Thursday, September 29, 2005

fate or coincidence?

I’ve always been curious about astrology, horoscopes, fortune telling, feng shui, anything that’s classified as “new age” in bookstores.  I can’t say I believe in these things, neither can I say I don’t because sometimes things happen that when you read back on so-called predictions that have already passed… there they are.  Fate, or coincidence?

I suppose they predict it generically enough to encompass a very wide area in various aspects of a person’s life.  Yet how come some things are mentioned in your horoscope and not in the others, and it touches the truth somewhere?  Reading the other horoscopes, they don’t relate anywhere close to what was written in mine.  I make reference to the Chinese horoscopes, they seem to be the most accurate compared to other “predictions” I’ve come across.

The past 9 months have been a bit of a roller-coaster ride for me and I had wondered if anything could shed light on it.  My curiosity got the better of me so surfed the Internet for some “answers”.  Found this one from Shelly Wu’s website (excerpted):

The Detached Rabbit - The “Artful Dodger"
(Even the title describes me pretty well)

During 2005 Rabbits are compelled to re-establish contact with old friends.  (Old friends found me, and vice versa)

Aloof singles are overcome by sentimentality and powerfully drawn to past romantic interests.  (Errr… you don’t say…)

Financial improvement is a great help to love.  (Now, this didn’t happen… or did it?)

Those who utilize imagination and creativity whether it be in business or in pleasure, will enjoy success and popularity.  (Hmm, I seem to be doing well in my current job in an interactive agency.)

Don't neglect regular exercise, be vigilant about your health, and be cautious of your weight which will fluctuate this year.  (This one’s true.  Or maybe it was just time to lose some weight…)

Your judgment in financial matters is clouded in 2005, so hold off on any investments for the time being.  (Does going away on a rather big-budget holiday count?)

And then some other website:

Love luck will be good this year. Singles will meet with their dream dates and relationships can be started from there. Wedding bells can also be heard this year.  (Ok, this one’s a far miss.  I hardly hear anything!!!)

This one by Raymond Lo:

The animal sign which is not so favourable is the Rabbit, which is into a year of clash against the Rooster. Such clash usually brings about movements. So people born in the year of the Rabbit will anticipate more changes and moves this year, such as travelling, moving house, changing job... etc.  (This one’s quite on the spot – I’ve changed my job, have travelled a bit and will be travelling again.)

Which is similar to the prediction by Joey Yap:

This year will likely see you moving houses, changing jobs or even changing your work place. Somehow the year seems restless and you are always on the move.  (Yea.)

So… think these horoscopes and fortune-tales really do hold some truth?  I think… I’ll just let my life take its course, and if I read back on those predictions and they happen to ring true… well then, woo-hoo.  If not… just too bad, huh.

Monday, September 26, 2005

back from the wild

People have been asking me… “So where exactly did you go on holiday? What did you do?”

It was easy to say where I was going – Uncle Tan’s Wildlife Camp at the lower Kinabatangan River, Sabah.

It was a little harder to explain what I went there for.

Earlier this afternoon I was chatting with a friend online, and the same question was posed. After awhile a near-perfect answer came to mind – to appreciate the rainforest reserve and the efforts the Sabah Government is doing to help and expand it. Fancy answer to an excuse for a holiday, but it sounded good, and I daresay it pretty much rings true.

So… on with the show.

My journey started really early Friday morning at an ungodly hour. Sluggishly got myself up and onto the plane in time, where I caught up on my sleep just a wee bit. My friends (Veron, Jeremy, Eric and Alexzis) were already at Sandakan having gone there the day before. I was to meet them at the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre before 12:30 noon for a pickup to Uncle Tan’s ops base at Gum Gum.

I arrived at Sandakan pretty much on time; bought a ticket and hopped on a cab to Sepilok. The driver seemed to know where he was going when I showed him the name of the place I’d wanted to go. But… after 20 minutes of driving, he turned into a compound with buildings and said, “Sini ke?” (Is it here?)

