Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy Ending

Hi everybody. Just a few hours before the countdown begin for the new year. I just can't wait to say good bye to 2005. It's such a volatile year for our economy as well as our political scenes. Let's move on to the next level and see what's in store for us in the year 2006.

I haven't used my digital camera for quite sometime now ever since I've lost the battery charger of my SONY cybershot. I've no intention to replace it just yet because I am still enamoured to play with my camera phone rather than the digital camera at the moment. Yeah, you are right, I like to pose infront of the camera. That is why you see so many of me in this blog. I got freaked out if I see unwanted changes in my body size or my complexion.

Being a woman is not always as easy as being a man. That is a statement. Hold it. We'll discuss about it some other time when I am really into it, okay.

I strongly believe that in every good beginning, there will be a good ending. So let's start everything with good intention. Make sure you all set your resolutions right and start the New Year with a positive and happy mode.

2005 is sure the most memorable year. We ended 2004 with the heaviest of hearts over the tsunami. We don’t even celebrate the coming of year 2005. And so I believe that the tsunami was some kind of omen to warn us of year 2005. It’s indeed a year full of trial and tribulation. Let me state in random some of the most significant here; the earthquake in Pakistan/India/Afghanistan, Hurricane Katrina in the US, the bird flu pandemic all over the world, Bali bombing, London subway bombing, racial violence outbreak in Australia, the demise of the Pope and the demise of Malaysia’s First Lady, the rise in oil prices, the dispute over Approved Permit (AP) issue in Malaysia, Proton issues and many more. I think it’s the most testing time for all of us.

If not for the importance to end this year with the happiest mode as can be, I would have written something more serious or something real sad that we all could think about. I almost did but well I’ll keep it for next year (if time permits).

I hope all of us must always feel grateful to be living in a peaceful country. Be thankful that we have our family and the roof on our heads to protect us. If ever we are feeling down or unlucky, please think of those who have no homes, no money and no family. If ever we are not happy with our political situation, think of those countries where there is no democracy. If ever we feel sorry for ourselves, well think of those who are even in a sorrier state of affairs and surely we will think of our problems as being so small like nothing in comparison with theirs.

I know I’ve said it many times already but still I want to say it again as a happy ending;

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!

~ The End~

Thursday, December 29, 2005

What's with China?

I’ve been watching a lot about China on TV lately. One of them was the obsession of the Chinese towards cosmetic surgery. You know those surgeries to enhance the eyelids, the nose and the jaw line to make it look more western. The cosmetic surgery industry is booming in China like mushrooms after the rain. It has been a great concern and discussion of the China government.

Then there was the Travel and Living Channel also highlighting a lot about China as tourism destination. Even in Taman Botani, we have hosted a delegation from Yunnan, China under cultural exchange programme whereby we donned our traditional costumes for the Yunnan media.

Well, my point is, it’s all about China nowadays.

I used to read one of the Nostradomus prophecies in one of the many books about it long time ago. He said something like there will emerge a man with black hair to rule the world and something of the sleeping dragon to be awake. Somehow, while I was reading those prophecies, I can’t help but to relate it with the emergence of China as a great power. I remember those prophesies but I can’t recall the exact verse or the title of the book anymore.

China used to be and will once again be the great power of the world. It’s like it has been fated that way always. In the Islamic teaching, the prophet Muhammad s.a.w. has a famous saying that goes ‘tuntutlah ilmu walau sampai ke negeri Cina” or translated to “seek knowledge even to China you have to go” (from hadith Al-Buqari).

We have seen this throughout history beginning from the Voyage of the famous Treasure Fleet by Admiral Cheng Ho (or Zheng He). China has marked its foothold in many countries around the world as early as the 15th century about 80 years before the great voyage of Christopher Columbus. That’s just so amazing. China could have conquered the world!

The National Geographic Channel showed the documentary of the Admiral Cheng Ho and his seven voyages around 30 countries in the Indian Ocean. They traced back the route and it’s really amazing of how well they traced and revealed the proof of those voyages. The host Michael Yamashita has done a great job in elaborating the story in an interesting and positive ways.

It makes us wonder, what if China really conquered the world at that time. It would have been China who ruled Asia region and most probably Europe too. This is because China has the power to do it. Even their armada was way above the European might and technology at that time. They have so much to teach the world as what Cheng Ho did to all the places he had visited throughout his adventures, exchange of cultures and trade. The seven voyages made by Cheng Ho were on the basis of diplomacy and fair trade. An honourable characteristic of the one known throughout the world and it has been recorded in our history of Malacca.

Through the history of Admiral Cheng Ho, it was clear that he had traveled far and wide with bigger ships than the Columbus and also with the kind of technology that has sustained him seven voyages covering a distance of about 50, 000 km. This is something unusual for that era. However, China had destroyed its fleets during the rein of Ming Dynasty under the third emperor named Zhu Dhi as China mysteriously retreated from making any more voyages outside the world.

The National Geographic Channel recently has concluded that China could really conquer the world at that time in the 15th century but they didn’t. Why they didn’t was because they were not a greedy society and they were a content society who has strong belief in their culture and the Confucius teaching unlike the western countries at that period of time who later set sails to conquer, rule and destroy in the basis of power, out of plain greediness and selfishness. There, I’ve said it all. The last part was from me.

Look at what happened to our great city of Malacca. We have all the traces left by our conquerors, i.e. the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British. It has shaped our country and the society of today. Isn’t it ironic?

Back to the subject of discussion of what’s with China? Believe me, there are lot of things to do with China. It is the centre of the world’s economy. We are talking of volume here. Imagine, with the population of 1.3 billion (as of July 2005), you could sell almost anything. It’s the ultimate place for trade. With economy, comes wealth and with wealth comes power. That’s the fact about China.

One last word though, better not mess up with the sleeping dragon. It’s lying in wait learning to use its power to burn you with fire. That was from Nostradomus, not me :)

Sunday, December 25, 2005

MEERY CHRISMAS!!! HO HO HO….

Santa Clause and his girlfriend :)


You better watch out,
You better not cry,
You better not pout.
I’m telling you why;
Santa Clause is coming to town!

“Mummy, I’m scared”, says the little girl almost crying.

“It’s okay honey, you can touch him. See… he’s not that frightening”, says the mother to her 4-year old daughter to go near to Santa Clause.

Later the little girl touches Santa Clause hand; she smiled and took the candies away from him with bright laughter. Sooo.... sweet.

In the spirit of this festivity, we are trying our best to make the occasion as merry as possible for our staffs and our visitors especially children. Unlike Deepavali and Hari Raya, which we got to wear our traditional costumes, for Christmas, we donned the Santa’s hat and above all, I got to play the Santarina! For a short while of course.

Nobody wanted to volunteer, so the boss did it herself. In fact, I loved it because it’s fun and no pressure at all. Ho ho ho ho…. The Santa approved.
They feel happy and I feel happy too :) That’s all that matters. A different style of celebrating but still in the same multi racial spirit. A merry Christmas indeed.




Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Let your heart be light...
From now on, our troubles will be out of sight...

WE WISH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS
WE WISH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS
WE WISH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS
AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

GREAT EXPECTATION 2006

We are leaving year 2005 very soon. There will be lots of thinking and planning about life next year for all of us and I will definitely crack my head doing calculation of things that I have achieved and not achieved or where to head to next year. I wonder if I will be able to stop and think all those. I am overloaded with other things that sometimes I lost the count of time and suddenly we are reaching on a new year. I wish someone will understand.

I am anticipating year 2006 with great things to come. New resolutions have to be made while I need to discipline myself to keep them in check all the time. Surprisingly I am a good planner other than financial planning which I suck very much. I don’t even know how much I have in my purse that when I ran out of money completely I still go for shopping confidently. It is very inconvenient sometimes when you go to the food stalls or groceries and they don’t accept credit cards.

Reflecting the things I have done in year 2005, well it’s been an eventful year for me. I’ve recorded half of my life in 2005 in this blog. Those who follow them from the start will know it because I started this blog in June. It’s been a wonderful year for me despite of all the turmoil and tribulations. After all, life will be boring if it’s all smooth flow and sun shine.

Let me announce here that my blog is one of the best things in year 2005 for me :) How’s that? I am writing this posting and reflecting my life in 2005 at the same time.

I want to share with my very few loyal readers (I know I’m not that famous, I like it this way) and my dear friends out there who are shy and hiding from me (but I know you all read my blog, so I forgive you) of the journey that I have taken to arrive here today. Time really flies and you don’t even notice it.

