Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 in review...

Gosh... where do I start? :)

I moved to another dept. And I've never been this busy in my life! So was it a good move? hehe... it's alright. Although I didn't expect to be so melancholic about the move though. Never thought that I was that attached to 10A.

2008 also marked my 10th year of working. How time flies... Upside: Got 4 extra days of cuti and higher employer EPF contribution, woohoo! Downside: stayed in office until 6:45am to finish up on annual report, blurgh...

Did some renovation (actually more of the tail end lah since the work started in Nov07). Got myself a nice big room with ensuite now :)

Got extremely excited about David "word nerd" Cook. Am still using his *always be my baby* as my ringtone.

Tried the garrafura *ikan makan kaki* thing. So geli yet fun!

Kinda cured myself of my fear of heights (all those tower climbing paid off, hehe). But I still get jelly legs though, cuma jantung sikit kurang degup degap...

Treated myself to some new toys ;) Garmin nuvi, Canon 450D and my latest purchase Sony Ericsson C902. Toyed with idea of buying one of those mini laptops... next time lah. Still haven't bought that mattress that I've been dreaming about though.

Experienced some pitter patter of the heart with someone... haha! but it was clearly just an infactuation. Cured within a month ;)

Makan... oh, did I! haha... All sorts of places and food. Love 'em! But since Nov08, made a pact with Abg & Ina to not eat rice. Well... I'm not 100% abstaining lah. Have my once a month nasi lemak ration and occasionally have a bit of rice when I go for kenduri, nasi daun pisang, ikan bakar etc... sikit jer ;)

Watched a movie every weekend during summer with my siblings. That was fun!! But after that, I'm *behind* on my movies balik :(

Got cultured! I went to watch Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, Lady in Black, Mamma Mia. Can't get enough of them musicals :)

Travelled sikit (relative to previous years)...
April - Yogyakarta & Borobudur
May - Cotswolds (England) & Berlin - Munich - Bavarian Alps - Romantic Road (Germany)
July - Terengganu and lots of keropok lekor!!
August - London & Cambridge (for work, but sambil menyelam minum air, hehe)
November - Hong Kong

And finally, I'm most proud of my involvement in BNM Volunteers :) It is so satisfying to be involved in something so meaningful. Oh, and also for having my pix selected to be published :D

Sunday, December 28, 2008

being "in love"...

At heart, Muslims place more priority on this world than the Hereafter although this world is cheap and temporary compared to the Hereafter which is eternal and more beautiful.

The old adage is true: love is blind. Once you love something you become to blind to everything else, no matter how beautiful and special the others things are.

Like a person who has fallen in love with another, they forget everything else, they forget their family, they forget to eat drink, they forget their work and so on so forth. It is because of this love that they are willing to suffer any hardships and face any risk.

This is what has happened to those who have fallen in love with the world and forgotten the Hereafter. They are willing to face all sorts of risks and difficulties, and sometimes are even willing to die for it.

But for the Hereafter, which is more special, even though it is easier to work for it, people feel that it is more a burden because they do not love it.

May Allah bless us and our families with the coming of New Year... and by that I mean 1430 Hijrah

Friday, December 26, 2008


The Prophet SAW used to tell his companions, "Renew your faith".
He was asked, "O Messenger of Allah, how do we renew our faith?"
He said, "By frequently repeating 'La ilaha il-Allah'.


Thursday, December 25, 2008

quotable quotes...

If we had no winter, then spring will not be so pleasant
If we did not sometimes taste adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome

Anne Bradstreet, poet

Monday, December 22, 2008

THAT question...

After dinner, I lepak2 chatting with Mama and Papa.

I don't quite remember how the question came about, but THAT question was posed again.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

lambaian kaabah...

I came home from work Friday evening last week and sat with Mama who was watching one of her favourite dramas on TV.

"Jom pergi umrah. First flight on 15 Jan... Mama dah kira dah. You only need to take 7 days leave because of CNY. Seats selling fast."

So that's how it started. I've been harbouring hopes to pay tanah suci Makkah another visit since my last was over 15 years ago.

Checked with boss, OK can take leave. On Monday (I had planned the leave some time back) I went to the travel agent, got a salinan of my surat beranak for visa-muhrim purposes (couldn't find the original even after selongkar the whole house... Mama had misplaced them).

So... insyaAllah, I'll be heading there next month. I'm quite excited!

over indulge?

I haven't been clothes shopping for a while and recently when Ina ajak pergi KLCC sempena Malaysia Savings Sale, I tagged along. Was very happy to discover that I could buy clothes my size off the rack at quite reasonable prices. And a few days later, while waiting for my salinan surat beranak (story to be told in a another entry), I shopped some more at the Ms Read outlet in Maju Junction.

Today, bila nak hang the new baju in my wardrobe, I realised why I haven't been shopping. I already have too many clothes!! Kalau wardrobe and hangers tu boleh menjerit, agaknya I will scream "stop stuffing us!" :p

I also realised that I shouldn't buat any more new baju kurung since I'm running out of hangers. So what? One might ask. Just get more hangers. You see, I'm a bit of "looney" when it comes to hanging my bajus. They must be in specific types of hangers, arranged according to colour. A good mechanism to prevent me from buat too many baju baru since I'm restricted by the number of hangers that I have... and those hangers I brought back from Australia dulu. Sini takde... well, I've not come across any lah.

It's an illness I realised... Uji and her obsessive nature with hangers. Oh well... one must have some vices.

So OK... no more shopping or buat baju baru for me. Unless if I do some spring cleaning and hand over my clothes to another home.

Except for that 3 pieces of kain yang dah dibeli and tinggal nak hantar kat tailot je, hehehe...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

what a difference a year makes...

1 year ago RBS paid $100bn for ABN Amro

Today that same amount would buy:
Citibank $22.5bn
Morgan Stanley $10.5bn
Goldman Sachs $21bn
Merrill Lynch $12.3bn
Deutsche Bank $13bn
Barclays $12.7bn
...And still have $8bn change.

With which you would be able to pick up GM, Ford, Chrysler... and the Honda F1 Team!