I didn’t know where I was, but it looked like an official-ish building so I replied, “Ya, terima kasih” (Yes, thank you) and got down the cab. Unfortunately after 2 minutes walking around the compound, it dawned on me that maybe… I wasn’t quite at the rehab centre yet. I approached 2 guards on duty and asked if this was the orangutan rehab centre and they said, “Bukan… kena jalan jauh sikit lagi.” (No, have to travel a little further.) The cabby had dropped me off at the Forestry Research Centre instead.

Oh dear.

I looked down the shaded road and thought that it couldn’t be that far since there was a signage up front at the junction that said the rehab centre was this way. So… started walking further down the road, occasionally passed by cabs, cars and buses. Well, if there are people travelling on this road, I must be headed in the right direction. I only hoped it wasn’t too far.

Thank my lucky stars, after about 10 minutes of walking I did reach the orangutan rehab centre. But by that time it was already 11:30 a.m., and the ticket counter was closed. So much for catching a glimpse of the orangutans. All I could do to appease myself was walk into their souvenir shop for a look-see (there wasn’t anything interesting there either). I was going to call my friends to check where they were, when they turned up behind me. Apparently they had gone for the little tour around the rehab centre but said I didn’t miss much – the orangutans were mostly juveniles and not adults. Hmm… perhaps I’ll be lucky enough to see them at Uncle Tan’s Wildlife Camp.

The rest of the journey to the Camp was pretty much a waiting game. There was a lot of free time with nothing much to do (really, really nothing to do, no kidding) except have a drink once in awhile to keep hydrated. We finally departed to the Camp via the Kinabatangan River around 4:30 p.m. when wildlife’s a little more active along the riverbanks.

The boat ride was quite interesting – there were macaques (get plenty of these in KL too), egrets, a couple of small crocodiles, lizards and proboscis monkeys. A lot of photo-taking done, and though I knew my shots would be pretty much blurred due to the distance and shakiness of my hands, I had to try my luck and take a few anyway.

Arrived at the Camp late evening, and it was… different. No running water, no electricity except between 6:00 p.m. and midnight, no shower, no “chalets”. The huts were basic 4 walls and mesh wiring for windows and doors. Mosquito netting was provided with basic thin mattresses. Well, this is certainly Camp. Oh yea… and three resident bearded pigs running around. Darn cute. Not good for eating though, someone told us they don't taste very good, haha!

The evening passed without much activity except dinner, quick bath kampung-style (bucket of water and a ladle), and camp briefing. Lightning started to light up the sky every once in awhile, and as we prepared for the 9:00 p.m. night safari the guide reminded us to bring our rain jackets. Looks like it’s gonna pour while we take our little tour of the river.

True enough as we got on the boat to start our night safari, rain started pelting down slowly at first, and then got heavier as the night wore on. I thought I could keep fairly dry with a light drizzle, but by the time the safari was over I was miserably cold with wet pants and underwear. The only consolation was the top half of my body and head was kept dry by my rain jacket. Scenery-wise, there were kingfishers, monkeys and owls all doing their best to survive the rain as well. I was too tired to really enjoy the experience; I kept nodding off and sometimes wondered if I would’ve rolled off the boat if I fell asleep. Lights out at midnight, thank goodness. Time to catch some snooze. I abandoned the thought of sleeping in my hennessey hammock which I’d set up earlier and took to the stale-smelling mattress instead.

There was a morning safari at 6:30 a.m. the next day which none of us participated in – it was still too wet outside and we were pretty lazy to do anything adventurous early in the morning. After breakfast we went on the morning jungle trek, and were rewarded with sightings of a female orangutan and her baby. We stayed at the spot for a pretty long time watching mother and baby, till it got tired of our stares and moved on to another tree. There’s lots of wildlife to be seen and appreciated, as pointed out by our guide. I took quite a few photos of the world’s smallest frog, the orangutan and her baby, bats that hid in the cones of wild ginger plants, dung beetles…

The afternoon was pretty much uneventful. A lot of free time was spent watching my friends try their luck at fishing, reading my book and listening to tunes on my iPod (the very one luxury I was so thankful of bringing along!). It was peaceful at the oxbow lake, the silence occasionally broken by cries of the monkeys or birds on the other side of it.

