Monday, February 27, 2006

When You Don't Know What to Blog

Blogging has become a habit or a ritual for me.

Somehow although I don't have anything in mind to blog about, I still can't help clicking on the `new post' icon on Blogger...

Well, I had quite an eventful weekend - the Vision Builder's course, a l-o-n-g Canto-pop concert which was pretty enjoyable (read about it in MM soon), the choir practice for Easter and a rather interesting though sleep-inducing guitar concert....

Right now what's in my mind is this - and hoping my boss is not reading: I am getting a little worried over this owl's sleeping pattern and working hours.

My `official' working hours are supposed to be 11am-7pm. But these days, when there are no early assignments (thankfully there hadn't been many lately) I would arrive in the office between 2-3pm.. and work till what ever time I need - usually late at night.

Sounds like I'm on an afternoon shift?

Because I get home late, my dinner time is often after 10pm. And then I will stay up till 3am to finish watching the repeat of the WLT HK series that I'm currently following. I have not been following any programs on TV for a long time but this particular one had got me hooked somehow. Well, thank goodness the series will conclude this Thursday and I don't plan to watch any more series.

And hopefully I could adjust my time back (earlier) a bit and follow a more normal lifestyle again...

Brought Jojo back to see the vet today and am glad that his wound is making good recovery. To prevent any more skin problems in the future, we have to be careful with his diet and also to make sure that he is not exposed to wet and damp surrounding..

It was such a surprise when he voluntarily got into the car! Normally he hates car rides and we have to like push and practically carry him into the car. But he wasn't such a good boy when I came home just now. He rushed out the gate and refused to come back until some 10 minutes later, wearing a guilty look on his face.. hmmm...

On the other hand, Jelly now likes to jump onto my bed! Can't really blame her as I was the one who `invited' her up on my bed once. After that, she became bold and would do that whenever she fancies.. Well, I don't mind as long as she is clean.

Ok, enough rambling on one post.. :p

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Demonstration at Balai Berita

As I was shopping after the P.C. this evening to wait for the peak hours traffic to ease before going home, I had a brief voice mail from a colleague that said: "There will be a demonstration tomorrow. Don't come to work and email your stories in."

I was a little surprised but more curious. But I could already guess what the demonstration is about. NST got itself in `trouble' with a cartoon that links to the issue of caricature of Prophet Muhammad. But the cartoon did not contain the supposedly offensive caricature.

For those who missed it, the Non Sequitur cartoon by Wiley Miller showed a street-artist soliciting customers with a notice bearing the words: "Caricatures of Muhammad while you wait", while a boxed caption stated: "Kevin finally achieves his goal to be the most feared man in the world".

And this fuelled up certain parties, especially some Muslim groups and NGOs who really took exception to the cartoon. They wanted to make sure that NST could not get away with it. Some had lodged police report against NST and subsequently a show-cause letter was issued by the Internal Security Ministry. This was reported front-page in NST today.

This on-going fiasco, started by a caricature published in Danish newspaper, has been blown out of proportion if you ask me. May be it was not the wisest thing for NST to publish a cartoon linked to such a sensitive subject at this time, but I really could not understand the extent of the `hoo-haas' that followed..

It didn't help when certain prominent bloggers too seemed to be jumping on the band wagon to further fuelled up this issue.

I am saying this not because I'm working in the company. Already we saw what stern action that had been taken against Guang Ming Daily and Sarawak Tribune. Yes, we should respect each other's religion but like one of the comments I read from a blog on this issue, can people spell out what exactly is offensive about the cartoon by Wiley Miller? And how has it insulted the Prophet?

Anyway, I don't want to get into this debate further. My purpose of this post was to talk about the demonstration. To me, it is like a `historical' occurance, as in my 11 1/2 years working with NSTP and in the media, this would be the first time that such a thing is happening.

So, when I called back office to find out more after hearing the brief voice mail, I was told by a colleague that there was a brief meeting in the evening by the NST editors and we were advised not to go into office until after 5pm. I didn't find out who are the groups exactly that are going stage demonstration outside Balai Berita but apparently things might get violent and ugly.

