Sunday, August 29, 2010

A farewell and some stories

Ahh...had a pleasant meet up cum farewell for Liz just now. Iris, Faz, Farah & her hubby was there too. She's going to further her studies in Birmingham, leaving on Raya day.. Will be missing her loads sob sob... Gave her a Nick Hornby book - How To Be Good as a parting gift, for her to read on the plane

Reminisced about our gig experiences together. Talked about future gigging plans (in Japan maybe? Loads of saving to be done for sure)

This then came to Iris' experience of how she had to overcome all sorts of challenges. She is from a poor family, from a small town. She had to work immediately after finishing her SPM, then her STPM. She never took money from her parents (they couldn't afford to), instead she contributed to them. She took study loans to finance her studies, and it was during the economic downturn, and the interest rate was 12.75% Crazy or what?! That was really sky high. And it was a twinning program, with a year study in the UK. It was really tough for her. And all that while, she was also working, to pay back the loans. She ensured she didn't flunk any papers as that would mean more money to burn to repeat the papers.

I wrote about a similar experience from a girl I met on the bus one day back in 2006 here. It's a lengthy conversation, but do read it. You'll feel how lucky you are and be more thankful of the things you already have, but others can only dream about. (Reminder to self too)

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Iftar @ Nida's

A big thank you to Nida for inviting us to her spanking new house (photo evidence will follow) in Bangi for iftar. It was a spur of the moment suggestion by Nida when we were visiting her house on the way back from Syafiq’s wedding pre-Ramadhan.

Just a small group of us – myself, Mas, Liza, and the guys – Manto & Isal. The girls cooked up a storm – of ayam masak cili padi, sayur kacang, sambal sotong, ikangoreng, pegedil and mee hong kong. Yours truly cooked up the last menu (ma’s recipe, thank you ma!) with assistance by Liza, thanks Liza! Phew….glad that the boys and girls liked the mee hurrah! Nida was the chief chef – she cooked the main dishes. Liza cooked the vege. As usual, it wouldn’t be complete without Mas’ teh tarik aka minuman tenaga, and as usual it was superb! Thanks to the boys also for bringing some kuih and drinks.

Our simple dish

Berbuka :)

We went for terawih after the simple but hearty meal, and then off to Alamanda for bowling. Heheh…Nida wanted to do some exercise after all the eating! But Isal couldn’t be persuaded to join though.. he was already feeling tired (but not tired of us kan Isal? Hehe…) So sweet of him to lend his camera for the escapade. Well, I actually brought my camera – becos I just have to record the very exclusive and modern interior design of Nida’s house. Absolutely love it! But being the absent minded me, I forgot to bring the memory card haih..tsk tsk..

Dining hall. Love the wall paper

Mounted widescreen

Sleek kitchen

Inviting downlight- master bedroom

Mounted wardrobe
Before we went for bowling, we checked out the midnight movie to see if there was anything interesting to see. But there wasn’t, so we decided to just bowl. But then we saw the poster of this Thai movie Slice that we thought was a horror movie, so we decided to buy the tix.
Gaya juara
Gadis bowling

Final score. Man=81, N=79, L=63

After one game of bowling (which “Man” won, but just by a slight win :-p) and a very slow queue to buy drinks, we plonked ourselves in the theatre only to be met by an 18SX –sexual exploitation – type of movie. It was too explicit and graphical we felt it was very very disturbing that it passed the censorship board’s scissors. Yes there were many uncut n*dity scenes and I couldn’t believe the child actors had to go through all that. It was a very disturbing subject matter, it had a tragic end, but it probably happened in real, everyday life. The director was probably traumatized when he was younger.
It’s best that we forget the gross part of the movie – but it served some lessons to us – this type of atrocity does happen in reality, and to a lesser extent – we better google the synopsis of a movie before we decide to watch it!


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Post terharu: Loyal teachers

It's always a pleasure to perform the Tarawih at my school's surau. It has been more than a decade since I left my high school! The surau is much bigger now, it has its own building. Last time it was just 2 classrooms converted into a surau for the girls. The boys' surau was a simple hut near the bicycle shed.

A few of my teachers are still teaching there. I get to meet them here.

Ustaz Ahmad doesn't seem to have aged a day- still youthful and handsome (ahem) and with the same moustache and the same humour. Only now he drives a Honda, last time he rode a big motorbike to school! Girls would swoon over him, he was really nice. And he was still single! He's happily married now though (which is a good thing of course) :D

Then there is my cikgu fizik yang garang - Pn Nurhana. She's a Muslim convert of Serani descent. Her maiden surname was Bates. She has hazel eyes. She was a really good Physics teacher, we were always paying attention to her in the lab.

Another teacher is Ustazah Norlida- also very garang. She would cubit the naughty students/those who didn't memorize the surah2 that we should be memorizing for our PAFA last time. Some girls would pretend they were uzur to escape the wrath of Ustazah Norlida hehe..But of course, she only did it for the love of her students.

I'm not sure about the other teachers. Perhaps they have already retired. Or they have moved on. But these 3 teachers still remain loyal here at my alma mater,SMTTDI. Terharu pulak rasa...


