Monday, May 10, 2010

Of family, new and old

I come from a moderately-small family. I have 3 other siblings, 1 elder brother and 2 elder sisters. And me. That makes me youngest of age, biggest of size :P My mom, however, came from a much smaller family. She only has 1 other sibling - her younger sister, or 'sis' as she always calls her. I enjoy listening to my mom's stories about her younger days, though some of them are rather sad. You see, my mom had to quit school when she was 10 years old. She quit so that she could work and earn enough money, so that her sis could go to school. Such sacrifice. I see my mom's eyes light up whenever she tells me those stories of what she and her sis used to do when they were kids, getting into trouble and all. These stories always only have 2 characters in it, cos they're not allowed to mix around with other kids much, if not at all. And I can tell that she loves her sis deeply, and that they were really close. After all, they only have each other.

Until one day, her sis told her that she had found her real family. Apparently, my mom and her sis were both adopted by my grandparents when they were babies, and that they came from different families. My mom's sis was very excited to have finally found her true family and as she talks about them, she'd say things like my brother, my that, my this, my sis. My SIS. My mom was heartbroken, cause to her, she's her only sis in her life. But such is life. One's happiness doesn't always guarantee the same for another.

I've asked my mom once, whether she have thoughts about her real family. She said no, and that her family is the family she grew up with, even if her sis feels otherwise. I had tears in my eyes.

That was many years ago. About 2 weeks ago, however, I was shocked to hear from my brother that my mom has just met her real brother, her elder brother in Kuala Kurau, a place we used to go to during Raya, when I was much younger. This came as a shock to me because I had no idea that my mom was looking for her real family. When I spoke with my mom the other day, she sounded really happy, and I am happy for her. As it turns out, my mom comes from a family of 9 siblings. 9! Not 2, but 9!! I wonder how my mom feels about that. And while I'm still getting used to the idea of the new found brother, my mom has now met up with her younger sister! I have to say that I had many questions as to how my mom found out about her real family, and there's this big 'what if' at the back of my mind, you know, kinda questioning 'how do we really know?'............but I felt overwhelmed with emotion when I saw photos of my mom and her sis taken at dinner by my brother. There's a striking resemblance between them two. I do not know any better but I find myself believing that they are indeed sisters. I had tears in my eyes.

Now, I have yet to see my mom face-to-face since I heard the news of her meeting her brother. And I'm dying to talk and hear her talk about it, but I am away in JB now for work, and will be here till the 18th. But from the sound of it, she's happy. And that's all I want for her.

I love you mom.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Of nasi pedas, tipat and hating vegetables

I'm at my Third Place again. Leaving for Bali in about 2 hours. There is a Venti Espresso and Cream Frappuccino (nothing beats sipping a Frappuccino early in the morning!) on my table and beside it, is Grandma's Apple Pie. Well, not my actual grandma's of course :P

I like Bali. I like it a lot. I'm sure Jason would disapprove. Hehe....Jason is one of my colleagues and I guess he hadn't had a good experience in the Island of the Gods yet. Speaking of which, I should really get him that I Love Bali tee. :P

As always, I make it a point to try out local dishes wherever I go. It often adds a plus point to my destinations :)

My mom loves spicy food, so when we were told during our trip that there's a famous spicy rice dish in Bali called Nasi Pedas, we knew she must try it! And boy did she love it!! You see, there's been other told-to-be-spicy dishes in Bali that she has tried, but none is as spicy as she likes them to be. So, with this Nasi Pedas, my mom has finally met her match! Seduced by curiosity (as opposed to by my fondness of spicy food), I, on trips I made later, tried it myself. And yes it is AWESOME! Okay, granted that I had just a tiny bit of sambal, but side dishes offered are cooked spicy anyway, so there's really no escaping the spiciness. Behind all the hotness, there's a taste that is too delicious to describe. Especially if you get those crispy small fish. YUM!! So, let it be known that if you're ever in Bali, you should never leave without having at least one helping of the heavenly-spicy Nasi Pedas. And if you think "No thank you, I cannot take spicy stuff", guess what? So can't I. You gotta try it, still.

