other students lost their uncles and grandfathers. On fb, contacts and friends lost their lovely babies due to negligence of caretakers and natural causes (at least two sweet precious little lives were lost in the earlier part of 2012), then there are my friends who lost their parents who didn't even make it past the age 70 mark, another friend who lost 3 dear ones in a single month, and many others who share in their fb status updates of their bereavements.

This leads to a very recent bereavement of a long time colleague, in my vocabulary, more than a year in a job is considered 'long' - he was in his late 50s.

We were in China without my work phone and I only saw the text message upon arrival back to Malaysian soils, four days after his passing due to heart attack. His young wife texted our supervisor who then informed the rest of us who had the privilege to work with him.

It happened a day before Eid, Aug 18. Malaysian Muslims celebrate the first day of Syawal on Aug 19 this year. It must have been sad and shocking for his young family (he started a family quite late in his late 30s).

Rest in Peace, brother. Will always remember you, Mr Fazham Talib, as an old-timer with vast industrial experience in corporate communications, with a small stature but very powerful voice that booms across the hallway when you speak. You shall be dearly missed by all who knew you. Al-Fatihah (RIP).

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

山歌好比春江水 - A Traditional Folk Song from Guilin, China

This song, 山歌好比春江水, is a traditional folk song from Guilin, China, popularised by the legendary Liu Sanjie 刘三姐, she is my parents', especially my mother's favourite folk song (Chinese literal translation = mountain song) singer.

Hubby and I are in Guilin now since last week, loving the place (this is a scheduled post but I am very sure we are loving the place)! Will edit this post anyway, so stay tuned.

EDIT: after our trip I think it's best if I leave this post mostly untouched as I need more than one post to describe the wonderful experience we had in Guilin, China!

Oh, the performance in the video above took place in the USA, noticed the orchestra are largely non-Chinese or even East Asians?

I just cannot fathom how someone of Chinese descent, with Chinese ancestry, just because they are staying out of China (due to migration in the first, second, third, fourth or even fifth generation) - they seem to treat that part of themselves as filthy or unspeakable. I don't speak for the rest of the world. I'm only speaking for the Chinese people (out of China) as I am one myself, a third generation on my dad's side and fourth generation on my mom's side.

The Westerners are learning Chinese language and arts/culture and here we are denying our own birthright? I am NOT talking about material rights or political rights, keep them out of this.

I am talking about language and culture. I don't have formal Chinese language education but I strive to learn to read and write the intricate language myself. It is hard, trust me, as I think and even dream in English. Oh well, who am I to judge these people? I am just voicing out my thoughts.

If you cannot love who you are born as, how can you be proud of what you have done so far, because everything you do in life will be trying to cover up who you are born as, so how can you truly be at peace with yourself?

Yup a good quote there: "When everything you do in life is to hide who you r born as, how can you truly be at peace if you deny yourself?" ~suetiong

Just in case you are curious of Liu Sanjie, here's the classic movie in HD:

Monday, 20 August 2012

Guilin - Heaven on Earth

Hubby and I are on our honeymoon - yeah, again, and I have lost count of our trips together in the past five years of marriage.

We are in Guilin, China, and as I have not been to China since Internet became part of our daily life, my first and last trip to China (HK doesn't count) was when I was still a reporter with an English daily in Malaysia, that was even just before I physically 'met' my husband (we met online first you see) - you can read about our love story here.

Anyway, this is a scheduled post to keep to my resolution to blog at least once a day.

Why China? I know some of you think it is the least preferred destination (especially those of Chinese descent who are living out of China), but hey, Guilin is a Heaven on Earth!

Don't talk about all the other 'shortcomings' of China that you are so happy to harp on and give me that look - "Told you so", I've been to Guangzhou, the third largest city in China (if my memory serves me right, if not you may google to confirm) and Shenzhen (the closest city to HK and Macao) - I tell you, even nearly a decade ago, they are nothing like what people who never visited China usually envision - the facilities are superb and we even became adventurous and took public transportation there!!!

