Be Brave, My Friend.

The Malay has a saying…disangkakan hujan hingga ke petang, rupanya hujan di tengah hari…(you thought it will be sunny till the evening, but it rains at noon).

After close to 20 years of marriage, a friend of mine is ending her marriage. She’s moving out from her marital home this week.

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Be brave, my friend. Be very brave…

It is a big world out there. But you can survive as you have always been a survivor all these years.

Life is too short to be unhappy and living a life of misery. Pick up the pieces again as you go along.

Be brave, my friend…

There is always a silver lining at the end of the dark clouds. You just need to keep on moving and don’t stop.

The world may feel like it is opening up, swallowing every bits of your broken heart  and heavens falling down on you. But, that is okay. The sun will rise again just like any other day. The birds will sing, the flowers will bloom. You just need to see the beauty that God creates for His creatures. And you move on.

Be brave, my friend. Be brave…

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…

 

Knot That Got Unravelled

knot-1110536_1920When I started in the business many years ago, there were many people along the way whom have contributed to my growth. Some in a good way, some gave examples at how I should not be. These people came in so many forms – family, friends, vendors, bosses, colleagues..and I think it is important to realize that “they” are there, at that exact moment to provide you with life lessons – just when you needed it.

Think about it as learning-on-demand. In HR terms, learning-on-demand is a knowledge-based learning and it can happen in real time, any where, anytime, just as when you need it. Cool huh?

And there is a saying that people come into your life for a season, a reason or for a lifetime.

 

The Art Of Finding The Soul Mate

This piece is dedicated to a dear friend, Mohsin who is a game changer, explorer, adrenaline junkie, single & available and is on his quest to look for The One.

All of us grew up watching Disney movies where the Prince and Princess will live happily ever after at the end. The movies are always accompanied with beautiful songs which are so Disney-esque.

And still did not see it in the real world.

Beautiful, I thought. But I never thought that true love would happen to me. Finding that elusive soul mate is just a fairy tale. I grew watching so many loveless marriages and shattered relationships that the idea of true love just eluded me.

The Never Land

Being single at one point of my life taught me a few important things, and I call this my Never Land:

  • never underestimate your own strength of living through life
  • never have the “I am a victim” mentality
  • never “settle” as you deserve more. Psychobitches and psycho bastards are abound and difficult to shake off.
  • never disregard your bull shit detector/gut feels that God gives you
  • never accept “half loaf of bread”
  • never be needy and desperate
  • never compact your life in a small box. The world is your oyster, go explore.
  • (this is for men) never let your dick do the thinking as it has no brain for rationalisation.

Some friends ask me how do G and I achieve a balance in our own marriage. Being so different and yet so compatible. Well, I do not have all the answers but one thing we agreed upon is that we both have had life experiences before we met each other. If we had met years before we were destined to meet, I do not think we will even tolerate each other, let alone being married! Being the practical people that we are, we treated the relationship as a business similar to merger & acquisition. We prodded, examined, asked, validated everything from divorce papers, salary slips to health screens to legal papers. Then we opened up the “closets” and think about whether we could live with all these information with a knowledge and acceptance that history was done. That this person is here, now, present and he/she cannot undo what has happened in the past. The acceptance is important because this is where the trust comes in. The trust that whatever you found in the closets will never be used against you in the future. This is where the NDA (non disclosure agreement) comes in. Next step is to sign the M&A or in this context, the pre nuptial agreement.

But, one of the key things is this – your “customer service” must be opened, 7 days a week, 365 and a quarter – ever ready to serve your “client” (spouse/partner/soulmate). Come rain or shine, this customer service must be grounded, neutral and objective.

Why I Am A Big Advocate of Pre nuptial Agreement

Donald Trump, one of my big time idols advocates pre nuptial agreement. “It’s a hard, painful, ugly tool,” says Trump. “Believe me, there’s nothing fun about it. But there comes a time when you have to say, ‘Darling, I think you’re magnificent, and I care for you deeply, but if things don’t work out, this is what you’re going to get.” It is worth noting that he was married twice before Melania Knauss and both ex wives tried contesting the pre nup with no success.

See what happens when the love is lost? When you are still in love, you want to give and give and love and care the other person. When the love is lost, trust me my friends, even a single sen will be dug out from the past – where was it gone to, what have you done with it, etc etc.

It is also a show of responsibility especially when you have a business to run. Pre nuptial agreements ensures the company’s sustainability which in return takes care of its employees. Do not punish the employees for your own stupidity when the company is split into several ways upon your divorce. Imagine 10s, 100s or thousands of employees who are out of jobs when this happens.

The Check Boxes

Sure, you can create as many boxes as you like as you go along but remember all these boxes must also be a reflection of yourself. Would you check all these boxes for yourself?