Okay, in 2005, there have been some colourful events in many areas of my life. Career wise, I had made a few major decisions that have changed the whole direction of my career. It all started in early August when I quit my job with the MALAYSIAN SOCIETY FOR QUALITY IN HEALTH (MSQH), a very respectable organization dealing with hospital accreditation. I still have some fondness of the society because there I made friends with distinguished personas of the medical world and also good colleagues that until now remain my good friends. I have written many postings in the past about how I got to quit the society which I still feel deeply about. Check it out for those who had missed it. Many people told me that they like the posting and find it interesting :)

Family wise, I went through a very difficult phase of my life when my beloved father had to go for a bypass operation. He had a high blood pressure and he’s also a heavy smoker which made his recovery period longer than others. It was the most exhausting period of my life, mentally and physical. I realized how much I love my parents and how important it is to take good care of one’s parents no matter how hard it is. The episode had given my family a time to reflect our situation and we are a lot closer now than before.

From MSQH, I tried to work with another non-profit organization, i.e. PERSATUAN BENCANA ALAM NEGERI KEDAH (P-BANK), where I helped a few of my friends with promotion of a ‘Dangdut’ album for a charity cause. Some proceeds of the album will be channeled to P-BANK to be given to the natural disaster victims. It’s such a noble cause that it attracted me to do it in the first place, but unfortunately, it didn’t work for me. Well, I was with the project halfway because I don’t have passion or patience for the entertainment world nor socializing with the so called rich and famous royalty world. I feel suffocated and trapped with rules and protocols so I leave immediately when I received an offer from TAMAN BOTANI PUTRAJAYA.

Now enough telling about work and career because I wrote so much about it already, let’s move on to other things vital to life such as love. Hahaha… just kidding. I wouldn’t want to write anything about it here. Who wants to know anyway, right?

Interestingly, apart from my busy schedule I managed to go for vacations twice earlier this year, first to Langkawi in February and then to Kuching in March. Both had been fun, memorable and special. I wish to do that more often next year.

Then also importantly, I took salsa dancing which is truly fun. The dance will make you feel sexy and beautiful like magic. That’s what I like to tell my friends who asked me to describe it. Unfortunately, I haven’t got the time or the energy to practice ever since working in Putrajaya. I’ve forgotten most of the steps except for the most basics. It all goes to 1 2 3 and 5 6 7, right turn and left turn. I hope next year I will be able to pick it up again with a partner this time.

I think this is it for now. I’ve written too much already. I don’t know when my next posting will be. But I will try to write something about Christmas. Till then, have a nice and merry Christmas to my Christian friends and Happy New Year to all.

GOOD LUCK FOR 2006

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Uniquely Singapore

The National Orchid Garden of Singapore


Malaysia and Singapore have always been in a love-hate kind of situation ever since Tunku Abdul Rahman great decision in letting it go its separate way. This has always been an issue. I will not want to elaborate on that matter. You will have to read both sides of the stories in order the understand the complicated situation at that moment of time.

I just got back from the Discover Malaysia Fair 2005 at the Suntec City, Singapore. I was there for five days last week for a 3-day exposition in promoting Putrajaya as one of the tourist new attractions. It's been a very hectic three days of my life because it started at 10.00 a.m. and ended up at 9.30 p.m. everyday. However, it's been a memorable trip that I enjoyed. A few things that I will never forget such as trying to go back to Johor Bahru for late dinner and then back again to Singapore the same night via Woodlands. Wow! That was amazing with the traffic jam and all. I wonder how many Malaysian could bare the jam in Woodlands' checking point? How could they bare working in Singapore and living in Malaysia? The jam is just too massive and horrible to me.
Anyway, I am glad that everything ended up not as bad as I thought it would be. All the hassle and bustle of the exposition and the problem with my cellphone which almost cost me so dearly has finally been resolved.

The only thing I like about Singapore is the greeneries. The trees are matured and big enough to give lots of shades to the motorists and pedestrians. It gives you the pleasant feeling while walking by the streets even in the afternoon when it's supposed to be very hot. I like the road as well because there's not many cars and there's no huge highways that are confusing like in Malaysia.

I went to Singapore Botanic Garden on my last day before going back to Malaysia on 28th Nov'05. My father used to tell me about the garden which is why I wanted to go and visit. I am now working with the Botanic Garden in Putrajaya and it makes it even vital for me to see all the botanical gardens in the world. I hope I could do that as time goes by. My love for plants and nature obviously comes from my parents whom both are into horticulture. I still can't believe that I am now working with something that I truly love doing. It's like a dream comes true working in a beautiful garden. A pleasure to my eyes everyday of my working days which helps me to forget my tiredness sometimes. Some people might not understand this passion of mine. How I wish I could just share the feeling of tranquility that I am feeling at the moment :)

The Eco Garden - The Wetland
I just can't help myself with the cute tree. It looks so cuddly for hugs :) And the black swans are very 'jinak'. It won't run away when you go near them.

Dragon Boat Grand Competition @ Singapore River

I was lucky to see the Dragon Boat Grand Competition along the Singapore River after my lunch at a place called Clarke Quay. Nice view. Truly something worth to be seen. I saw so many teams were competing for the race. The whole bunch of them are crowding the place. They really took it seriously. Going through the MRT for the first time in my life was an interesting experience because I hardly use the public transportation nowadays. I haven't tried the monorail or the ERL services even in Malaysia but I got to try the MRT in Singapore. That was interesting. The system is quite efficient as it goes to all the shopping malls.

Well, okay I have to stop now. My posting will not be so often from now on because I hardly have time to do anything else but work. Like my friend said, "kerja sampai mati ke?" Hahaha.... well, I give myself another year to work like this. I might be thinking of slowing down in year 2007.


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

A Little of Magical Myth

Sea lettuce (Scaevola taccada)
Bottom half


Upper half



On my first day at the Botanical Garden of Putrajaya, I was brought for a tour with a buggy ride with Mr. Yoge, the senior supervisor of the outdoor team. He told me that the garden is 63 acres of 230 acres of land with another two phases to be completed soon. There are about 750 species of plants from 90 countries of Asia-Pacific, Africa, and Tropical America. Yoge have been working there for the past three years and he is so well versed with the garden and its content. He told me the name of each plant with its local and scientific names which impressed me very much. He also told me the usage and medicinal values of the plants and sometimes stories of local believes or myths related to it.

There was this type of palm tree that is used to make toddy (some kind of alcohol drink) and another that can be made rum, there was a bamboo which is called ‘the buddha’s belly bamboo’; there were tower trees that looked like tress from the dinosaur’s era and many other plants that can cure sicknesses. He showed me how to play with the leaves and the flowers which is fun. Obviously, the tour guides and facilitators are all well versed with what they do. They did a lot of research and continuous learning in perfecting their knowledge and communication skill. I was fascinated and amazed by everything that they showed me on my first day at the Botanical Garden. Although Putrajaya’s Botanical Garden is very young (was opened on the 31st August 2001) as compared to others in the world; with most of the trees are still small and not fully developed, the people working there successfully made it look grand and informative with little resources that they have.

There is one particular plant in the garden that has a romantic myth to it. It is associated with Hawaii’s most famous legends, i.e. the sea lettuce or Scaevola sericea. It is one of most common beach plants in Hawai that grows in abundance in the mountains near the beaches. In Hawai itself, the plant is called ‘naupaka’. There are nine different species of naupaka, which typically grow up to 10 feet tall and six to 15 feet wide. The plant has large leaves with flowers in small clusters. The flowers are typically white with purplish streaks. The fruits are white.

Naupuka is a name believed to be taken after a beautiful Hawaiian princess in ancient time. It has a very unique flower, white in colour that it represents only half flower. It perfectly looks like a normal flower that has been missing the other half. Why does it appear so? Well, the legend goes like this:

The legend says that it was the incarnation of an ancient native separated from her lover. In ancient times, one version goes, there was a beautiful Hawaiian princess known as Naupaka. One day, the villagers noticed that Naupaka looked very sad. They told her parents, who approached Naupaka and asked her what was troubling her.

"I have fallen in love with a man named Kaui," replied the princess. "But Kaui is not of noble birth—he is a commoner." According to Hawaiian tradition, it was strictly forbidden for members of royalty to marry people from the common ranks.