5:00 p.m. came and we had an afternoon boat ride scheduled. (By the way, most activities are arrange early morning or late evening / night as those are the times when the animals are out from hiding.) We gladly hopped on the boat for a little gush of wind in our faces. There was a girl with us that wore a full knit sweater on the ride, and I was thinking that she was out of her mind. Little did I realise that maybe I was the stupid arse who didn’t prepare for the very cool evening temperature that magnified 100 times with the moving speedboat to a level that left goosebumps on my skin. The scene on the boat ride itself was dotted with lots of proboscis monkeys sitting out on their bare-ish trees, staring at us as dusk fell.

By nightfall I was feeling a little lazy, a little slow. I chose to skip the night jungle trek to the swamp, opting to read a little more instead. My friends also opted out and went fishing again or sleep out at their hammocks. I had the hut to myself till the others came back with my iPod and book as company. Only then did I realise I was quite tired from the entire trip, and found myself nodding off by 10:30 p.m. Lights out earlier for me tonight.

The next day we departed Camp around 10:00 a.m. and despite our 1-hour delayed flight, we made it back to KLIA by 9:00 p.m. In between we had a scrumptious lunch in Sandakan town, and visited the Puu Gih Jih Chinese Temple on top of a hill facing Sandakan Bay.

I must say that I had mixed feelings about the trip. I was glad for a getaway – no phones, no Internet connection, not even newspapers. I was cut away from the outside other than the people (and animals) around me. Every once in awhile I felt totally bored and needed to talk to my friends, yet other times I didn’t want any company except myself. The solitude time I’d spent there allowed me to think and sort out my mind, though unfortunately nothing much conclusive came out of it, except for the decision to let things be. Maybe that’s what the Camp had taught me – appreciate what I have, leave alone what’s not meant to be disturbed.

Sunday, September 25, 2005


Day 1, 23 Sept:
04:45 wake up
05:30 depart to KL Sentral, catch the KLIA Express
06:15 train to KLIA
07:15 depart by plane KUL-SDK
10:00 arrival at Sandakan
10:30 taxi to Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre
12:30 van to Uncle Tan’s Ops Centre @ Gum Gum
14:30 van to ferry site @ Kinabatangan river
16:00 boat to Uncle Tan’s Camp
19:45 Camp briefing
20:00 dinner
21:00 night safari (rain)
00:00 lights out

Day 2, 24 Sept:
06:00 morning call
06:30 morning safari (skipped)
08:00 breakfast
10:00 morning jungle trek
12:30 lunch
13:30 free time
17:00 evening boat ride
20:00 dinner
21:00 night jungle trek (skipped)
00:00 lights out

Day 3, 25 Sept:
06:00 morning call
06:30 pack luggage
08:00 breakfast
10:00 boat to ferry site via Kinabatangan river
11:30 van to Gum Gum
12:30 depart to Sandakan for lunch
15:45 check-in @ Sandakan airport
18:10 depart by plane SDK-KUL
20:50 arrival at KLIA
21:30 train to KL Sentral
22:30 head for home

In the last 72 hours, my mode of transport was:
car – train – plane – taxi – van – boat – van – 4x4 – plane – train – car


Thursday, September 22, 2005

northern sky

It’s been a long week. In a way, I can’t wait to get on that plane and fly East to Sabah for my planned break. Yet there are things that are holding me back from fully enjoying the anticipation and excitement of the trip – matters of the mind… matters of the heart.

I’m nearly all packed with some last-minute items to ponder upon whether I should bring with me or just leave behind; they’d make nice little luxuries but not really necessary. One thing I’m definitely bringing along with me though – my iPod for a little entertainment when I have time to myself. It’s been faithfully keeping me company with tunes to suit my moods, soothe my worries, lift my spirits, calms my thoughts.

A friend recently introduced Nick Drake to me, and I’ve been pretty hooked since to his compositions. He was a painfully shy artist, and had an untimely death. The song Northern Sky was featured in the movie “Serendipity”, quoted to be "the greatest English love song of modern times". To listen, click the play button on the mood barometer right click here, "save target as...", download... play.

Something to keep you company over the weekend.

I never felt magic crazy as this
I never saw moons knew the meaning of the sea
I never held emotion in the palm of my hand
Or felt sweet breezes in the top of a tree
But now you're here
Brighten my northern sky.

