Fixing A Daughter With A Broken Heart

(Hanie blogging from the dining room while waiting for The Daughter to eat her very late lunch. The smell of gulai tempoyak ikan tenggiri and timun tua wafting in the air, threatening a hunger pang in my tummy wummy……)

Ok, so she isn’t exactly a teenager anymore..but if all else are left to me, she will always be a baby in my eyes.

It must be hard having a heart broken at a young age. Being in my twenties resides in another life time for me but I remember clearly those years. If I could turn back time, I would want to go back to my school days. Those were carefree days with so much of promises for the future ahead.

But, instead, I got married at 21.

Back to The Daughter. She was in Splitville with her on-again-off-again high school bf of 5 years and it is time for mama to the rescue. When she was young, it was much easier to pacify a crying toddler or a youth. You buy them stuff-toys, ice cream, Barbie Doll, and they forget why they cry in the first place.

Unlike young kids, you cannot really control young adults like this on where they want to hang out to trash out what’s in their mind with BFFs. I am also not quite sure what kind of advice she would be getting. I told her that the world is an oyster and she can go to anywhere she wants to. No boyfriend to limit her from doing what she loves, to be where she wants to be or to travel to places where she wants to go. It is an open world. Go see the world, meet new people, find new friends, explore places, do new things.

I also told her – go cross the ocean because you can, go climb the mountain because it there.

In my mind, to go and see new places doesn’t limit her to a 10-km radius from our home!

So while she ponders on this new concept of being single again, I decided to take her to the North to volunteer at a local sanctuary called The Langkawi Lassie.  

A well known private animal sanctuary run by the Bon Ton Langkawi Resort, I was told that all the animals there are like living in a resort. They promote TNRM (trap, neuter, release, manage) for cats and dogs on the island of Langkawi. Lassie’s animal clinic has two full time vets and takes care of about 300 odd of dogs and countless cats.

On top of this visit/volunteer to Lassie, we will visit a few  friends of mine who are still working on the island. I plan to introduce her to these friends and check out the working and living environment on the island.

Many years ago while I was working with this tycoon businessman from Sarawak who owns a few resorts all over Malaysia, I had the opportunity to travel extensively to all of his resorts. One of my favourite properties is located in Langkawi. Each week, I spent about 3 days at the property overseeing some special projects tasked by the company. It was great.

The beach is dreamily beautiful. White, sandy beach at most places with the most breathtaking views of the ocean when the sun sets. Unfortunately over the years, I didnt really have the opportunity to travel to the island except for a few short trips for work.

However, I did return for my honeymoon with George. We spent a few glorious days in Langkawi, spending the time together exploring the island. We went island hopping, watched the eagle feeding session, singing to our hearts’ content at the hotel karaoke lounge and watching the sun sets.

I hope The Daughter would find some solace and do some soul searching while she heals from her broken heart.

Langkawi usually has that affect on people.

 

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World Bloggers And Social Media Awards

I have been blogging for a few years but never thought to enter into any blogging competition, until a couple of days ago.

Over the several years of blogging, I have written topics that run across from relationships, love, youth, food, travel, pets, a little bit of politics, law, religion, travel, life. All of these topics have touched my life and all of the people around me. On some days where I was just lost for words, I’d put some pictures that reflect what I have in mind, or whatever that I am feeling for the moment.

There were several phases where I had writer’s block. The mind just went numb and refused to spill out intelligent words. It just went blank.

The first few hundred posts covering the first couple of years of blogging reflected of the time when I was recovering from a phase where I was picking the pieces in my life. They were intense posts, filled with reflections of life, self internalization and affirmation for myself that I am still an individual.

As time passes by, the posts have mellowed down, somewhat. I became less critical of life’s issues. Words mellowed.

A lot of readers have written to me saying how my observations on life are pretty vocal, loud and can sometimes unconventional. I agree. I see things as they are and will say it as it is. If I have my way, this blog will become either PG18 rated or above.

But the last thing I want to be known in the blogosphere is as an obnoxious blogger. I do not blast individuals with derogatory names, neither do I question someone’s faith as that is between the individual and his Maker. Ok, so….maybe I have blasted a few people before but with very, very good reason. I hate to be dragged into the current waves of politically correct of writing about some “supposedly” banned breads or sauces or lambasting individuals that I do not fancy of interacting by calling his mother being the cheapest whore in this part of the city.

