Friday, August 31, 2007
It's our `Golden jubilee' after all since that midnight when our first Prime Minister shouted `Merdeka`" three times as the Union Jack lowered and our new flag that signified a new nation was raised...
176 years of colonial rule by the British came to an end that day. And now it's 50 years on. There were struggles and periods of political instability, such as the ugly and painful memories of the riots of May 13 1969 and there were many `proud' moments in technological breakthrough like the Petronas Twin Towers that were the tallest building in the world for a few years.
I don't claim to be patriotic..In fact every year, August 31st was just another holiday and it passed me without feeling of any pride or joy. You know I don't really go out into the street and celebrated like those folks you saw on TV did. But since this year IS a grand celebration after all, so I did turned on the TV close to midnight as well as when I got up this morning.
Guess what? I found a total of NINE channels - all six local channels and three from Astro broadcasting the parade live from 7:30am to 11am this morning! I also heard airplanes (for the parade) flown above the sky.. oh, of course there were fireworks at midnight and in the morning too.
I was `inspired' to write a post on this because this day causes to think and reflect of what I really think of our country. I am always quite proud and happy to be a Malaysian - after all, this is a `promised land'. We are blessed with beautiful land, abundant natural resources, devoid of any natural disasters; and we are a multiracial, multicultural and multi-religious lot that live together in harmony (more towards harmony than friction anyway) There are many things you can be thankful of living here..
BUT, yes, there is a but.. even a rather apolitical person like me can feel that not all is right and rosy. Especially in the last couple of years, politically and socially things aren't that great.. If you are a Malaysian you will know what I'm referring to. The `political climate' since the reign of our current PM has not been improving but there had been more tension between political, religious and racial groups.. and what about freedom of speech and all the antagonism towards bloggers (the Socio-political ones)? All that aside, there are the increase in violent crimes, the on-going corruptions within government sectors and police force.. With an upcoming general election around the corner, we probably will see something quite interesting.. and I hope that everyone, especially the younger generation will come out to make their votes count.
No, I'm not wishing for a revolution (maybe some people think Malaysia needs that!!) but I do pray for more wise and righteous leaders to arise and those useless, chauvinistic bigots who are more concern of making snide remarks on women or how Gwen Stefanie is bad influence on our youths will disappear from our sights (oh well, one gets to wish..)
So, on this milestone of our nation, I can't help to wonder whether we have really achieved what our founding fathers hope we would be in 50 years. Are we really moving towards the vision of a developed nation as our ex-PM set up to? Even if economically and technologically we might be doing that, being a developed nation means more than the infrastructure. The government and the people, their mindset, our education level, security and safety AND basic human rights and freedom of speech are all IMPORTANT ingredients.. Oh well, I feel we still need probably another 50 years and not 13 years to reach there..
All said, I'm still glad I'm Malaysian. After all, no nation and no government are perfect. There maybe many things we are unhappy about in Malaysia, I can also easily tell you a list of things that are good. Honestly I have never thought of immigrating though I know quite a number of people do and I don't really blame them for they have their reasons and preference.
But still to me, Malaysia IS my home and I never feel so at home living here than in any places I've been to in the world.. even Bali! ;)
HAPPY MERDEKA TO ALL MALAYSIANS AND MAY GOD BLESS MALAYSIA!
Thursday, August 30, 2007
It's my second trip to Bali in seven months or so.. but I still enjoyed myself just as much. Perhaps the only difference is that I ended buying less things.. well, mainly also because i didn't have the money to spend! :(
Last time my friends and I managed to cover no less than seven temples but this time round, we only did three, as dad and mom weren't very keen on it. Rather dad was more interested in visiting museums and art galleries.. and mom of course wanted to shop! And for me, it's anything goes..