So Where’s The Art In This?

Be brave, listen to your gut feel, open up your mind and do not be gullible. It is easy to fall in lust and confused it with love.

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.

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.

Origami Condom

I haven’t the faintest idea how a condom could be an origami. But that was what it was – origami condom.

Apparently, some dudes named Daniel Resnic and Ray Chavez had created this revolutionary condom from silicone instead of latex. Most probably a God-sent creation to those who experience allergy to latex, I found this new creation intriguing. Interestingly, they created not one, not two but THREE types of condom namely for male, female and (check this out…) receptive anal intercourse condom(?). Really?

Check out the video link and article here.

The site’s link is here.

This reminds me of an ex contract employee who worked for my company in the hospitality division. She was great at what she did. She trained the junior crew in table setting and all that. But, she was also allergy to latex so that when certain food prep had to be done, she had to use plastic gloves instead.

The one thing good about this is that, I told her, that this condition was a way to be celibate until she get married….hehe…

Now, I wonder how much would this origami condom cost in the market…….wait…I have another question…..would they rig my idea and produce curry-flavoured condom?

Wait, I have ANOTHER question…do they send samples…?

Leave The Drama At The Door, Kids!

I wonder whether kids know how much parents really sacrificed in terms of money, from the day of conception to the day they turn 21. Let me count the ways:

  • Days after the conception, after one missed period: RM25.00 (pregnancy kit).
  • Visit to the doctor to reconfirm pregnancy: RM100.00
  • Expensive dinner for comfort food after finding out that you are pregnant: RM200.00 (maybe more if you love steak or seafood)
  • Maternity clothes: RM2,000.00 (average of 2 a month till you popped)
  • Medical check ups: RM2,700.00 for the next 9 months. Average of RM300.00 per visit. Not included emergencies.
  • Labour room, medical etc RM6,000.00

All these not including other expenses i.e. bottles, booties, etc etc etc. Do not forget the college fees too.

And then, there’s life’s little lessons along the way which are totally priceless, just like the Mastercard advertisement. My mind just raced back to maybe 22 years when real life was just a beginning for me. I thought people could survive on love but the daily reality check was difficult to accept. How naive and accepting I was then.

Bring forward to 2001. Building a business from scratch was not easy. Some got it right from birth. Unfortunately I was not born with a silver spoon, but years of hard work paid off with some relatively comfortable life.

Then, more dramas.

Some children think it is their birth right to run away from home to “think about their so-called crappy lives”. All these just to create unnecessary worry to their parents. And what about that crappy attitude when they talk to their parents. Amazingly, that crappy attitude just change like the swift move of Psy’s Gangnam dance when they talk to their friends. Funnily enough, they are even nicer to their friends’ parents! To add salt to the injury, they even hoped that their friends’ parents are their parents too. And they will tell this right to your face as you serve them dinner after braving the city’s traffic jam and slaving the entire day at work.

Nice.

Now, back to all these dramas. Trust me, it does not end there. It just gets worse. They also think that it is their birth right to air the laundry (of course all these are one sided story) in public so that their self pity, selfish behaviour will be comforted by some unknowing, sympathetic friends.

But God had other plans to test His subjects. He has a dry sense of humour sometimes – for instance, He will throw in the misery and painful break up of a marriage to only reward you with the most fulfilling partnership with your future soulmate whom you only ever had read somewhere in a fairy tale before.

One day He decided to open up the Gate Of Wealth and bestow you opportunities to make heaps upon heaps of money that you can literally waltz into a store and buy everything except the toilet sink. And yet, He tested you with the loneliness, sadness, anger emptiness when your partner left you for someone else younger.

The problem is, you can never buy happiness. And that, is a big problem.

One morning many years ago, I woke up with a bad case of migraine realizing that I had nothing else in my life – no spouse, no wealth, run-out savings, no relatives, lost many friends, no home and no business. Divorce is a messy thing. It saps out the life out of you like the Kalahari during summer time. Not that I have ever been there but I read that the dessert’s temperature could go as high as  50C (122F). The only thing left was a Teenager, the cats and my self determination to rise up again.

So, technically, you need to find that elusive oasis pronto to survive or you are a dead meat. Sometimes, you will see only the mirage…..

Yet, worked I did. Worked so hard so that I can put food on the table, buy clothes, pay the house, save for college, little trips and presents; and all the things as how a single parent should be doing for her little family. 

Children of divorced parents have no effing idea what kind of sacrifices their parents have made. Many, unselfishly sacrificed their own happiness and comfort for the children’s sake. Do you know how many times they forgo their own meals so that you can eat? What about festive seasons when they insist to buy your clothes and not theirs? Or when they have to ask for pay advances so that they can pay for your tuition classes because the ex doesnt believe in paying anything? Does anyone else care that the rice in the can has reached to the bottom that all I could see was the measuring cup?

