Sunday, March 30, 2008

SMS Spam!

Is this a current thing or is it just me?

Lately I've been receiving too many spam-SMSes! I get an average of about two-three a day at least, and they range from services and promotions of all kinds to invitations to events I never heard of. And then there have been some which quite obviously are scams - saying I've won certain contests which I never took part in! And the latest I just received on Friday - offering easy money from a `licensed money lender'! (read: Ah Long!)

When I say spam, I have already excluded those which I know I've given out my mobile no. to - like some boutiques or my banks. But it really beats me when I receive sms-es from totally unknown sources.. some of them in Malay - and you know how good my Malay is. It's getting really annoying.. and on the other hand, I am wondering have I been too `promiscuous' in giving out my no.?

Besides SMSes, I have also been getting quite a lot of calls from tele-marketers! This I think has become a competitive `industry' and I'm sure others probably have the same complain as me.. well, I try always to be polite but firm and it has worked so far.

But back to those spam SMSes. It gets me thinking. Like e-mails (that's ANOTHER story altogether - yes, I get TONNES of junk mails in all my email accounts) which I know people do sell and buy contact lists, is there a chance that somebody - maybe even our mobile service provider - selling our numbers out to interested parties??

Hmm.. and if this is not possible, then do you think these `mysterious senders' just SMS out to numbers randomly - not knowing who the recipients are? Cos, honestly, some of the SMSes I receive make no sense at all.. they are totally irrelevant to me.

Just curious, I wonder anyone else having this problem too?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Handbags Maniac!

I knew I have a lot of handbags.. but I didn't know I have this many!

The wardrobe compartment for my bags was so sardi
ne packed that I had difficulty finding a particular bag. It was just maybe a couple of months ago that I tidied my bags but sigh..I just had to do it again.

And this time when I took them out, I was amazed as I have even forgotten I own some of the bags, and I should have used them.

Then I started counting...

Gasp! I have over 50 of them! And remember also I have some working bags and larger ones which I seldom use in another room!

Okay, I must admit it's not something I'm terribly proud of. In fact, I felt quite guilty because I really DON'T need so many bags! And these days I've only been using say about a dozen of them or so.. There were even some I bought but have not used at all! Or just once! :(

I then sorted them out according to colours and themes.. and decided to do a `bag-camwhore'
I start with all the casual handbags of various shapes and sizes..and colours, and prints..

And then there are some evening bags..

And I almost forgotten, as they are placed in another compartment.. My`Js' bags' featuring Jojo and Jelly (but the former is already in quite bad condition) :(

I had a bit of a headache putting back the bags into the wardrobe.. But after some deliberation, I decided to do away with some. So I put aside10 bags which I don't think I would use anymore but are still in real good condition.. I plan to sell them at a flea market together with my other knick-knacks!

I also told myself sternly: no more buying bags this year! In fact, this month alone, I have just acquired two Guess bags! So that's definitely more than enough!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

My Singing Easter


Jesus last words from the Cross were only the beginning to what seemed like the end... for He triumphantly rose again from the grave three days later, on that first Easter morning.

Easter is kinda low key in this part of the world, as opposed to Christmas (which ironically has gone far too commercial) But to think of it, the fundamental belief in Christianity anchors on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. So indeed lent and Easter ought to be a powerful reminder and a time of thanksgiving for the great sacrifice our Saviour had gone through for our salvation.

I had had what I'd call it a `Singing Easter'. I've never sung so much in a few days before! Thank God He kept my health and voice in good condition..

On Good Friday service, I was co-leading worship and well as singing in our church choir. On Saturday evening, I was singing with Cantus Musicus in the `Thorns and Roses' Easter presentation. Then today morning, I was again singing with my church choir during worship.
Then there were the practices and rehearsals gearing up for these: On Wednesday evening was the rehearsal with Cantus Musicus, Thursday was the church worship and choir rehearsal; Friday I had my vocal class (not to do with Easter but singing no doubt); and Saturday morning another last-min practice with sopranos of Cantus Musicus, follow by church worship practice for Easter!

