I Forgot to Blog About My Birthday

Food. One of my favourite topics. The last birthday was all about food and food and friends and families. The birthday was last month’s the 20th April. I was 18 again. Three cakes within the 48 hours! And, of course, more food, friends, families. (The 3 Fs)

Birthday Eve Dinner

The birthday kicked off with a pre birthday dinner at our regular favourite, Muhibbah Restaurant, Sg Penchala.

Simple yet satisfying meals together – sweet and sour chicken, garlic asparagus and I wanted the fried spicy loh shee fun.

The Day

Right on the day, our company together with an associate consulting firm had organized a forum in one of the hotels in the city. We had about 30 odd CHROs who attended our event and I felt blessed to have such wonderful network.

Being a breakfast forum, we obviously had, what else, but a lovely breakfast spread. Now, this being the Ritz-Carlton, no simple food can look simple in their hands.

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Did I tell you that their nasi lemak was SEDAP?

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Finally as we wrapped up the event, suddenly the front entrance to the hall opened up and I saw several hotel staff pushing a food cart with two cakes and candles. People started to sing birthday song, and I wondered, “Whose birthday?”

Duh.

IMG_20170420_113357Check out the birthday cakes! Aren’t they just awesome!

18447585_10154632537206169_7253276834594800577_nYou can see how surprised I was….

The event ended on a high note with more lunch treat from friend, CJ at the Sentidos, Starhill Gallery. (by now no turning back on the calorie counting).

You want good service? Checked.

You want good food? Checked..

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(above) The juicy shrimps…IMG_20170420_135733

…and the grilled juicy lamb…

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…and tacos…

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and finished off with churros…by this time, I am telling you, I could go on for days without food.

More cake and makan the next day…

The next day we attended tahlil and doa selamat at our friend’s place, Eda. Tahlil for her late hubby, and our good friend, Allahyarham Megat. What I didnt know was that she had also prepared a beautiful cake for me!

(I love you Eda….thank you!)

IMG_20170421_223147Yeah, another one of that surprised look…hahaha…

 

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Happy Holidays

holiday_wishes

Christmas Eve Dinner

G and I decided to host a simple dinner on the Christmas eve. Simple because it was a pot luck dinner instead of a full cooking session which we had done in the previous years. No turkey and fresh oysters this year as well. Prices have gone up and wallet is thinner. So, roast chicken it was, among other things.

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Garlic roast chicken. Gone in minutes.

nasi-lemak

The neighbour, Shux, brought his delicious nasi lemak. I must tell you that for a single dude, he can really cook. The last he was at our home, he arrived with a couple of ramekins of creme caramel. Seen tucked in between the rice and the sambal was my garlic and herbs steamed fresh clams which another neighbour bought for me earlier at the Kuala Selangor fish jetty.

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My funky rooster plates…hehehe…and the rest of the dishes. I cooked Korean noodles as a filler, lots of garden salad with Italian dressing and green apples salad as another side. Pandan syrup drinks to wash down all these food.

No leftovers unlike the year when we had the turkey. I tell you, we didn’t want anything to do with turkey anymore for a good few months afterwards.

 

What Legacy Would You Leave Behind?

It has been a long day for G and I today. He was busy with his client’s coaching session and I was in a meeting with a client who is now soon fast to be a friend and hopefully, a business associate. It was amazing at how things just happened.

Several months G and I were involved in an exciting project on behalf of a client. The project involved us developing video scripts, both in English and Bahasa Malaysia. The project soon evolved to be like a real movie! The things you learn what goes on behind the scenes were so amazing and we both loved it so much.

Today’s blog was not so much about the video project but it is about how I met about this someone.

The video taping took place at an office somewhere in the city centre. The first night we did the shooting, the General Manager of the company came in to have a look at what we did. It just so happened that he brought his entire family along – his wife and two twins! – as they were on the way out from the city heading towards the East Coast for a short holiday. The one hour he said he wanted to stay turned out to be several hours. He was literally mesmerized (as we did) with the entire major production.

In between the shooting, someone introduced me to his wife. After exchanging some pleasantries, we chatted about the weather, the holidays, the usual stuff. The conversation was not long, could have been about 30 minutes ago. But too long to be away from behind the camera as I was supposed to be coaching the actors with their script.

That 30 minutes chat apparently turned out to be a life changing event for this person. She is now less stress, more relaxed and sure of her daily decisions about career, family and life. She is leaving her current job which pays extremely well but has been giving her grief mentally. She is, in her words, pursuing the greater things in life.