And yet all these children see is food on their plate, new clothes in the wardrobe, Astro paid, the car moves, the fridge laden with food, phone credits topped up and their pocket money paid. Off they skip happily with friends.

So, what are they after really, for parents like me for instance? Well, I am not asking much. Buy me a simple Ramly burger with your first salary would be nice although a dinner at Lafite would be more fitting. Or, a simple respect by asking how am I.

I am tired of dramas from children of post divorce. Many are ungrateful bunch and selfish. They think that the world will revolve around them forever and a day without an inkling how hurtful or painful their actions and behaviour can be. Some are such suckers for pain that they will stick like a a Super Glue to other people who abuse them verbally. And yet, I really do not understand why the respect and care are not given to those who have sacrificed and protected them.

Conclusion? Perhaps, you have to be cruel to be kind. 

Remember, parents are human too and they will want to feel happiness in their lives minus all the diva-ish dramas. Cause life is too short for dramas.

And I want to live my live for me too. Some decisions such as new location for home, new cat, new sofa, fittings, flower pots, a step dad or step mom are to be made sometime in this life. Some, such as the badly scratched furniture need to be replaced. But not step dad or step mom.

Not happy with that decision?

Too bad.

My Girl Has Flown Out Of The Nest

The Daughter has officially shifted to her new place early this week. I really cant believe it. No force, no stress, no drama – just a natural progression in life, I think.

George has agreed to sponsor some costs for her bed and I told her I will sponsor the pots and tableware as a housewarming gift.

WOW!

Last night it was raining heavily. There was only George, myself and the rumbling place. And the furkids. Rexton, as usual, was waiting infront of The Daughter’s bedroom, not realizing that she will not be home…..poor Rexton. The house sounded empty. No loud funky music, no buzzing or ding dong sound from a Black Berry, no youth sized blouses hanging at the drying area, no size 5 shoes by the door, no extra key set with that funny looking key chain on the side table.

No Daughter.

;-( I am experiencing an Empty Nest Syndrome!

The Daughter after cleaning up her new place.

My Husband Loves Me So Much That He Flies MAS

Airfare war is a real bitch especially when you want to get to Point A to Point B in a huff and planning is done like….in a couple of days only. You get Air Asia, MAS or Fire Fly competing for your ringgit when you fly local.

Anyways, back to the story of my husband.

Friday night. I picked him and his work colleague from his office around 10.30pm as he was working late for a project. Told me that he needs to be back to the office the next day to complete his work.

Ok, I said. I know he has been working hard for many weeks due to several projects he is on.

“But”, he said, “I need to leave very early, around 6.30 am.”

Wow, so early, I thought. But never mind, maybe he needs to complete whatever he is doing by a certain hour the next day.

And so, the next day which was on a Saturday, he was picked up by his work colleague at 6.30 am. I, on the other hand, drove out from the house around 8.30am for a 9.00 am meeting in Setiawangsa.

By 1.30pm I texted him, asking whether could he join me for lunch. He said, “Nope, work still not done.”

And then…around 2.00 pm my dearest husband called.

“Are you at home?” He asked. “Nope, still out”, I said.

“Owh. When you go back home, can you get the phone number for the jewellery shop that we went to in Kuala Terengganu last month?”

“Err…why?” I asked, curious.

“Well….there has been a change of plan. Guess where am I right now?”

“Are you not in the office?” I was getting more curious.

“I am sitting at the Kemaman Kopitiam in Kuala Terengganu……”

WHAT???!!!! HOW? WHY? WHEN?

At this juncture, my mind thought that George is back in Uptown Area and, why is he in Uptown Area? (there is a Kemaman Kopitiam in Uptown, Damansara Utama)

“Err..no dear”. Husband said. “I am in KUALA TERENGGANU.”

“Why are you in Kuala Terengganu? How? Why? When?”

He said, he flew in the morning. With MAS…He wanted to get that jewellery that we both saw during our last month’s trip to the East Coast. But the surprise gift was not to be because the shop was closed!

I called the owner of this shop. She said, “Yeah, we are close for the day as I am in Kuala Lumpur for a conference”. I think I have somehow managed to make her feel bad for not opening the shop by telling her the story of my husband who flew in earlier to get me the surprise gift.

There goes the surprise my husband wanted to give me. I still couldnt believe he actually did what he did. He even flew MAS! I was speechless and promptly cried at the office of where I had my meeting. Luckily there was no one who saw that.

No one has ever did something as sweet (or crazy) as my George did. I must have done something right in my previous life to deserve a man like this.

Thank you my Husband. I love you very much.