Thursday, February 28, 2008

pleasant to the ears...

American Idol season has started and boy, do we have a great singer in our midst. I sooooo enjoyed his rendition of Imagine. LURVE IT!!

I also like him :)

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...
You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

holiday 2008... continued

I just have to share this...

I'm never this lucky, lucky draw tak pernah menang... apakan lagi masuk contest. But last weekend masa pergi MAS Fair to get my tickets I got lucky... TWICE!!

First was free 2N accommodation at Novotel Bali or Jakarta... my choice. Courtesy of UOB credit card. The catch was that I must use it before 31 March 2008.

Second was in the Mastercard Cash-Grab contest. When one charges RMxx on Mastercard, one gets to enter a box which will have $$ floating around. The contestant must grab the notes floating in the air. I did that for 20 seconds and managed to grab RM197.

I was on a roll :)

I've been to both Bali and Jakarta before, but would choose Bali anytime over Jakarta. Tapinya for the period that I can travel, tickets yg murah dah takde. I ajak Ina... she was interested. I've contacted Pak Nyoman, my trusted driver in Bali, and he was free. The stars were aligned...

When I went to MAS fair I had 2 missions: Get Europe ticket and check out Yogjakarta deals. After hearing wonderful tales from HH about her trip to Surabaya and her planned trip to Yogja later this year, I was teruja. I've always wanted to go see Borobudur. Contacted K Maznah's daughter who run a tour business, dah dapat ground arrangement dah. I even managed to persuade Mama & Papa to come along. But when dah beli ticket pergi Europe and congak2 cost for that trip, I decided to cancel the Yogja plan. Maybe next year.

Then come Tuesday morning, as I was reading the newspaper... saw the AirAsia ad. "Fly to Solo from RM2.90". Solo is an airport nearby Yogja. Wuish... betul ke ni? Selalunya I never get those really cheap tickets... by the time *masuk* dah habis. Pernahlah dapat several times for Mama & Papa tapi jarang2. But when I checked, the flight was still available. Price very good (although after admin fee, fuel surcharge pelbagai it became RM193 return).

I was supposed to get tickets to Bali for Ina and me, tapi seeing that I can go to Yogja for more or less the same cost as if I were to go to Bali, I made the decision to change destination. Told Ina to find a friend instead and I checked with Mama & Papa. Both said ok. Went on to ask Skinner... she pun ok. So that was that... I'll be heading to see one of the world's wonder... Borobudur at the end of March.

Can't wait!!!

holiday 2008...

Early this year (or was it late last year?), I got all excited about a proposed trip to Morocco. Even went to get another guidebook, DK Witness this time since I've fallen in love with the series. Also asked about airfare at Reliance. Both Emirates and Etihad flies to Casablanca, via Dubai and Abu Dhabi respectively. Alternatives include flying via London, Paris, Amsterdam or many other European cities... then take a connecting budget airline down to Fez, Marrakech...

But after all the excitement, tak jadi. Not enough quorum, according to AAA. Actually, boleh je kalau nak pergi bertiga... AAA, wifey et moi. But I can't force them, could I?

Deflated betul after hearing that the whole she-bang tak jadi. I was really looking forward to it.

Then... I heard about the MAS travel fair. Every year without fail, I would get a ticket to go somewhere during either MAS or MATTA fair. It started with a trip to Bali in 2001, east coast USA in 2002, Paris & Rome in 2003, Disneyworld in 2004, west coast USA in 2005, Istanbul in 2006 and finally Holland-Scotland-Belgium in 2007. These were personal trips paid entirely from my own pocket. Tapi in addition to these I've been fortunate enough to make some side visits sempena official trips along the way.

By Friday evening I still hadn't made up my mind on where to go. My usual partner-in-crime is cutting down on her travels this year as she's about to be a mortgage holder. Also, this year, I wanted to give my parents a treat. It's their 35th anniversary. Wanted to gift them with a nice holiday and sambil tu I tumpang sekaki, haha.

