<bgsound src="http://www.ijigg.com/songs/V2BFBCGCPAD" > My Big Big Adventure: February 2006

Monday, February 20, 2006

Farewell, Fedelia

Yesterday night, we had a farewell dinner for Fedelia at Delicious Cafe in Bangsar Village at 8pm. There were six of us, Fedelia, John, Steve, Michelle and Chee Hooi.

We shared and exchanged our gossips at work, the condition of Fedelia's ailing dad in Kuching, Steve's working environment, the movies we watched, the books we read, engagement issue, wedding bells, oh, so many things.

We were later adjourned to The Social, a bar where everyone relaxed and enjoyed. Later, Keith joined us for the fun. With this special occassion, we had red wine toast for our friend, Fedelia, and some nachos for our snacks-craving friends, Chee Hooi and Steve.

Overall, I think I am going to miss my dear friend Fedelia dearly. Just hope we can have a chance to meet again, whether you are back to KL or our visit to Kuching sometime in the near future. Do take care and all the best in your future undertakings, Fedelia.

Yayasan Kebajikan Negara Treasure Hunt to Tambun 18-19 Feb 2006

Once again, my family and I have embarked on a treasure hunt journey. This time, we joined a hunt to Tambun, Ipoh, organised by Yayasan Kebajikan Negara for a charitable cause.

Early morning 7am, all the treasure hunters, some with sleepy eyes, some with high spirits, were gathered at Sunway Lagoon Resort Hotel for a final briefing. We were flagged off by YB Chew Mei Fun at 7:56 am.

The whole journey is a refresher everytime we embarked on such journey. Last year, we headed to Fraser's Hill, which was organised by Kelab Sukan Sunway. It was a "chilling" experience. This time round, it is more exciting because the questions set by the organiser, Go For It!, were really tough. But the two setbacks for its questions were the wrong position of the tulips given, and one particular question was wrongly phrase, e.g. Earl's Partner (comic for Pickles) is actually Opal, not Ruby as claimed.

The journey was enjoyable as we get to explore some small wonderful towns, and the lesson to learn in this exploration is: family togetherness in working as a team. It was a rat race also, as each team was given 6 hours to complete the task. Though we checked in the final pit stop, Tambun Theme Park, at 1:49 pm, we are just near seven minutes away from penalty. ~phew

Once arrived at Tambun, we were supposed to do the Tambun Task, which are hoola hoop and ping-pong ball challenges. Pathetically, we only got 2 points overall for this task. Hahaha.

At the night of prize-giving ceremony, we were urshered into Tambun Lost World, where we were seated next to the surf pool. The tables were decorated with coconut shell filled with ornamental flowers and candles. It was a lovely scene.

Unfortunately, the night's downpour was heavy as soon as everyone seemed to settle in. We had our buffet dinner at the resting hut to cover ourselves from the cold rain. After half an hour of raindrops, we were back to the water-covered tables to begin our exciting winning moment.

During the announcement of the winners, everyone was anxiously waiting. "5th prize for the family category, with score of 58 goes to ....." "3210~". Hey, it's our team! We won the 5th prize! What a pleasant surprise! We were so elated for our victory, that we don't know what's our scores in parts. We were so so so happy that we have won, finally. Thank you, thank you!

Though without any luck with the lucky draws, but we were grateful to have won the 5th prize for our effort in this treasure hunt.

Let the treasure hunting momentum rolling, since I am still in a high spirit of joining one soon. For the money, for the prize, and of course, for the experience and the fun of it!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006





我們去痲坡不單單是品嘗那裏的美味小食,Otak-otak, 還有拜訪了李老師的好朋友。好笑的是李老師每一年都去那裏小住片刻,可是往往記不住他的住址。我們要費神打聽哪裏的住址,然後自行向郵政局的郵差詢問有關的路,方才到達了目的地。由於長達兩個小時的路程,其他老師們的肚子也咕咕響起聲來了。我們也不逗留太久,就到痲坡的小市鎮上共享路旁小攤的美味佳肴。當然,我們也品嘗了那裏的財記434的著名的香農咖啡。可以說,這一次之旅,真的收穫不少。


隨後,黃太太還請了我們一塊兒吃當地的美食satay celup。我們當然也遵命不如從命。


Monday, February 13, 2006

Can I understand you?

Yesterday while having lunch with a friend, he was talking about the call centre people in his financial institution. Nowadays, most of the international or multinational companies (mostly American companies) are outsourcing their call centres to the expertise of our Indian counterpart due to cost savings and time zone factors.

However, the problem arises due to the fact that these Indian nationals have problem understanding and communicating the English which are comprehensible. With this, word abuses are a norm over these telephone conversation and dissatisfaction among the customers become prominent.

I was discussing this with my brother during our normal cruise to work. He shared the same view and told me that quite sometime back there was an article about it. To mitigate such confusion due to the communication barrier, most of these call centres are imparting what they called "American culture" courses, so that these enabling staff could understand the needs of customers on the other side of the word without compromising on the service quality delivered.