We arrived early afternoon last Friday and checked into Santika Hotel in Tuban, which is just a walk away from the bustling Kuta. So we spent the first afternoon/evening exploring part of Kuta - which meant a bit of shopping, and had dinner at the well known Made's Warong.. but dad didn't think much of the food, even the impressive-looking Nasi Campur. Oh well.. Bali is not known for its food..
We ended the day by taking a horse carriage ride back to our hotel...only thing was the carriage was so old and it was almost toppling over! It wasn't a comfortable ride at all and both mom and I felt pitiful for the poor horse having to shoulder all our weight..
The next morning, after snapping some photos at the hotel compound, which is actually quite spacious and lovely, we headed for our South Bali `tour', starting with a beach which had lots of watersports but didn't interest us, then a museum/gallery at Nusa Dua, and then we paid a visit to the famous Grand Hyatt - supposedly the largest resort in the island.
Grand Hyatt was well, grand. It was simply huge! The swimming pools were amazing.. and there were beautiful landscaping with all sorts of flowers.. but somehow, I had higher expectation.. everything looked too manicured.. and I don't really like large hotels. Well, even with the cash, I would go for something more quaint and quieter..
Still, we took quite a lot of photos at the resort.. it was a beautiful sunny day!
Since our main destination of the day was Paru Uluwatu, on the way, we visited a monument called GWK - basically there were two large stone statues of Prince Vishnu and the Garuda (the mythical bird). The monuments, which were actually quite recently made, were set amidst a landscape of huge natural rocks..
I would say there were three main attractions at the famous Uluwatu temple by the sea.
- The spectacular view of the old temple along the cliff of the sea
- The `Kecak' dance during sunset
- and last but not least... the aggressive and clever monkeys that reside there!
Yep, I think it was the last that had captured many, including our, attention.. Actually unlike my last time there in Jan., we didn't see that many monkeys while walking into the temple. But once we were at the cliff, the monkeys prowled and we witnessed two poor sods whose glasses were snatched by the monkeys! And finally some local guides managed to retrieve them by giving the offending monkeys food. So that's why they snatch things from unsuspecting tourists.. to be traded with food! How smart!
By the time the Kecak dance performance started, it was almost sunset.. and alas, although we had a hot clear day, the sky was a bit overcast and thus we could not see the sun set nicely..
We ended the day with a sumptuous seafood dinner on the beach of Jimbaran, just like what we did last time..
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Batu Ferringhi beach, Penang (i didn't take the photo.. courtesy of Google Images :p)
Two nights ago, I just returned from Penang where we had a very good and meaningful church camp. Unfortunately time does not allow me to blog further about it now.. We stayed at the Hydro Majestic Hotel along Batu Ferringhi (the beach stretch full of hotels). It was quite a nice place and just a stroll to the seaside.
BUT I didn't even go to the beach at all! Reason? Well, I would be going to Bali and stay at the beach again!! ;) We're departing tomorrow morning!
I'm so glad that although I'm currently feeling still quite tired, due to the backlog of lack-of-sleep during camp, at least I'm stressed and worries free. Don't have to think about work for the next five days! :))
Tuban beach (courtesy of Google Images)
We will be staying at Santhika Beach Hotel at the relatively not so well known Tuban beach (near Kuta) for the first two nights and then another hotel in Ubud for the next three nights. I'm really looking forward to experience the well known Hotel Tjampuhan and Spa - which is the former home of a Walter Spies, located in the countryside amidst hills and lily pond.. (yep, i spent hours searching for good Balinese style yet not too expensive accommodation on the Net about 3 months back)
Oh, and will be trying out the hotel's unique spa that's listed on my guidebook :)
the cool spring water pool at Tjampuhan
I know, I would love to treat my parents but at the moment my financial status does not allow me to. And more over they have more disposable income than me!
We are going to have a more relaxing one than how I travelled in January. As dad and mom are looking for a real holiday and so not try to squeeze in all the tourists spots!