I've been a long time that I'm waiting
Been a long that I'm blown
I've been a long time that I've wandered
Through the people I have known
Oh, if you would and you could
Straighten my new mind's eye.

Would you love me for my money
Would you love me for my head
Would you love me through the winter
Would you love me 'til I'm dead
Oh, if you would and you could
Come blow your horn on high.

I never felt magic crazy as this
I never saw moons knew the meaning of the sea
I never held emotion in the palm of my hand
Or felt sweet breezes in the top of a tree
But now you're here
Brighten my northern sky.

Nick Drake

Monday, September 19, 2005

a letter

Dear Little-Miss-Trouble-Hearted,

I know it’s been a hard pill to swallow. All the uncertainty, the hesitation, the what-if’s are clouding your mind and judgement.

The distraction from work is really not doing me any good – I have project deadlines to meet, homework to do and things to take care of before the weekend arrives. Let’s not screw up and get fired.

Stop looking at the phone for messages that you’ll never receive.
Stop staring at the screen for chats that’ll never take place.
Stop checking your inbox for mails that’ll never arrive.

Let’s make a deal –- let me take charge for the next few days and get things done by Thursday. Friday onwards you can mope and lament however much you want, and then it’s back to me by Monday. We’ll take turns, me on weekdays and you on weekends, how about that?

And hopefully… this won’t last for long. There’s only so much one can take, and I can’t wait forever.



Sunday, September 18, 2005

mid-autumn festival

Today’s the 15th day of the 8th month according to the Chinese lunar calendar. The significance of it is that it’s the Mid-Autumn Festival celebration, and most Chinese would gather home for a reunion dinner of sorts.

Read more about the Mid-Autumn Festival in’s site, I found it to be a pretty good article and does justice to the tale rather than me trying to write a piece on it.

We had our reunion dinner at home too, except for my brother who went out of town and another uncle of mine who had business to attend to. Can’t say that it was out of the ordinary, it was a pretty simple, delicious meal courtesy of my Mum (as always!)… And oh yea, Dad helped cook too. Me? Uh… you know what they say, “too many cooks spoil the broth” so I decided not to “interfere” (laugh!).

After dinner we had these curious-looking nuts of sorts, called “ling kok” in Cantonese but I’m not sure what they’re called in English. They were apparently were brought in from China, and only available around this time of year. The mini yams also had some significance in the Mid-Autumn Festival, though I didn’t know why… Mum just said they were. I felt a bit sorry for my ignorance of what the old tales and traditions were when she was younger… they were certainly dying a slow death when we least expect it.

Ah, but I do know these… mooncakes! I’m not a fan of them, but couldn’t help taking a piece or two just to get the feel of the festival in its entirety. The only thing that’s missing was the lanterns we used to play with when we were young, those made from clear, coloured plastic wrap cut, shaped and pasted into various shapes, the goldfish being the far most popular next to the rooster. I remembered how I always managed to burn a hole in my lantern when the candle tilted too far to one side of it, and my brothers end up giving me theirs to stop me from sulking. These days they’re mostly battery-operated hard plastic moulds with ultraman and pokemon as the main line-up, though there are still a few of those old-style lanterns available for sale in a few curious shops.

Well then… another festival gone… I wonder what’s next?

silver lining... maybe

Thank you to my friends who have called or messaged me to check if I was ok, I’m really touched by your concern.  It helped a lot.  Things have taken a slightly better turn over the weekend, though not by much.  Everything in due time, I guess.

The haze is back somewhat, kinda suits the mood I’m in, clouded and uncertain.  And, like the haze… it’ll go away someday, and the sky will be blue again.  I hope that day comes soon.

Friday, September 16, 2005

the darkest hour

The past few days I had loss of sleep, weight, mood. I felt lost and anxious most of the time, waiting.

Now the wait’s finally over.

The darkest hour had come.

Early this morning I received the bad news I’d been expecting, anticipating. Yet with all those days of preparation it still had hit me quite hard.