Technically speaking, I had sung eight sessions - no, make it NINE for we had to sing for two services this morning - in five days! It's definitely a personal record for me!

Hey but I'm not complaining. I love singing and what's more meaningful than singing for the Lord.

I'm happy that my parents, and a number friends turned up to give me support for `Thorns and Roses' last night despite the heavy rain. First time performing in a public choir, and a pretty good one at that, I was a little bit nervous as honestly speaking, I still wasn't totally familiar with all the songs! Imagine, I had to learn seven pieces in two months or so while most of the choir members have sung some of the pieces before. But the more I sang, the more I loved those songs..

The songs were accompanied by poetry readings, recitations and pictures.. and I think they beautiful and aptly depicted and described the events surrounding the death and resurrection of Christ. Although we knew certain pieces had a little hitches, but overall it went well. And my parents and friends were all very impressed and thought the choir was very good, very professional.. I feel quite proud to be able to be part of such a brilliant group! :p

Likewise our church choir, although we are all amateur singers, we did give our best and sang with one heart for Good Friday and Easter service. I enjoyed the singing, though it was not so intense compared to `Thorns and Roses'.

Finally now, on Sunday afternoon, I can say out in a sigh of relief: `it is finished!' - both in the Biblical context of Jesus' salvation work, as well as my personal singing endeavour this Easter. :)

Monday, March 17, 2008

My first Ratatouille

No, I am not talking about the award-winning animation picture by Pixar.

But being inspired by the movie, I had developed a curiosity on the traditional dish from the French Provence. Then early this year, I tasted a most sumptuous Ratatouille dish at my friend's house - she didn't cook, she ordered it. :p Guess that further prompted me to want to find out about this dish.. and also tried cooking it myself!

The Internet is full of recipes on Ratatouille. But they are more or less similar.. some has more steps then others.. Basically it's a vegetable dish made of main ingredients like tomatoes, egg plants, zucchinis, onions, peppers, and flavoured by herbs. I chose a simple-looking recipe.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
  • 1 large onion, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 1 small eggplant, cubed
  • 2 green bell peppers, coarsely chopped
  • 4 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped, or 2 cans (14.5 ounces each) diced tomatoes
  • 3 to 4 small zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 teaspoon dried leaf basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried leaf oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried leaf thyme
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


In a 4-quart Dutch oven or saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and onions and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 6 to 7 minutes. Add eggplant; stir until coated with oil. Add peppers; stir to combine.
Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep vegetables from sticking.Add tomatoes, zucchini, and herbs; mix well. Cover and cook over low heat about 15 minutes, or until eggplant is tender but not too soft.

Serves 4.

I had printed out this recipe for weeks and put it right in front of my printer to remind myself to get to it soon. Then finally, yesterday I managed to buy all the ingredients from supermarket so that I would cook it tonight.

Actually there were only two main steps to making a Ratatouille - cutting and frying/stirring. It's that simple.

So after cutting (which I think I cut a little too small), I just put them into the frying pans in the order according to the recipe. However, there was a tiny `problem'. The recipe did not state how to season the dish, as in make it salty. So I quickly did some check-up on the Net and found some other recipes that say besides adding salt to taste, you can also add vegetable/chicken stock. I also read some recipes have tomato paste as an ingredient.. Since I had some in the fridge, I decided to add in as well to make the flavour as well as the colour more palatable.

After close to 45 minutes of cooking, it is done!

Well, I think for the first time making it, it's not bad though I am not totally satisfied with the taste, and definitely a far cry from the Ratatouille I had at my friend's place. But again I'm sure their recipe is different. What I like about this dish is that it feels so healthy eating it.. For the next time, will do more research and probably modify the recipe a bit.

Oh, I saw some pix of Ratatouille on the Net that looked awesome. Here is one.

a cosy little bloggers-meet

Since i started blogging and reading blogs, i've been acquainted with a small no. of bloggers but our communication is limited to online. Liz is probably the blogger i've met earliest.. was quite impressed by her blog and thus i chose to interview her in one of my blogging articles. And then I also got to meet her in person too due to our similar profession.