Also, we choose to go at this time because so that we get to celebrate dad's birthday on Aug 27! He will be turning 67 (but still looks 57)
Ahh.. how nice to spend your birthday on the paradise island of Bali.. :) I hope all of us, especially dad will have a lovely holiday..
Speaking which, I better end this post and start packing.. Tata!
BALI! Here I come again!! :))
Friday, August 17, 2007
Thank God though, I am feeling much less stressed now as I managed to finish the bulk of my work.. and also managed to have two nights of decent sleep.
But what a hectic fortnight it has been - out of which i interviewed three single mothers, contacted coffee joints operators and cafe lovers, watched a couple of movies and interviewed a few Hong Kong celebs! It felt as if I'm back working with the paper and even busier with many assignments!
And in these two weeks, I'm glad to have met some very nice interviewees who could become friends, but also saw the misfortune and hardship of life, and also encountered something that made me fume! ( I shall not talk about it here.. maybe next time) But overall, I must say I enjoy everything I covered and wrote - and writing still..
Now here comes the crunch of which why I want to write this post...It's the highlight of it all! I was able to meet with my all-time favourite singer again! And.. I managed to talk to him this time personally albeit just a few exchange of words, and then took a pix together!!
Alan Tam - the superstar who is charismatic, affable and simply charming. Ok, he may look a bit older and haggard, but come on, he sure looks cool for someone his age still (he's born in 1950). Ok, I know I'm bias so sue me! :p
For those who don't know, I'd unabashedly tell you that I've liked him ever since I was 15. There are other artistes who I admire and like but there is only one Alan Tam. And no one could ever take his place!
Gosh, I can't believe I've like him for more than two decades ago.. I'm that loyal! ;p
I've almost lost count the number of times I've watched his concerts (about 10 times? - the last time was last Oct) - both here and in Hong Kong. And also thanks to my job I was able to meet him face to face! And yes, I've taken a few photos with him, including those not with digital cameras..
I'm proud to present here the photo taken on Tuesday, after a press conference to promote his newest Mandarin album.
Compared this to a photo of us taken in 2002 in Genting Highland..
It shows how five years did make quite a difference for the both of us! But my adulation and support for Alan would never change, even till he's 80 and all wrinkly!! i would have quite some lines too by then... :p
Monday, August 13, 2007
Ever since I've stopped full-time work and as far as I remember, I've not felt so STRESSED before! I can't believe the amount of work and deadlines I have this week and next.. and it's supposed to be a time when I take a break!
There is the church family camp from this Saturday to next Tuesday in Penang which I've planned to go and signed up already. Then next Saturday, I'm taking dad and mom (well, taking but not paying for them ;p) for a five-day holiday to Bali..
But I really think I can't finish my work.. cos I still have to spend time attending assignments and there're also some preplanned commitment.. What am I gonna do!? The last resort would be to give up the camp.. but I don't want to do that! So i'm already making alternative plans to leave later and come back earlier (just a few hours the most to save..) or shall I bring my laptop there to work.. looks like I may have to! It's SAD!
It's largely my own fault. I'm such a procrastinator at times, and then because of the addiction to Facebook and Internet, I have more or less left work that I could have done earlier to the end. But also, two of the stories i am writing required LOTS of pre-woke - arranging interviews, meeting up to interviews, other research etc..
I can't believe I was still happily on Internet last night and today I really feel the heat.. and I can only pray and push myself to focus and not waste any more precious time..
This may not make much sense but I post it because I need to let it out.. despite having already been crying out to the Lord for help..!! :((
ARRGHH!!! (p.s. no more post till I'm back from Bali!)
ESTPs are action-loving, "here and now" realists with excellent people skills. Informal, risk-taking, fast-paced and adaptable, they are not always in agreeance with rules and regulations. They are tactical problem solvers that desire quick results. ESTPs, who present a friendly and enthusiastic face, are straightshooters that are able to handle criticism.
Some years back, I did a similar personality-type test but only remembered the `extraverted' part of me. Anyway, I think this test result is quite accurate to an extent, although I had difficulties answering some of the 76 questions as I was only given two choices!