Distressed, Naupaka and Kaui traveled long and far, seeking a solution to their dilemma. They climbed up a mountain to see a kahuna who was staying at a heiau (temple). Alas, he had no clear answer for the young lovers. "There is nothing I can do," he told them, "but you should pray. Pray at this heiau."

So they did. And as they prayed, rain began to fall. Their hearts torn by sorrow, Naupaka and Kaui embraced for a final time. Then Naupaka took a flower from her ear and tore it in half, giving one half to Kaui. "The gods won’t allow us to be together," she said. "You go live down by the water, while I will stay up here in the mountains."

As the two lovers separated, the naupaka plants that grew nearby saw how sad they were. The very next day, they began to bloom in only half flowers.

There are different versions of the naupaka legend, but all carry the same unhappy theme: lovers that are separated forever, one banished to the mountains, the other to the beach. It is said that the other half of the flower can be seen further up the mountain. However, only the flower looks the same while the leaves does not look similar. Look closely at the photos above of the naupuka of different species.

Amazing isn’t it? Well, may be just to me. It doesn’t matter.

It is said that there is a cursed by naupuka that the flower will always be in half until the day she and her lover be reunited.

"Who travels for love finds a thousand miles not longer than one". ~Japanese Proverb~

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

A Whole New Look

What do you think of this new look?

I played with the colours and background image to suit my taste and personality. So far, this is what I am capable of doing with little knowledge of CSS or webdesigning. I will learn more later on.

Don't you just hate having to share the same template look with other bloggers?

I am very busy at the moment to post anything of great value to you all out there. However, I'll try my best whenever I could find a free time to do so.

Friday, November 04, 2005

FIRST DAY OF HARI RAYA

I have to admit to everybody that it sucks working on the first and second day of Hari Raya. Even though my house is not so far away like in Kedah or Johor, I still feel that I miss the most important day of my life yesterday.

Early in the morning I met my father (kissed his hand and gave him a peck on both cheeks because I knew I won’t be able to celebrate with him when he comes home from Hari Raya Prayer). I left to work immediately after seeing my mother who was busy in the kitchen. I missed my brother and sisters who came later on to see my parents before they all went off to their respective spouses’ hometown yesterday after Raya Prayer.

I got home at around 8.30 p.m. with stomach discomfort, feeling nauseated and disheartened. Blame it to the sorrow of having to miss my first day of Hari Raya and the bad catering food I had at the workplace. I went straight to bed after greeting my parents. They haven’t said it but I knew how unhappy they were with my working situation at the moment.

I haven’t said my Hari Raya wish to my elders or gave away the money packets to my nephews and nieces yet. That, I miss really much; to be able to kiss each and everyone’s cheeks while little heads bow and kiss my hand. That’s the Malay culture on the first day of Hari Raya or Eid. The younger people will kiss the hands of their elders, wishing them ‘Selamat Hari Raya’ and finally ask forgiveness from them. Once a year, you will be able to forgive and forget.

Thank you for everyone who has given me Hari Raya wishes. I understand that nowadays people no longer send greeting cards. I have to remind some of you for not wishing me at all. Where are you guys? I am so upset that you all have forgotten me altogether. Not to mention my birthday too! I’ve been away for only about two months and already you all have forgotten about me.

BEST FRIENDS ARE FOREVER


From Left: Mona, Liza & Bibi

They say best friends are forever. It holds true to me. No matter where we go and lead our saparate ways, in the end there will always be time when we will be reunited eventhough not as often. This posting is dedicated to two special person, i.e. Bibi and Mona which are one of the best things in my life. We met 14 years ago during a matriculation programme. At that time Mona's room was adjacent to mine while Bibi was always seen waiting patiently for Mona outside her door (doing her hair). They went to class together because they were classmates while I was in a different class. I never bothered to say hi to them and vice versa.

They thought I was a snob and I thought they were the snobs. Two years later, we were fated to meet again during our first year at the university, having rooms near to each other (again), we spoke and we found out how we were wrong about each other. We shared many common grounds. I was quiet because I was having a cultural shock having recently moved from Sabah just like Bibi who had just came from Sarawak. Mona is from Penang and she is the most happy-go-lucky between the three who bridged my friendship with Bibi. I was very shy at that point of time because my way of speech was very much like a Sabahan. I could not express my thoughts easily like others so I prefer to keep silence. Bibi was even worst than me, she speaks so softly like a little girl that it's very hard to understand her speech. However, she has improved a lot since becoming a teacher.

We are different in many ways, different background, different sense of style and different taste in everything. However, we do love many same things such as dressing up, perfume, crazy shopping and most of all the nature and outdoor activities. We started doing things together and we became insaparable. We laughed about it many times. How fate has played its role in meeting us together. Our friendship will surely last forever

To all of my PERBARA friends, the photo above is the latest looks of BibiMonaLiza taken a week before Hari Raya :)

Thursday, November 03, 2005

I MISS MY PUBLIC HOLIDAY


On Deepavali Day in the Vine Garden

We are so lucky that our country is peaceful with no hatred between races and religions. This has allowed us to celebrate almost every cultural and religious festivities with the spirit of solidarity. We have seen the worst of each other during the 13th May incident and now we are a wiser community who understand each others' culture better as years gone by.

I don't understand why other countries could not do that? Why do they have to descriminate? Why do they feel superior than others? Why do they have to harm each other? What are they thinking? The glory of this world will go down to waste. Great achievements that could have been achieved will only be a distance dream. Time is wasted with unnecessary thing like war.

Well okay, I've been feeling lucky despite of the fact that I am no longer working like normal people nowadays; to be able to work in a multi racial working environment with good balance of the Malay, Chinese and Indian. I do miss some of the things I used to enjoy while working in Bandar Utama and Taman Tun area but well this is life. You win some and you lose some.

I got to wear Panjabi's suit during Deepavali and so did others in my work place. The Malays wore Saries and Panjabi suits for the jovial of Deepavali celebration in the garden. It was worth every effort, that everybody seemed to enjoy themselves including the visitors who took our photos. I called up the media to cover a story on our garden. This gave a boost in the staffs' morale after their hard work as well as it's a good way to promote the garden to the public who do not know of our existance. I'll be writing more about the garden in later postings.

We did our own 'kolum' to welcome the visitors to Taman Botani. Kolum is an ancient Indian art form (as shown on the photos below). It was made of intricate arrangement of coloured rice grains placed on a floor usually infront of an entrance to welcome visitors. It looks simple but trust me it's not. I saw them doing it meticalously bit by bit following the pattern drawn on the floor with white chalk. The price was I got them to be on TV the day of Deepavali. There will be more to come.


Saturday, October 29, 2005

HAPPY DEEPAVALI & SELAMAT HARI RAYA


I would like to take this opportunity to wish everybody a Happy Deepavali and Selamat Hari Raya. Once again the Muslims and Hindus are celebrating our respective festival almost at the same time this year, i.e. a day in between.

Let us take this rare occasion to celebrate together and stay united. Let us show the rest of the world that people in Malaysia could still live in harmony and liking each other in regardless of our differences.

Tomorrow is Deepavali, I will be working as usual because there is no such thing as public holiday for me starting this year onwards. And I will be working on the first day of Hari Raya as well. Somehow it does not bother me much because all of my relatives are in KL and Selangor area. I could always see them after work and I will make sure to ask forgiveness from my parents and siblings in the morning of Hari Raya before going off to work.

Looking at the bright sight, I will be spending meaningful Hari Raya with the rest of my staff in Botani Garden. Some of them are from Sabah and Sarawak which makes it even harder for them. We are going to have our own celebration together in the garden. I will be bringing them the kuih raya and the ketupat from my house so that they will feel like real Hari Raya.

For Deepavali tomorrow everybody is going to wear Indian Costume. I've bought mine yesterday :) I feel so wonderful and I can't wait to wear it. It's going to be fun and wonderful for everyone.

Well ok, till then, have a nice Deepavali and Hari Raya.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

BE GOOD


Hibiscus Rosa Sinensis

Alright, I know I’ve been neglecting my blog for quite awhile now. It’s not because of lack in ideas; it’s just that I am juggling my time in between my work and my family. My life is changing and I am adjusting to it. I am terribly sorry to those who regularly frequented my blog and got disappointed to see the same posting over and over again.