Just the other day, we spoke on the phone and she told me exactly that. What she said, gave me goosebumps. I could not recall what exactly was I said to her but here it was…

Apparent the life changing question was this,” What legacy would you like to leave behind?”

Farewell To A Friend (Tribute To Pak Ngah Ben)

I am truly lost for words on how to say farewell to this friend.

 A humble man who had dedicated his life to rescuing, saving and helping stray cats, Pak Ngah Ben was a well known man among the circle of rescuers. He had rescued so many strays, cared and nursed them back to health and treat them with so much love.

His rescued strays, from ugly and sick cats turned into such beautiful cats that people thought they were of high breed.

It was quite late in the evening of Friday, 31 December 2014 when another close friend, Emi called my mobile. George and I were returning back home from one of our evening drives. That was when she shared the news that our friend has just passed away after Maghrib prayers.

We promptly make a detour and drove to the other side of the city to his house. It was already 11.30 pm. We arrived at his apartment but was told by the neighbour that his jenazah (remains) was sent to the nearby surau.

There were a lot of people there. I approached the wife, Mak Ngah and we both broke down. And next to us was the remain of Pak Ngah, covered in batik sarung and looking as if he was in deep slumber. The Al Quran readings around us were drowning my thoughts.

It was too terrible to accept the loss as I just saw his FB posting not more than 5 hours ago. He was there, and then, he was gone.

This evening, as I perused old photographs of the various events we had joined together, I realized that there was no picture of us together. The last visit to his house was after the Eidil Fitri last year when we paid him, his wife and the furkids a visit.

Widdy at Pak Ngah Ben's houseThis was taken during that visit. The furkid I was holding was named Widdy, a stray that now looked like a Persian or some exotic looking cat, thanks to his daddy.

A real loss to the rescue circle, and to friends who appreciate him for his friendship.

Rest in peace, Pak Ngah. We will all miss you.

Do You Remember Your First Road Trip Or Even Your First Trip On A Plane?

PART 1 – The journeys of past

I was inspired to write down my thoughts today after reading a blog by the CEO of Marriott International, Arne Sorenson. He asked a simple question – “Do you remember your first road trip or even your first trip on a plane?”

What a thought provoking question.

I cannot really recall my first ever road trip because I grew up in a family who loved travelling whenever we could especially during school holidays. These trips were all extremely exciting because you just did not know where you will end up at! My parents usually did not tell me about all these plans. Our road trips will usually involving them picking me up after school session ended, usually on the last Friday which was the last day of school. I will see the big travelling bag already in place on the back seat. I was supposed to change from the school uniform into something more comfortable at the back seat of the car and all the while excitement just get built up depending on what I saw in the bag….

Plenty of beach towel, swimming suit, slippers meant we will be heading towards somewhere with PLENTY of water, usually the beach. Sweaters and socks meaning were will be heading towards the mountains.

And mind you, these trips will take days and days and days. My dad with his trusty big camera will snap away plenty of pictures (back then they were in black and white). I usually get confused using his camera because the focus frame will show an upside down image. You can now imagine how many years ago was that….

Big trips to the beach will usually see us ended up in Penang, Port Dickson or Kuantan. The drive took forever as there was still no big highways back then. Those long, winding roads that passed through tiny villages and small towns were interesting. Sometimes we had to over night at some of these tiny places as it was already so late at night and Abah was too tired to drive. Remember, in the old days, the cars had no air cond and power steering.

Accommodation was usually something basic such as government rest houses. We could not afford expensive, fancy hotels although sometimes we ended in some Chinese-owned hotels with names such as Ak Keong Hotel, Excelsior Hotel, Champagne Hotel or whatever, where the bathroom is usually located at the end of the corridor. They will provide you with these basic necessities such as a room with a fan, tiny Lux soap bars and tiny guest towels. The room slippers, if provided at all, will have its back-end snipped away to discourage pilferage.

Meals were simple, usually eaten at simple restaurants or rest houses. No fancy fast food outlets back then. Or, my mom will pack some rice and dishes from home and this will be our journey meals where dad will stop at several places. Sometimes we will stop near a river and this became a mini picnic of sort.

Will keep all of you posted on Second Part of this blog. Will talk about my experience travelling on a plane for the first time…..

For those who wants to read Arne’s blog, click below:

Blog by the CEO of Marriott International

Cat Sitting

Emi and Jaja were cat-sitting the kids over the weekend as we were away for a much-looked-for short trip down to Malacca.

As the two ladies are regulars at home, the kids were not skittish at all with them. Emi took the opportunity to do some practice cam shots with a few of them with wonderful results.

ArthurArthur looking stunned…hehehe…he looks adorable.

Arthur4Getting to that itchy spot!

Boris2The handsome Boris – the Russian Blue look-alike.

Guinevere bnwA lovely black and white image of Guinevere.

GuinevereGuinevere preening herself.

KucingWe simply adore this image of Uncle Kucing. Emi called it the Godfather look.

Kucing2Another shot of Uncle Kucing.

ShebaSheba drinking from the huge water bowl at the porch.

Thanks Emi and Jaja for cat sitting!

 

 

 

 

The “Malays Married To Expats Group” Meets

A couple of weeks ago, a few members of the Malays Married To Expats Group decided to meet up at Mont Kiara. Venue? Where else but at the Starbucks….unfortunately, a few of us were still away for the long Chinese New Year holidays and so only three couples arrived for the coffee.

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George, moi, Alia, Richard, Andy and Azura

Discussions evolve around the differences of culture, food, religious support and all that. Sometimes there were stories about how the Malay spouses were treated unfairly at some establishments. Some of these retailers ought to teach their sales staff on how to treat mixed couples and not assume that just simply because we have a Mat Saleh walking next to us, doesnt mean that we want to buy that RM20,000 diamond ring, or that RM30,00 lounge chair.

Or how about this. One member of the group was thought to be a maid trailing with the “Mister”‘s sons not realizing that she was the Lady of the House. One spouse was ignored while the husband was swarmed by a team of sales staff trying to sell a massage chair.

I had personally received these kind of treatment before too. George was swarmed with some service staff at a restaurant while conveniently ignoring me. Had the same thing while entering a fancy boutique.

Assumption is the mother of all fuck-ups.

We are not sure how many Malays are there married to expats in Malaysia but we found out that there are quite a number. The group is still small and in its infancy. It was created as a support group to share information, network and ask questions about any aspect of life as a mixed couple.

Now Everyone Can Blacklist

My friend and her husband have come up with this awesome website called the BlacklistPlanet where you can blacklist anyone and anything. It is not only a review site but serves as an info sharing platform where you can warn others of bad experiences or mistakes that you have made, and hope that other readers will learn from this.

BlacklistPlanet has a story behind its conception. This young couple was coming to a point where both of them were so annoyed at home wreckers, cheaters, bad service, scams etc etc (sounds familiar) and if only there were ways to know all of these right away. They also figured that if this idea is making them happy, it should make everyone else happy too!

I could almost imagine the light bulb moment for them….

And that was how it came about.

The Other Half of the founders explained to me that BlacklistPlanet has a simple mission and that is to create a global Blacklist of individuals, businesses, and products that have been taking advantage of others. What better way to improve the lives of everyone than by letting them know who and what to avoid? Others can then make more informed decisions based on the information provided. Cheating lovers, dishonest contractors, lawyers, nannies, lying job searchers, non-paying tenants, defunct products, stealing maids, animals abusers, wife/husband beaters, horrendous hotels, bad service, horrible food and restaurants… virtually everything that people should be aware of. They have also included mechanism to manage abuse of listing.

Try it out guys. Go to www.blacklistplanet.com.

 

Social Calendar – The Malaysia-New Zealand Chamber Of Commerce Annual Dinner & Dance 2012

One of the social highlights of the year for us is to attend the Malaysia-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce’ Annual Dinner and Dance. I tried at least a few clothes before settling into something black and simple. Cant really go wrong with something black….George looked dashing in his hand painted batik shirt.

The starter was this….New Zealand Green Lipped Mussel Ceviche with Lime and Cilantro served with Green Pea Shooter with Tiger Prawn. I love the green pea shooter…salty, fresh tasting. Strange in a way. Just like drinking your vegetable.

The beautiful soup…Cream of chicken soup with Lobster Oil. Fancy way of serving your chicken soup. It came with chunky sliced chicken. Just beautiful and memorable.

Followed by the main course…(this was mine). Slow Roasted Rack of Lamb with Gremolata and Lentil Stew With Sweet Potato And Smoked Turkey. New Zealand rack of lamb has always been the showpiece for MNZCC’s past dinners. They are tender and oh! so! beautiful, they just melt in your mouth.

….and this was George’s. New Zealand Fillet of Salmon On Lentil Stew with Sweet Potato, Hot English Mustard Burre Blanc. I took the crispy salmon skin from George’s plate.

 

And…..the pretty dessert….Red Fruit Pavlova with Manuka Honey Nougat Parfait with Home Made Kiwi Marshmallow. 

 

The obligatory couple picture taken in front of soon-to-be-auctioned carpet. The price started at only RM9,800.00….