When I reached home, I read an email from our CEO to all employees and it had a whole list of `rules' or guidelines regarding tomorrow. Apparently they learned that the demonstration would start after the Friday prayer and we were asked to keep away from office during that time. And if we happen to be in the vicinity, we are asked to not wear anything that identify us with NSTP group. Including taking away the NSTP parking sticker on our car.. in case it will get damaged!

I know these are all precautionary measures but they also sound kinda serious..

The few friends I mentioned this to actually think I'm lucky to be able to have a day off! Well, the timing is not good though cause I have quite a lot of work to finish and some stories are done half way in the office system.

Just hope that the demonstrators would be civilised and not blinded by emotions that run high. Lets hope and pray nothing unbecoming would happen tomorrow...

Just Justin

Another example of the perks of my job.

Today I met the talented Justin Lo - one of Hong Kong's brightest newcomers in the music world. Having only released his debut album end of last year, he swept more than 20 awards last year and is the first person to win the Best New Artiste gold award in all the four major music awards!

Well, Justin is not exactly a newbie for he has been working behind the scene as a composer and producer for a few years. And yes, he composes his own songs - mostly of R&B genre - and has an amazing vocal to match. The way he croons falsetto can gives you the goosebumps!

I was very impressed after I first saw him sang on TV (one of those awards shows) and when I got hold of his CD, I have been listening to it over and over again as I just love it.

He will be holding his solo concert in Hong Kong in March and April. Too bad I won't be able to watch it...

Back to today. As Justin will be the guest artist of Leo Ku and Miriam Yeung's concert this Saturday, he has already arrived in KL and had his first press conference and meet-the-fans sessions.

He is exactly how I imagine him to be in person. Amiable, subtle and sweet.. answering all questions sincerely. Well, due to the pretty horrible arrangement for the Q&A session which got a few of us journos boiling inside, I only managed to ask him one question.

Later as we were eating, I saw some winners of radio contest asking him to autograph on his new album. So I too became a fan (actualy I had done this in a number of occasions for the artistes I like ;p) and approached him to sign on the album sleeve.

He took a look at me and asked: `you a reporter?' I said yes and then he asked me to spell out my name. He wrote my name and then even drew a small heart on top of his signature. How sweet...! Looks like he remembered that I am from the media.. ;)

I also seized the opportunity to take a photograph together with him and told him that I like his music very much. He smiled and thanked me. Oh yeah, he did put his arms around me for the photograph although it didn't show in the picture.

Ok, ok. I konw I'm sounding like a awe-struck fan. But hey, it is not a crime right? ;)

To be honest, I am more looking forward to watch Justin sing during Saturday's concert (although it would be only two songs) than Leo and Miriam; since I have already watched the two perform in concerts last year.

Guess what I was listening to in the car as I drove home.. Can't wait to listen to his next album and hopefully to meet him again! :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

I Love My Job Too Much To Go!!

Funny how sometimes you think you're so sure of something but actually you are not...

Last week, I submitted my V.S.S. or Voluntary Separation Scheme application. I thought I was happy with the decision (though the actual decision of whether I'll leave the company or not is up to the people up there) and think that I'll finally have a chance to start afresh doing something else in my life!

The deadline for Malay Mail staff to submit the V.S.S. was actually today - Feb 21, 2006. Yesterday as I was reminded of that, I suddenly had much thoughts running in my head and felt quite restless and uneasy. As I flipped through our papers, I suddenly felt if I leave, I would actually miss what I've been doing. I began to ask myself questions like will I be really happy leaving this job? A job that I've come to love and enjoy so much doing, and something I know I'm good atl.. I also asked myself why I wanted to leave. Was it because of the money that I will be getting? Or that I really have aspirations to pursue something else? Then I put my shoes in both scenarios.. I began to get more and more confused.

This `debate' in my head got worse when I went to bed at night. I tried to pray and tell God what was bothering me. But after that I still could not sleep - knowing that by the next day, whatever I've put in will be `final'. I needed some advice so I talked to my dad. And after that, I made up my mind.

I was going to retract my V.S.S. application. And that was what I did today!