Part of the confusion was due to the fact that the English pronunciation has its discrepency when it is pronounced with Indian accents. Letters like A, M, N, E are always pronounced with sounds like "Eh", "Yam", "Nem", "Ill" and so forth. It's a disasater spelled inside out.

Internationalised means to make other part of the word understand you with clarity, not more confusion. Help yourself understand by understand others, my Indian-national friends.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

2nd Asia Japanese Male Choir

Yesterday at Luther House Church, PJ, I attended the 2nd Asia Japanese Male Choir concert. This concert gathered members of the Glee Club from 6 cities in Asia, namely KL, Manila, Jakarta, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Shanghai to perform in KL, after the successful commencement of the concert tour last year February in Bangkok.

Concert programme was as follows:

男声合唱団マーマーヨ 指揮:福本良一
堀口大学 作詩 清水 脩 作曲

唐草模様ジャカルタ・メールクワイヤー 指揮:川西一男  ピアノ伴奏:ベドゥ裕子

KLグリークラブ 指揮:亀井清一郎 ピアノ伴奏:山田朗子
For You(高橋真梨子)
ジョニーへの伝言 (高橋真梨子)
無伴奏 (高橋真梨子) 

香港日本人倶楽部合唱団 男声合唱 指揮:清水光洋
So much in Love

マニラ・グリークラブ 指揮:管野友人

茉莉花 (中国古謡より 編曲:なりたまさと)
聴海 (作詞:林秋離 作曲:余恵源 編曲:なりたまさと)
『柳河風物詩』より 柳河 (作詞:北原白秋 作曲:多田武彦)

Steal Away
Swing Low Sweet Chariot
Deep River
Soon Ah Will Be Done

The overall experience was interesting yet entertaining event, and I have enjoyed myself. I was particularly touched by the Shanghai Glee Club performance. With only six voices unite together, they bring out touching music which moved my heart. Bravo!

Looking forward to next year's performance, which I think will be at Manila or Jakarta.

Sensitivity of Religion

This is not my favourite topic, in fact, I dislike to discuss this in public.

I still remembered a Japanese once asked me about my religion and I was taken aback, especialy when it is coming from a stranger. Due to my lack of command of the language, I just smiled. It's not their fault to ask, since it is due to differences in the system of respect of other's people's culture only.

Yesterday during the Chinese New Year visiting to my colleague's home, I was dragged to a dinner gathering at his mother's in-law. Guess what? A church cell-group gathering. In fact, I don't mind going to this kind of gathering, for I believe there are many different things to learn from these group of people (which I did). The only thing which I disfavour about would be the "pushy" factor involved.

Freedom of religion should be observed. I do not understand why people have to be coerced into something out of their unwillingness. It's not right.

I am not sure it's because of the Malaysian thing of keeping mum about religious discussion due to its sensitivity; or it's just being used to living harmoniously without thinking too much of our religious difference.

With the recent anger of Muslims following the publication of controversial caricatures of the Nabi Muhammad in Denmark; the non-stop fighting of Israel & Palestine or India-Pakistan; all these kept me thinking. Is our differences caused life and death situation to arise?

Sometime, in a way, I think Malaysia approach to respect and live harmoniously in a multi-racial and multi-religious country has its pros, in fact, more pros than its cons. A thumb-up to the government, for its effort in restoring peace to its current state, after June 13, 1969 incident.

Everytime people discuss about religion, I have this shiver sent down my spine. Fear. Fear of the unknown force out there somewhere, I guess.

That's why religion is perplexing and complicated, yet remained mysterious and sensitive to all.

I just hope the world will remain as diversed as it is, but with more respect and care.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Chinese New Year celebration

As we urshered in the year of dog, expectation of the Chinese New Year (CNY) celebration would be a different affair altogether.

I must say visiting my uncles and aunts in the remote town of Pahang was very pleasant and wonderful. I just love to see my relatives' familiar humour and smiles when we greeted each other; good news of getting new family members to be added into the family tree; and of course it's great to know that my aunts cooked delicious dishes waiting for me to savour them.

I loved my uncle's "sha jiang", pounded ginger leaves used to flavour chicken dishes and my aunt's vegetarian "zai cai" the most every time I go back home. No wonder I have gained so much when I got back to PJ.

Chinese New Year has a different turn for me this year. I got a little impatient with the slow traffic, a bored celebration of staying at home eating, sleeping, watching television and nothing else to add to the list, and also low spirit of the chinese new year as compared to previous celebrations. Maybe doing the same thing over and over again does make my life bored afterall.

Travelling along the Karak highway and to my aunt's place in Telemong, Karak and Raub is far too different compared to those going north-bound and south-bound on North-South Highway. It is long winding road with lots of dangerous curves and corners, due to its hilly terrains when the forefathers cut through the mountains and virgin forest to pave for the road widely used now.