Some people's mentality are so narrow it's to the point of being ridiculous: This is like saying, don't talk to anyone you don't know and stay cooped up at home because strangers are dangerous. Oh, you may judge me back on this one as well. I don't mind. I don't have any aversion towards China, that's all.

This is hubby's first trip to China! He has been to HK on business trips (and with me for our first Disneyland experience - you can look up the label Disney if you are a Disney fan) - and this is our first trip to Guilin for the both of us. Yay!

We chose a package that includes a trip to the Rice Terraces (most ground tours skip the rice terraces as it is a bit too far from the city). Reviews say the rice terraces are one-of-a-kind and we just wish to see it!

Let the pictures do the talking. I tell you, Guilin is a Heaven on Earth, a pix can tell a thousand words so include a few, all grabbed online via google images search. End of post.

A quote from a youtube commenter:

"Actually, the photos don't even come close to expressing the beauty of Guilin. I spent 6 months in this enchanted place. My fiance is from Guilin and we plan to retire in Guilin to live out our golden years." ~ Cougaram

Related blogpost: This song, 山歌好比春江水, is a traditional folk song from Guilin, China, popularised by the legendary Liu Sanjie 刘三姐

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri (Happy Eid) to all Muslims!

Malaysia is a multi-racial & multi-religious country despite its Constitution stating that it is a Muslim country with Islam as the official religion. We are free to believe and adopt any faith we choose.

I love the practice of asking for forgiveness on a New Year for the Muslims (the first day of the Muslim Calendar Month of Syawal). Happy Eid and I apologise for all my wrongdoings and trespassings in the past one year.

Kepada sahabat Muslim sekalian, Selamat Hari Raya Puasa, Maaf Zahir dan Batin!

I will make up for the food when I return from my China trip. Been scheduling my posts for the past few days as I am away till after the first two days of Raya (Eid!). My Muslim friends told me the celebration lasts the whole 30 days, a whole month, so I will feast on the delicious food when I return!!! Ketupat, Rendang, ayam masak merah, soto, etc... you can google them up for the mouth-watering images. *craving mode*

Some cute pix of a sales brochure of a hypermarket. They illustrations are just so adorable! Have a great celebration!!!

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Mother in Dreams (Heaven) - Song


This Mongolian kid is amazing! He was only 12 when he joined China got talent and he made it to the final round and came third!

Mother in Dreams (Heaven) is his signature song - remembering his late mother (and father) who passed away in a road accident.

I feel so touched I feel like hugging him!

His name is Uudam or in Chinese is called Uudamu 乌达木

Here is a more uplifting song after the initial clips with the sad song in the background:

Many criticisms by supposedly narrow-minded people has been thrown at this kid just because he is a Mongolian, and to this, I agree with the top commenter of one of the videos:

"The ugly wrong doing of adults and/or organizations reflects Uudam's the high valuable character: simple, original, and natural. Millions of people watched his excellent performance and so many experts were on the stage to eye witnessed his great presentation. How can the black cloud cover the bright moon? "Real gold does (sic: is) not afraid of fire" and Uudam should make those people ashamed of themselves. They still owe Uudam an apology!" ~Liyuksum

Friday, 17 August 2012

Tell Me Why - Amazing Voices from Two Boys from China

I am like OMG!

The boys are barely 9 and 11 or maybe 12 in his video. Amazing, amazing talent from China!

I mean, every country has talents like this, so this is more in awe rather than being sour grape, so please no flaming! Youtube commenters can be very vicious at times.

Shut up and enjoy the music! *peace*

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Popera - Classical Cross-Over Singers

I found this gem of a duet of two talented South Koreans (one is American Korean):

The conductor can really sing!!! However, I am more wowed by the lady, American-born Rose Jang, daughter of a National Seoul University graduated who then pursued his doctorate at Princeton University and finally settled down with his family in the USA. Quote from her biography:

"Princeton-born Rose Jang is an acclaimed award-winning Korean-American pop opera artist who is well-known for singing operatic arias, musical and classic pop songs."