Immediately I text my close friend, Cheryl who’s working in London, but currently in Greece on an assignment. I had planned to visit her later this year in November but due to the news I couldn’t bring myself to do it just yet. I apologised for my soon-to-be non-appearance.

Being the best girlfriend she is, she immediately text back – she had just arrived in London back from her Greece assignment. Sending words of encouragement, she had given me a bit of solace saying that she’ll be home in a few minutes and will get in touch.

True to her word, she called to console me, allowed me to laugh at and berate myself, and bitch about things. With that one phone call she had managed to lift my spirits up a little and say “everything’s going to be ok.” My morning began to look a little less dreary, a little less hopeless, a little less depressing. I’m not sure what will ensue in the next few days, but at least… I can get through it at this moment.

Thanks, Cheryl dear. Couldn’t have done it without you.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

hit a low


Today was actually a pretty productive day at work.  And things were going on ok.

Then suddenly…

Back home…

My mood decked.

My emotions nose-dived.

I’d hit a low.


And I couldn’t shake the feeling off that somewhere, something’s gone wrong.

Or maybe it just didn’t go way I’d wanted it to.

Monday, September 12, 2005

online conversations

Two different conversations with two different people. Same problem… Well, almost.

Conversation 1:

“Hey! How’re things?”

“Hello hello… not too bad, went away for the weekend. You-leh?”

“Had a dinner to go to. Pretty late night, fun-lah.”

“Nice. And… how’s miss…? Don’t talk to her these days?”

“Dunno. She seems to have disappeared.”

“Eh? Whaddya mean? I thought things were getting along ok.”

“It was-lah, when it started off. Now I dunno what’s up with her. Merajuk or something.”

“Eh, why-lah merajuk? What did you do?”

“I dunno-lah, one night was chatting to her on IM, then suddenly she just kicked up a fuss. She sounded angry with me for gawd knows what. Now don’t see her online anymore. Amazing how a chat can flip 180°…”

“Aiyo. So how now? You didn’t SMS her?”

“Got, but no reply. It’s been a few days already.”

“Hmmm… Give it a rest maybe. She might come around.”

“Ahhhh… whatever. I’m moving on. I’m getting tired of playing games.”

“Ok buddy… Hope it works out either way…”

Conversation 2:

“Hello… you working-ah?”

“Yea, still at work. Hang around for just a bit more. Whassup?”

“Err… Just got turned down-lah.”

“Oooh… What happened?”

“She said she wasn’t ready for a relationship yet… ended sometime last year I think. Pretty serious. Now I guess… not quite there-kwa.”

“That’s too bad… I thought things were on the upside…”

“Don’t really know how to tread right now so I guess will chill a bit-lah.”

“Yea… that’s good. Well, don’t stress about it, maybe it’ll work out later in time. Can’t rush these things… depends on the situation-lah.”

“See-lah how.”

“… Hey, sorry but I gotta run. Catcha later if you’re online, ok?”

“Ok! See ya!”


What do YOU think?

Sunday, September 11, 2005

sekeping serendah

Warning: long blog ahead.

Saturday, 10th September
11:00 a.m.
Took off to Serendah yesterday morning for a quick weekend getaway – TK, Nik, Kelvin, Albert, Christine, Julie and myself. It was a little hush-hush operation we’d planned for a few weeks, and now we’re finally on our way.

11:45 a.m.
Reached Rawang for an early lunch. Christine led us to this place called “Lan Je” – famous for steamed fish, so it was said. It was a norm to order one “small” fish per person, so we had 6 (minus a non-fish eater) plus vegetable and tofu dishes. Imagine our surprise when the fish came in decently large sizes, much too large to have one each, really! One could easily be shared between 2 people. Anyhow, we decided “heck, ordered already… eat lah!” so we tucked in heartily. Before we knew it, we actually polished off all the fish there was… were we hungry or were we hungry?

2:00 p.m.
Reached Sekeping Serendah, and we were very taken by the whole serenity and beauty of it – lush greenery, bubbly sounds from the brook, the stillness of its surroundings. Our glass shed was the closest to the pool, quite hidden from the main path’s view behind a curtain of trees and shrubs. A small winding trail led the way to our home for the weekend.