Here're more about ESTP according to the site
"These are the ultimate realists. Extraverted Sensors are at one with objects and experiences now, in the only living, pulsing moment that ever really exists. The Sensor is compelled to see, touch, taste, smell and feel all that moves, wafts, tingles, tinkles, scintillates, vibrates or resonates"
- ESTP Profile (TypeLogic)
"Promoters are men and women of action. When someone of this personality is present, things begin to happen: the lights come on, the music plays, the game begins."
- The Portrait of the Promoter Artisan (eStP) (Keirsey)
"likes to lead, likes sports, risk taker, tends to dominate conversations, fearless, can handle criticism"
- Jung Type Descriptions (ESTP) (similarminds.com)
"Enthusiastic and excitable, ESTPs are "doers" who live in the world of action. Blunt, straight-forward risk-takers, they are willing to plunge right into things and get their hands dirty. They live in the here-and-now, and place little importance on introspection or theory. The look at the facts of a situation, quickly decide what should be done, execute the action, and move on to the next thing."
- Portrait of an ESTP (The Personality Page)
"At work, ESTPs contribute a straightforward attitude that calls on people to make things happen quickly. They keep things lively and are willing to take personal and organizational risks. They enjoy crises and like to dive right in and skillfully negotiate through them."
- ESTP - The Adventurer (Lifexplore)
Hmm.. sounds like a real happening/action person who is a tough cookie! Wonder that's really me though.. anyway, would be interesting to get feedback from those who know me in person!
Apparently, I share the same personality type as these famous people: Bruce Willis, Eddie Murphy, Madonna, Michael J. Fox, Mae West, Ernest Hemingway, Jack Nicholson, Donald Trump, Joan Cussack and the Jesus' Disciple Simon Peter (hmm.. did they have this test at that time??) And I also share the same personality type as fictitious characters like Bart Simpson and James Bond!
The second test which is kinda new to me and it is about multi-intelligence.. so i'm supposed to be musical - guess my music background helps, but I also scored quite ok on naturalist and linguistic.. but don't think i do that well on some`intelligence' which I would like to have!
Thursday, August 09, 2007
I'm addicted to Internet and all its fun and frivolous stuff.. :(
Even before I owned a computer, I had already been through many phases of pretty serious addictions. i remembered i was so hooked to Gameboy's Tetris more than a decade or two back(?) I played for hours after college till wee hours in the morning.. and then when i had my computer 11 years ago, I began to discover the games that came with Microsoft Windows and one of them was Solitaire. That got me interested for a while, and then Mine Sweeper...
Once I saw my former colleagues playing the online Scrabble program, and when I tried.. I couldn't stop!! Since I could just play with the computer, I played like mad.. (and yes it did hone my Scrabble skill) It got quite bad but eventually I went off it after a few months.
But when I got over those games, I began to get hooked on the Cyberspace itself such as ICQ and chat rooms. Then I also discovered various interesting games websites. Basically I had been a Net addict for as long as I had Internet access!! Oh yeah, then there was MSN and Yahoo Instant Messenger which kept me and some friends chatting for hours almost daily!
In recent years, maybe the novelty dies off and maybe everyone is busy or perhaps become more mature (or so I thought!), my friends and I had not chatted much these days on line.. But then, I discovered the world of blogosphere, and even set up my own.. and reading blogs and updating my own got me quite busy and `65 per cent addicted!'
Blogs already were keeping me busy enough.. but it pales into the background now that I have a new addiction! Never did I anticipate I could derive such enthusiasm and fun from this thing called FACEBOOK!
When a friend invited me join a couple of months back, being a Net junkie, I did it, thinking it's just one of those other friendship networks.. (FYI, i am already on Friendster, Hi5, Tagged and a few more I've forgotten!) And I never really spent too much time on them..maybe sometimes browsing through friends' profiles on Friendster when I'm bored..