Of course, I wasn't 100 per cent sure whether I could do that although it was still within the deadline. I called up the Human Resource Department this morning and was told that there were a few similar cases too. I had to write in black and white which I did, and passed the `letter' to a staff in the department during lunch time. Then, I needed to run off to my assignment already.

So, I have officially retracted my V.S.S.! But tomorrow I would have to follow-up again to check whether it really had been withdrawn.

And how do I feel? I am happy and at peace now. I guess although many a times I got frustrated with how things are run in the company but deep down, the love for my job has outweighed them. Yes, I know it will be quite different when the `new' Malay Mail comes out in May; and yes, I'm still doubtful of the young paper that it is to become and the new editor and management team. But at least I know I am able to contribute and continue to do what I like, for it will have a major section on lifestyle and entertainment. The new boss has come in last week and from what we have heard from him, it doesn't sound too bad.. in fact, this transition can be quite a challenging time if you look at it in an optimistic way.

Guess I'm an optimist at heart.. and if I'm really not happy to be there, I can also ask to be transferred to NST.

So, looks like this 13-year-old tie (counting my two years with Berita Publishing which was part of the NSTP group then) is not ready to be severed.. yet.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Embarking on E.E.

Earlier this year, I have signed up to join the Evangelism Explosion (E.E.) course at my church.

In a nutshell, it is a practical training that teaches us to share the Gospel in an effective and non-threatening way. I've been thinking about it since last year, when church started the course and had since conducted two semesters..

After listening to the sharings and testimonies of some E.E. trainees and knowing that is something I really want to do, I finally I plucked up the courage and commitment to join the 13 week-course.

Today, we had a E.E. lunch followed by a briefing and introductory session.

We were briefed on what we would be doing, and it sounded very exciting and challenging. But one thing came across loud and clear: that it will be a BIG COMMITMENT. Not only are we expected to not miss any of the weekly four-hour class that consists of lesson and also on-the-job training (O.J.T.) - going out to share the gospel), we also have homework to do and most importantly, to pray regularly.

Thus each E.E. trainee has to have two prayer partners. I thank God that the two friends I approached were so willing to be in partnership with me in prayer for this ministry. Lynn was at the briefing today too and we had a chance to pray together.. although the session was a little too short and we hadn't even had time to finish before we were asked to stop..!

The requirement is that the trainees will need to meet up with their prayer partners at least once a week to pray for 15 minutes together...on top of praying by themselves too. We would be able to share our personal prayer requests as well so that our prayer partners can uphold us in prayers.

Going out to share the Gospel is the central part of the course and this would be covered in the O.J.T. every week. That means we will have to think of some `prospects' whom we can visit every Sat. afternoon, and this I heard is probably the toughest asepct of E.E.

Today, E.E. trainer Rubina also taught us to memorise the four blocks or the basic structure of E.E. - in a systematic and easy-to-remember manner. Yes, there will be much more stuff that we need to memorise throughout the course!

It is quite exciting. It feels like I'm going back to school again! But as were reminded, the course is something we have to take very seriously. For what we are doing is God's work, and evangelism and missions is the heartbeat of Christ.

That also means for me, I will have to be more disciplined in my own time management. Instead of spending so much time in front of the PC and `loittering' in cyberworld (blogging, reading blogs, e-mailing etc.) I will have to get my priorities right. Which means I will likely to be blogging less if time does not permit..

The course will commence on March 4. And I'm looking forward to it! :)

Jelly's Spacious New `House'!

Thanks to dad, Jelly now has a much larger crate to sleep in!

Although Jojo is no doubt's dad's favourite, but I'm touched that he is indeed very concerned of Jelly's welfare too. On Friday afternoon while I was at work, he went to Pet's Wonderland at MVM and bought the crate that I saw earlier. It was quite a bargain too! The published price was RM252 but with my discount card and I guess it was a special item, dad bought it at RM140!

Jelly looks much comfortable in it as she has more room to move about in it. The bottom is a flat plate rather than grails like the old one. If I can find it, I will get a piece of rug so it will really be a comfy bed for Jelly.