The glass shed stood tall and welcoming with its French windows and open doors, and the only solid wall stands between the hall and the bathroom for a little privacy.

The bathroom itself was a joyous change from the 4-walled norm, with the sky for a ceiling and polished river stones as the floor (at the shower stall). But be careful where you stand in the shower or even in the general toilet area – there are places in the glass shed where you could stand and have full view of the entire bath save for those few 80-percent-privacy-covered spots!

On with the tour…

Upstairs loft area is again all windows, no solid walls. Very airy, very spacious, very un-private. So… no hanky panky behind closed doors (what doors??).

Ok ok, enough of descriptions of the place. Time to tell you what we did… that’s the more interesting story!

2:30 p.m.
We didn’t hang around too long marvelling at the glass shed, the pool outside was too inviting. We got changed and jumped into the pool for a cool refreshment. There were these chairs and sofas made of coarse wire mesh all around the pool (and even as furniture in the shed), very interesting indeed.

Hung around the pool for a bit, chatted a bit, gossiped a bit. The usual. By 3:30 p.m. we had to get our dinner ready. Some of the meat were already pre-seasoned at home, some we had to do it there and then.

5:30 p.m.
Still plenty of daylight left when we started the fire and had our scrumptious tandoori chicken, bacon and banana skewered rolls, baked fish, cockles, spuds… and oh yes, lots of mixers.

Everyone took turns making a batch with whatever alcohol we brought along – bacardi limon, dry gin, even henessy v.s.o.p.! Some made it sweet, others made it salty. The salty mixers are the ones that make you drink without tasting much of the alcohol, but more of the calamansi juice and salt as if you’re drinking “kum-kat” (a sort of preserved salted plum drink).

Oh… and the best part… someone brought 2 sticks of cannabis, or mary jane if you please. In between the barbeque and drinks, a few puffs here and there made things a little more interesting. Not everyone had a go though, which was okay. No point forcing it down when it’s not something they wanna do.

8:30 p.m.
Everyone was pretty much either stoned or high on alcohol / other. Some interesting quotes that came out in the next couple of hours that followed:

  • “Don’t burn your bulu! Don’t burn your bulu!” (bulu = hair)
  • “Sometimes I don’t mind oysters, other times I don’t mind fatt choy.” (fatt choy = a sort of seaweed that resembles human hair)
  • “It’s called suck and blow, not kiss and blow!” (Referring to the card game, by the way)

Hmmm… I think I’d better stop there.

9:30 p.m.
TK was out like a light. He was sleeping on the platform bench, and we contemplated tying him down on one side so he wouldn’t roll to the right and fall over the edge. In the end the guys carried helped him settle down on a mattress in the hall.

The rest of us finished the last of the drinks and talked nonsense (or lots of sense in some ways) till one by one, the chatter started slowing down. Signs of the alcohol and mj wearing out…

Sunday, 11th September
12:00 midnight

I had a bad migrane from all the stuff I took in, and decided to call it a night. I could still hear the others up until they came up to snooze by 1:00 a.m. The night was cold; we didn’t need the fan though it was left on at the lowest speed to keep the air moving. The guys started snoring almost immediately after they’d hit the sack. It started off with them sounding a bit like cows grazing in the field, then it got louder which took on a more toad-like mating call instead. And, according to Julie, there was a sleep-talker with pretty interesting things said (but not to be repeated here for the sake of privacy, haha!).

7:00 a.m.
The alarm clock in my head buzzed me awake. Also, the dog was barking outside which pretty much woke everyone else as well. A few of us started dragging our arses out of bed and showered.

Breakfast for the lazy was twisties, mamee noodle snack and orange juice. Nik had the sense to cut the watermelon and oranges for a more refreshing alternative.

9:00 a.m.
Everyone’s up by now. TK’s the most hung-over, the rest of us were pretty much sane except for that faint zombie look that crossed our faces once in awhile. We made busy with cleaning up the place and cooking the last of the leftover meat from our barbeque.

12:00 p.m.
Time to leave Serendah. All packed and cleaned up, we made our payment and left for lunch in Rawang again, this time stopping at “Restoran 328” for some Chinese hawker-style food. We took off shortly after lunch, made our way home…

And thus was the end of our weekend getaway with lots of memories and moments (with photos as evidence!).