A very private person online, I cannot get much personal information in English about American born Rose Jang, but I gathered if she was 30 in 2009, (as quoted in one news report), then she must have been born in 1979. That's all I gathered. The rest are polished background info easily found online.

I love her voice and her whole persona. I noted that in 2011 in an interview in Korea (most recent video I could find online) - she has put on quite a bit of weight, more like water retention on her face and arms. Her voice is still splendid nonetheless.

The other classical cross-over singer I like is Hayley Westenra. She's in her 20s now and has been singing since she was a little girl, then blossomed into a wonderful teen with a big voice.

I hope Rose Jang and the New Zealander Hayley can perform a duet some day, or maybe Rose may attempt a cover of Nella Fantasia or the English version with lyrics penned by Hayley herself - Whispers in a Dream as embedded below:

It is only viewable on desktop/laptop but not on mobile.

There are many more talented ladies (and even little girls) in this genre. Usually they dislike it when you refer to their genre as poppera or popera (pop+opera), so classical cross-over it is!

If you haven't checked out this genre before, search for these two names on youtube, and there are scores of many more like Sarah Brightman, Katherine Jenkins, Celtic Women, and oh, the ever so adorable Jackie Evancho (- there are many more you just need to discover them as it will do no good to list them out one by one!

Happy listening!

Traveling in and out or within Malaysia during festivities

Hubby and I are sitting at the departure lounge waiting for our flight to depart Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia, a country in between Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia.

We are leaving for China, and are prepared to give up Facebook and other sites we are accustomed to while we are there. Heck, it won't be called true getaway unless you can get away from the online world as well, right? Will post up pix and blog about our trip upon our return next week!

Some pix of how crowded transportation hubs in Malaysia is be it airports, train or bus stations! It is advisable to check with Malaysian public holidays in the calendar when planning your travel. One word to describe the wait line at ticket and check in counters, including at the customs and immigrations - LONG!

Do check my blog daily while I'm away though as I've scheduled daily posts to keep my blog active and staying true to my mid-year resolution in June 2012 to blog once a day. ;)

Oh, it will be Eid or in Malaysia we call it Aidilfitri. It is the biggest celebration in a Muslim majority populated country like Malaysia. Happy Eid and Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri to all my Muslim friends! (I am non-Muslim but am a Malaysian Chinese) - do check out my posts under the label 1Malaysia

Signing off from online world into the beautiful nature and relaxation.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

A chronicle of my marking marathon - Aug 2012

First update:
Half an hour and I only finished one script of the over 200 scripts. 223 to be exact.

I shudder to think how many hours I need to spend to finish all - OMG, 4 whole days without break 24 hours a day, non stop and plus 15 hours and 30 mins. Gulp.

No time wasted - to be continued - this shall be a super long blogpost

Second entry:
Not bad. Nearly an hour has passed and I have finished three scripts. I managed to cut down from 30mins per script to an average of 20mins per script.

I find this process of updating strangely motivating. I used to procrastinate by doing something else, very time consuming so I guess giving myself some reprieve in the form of saving my blog as draft till I manage to finish marking proves to be so far so good in keeping me motivated.

Back to marking!

Third update: I am slowing down again, completed the 5th script and my eyes felt heavy. I left my stopwatch on (oh yeah I use a stopwatch for this chronicle) and walked around the house to wake myself up.

Checked my twitter and a new 'follower' whom I then followed offered me a psychic reading online and asked me what do I wanna know. If you are psychic, you should guess or maybe you already know and not ask.

Back to marking. No psychic is gonna help me to mark anyway.

Fourth update: Two hours and I've completed 6 scripts. Still at the rate of 20 mins per script. Wish me luck.
I need to mark faster!!!

Fifth update:
Dead tired after marked 8 scripts. Will call it a night. Sat night gone - nearly 3 hours spent marking 8 scripts. I must mark faster tomorrow. Till tomorrow, nitez.

Day 2:

2.0 First update: Yawn. Bright and shine. Had breakfast. Prepared lunch and now I try to launch myself to get I to the momentum to mark again. I barely made a dent with 8 scripts the first evening (my paper arrived only late afternoon/early evening. That is like PROGRESS: 3.5% lol more than 96% more to go. Sigh.