I only started to discover what Facebook has to offer last month. The creator of this site must be quite a genius! Besides being able to keep in contact with friends like other similar networks, it comes with so many `applications' - including message boards, cyber-pets, virtual gifts, food fights, quiz, games you can play alone and play with friends, loads of other creative stuff, you name it! And I think there must be like hundreds of those `applications'!
It grows on you. In the last week or so, I have been spending so much time on Facebook! Also because many of my friends are on it, so there're quite a bit of interaction. But i think i got a bit overboard with the many applications and activities, so much so that three nights ago, i received a message from a stranger (well, friend's friend who now has become a friend on Facebook) who accorded me the`Queen of Facebook' - based on my status confessing i'm addicted and also the long list of varied stuff on my profile page. I was amused but not proud. I mean, if I'm like 18 then maybe it would feel different..
But guess what, I'm not alone! Though Facebook seems quite childish and seems to target young people, my group of friends are not that young.. and I also find many older people on it too, such as Patrick Teoh. :p and i'm sure he is not the oldest there.
In a way it's great tool cos I was re-connected to some friends and acquaintances that I've lost touch with! In just a short time, I have accumulated close to 100 friends - looks like everyone who uses the Internet is on Facebook!
How addicted I'm? Gosh..I think I have been spending at least 3 hours nightly on it. So many things I could do - from reading other friends' profile to playing quizzes and games (by myself or challenging another) and many more.. Then last nite a 2:30am, I suddenly had the urge to `spam' many of my friends - by throwing food at them, giving free gifts or just do something silly... I thought I was going a bit mad. But I received a few reciprocal `actions' today..
Oh well, I really do hope this is just another fad that will go away soon.. I mean for myself. But right now, it's quite difficult to ignore it. If you are not there already, check it out for yourself.. (and feel free to add me! ;)) But be forewarned. It can be highly addictive, especially if you are a Net junkie and have an addictive streak like me.. sigh.
Sunday, August 05, 2007
Well, those of you who know me personally or who have followed my blog religiously (ahem :p) would know about the changes in my career journey - that end of last October, I left a newspaper company that I worked with for 12 years, and tested out the life of a freelance journalist/writer. At one point, I was looking forward to rejoin the company though a different paper but it didn't work out.. So from after CNY till now, I have been a full-time freelance journalist..
Just a month or two back, I was beginning to feel that I was earning so much less while I could be getting so much more if I'm employed in a publication company. Not like I didn't already know that, but I was willing to give freelancing a try.. after all, at the back of my mind, I was telling myself that this freelance furore will be a temporary thing.. maybe a year the most. Cos the pragmatic side of me was telling me that I should be earning as least as much as, or if not more, than before!
On the other hand, I must say that I have been really enjoying my life ever since I quit my job. The time is all mine to work it - I relish the freedom, the flexibility of being able to be my own boss, to do things I enjoy doing and pace my own time. But then, it came to a stage that I was wondering whether this is `healthy'? that can I live such a ideal work patterns? I have not been idle, just that the work loads can be sporadic.
Sometime in June, I mentioned in a post that I would probably be looking out for full-time job again. And I did so, though I was quite choosy as well. But I (thought I) knew where I wanted to work so I only applied to that place, and the editor responded and asked me for an interview! I was happy! And was already hopeful that soon I could be starting work again quite soon.. maybe if things go well - September (as this month I have some planned travelling already)
Alas, the interview date was kept being postponed till it seemed indefinite, the reason given was that the human resource people were busy interviewing other candidates (but not my post). So till date, more than a month since the ed first got back to me, I still don't know when that elusive interview will be...