And if you find the urge to chicken out too hard to defy, then I have something else for you. It's called Tipat (am not entirely sure how to spell it but that's how it sound like when they say it). It's very similar to Nasi Himpit or Ketupat. This dish is a mixture of cube rice, bean sprouts and long beans - all wonderfully covered in a creamy n spicy (or lightly spicy - customized to your liking, you chickens! LOL!) peanut sauce, which is hand-made fresh, right before your eyes! It is fantastic!! It's munching-on-the-bean-sprouts-and-long beans good!!! And if you know me at all, you'd know that that's bad for me! Haha!!!

So yeah, I hate vegetables. I have been for as long as I can remember. I'm not sure why, but I just can't agree with the taste. Especially those with stems. Top hate items are carrots, tomatoes, celery. Urghh! But there are exceptions. I can generally take in those that are crushed or mushed beyond recognition such as Kangkung Belacan or any other strictly leafy vege variations. That or anything drenched with peanut sauce, vinaigrette or other tasty dressing (honey mustard sauce also comes to mind). Ooh there's another exception - Popiah. That, I like! :)

I'll be in Bali over the next 5 days and am looking forward to enjoy the 2 amazing must-haves there.

Care to join me?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Summary of 2009 movies - Quarter 2

Last December, I posted movies I saw between January - March 2009. So here's the second installment

Quarter 2 - April to June:

1. Fast & Furious 4 - I enjoyed this 4th installment of the movie franchise the most. It felt like it had more guts to it. Too bad Michelle Rodriguez's character had to die. But still, I liked it so much I saw it twice :)

2. Confessions of a Shopaholic - Isla Fisher is really sweet! I was smitten after I saw her in Definitely Maybe and she was pretty good in this one too. Loved the credit card-buried-in-ice breaking moment!

3. Talentime - I saw this movie at MBO with Wan and it was such a tear-jerker! It's a wonderfully-lovely story! Funniest moment was when Azian Irdawati's character joked "I won't lose hair over it" in response to something her son said. She had chemo and she's almost bald for it! I laughed pretty loud :P

4. Knowing - This was a cool movie and I loved the effects. It was a little creepy too, what with the young girl hiding in the cupboard, scratching the wooden door with her nails. But I can't seem to remember how it ended. Hmm...time to get the dvd. Hehe.
5. Paul Blart Mall Cop - Hmmm.........this one wasn't that good. It had some funny scenes but that was it. Nothing memorable. Not deserving of the RM9 I paid for.

6. Queens of Langkasuka - I don't watch foreign movies often. This one had some cool action scenes, so it wasn't too bad. Overall, just average though.

7. Passengers - I love Anne Hathaway! She was brilliant in Bride Wars, which I picked as one of my top 3 movies for Q1. She plays a totally different type of character in this one. A therapist. A confused one. A dead one. I liked the movie, it has the Sixth Sense kinda twist. Nice.

8. Crossing Over - I went into this one with a high hope. I mean it was Harrison Ford and Ashley Judd so yeah, I was pretty sure that it would be really good, but came out rather disappointed. I did love the premise of the movie; about people getting in / out of the U.S. illegally, how they're tracked and caught and stuff, and of course the emotional factors involved with risking your life for better living. All in all, average.

9. He's Just Not That Into You - Loved it!!! Great actors and story and it proved what I've been saying all along - we, the guys, are straight-forward. If we like something, we'll say we like it. And if we like something strong enough, we'll do whatever we need to have it. Therefore, if we didn't say we like it, please don't assume that we do and that we're just too shy to admit it. If we want to call you, we'd call you. If we don't, it's because we don't want to call. See. Mixed signals my ass. Oops.

10. Make It Happen - Boy this one was fun! Mary Elizabeth Winstead was awesome!!!!! Loved the performance scenes!! It was so good it left me wanting more!!! Definitely a favorite!!

11. X Men Origins: Wolverine - This movie did not live up to my expectations, and I loved all the other X Men movies but this one had a different feel to it. Thank god for the last few fight scenes though, my favorite is the one that took place on top of the nuclear plant structure. Simply awesome!! I hope the next origin movie would feature more of gambit in action. Hmmm.....I just realized I saw this movie twice. I can't remember why. maybe it was a slow week at the movies. hehehehe....