Sunday, August 15, 2010


Labuan was…scorching hot! I thought KL was hot, here was even hotter! (at least during my visit there) This was my first trip to Labuan actually. A very tiny island at only 95 km2 (thanks to Zu’s Wiki!), there’s not much place to go to or things to do. And my visit coincided with the fasting month (and it was hot ), so we stayed indoors most of the time.
Note: Imsak @ 4.45am, Iftar @ 6.35pm

We stayed at the Grand Dorsett (the only decent hotel in town I believe). I did think the room rates were over priced (Executive at RM435 and Deluxe at RM 335).

And there was much confusion on the hotel’s part, i.e. I specifically mentioned a room for 2 persons, but was told that my room was for 1 person when we went down for sahur. Pagi-pagi lagi dah bikin orang emo aiseh..

Simple sahur - nasi w lauk & omellete

Also, during booking, I was told there was no Deluxe room available for the first night, so I had to stay at Executive room, and change to Deluxe only on the second day. But the hotel didn’t inform me on any room changes so I had to keep asking the reception. I guess there was a mistake on their part, so they just let me stay at my Executive room, but charged me at Deluxe rate, so that kept me shiny happy.
There was a change of room actually, but it was still an Executive room, so I did wonder why they needed to change it at the first place, i.e. I was changed from an Executive room to another Executive room.
Then there was another incident- the reception told me I needn’t change room, gave me back the original room key and I found our luggage missing. They’ve actually moved our things to another room, but it was still an Executive room. Confusing isn’t it?
OK enough of the hotel already. Labuan in general is an expensive place. I found the food here expensive. We went to the Pasar Ramadhan behind our hotel on the first day and bought nasi kerabu – for RM7 (with additional RM2 for sebiji telur masin!) I thought nasi kerabu always comes with telur masin?
We also went to Anjung Ketam @ Tg Aru, and ordered ketam masak sambal, sotong goreng tepung, ikan stim and ikan bakar and was given the biggest ever fish and crabs that we have ever seen in our entire lives (well maybe not, but they were really huge I tell you!) We thought the fish meat was really thick, it was almost like chicken meat!
That huuuge fish. Love the sambal cicah kicap though
And we were also given 2 types of sotong goreng tepung, when we ordered only one! Our mistake was that we left it to the makcik kedai makan to choose the fish/squid/crab for us– so that was why we were given the biggest and heaviest ones! Memang kena ketuk habis la.
Ketam sambal & 2 types sotong goreng tepung. Zu sapu bersih ketam!
We went there (Anjung Ketam) twice as we were not satisfied with Mawilla – another seafood restaurant nearer to the hotel (just average tasting). At both trips we were charged about RM40/person. For the same amount of dishes, one could get it cheaper in Kerteh. Now I miss Kerteh’s superb ikan bakar *drool*
Moral of the story: Please choose your own fish / crab / squid / prawn etc You don’t need the biggest ones!
We ordered from this gerai @ Anjung Ketam.
We were told later that Anjung Ketam did over charge its customers, and we were recommended another place nearby, but would have to wait for a next trip to Labuan though.
This is Mawilla seafood restaurant

Mawilla's dishes. Just average

Love the view at Anjung Ketam though

Another thing to do in Labuan – is shopping. It is a tax free island, but we found that the chocolates here are more expensive than Langkawi. Then there is the Labuan bazaar where you can buy pearls, kaftans, udang kering and ikan terubuk masin. The ikan terubuk not locally made but imported from Kuching. You’ll get it much cheaper in Kuching. Oh, if you plan to buy pearls, walk in a bit and search for Aunty’s shop. Aunty’s is much cheaper and are of better quality compared to the first shop you'll see when arriving at the bazaar. See pictures below

Bazaar Labuan. We walked there woah!

Aunty's pearl shop. Cheaper & better quality

The 1st pearl shop.

Ikan terubuk masin sold here
There was also another incident in Labuan – there was no electricity when we arrived at the lab on the last day. It was just the day before that we asked what would happen to the ongoing experiments which required the use of machines if there was suddenly a power failure? And it really did happen! Answer? They had to re-run all the experiments of course, with new samples. Maybe we shouldn’t have asked it in the first place lol!

In the dark lab. Not in some karaoke joints ok! :-p

One positive thing about a small town like Labuan though – the people are friendly. We were greeted by a pakcik when we were crossing a road. And then there was Pakcik Gapor Hj Yusop of Kg Bukit Kuda– our taxi driver who really made our day. We had been fortunate to get a taxi driver like him – so friendly, so warm, chatty (loved his stories!) and he didn’t mind to wait us for a bit. Do get him if you need to take a taxi in Labuan!
Pakcik Gapor's taxi. Shud have taken his pix meh!


Saturday, August 07, 2010

Pixie crop

The girls had me raring to try for a new image. I hope to gather enough courage for the change.

Meanwhile, I think Emma Watson's new look is adorable!


Friday, August 06, 2010

Postcards from a Young Man

Love the Manics. Postcards from a Young Man. To be released 20.9.2010

New single (It's Not War) Just The End Of Love already leaked on you tube. Sounds quite poppy. An abrupt departure from their very intense previous album Journal for Plague Lovers