Ok, now I come to the crunch of this post. A crucial decision has been made, this time, it was an revelation of sort from the One above. Early this year, I have rededicated my life to the Lord and as I see how He has continued to lead me in my path and bless me, the more I wanted to live a life that's pleasing for Him. Yes, I have achieved a bit.. (like cutting off some bad habit/ sinful attitudes) but most importantly I told God I want to submit to His will in whatever I do. This thinking I'm sharing may sound alien to non-Christians but I need to share this because it is directly link to the decision on my career..
Two days ago at gym, when I was enjoying my solitude while working out, God spoke to me. Maybe it was because my friend and I had been praying about my job situation.. Then suddenly the thoughts just flashed clearly in mind. I felt God was asking me: `what is the motivation for me to want to go back to full-time employment' and my honest answer was simple: `money and job security'. And really that's just about it.
While it's nothing wrong to hope for better pay and job security, in my case, I know I've been self-centred and `rebellious'. Ever since I started freelancing and God paving the way for more works, He is also teaching me two things: to be disciplined in my time management; and secondly, be more prudent in my spending. These two areas are my weaknesses and I recognise that He wanted to prune me as I work as a freelancer.
God also reminded me that I'm fortunate enough to not have any financial commitment - I'm single, live with parents, have no installments or bills to pay except for my two dogs. It's not the case that I really need a higher paid job, it is something I want and a lifestyle I want to covet. But God reminds me this: `you can't serve two master'. Also, if I have prayed and committed myself to Him, I should be obedient to His direction in my life.
I know God was speaking (not literally but..) to me on that afternoon. I spent sometime alone to pray and made up my mind. I felt a sense of peace and joy. Quite excited that I called and shared with my prayer buddy.
And then it kinda struck me, it was a bit unusual that the interview had never materialised yet, although the section desperately needs a writer! Could it be the Higher Power at work?
The thing is, I have been enjoying doing freelance writing so far, and I could see God has opened more doors with a few new jobs coming in.. including writing for a travel mag! :) In fact, many magazines are seeking contributors to write articles and cut down on their staff.. (cost cutting) so I can see I would have more jobs if I am willing to work harder!
Not that full-time employment is no good, but for one who has done both, I know what each side is like. I know the job I applied for is hectic, has long hours and also requires overtime works! And off hand I can already list many benefits if I remain a freelancer:
- Less stress - thus lead to better mental health
- More time to serve God - in and outside church
- More time to spend with family
- More time to spend with two Js ;)
- More time to exercise
- Avoid rush hour traffic jam
- etc.. etc.. :p
So what if I'm getting a pay cut. Money is not the only motivation in life.... Most importantly, I know He knows best what is best for me!
update (Mon 1:45pm)
Just chatted with a friend who is an ex-journalist from the paper that I applied to and she said she was told that they have taken in a new journalist for that section! Oh well..i want to give the ed the benefit of the doubt.. but this is quite candid ain't it? in view of the turnaround decision I made. It just goes to show that He is in control. Doors would be opened, doors would be closed as He deems fit. Yes, I'm still at peace and even more :)
Thursday, August 02, 2007
Seattle Singles from Mingle2
The result is not surprising.. actually i thought i would score higher!! but i guess i'm not tech savvy enough to be more `addicted'! hehe.. anyway, not something to be proud of.
On a separate note, I FINALLY have finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on the first day of August! Which means it took me 10 days to finish the 607-page book. FYI i only read before I sleep.. cos I wanted to savour it slowly.. it's the last book after all!
The last few chapters were pretty engrossing and since I only started reading after midnight.. for two nights, I slept only at 5am as it's hard to put it down! So I really need to sleep now.. But I still take my hats of to those who could finish it in 1-2 days!!
Too tired to give my views on the book but suffice to say, I think it's much better than the previous two.. It's quite action-packed and dark - not a children's book anymore! Somehow I wasn't very satisfied with the ending, especially the epilogue! Pretty cliche and a bit daft if you ask me..
I don't consider myself a hardcore fan of HP but I have enjoyed reading the whole series very much - so I'll definitely consider buying the complete box set when it's available - yeah i have a few books missing!! :(