I showed Papa the advertisement in the newspaper. I wanted to propose a trip to South Africa. Lepas tengok Amazing Race, became sangat teruja with the natural beauty. Tapi Papa was not keen... having heard about kisah orang kena rob at gun point etc. "Kita pergi Germany lah", he said seeing that ticket to Frankfurt was second cheapest after Stockholm. "Germany?" I asked. I mean, Germany was never on my list of places to visit... ye lah, I've hardly hear people recounting their holiday tales in the land of bratwurst. I must have made a face because the next remark Papa made was "OK... mana2lah, asalkan bukan South Africa". He actually elaborated a bit but I shall not put here what he said. So... that was it. Not something that I can persuade him. "What about New Zealand?" he asked. Well... yes, NZ is a place I wanna go but since I just went to Scotland last year, I figured that the scenery would be in certain aspects similar. I was looking for more culture and history...

I then asked NAK who is an avid traveller herself. Eastern Europe popped to mind. I wanted to save Egypt for a trip with Ina later this year and Italy next year. Not much left, and we're pretty sure that we wanted to head west. Turkey was another option but baru sangat pergi. And US was a bit too far. Wanted to go to a new place. NAK told me to browse through her photos on facebook... which I did.

That's how it all started. I was torn between Praha - Warsaw - Vienna - Budapest vs Berlin - Munich - Bavaria - Frankfurt. I researched on my ever dependable Frommers and Fodors travel website. I stayed up pretty late into the night on Friday... scouring for more info and photos. By the time I went to bed, I was already about 75% sure...

The final decision was to do England and Germany. Why England? Basically because tickets murah to Frankfurt dah habis. We've been to Paris before, was in Amsterdam just last year, heard that things are very pricey in Sweeden, and it feels funny to go through Rome but not see the country (plus I've been to Rome before). So that left me with London.

But I've just been to London 2 years ago. True... however, there's still plenty to see. This time, the aim is to head southwest and midlands... to Oxford, Bath, Bristol, the Cotswolds, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire. Tak pernah pergi sana. After touring those places, we'll fly into Berlin, then Munich and wind down with a drive through Bavaria en route to Frankfurt.

So that's the plan. It's going to be a long trip... about 2 1/2 weeks. Managed to get a great deal on the airfare. I deliberately bought an open jaw ticket... into London out of Frankfurt = RM2980, all inclusive. Will get one of those budget airlines for the European legs.

Am soooo looking forward to the trip :)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

counting my blessings...

Last month when I received my payslip, I had a pleasant surprise. In fact, I had to look at it twice to make sure.

Due to the recent salary scheme adjustment at the organisation, those with professional qualifications get some extra monetary incentive. I had to sign up as member for the local association (never bothered all these years since I'm not a practicing professional) as it was a condition. The foreign qualification on its own is insufficient. So I did... went for the orientation with the two siblings to get my cert, paid membership fee etc. OK... I'm digressing. Back to original story...

Suffice to say that I was extremely happy with the salary adjustment. The arrears alone was sufficient to foot a substantial part of the room beautifying costs. When I went home I shared the good news with my parents. They were equally happy. They don't know exactly how much I'm earning but the increment amount was enough to make them raise their eyebrows.

It didn't register with me until my mom said it out loud. "Waa... Along, you're now earning more than what Papa did when he retired". Quite significantly more actually... after including all the allowances. Papa just smile when he heard that... "Bagus lah. They really take care of you". Actually, I've been earning more than my dad's last drawn salary since late last year, but I didn't make a big deal out of it.

But this time, it struck me. Here I am... single, not financially supporting anyone (well... paying for bills at home, kitchen money, giving my parents monthly allowance don't really classify as financial support lah. It's just part and parcel of a child's responsibility for their parents). And yet, I don't consider myself as having lots of $$ to spare. OK... let me correct that. I don't have difficulty to pay for things or finding myself counting the days to the next pay day. I live comfortably and occasionally splurge on a few luxuries. But at the same time, I don't have THAT much such that I'd drop a few k on a branded handbag, gadget ke apa. I've not lost my senses (haha... those yg ada branded handbag, don't take it to heart. What you do with your ka-ching is your right. I just don't share the passion for high end goods... a fake would do for me ;) )