Unfortunately, some people do that. Why? I have a theory for this. They get a kick out writing all these derogatory words, hiding behind the safe veil of the laptop. They forget that being a blogger or a writer of any medium, you are responsible for your own writing.

I do not fancy being loud to be at a point of being an obnoxious, toxic individual. Being a toxic person should be banned from this planet because they kill other people from deep within, they erode other people’s faith by creating a platform for hatred which is unsanctioned by God.

Anyways, rant, rant, rant…..

I have submitted my blog under the Most Vocal Blog category to The World Bloggers And Social Media Awards 2012.

If you have enjoyed my writings so far, please feel free to visit the website of Social Media Award and vote for my blog. The blog is called Life Is One Big Stage. I have just entered it yesterday so hopefully the numbers will increase in days to come. The online voting ends on 6th February 2012. A simple sign up will take you to the category page. Honestly, I have no idea what are the prizes but that doesn’t matter. For those who have voted for me, thank you so much.

The Service Industry

Basic requirement to work in the service industry (according to the Service Book of Hanie):

You must enjoy interacting with people. No point working in the service industry if most of the time you prefer to interact with your mobile phones, or feeling defiant each time someone comes to your counter to ask for something. I can understand that sometimes you are feeling under the weather, but then, try your best to put on your best face for the day. Otherwise, take a leave, go home and sleep. Or go to the mall for some shopping therapy. Trust me, it works even with simple purchase of a pen.

For many years I have been involved in the manpower industry especially in the outsourcing of manpower in the hospitality and service industry. The first question that I would ask are these:

Do you like interaction with people?

 

Followed by a few other questions such as:

  • How do you feel about working with a lot of people around you?
  • How do you feel about working on holidays, weekends and evenings?
  • What does your spouse/partner feel about you working on holidays, weekends and evenings?
  • If you have any children, who looks after them if you had to work on holidays, weekends and evenings?
  • If you have any pets, who would look after them if you have to work long hours?
  • What do you enjoy most in this industry?
  • Is there anything that you don’t enjoy being in this industry?

As you can see, I like my crew to be inclusive and to think beyond their daily work. I do not enjoy seeing someone being sulky when the truth is that she is worried about her daughter’s rising temperature due to fever. And the babysitter is texting her constantly asking whether she could pick her child up as babysitter needs to go back to her kampung the same evening.

The first job I landed myself was as a Telex Operator/Receptionist. I was 18 then. I was eager to start working at a grand salary of RM280.00/month although there were 3 exchange student programs and a study sponsorship to Japan waiting for me. My mom wanted to kill me for this but, that’s another story to tell.

I spent the first Hari Raya Aidilfitri of that year managing the switch boards and telex machine. I cried as it was my very first Aidil Fitri away from the family. The shift started at 7.00 am and I was already feeling miserable on the night before. Or how about working on a graveyard shift? They don’t call it graveyard shift for nothing…Or how about split shift?

Then, there was the job at the travel agency. I’d like to think that it takes a lot of guts and with the right attitude working in a travel agency. You deal with all kinds of people, with all kinds of attitude. I used to go home with some sick feeling deep in my stomach worrying that I might have missed some poor traveler’s pick up at the airport. Or worse still, his pick up from the hotel to the airport.

I started driving when I was 16. It was a manual Proton Saga, Chini green, that’s what they call it. I have never driven any other car until I joined this particular travel and car rental company. The interview with the company supervisor went quite painlessly until he told me to drive this……gigantic sized Volkswagen van.

Errrrk!

Throughout the years, I have traveled a bit, stayed at a few hotels, eaten at some good places and meet people. I am fortunate enough as George shares similar perspective on how service should be rendered in all these establishments.

 

Makan places

SouledOut still holds a sweet place in my heart as I think the crew are just awesome and food is great. Service at Kelantan Delights is great too. The food is yummylicious. Head to their place for good Kelantan food and you wont be disappointed. Porto Romano wont disappoint me in terms of service and great down-to-earth comfort food. Sri Nirwana, the banana leaf rice restaurant in Bangsar renders straight to the point, no-nonsense service. Food is great though. I am not discounting other small businesses who have perfected the meaning of service. I frequent this mobile van run by a certain daughter of a woman named Kak Nab every so often. She sells the world’s best laksam Kelantan and nasi kerabu. I kid you not. Her mobile van is parked by the roadside in Taman Tun Dr Ismail from 7 am to about 10 am, every day. I love buying from her not only because of her delicious food but she knows me by name, and knows what I like.