Monday, December 15, 2008

i love to travel!

I've visited a number of places in my love. Each year I plan and hope to go visit some new places. Sometimes I re-visit a place that I like... usually because work brings me there (eg after a long gap since my first visit, I've been to London 3 times in the past 2 years, NY 3 times, Washington DC 4 times). Not that I mind, because those cities are absolutely wonderful :)

I found a website which helps mark countries that I've visited. I'm surprised that I've visited a total of 20 countries... a mere 8% of the world, and about 5x the number of towns or cities.

I got a world map together with my recent subscription of National Geographic Traveller. It's still lying in my drawer where I keep a lot of junk, waiting to be hung on that empty wall next to my wardrobe. I plan to stick pins (or something of that nature since I don't actually own a corkboard) for every place that I've visited.

I also did a quick test to see what type of traveller I am. The description sounds quite right, but the "top destinations" and "places to avoid" seems terbalik. Venice, Paris and Tokyo are definitely on my "places to visit" list (I've visited Paris twice and hope to go there again next year). Tahiti is intriguing, I'm quite satisfied having seen Uluru (in Alice Springs) from up above on a flight back to Malaysia once and have no idea where Ciudad Perdida is :p

Your travel type: Travel Yup

The Travel Yup likes exotic and adventurous travel, but prefers big cities with fast paced life. He has a keen interest in other cultures and always brings home a few souvenirs.

Shopping in Bangkok, getting a tailor made suite in Kuala Lumpur, that's the kind of thing the Travel Yup is into. Even though he likes to get away, he prefers his travels to be comfortable.

top destinations:

Alice Springs
Ciudad Perdida

stay away from:

get your own travel profile

Insyaallah, if all goes according to plan, I'll be paying Baitullah another visit next month. Went to get my meningitis jap today at Pusrawi (shot given by a rather dashing Dr Razlan Shah... had he placed his stetoscope over my heart, he would have heard the pitter patter, hehe...) and got my *stop menses* pills since the trip will be right smack when my *monthly* is expected to give a visit.

I'm really looking forward to the trip... my second. The last time was 13 years ago, when I was a much more innocent and dosa-less. I hope that the trip will help purify my heart and soul and make me a better and God abiding servant. A lot of sin have been accumulated since...

In preparation, I should start doing more of what is expected of a good Muslim.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

so effing hilarious!

I'm 2+ weeks late, but better late than never.

Caught news about it while watching Channel E, but didn't manage to see it until just now.

Justin Timberlake doing "Single Ladies" in leotards and high heels... OMG!! That was just too funny!!! The man can move and shake his bootie... oh yes!

I wish I could watch a clearer version, but for now, this would have to do ^_^

Thursday, December 4, 2008

i'm on cloud nine!!!

Tonight I checked email on my Hotmail account. Something that I don't do very often because that's my secondary email address.

To my big surprise, I received this email...

Your photo in our new cloud handbook?‏
Sent: Wednesday, 3 Dec, 2008 8: 39 PM

Dear Ruziana,

We're emailing to see if you would like your photograph to appear in a brand new publication from The Cloud Appreciation Society.

In the spring of next year, we are producing a book called The Cloud Collector's Handbook, which will be a humorous and instructive tour of the skies that we hope will help convince the world at large of the beauty and wonder of clouds.

The book will be a pocket-sized publication, which cloudspotters can carry around with them, and will be beautifully designed with full-colour images throughout. It will also work as a sort of game: you collect points for the different clouds that they spot. The rarer the cloud, the higher the points.

We have been carefully going through the thousands of images on the society's photo gallery pages, and feel that your one, linked below, is a fantastic example of its type. If you were willing, we would love to include this image in the handbook:

Since the book is only pocket-sized, and we have so many photos that we want to include (around 120), all the images will end up being quite small. But readers would be able to refer to the relevant pages on the website to see your fine photo it in its full glory.

Would you like it to be included? We are not able to pay, but would give you a full credit on the page that it appears, and we would send you two copies of the book when it comes out in the spring. If you are not already a member of the Cloud Appreciation Society, we would, of course, give you life membership. It goes without saying that you would retain all copyright of your image.

If you’d like the image to be a part of this fantastic new handbook for cloudspotters, then do please email Ian Loxley, at this address, to:
A) say that you "authorise us to include this image, credited to you, in all editions of The Cloud Collector's Handbook" and
B) send a high-res version of the image.
We would obviously not reprint the photo anywhere else without your prior permission (though we would ask that it could be available (with full credit) to illustrate any reviews or articles about the handbook, when it is published).

Many thanks and very best wishes from,

Gavin Pretor-Pinney,

and Ian Loxley,
Photo gallery editor,

The Cloud Appreciation Society

I pun apa lagi... Smile selebar-lebarnya. Too bad it's already 2 am otherwise I would be screaming happily to announce my new "celebrity" status to my sister and brother.


Who would have thought... a photo taken by chance, while peering out the window somewhere above the South China Seas (I think), would be selected for something like this?

I must say (walaupun this is considered masuk bakul angkat sendiri), that it is a beautiful shot... with the light, and puffy clouds. It's so out of this world. Just looking at it gives me a sense of serenity.

But this is all the great work of Allah SWT, who had created this wonderful world that we live in. It was with His grace that I was afforded the view and opportunity to capture it for others to see. I still remember the feeling when I first saw the sight... unbelievable amazement and rush of amazement and wonderment of His greatness. Subhanallah...

So friends... let me share this with you. I hope that you'll find the same joy as I did on that eventful day 2+ years ago...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

taking a break...

I'm heading for HK tomorrow evening. A 5 day getaway with my sis and some friends. Time to declutter the mind... although one might ask, why head for HK? The crowd alone would make the mind more messy, hehe...

I don't know... I guess it's because that's some place near that I wanna go but have never been to. Siem Reap is another, but no one wants to go there... alas.

It has been a tough 2 weeks, emotionally and physically.