Day 2 Update 2: My mobile Internet and also home Internet decided to die on me. I've made another 4% of progress since then. I actually feel dizzy now. Of course I didn't mark non-stop or else I will be even more dizzy. Yawn. I am so tired.

Back to marking. I shudder to think that I will be doing this again in 4 months. It is a necessary struggle in this career.

Day 2: Update 3/Last update: I went to bed without updating my journal. :p

Day 3: Update 1:

Yay! Had a good night's sleep! Off to do marking again. First, I need to change to go to work first. Marking gotta wait. :(

Day 3: Update 2:
I've stopped counting. I am
Not even halfway through and I am already at midpoint before the deadline. End of Day 3. Zzzzz

Day 4: Update 1: I need to spend half a day to do exam invigilation duty. Half day gone!
However, I felt giddy and wobbly today that I went to the doc's and got sick leave for the Day.

Marking stops for no one so I am trying to make some progress with marking here.

Day 5: Update 1: I am back to work. Marking resumes after lunch after my duty is over. Let's hope I finish this big stack before a tackle another bigger stack!

I am hopeless! Drastic measures need to be taken to ensure I complete this on time! No more updates till I finish! The end of Day 5 update!

Yay, Finally made it in one piece.

:D Phew I'd like to say "That wasn't so bad" but trust me, it WAS THAT BAD!

You may be interested in

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Mushy Post - I love my husband

I love my husband.

He's a good husband. Even more so now than when I first married him, we grew together mentally, spiritually and emotionally, still learning on how to improve. :)

Gosh, can I say I love him again?

I was looking at him when he was on his XBox and thought: "I really love this man, and he is my husband". The feeling is surreal.

Whatever happens, this post serves as a reminder to myself that I should never lose this bond that we have. It's true that you need to work for what you wish to keep. However, it is not really 'work' when it's something you love to do, like loving someone and be loved back in return.

Someone commented that we are so close to each other - like newly-weds or dating couple - has it been five years already? We've been together (dating) since we were 23. It will be our 10th year anniversary together next year! :-)

A pix of the both of us when we became legally married (and had the religious ceremony in one go) - the first of the three wedding ceremonies five years ago in mid-April 2007.

I feel so old now! However I am happy there is someone beside me who accompanies me in our journey in life, hopefully we will grow older together as the years go by.

I love you, darling!

A short clip of our final wedding ceremony on July 14, 2007 where we sang two songs to 'display our love for each other' - please don't mind the video quality or the singing quality, it's just for fun:

If you note the date of this post, Aug 14, it is exactly a month since our 5th wedding anniversary (the final ceremony). Happy Five Years and One Month Wedding anniversary! hihihihi (I'm giggling like a school girl in love now).

Related post: How I Became Mrs Lee in 2007

Extreme End of the Spectrum

When you cram too much into too tight a space and time, you get the extreme end of the spectrum and cannot do much in the end.

I was the first patient at the clinic today. Yeah, never got No.1 in anything my whole life but finally got No.1 being a patient waiting in line, haha.

In sick or in good health, my work has to go on at home even though I took sick leave today (marking stops for no one).

Hope no students suffer similar fate while the final exam is still going on though!

You may be interested in this: Procrastination - A Reflection....

Monday, 13 August 2012

It's Your Choice - To Be Inspired or Be 'Drained'

It is always a choice. To mix with people who inspires you or to mix with people who literally drains you of your money/time/energy and sometimes even feelings.

I used to be a 'Woe is me' person when I was younger, more than 5 years ago. Speaking from experience, people started to 'avoid' me and starting to talk to each other whenever I greet them in the room, keeping me out: it was a stark contrast to our usual conversation. One of them (lady) actually told me I was pathetic as I kept harping on the same negative issue which I have no control over.

That was harsh at that time and i was reduced to tears but it was a wake up call. Do something about it and not drag others down with your negativity.

Remember that people choose to listen to you and nobody owes you anything.