12. Star Trek - Easily one of the best movie of 2009!!!! When I heard that J.J. Abrams was on the director's seat I knew it would be a renewed legacy. And it surely delivers!! It made Star Trek cool again!! It also have a good score, very stylish. Stylishly Star Trek. Many goosebumps moment! Sequels please!! And yes, I saw this movie twice, no surprise there.

13. Angels & Demons - Up to this day, I still haven't seen The Da Vinci Code, but I enjoyed this movie. Ewan McGregor almost stole the show from right under Tom Hanks's nose. Loved the twist and ending bit. Really thought he was the world's saviour for a moment there.

12. I Love You, Man - I have said before that Paul Rudd might just be the next big thing in the comedy line, and he was excellent in this one, but his career isn't exactly as big as I thought it would be by now. Too bad. But then it's only April :)

13. Push - I was really psyched to see Dakota Fanning all grown up and dark in this one. She was good, but the character wasn't big enough. Saw it once in the movie, bought the dvd, haven't put it on. Overall, pretty good, but no memorable lines / scenes.

14. Night At The Museum - I thought the first one was so-so, and I liked this one more than the first. Possibly because of Amy Adams. or the thinking man. Hmmm...........which one is it? Hmmm.....I'm thinking...................................................I'm thinking............................. LOL!!

15. Battle For Terra - This was a must-see for me because its poster looked a bit like Star Wars animated series. And the story turned out to be pretty good. Cool action too. but no light saber action. Crap. Hehe...

16. Monsters vs Aliens - This one was lame. Seriously, it was. Wasn't really funny, wasn't full of action, wasn't this, wasn't that. And I had high hopes going in. The only saving grace was Bob. he was the only one with the funny lines. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to save the movie. Thumbs down on this one!

17. T4 - Christian Bale. Bigger and cooler robots. Sam Worthington. Moto-Terminators. What's not to like? I saw it twice. Nuff said. :P

18. Drag Me To Hell - Sam Raimi is back at his best!! Sylvia Ganush sent shivers to my spine!! I mean even the handkerchief is scary shit alright!! Loved every bit of it!! More please Mr Raimi!!! Definitely a favorite!!

19. State Of Play - Average. Dun have much to say for this one, except, I might have gotten played. Hehehe.

20. Blood - This one's pretty good. it's got gore, blood, sword action, all the recipe of a cool action movie. With action scenes like this, who cares about a storyline? :)

21. Transformers ROTF - Out of all the movies I saw in 2009, nothing could match the level of anticipation, enthusiasm and high hopes I had for this movie. I even held a countdown on Facebook about a few weeks before it opens at the movies! And I bought Transformers t-shirts. Like 5 of them! And they're all cool!! I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, I think it kicked ass! if I could change anything though, I would take out some of those stupid unfunny lines uttered by the autobot twins. Wasn't impressed at all. But hey, the rest was awesome, so all is forgiven! Oh yeah, I even bought the official prequel book to ROTF and I read it from cover to cover. If that ain't passion I dun know what is!!! :P Top pick!!

Gosh...................quarter 2 sure had the most number of movies of all the quarters in 2009.

My top 3 pick? Transformers ROTF, Talentime and Star Trek!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Of what, when and where, 10 years ago

I was having dinner at Mid Valley with several friends, some of whom I was meeting for the first time, when a question was asked around the table - "Where were you and what were you doing 10 years ago?". My answer was "10 years ago, I was working here, in Mid Valley, at the Starbucks outlet on the ground floor".

Long after all of us left Mid Valley that night, the question kept playing in my head. And so I started thinking about events that happened in the year 2000. Here is what I remember:

In January, I was the Store Manager of #005 Mid Valley. My Shift Supervisors were Uzir and Angie. After several months, we were joined by Steven, Salleh and Andy, who later took my place, when I became a District Manager.

Back then, I rode a Honda EX-5 and boy, what a ride it was! I could go pretty much anywhere in town within 15 minutes! Well except for Klang Parade...that ride took an hour. And it gave me a numbed ass. LOL!!!

I was sharing a townhouse with 2 other housemates here in Ampang (and have moved twice , but in Ampang still). We had friends coming over almost every night and it was fun!