A death in the family... so sad. He's so young, abt to get married (next month actually), such a good son. Accident... pokok jatuh on his car while driving. And it happened in Sabah where he was posted. Accident occured around 2:45pm on Sunday. His family only heard about it around 4:30pm from his friends who heard the news from other friends. We got to know about it later that night. Emergency leave... drove back to Teluk Intan with Mama Papa and Amt. Flight sampai 2:30pm on Monday but the body was only finally released around 4:30pm. Sampai rumah around 6pm. It was so, so sad. I didn't expect to cry as much as I did. Watching my aunty, uncle and his siblings was heartbreaking. They were such a close knit family. He's only 25... the same age as my brother. My aunty suffered a mild stroke mid this year... that was the last time I saw him... when I went to visit my aunty. She was frail, and having to endure what must be the saddest thing that a mother can ever endure. My uncle, the tough guy that he was, cried. His fiancee sobbed uncontrollably.

Nyawa... it can be taken away just like that. Without notice. Without warning. Are we prepared? Am I prepared?

Work bertambun-tambun, emails bertimbun-timbun... and I'm SOOOOOOOOO behind! At last check 48 emails unread. I won't be able to clear them all off before I leave. That's the "gift" I get for being away from office for 3 days. Itupun today I've cleared about 2 dozen. My head is not where it should be. It's so berserabut.

I just need to go away... and rejuvenate.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

how old is your brain?

Try this test... http://flashfabrica .com/f_learning/ brain/brain. html

(the instructions are in Japanese so follow instructions below)
1. Touch 'start'
2. Wait for 3, 2, 1.
3. Memorize the number's position on the screen, and then click the circle from the smallest number to the biggest number.
4. At the end of game, the computer will tell you the age of your brain.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

have you watched them sleep?

Article written by Shakuntala Devi

I received a message on my Friendster account the other day. It was one of those forwarded messages, the type I would usually scan briefly before hitting "delete".

But this message, written in Bahasa Malaysia, started with a simple question that caught my attention A rough translation of it goes like this:

"Have you ever watched your parents as they are asleep? Your father's body once big and strong but now, the big is withered and the strong weakened. Wisps of grey peek out of his hair, wrinkles now "scar" on his forehead and face."

"This man works hard every day and would sacrifice anything to make sure his family is provided for and his children get the best education possible."

"Or what about your mother, whose soft hands once cuddled and held you close when you were a baby? Now, those hands are dry and rough, bearing evidence of the challenges she faced just for us."

"This woman takes care of our daily needs, constantly nagging and scolding us because of her love for us. But sadly, we often miscontrue her love as control and unfairness."

I have never thought of watching my parents while they slept. I've watched my cousins sleep when they were babies, all round and cuddly and sweet smelling. But watch my parents? No way!

But after reading this message, I realised that there is indeed much truth in it. In fact, my parents don't have to be asleep for me to realise that they have aged.

Just looking at my mother walk tells me that her legs are not as strong as they were before. Or hearing for her to ask me to help with that flowerpot in the garden, the one she used to be able to push and drag around the garden without my help.

Or watching my dad lift a 10kg bag of rice. I can easily carry that now. I am young. But to him, it is a struggle.

What do all these observations tell me? Yes, my parents have aged. They are ageing, as I am ageing. But as I age towards my best years and become stronger, they in turn are becoming weaker. They were once the caregiver and I the receiver. In time, I know our roles will reverse. Like it or not, want it or not, this is life.

I suppose I have always subconciously thought that my parents would always be with me, never growing old. It took that message to make me realise that my parents are not immortal. That they, too, will one day leave the world and me. Until then, I will make good use of our time together.

By the way, I am forwarding that message to all my family and friends to remind them to appreciate what they have now. It will not last.

Reading this, I terus sebak. This message hits home... HARD. It is as if it was written and directed to me.

Just the other day, while the three of us were driving home after a nice meal, Papa driving, Mama sitting in front and me at the back. Papa said "This is macam masa Along kecik dulu2. You sitting at the back... tanya, dah kat mana ni? You'd be lying down". Mama added, "...melengkor." We all laughed. I remember that time well. The drives balik kampung at a time when there were no highways and the journeys long. Listening to Abba, Bee Gees. Fast forward 28 years later. The scene familiar.

God works mysteriously and wonderfully. Reminders are sent our way when He knows that we should be reminded. I've long taken granted of the persons that mean most. I have not been treating them as well as they deserve. I'm ridden with guilt...

Thank God I still have them with me... time to make amends...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I was doing my daily reading of financial market news excerpt when I saw this... I sooooo agree!!

Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it
- Henry David Thoreau,author and transcendentalist

Monday, November 3, 2008

silly translation...

Yesterday evening, Ina and I watched Vantage Point on DVD. There was a scene where the characters spoke in Spanish.

We looked at each other... where are the subtitles?

Since neither of us speak espanyol, save for uno dos tres... we scrambled to get the subtitles feature up. First try, chose the wrong option... director's commentary. Couldn't care less what the director thought about the scene. Next... English. But where's the translation??

Then Ina said "Kita try Malay lah Along. Try je..."

Ok lah... better than nothing. And voila, I can now understand Spanish :) It wasn't really Malay... it was Indonesian. Indon pun Indon lah...

We continued watching, too lazy to turn the subtitles off after the scene (also because we weren't sure whether there would be more spanish conversations after this).

Then there was a chase scene... running, driving... your staple Hollywood blockbuster type of action scene. A character swore as he swerved to avoid another car as they sped down the narrow streets of Salamanca. "Shit!" he said.

When I saw the translation I laughed, no... more like howled... like mad.

Guess what it was??


HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH... Ina and I gelak sampai tergolek-golek.

That was not it. There were more cursing. I forgot what the character said. I think something along the lines of "Shit! Shit!"

and the translation was "Tai... Berak!"

Oh my God...

That was not all. 3/4 through the movie, there was a scene where one of the characters said "Stop! CIA!"

You wouldn't believe what the translation was... I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw it. I laughed even louder. I think the whole kampung might have heard me.

Get ready for it...

Ajensi Jawa Intelek.