Hey guys… when’s our next trip?

Thursday, September 08, 2005

i need a holiday

Finally bought my AirAsia ticket to Sandakan today after a couple of weeks’ deliberation.  Yes, have decided to visit Uncle Tan and maybe catch a glimpse of the proboscis monkey or two, hornbills, other human beans…  Travel dates are set to 23 – 25 September, a couple of weeks from now.  By that time I’d be super broke with no money to spare except maybe for a glass of teh tarik, but hopefully the trip would be worth every penny!

That aside, this weekend a few buddies and I will be heading off to Serendah, and putting up at the Sekeping Serendah Retreat, a nice (and hopefully peaceful) getaway just about an hour north of Kuala Lumpur.  We went crazy buying junk food and drinks earlier today for barbeque and mixers.  Looking at the cart at checkout, I have a feeling there’ll be a lot left over after we’re well fed and drunk.  And there’s more grocery shopping to do tomorrow evening for meat…

Ah yes… and a big vacation in November to look forward to…

I can’t wait!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

birthday boys

KC a.k.a. Dad
He turns 68 today. He’s getting on with age but no less active than he was as a schoolboy! My uncle (his brother) once called me “a vagabond, just like your father” for never being home every day until dinnertime. To this day, my dad is actively helping in organising and going for camping trips and golf tourneys for his old scout troop, the MBSOBA – or more popularly known as “the Old Boys”. I guess you could say I got his wandering and adventurous genes…

Uncle Dennis
He turns 51 on Saturday. My mum’s younger brother, he’s also the more adventurous of the siblings, one who could talk to me about rock climbing, diving and biking. And he speaks German too, after having worked in Germany for a few years some time ago running exhibitions and events.

We (the whole family) went out for a scrumptious dinner at Pantai Seafood Restaurant, Jalan Chempaka in PJ.

At first we were thinking of just taking up one of their set menus available, but the crabs looked too good to pass… and so we ordered individual dishes instead. Looks yummy, no?

Happy birthday, dearest Dad and Uncle Dennis.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

down and out

My throat hurts.
My nose is runny.
My forehead’s feverish.
My heart aches.

It’s sunny outside… but I feel cold.

Feeling a little unloved except for this virus that’s unreservedly embraced me.

Thanks, you sure know how to make a girl feel appreciated.


Enough self-pity.

Time to work.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

handbags and gladrags

My friends had gone for the usual Sunday bike trip, but I decided to pass today. First, the destination was Batu Dam, and judging from the number of scratches and dents I had from a previous trip to the same place, I thought I’d give my limbs and skin a rest from any more abuse. Could still see the scars from 3 weekends ago, and my no-skirt interval’s extended to yet another week.

And second… it was spring-cleaning time… to an extent.

I had this urge to clear out as many bags as I could from my large wooden chest – slings, totes, clutch, backpacks, travelling bags, anything I could bring myself to part with. Over the years I’ve “collected” various kinds, whether self-bought, a freebie or given to me. Something about women and their bags… the right size, shape, colour and style makes all the difference to complete a girl’s outfit. It’s that chic look you get having a small, cute bag under your arm, or the functional yet stylish shopping carrier that miraculously holds many (small) purchases in.


Time to pack and give away some of them.

After sorting out what I wanted and what I didn’t want could part with, I still had… too many bags! 21 bags identified for a big giveaway, and I still had a whole chest full of it. Oh dear. I didn’t even want to count how many I have left, I’d go in a state of shock.

What’s worse, mum decided to take a peek at what bags I was going to give away, and she just had to say, “Eh, this one I can use la… That one don’t throw, I give my friends’ children…” and on and on. In the end she took 6 bags out of the pile for use or giveaway. Aiyo. Ok la, better than taking all of it back for keeps. I guess that’s where I got my hoarding habit from.

And my dears, if you’re thinking of giving me another bag for Christmas or birthday or any other occasion… errr… don’t mean to be rude, but could I request for something else?