Then there are some others whom I became `friends' with over blogs but whom I've not met..

Over chat a week ago when we were excitedly exchanging views on the election results, Liz invited me to her apartment for a potluck dinner. I missed the last do at her place where I heard a number of bloggers i read were there. I gladly said yes since I thought it would be nice to catch up with her and also meet a few new friends!

So last night, I was quite excited when I met Lynnee and Irene for the first time. I did know how they looked like but it was different actually talking to them in person! Liz has also invited a couple from her church - Eric and Amy and their two adorable children.

The food took up the whole dining table and we made ourselves cosy squeezing around the table. It was a pretty sumptuous and varied fare. There were home-made sushi made and brought by Lynnee, mash potatoes by Amy, two types of roast chicken by Irene, fried rice, fish and green salad by Liz, and I brought my `tried and tested' tomato salsa and potato salad, as well as a bottle of red wine from dad's stock.

Even though none of us are SoPo bloggers, the subject of politics just naturally cropped up and dominated our talk throughout dinner. I mean the recent winds of change was such an exciting affair that it just got everyone talking - as long as you're Malaysians but even our American friends on the table chipped into the conversations too.

Gosh all of us were so full. I think I really overate again as there were more than enough food..!

Amy and Eric had to leave early as it was way past the kids' bed time. So there left the four of us and we really made ourselves at home in Liz' living room.. chit-chatted for a while and also watched some DVD - a new series called `Gossip Girl' - whereby I found the protagonist way too old as a 16-year-old school girl! But it was kinda interesting in an obscure way :p

Before we went home, which was already close to midnight, we thought we should camwhore a bit.. after all, for me at least, it was the first time taking photo with them!

And so both Lynnee and I tried out our camera's self-timer function. For me, it was the first time I used it! We placed our cameras on the television. And hey, it didn't turn out that bad.. ok, I did do some heavy cropping..but after that they looked quite ok.

Then we decided to change poses a bit and make ourselves look more relaxed..and silly! :p

We had a good time! Thanks to Liz for opening her home. I hope there will be more to come! ;)

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Ecstasy from Election Tsunami!

Blogger failed me early this morning! It went kaput probably due to heavy traffic.

Gosh I had so wanting to blog (but delayed till now) cos I was, and still am, so excited!! By what else but the amazing results of our 12th General Election!

I was first told that DAP's Tony Pua was way ahead of incumbent Chew Mei Fun at around 6pm, then the shocking results came in one by one.. rookie oppositions beating long-standing MP, Oppositions winning seats that once considered stronghold of BN, and that Penang has fallen to the Opposition.. by dinner time, the atmosphere was brewing hot at home.

After dinner, dad and mom came to my room to watch news on TV while I stayed glued to the Net to get the latest results from Malaysiakini. There were lots of `Wows' and `Ahs' from the three of us!

As time passed, we were hearing more and more shocking results to our joy. Experienced ministers have fallen to young fresh first-timer.. the whole constituencies held securely by BN for many years were `wiped out'. And guess what? FIVE states have fallen now belong to the Oppositions! Goodness, never in our (at least my parents and I) wildest dream that we expected such results!

My dad, who has witnessed the nation's politics (and himself quite involved in his younger days) since independence day, was delirious, crying out: `bien tian! (loosely translated as big upset). He said this is truly a historic election and the results were even more amazing than the GE in 1969 - ie. the Opposition's best performance.

Consider just the last election in 2004, BN had won by more than 90 per cent majority.. and this time, they are denied their 2/3 ruling majority!! What's also great is that we are no longer playing the racial card. It's not about Chinese against the ruling government. We can see multi-racial candidates on both side of the coalition.

The voice of the people had spoken - the voice that calls for a change - to rid corruption, injustice and inefficacy and the many woes that the government had exhibited. The Rakyat is not blind and this time we have bravely come out to vote for change.

This is the 4th time I voted and followed the G.E. but I have never felt sooooo excited before. I'm not alone of course. Even at 3am, i was chatting with a few friends online who were equally ecstatic of what had just happened!