I kid you not! I'll even get a screen shot for you, when I have the time.

Dear oh dear... what a classic case of *lost in translation*.

p/s: for those of you who don't know, I'm half Jawa... which tickles me even more ;)

minute by minute report on the final race...

As if this race can't get any more intriguing... it suddenly rained in Interlagos!
5mins to go and the cars, mechanics, drivers are all seated in their seat when the heavens opened up and everyone scurrying for cover.


Race start aborted and will restart in 10 mins...

Sun back out. So should it be intermediates or will there be heroic drivers out there willing to risk driving on slicks?

The safety car is out... checking the track. Doesn't look like there's too much water on the track.
Oooohhhh... I can't wait for the action!

The cars are out on warm up lap. Almost everyone on intermediate

Go Alonso!
Massa ahead of the rest... clean start.

Safety car out. DC got into an incident with Piquet (or on his own... not sure). Poor DC... to not even make a lap on his final grandprix of his career.


Race restart. Alonso over takes Kovailanen in a brilliant move.. woo hoo!
Kimi pressuring Trulli. Trulli still soaking up the pressure, pardon the pun.


Cars into the pit...
Back out... Massa stays on first, Hamilton down to 7th, Kimi has overtaken Trulli. Alonson now on 3rd!

Fisichella is sandwiched between Kimi and Hamilton.

2:30am - 5 laps to go
Rain again. Cars came in to change into intermediates. Some changes in position. But Massa still ahead

I cannot believe what had happened! I just can't believe what had happened!

With 3 laps to go Vettel managed to take over Hamilton. With Hamilton down on 6th that means Massa will win the championship.

Try as he may, Hamilton did not manage to overtake Vettel.

Massa crossed the line in first... we screamed. Everyone screamed. The grandstands roared.

Then the timing screen showed a different result. Hamilton finished 5th...

What had happened??

Amt and I sat there unbelieving what had taken place. Glock, in the final seconds of the race slowed and finished behind Vettel and Hamilton. Thus rewarding Hamilton with the world championship.

This is agony... one second we thought that Massa had won it and the very next, we discovered that Hamilton did.


Massa did everything right and yet luck was not with him.

Poor Massa (I never thought I would say this)... he cried. Although he won this race, in front of his home crowd, he looks desperately disraught.

This must have been the most sad looking podium ever. Massa undoubtedly. Alonso who finished second is equally dismayed because we all know what Alonso thinks about Hamilton. Kimi... in his usual poker face.

I still can't believe what had happened.

I was in a similar state last year but feeling happy with Kimi's unexpected win. This year it was the most cliffhanger ending I've ever experienced in my 14 years watching F1.

Well... as they always say. F1 is so unpredictable.

One consolation that I have is that analysis has shown that this year's winner is the "weakest" in the decade.

I'm hoping for a Renault resurgence or for Kimi to find his form again.


Sunday, November 2, 2008

well said...

and the winner is...

1hr45m to go before the start of the race that will determine the F1 2008 champion.

And I’m waiting with dread…

It has been an interesting year with some exciting races (which includes the first ever night race). Had it been someone else at the lead of the pack, I would have been much, much happier. Sadly it is Alonso’s nemesis, who is touted to win this year.


Race will start at around 1am Malaysian time… and expected to end around 3am. Hence I’ve taken ½ day off tomorrow morning. I doubt I can function well with the self imposed sleep deprivation.

I hope that a miracle will happen. It happened last year.

Whatever the outcome, I will have to find another pastime to keep myself occupied in the coming winter months. I don’t think it is going to be harder than years past since my interest in F1 has waned somewhat. I still watch every race, unless if circumstances do not allow me. I think I missed 2 races this year… Valencia and… I can’t remember the other one. However, I’m less obsessed now. I don’t follow the news as religiously as I did.

Plus I’ve sorta found another obsession.

That’s for another entry ;)

Friday, October 31, 2008

how observant are you?

Sometimes we just need to be reminded of God's greatness...

God left us great clues as to what foods help what part of our body! God's Pharmacy! Amazing!

A sliced Carrot looks like the human eye. The pupil, iris and radiating lines look just like the human eye... and YES, science now shows carrots greatly enhance blood flow to and function of the eyes.

A Tomato has four chambers and is red. The heart has four chambers and is red. All o f the research shows tomatoes are loaded with lycopine and are indeed pure heart and blood food.

Grapes hang in a cluster that has the shape of the heart. Each grape looks like a blood cell and all of the research today shows grapes are also profound heart and blood vitalizing food.

A Walnut looks like a little brain, a left and right hemisphere, upper cerebrums and lower cerebellums. Even the wrinkles or folds on the nut are just like the neo-cortex. We now know walnuts help develop more than three (3) dozen neuron-transmitters for brain function.

Kidney Beans actually heal and help maintain kidney function and yes, they look exactly like the human kidneys.

Celery, Bok Choy, Rhubarb and many more look just like bones. These foods specifically target bone strength. Bones are 23% sodium and these foods are 23% sodium. If you don't have enough sodium in your diet, the body pulls it from the bones, thus making them weak. These foods replenish the skeletal needs of the body.

Avocadoes, Eggplant and Pears target the health and function of the womb and cervix of the female - they look just like these organs. Today's research shows that when a woman eats one avocado a week, it balances hormones, sheds unwanted birth weight, and prevents cervical cancers. And how profound is this? It takes exactly nine (9) months to grow an avocado from blossom to ripened fruit. There are over 14,000 photolytic chemical constituents of nutrition in each one of these foods (modern science has only studied and named about 141 of them).

Figs are full of seeds and hang in twos when they grow. Figs increase the mobility of male sperm and increase the numbers of Sperm as well to overcome male sterility.

Onions look like the body's cells. Today's research shows onions h elp clear waste materials from all of the body cells. They even produce tears which wash the epithelial layers of the eyes. A working companion, Garlic, also helps eliminate waste materials and dangerous free radicals from the body.

Oranges, Grapefruits, and other Citrus fruits look just like the mammary glands of the female and actually assist the health of the breasts and the movement of lymph in and out of the breasts.