Now we have an extra 2nd-hand crate... Unless there's any taker, or else guess i will donate it to SPCA.

Poor Jojo, the wound on his head is getting worse... It's now the size of a 50 cent coin!! :( I have already started him on a special natural diet recommended by an experienced dog food distributor. According to the guy, with his natural holistic treatment involving nutrition and bath products, he had managed to treat similar cases that were even more critical. I was drawn to it as I am reluctant to have Jojo take more anti-biotics. It seems that each time he is prescribed anti-biotics, the wounds will heal but not long after that, the problem would come back again!

I have to solve the problem at its roots and not just treat the symptoms.. and I do believe that changing his dietary habits and the products he used would help...

However, I think I need to bring him to the vet tomorrow morning first, as I really don't want the wound to get any worse...

Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Predicament of an `Over-Sized' Jelly

Jelly is outgrowing her crate!

Not that she is still growing bigger these days but somehow only lately it struck us that how cram she appears to be inside her crate which she sleeps in daily.

I bought the crate together when I bought her in Oct 2004. I was told by the pet shop that she would still be able to use it when she grows to be full size.

Guess the shop-assitant didn't expect Jelly to turn out to be an X-L Miniature Shnauzer!

After discussion with dad, we decided that we would sacrifice space in the house to accommodate a larger crate for her. So today after work before going to the gym, I dropped by Pets Wonderland at MVM to check out some crates.

Most of them were smaller than her existing one. I saw two which were quite nice but the prices were rather steep. On the safe side, I think I needed to get the measurement first. So that was what I did.

Near the crates were some nice (not sure what you call those) `bed-mat'(?) for pets. Jelly always liked to lie on my carpet so I gather she would like something soft to lie on. However, the nice one I saw was a bit too large the price was quite expensive - RM120 for a piece. So while I was contemplating to buy or not, the helpful assistant suggested that I could get another type which was much cheaper - and on sale.

It was like a bed cushion. The Christmas-like red and green design and colours were quite hideous but it felt quite comfortable. The size however looked a tad bit small but I thought Jelly would fit it okay. It was less than RM30, so after a few minutes of deliberation, I just bought it.

When I was driving home, somehow at the back of my mind I had a feeling that Jelly won't like it... And I was right! :(

I tried to introduce and accustom her to lie on the cushion. I practically had to carry her onto it and then she would oblige for a minute or two and then got back onto the floor again. I tried this many times but it didn't work. She really doesn't like lying on it!

Basically there were two main problems. Firstly, it is indeed TOO SMALL for her! She could hardly move before falling off.. secondly, it was also a little too high and lumpy for her liking - making it difficult to balance herself..

Jelly posing on the cushion-bed. She doesn't look comfortable..

However, she would bite the cushion and play with it, and sometimes drag it across the floor. She knows it is HER new `toy'. When Jojo came in and tried to smell the cushion, she got all possessive and even barked at him. Everytime when Jojo went near it, she would stop him from getting near to her toy!

So, looks like this `bed' would just be another toy for Jelly.. until mommy gets her a big new crate and something comfortable to lie on...

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Enters the V.S.S.

I did it! Finally I made up my mind and submitted the VSS (voluntary separation scheme) form yesterday. Had filled up the form for more than a week but somehow had been delaying handing it in till now.

It has become a rather complicated affair.. with so many uncertainties and `options'. You can apply to leave but you may or may not get it - and if you don't where will you be? You may choose not to leave but you don't know where you end up...

A list came out last week containing the names of about half of the existing MM editorial staff that will be transferred to NST. My name was not there. Which means should I not leave the company, I'll be retained for the new MM.. something I'm not looking forward to (Sports and Ent. paper target at 15-24 years-old headed by totally unknown new people....)

But what are the chances of getting VSS? Well, I have heard some `rumours' from various sources. The company has a quota of 400 this time and so far only 100 plus has submitted. The deadline to submit for non MM staff was today while for us, it will be next Monday. Logically it would mean that those who apply have a high chance of getting it. But I also heard that those on the list transferred to NST stand a even higher chance of getting VSS shall they apply...