And yet, my dad was able to support us empat beradik and provide us with a comfortable life. We have never went hungry. As a matter of fact, more of the opposite, which explains our XXL status, haha. We live in a nice home, had nice cars. Selalu keluar makan at nice places. Have nice things. My parents have never said no to a (reasonable) request. But then again, we didn't really ask for much lah. We went for holidays... bottom line, we had a good life. I'd say that we're among the fortunate... a middle-class family. Our home is relatively large and my parents had 3 mortgages to service. And they were able to afford all that with their combined salaries. My mom don't really earn that much. She was a teacher, trained at a maktab perguruan. Those in the field would know how much a teacher without a degree earns. Actually, now that I think of it, I have a feeling that I'm already earning more than what they both did in aggregate.

The more I thought about it, the more amazed I became. How was it possible for them to provide us with such a good life? Menakjubkan...

It came to me that my parents have always put their children's need ahead of themselves. Especially Papa. He's not really a spender (I get my habit from my mom... not sure who's worse though, hehe). He would carefully consider each purchase and would only buy things that are necessary... or if it involves his penchant for cars. He has few items that can be classified as frivolities... yang ada cuma his guitars and his long history with pelbagai jenis kereta. That was it.

I guess having grown up dalam keadaan susah trained him to be that way. Papa was an anak yatim from a very young age. He was the first in the family to have had proper education... both his elder brothers dropped out after primary school to support my arwah nenek as the bread winner. The sacrifices that they had to make. My dad miraculously even made all the way to earning a degree. I can only imagine how my arwah nenek must have felt to see her son holding that scroll. A big achievement against all odds. My two aunties did relatively well too. One can only wonder how my two uncles' lives would have turned out had they have the chance to complete their education too. They're not miskin, but bolehlah di category kan dalam golongan orang kurang berada.

My mom had a slightly better life. My atok was a guru agama... which meant that while they're weren't rich they always had people who would beri hadiah and support. My mom had many siblings and all turned out well. None of them are millionaires lah, but all have a good decent life. Unlike my dad, all of my mom's siblings completed their education. Masa tu habis sekolah rendah dah kira terror lah... and if dapat kerja jadi cikgu tu kira tabik laa. The elder ones would take responsibility over the financial support for the younger siblings. My mom often tell stories how my Ayah Ngah and Ayah Uda would pay for her education, give her pocket money. But they were in no way boleh dikira sebagai orang senang.

And now it's my generation. Compared to what my parents had to go through, ours is considered best sangat lah. And should I have the chance to have a child, he or she would be having a better life than what I had growing up. Insyaallah my siblings pun semua ok.

Last year I was at a conference and one of the topics discussed was poverty eradication. One prominent CEO shared with the meeting how the efforts of the ruling government had helped take him out of the poverty cycle by giving him the best education possible at a boarding school. Here he was... anak seorang petani, who was taken away from home to a sekolah asrama at the tender age of 13, went on to attend one of the most prestigious universities in the world and is currently at the helm of a major corporation.

In a way, my parents' life story is very much similar to that. They both went to boarding school... under the states' scholarship. My parents often recount how it felt, the experience and journey of being away from home, being around those who were better off than you, the hardship that my nenek had to go through just to make sure that my dad has the requisite kasut kulit hitam and some pocket money as she sent him off to a school in Tanjung Malim, the long lonely journey that my mom had to take on a train from Kampong Ayer Mati to Johor Bahru all on her own, them not having any money to buy even the bare necessities, paip-si-cola was the norm... gosh, compared to all that, I've living the life of a king!

Guided by their own experience, they made sure that each of us adik beradik semua pun pergi boarding school. And for their foresight, I thank them. But unlike them, when we went off to school, we had lots of things. I remember shopping for barang2 in preparation to masuk TKC. That was the first time that I really shopped! Paying fees was never an issue. Everything complete. So while I can relate to the experience of being away from home at such a tender age, my circumstances were way better compared to them.

I guess now it's my turn to pay back for all the sacrifices that they have done for me. I'd like to give them all the things that they want. Provide them with the best life possible. Mama always kata... bagi lah dia merasa, masa dulu2 hidup susah. Papa never made such request but I'm sure he has things that he wishes for.