Olives assist the health and function of the ovaries

Sweet Potatoes look like the pancreas and actually balance the glycemic index of diabetics.


The whole of this week, I come home late from work. And two weeks in a row, I was still at the office @ 9pm on a Friday evening.

Oh well...

During times like these, people who work in organisations like I do are at their busiest. I'm feeling quite overwhelmed at the moment to be honest. I really don't know how my bosses, present and past, did it. Gosh... it's so tiring!

But once in a while you get emails sent your way that makes the day better. It is true... Laughter is really the best medicine.


The Credit Crunch:

A trader: "This is worse than a divorce. I've lost half my net worth and I still have a wife."

President Bush said clients shouldn't be concerned by all these bank closings. If the bank is closed, you just use the ATM, he said.

George Bush said that he is saddened to hear about the demise of Lehman brothers His thoughts at this time go out to their mother as losing one son is hard but losing two is a tragedy.

The problem with investment bank balance sheets is that on the left side nothing is right and on the right side nothing is left.

In maths there are 30 billion prime numbers below 700 billion. The rest are all subprime.

How do you define optimism? A banker who irons 5 shirts on a Sunday.

What do you call 12 investment bankers at the bottom of the ocean? A good start.

Why are all MBAs going back to school? To ask for their money back.

For Geography students: What's the capital of Iceland? Answer: About Three Pounds Fifty...

If you want to gamble, go to Las Vegas. If you want to trade in derivatives, God bless you.

Whats the difference between a guy who just lost everything in Vegas and an investment banker? A tie.

Whats the difference between a bond and a bond trader? A bond matures.

Lehman have changed their recommendation on Lehman from hold to sell.

Forty years ago I sold fifty shares of my company stock and had enough money to purchase a brand-new 1967 Ford pickup. Last week, I checked it out, and if I sold another fifty shares, Id have enough money to buy a 1967 Ford pickup. So, the market has stabilized.

NEW STOCK MARKET TERMS for 2008 and beyond...
CEO --Chief Embezzlement Officer
CFO-- Corporate Fraud Officer
BULL MARKET -- A random market movement causing an investor to mistake himself for a financial genius
BEAR MARKET -- A 6 to 18 month period when the kids get no allowance, the wife gets no jewelry, and the husband gets no sex
VALUE INVESTING -- The art of buying low and selling lower
P/E RATIO -- The percentage of investors wetting their pants as the market keeps crashing
BROKER -- What my broker has made me
STANDARD & POOR -- Your life in a nutshell
STOCK ANALYST -- Idiot who just downgraded your stock
STOCK SPLIT -- When your ex-wife and her lawyer split your assets equally between themselves
FINANCIAL PLANNER -- A guy whose phone has been disconnected
MARKET CORRECTION -- The day after you buy stocks
CASH FLOW-- The movement your money makes as it disappears down the toilet
YAHOO -- What you yell after selling it to some poor sucker for $240 pershare
WINDOWS -- What you jump out of when you're the sucker who bought Yahoo @$240 per share
INSTITUTIONAL INVESTOR -- Past year investor who's now locked up in a nuthouse
PROFIT -- An archaic word no longer in use

Saturday, October 25, 2008

having some fun...

Several nights ago, inspired after watching America's Next Top Model episode on youtube where the girls were challenged to "smile with your eyes", I decided to play *model* with Ina as my photographer.

I failed miserably on that challenge... I'm definitely not model material.

So decided to have some fun instead. Me making faces.

I'm not absolutely sure whether this is a good idea (ie to post my *play acting* photos), but what the heck.

So friends... don't ever use this to blackmail me aaa...

*fish* face

*angry* face

*hidung kembang* face

blub... blub... blub...

*big smile* face

my idol...

Say what you want but I admire Angelina Jolie.

This woman manages to be a mother of six children, have a career and still find time to get involved in charity work. She has been at it for over 7 years.

And still manages to look gorgeous!

If it was me... I'd be half pengsan already. Don't even talk about how I'd look.
Sure, some might say that "If I have that kind of money, I can do it too".
Can you?

I don't think so. No doubt, when you have financial resources, you can do lots of things. And you can hire people to do things for you so that you have more time on your hands. But no amount of money can make you open your heart, be willing to spend your personal time, be in difficult and uncomfortable environment for important causes. I don't think I can. Not even if I have 1 billion dollars to my name.

And to be teaching your kids these kind of values... I salute her! To nurture the notion that all human beings are equal regardless of colour, race, religion.

Her name fits her well... Beautiful Angel.

We should have more people like Angelina Jolie in this world and this world would be a much better place.

An excerpt from her recent speech...
"Justice often seems like a luxury for the rich and wealthy nations... Peace is often placed ahead of justice, and sometimes instead of justice... No one should have to choose between peace and justice... There is no enduring peace without justice"

Well said!

inspirationally big!

I've been watching this show on TV... it's called Oprah's Big Give.

It is a reality, competition show. But unlike the other shows on the air, it is not about pitting against each other to be the ultimate victor. It is about how to give back to society and how to encourage others to do the same.

Also unlike other shows, there are no losers in the game. They're all winners because they all did something wonderful for absolute strangers. But of course, there's elimination. Not because they had failed, but because others had done better.

I like this show. I shed many tears watching the episodes.

It's so amazing how these wonderful individuals go all out to help others, to make a difference, to get other people on board... all for the satisfaction of doing something good.

There's no prize... just bragging rights (although after watching the finale, the winner did get a prize, but they didn't know it when they embarked on the adventure).

The kind of things that they were able to do. The kind of support that they were able to garner.

It makes me believe even more that there are many, many good hearted people out there. They just need a push, a request to participate in giving back to society.

I hope that I can do something similar with the volunteer group at work. My goal... if I can just get 80% of the staff to commit 2 weekends a year to do some form of charity work, that would be excellent. If I can get everyone to potong gaji RM10 a month... the collective amount can do so much good.

The more that I get involved in this, the more I realise that there are so many people out there that are needing our assistance.

And one of the things that Big Give taught me was that it isn't the money, sometimes it is the time... but most importantly is the willingness to open your heart and give others the opportunity and for them to be treated equally.

During one of the shows, one contestant, Stephen, who happens to be the eventual winner, spent his night after a long day of doing a charity project (because he said that there's still some time in the day that he can chip in to do some good), went to donate his time at a Kitchen... helping to serve the food, clean up etc. And while washing dishes with another guy, he listened to the guy's story... the things that he had gone through, his regrets, his aspirations, his hopes. That was it. Just listening. And to the guy, it made all the difference in the world because someone was willing to listen and be engaged with an ex convict who had done drugs, a person whom others would just treat as a sampah masyarakat.

The time spent with him gave him a stronger sense of self belief, confidence... something that everyone who has been at the bottom needs to get back up.

It's so unbelievably simple! To make a difference...

I'm not a saint, I'm not perfect, I have a lot of prejudices within me still, I don't give back as much as I should... monetary or time.

But I hope... to do more.

And I hope that I'll get others to join me on this journey too...

and the cookie crumbles...

I shouldn't be calling Alan Greenspan a *cookie*. In today's newspaper (or was it an online article I read?), this former Governer of the US Federal Reserve was called *maestro*. He was highly regarded as THE leader for the financial sector.

Fast forward a few months since his retirement. Global financial crisis. At the scale that we've never seen before. The things and events that are unravelling is unbelievable and defy common sense (sometimes). The market is so volatile. One day you hear a bank declared bankrupt. The next you hear a country that was once so capital rich and was a major investor everywhere running out of funds. Reactions from the regulators and Governments across the world... things that during the Asian financial crisis were frowned upon. Some rescue packages announced... market responded, things seem to get better. Then the very next day, it crashed again upon receiving news of slowing down economy. More support announced... market recovers a bit. The next day went tumbling down to the lowest level in years. Up down up down... If I was working on the exchanges in NY or London (actually anywhere!) I'd be having a heart attack.

The thinking that market forces will correct itself... that market knows best... all thrown out the window. Irrational behaviour everywhere you turn.

And the whole world watch in horror...

Amidst all these, one can't help but to look back at the actions of the man once so revered in the financial circles. And yesterday, he admitted... that there was a flaw in his thinking. He himself was shocked to see how the market had behaved and reacted.

That's how it goes... one day you're on top, the very next day you can be at the bottom.

I don't think he's to blame for all that has happened. That is irresponsible. However, I do believe that he had played a part in all this.

Greed... that's what caused all this. From the top executive floors of financial centres to the businesses on the street.

Somehow, we, as a human race, has forgotten that our time here on earth is not to make as much money as possible. It is to have a meaningful life. Of course, to some, making as much money as possible is the meaningful life. For those people, I feel sorry for them.

We've been shown various other examples of the effects of excesses... overdoing development had its toll on the environment. Did we take heed? No...

Now we're being shown the effects of another form of excesses.

It's ok to make money, to search for a good life. But don't over do it. Don't do it at the expense of other people. And when you've attained that goal, don't forget to give back. And in the process, don't take more than what you need.

I bought Alan Greenspan's memoir sometime back and it has been sitting on my bookshelf unread. I wonder now... should I start?

Maybe... it could trigger some useful thoughts... on the hindsight kinda thing.

Friday, October 24, 2008

it takes guts...

Tonight as I was about to leave the office, I checked an sms on my phone.

The sender told me that she had tendered her resignation because she cannot tahan with her boss lagi. She did it without securing another job. So far her job hunting has not been successful. Hence she cannot join us for Mamma Mia.

I was surprised.

I was amazed.

She has guts.

I would not and don't have the courage to leave a job cold feet like that. I think no matter how I hate the job or the person at the workplace, I can never do that. I'm a very risk averse person when it comes to these things. I think it is because I've experienced it before when I was younger when my dad was out of a job.

Although we weren't in trouble and continued more or less with our normal lifestyle, the fear lingers.

I remember that time very well. I think I was 11.

As usual whenever my dad was at home during the week, I would mengada2 and ask him to send me to school instead of walking. Tak jauh pun the school from our house. Saje... ngada-ngada. It was not normal for him to be at home on a weekday but to me, it was a golden opportunity. At first he refused, then I don't know what I said or did, he pergi jugak hantar I pergi sekolah.

That night my mom pulled me aside after dinner. She told me what had happened and said that we'd have to be more careful with our expenses from then on. That was my first ever experience of having the feeling of *heart dropped* (I think). My dad carried a worried, troubled look for several weeks.

Fortunately about a month or so later, my dad got another job.

That experience changed him somewhat. He used to be carefree, adventurous. He tuned down, became more low-key. He used to go to work with great excitement. After that, we goes to work because he needs to support his family.

I never ever want to be in that situation again. Which is perhaps one of the reasons why I've not moved job until now. Don't get me wrong... I'm happy where I am, I have great friends at work, have a work that is constantly challenging. But deep down, I know that this is not really my passion. As time passes, it gets increasingly difficult to keep myself motivated. There's a lot of responsibility and expectation on me though. I no longer carry the *zing* as I used to. Once in a while, I do get that dose of excitement, but let's face the truth... only about 60% of what I currently do actually gives me that rush. The rest of it I do because I have to.

It isn't perfect, but it affords me a comfortable life and allows me to continue to indulge in the things I love.

I don't know how to get *excited* again. I don't think I can, if I stay here. To pursue my passion means I will have to forego so many things. I don't think I'm ready to do so. And when you have a family that depends on you, the equation becomes even more complicated.

And so I stay on... doing my best to maintain my enthusiasm, waiting for that occasional burst of excitement.

I hope I won't regret it when I'm older...


I woke up this morning... with eyes half shut, went to the *throne*. As I shi-shi, a thought crossed my mind... DUH!


I had the information, and yet still made that stupid mistake.

I had waited over 3 weeks and yet this still happens. What laa...

The night before I logged on to Leading Hotels of The World with high hopes to secure special price hotel rooms in conjunction with their anniversary.

Since I'm planning to go to HK, I had wanted to book a room there. Two friends are also heading the same way and I thought of joining them. Mymot had earlier emailed me her flight itinerary. I've even made a mental note of which day to take leave etc.

Some help my mental note did. When I made the booking, I'm one week off.

Bukannya tak ada info, bukannya tak tahu... but somehow last night I was very sure about the date.

And it didn't strike me until this morning.


Monday, October 20, 2008

how was your weekend?

It has been a while since I last blogged. So many things have happened since... some contributing to the long hiatus. Each day as I drive home, I have these ideas about what to write, experiences to share etc etc but I fail miserably. Someone should invent a machine that I can just cucuk on my head and the thoughts would nicely translate into a blog entry.

Gosh... where do I start?

OK... let's start from today and see what I can recall. A test of sorts to see how much brain cells I have left.

I woke up not too early but not late either. Have an appointment... my dear ex-boss and good friend, the wonderful ARG and wife invited me over to their (relatively) new home. Actually, it was more of me self-inviting haha. Was supposed to visit them during Raya but since I wasn't feeling well, we had to postpone the visit. And on Friday I somewhat managed to secure myself an invite to their home.

Wasn't hard to find the lovely Laman Oakleaf with the aid of my trusted Garmin which Aunty Yan pulangkan semalam after their holidays in Australia. They have a lovely home and in such nice surroundings. Lovely home for such a lovely family :)

Went with Mama and Papa... Ina and Amt were supposed to follow but they were still in slumber when we left. Malas nak tunggu plus I was already late.

Had nasi lemak yang enak (my second for the days since Papa also bought us nasi lemak for breakfast) and chatted pasal economy, hotel chains, house renovations, people dan macam2 lagi. Dekat2 nak pukul 2 baru balik.

Arrived home just in time to catch the Shanghai GP race. A boring race... and my least favoured driver won. Hmph! K Ore and Abg Radzi dropped by after attending a wedding in Sg Buluh. Serve kuih raya je lah...

Lepas tu Ina ajak keluar makan. I was still full but wanted to follow coz I had some other missions as well.

But first... pergi Darabif. It was raining heavily but that didn't stop us empat beradik. After that we went to HSC... to go boring 1901. For those of you yang tak tahu, 1901 has a special offer on every 19th of the month. Their chicago beef and NY chicken selling at 1.99 each je. I also wanted to go buy a new DVD player kat SenQ since my Toba dah rosak. Kebetulan they had a sale, so I also bought an Electrolux vacumm cleaner too.

Tonight I was on a chick flick movie marathon. Watched Definitely Maybe and Notting Hill. Two of my favourite cerita cinta. Dunno why, but I've been in a mood for such movies lately... since watching Sense & Sensibilities on Astro several nights back. My darling friends before you start speculating, it is purely for entertainment.

Actually, this weekend the theme has been tengok movie. Yesterday I watched Mamma Mia which I think is simply brilliant and Hot Fuzz... British comedy at its best. I've not laughed that loud for a long time!

Yesterday morning I had a mission. The place: Kg Laksamana Batu Caves. The target: hardcore poor family. The mission: distribute barang makanan keperluan asas. Have been working on Deepavali Sharing project since lepas Raya and yesterday was the project implementation day. Me and Thomas were the only non Indian there but we felt like we were part of the team. Worked with Sai Ananda group, whose Batu Caves chairman happen to be one of our colleagues at work. They organised the recipients and volunteers. I'm very impressed with the community work that Ayavoo does and his helpers too. They've got a good thing going... volunteers from kids as young as 10 and adults. They cooked (before distribute barang, the poor were treated to some yummy lunch... I was invited too, and believe me it was yummy!!), we worked with the kids to pack the barang and distribute. I was really amazed with what RM100 can get you. I worked with Giant Selayang to get the items and they gave us a special price with free delivery too. Basically each family got 10kg beras, 5kg minyak masak, 4kg gula, 3 bungkus mihun, 3 tin susu pekat, generic milo 400gm, 1 botol 2L cordial, 2kg dhal, 4 bungkus kari powder, 2 bungkus cream crackers. That should help sustain for a month or so. Suffice to say, I went home feeling very good :)

The more I do these things, the more I realise that there are so many people in need of help out there. But as Thomas and I came to realise while we were chatting, not many people actually come forward to do volunteer work. It is always the same faces. Where are the rest?

I admit... before this pun I'm one of the culprits. But now dah insaf... there's so much that can be done. Watching Oprah's Big Give last night helped strengthen my resolve. I should do more of these things and get more people involved. My goal is to convince people to spend 2 weekends a year to do some charity work. If I can get 500 people je pun that would be awesome.

Tapi biasa lah... nak buat benda baik ni banyak dugaannya. But I also believe, and have experienced it first hand, that when you tengah nak buat benda baik, God will pave the way and make things easier for you. Many surprises along the way that make you think back and smile...

Come join me!!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Eid Mubarak!

Selamat Hari Raya everyone!!

I know this wish is a tad late... I blame it on feeling unwell and I don't think it is in the spirit of Raya to be spending one's time in front of the computer ;)
[excuses... excuses... hehe]

I'm the least prepared for Raya this year. Didn't even had the chance to go get kad raya for my colleagues at work. Nasib baik ada card allocation from the organisation, so I managed to send some to my other friends. Ingatkan nak get some gifts for ppl like I usually do, but this time memang tak sempat. And Ramadan flew by so quickly. I didn't even manage to send any emails or sms to wish people Selamat Hari Raya. Very bad...

Raya so far has been *calm*... for lack of a better word. It wasn't as hectic as usual because this year we've got a day-maid who comes over to clean the house daily. So yours truly didn't have to do as much *house cleaning* this year. Hooray!!

This year... also a departure from normal practice, I didn't buy any kueh. OK... I did buy one bekas of kuih tart and 3 bungkus popia simpul. That was it. Tahun ni Abang sponsor kueh... his office gave all staff one hamper of kueh raya and he bought some as well. Plus his GF buatkan choc cornflakes cookies. All sedap :)

Patutnya this year tak jadi buat takbir from rumah ke rumah macam biasa tapi some people really wanted to have it so there was an impromptu arrangement which was decided lepas Asar, the day before 1 Syawal. Our house was #1, so that meant we had to get ready quickly right after iftar and solat Maghrib. But also good because I don't have to stay up too late to clean up. And the *rounding* tak lama sangat this year. Papa was back home by 12:30am. Since it was impromptu, we only served kueh raya, some ice-cream and some chicken balls for the kids. I also sempat decorate depan rumah with some tea lights to memeriahkan suasana raya. But dalam kesibukan bersiap2, I forgot to ambik gambar. Darn! Takpe... still have several more tea lights to recreate the atmosphere ;)

One Raya day, we went for solat Aidil Fitri kat surau Taman Sri Delima macam biasa. But Abg and Amt went to Masjid Wilayah. Lepas solat all of us were in the kitchen masak lodeh, kuah kacang, panaskan rendang yang Mama dah buat the day before... eaten with ketupat. Petang we went visiting in Damansara Heights and Section 16. Makan lagi... tapi semua pun best, hehe. Had laksa, mee udang, nasi dagang... semua pun try, tapi sikit2 ;) Mama, Papa and Abg went balik kampung Papa lepas tu while Ina, Amt and I headed home. Was not feeling very well...

I've been nursing a very bad cough for over a week. It's the kind of cough which is deep in your chest, dry and irritatingly scratchy. I sound like an old sick lady each time I cough and due to the strain, I'm also sporting a husky and deep tone *pondan-like* voice. Takpelah... janji I can still makan ketupat and rendang ;) It was quite bad in the beginning... couldn't even swallow water. Yesterday I had a short bout of mild eye infection... don't think it's serious enough like conjunctivities, but enough to produce copious amount of tahi mata. Today dah reda...

Went to Ipoh to visit Ayah Ngah and family today. Traffic was ok. Diorang satu family semua ada kat sana. While we were there, some other cousins also dropped by to visit. Arrived home just before Maghrib and was informed that Papa's youngest sister was coming over with her family.

So that's day before, Raya day and second Raya day... things are just going to get more *hectic* this weekend I suspect, so better get as much rest as possible while I can...

oh btw... I really like this Raya advert. Shows just how important it is to spend Raya with your family and loved ones... while they're still *around*.

found this too... like the ending ;)

this one hits so close to home...

but this one takes the cake... touching, funny, meaningful... all in one :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

extremely happy and very very proud!

Since the middle of this year, I've been involved in the organisation's volunteer movement. I'm the head of staff mobilisation a.k.a. project head. Responsible to make sure that charity activities are taking place and persuading people to get involved. Am very happy to be involved in it... makes me feel so much better that I'm contributing back to society, one way or another.

Not long before puasa NSY mentioned to me "should organise something for Ramadan to tolong orang susah". I sent email and made an announcement seeking for people who would like to be involved in the project. Masa tu, no idea yet who to give to, what to give etc etc. Just wanted to get a few people gathered together first.

The response I got from the email was very encouraging. Bertubi-tubi orang reply kata that they want to get involved. Good signs :)

So I initiated a virtual brainstorm on what to do, what to give etc. Then I had to leave for the UK. But not before assigning some tasks to several people to cari orang yang memerlukan bantuan. Sought the assistance of Momz to get some names from BersamaMu.

Sangat bagus and efficient that team of 4 ladies. They found a few homes that are in desperate need of aid. We weren't sure whether we can raise enough to help all, and settled with two orphanages.

At the same time, another team, under the Children cause, was working on a similar yet different charity drive. Theirs was focused to raise funds to give the kids what they want for Raya. That team was also very efficient and creative. They visited the home, took photos and videos of the kids and their home yang serba kekurangan.

The two teams got together when we planned the appeal announcement, strategise how to raise funds. The target was quite big... RM7k for Ramadan RM Rally and RM17k for Raya Wishlist. My first thoughts... dapat ke nak raise banyak tu? Takpelah... kalau tak dapat raise semua pun, half of it pun dah bagus sangat dah. With only 2 weeks available to us, we had to act fast.

We worked on the advertisement, pushed Chee Yoong to work over the weekend to make sure that it gets posted on the internal website by Monday, assigned people who will collect money etc. Also spread the word via our own networks.

And the response?

I knew that ppl from the organisation are a generous lot, but I didn't expect them to be this generous. Several ppl donated 4 digit amounts, sponsored washing machines, 8 sony mp3s, remote control cars, bicycles dan macam2 lagi. Big ticket items! But let's not forget those who give what they can... no matter how small the amount, bila campur2 jadi banyak.

Sangat banyak!

More than RM25k banyak!! It's unbelievable!!!

I really tak sangka that it would be this successful. Both teams have collected more than what they initially targeted for (and remember, I initially thought that the target was too high to start with... and had even made recommendations to the committee to chip in from the fund that we have).

Boy... was I wrong.

And the thing that made me even more pleased is that semua orang tak kira bangsa dan agama contributed towards the success of this charity drive. My head for collection is Indian. I have team members who are Chinese, Indian along side the Malays of course... all put in their best effort to help the kids. When I saw the list of donors, I noted that some of the big contributors are non-muslims. Warms my heart to see that bangsa Malaysia is alive and kicking in the organisation!

This Thursday and Sunday, the teams will be visiting the homes to give them the things and money that were donated. I am sure that they would be very happy this coming Raya. The Raya Wishlist team had visited them last Wednesday to take the kids out to beli baju raya (someone actually sponsored RM100 per kid... there are 16 kids in that home) and delivered bicycles and some other items as well. Bak kata Ameer "the kids tu bila dapat basikal, take turns riding and had the biggest smiles... macam orang dpt awek baru".

The joy that all this brings... the knowledge that what we do is making others have a better life... is so rewarding. Much much more than receiving your paycheck at the end of the month.

I'm so thrilled to be involved in this... and I want to do more!
It's addictive!!