My editor's name is on the transferred list. Which means if I am to stay on, he will no longer be my editor.. boo hoo. He's currently on a long leave for some `soul searching' time (in his own words).

Meanwhile, the MM and Sunday Mail executive editor had his last day yesterday. He was given a `golden handshake' - rumoured to be a hefty amount. We had a farewell party for him at the National Press Club on Saturday night but I didn't go finally - too tired. The night before I was just there for another Malay Mail reunion function..

Since I've made the decision, I will just leave it to God for the outcome. Although if I really want to leave, I could make a special request with the Group-Editor-In-Chief, like what happened to a colleague last time round. But I am not going to do that.. I will pray and let God lead. And whatever it is, I am not going to lose sleep over it. Though it is quite frustrating not knowing what is going to happen, but no point to worry and fret as well...

The outcome will be announced on March 13.

People are wondering (IF I get the VSS) what am I going to do after NSTP? Well, I do have some plans in mind but they are not concrete yet. But I will definitely not give up writing - will be doing freelance work for income. After all, it's the only thing I know I can do to earn a living!

Surprisingly, work has been unusually quiet this week so far.. I practically had no assignments till Friday (bad sign?) But in between have to do my weekly album reviews and `gossip column'. To be honest, I rather be busy than to be idle, as it is so boring. But once in a while, it is also quite nice to take it easy.. :p

My `Angpow Earnings'!!

RM 1,619 - That's the total amount of my `Angpow' money this year!! :)

It's probably one of the highest I've ever recorded! Although the number of angpow packets I received were not that many this time, but the amount had grown - thanks mainly to my parents and two aunts who were feeling generous this year.

Will not spend it straight away but put in savings as usual..

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Rambling of a Glutton

Time Flies! It's already Chap Goh Mei or Yuen Xiao ie. the 15th and last day of the lunar new year celebration.

And all I can think of is.. what a glutton I had been.. and needless to say, I've definitely piled on some weight.

Yes, it's nothing but FOOD, FOOD and GLORIOUS FOOD over this fortnight.

Besides all the sumptuous dishes at family gatherings, open houses etc.. I've also been indulging in cookies, chocolates all those fattening snacks/drinks you can think of!

It's an understatement so say that I've a weakness when it comes to food.. and in this area, my sefl-control is probably the weakest..

So when I'm so conveniently surrounded by all kinds of food that I'm easily accessible to, needless to say I just succumb to them..

I know this sounds like a lousy post by I'm still full..and probably not enough blood in my brain to blog something interesting at the moment..

Mom invited her singing teacher and friends over for dinner just now and you can imagine the amount of good food we had for dinner...

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

It's Back!!

Miracle on my first day back to work after CNY break!

As I was lamenting inside how I have to share the alreadly limited computer terminals with other colleagues from now on, I reached my desk today during lunch time and as I looked down, there was something familiar - my laptop!!

Yeah, my Compaq Armada laptop which was
stolen 13 days ago was returned to me! But without the case..

And it was placed nice at the place it was taken, and most amazingly of all, the `thief' even had the decency to plug in the adapter and put the other end in a pen holder which I always did!

Well, my name tag was peeled off, and as I switched it on, I realised it has been reformatted! So I had to take it to the I.T. support department downstairs to have our desk-top publishing program installed again.

That took few hours so I still ended up using another computer today.

My theory is, the `thief' found out how useless the lap top was with its appaling condition - it definitely won't fetch him any money nor he could even use it himself as most of the keyboard letters were gone. So with some conscience left, he decided to return to me but just take the still good condition (though cheap) case.

Whatever it is, I am happy. :) At least I still have my own laptop to use for work!

p.s. went to Jusco and bought a new laptop case - and now I would definitely NOT leave it unlocked in the office...

Monday, February 06, 2006

Two Js & Fire Crackers

How two dogs can react so differently to fireworks and fire crackers!

The CNY `atmosphere' around my neighbourhood is REALLY `happening' tonight - with non-stop fireworks and firecrackers from my nearby neighours - even more so i seems than on CNY eve!

Jojo was totally freaked out! He was visibly frightened, barking and running amok, and in many instances forced himself into the house and twice ran into my room and hid underneath the sink in my bathroom! I could see he was quite disturbed as he didn't even eat the bread I gave him!

Soon after he got my bathroom, he started digging the bin for tissues and then even found my new contact lens solution box and starting biting it He barked and got aggressive when i tried to go near, much more aggressive than normal. But finally I managed to save the solution but not the plastic case which he chewed to pieces. After many coaxing attempts, I got him downstairs and outside.. He is just too destructive to be inside the house.. poor thing. I know he is still scared...

A scared Jojo after chewing up things in my bathroom

Meanwhile, Jelly is totally indifferent to the fireworks and fire crackers. She was just so cool and the noise didn't bother her a bit! She even voluntarily ran into the garden and remained there for quite some time. While Jojo jumped with hearing the sound of fireworks, Jelly acted as normal. She could even sleep through it!

I was beginning to suspect whether she is a bit deaf. But I know it couldn't be as she is very alert at every small noise, even when she is upstairs in an air-con room, she could hear me when I drive home.

Cool Jelly enjoying herself..

I wonder what time we can have some peace and quiet... I do feel sorry for Jojo but I also wish he could be a bit more like Jelly.

Oh, another different thing about the two Js is how Jojo so dislikes and resists to have his nails clipped, but Jelly actually allows me to clip her nails without any fuss at all!

To think of it, it seems Jelly is the more `abnormal' one... :p

Sunday, February 05, 2006

`Open House' Day

Gosh! I'm sooooo stuffed and tired! Had a `bustling' and busy day as our home became an `open house' for friends and relatives for the day.

Invited a group of friends - and all in about 20 odd of them came over in the afternoon. Thought CNY is a good time to have such a gathering at my place as friends always say my house is `so far away' and I seldom have guests.

Then in the evening, we had some close relatives over for dinner. It happened that both my aunts from Singapore arrived today, and that another two cousins wanted to visit and also to meet up. And so again, it became a big party of 20 pax! We had a sumptuous dinner split into two groups - the older folks ate in the dining room and us `younger' ones squeezed together at the small table.

It's pretty tiring to play host, what with the preparation and running around.. plus the day had been scorching hot and the air-con not working properly. But I did have a good time. It was great to catch up with friends and relatives over the festive season..

The only problem is.. I overate again! Already munched on snacks in the afternoon and then couldn't resist the good food over dinner. Two mandarin oranges and more drinks made me so so full! I really have to go to gym tomorrow and start to diet again!

Just realised it is the 8th day of CNY which is a BIG day for the Hokkiens. Lots of fireworks and firecrackers were heard in the neighbourhood. And as I'm blogging, the neighbour next door is having a lion dance troupe in their house!

Thank goodness I took tomorrow off as well. So I have one more day to rest before starting work proper on Tuesday... and I'm sure i'll suffer `holiday withdrawal syndrome'. :p

Too drained now.. so will only post pix on the `open house' tomorrow..

update: Finally posted up some pix!

AFTERNOON: Some of the friends who came over....

Jojo became the centre of attention too...

EVENING: Family Gathering

With cousins

Loh Sang!

The Girls...

The guys (incl an older one ;P)

Viv and Ling the two dog lovers

Friday, February 03, 2006

Samui Escapade

How I wished I could have more time in Koh Samui! Two full days were definitely not enough! Had not read up on the place and was surprised that the island is indeed so large with many small `townships' so to speak. Our resort is at the Lamai beach area.

Day One: Arrive at Surat Thani

We arrived at Surat Thani quite late at night and headed straight to hotel and filled our stomachs, and then to bed as we had to get up at 6am the next morning.

Day Two: Slow Boat to Koh Samui

The ferry ride was 1 1/2 hour. It was a huge ferry that could house all the buses and private vehicles. I spent some time enjoying the sun and sea breeze on the deck. You could see the water was quite clear!

When we landed, my cousin Viv and me decided to join a half-day tour with another coach (ours are `free&easy' package). Basically we only visited two tourist spots and lunch in between.

The first is a temple called Wat Kiri Wongkaram which has the famous `mummified monk'. It was considered a miracle when a 90 year-old monk died in 1973 and his body did not decay. It was apparently preserved in its original form and placed in a glass case. The dark glasses is a little out of place but was there probably to cover the hollow of the eyes!?

After lunch, we were taken to Samui Aquarium & Mini Zoo. First we thought it would be boring but it turned out to be a memorable experience for me as it was the first time that I ever touched a real tiger and pose for a photograph with her. Although taking a pix with Sara came with quite a high price!

We also watched a bird and tiger show which was pretty cool and entertaining. The animals were so smart! But they were so quick so it was hard to snap pictures!

We stayed at Serene Hill Resort & Spa which is on a hill slopt and has a pretty nice, cosy ambience with lots of woods. The accommodation is villa concept.. and I got the whole villa to myself! ;)

Went for a spa at Natural Wing in the late afternoon. The place was highly recommended by our local guide. I was slightly disappinted with the set up as it was not as `luxurious' as I imagined it to be although it has a very distinctive Thai resort flavour. The service and treatment was very good so it more or less made up for it. My package included a hair pack, steamed bath, ground coffee body scrub and a jasmine essential oil massage. The treatment, especially the scrub and massage was heavely and after three hours, I felt so blissful and relaxed...

Had a walk at the Lamai beach road dominated by nightspots and shops and flooded with toursits. Couldn't find any thing to buy compared to the Chiang Mai market. Came across an outlet which says `caberet' and standing by the street were these elaborately dressed and made up `show girls.'

Day Three: Snorkeling at Islands Paradise

Have signed up for a snorkeling trip to Koh Tao & Koh Nang Yuan, again recommended by the tour leader. I went by myself as my other relatives were not interested. And I was fortunate to have the company of a friendly honeymooning couple from KL too. We also exchanged phone numbers.. :)

The snorkeling part was unfortunately disappointing. There were not much corals at all and if there were, they were already dead. Fishes too were sparse but at the second island, there was a bit more. It was still worth the trip as the sea was really beautiful and Koh Nang Yuan had a streatch of sandy beach too.

Well, we had fun and some most `exciting' moments, thanks to the volatile weather. Most of the time when we were in water, the sky was clear. Other than that, it rained.

It was also the first time I had a shower in the rain - literally! Since I already finished snorkeling and swimming in the sea, the rain came just timely to wash away the sticky sea water.. then, it cleared up when we walked to the speed boat, but finally rained cats and dogs on the way back. Because of the bad weather condition, our speed boat ride took almost two hours to come back!

After a good shower and rested a bit, I had a little something to eat before trying out foot reflexology at our resort spa. I only could afford 1/2 hour treatment as I didn't have enough money left! :p It was good.. hoped I could do it longer.

We had dinner at this place called `Beverly Hill's - sumptuous Thai cuisine. And then proceeded to a club called `Buddy' which building reminds me of a cross between British colonial and Asian style. We really had fun playing pool - not that I was any good - and also foosball! There were barrel of laughters especially when my cousin got so over excited that he broke the old and rusty rod!

Day Four: Long Journey Home

Took a picture with the lady who runs the resort. She is only 23! The resort is part of her father's many businesses.

The trip home was loooooong. Lets see, first we boarded our bus to the pier - waited a while before entering the ferry and it was another 1 1/2 hour before reaching Surat Thani. After `tapau-ing' some food as lunch, we hopped onto the bus again and another 1 hour plus to the airport. Half way, we were told that our flight was delayed from 4:40pm to 7pm! So we were taken to Tesco to shop! The only problem was most of us have spent all our Thai Baht! And really, there weren't much to buy anyway. Ended up at KFC. Then it was long wait again at the airport and finally the plane took off at 7:30pm Thai time.

By the time I reached home it was almost 12am... Yeah, it's like 13 hours of time on the road, sea and air!

I was totally exhausted, but I had a really good time!

p.s. some staray dogs I spotted at the trip

This poor dog with a wound on his head was wondering the jetti where we took the speedboat.

This dog was seen drinking from a bucket of unkown liquid at the busy Lamai Beach Road.

These two dogs were at the Surat Thani pier but I think they might belong to some one.