Hopefully the next time I think about spending on that new baju or shoes, I'll ingat all these and spend it on them instead...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

k eef...

Facebook rocks!

I've found some long lost friends via facebook but earlier this month was the icing on the cake. It was a senior... my pet sis to be exact. Goodness! The last time I saw her was about 20 years ago... how time flies. When I saw her message in my inbox, I was pleasantly surprised :)

Pet sis = kakak angkat, for the lack of better description. Actually kat TKC there were several *layers* of kakak angkat. I can't remember them all, but they vary in degree of *seriousness*. Now it sounds so silly, but back then, trust me... pergaduhan dan perselisihan faham can be caused when you *don't ask for permission*, jealousy when people *pasang* a few... hahaha, the frivolities. If I'm not mistaken, the top of the heap is toeng, the rest I can't recall the ranking order. But the nama2 include pet sis, buddy, spider (don't ask me why)... These are the mutually arranged relationships, not like the college sister which is determined by the wardens.

Unlike some of my more popular friends who had kakak angkat from day 1, from every form (and mind you, there's even an unwritten rule that you can only have 1 category from each form), I didn't have any... not until the final few months of my first year in TKC. I was (and still am) someone *under the radar*. Why K Eef decided to *start* dengan I pun I don't know. I think I did ask her during our first *date* but I can't recall her answer.

It was a bit of a downer when no one *wants* you I must admit... you know, like you're an outcast or something. That's how I had felt in the beginning. Tapi after a while, having seen the *dramas* revolving those who had one too many *relationships* I was glad that I didn't have all those issue to contend with. Eh... tapi I just recall, I wasn't really *tak laku*, hehe... someone did ask me on day 1 to be my *starter* but being so green and wary of funny things, I said no. Haha... word must have gone around that I *jual mahal* ;)

So when the *invitation* came, through a messenger, it was like a blind set-up. I didn't know who the person was until our so-called *first date*. I was curious about the whole thing and said yes... nasib lah whoever the person was (and luckily for me it wasn't some senior that I dislike, hehe). Plus, I was determined not to go through my first year in college without the opportunity to experience a TKC *culture*. You see, a junior can't initiate, so if when you're in form one and no one *wants* you, tough luck.

Somehow, the whole *start* culture wasn't something that I cared for. I have nothing against it nor do I wish for it. Although I could initiate bila masuk form 2, I didn't use my *licence*. I didn't see the need. Was content with having the friends I have without having to complicate matters. But upon the urgings of my friends, I did *start* with ppl bila masuk form 3. Actually, my friends yang carikan and suggested some names. All I did was go through the *candidates* and chose... Ella, Myra and Raz... one from each batch (Raz was later bila dah masuk form 4). That was it. But since it wasn't something that was of importance to me, I tend to *neglect* my pet sis. Kesian they all ;) Oh... I did have another senior who started with me... K Mynn. We're still in touch now after a long hiatus. Met her again through a mutual friend.

Anyway, back to the whole *relationship* thing... what exactly do we do? Now, now... before you people who didn't go to TKC start getting funny ideas, NO... there were no girl-on-girl action, much to your disappointment (well, not for the 99.9% lah... I've heard stories but have never witnessed or come across any which I can personally verify). We would go on lunch or dinner *dates*, a stroll around the grounds, send notes... the more I think of it now, the funnier it sounds. But I guess teenagers have their hormones and given the lack of the opposite sex, we made do. The male faculty wasn't something that we could ogle at pun... except for one Ustaz who rode a superbike complete with black leather jacket. He was single and quite good looking. Of all things, he had to be an Ustaz lah kan? Hai... kesian we all.

Bila sampai big events eg valentine's day, song dedications sempena charity drive, etc... that's when the starters splurge on their *partners*. Oh boy... some people did splurge. While moi... I just send a note to wish, hehe. So tak boleh harap ;) And usually if your *starter* is a fifth former, you're expected to give a farewell gift. I can't for the life of me recall what I gave K Eef and K Mynn... did I get them anything in the first place? Ntah lah... I do recall getting a gift from K Mynn, I still have it... a jewelry box. Sangat berguna... banyak pahala dia.