I was dealing with the loss of a little life when that rebuke happened, a deep hurt that still hurts today. Yes, the rebuke was Harsh, but I was nearly going overboard and losing it, so yeah, I do appreciate my antagonists.

Oh, I don't keep talking about my state of childlessness if that's what you ate thinking, for those who have been reading my blog for some time. :)

I thank my past for making me a much better person today, being more comfortable in my own skin and fats, feeling very much loved, I count my blessings. #gratitude

Related post:

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Starting a 'short' journal

Journal writing is a voyage to the interior. ~ Christina Baldwin

I am writing a journal to chronicle my experience in 'struggling' to complete my marking from Saturday August 11, 2012 till finish.

I find it cathartic, almost a relief to be able to vent when the stress gets too bad.

Consider this Aug 13, Monday's entry as I need to update my long journal now. Back to marking in awhile.


When you are stressed, one of the tricks people shared with me is to learn the art of deep breathing.

You see, we humans have shallow breathing, at least most of us only use a small percentage of our lungs capacity to inhale, hardly moving the diaphragm (slightly above your tummy).

If you practice deep breathing a few times, if done correctly, you will automatically yawn. That is how relaxing this action is.

Press your abdomen and ensure it goes all out when you breathe in and all in when you breathe out and repeat.

I as guilty as anyone for not making deep breathing my habit. After a couple of attempts, I am yawning and hoping for a nap!

Anyway, the idea is to relax and don't be too hard on yourself, hence reducing stress, hopefully.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Hantu Gangster (movie) - A Light Take on a Dark Subject

I actually felt really moved when I listened to this song and pondered on its meaning, and thinking back of how far Namewee has come, from his student days (google up: Negarakuku) to his accomplishments today with many movies and accolades.

I know he is not popular with some sects of the society due to his vocal opinions, and I don't 100% condone his speech (can be futher filtered) but I actually feel proud our country has someone like him who dare to say, dare to do and dare to be himself.

Won't spoil the storyline for anyone but be assured the movie has a strong cast of heavyweight (famous) celebrities in Malaysia represented by the three main races in Malaysia (sorry Sabahans and my fellow Sarawakians, we are again, Dan Lain Lain - Others), for his second attempt after his first movie Nasi Lemak 2.0, Namewee has 'come of age' and I am sure he will only keep improving himself from this point on, provided he doesn't lose his focus along the way. Way to go, Namewee!

*For the record, Sarawak and Sabah are separated physically from Peninsular Malaysia by the South China Sea - Sarawak has 26 ethnicities and Sabah has 27 ethnicities, or maybe I miss one or two ethnicities there - Malaysia has more than 50 ethnicities, Peninsular Malaysia (Semenanjung) has THREE main major races. That's my only point of contention.*

Just in case you wish to view the review after the premier on Aug 9th, 2012, which included members of the public and some Malaysian celebrities:

You may be interested to check out this post on my take of 1Malaysia:

To fellow Malaysians, do watch Hantu Gangster in the cinema, awesome movie! I admit I am BIASED. For a more neutral take on this movie, check out this review:

Friday, 10 August 2012

My love-hate relationship with Cooking - How I Learn to Love Cooking

Whoever said that they have no time to cook because they have no time to shop for groceries are talking nonsense. Actually, anyone who said they 'don't have time' or 'TOO BUSY' for anything just means that they don't put that into their priority, as simple as that.

Their excuse is the line at the check-out counters/cashier is too long. Another nonsense.

Sometimes they say they have no time to cook because they:
A) need to work like most of us do
B) need to care for children like half the Mothers do
C) or both A and B
D) they don't know how to cook and have no time to learn/attend cooking classes, etc

In other words, they don't want to cook. Period.

If you don't wish to cook, just say you don't wanna cook, simple, don't give all sorts of feeble excuses (some even more outrageous than the examples above).

I only picked up cooking, like really dabble in it about five years ago in 2007 when I got married. Before that none of my cooking were edible, just ask my younger sister who spent her first 22 years living with me.

Bless my husband for finishing almost everything that I cooked (read: experimented on) in the kitchen. You don't want to know what I cooked up in those early months. My cooking actually improved in a few months through trial and error.