 

Hotels

YTL properties including Vistana, a few other boutique resorts such as Amanrimba, Suria Hotel properties are all great with their services.

 

The flipside

From my observation:

  • Pay is low. Some goes as low as RM3.00/hour with working hours can go as long as 12 straight hours.
  • A lot of places do not provide career advancement or training for self development. Sometimes employers do not even provide proper training.
  • No career support such as insurance or EPF.

This is the Catch 22 situation to some employers as training is cost. I have experienced this situation with my Chini Restaurant. The crew had a 3 month pre opening experience, salary scale higher than the average market standard coupled with service points, meals and uniform. And Sundays are off.

Still, they left for a mere RM10 difference at another place simply because we at Chini Restaurant do things a bit differently than other local restaurants that they are used to work. For instance, they asked me why should they clean the washroom when it “doesn’t look very dirty”. Or why I insist on separating the chopping boards between dry and wet goods. Or how come I do roll calls in the morning complete with checking of nail fingers. (Yes I carry nail clippers during roll calls…)

My rant on service continues in the next blog……

Jane Goes To The Vet, Again

Our tiny bundle – Jane has not been poo poo-ing properly for the past few days and I was worried.

So off we went for a short jalan-jalan to visit Dr Ong. Blackie came along too so that he could be looked at. He still has his runny nose. Just like a little boy, he make a big fuss and had to be persuaded to get into the carrier.

Jane apparently had constipation and something needed to be done. The vet needed to administer enema to relieve the blockage in the bowel.

Oh! Great! ;-(

Now, I have never seen an enema being administered to a cat, let alone to a kitten. Oh well, there’s always a first time to everything, right?

This was Jane just before the procedure…..

My poor baby…;0((

During the procedure, I was there to sooth her by stroking her head and talking gently, telling everything will be alright. Jane, being a good girl as she is, was quite cooperative. And oh, boy there was so much of…errr..poo…that came out from that tiny body!

All was well and fine after that.

Blackie got his new medicine and can’t come out to play with his friends for the next one week or so. I know he wont appreciate that.

It has been a long day for everyone today. But, the tiredness just gone away when I look at all the furbabies.

I mean, who wouldn’t want to love this?

(Whistle -cuteness overload)

 

 

 

When A Cat Is Gone

I have lost so many furbabies all throughout my years as I have been keeping pets ever since I was a child. We used to have dogs when we were living in the kampung. There was one favourite mutt named Bob who would follow my grandma and I each time we go to the paddy field or to the river. His brown coat shines under the sun and his eyes alert. We lost him to a careless driver who plough through a few electric poles and him who happened to be standing by the road side while negotiating a bend near our kampung home.

There was my civet cat named Mr Mus. A majestic looking creature who decided to eat my grandparents’ chickens after he got hungry one day. A few years down the road, I had another civet cat by the name of Mushy. Such an adorable thing and loves nothing but eating satay with my dad. On weekends, you can see both of them, dad and Mushy sitting by the side door to the kitchen. Both enjoying chicken satay and looking so happy.

Then, there was the endless fish, more dogs and cats, chicken, goats, rabbits, hamsters – one after another of whom I will name it Bruce.

Each and everyone of this furbaby is like a family member. Each are unique and possesses personality that differs them from one to another.

Each time they are gone, it feels as if a part of me is gone with them too. My heart breaks a thousand pieces and I will grieve for them for a long time. No words could describe the feeling of loss I experience. The pain is so deep in my heart that sometimes makes me unable to sleep.

As the years go by, the pain doesnt get any lesser, or better. It just feels the same – deep pain and a sense of loss. But life has to move on as there are other furbabies that need my attention. However, I think with all the years too I have managed to identify the grieving process.

Acceptance

Sometimes it is not easy to accept that a pet that you have grown to love and attach is no longer with you. They might just be gone one day or got sick and dies. I used to have a cat, Tiger. This long orange colour haired bundle of furball was the sweetest thing, ever. He would sleep next to me each night and fall asleep like a baby with his head on the pillow..every day I would comb his beautiful fur and talk to him. I lost him when the neighbour accidently ran over him.

I felt that part of my heart was ripped away and I was dying too.

 

Grieving

I grieved, cried for many weeks. I still do when I think of him. He was my friend after all and when I am sad, he would look at me with his soft, brown eyes and as if saying, “It is okay, mommy, I am with you…”.

Along the years, there were the many who had crossed the Rainbow Bridge. And those who were special too. They were special because of the condition when I first found them. Be it in the drain, from the nigh market, by the road side, or when the mommy cat came to the house with a big belly, looking for a place to give birth.

I grieved when my Dexter (the first Dexter) dies. I grieved when Socks, Killer, Snowy, Belle, Julius, PJ, Dexy and so many other dies.

In my grieving moments, I always thought that I would never ever adopt a cat again so that the pain will lessen. Besides, I still have a few more at home. But, hey. What do you know? They have ways to come into your life and make you love them.

Each time I washed the floors at home, automatically I would look for Dexy (our deformed cat) to move her well away from the wet floor as she didnt like to get wet. But she is no longer around. I used to wash the floors while having tears in my eyes.

 

Coping with the pain

Each one of us grieve differently for the loss of a cat. When Dexy dies, the first reaction I had was to look out for a deformed cat to adopt. I had this urge to care and love for a helpless kitty and at the same time blamed myself for her death. I thought I should have done more. I should have taken her earlier to the vet. I should have, would have, whatever.

But she dies anyway despite receiving the best care. She let me loved her for 2 and a half years. And shes gone. I sit by her grave everyday and still “see” her perching over her favourite spot on the sofa.

Right after Dexy was gone, we adopted Blackie and the latest addition, Jane to accompany Whistle and the others. We are back on number 27 as of today. The kids are an amazing lot. They are such a lovely and loving animals who love you back unconditionally. It doesnt matter what you look like in the morning, or how your ass looks while in that jeans. They just love you and you love them back.

And that’s, what matters.

 

(This is Uncle Kucing’s paw paw)

Simple Weekday Dinner Idea – Roast Beef

Who says that roast beef is for Sunday lunch? Or roast lamb? Or lamb chops? Nothing is easier than chucking a chunk of lovingly marinated meat into the oven, and wait for your dinner. In the meantime, make sure you make good use of your time by putting dirty clothes in the washing machine, feed your kitty cats, put away clean glasses, hit the shower, watch CSI and chit chat with your Other Half.

An hour and a half later (that’s for medium well), you know that your dinner is alllllmooooost ready. All you need is some side salad. And, you are done!

 

My mid-week roast beef recipe is simple:

  • A sachet of Lipton mixed-onion soup (if you cant get this, a simple rub of salt, pepper, olive oil, Italian herbs will do)
  • Throw in all your favourite vegetables in the same tray. I like onions, whole garlic, carrots, squash.
  • Cover with tin foil and put in the oven. Make sure you crank up the heat to 240C.
  • Save the pan juice to create that lovely, lovely gravy

 

My simple lettuce salad with honey mustard dressing:

  • Cos lettuce (or Romaine lettuce as some people call it)
  • Pink plum tomatos
  • As dressing, I used a few spoons of honey (I use the tualang honey which we bought from the Orang Asli in our Cameron Highlands trip), a couple of spoons of whole mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste

Roast beef ala Hanie

 

Simple lettuce salad with honey mustard dressing

I Have A Restless Dragon At Home

“I believe everything until it’s disproved. So, I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it is in your mind. Who’s to say that dreams and nightmares aren’t as real as here and now?” ~ John Lennon

 

According to the Chinese zodiac, a dragon is the mightiest of all the signs in the zodiac. They live by their own rules, passionate, enthusiastic and unafraid of challenges.

Unfortunately, with all these energies make a Dragon exhausted easily .

It is said that a Wood Dragon, the 5th sign from the 12 zodiacs, has a strong creative and artistic personality. A Wood Dragon is also a perfectionist and sets a very high standard of himself.

I know that my Wood Dragon is restless. He is restless to do all the brilliant ideas that he has thought of and take up more challenges in order to proof his capabilities.

(credit here)

By the way, John Lennon was a Dragon himself.