I've bumped into Ella several times (I think she's now in CIMB). Raz I got re-acquainted thru facebook recently, but Myra... lost touch. I did bump into her several years back... but I forgot her name and I totally forgot about me being her *starter* until much later. So bad of me. I know some people who became really good friends sampai sekarang. Good for them. But there are also cases whereby dulu *sangat dahsyat* tapi sekarang nadaa.

I guess it's just one of those peculiar things that happens in a boarding school...

Saturday, February 16, 2008

first guests...

Was supposed to go see movie Friday night... but I was just exhausted and wasn't in a good mood after the kerenah from that annoying lady.

So instead I went home and plonked myself in front of the TV... teman Mama while I read the newspaper.

Suddenly "ding.. dong..". Sape lah pulak malam2 ni? Took me a while to actually get up and open the door. Ye lah.. I wasn't really in the mood.

Rupa-rupanya Mymot and Skinner datang. They decided that since I didn't make it to dinner (was supposed to be dinner & movie with the girls) they drop by to visit moi and my new room. Aww... what can I say. Friends like this make the foul mood disappear :)

We hung out in the room... I gave them a tour and they gave their thumbs up. Borak2... dengar lagu... makan jambu... a mini detox. Soon girls... soon. I'll host a proper detox session when the entire rumah dah siap. Maybe when DZ is back for Easter hols later?

Thanks for visiting 8-D

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Slightly over a month... that's how long I had to endure.

Dengan habuknya, dengan barang bersepah2nya, tidur squatting in Amt's room, issues with the Indon workers... finally, the dust has settled, sapu-ed away, lantai mopped (actually it was more like me on all fours scrubbing using a sponge... 3x over!!)

My *tantrum* over that particular weekend really had Wak *kecut*... sampaikan bila I minta drill lubang pun dia tak berani nak buat in my absence "takut salah lagi", hehe...

The recent CNY break bila orang semua bersuka ria holiday, jalan2... moi, I spent it at home either cleaning up, pasang lampu, kipas, pelmet (yg amat lah berat!), repeatedly sapu vacumm mop lantai, kemas my barang2 yang sememangnya banyak (I still can't believe that I have that much barang... but alas, as FBI and MYMY said... they've seen me shop, so they're not surprised, haha...). Pagi2 dah bangun and I won't sleep until past midnight. Orang tengok TV, I tengok mop ;)

So was it all worth it?

Admitedly it's not exactly how I had hoped it would be... some minor things did not go according to plan, and decisions made which I wish I could tukar. But the end result is still good. I am pleased :)

To appreciate, I should do a *before* and *after*. Tapinya gambar *before* dah terlambat ambik. Only managed to snap some while work was ongoing.


I couldn't have done it without Papa and Mama... Papa especially. He was my handyman extraordinaire. He was equally excited as I was bila part pasang2 benda ni. Mama made sure that Wak and his people did the necessary job while I was at work. Also have to thank Mama for the freebie bedroom set ;) It's not really my style, but since she had bought a new set (with a super king bed!!), this one jadi extra and for me to use.


I've long dreamt of having these large windows... tapinya terpaksa letak grill sbb Msia byk org jahat
And these slider wardrobes... note the plural ;) plus I also have a nook which is like a walk-in wardrobe. Separate wardrobes for casual wear, baju kurung, nice baju kurung, suits and baju pakai @ home. I know there are many ladies (and maybe guys??) out there yg iri hati, hehe...

I do have A LOT of bajus don't I? and handbags... (shoes pun lebih kurang sama, but that's in the storeroom downstairs)

With extra room, I can finally display my *collectibles* from all my travels...

One shelf full of albums and lamp from Istanbul to add colour...

And to complete, a cosy bathroom with rain shower and area to make myself look pretty ;)

So that's it... this is my new room. Tinggal curtain je yang belum dijahit... which shall be my weekend project.

I spent quite a bit of $$$... bak kata Papa "baik buat elok2 so that puas hati". Bulk of it went towards labour, new windows and slider wardrobe. Nasib baik lah inherit furniture free...