Of course, I had to eat my own cooking, especially during dinner, and once my cooking improved, I cook lunch for myself as my current workplace is only a short drive away from home. Having an appreciative food taster like hubby, surely motivated me to discard my 'old hatred' towards cooking to make way for a new love for cooking, in line with a loving marriage. Ah, the power of love.

I think there are numerous stories of women who never held or use a kitchen knife before, who turned to take a liking to cooking or baking. The story should be similar to mine, only maybe the trigger is different, some is due to hubby (like my case), some is due to an arrival of a child or children, some just had no reason and picked up cooking and love it. Oh there was one story of a mother who never cooked a day in her life until her kids started school. One day her elder kid came home and said: "Mommy, why do the other kids have lunch boxes prepared by their mothers and I need to buy my food from the canteen? Can I have a lunch box as well?" - that's the trigger for this mother and she is a working mother, mind you.

Well, I guess after you completed your education, whether or not you settle down, at some point, you will realize that boiling water isn't the only thing that you can 'cook'.

Anyway, to make up for my 'lack of time', I usually cook meat dishes in advance and deep freeze them (wait for them to cool down first before packing them into containers). Yup, place them in the freezer.

Plan your menu for the whole week, if you plan to eat Cooked Meal 2 the next day, just place it in the fridge and not the freezer. The reason you place it in the freezer is because you plan to eat it much later. Don't keep it more than a month please. I stick to a 'two week and you're out' policy. I know some people believe in only a week before throwing them out. Some stretch it to a month. Oh well. Up to you!

I usually spend 2-3 hours preparing these dishes. Doesn't matter I only cook for two persons, hubby and me the time is almost the same, I need 7 types of menu as well, so that's the same number of meals everyone need to prepare for a whole week! The trick to cut short preparation time is to use almost the same ingredients and cook them in different styles. Variation comes from a single source anyway.

Oh, I do hate the hot kitchen and the sweat, especially in Malaysia's all-year-round tropical weather. However, when compared to the look of appreciation on my hubby's face, I love him even more and cook even more - hence he has gained a lot of love, food and inevitably weight in these five years of being Sue's husband. ;)

You can control how much salt/ingredient to put into your own cooking, and in the long term, while it may not necessarily be 'cheaper', depending on your situation, it is generally healthier when you prepare your own food at home. :)

Disclaimer: Don't get me wrong. I do get 'off days' or 'lazy days' too. When I get those days, I just say "I don't want to cook" instead of cooking up some excuses (see above). Hubby is sporting and understanding enough to bring me out to eat on these days, or we simply order for pizza delivery or just pack our meals from outside and bring home. Look at it this way: To cook half the time and eat out half the time = half healthy, better than eat out all the time = almost not healthy unless you choose the food carefully. Just a general statement here, don't flame me. Thanks!

Some random pix of my preparation in my kitchen, from marinating, preparing the gravy all the way to freezer. Follow my instagram or twitterat @suetiong for more pix of my cooking. ;)

Thursday, 9 August 2012

How to Deal with Jealous People

How do we deal with jealous people? Don't try to change them as we have no control over anyone and sometimes not even ourselves - change our attitude and the way we think and feel!

Useful quote to remember:
"Never hate people who are jealous of you but respect their jealousy because they're the ones who think that you're better than them.”

We can never please everyone. Stay positive and have a good time in life! :)

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Beauty and Profitability = a 'deadly' combination

Beauty is but skin deep.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Once you are old, beauty moves from the outside to the inside.

All these are just the tip of the iceberg of many 'beauty sayings' said over the years.

Just look around at the number of beauty salons/spas/outlets that mushroomed in your area. Why do they thrive?

Vanity and the quest for beauty among women? Blame the media for providing us with a twisted standard of

Some are even willing to go under the knife in dubious outlets for cheap fixes and thus risking their lives.

Sigh, the quest for beauty is an immortal quest. People die for immortality. People loses physical beauty as they age.

We can never win. Why don't we just live life happily without worrying about our looks for once?

Pix credit: