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.

roast-chicken

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.

 

Michael Buble In Kuala Lumpur!!!!!

Reliable sources says that one of my absolute favourite artistes, the suave looking Canadian singer-writer, Michael Buble will be in Kuala Lumpur.

The date, I was told is 27 January 2017.

Michael Buble

This piece of news, uh, is PRETTY exciting!

5th Anniversary Dinner

This is a post dated blog. We had our simple 5th Anniversary Dinner, just the two of us at one of our favourite restaurants in the  city – The Hard Rock Cafe.

It had a funny start actually. The guy who took our order did not expect this White Guy and a local looking lady were fasting or even remotely looking like a pair of Muslim couple. He took down our order and then promptly placed a Happy Hour standee on the table, telling George that they have a wonderful happy hour specials.

George did not want to embarrass the guy and told him thanks, and that could he please bring our order for breaking fast because we are going to break fast. He paused for a moment and left. He came the next round to put our cutleries and promptly removed the Happy Hour standee…

chicken and lamb

pulled lamb sandwich Hard Rock Cafe

Caesar salad Hard Rock Cafe

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Happy 5th Anniversary, my Love. And may we continue to enjoy food as much as we do in 50 years to come.

It Has Been A Wonderful 5 Years! Happy Anniversary, My Darling.

wedding day

 

5 years ago today, I married this wonderful man who left home and make Malaysia his adoptive country. 5 years just passed by so quickly and every day is just an amazing day.

This awesome man is witty, caring, charming, good looking, such a gentleman. His greatest assets to my eyes are his intelligence and empathy.

On this day, I want him to know this – “thank you for being mine and I hope to grow old and grey with you.”

 

 

“Foot In Mouth” Disease

I have responded to the news of the Federal Minister’s plan to ban soup kitchen within the 2km radius of city centre in my Tweets, FB as well as my LinkedIn. Haven’t found the time to actually sit down and pen down my thoughts on this until today.

The main thought that came to my mind each time I hear something as ridiculous as this is – are these the real words that came out from someone’s mouth, or has it been a result of manipulation by the newspapers? Being a person who is sometimes interviewed by the press, I am very aware of the latter whereby words and interpretations of a certain story can be totally off-tangent.

Reading from then salvaging mode press releases by him and a few other supportive parties…well, looks like that was what he said.

Sigh.

Next thought is – I wonder whether all of our Yang Berhormats have been given sessions or trainings on media handling and media crisis management? Perhaps, these two program would be a fantastic part of their leadership development program?

I have never volunteered to cook for the homeless at soup kitchens before, apart from playing a tiny role of sourcing for the rice from Bernas. This came about when the team wanted to do something charitable one December a few years ago.

However, coming from the HR fraternity, I did plenty of recruitment programs for clients back then. Some clients have special requirements that in my mind, not so many conventional recruitment companies want to do due to the low GP and the condition that you need to operate in. No air cond, no flashy office, no formal attire whatsoever, just a pair of keen eye for details and observation skills.

And, a very willing client.

We will sit in these soup kitchens during their meal time, with client sitting behind observing everyone who might have the potential to be recruited. I can tell you one thing – I broke down in each of the session.

You will get one candidate asking for a pair of slippers, or asking whether will there be enough pillows for him to sleep with. Someone else will come along and asked how many meals in a day can he get if he starts working this client? There was one candidate who came all the way from Sabah through a work agency, supposedly to be placed with a client only to be cheated out of his money, Mykad taken away and abandoned in the city.

Not all homeless are uneducated. Some whom we met were just down on their luck. Old men who could not find a job anymore, single mothers who keep two (sometimes three) jobs, taxi drivers, or those who actually work but earn so little that they could not find a decent place to live are mostly whom we met.

Being down in luck for the whole entire year last year gave me a different kind of perspective about what life is. Being homeless is not a choice that everyone wants. I do not believe that when a person wakes in the morning, the first thing that came to his mind is, “Ok, let’s see how I can be a homeless today.”

I wish that some people who sits on their high horses realize that if you strip away most of the things that you have right now , never mind the house and the car – how do you feel? Simple things such as your cable channels, the air conditioner, smart phones – it will be painful indeed.

Now imagine that you do not have a job to sustain life’s needs. Take away the house, let alone owning a car. It gives a domino effect. One of the noblest things to do is to feed hungry people, and I think giving people jobs when they need one also means giving them back self worthiness and dignity. A lot of the Government’s efforts have been concentrated to provide jobs to people. But jobs without the 360 degrees of support is not going to be helpful. Where would the single mothers/fathers leave their children when they go out for work? With an average of RM600/child/month for a day care centre, this is not possible at all when all you earn is a measly between RM20/day to RM40/day.

Poverty in Malaysia is measured by the Poverty Line Index (PLI). A household is considered poor if its income falls below that line. The Poverty Line Index (PLI) for Malaysia was introduced in June 1977 using the 1973 Household Expenditure Survey (HES). It was based on the minimum requirements of a household for food, clothing and footwear, and other non-food items such as rent, fuel and power. For the food component, the minimum expenditure was based on a daily requirement of 9,910 calories for a family of five comprising an adult male, an adult female and three children of either sex within 1-3, 4-6, 7-9 years of age. The minimum requirements for clothing and footwear were based on standards set by the Department of Social Welfare for the requirements of inmates in welfare homes. The other non-food items were based on the level of expenditure of the lower income households as reported in the HES. (cited here)

The urban poor is a reality. Malaysia’s urban poverty line is now RM3,000 compared to RM700 several years ago. In 2012, the Mean Monthly Gross Household Income was RM5,742, an increase of 190%. This may sound fantastic when you look at the numbers. However, again reality strikes. Cost of living rise by the year and even for George and I who had a comfortable combined income found it difficult to make ends meet.

So, coming back to my rant on this topic, think before you speak otherwise you might end up with Foot In Mouth disease.

 

 

 

 

Harassed Over “Sexy Attire”

Looks like the religious police came in another form – school security guards.

Apparently, there was this lady who went to her children’s school was nearly assaulted by a female security guard for dressing in “sexy attire”.

This lady was accused of exposing her body when all she wore was her work uniform. The news also mentioned how the security guard followed her to the school office and was believed that she wanted to her the mother of two.

Read the news here.

This is not an isolated case because I too, had experienced a similar incident. Way back in 2007, I was harassed not by a school security guard but by the Headmistress of the school itself.

Self-righteous, snooty and higher-than-thou attitude lady, she tried to “instill” some nilai-nilai murni (good virues) to me in that quick-flash lecture outside of a classroom while waving and pointing her index finger towards me.

All these happened while other teachers and my daughter were watching in horror.

More “horror” because I did not take it too kindly because I gave her back with a few choiced words that it trailed off to a nicely written report to the nearest Pejabat Pelajaran Daerah (District Education Department).

I was not wearing a mini skirt, see-through blouse with neon bras, white pants with pink thongs or looking like a slut looking for a hook up at the bar. I am sure the mother of two, Fatimah Abdullah from Melaka was not wearing any sexy attire either.

Read my old story here.

This story also reminds me of another incident in Putrajaya not too long ago. I was supposed to have a meeting with one of the Pengarah (Director) of a quasi-government. Together with a few other associates who happened to be all male, we registered ourselves at the counter. All of my male colleagues were allowed to go through except for me.

Now, this appointment was called by this Pengarah for his briefings as well as his team. There I was, the leading team member who was supposed to present the paper, all dressed up in below the knee length black dress and business jacket was stopped at the reception for “not wearing appropriate attire”.

What?

I was brushed off by telling me that it was their “policy on attire”.

Furious with the ridiculous situation, I asked for the blinking copy of the policy in black and white. I also asked to see the security supervisor. By that time, we were like a show with a few spectators wondering what the heck was going on. One of the security guards pointed to my knees.

I asked him what was wrong with my knees when it was well covered by the length of the dress?

He said…”I think I still can see your knees..”

Realizing that talking to a moron was not going to do any good, I promptly called the PA to the Pengarah and had his good office be aware that we were caught late by this silly drama by his security officers.

The incident passed by when the PA himself came down to escort us in with much apologies.

Sometimes I wonder how people see things? These people ought to know what constitutes indecently dressed to proper ones. Are they following a proper policy or they are acting based on their understanding of what “properly dressed” means?

Sick.

 

At The Big Bad Wolf Sale

Time: 2 am

Location: The Big Bad Wolf Sale, The Mines Exhibition Centre

Event: The CRAZY Big Bad Wolf Sale that runs for 24 hours (6-15 December, 2013). Yes, it runs for freakin’ 24 hours…

As we entered the humongous event hall, and saw gadzillion books..(they put up about 3 million books for the event). The hall was packed with humans, humans and more humans at 2 am!

Husband: Wow! I get a hard-on just seeing these books.

Wife: Me too! And, I don’t even have a penis!

cool cats

We left the event hall at 4 am and the hall was still packed.

Crazy.

The Story About My Angry Bird Keychain

I sat in the upmarket tea and coffee place in Bangsar sipping my RM12.00 latte, admiring people walking by the street. The place was nice and cooling what with the full blasted aircondition. It was a comfortable place to be.

Out of nowhere, a man walked in through the glass door, carrying what I believed was key chains of all sorts. He was sweating from the sweltering heat of the streets. His clothes had seen better days, and from the way he walked, the shape of his hands and the way he tilted his head each time he spoke, this man was obviously with physical disabilities.

No one paid any attention to him. They just ignored his presence next to them and pretended that he did not exists. I was surprised that none of the bistro’s employee asked him to leave.

The next minute, he was beside me, showing this bunch of key chains -Ultra Man, Hello Kitty etc etc…and then I saw this big, yellow Angry Bird key chain.

One thing about living in the city is that, you just do not know who is being used in scams. Children, women, people with disabilities, they all have been used to solicit for money and most of the times none of the sales money go to them.

But, my house key chain was rendered a goner a few days ago. I had no other suitable key chains and I was looking for one. I looked at this guy and asked him how much. He said RM10 each. My first instinct told me that the real cost could not have been more than RM2 and this guy was ripping me off.

I told him, that’s ok, I’d pass this time.

But, then, he said something so profound that makes me think in a flash…:

  • here I am sipping a RM12 latte and it will be gone in a minute. The key chain will be with me for a good long while.
  • will I still be able to eat after I give this guy a RM10 for the key chain?

I chose the Angry Bird keychain, handed him the RM10 and he thanked me profusely before walking out to the sweltering heat.

angry bird key chain

 

This was what he said, “Please buy a key chain from me, for my meal of the day.”

 

Do You Remember Your Childhood Days With Fondness?

I was chatting with George yesterday about some childhood memories I have, usually triggered by certain smell or sight.

When I was about 7 or 8 years old, I remember the picnics we used to go to at this waterfall called Lata Jarum. Before the government constructed a giant hydro dam in the area, Lata Jarum was known for its beautiful waterfall and smaller rapids downstream. My mom would wake up very early in the morning to cook fried rice, fried chicken and noodles, packed them in her Tupperware and off we went.

The water was cold that you could place a can of drinks and it felt as if it just came out from the fridge.

Sometimes, the family just decided to drive over to the seaside and played in the water till sun down. At that time, the nearest seaside might be a whole day drive to Kuantan. There was no sophisticated and modern highway back then, just a regular highway that had many twists and turns.

People say that you tend to only remember good things and block away the bad memories. All things considered, I’d like to think that I had spent a great childhood. It was full of great travelling memories and spending time with family and friends.

You Can Never Die Out Of Hunger In Malaysia

George and I used to discuss on how lucky Malaysians are. The Malaysians are blessed with generally good weather all year long, no earth quake or other natural calamity such as typhoon or volcano that threatens to wipe out the entire nation every 20 years or so.

And, food is everywhere. If you were a homeless, you can go any of the soup kitchens in the city, or step into any of the worship houses – the mosques, Hindu temples, churches or the Buddhist temples, you will be fed.

If you were travelling over the weekend, you will see plenty of weddings in the kampungs (village). The kampung folks are pretty generous lot. Hungry? Just stop at any of these weddings, give a courteous hello to the host and you will be invited to eat the wedding feast. Now, dont complain about the lack of cutleries as almost everyone will use their fingers. But hey, it is hearty, good delicious food!!

Spoil for choice, you can eat almost anything from any country at almost any time of the day. You want Russian, Swiss, Indian, Thai, Indonesian, Swedish. As long as you are willing to look for these places and pay…

Or,  budget wise, you can have breakfast from as low as RM2.00 (about USD 66 cents) will give you one crispy roti canai with curry on the side and your choice of coffee or tea. Take dinner meal for instance. You can have a decent meal for less than RM10.00 As for me, a simple fried rice and hot tea will be around RM6.00 (about USD2.00).

Recent weekend short trip brought us all the way to the Sekinchan, Selangor. We stopped by at the various stalls selling fruits and local food and was impressed at how entrepreneurial these folks are.

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Honey bbq chicken wings at only RM1.50 per piece.

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Refreshingly sweet cendol – shaved ice with creamy coconut milk topped with brown sugar and preserved fruits. Only RM3.00/bowl.