Next on the agenda... slumber partay!!! 8-D

Saturday, February 9, 2008

all done...

The many weeks, living in dust and keadaan tak tentu hala, finally siap. Except for the kipas.

It's still a mess... I've just come to realise that I have A LOT of things... now I have to figure out where to put them

Pix will follow... sabar ;p

Sunday, February 3, 2008

big shoulder pads and even bigger hair...

I have a confession to make... I watched Dynasty. Yup... that soap opera in the 80s, where the plots twists and turns and undergo so much mutilation that it even makes Michael Jackson seem normal.

What inspired this entry? Well... I was flicking through Astro tonight and a tv movie on Hallmark caught my attention. It was a movie about Dynasty... behind-the-scenes. I don't know whether to laugh or cringe... maybe both, haha.

I watched the show religiously although I was barely pubescent then. My parents did not exercise any *badan penapisan*, hehe. I even taped them on the VCR (dulu2 mana ada AstroMax) to watch over the weekend... sanggup simpan duit to beli the video cassettes ;)

Alexis... Krystle... Blake... Sammy Jo... Amanda... the Carringtons. Those are the names I grew up with. Their hairstyles I copied... walaupun my shoulder length bob didn't look as nice as Krystle's blond mane. I dreamt of having a large house complete with grand staircase. Play dress up with an off shoulder dress made of either towels or bedsheets... goodness me!

The quality of the show deteriorated towards the end, but that didn't stop me from watching it... till the end ;) Luckily for me, the show ended as I was about to enter boarding school. I can't imagine how I would have coped if it had continued on and me not having access to tv (kat TKC ada tv... cuma time to watch very limited).

To think of it, I watched quite a lot of TV growing up... masa tu TV3 baru mula and there was so much on offer. Ada Airwolf, Macgyver (I even berangan nak jadi girlfriend Richard Dean Anderson you know), Knight Rider, A Team (who can forget B.A. Baracus and his trojan hair style), Scarecrow & Mrs King, Magnum PI (ooooh... who can forget Tom Selleck and his misai), Love Boat, Hotel (walaupun it airs late at night), LA Law (but tak lah sampai nak jadi lawyer). Whatever is on air, I would watch it. But when I went to TKC, I stopped watching. And my addiction to the idiot box was cured.

Then when I went to Melbourne it started again. Beverly Hills 90210 baru start masa tu (don't pretend you don't watch them)... as did Melrose Place. And so did this revolutionary new show, with two unknown actors, which so unexpectedly capture the hearts of those who have been deprived of shows whose plot revolve around things other than sex, backstabbing and trysts. The show that I'm talking about is non other than The X-Files. By this time, I had gone bored with all these kisah tentang kehidupan orang and craved for something more challenging to the mind. And of course because I'm a big time nerd who loves to read, listen or watch mysteries, and things not normal. I think there's some parallel... I loved Macgyver and how he can create scientific solutions with the simplest things including chewing gum. X-Files makes me wonder whether there is really something out there... Soon it was the era of the sitcoms. I watched most of them... Friends of course, Seinfeld, Frasier... there's so many I can't recall them all.

Somehow I didn't follow ER or NYPD Blue or Ally McBeal or Buffy or Charmed or Lois & Clark. Tengok lah jugak, but not really follow. The only melodrama that I watched rather regularly was Party of Five. Ooooh... how can I forget, The Simpsons! That's my daily staple... I grew up watching Bart Lisa Homer Marge and Lisa but although I grew older, they seemed to have found the fountain of youth.

Kalau nak compare kan, TV shows dulu and sekarang actually nya lebih kurang je. If dulu Dynasty, LA Law... now it's Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy. The equivalent of Macgyver, X-Files are House, CSI... Sex & The City, Ugly Betty are like Ally McBeal... sama je template dia. Cuma tukar setting, background, names.
But one thing for sure... this girl is guilty of such indulgences ;)

Friday, February 1, 2008

live... NOW!

Learn to enjoy every minute of your life.
Be happy now.
Don't wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future.
Every minute should be enjoyed and savored
Earl Nightingale