Next stop… laundry and car wash…

Friday, September 02, 2005

desserts spelt backwards


I think today I’ve hit a pretty high stress level which I’ve not had for a long time now. Let’s see…

Work stress –
I just got news that we start a new project next week for a new client. The resources are overworked and stretched thin, my current project’s dragging its feet and still having teething problems after 3 months (even for launch), and I just started a new one last week. And tomorrow we have a presentation scheduled… on a Saturday, shites!

Financial stress –
My (ex)tenant just moved out of my apartment a couple of days ago. Refund of his initial deposit is in order, which sets me back financially for the month, and aiyo… looks like I might have to reconsider my trip to Sabah… shall I cancel and re-channel my funds, or really dig a hole in my pocket for a quick, much needed getaway? And… I have to fix the apartment’s bathrooms, they’re in a shocking state of shabbiness. And I have to pay my bills. Robert Kiyosaki’s right – having no money is the root of evil (and stress).

Physical stress –
I don’t know why, but I always feel like my spine is out of place somewhere. It doesn’t hurt, but it feels… weird lah. Maybe it’s all the climbing, biking, hiking I’ve been doing, and sleeping the wrong way around… Why am I waking up feeling more tired and disjointed?

Emotional stress –
Let’s not even go there.

I need comic relief.

Better yet…

I need a clone.

Pass on the stress.

Wouldn’t that be great?

Thursday, September 01, 2005

biking @ RRI

My friends (Eric, Shi Fun, Andrew and Stephen) were itching to go for a ride on Merdeka day. How often do you get to escape the city humdrum in the middle of the week, right? We decided on a quick and easy bike ride at RRI (Rubber Research Institute) – gentle slopes, non-technical, baby routes… or so they tell me. Being the novice biker that I am, I’m usually pretty sceptical when it comes to so-called baby routes. I just ain’t a good biker, having learnt to actually ride a bike just 4 months ago without falling over and embarrass myself. But hey… practice makes perfect, so I tagged along to their trip.

After a quick drive – 15 minutes or so from our meeting point at Riana Green – we parked at the dusty, sandy RRI entrance. Dark clouds were already looming above the estate, but since we were already there, might as well make the most of what’s left of good weather. A quick setup and we were off.

ride into RRI

The main road into the estate was really sandy and dusty, and it didn’t help that the trucks were going in and out using that road, kicking up a cloud of dust behind it. If we had hung around there any longer than necessary I’m pretty sure we’d have developed respiratory problems!

Shi Fun on the trail

From the main road we did a right turn into the estate, where the trail became more clay and earth-ish. Easier to cycle on too, with less drag. Not long into the trail we hit a couple of small uphills, which I still had a bit of breath left in me to keep up. Then came the deceivingly simple but long uphill – about 15-20 degrees incline, apparently 1.2 km in distance (but felt more like 2km to me). The rest pulled ahead and I started lagging behind. I pedalled… cycled… huffed… puffed… I think it took me about 10 minutes before I reached the top where the rest were waiting. Heck, I could’ve run much faster than cycling up that road!

Andrew's tourist shot

From then on it was mostly downhill (thank God). We pushed ahead to a very scenic trail – rows and rows of rubber trees on slopes with leaves scattered all around. It was almost like cycling in autumn in a foreign country (without the heat and mosquitoes, of course). The three of us – Andrew, Shi Fun and myself – just couldn’t help but do the “Japanese tourist” thing – take photos! Too good to pass, really.

taking a break - Eric, Shi Fun, Stephen

We caught up with Eric and Stephen who were resting at a small hut. By then the weather really didn’t look good, and it didn’t help that we weren’t sure of the trail after that. We looked around for awhile but gave up when the rain started pelting down, and we took to the tar road which connected us to another trail, leading us back to the start.

Stephen ridin' back

Made it back to our cars just in time, we could see the sheet of heavy rain just a few meters away coming closer and closer. Since I didn’t have a bike rack, packing in my bike into my small Kancil was no easy task in the rain – dirt and sand sticking on everything everywhere. Argh!

Well… I must admit that it was a good ride despite the rain. At least I didn’t fall over like I used to, that role seemed to have been taken over by Andrew. Hey buddy, get used to your SPD pedals fast, haha!

Dang… I need to wash my bike now.