Along the journey, I enjoyed the green and lush scenery in Pahang. It makes me feel so pleasant and nice. I can still enjoy the cold mountain water flowing to every house's tap water, so cooling and refreshing, even though under hot weather condition. From that moment, I realised that some things are better leave it untouched for development. I think it pushes my button to travel every year to this mountaineous place not far from KL.

Family reunion dinner was shared on the eve of Chinese New Year, which this year happened to fall on a Saturday, 28th January. Meat dishes are a must in the chinese household (except vegetarians), some household prefer to have steamboat (mostly Hokkien families), and everyone will sit together on a round-table to savour the delicious delicacies on the table of shared joy and laughter.

On the first day of CNY, we would normally consume vegetarian "zai cai" to cleanse ourselves from yesterday's meaty dishes. It is normally cooked with "nam yu" (fermented beancurd). Ingredients of this wonderful vegetarian dish are: deep-fried Fu Chok (beancurd piece), ho si (dried oysters), mushrooms, mok yi (dried fungus), wan yi (another type of dried fungus), kam cham (yellowish vege), kam cham gu (one type of mushroom with petite yellowish mushroom head), dong fan (rice noodle - soh hoon), fat choy (dried vege looks like hair), nga bak (white stem leafy vege), oil and sauce for flavouring. It is very delicious with a change.

My aunt rear fish in her pond at her farm near the rubber plantation. I must say, her breed is similar to the size of the owner (my aunt) - GIANT! During our reunion dinner, my aunt served her gigantic fish, size of around 20 cm length x 10 cm tall, weighing around 4 kg, for dinner. Judging from the size, the first impresion of the meat was hard, but it was quite the opposite. It was fresh, meaty and really tasted smooth to our palate.

It was quite a memory collected though in such a short time. Chinese New Year is definitely all about great food and joyous companions to share with. I have both.

Time to bid my beloved relatives farewell after three-days of uninterrupted rest (some part of Pahang is out of reach for telco mobile line) and sumptious feast. Thank you very much for the lovely food and the warm hospitality.

I have got back home on the second day of Chinese New Year. My family and I went to a movie "The Shopaholic" in GSC, 1-Utama, after failing to secure the tickets for the show "Fearless", as it was completely sold out. The movie was good, I presumed Fearless to the best CNY show in 2006.

On third day to CNY, I visited my dear colleague, Chen's home in Klang and also pay a visit to my beloved choir teacher, Mdm Lim too. Chen's mom was very hospitable, and she had prepared delicious wan-tan noodle for lunch. I am so in luck! We had some moments of chat and a few craving for tid-bits like sauteed pork, chan dou (a kind of nuts), mandarin oranges and ground nuts.

At dinner, Mdm Lim treated steamboat near her place known as Teluk Pulai. We were in such a hurry to finish the dinner as she had received an emergency call from her sister of a stomach ache. But overall, we did enjoy the dinner.

Next week, I plan to visit my neighbour, Mrs Wong, during my university years in Malacca. Will be looking forward to seeing Mrs Wong's new home during this new year celebration.

Chinese New Year, a routine activity for me. I do enjoy the brief gathering of friends and family, savour delicious cooking and also sharing the joy in this happy occassion. May all of you enjoy this holiday season as much as I do.

Balik Kampung...traffic jam

Being a city girl of PJ, balik kampung (going back hometown) would only mean an affair to my parent's home during this joyous festive season.

I am glad I could join the throng of happy families going to a remote place, always refer to kampung. Though hated very much of the long-queue bumper-to-bumper traffic, I still love to travel back home to meet my fun and loving aunts and uncles.

Heading back to Karak or Raub Pahang usually took us around one and half hours from KL. This time round, it took us about four hours to arrive. Never before this place to the west would be so long, not even in the previous chinese new year. Something have to do with the POLICE, I reckon.

True enough, an intersection to Bentong was closed, and everyone was rerouted to the next intersection around 1km from the closed one. Arrrgh! We have to stuck in the traffic for like an hour, especially from a three-lane bottle neck to the one-lane trunk road. This is madness.

With this Ops Sikap X report on TV, with more policemen on the road, the more accidents it become. How could this be? Something must have gone wrong. I think we should cut down this officers for goodness sake: more smooth-flowing traffic, more police officers can go back home, less accident rate, can reach home soon, etc.

Thinking on a positive note, I am glad I am not going up north to Ipoh nor Penang (two chinese populated states) for the festive season or I will end up stuck in the traffic madness for at least 6 hours.

Balik kampung, a yearly affair for police to make more angpow money than I do, a yearly event for families to reunite and rekinder, a yearly thingy for old friends to gather, a yearly event for so many things in mind.

Just hope that it is safe for everyone who travels on the road to see your loved ones. Safety first!