I’ve started working full time again for almost a month now. I am no longer involved with the entertainment world or doing any freelancing stuff as I mentioned earlier. I just figured it out that it didn’t fit me to be in that world. I don’t belong there. I believe in fate and that is what I followed. For those who are curious to know why I posted things about Hibiscus, Mickey Mouse plant and Tunbergia, well it is because I am now working in a botanical garden somewhere in Putrajaya (Malaysia’s Federal Government Centre). My new job requires me to work on Saturday and Sunday on a rotating basis which explained why I haven’t updated my blog as often as I would have. It is surprisingly a challenging job, not as simple as I anticipated which of course just perfect for me. I hate anything simple.

If not pushed by certain people, I wouldn’t have written anything until Ramadhan ends. I feel that this holy month which is very special is a time whereby we all need to stay low. I deeply feel that this is a month whereby we would like to reassess our past and our future. Be more spiritual and closer to Allah s.w.t. As a Muslim, this is a time for us to see good in everything. I feel the need to be good and think good.

However blogging is a good thing to share my thoughts and concerns although I have to admit that I filtered some of it in order to be respectful towards others. I saved my worst thoughts for certain people to read. You will not find it in my blog. That’s one of the etiquettes of good manners in blogging. We shouldn’t write anything that will cause damage to a person or a country. We must keep our peace.

Following the bad news of the world lately, it terrifies me to see so much disasters, so much violence, so much hatred and misunderstanding within our world. This is really sad, like the world is coming to its end. I stopped myself from seeing all these for it depressed me. I wouldn’t want to write anything that will give me further depression.

When your stomach is empty, your mind becomes active. It makes you more alert and think better. Fasting teaches us to empathise with the suffering of the poor and the less fortunate. Now, having said that, here are some of the good things that we could do for those who suffer:

MERCY Malaysia is appealing to the public to send only cash donations. Cheque contributions can be made out to MERCY Humanitarian Fund. Donations can also be deposited directly into MERCY Malaysia Maybank Account No. 5621 7950 4126. All donations to the MERCY Humanitarian Fund are tax exempted.

or

Donors can send their cheque or cash to the MRCS Headquarters at Jalan Nipah off Jalan Ampang or the NSTP at Jalan Riong or TV3 at Bandar Utama. Cheques should be made out to the “Malaysian Red Crescent Society with the words “South Asia Earthquake” written at the back or bank in into MRCS Account Maybank No – 5144 2210 37 – 88. Donations to the MRCS are entitled to tax relief.

"There has come to you Ramadaan, a blessed month, in which Allah has made it obligatory to fast. During it the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of Hellfire are closed, and the rebellious devils are chained. In it is a night (Laylatul-Qadr) which is better than a thousand months. He who is deprived of its good truly has been deprived."

(An-Nasaa'ee, authenticated in Takhreej al-Mishkaat) Reported by al-Tabaraani, 7/267; Saheeh al-Jaami`, no. 6344.


Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Hibiscus Walk


Hibiscus mutabilis (Native: China)

If you have a passion for gardening, you will want to know the name of each species and everything related to it. Especially plants with huge flower, this one as shown in the photo above surely will give pride to the garderner. This is from a hibiscus family called Hibiscus Mutabilis, originally from China. It changed colours throughout the day time. It is pure white in the morning and will dramatically changed to deep pink in the afternoon. This change is caused by exposure to the heat. If the white flowers are kept in a refrigerator, they will stay white, but when taken out, they will turn to pink. The photo above was taken around 11.00 a.m.

African Collection


Mickey Mouse Plant (Native: South Africa)

This is not actually the flower, it's the sepals and flower bases which turn red and fleshy when all the petals fall. The actual flower is yellow in colour and the petals only last for a day after which it will fall off. A round black fruitlets will develop in the middle of the sepals, usually around 1-3 fruitlets. It is called Mickey Mouse Plant because if looked from the right angle, the fruitlets look like the eyes and the sepals look like the ears of the cartoon character Mickey Mouse.

Interesting, isn't it? I fell in love with the garden right from the very first flower I encountered.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Vine Garden


Purple Thunbergia (Native: Malaysia)

Beautiful thunbergia from the Vine Garden of Putrajaya Botinalcal Garden. In the forest, vines are supported by tree crowns, high above the ground, which make them difficult to be seen and appreciated from below. However, in the Vine Garden of Putrajaya Botanical Garden, the vines are supported by pergolas made of local hardwood. I can't resist taking photos of this beautiful flowers of thunbergia which very much gives the surrounding a romantic mode. Hmmm....

Significant Ramadhan

I would like to take this opportunity to wish a blessed Ramadhan Al-Mubarak to all the Muslims. Time really flies. I feel like we just had our last fasting month recently but then, it's been a year. Ramadhan is really a special month to all the Muslims. It’s a month whereby we renew our devotion to the religion, whereby we check our understanding and practices as well. It is a month to seek forgiveness, a month of cleansing of the body and the soul.

Apart from that, Ramadhan holds special meaning to me personally because I was born on the 13th of Ramadhan. Hah! Another 13th but it’s special and lucky for me. Ramadhan will always remind me of my late friend, Mohd Ridwan Yusuf who had passed away in the 90s. So long ago but the memories still remain, reminded again and again in Ramadhan Al-Mubarak. This is a story why the month is so significant to me.

My mother used to tell me that she had me on the month of Ramadhan but she forgot what date it was. I never bothered to check. Later I found out the exact date from my late friend who had a birthday on 18th October 1973 three days earlier than mine. We were talking about it during a camping trip in Pantai Merdeka, Kedah where we had our training camp while we were still in KEMBARA. Ever since then, we were bonded and we often went camping together as senior members with another two of my best friend; Bibi and Mona.

Bibi and Mona, if you are reading this, surely you all could remember and know what I am talking about. It was a tragedy in the history of our KEMBARA. Our friend died of drowning while doing his duty as Assistant Coach to the junior training camp group. Most of us will never forget it because he’s such a good friend. We were stunned with disbelieve when we got the news. Usually we like to go camping together as a group for it is so much fun to go with your own clique but unfortunately Bibi, Mona and I couldn’t go on that fated camping trip because we had assignments and datelines to submit to our lecturers. He begged and pleaded for us to go but we just couldn’t. I noticed he was acting strangely that night. He was too aggressive with his jokes and I remembered Mona was upset with one of his silly acts. We were there to see him off as always our custom in KEMBARA. Who would have known that that was the last time we were to see him in liveliness.

The next time we see him, he was lying on the hospital bed in a state of comma. Friends and families came to visit him with clear realisation that there’s no more hope. So still and motionless with very little heart beats. It was so sad, sad, sad…. I have no words for it. God loves him more; he passed away not long after that.

I know most of the KEMBARA or PERBARA as we are called now, together with all the KEMBARA Coaches surely will remember him, Mohd Ridwan Yusuf @ Vogey. May Allah bless him for the life in the hereafter ….amin.

Now back to Ramadhan. To all my non-Muslim friends, Ramadhan is the holy month whereby Muslims will abstain from eating, drinking and other indulgences beginning from dawn till dusk. There are good reasons why we have to fast for one month. Most all the religion in this world has their own ways of fasting but the Muslims fasting month is very significant because it is one of the pillar of Islam which is compulsory to men and women. For more information, read this
and this.

SELAMAT BERPUASA

Saturday, September 24, 2005

SELAMAT PAGI MALAYSIA


Yang Amat Berbahagia Toh Puan Bendahara Kedah and Tuan Syed Shaharuddin Bin Syed Abdullah, the Honorary Secretary of P-BANK


From left: Shikin, Sheeda', SPM host and Haiza

It's been a fun experience working with my friend in promoting the Dangdut album 'Dang Dang Dut 3'. I've heard one of the unfinished songs by Iwan and it is great. Very refreshing and pleasant to the ears. Just wait and see.

As part of the introduction to this album and to explain how this album is meant for charity of the natural disaster in Kedah State, we have scheduled a few TV programmes for the viewers to be aware on how buying this album would help P-BANK to realised their cause. The album will be launced somewhere in November with a stylish concert by the artists and more promotions will follow later on.

I've been terribly busy with this project for the past one month arranging for the signing ceremony and then the TV programmes. It's been wonderful to be working with my own good friends and the royalties of Kedah. Apart from that, I got to see the side of me that I've never realised exist and I finally got to know what I really want in my career ever since my unemployment. It's not really the money that I want although it is equally important in my life. My income was good enough during the last employment but I chose to resign. It's not really the fame and the glamour such as in the entertainment world although I do love glamour. All I wanted is the satisfaction of seeing a work well done and the recognition that you are one of the best in what you do. Yes that's what I want. I want to be succesful in my career and known for my good work. A serious work that involves the brain not just the looks.