And I had difficulty getting to sleep.. just too excited still. I can't imagine those involved in the elections could actually slumber as well..

So a wind of change has come. And man, it started off with a tsunami election that blew everyone away - a turning point and defining moment in our country's politics. But this is just the beginning. Lets pray that the leaders would work together to bring about a true change for the better.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Wind of Change?

It's barely 36 more hours only to THE day - the polling day of Malaysia's 12th General Elections. Mine is not a SoPo (social-political) blog so no, I'm not here to give any political commentary.. but for such a big, significant event that occurs only once every 4-5 years, remaining mum on it won't do as well.

This will be the 4th time I'm going to the poll. While my `track record' (ahem) could make me feel proud, I must confess I had not been a wise voter in the past. In fact, the first and second time I voted quite blindly you can say. The first time, I voted the candidate because I wanted to support a woman. The second time, I voted out of sympathy for the candidate for I know he would get the lowest number of votes (and the fact that I covered him during the election for my newspaper then). The third time round, I was a bit wiser, and knew who was a better candidate and could do the job.

I got the chance to cover the 1999 General Elections as I was attached with the news desk of The Malay Mail then. Somehow my race or my ability to speak Chinese meant that I was asked to cover most of the MCA and Chinese oppositions candidates. It was quite an eye-opening and interesting experience - getting to meet many of the Wakil Rakyat (some won, some didn't) although it was tiring. On polling day itself I remember we all had to stay back till like 2am in the newsroom waiting for all the results to be out.

For 2004, I was already doing entertainment and wasn't one of the `lucky' ones who got roped in to cover the elections. I remember although quite relief, I was somehow also feeling a little bit `left out'. Not that I was that political conscious nor had a clear political stand... although I know who I would like to support.

I guess now no longer being part of the mainstream media, I'm even more of a spectator. However, as a blogger and one active on the Net, I have been `bombarded' by all types of information and articles ranging from political commentaries to personal accounts that has everything to do with the elections.. Many of such info was enlightening, and I also kept abreast with news from the SoPo blogs as well. Also, from what I've come across, I guess the Internet has become the Opposition's voice and `campaign platform' while `big brother' BN has basically monopolised the electronic and print media.

Personally I think BN is over-doing it. Who are they trying to kid with their `cangih' advertisements on TV and radio and huge well-designed billboards and banners? All these publicity stunts need lots and lots of MONEY and whose money are they using? It just sickened me to hear all those poetically-sounding promises and self-praises over their ads, accompanying images of patriotic and harmonious undertone. Hello, you're far from providing utopia here!

The poster-war (also include buntings, banners, flags etc..) is another pretty ridiculous aspect of the G.E. if you ask me. At most places, these `decorations' are just a big mess - with both contesting parties trying to grab up the spaces available. So sometimes you have a opposition candidate's photo right on top of a BN flag and vice versa.. and even as early as last week, so many of those posters and flags had fell off and turned in bad shape. As I mentioned in an earlier post, this is such a blatant and grotesque WASTE of resources.. totally environmental unfriendly!

Anyway, this time round, it's a great thing to see a number of new candidates who are young in age, and many of them are women! These are people who really want to see a change in the way things are run in our country and avail themselves for it.. and many are intellectuals as well - quite a contrast to some of the older (almost good-for-nothing) MPs I've come across. And most of these `new breeds' are in the opposition parties - for they know that Malaysia do need a change!

While it is still impossible for any Opposition party to win the election, one can't deny that there is a wind of change blowing. Last year, protests like Bersih and Hindraf, and many issues from crime to religious rights to corruptions etc. etc.. have increasingly sparked off people's disgruntle towards the government. They have raised awareness and prodded even those who have been lackadaisical and contented with their lives..

So, to all my Malaysian friends who are eligible to vote, remember to go and exercise your right this Saturday! And for those who are still not registered, shame on you. You better do so soon for the next General Election.

Like what I was telling my cousin Viv who said she's not political, it doesn't take one who is political minded to vote. Voting is the basic right and responsibility of a citizen.