Therefore I've accepted a job offer somewhere in Putrajaya for good. This job will give me the opportunity to test my capability to handle people of all ranks which is fantastic. I am proud to be able to win the trust for this new job because it was a tough competition actually and I managed to get it straightaway with a win-win situation agreement that will satisfy everyone. That's what I called a real deal.

It's sad that I might not be involved with the dangdut project anymore for my new work will take most of my time. It's going to be hard to let go of something you've given so much already and especially letting your friends down. I definitely feel really bad about it already. Anyways, I will try my very best to help to make the project a success in anyway I could. I will give my full support and will promote the album to everyone that I know. Well, words of mouth is equally powerful.

In the mean time, I hope Malaysians will always support our local artists particularly dangdut and Afdlin Shaukin because he's very original and hardworking. This is very important to everyone in the entertainment industry. Give them a chance, ok :)

Thursday, September 15, 2005

DANGDUT IS BACK


Dangdut is one of the genres of music popular in Indonesia and used to be a hit in Malaysia too, once upon a time in the era of Emelina, Iwan and Mas Idayu. It is fusion music with a touch of Hindi elements to it. It could be traditional, pop, or a combination of Latin sounds. It could be anything but Dangdut has a certain distinctive sounds to it that we all could recognise as its own.

Most people relating Dangdut to ‘gelek’ or the movement of the hip but not like the Egyptian style. It’s more rounded with certain degree given to it. Hahaha... it’s amusing that now I am researching things about dangdut for my next project.

What would you say to dangdut genre? Do you love it or do you appose to it? I remember that dangdut has always had this love and hate kind of thing among Malaysian. We have some mixed feelings towards it. Some people do not like dangdut (to the extreme of banning it totally from one particular radio station) because it was said to be a second class music. Why? Well, may be because the negative images connected to it; like it is too sexually performed, risqué lyrics and sexy clothing worn by dangdut artists itself. However, many people still love it because it is very easy to the ears, melodious and relaxing, undeniably makes you want to dance to the tune.

Whatever the opinion of dangdut is, this type of genre can not be denied. It is unique in its on way. It can only be found in two countries that is Malaysia and Indonesia (Hindi songs are different). So we have to give it a fair treatment in our musical industry. It is not right to categorise it as a second class music because there is no such thing as classes in music. Music is universal and it is subjective. We can only judge music when it became a song but not categorising it as inferior or superior. Can you say that jazz is classier than rock? Would you say R&B is superior to Hip Hop? Absolutely not! People will get angry with that kind of statement, believe me. It is incomparable. Each one has its own uniqueness. The same goes to dangdut. We can not put it into classes.

Having said all these now let me explain why I became so interested in dangdut. Hmm….. Surprise everyone. I am now into a project to promote our local once popular dangdut artists’ album for a charity cause. The album is called “Dang Dang Dut 3” to be produced and sung by the legendary Iwan himself, featuring other artists Mas Idayu, Haiza, Shikin, Sheeda’ and Anis (new singer). An MOU has been signed resently between Ewan Entertainment and Persatuan Bencana Alam Negeri Kedah (P-BANK) to raise fund for natural disaster in Kedah State.

I would not want to elaborate on this just yet because it is very new and I am not really in firm decission to be involved. There has been some mix feelings of how I would be able to adjust to all the changes around me. Being an Ox, I am so at a routine, I have too strong a character for people to handle and it goes both ways. Usually I will not be happy to commit myself into any project without knowing clearly all the consequences of my involvement in all areas concerned (fussy isn't it). I will not be able to function smoothly if I didn't get the things cleared beforehand. So may be by next week I will make that important decission to be fair to everyone.

Okay, for the time being, I just want you all to know that, Dangdut is making a comeback no matter what. I am not promoting dangdut personally. I have to admit that I am not a fan to dangdut before this project, but I am willing to give it a try to show my support to our local talents. The time has come for our musical industry to be taken seriously. Give more space to other genres of musics, be more original in our creativity and innovative to the extend that other countries would want to hear to our music not just us listening to them.

Photos above was the signing ceremony at the Hilton Hotel recently. Not all the artists were present, only Iwan, Mas Idayu, Haiza, Sheeda' and Anis. Shikin was absent because of a show in Sarawak. You will hear more about this later on. Till then..... please comment on this.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

I AM SAM






Remember the movie ‘I am Sam’? I’ve mentioned it a few times in here because I was impressed with Sean Pean and the little girl, Dakota Fanning plus Michele Pfeiffer; she is one of my favourite leading actress. The genre of the movie is heavy drama about the life of a retarded man called Sam, battling to get the rights of taking care of his daughter. Okay I don’t want to make a review about this movie. I am sure most of you have watched it. It was a fantastic movie if you know how to appreciate it.

Now here is another story of I am Sam. This one is a real one. I know another person by the name of Sam but he’s far from being retarded. No, this one is perfectly normal, tall and handsome; the heartthrob of every woman. However, I was not impressed yesterday.

“Hi Liza” It was Sam as usual. A surprise tone like he’s not expecting me; the moment I rushed in the lounge.

“Hi, Sam. I am here for my replacement class because I missed my class on Wednesday”. I explained to him while still rushing towards the other room, Dance Studio 2 where I always had my class. I was a little bit late. It’s already 3.35 p.m. The class was supposed to start at 3.30 p.m. Being a punctual person, I am so worried to have been late. I don’t even look at Sam. He always says hi to me no matter what.

My instructor was not in the room. I wondered why she’s not there. Then I saw her outside, I heard Sam was calling everybody to move the class to Studio 1. So I was a bit confused. Where were my classmates?

“Aisha, today is my replacement class, right? Do I have to be in Sam’s class? Not yours?” I asked my instructor and she later told me that I have to be in Sam class. She’s not teaching that day.

Oh my God, not in Sam’s class! I feared this guy ever since I joined the studio’s salsa class. We got some unspoken unpleasantness that is hard to justify and yet unsettled but it was already too late to cancel the class, so I went to Studio 1 with heavy heart.

I saw Sam was a bit uncomfortable too. I couldn’t well tune with his instructions because it’s kind of hard to follow a different instructor’s style of teaching. He’s not like Aisha who always patient and understanding. He’s the opposite and uncompromising. I made too many mistakes to his liking; not raising my arms high enough, not holding him correctly, not making a smooth spin (because I didn’t wear the dancing shoes he’s very particular about) and I don’t even remember a thing he’s been teaching me. He gave me all the unspoken signals of annoyance and disparagement. It made me even more scared of him and I made even more mistakes because I could not concentrate and remember the moves he’s teaching.

Oh God. What a day. I saw his mood getting darker by the minutes. Towards the end of the class, he’s really really pissed off and he really showed it to the rest of the class. I don’t know what’s going on with him that day. Was it me or what? I feel so damn pissed myself. I told my instructor that I thanked God he’s not my instructor. He’s so fierce. Aisha told me that he just had one of his bad moods. What! So his class has to bare his mood swings. No way am I going to dance with him again. As much as he is disappointed with the class, I am even more disappointed that he had not given enough effort to understand why the students are lousy that day.

I couldn’t learn a thing from him except that now I know he is after all SAM.

Okay it's time to get that damn shoes for next week's class.

JOE DIRT AND UPTOWN GIRLS

I’ve been watching too much TV lately. It all began with watching the CNN news about Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana and Mississippi. Truly it was a horrible catastrophe. My heart goes to all those unfortunate mostly poor black people. They have the world’s prayers with them. We all wish they will be able to rebuild what they have lost.

America being a powerful country of the world, it makes us so humble to even offer our help. If they want it, they will ask it, but they don’t. They could manage with their huge resources and hi-tech equipments unlike when the tsunami hit Asia last Christmas. The only help we, the rest of the world, the developing countries, could offer is our hopes and prayers.

The tragedy of New Orleans will always be remembered to me because it holds fond memories of my favourite novels by Anne Rice. The Chronicles of the Vampire and the Chronicles of the Mayfair Witches. The backgrounds of those books were mostly in New Orleans a city known for its music, traditions and witches (at least in my books). I used to really dream one day to see the city myself. It is sad that it is no longer there to be seen. The old buildings and the places will never be the same if ever I get there or if ever it still exist.

Now back to the TV thing. Switching in between the bad news of the world today, I got stuck with Star World Channel. They were showing ‘Joe Dirt’. A story about an ordinary guy namely Joe Dirt. He’s a janitor at a radio station when one day he got the chance to tell his life story of his quest in searching for his parents whom he had lost in the Grand Canyon when he was only a toddler.

It was hilarious and touching at the same time. There were good messages in the movie such as family, friendship, and love. I watched it with my youngest sister. She loved it to tears. So you better believe me when I said it was a good movie.

I don’t usually watch movies on TV because I like to buy my own copy of DVD or most of the times I’ve already watched it in cinemas. This movie another one that I got stuck with was actually by accident while I was doing my laundry. I saw Brittany Murphy whom my sister got confused with Gwen Steffani. She asked me whether that was Gwen Steffani, the ‘No Doubt’ singer acting in the movie. Then I told her, no, it was not. Then I saw the little girl, Dakota Fanning who used to act superbly in ‘I am Sam’ and recently she appeared beside Tom Cruise in ‘The War of the Worlds’; that was what made me want to watch the movie. I missed the first 30 minutes but it didn’t affect my understanding of the story line.

The story was really touching except for all the scenes with an ugly looking small little petite snorty swine. Eeeee…..!!! Makes me want to puke. How could you take that as a pet? That’s really stupid. Dirty and diseased. I don’t care. I’d rather die than live with a swine. Excuse me, was that racist?

Okay the genre of the movie was the same as ‘Joe Dirt’; i.e. a touching comedy. It was a story about ‘Molly’ a daughter of a famous rock star who had passed away without leaving her much to live with. She then lived with her best friend and worked as a nanny to a rich family. The little girl played by that fantastic child, Dakota Fanning (God I love her acting prowess). She portrayed a strong character, a little child who is matured beyond her 8-year old. She likes ballet and classical music unlike Molly who is her opposite. A grown up with a character of an 8-year old, so they kind of conflicting with each other and their own selves. Superb acting is the word!

What makes the movie really touching was because they hired superb actors who know how to transform boring script into something interesting. Basically, the movie tried to touch issues about life and about growing up when you were from upper class society, the rich and famous. That’s why it was named “Uptown Girls”. A story of hardships of the uptown girls; how they face the difficulties in their lives. Nothing much really but it was worth watching. Surprisingly very touching or may be I was being soft. I don’t know but I really like it.

Friday, September 02, 2005

KERANAMU MALAYSIA


TASIK PUTRAJAYA

Semperna bulan sambutan kemerdekaan, saya rasakan adalah sesuai jika menulis menggunakan Bahasa Malaysia, bahasa kebangsaan kita. Seperti di tahun yang lepas, kali ini juga kita merayakannya selama sebulan bermula dari 17 Ogos yang lepas di Danga Bay, Johor dan akan berakhir pada 16 September di Negeri Kedah.

Kerana Mu Malaysia adalah tema perayaan hari merdeka tahun ini seperti di tahun lepas juga. Saya rasakan ianya amat sesuai kerana itulah yang kebanyakan daripada kita rasakan, iaitu perasaan terima kasih kita kepada Malaysia dan pemimpin-pemimpin terdahulu yang telah membawa negara kita ke tahap ini.

Negara kita tidak mungkin seaman ini sekiranya tiada pergorbanan warga-warga terdahulu, pemimpin-pemimpin yang penuh berwawasan seperti Tunku Abdul Rahman (1957 1970), Tun Abdul Razak (1970-1976), Tun Hussein Onn (1976-981), Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad (1981-2003) dan Dato' Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (Oktober 2003-sekarang). Mereka adalah Perdana Menteri Malaysia yang telah banyak berjasa di dalam membentuk pembangunan Malaysia sehingga ke saat ini. Walau apa pun sumbangan mereka, tidak perlu dibandingkan; ianya sangat tidak ternilai kepada perpaduan, kemakmuran dan keharmonian negara kita.

Bercerita berkenaan dengan keharmonian negara, ada sebuah cerita yang ingin saya kongsikan bersama pembaca sekalian. Baru-baru ini saya telah dijemput untuk menghadiri sebuah majlis rumah terbuka sahabat baik saya, Sue. Saya bercadang untuk membawa buah tangan kerana sebagai orang Melayu yang kaya dengan adat resam dan budi bahasa, kita mestilah beradab apabila ke rumah orang. Saya rasakan paling buruk pun saya ingin bawakan bersama buah-buahan sebagai buah tangan. Masa tidak mengizinkan untuk cenderahati yang lebih ‘fancy’, jadi saya pergi ke pasar raya terdekat iaitu Giant, One Utama (new wing). Di dalam kekalutan untuk mengejar masa, saya tidak berpuas hati dengan hamper sedia ada yang dipamerkan, oleh itu saya mengambil keputusan untuk memilih sendiri buah-buahan yang hendak diberi dan meminta mereka bungkuskan untuk saya.

Wanita yang menjaga counter pada masa itu tidak berapa tahu selok belok membungkus buah-buahan yang saya beli pada ketika itu. Agak kalut juga saya melihat mereka terkedek-kedek mengatur buah-buahan di dalam bekas merah yang tak sesuai sebenarnya, tetapi saya redakan saja sebab sudah kesuntukan masa. Tiba-tiba seorang lelaki cina datang menyapa saya. Rasanya dia adalah supervisor di sana.
Dia berkata "Tak cantiklah buat macam ni. You patutnya tambah buah anggur. Mari ikut saya. Saya boleh buatkan yang cantik untuk you".
Saya agak terkejut dengan pelawaan tersebut. Saya bersetuju yang cara pembungkusan budak perempuan itu tidak sesuai. Saya pun ikut setuju dengan pelawaan lelaki cina tersebut untuk membuatkan bungkusan yang baru untuk saya.

Agak memeranjatkan kerana dia bersusah payah memilih buah-buah baru yang lebih segar untuk saya. Kemudian mengambil sebuah bakul cantik dan seterusnya membungkuskan untuk saya dengan cara yang lebih cantik sebagaimana yang saya gambarkan di kepala semasa membeli buah-buahan tersebut.
Kemudian dia memberikan kepada saya dan berkata "Ha, macam nilah baru sesuai untuk hadiah untuk kawan baik. Lebih presentable."
Saya sangat terharu dan bertanyakan berapakah harga yang perlu saya bayar untuk penat lelah dia menolong saya. Dia menjawab tidak perlu. Dia cuma membantu dengan ikhlas. Saya tanyakan siapakah namanya. Dia memberitahu bahawa namanya ialah Mr. Yap. Saya berjabat tangan dengannya dan mengucapkan terima kasih.

Hanya Tuhan sahaja yang tahu bertapa gembiranya saya pada ketika itu. Saya berjalan ke parking kereta dengan senyuman yang tidak boleh dibuang dari wajah saya. Pasti orang ramai yang melihat merasa hairan. Seorang wanita berbaju kurung warna maroon, membawa sebuah bakul penuh berisi buah-buahan sambil tersenyum. Hahaha.... teringat macam ‘the little red riding hood’. I am truly happy and blessed to live in a harmony country with other races helping one another without seeing the different colours. Itulah makna sebenar kemerdekaan.

Bukan itu sahaja. Sebuah lagi insiden yang agak pelik berlaku sehari selepas itu di mana saya menunggu seorang sahabat untuk makan bersama di sebuah restauran Thai. Tempat tersebut memang agak sukar untuk mendapat tempat meletak kereta, tetapi pada hari itu saya amat bertuah kerana ada tempat kosong. Saya membayar harga tiket parking sebaik sahaja sampai kerana tidka mahu dikompaun seperti kawan saya, Sue tempoh hari.

Setelah menunggu selama hampir setengah jam, tiba-tiba sahabat saya memberitahu bahawa dia tidak jadi datang. Saya merasa amat marah dan geram yang tak terkata. Akhirnya saya terpaksa makan seorang diri. Selera pun dah hilang. Oleh itu saya makan dengan segera dah terus mahu balik ke pejabat secepat yang mungkin. Semasa ke kereta saya terkejut kerana mendapati cermin depan kereta saya ditutupi dengan ‘sun screen’. Saya sangat hairan bagaimana benda tersebut ada di atas kereta saya. Salah letak ke apa? Rupa-rupanya lelaki cina di restauran cina berhadapan kereta saya yang meletakkannya di kereta saya supaya kereta saya tidak kena panas matahari. Lelaki tersebut yang kelihatan agak kemas, pekerja di restauran itu rasanya, terus berlari menanggalkan ‘sun screen’ tersebut untuk saya. Dia terus berlalu tanpa sebarang kata sebelum saya sempat mengucapkan terima kasih. Dia kelihatan amat pemalu. Saya cuma dapat berikan senyuman sebagai tanda penghargaan.

Wah! Sejuk hati saya yang sedang panas ketika itu. I feel blessed again. This is the true Malaysian spirit. Lelaki itu memang dah biasa melihat kereta saya agaknya sebab itulah dia alaskan cermin kereta saya supaya saya tidak perlu memandu di dalam keadaan kereta yang panas ketika itu. I am truly thankful. He made my day no matter what his intention was. Saya tidak kisah kerana dia memang seorang yang baik hati.

Sebenarnya banyak kisah seperti ini yang pernah saya hadapi. Di dalam kehidupan seharian kita, kita tidak dapat mengelak daripada berhubungan dengan bangsa-bangsa lain di Malaysia. Semasa berada di kedia Telekom, sementara menunggu nombor giliran saya, sempat saya melihat kerenah dua orang anak melayu dan anak cina yang berumur sekitar tiga tahun dan dua tahun, sedang bermain-main bersama. Di tangan masing-masing terdapat bendera Malaysia yang ada gula-gula di dalam tempat pemegangnya. Sangat gembira dan tiada prejudis. Itulah sepatutnya, persahabatan antara kaum dan semangat cintakan negara perlu diajar dari peringkat kanak-kanak kerana pada masa tersebut mereka masih lagi putih bersih, tidak mengenal erti perbezaan warna kulit dan bangsa.

Saya sangat seronok berjalan-jalan di Putrajaya di hari Kemerdekaan baru-baru ini. Sempat bergambar sakan dengan Chris dan gambar di ini adalah salah satu daripadanya. Cantik kan :)

MASJID PUTRAJAYA


Saturday, August 27, 2005

ONE NIGHT IN PETALING STREET


Mary & Christina

I've decided to go out on Friday night with my good friend Christina (or Chris). We were invited by Mary (lead guitarist of Candy rock band- remember the group from Sarawak?) to the openning of her friend's new pub called 'The Wall' located somewhere near the Petaling Street area.

Mary and her husband, Nicholas waited for us at the Bangsar Shopping Centre so that we could all go together. We were supposed to meet up with another of Mary's friend who knew the place, but since we were already late, they had already gone. Among the four of us, I was the only one who knew how to get to Petaling Street, so we all decided to pool in my car.

We were lucky to get there without any hitched :) Usually I am so lousy with directions, we could have been lost for hours. But that night, everything went so smoothly. The place was easy to find because there aren't many pubs in Petaling Street area. We detected the place from the overflowed crowd outside and most definitely there were lots of Mat Salleh since the owner is also a Mat Salleh guy. He has been staying in Malaysia for quite some time so he tried speaking Bahasa Malaysia with me. Not bad at all :)
Well, the pub is basically like any other pub with live band. They played classic rock and occationally modern rock. The crowd was fantastic. Every nooks and corners were filled up with people of all races. Just perfect! It was congested but hey well, it's the openning night and everybody was showing their support.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

TRIBUTE TO WOMEN OF MALAYSIA



“In every successful man, there is a woman behind him”.

This is the motto played on Radio 4, Traxx FM in conjunction of the National Woman Day today.

Yup, you guys out there better do something for your woman. They say behind every successful man, there is a woman silently supporting him. Now do something special for her. Buy a present, take her out for a movie, dinner, shopping or whatever to show that you care and appreciate her.

It’s not hard to please a woman. Not necessarily expensive jewelleries to make us happy. Money can’t buy happiness or love. Haven’t you heard of that? The best thing is your sincerity and effort that counts. Woman will treat you better if you know how to make her happy. Read the book, “Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus” by John Grey and then you’ll know better how to interpret her.

Enough lecturing; now I want to share brief stories of each and every one of my ladies friend that matter most at the moment:

Aya… The most fragile, soft like tofu, easily broken but hey nobody is perfect, she’s my best friend :)

Bibi… The best friend in the world, beautifully gentle, but don’t be deceived by her gentleness, she went out hiking with me often. I have known her since my first year at the university.

Chris… Wise and intelligent, my ex-colleague, my most loyal companion and a good friend.

Malis …. Workaholic, most energetic, strong and dynamic; my junior and ex-roommate at the university, I think of her like my real sister.

Mona…. Beautifully exotic with piercing eyes, my companion through most adventures I had in the jungle, also my best friend since first year at the university.

Nana …. My ex-colleagues, understandable, beautifully cute, headstrong but has a big heart; also like a little sister to me.

Sue…. The cutest of all… good hearted and she was my classmate during matriculation.

Vaffa… Diligent, inspiring, hard working and knowledgeable. She’s my equal.

These are all the wonderful women who had established a strong friendship with me that can never be weathered by time. I admired each and every one of them.

HAPPY WOMAN DAY TO ALL OF YOU OUT THERE…

Monday, August 22, 2005

YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT?

A good friend of mine used to tease me about the cliché ‘you are what you eat’ in one of my posting, ‘Can Asean be Taller?’. He said surely Asian women are interesting because Asean cuisines are interestingly tasteful. Hahaha… I have to admit that he has a point there. Most probably you are right, Alex. You should tell me one day how far this is true to you.

I always believe in the cliché looking at the perspectives of our own well being. In fact I always promoted it to all my friends so that they will watch their eating behaviour. Whatever goes in the body will reflect you as a whole. For instance if you like food with high contain of cholesterol such as red meat, cheese, crème or durians (king of all fruits) as a few examples here, you will probably be an obese adult. If you like white meat, lots of vegetables or low fat everything, for sure you are a slim adult. My point here is not to say that big is wrong and small is right. You have to choose which type of diet suit you best. It’s okay as long as it makes you happy. Well, what’s the point of living if you are not enjoying it, right?

Some food has medicinal values if eaten at a regular basis. For examples, the Malays believe that eating ‘ulam’ (certain plants that are eaten raw) will slow down the ageing process, gives good complexion, lower down cholesterol and sugar levels in your blood, improve blood circulation and good for your bowel movements. Ulam can be categorised into leafs, beans and fruits. It is called ulam as long as you can eat it raw.

Examples of leaf based ulam are Ulam Raja, Ulam Pegaga, Ulam Pucuk Gajus and many more. It’s endless for me to name all. These are only a few names that I am familiar of. Examples of bean and fruit based ulam are Kerdas, Petai, Jering, Kacang Botor and Kacang Panjang. I don’t know that many because I can only eat a few. My favourites are Kacang Botor, Kacang Panjang and Kerdas (it’s so crunchy) eaten with Sambal Belacan (chillies compounded with shrimp paste, salt, sugar and a little bit of lime juice) and small amount of rice. However, these vegetations can only be found in Asean regions.

Simply said, ulam is like another version of salads as known in the west.

Now the real reason I am writing this topic is because of the recent incident in Malaysia. A tiger cub was saved from being cooked for aphrodisiacal and medicinal values. What! Are you kidding me!

Yup, here in Malaysia and most Asean countries, we have this bunch of crazy people who like to eat so called exotic food. The market is quite lucrative; therefore more people are involved in this business in Malaysia. They are willing to go to great extend to fulfil the demand for exotic food in regardless of the enforced law not to kill extinct animals here.

I wonder why people want to eat something that is out of the ordinary; like eating cats and dogs, like eating tigers, like eating placenta (taken from hospitals after one has given birth) and like eating dead embryos/little babies. Ewww…… God knows what else. Have you ever heard of that? Well I did. It’s very disgusting! Human being is putting themselves into the rank of animals that do not have a big enough brain to think of the rights and wrongs even in choosing of the food to eat.

Be reminded that whatever you eat will reflect you as a person. For instance, if you eat exotic food that is out of ordinary, the public will not think highly of you. Some people will look at you disgustingly. Well, I would. You are lowering yourselves in the stratum of society.

The cliché, ‘you are what you eat’, literally translated; if you eat tiger, you will be fierce and strong like a tiger. If you eat cats and dogs, you will get restless cause cats and dogs like to fight. Using the same cliché, everybody must not eat chicken for you will be a chicken freak. Uppsss….. Don’t eat frogs for you will be jumping like the crazy frog (you know like that annoying song of the Crazy Frog). Last but not least, don’t eat pork because you will be diseased like an ugly....?

Sorry guys. I’m just joking. Now I understand why some people chose to be a vegetarian. Really….

Okay lah… I promote everybody to eat fish. It’s the best, less cholesterol, easy to find and may be later you could swim like a fish. Wow, I really want that :)

Now I’m serious, the truth is not as simple as that. That is not how you translate it. We are built more complex than any other creatures on earth (that is if you believe in God). Food helps if it is scientifically proven to have the right enzymes, vitamins and minerals complex. There are a lot of other ways to get boost up than the exotic, almost extinct animals or eating freaky food like dead babies.

In my dictionary, freaky food includes cats, dogs, human beings, insects, worms, any type of almost extinctive animals and any type of dirty or ugly things. There are lots of other nutritious varieties to choose from like ‘ulam’, so stop looking for the impossible.

EAT TO LIVE, NOT LIVE TO EAT

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Choking by the Haze





Look at these photos of Malaysia's Landmarks by Reuters on last Wednesday and Thursday; Kuala Lumpur Tower, KLCC, Putrajaya International Convention Centre and the Telekom Building were all looking hazy at the background

That was then on Thursday, today it’s finally raining cats and dogs! What a relieved. As urged by the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, all Malaysian in regardless of their creed and race prayed for the intervention of the Supreme power to make the situation better. Hear the thunder and the lightning; it’s like songs to your ears. See how desperate people we are :)

Thank you to all Malaysian who had been praying for the haze to go away. That’s the beauty of Malaysia; very unique in its nature of racial integration. In times of hardship we always stay united. This is the true meaning of MERDEKA (independence). The cloud seeding has played an important role for the rain as well. We are already an expert in this technology of generating clouds for rain after long years of practice.

The haze was so bad for the last 7-10 days in Kuala Lumpur and other Klang Valley areas. The worst was on last Thursday, 11th Aug’05. We were actually choking in the smog caused by the wild fire of open burning in Indonesia. I think it was the worst in our history when the Air Pollutant Index (API) reached up to over 500. Under the air quality index, less than 50 is good, 51-100 is moderate, 101-200 is unhealthy, 200-300 is very unhealthy and more than 300 is hazardous. Visibility was reduced to less than 500 meters. We could have died man!

I was working on Thursday at an office in Bangsar. I could actually see the smog penetrating into the office blurring my vision. It was so bad; everyone had to wear the respiratory mask. I didn’t even want to go out on Friday just to avoid the over polluted air. However, the air quality improved tremendously on Saturday because of the strong wind blowing the smog to the North side.

Indonesia should know by now how this culture of open burning affects its neighbours. The south-westerly blows the smog towards us in Peninsular Malaysia especially Klang Valley area. Now it’s heading towards the North part as far as Langkawi in Kedah and Penang as well.

Today in one of the newspapers it was reported a dispute and battle of words between Malaysian and Indonesian bloggers over the haze. Well, when I opened the blog, there’s nothing there to see. Probably they have taken out the posting to avoid unhealthy relationship between the two countries.

I have things to comment about the Indonesian government but considering what have been published in the newspaper today, I think I better not. Anyway, just to summarised the whole thing, the smog was from the open burning and forest fire in Indonesia. There were farmers and big plantation companies (Indonesia alleged that it was Malaysian companies) irresponsibly using the ancient methods of burning for land clearance (it is easy and cheap).

This is actually not a small issue. It involves our economy and people's healthcare. We are losing so much because of the haze. That is why many Malaysian are angry about it. The BBC and CNN reported the news (to show how obvious the situation is) but it's not our own making. I hope Indonesia will take it up seriously. Open burning will affect the global warming (clearance of forest unnecessarily and the air pollution) in the long run. I bet the Green Peace will agree with this. Sooner or later Indonesia will have to fight even bigger protesters.

Enough said about the haze. The rain today is the answered prayer to us. Now I think is the time to discuss on how to counter the problem from persisting in the future. Malaysian and Indonesia must not argue over the matter with no action. We need to sit together with an open mind for the betterment of both countries.

For the Merdeka Day that is approaching, I would say... INDEPENDENCE IS HAPPINESS!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Relaxing Your Mind

Oh my God, some people just didn't get it. Okay, I will not write anything about Akademi Fantasia or Mawi. Obviously they think I am obsessed with this thing. Well let me announce here loud and clear, I am not a fanatic, never voted for AF (just enjoying watching it with my mother) and am not going to lose my mind over Mawi (I will follow the progress of his career).

One of my greatest belief and philosophy is to balance all things in life (some of you will understand this). All things mean, spiritual, mental and physical. I like to study culture, history, politics, psychology, theology and other things to make me sane but I also believe that in order to stay healthy a person needs to exercise their active mind with physical activities such as excercising (dancing, gardening, jogging or whatever). Physical exercise will improve blood circulation and therefore makes you think better as well as releasing your tensed muscles; makes you more agile and the bonus is it gives sexier body and better postures :)

Okay, my point is , it is okay to relax once in awhile doing stupid things like watching TV, enjoying ourselves sily or admiring someone from afar and got jilted in the end (hahaha...). It's normal. It's what makes us human. It does not mean that you are forgetting things like your responsibility to help unfortunate people (not just during ramadhan, dear), your responsibility to be a good citizen (give donations, pay your dues, taxes, traffic summons, zakat and know your minister's names) and whatever it is that you must do. At least I don't forget that, hope others too.

I noticed that sometimes we like to see things in a negative perspectives. We judged people easily from what we see on the surface. This is part of regression and stunting the mental capabilities. Negative things will translate into our daily lives if we are not careful. I learned this from my own experience. Starting from your face expression to your silent thoughts and actions, whatever negative things related to it will vibrate into real life. Nothing good will come out of it (wow, I used this words often). I don't want to explain further on this. Some people will think that I am being snobbish and know best. Well, nobody is perfect. I am just sharing some of my limited knowledge to you out there (whomever kind enough to read my blog, that is).

Now enough mumbling. The conclusion is there are opportunities out there for us to take, new things to explore and pleasures everywhere to choose from (but choose wisely). Life will be beautiful if we think positively and think ourselves beautiful. I am feeling beautiful today and smiling all day. What a wonderful life (as long as it will last).

Thank you everybody for reading this blog. Thank you all my ex-colleagues for the wonderful gifts (earings and neclace - so beautiful), thank you for all your support (only God knows how to repay you all) and thank you for the delicious cake (Blueberry Cheese Cake, my favourite).

I will miss you all too. Mmuahh...!!!!

Monday, August 08, 2005

From Kampong Boy to Stardom















Malaysian especially the Malays and Bumiputera in Sabah and Sarawak were at home or neighbours’/relatives’ home to watch Akademi Fantasia. It’s the most glorious night of all nights because what was predicted earlier by many has become a reality. A big win for MAWI! It was a fantastic winning for the Best Vocal, the Best Performance and the winner of all like never before seen in the Malaysian music industry.

Well I think most Malaysian who had watched Mawi on Saturday night would agree that he deserved to win. He has done a fantastic job and has shown a real effort to improve himself in many aspects of becoming a good singer and performer. This phenomenon will not be seen often in our music industry because all this while it has been dominated by Siti Nurhaliza. I am glad that we have finally found a new male singer as good as him to balance the big flow of female singers nowadays.

A big applause to Astro as well for using the great occasion on Saturday night to deliver the anti drugs campaign slogan in line with the government concern. This has shown that Astro is aware of the important role it plays in influencing the viewers especially the youngsters. I like it when they asked Mawi to read the message from the Deputy Prime Minister, Y. Bhg. Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, and hails the anti drugs slogan, i.e. “Belia Benci Dadah!” (translated to ‘Youngsters Hate Drugs!’ or simply ‘We Hate Drugs!’). It’s very commendable. Well done to Astro.

I know some of you out there just hate it whenever I write about Akademi Fantasia, like I don’t have anything of great value to write. Well I just don’t care, because I know who I am. I am supporting the local musical industry so that more Malaysian will too.

I hope one day we will appreciate our local talents more than relying so much on the western cultures. This is the first time in my life that I ever like a Malay singer like this. I think it’s a good start for me and why not spread it to others too.

This is Liza, signing off :)
"BELIA BENCI DADAH.... World!"

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My mind says:

  • "I CHOOSE TO LOVE EVERYTHING THAT IS MINE"
  • If it's not you, who else!
  • Love your country. Keep it SAFE & GREEN...