In the year 2000, I lost my beloved red Marlboro jacket - one of the most expensive items I had ever owned back then. My mom bought me the jacket, for me to wear when I ride back to Kuala Kangsar on my bike, which never happened - I would either take the bus or hitch a ride with my brother in his car. hehehe). retrospect, maybe that's why I lost it! :P

Somewhere in that year, a divider at the traffic light near my house moved all of a sudden when I was riding by and so I fell and then lost my memory for the rest of the day - but that's a whole other post on its own, so moving on!

The year 2000 was also the starting point for me being comfortable with my body size and weight. Prior to that, I always wanted to be thin, because I thought I'd be happier. Of course, everybody can tell that that's not the case with me now. Cos I laugh and eat all the time! And I'm not exactly thin :)

Something else happened that year, something I'm eternally grateful for. But now's not the time to be talking about it. yet.

So that's about it, really. Those are major highlights ten years ago.

And 10 years from now, I'll blog about major events of 2010, kalau dipanjangkan umur, insyaallah.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Of Mee Sapi, being late and Top Spot

I'm off to Kuching today for a few days - work trip as usual. The first time I visited Kuching was February last year, when I had a seriously-screwed-up issue with my then new phone - it auto-switched itself during the night, so the alarm I set died with it! Thanks to that, I came late to the training session I was conducting for the Waterfront hotel team. My first day of work in Kuching and I was late to my own training!! Crap.

To date, I've been to Kuching several times now and apart from making friends (which is always cool!), I also get to enjoy Kuching's gift to the culinary world - The Great Mee Sapi!! It's an awesome dish instant-like noodles with spicy soy sauce, thin and soft beef slices and served with a bowl of soup. It's divine! A must-have whenever I'm in the cat city.

But that's not all I eat here (Is it ever?) Khai have introduced me to this out-of-this-world seafood venue with a name only a few can decipher. It's called Taman Kereta. Why? Because it's a Car Park (It really is!). So I felt just a little tad stupid asking Khai the question. Hahah!!! The dishes here are all exquisitely-delicious and affordably-priced!! One of the best value you'd get in a seafood place, if not THE best!

So guess what I'll be doing for the next few days in Kuching? Well besides work I mean :)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Of music, snapping photos and the third place

I am at LCCT now, on my way to Penang for a meeting. Thanks to a technicality (read: I wrongfully read the flight departure time), I'm now 2 hours early ahead of the boarding time. I could have slept in a little more this morning. Sigh.

I like flying. Ever since I was a kid, I had this fascination seeing planes take off, landing, flying above me, etc. The first time I flew, it was to Phuket via Penang airport in 2000 (Yeap, I started late). It was a small plane and it went a little shaky at times (to my horror!). Nevertheless, it was a fun ride!

Since the past few years, work has brought me around quite a bit, I've made trips to Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, Bali and Jakarta. I've never been to these places before, with the exception of Jakarta, so it was really great to see new things and best of all, make new friends!

The top 2 things that make flying a joy to me are listening to my playlist on my Sony Ericsson walkman phone and snapping photos! These are my 2 all-time favorite things to do. Well that and watching movies but that can prove to be difficult. So I save that for when I'm on my couch at home :)

Am sure a lot would agree with me when I say it's always great to see faces or things you're familiar with when you're on the road (Unless of course, if you're on one of those trips when you're trying to escape from the world and be in total isolation). This is what I do when I travel - I scout for the familiar green sign, the one with the smiling siren on it. The third place. My third place. And when I find this third place and step into it, I feel instant relaxation. It's something like that "uh-huh!" learning moment, only this one's more like the "Ahhhhhh.........." moment.

On today's flight I'll be listening to the song Try by Ash Brook, from the FAME soundtrack. A really beautiful track. Try it. You might just love it. And if you don't like it, tell me and I'll recommend you a different song. That or you should just get your ears checked ;P

Wow....time flies when you're a slow writer.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Of dinner, luck and odyssey

On last friday, 8th January, my company held an annual dinner, in collaboration with several other sister companies. It was announced much earlier that there will be a lucky draw and days before the dinner date, there were emails announcing several great prizes up for grabs, namely 37" LCD TV, Nintendo Wii, RM3000 cash, home theatre system, a few laptops, etc. So I said to myself "Wouldn't it be cool if I get to bring home any of these cool prizes?".

However, if past lucky draws is any indication, luck hasn't been on my side. One of the biggest prizes I've ever won was a reading lamp. Yup.........a freakin reading lamp. Why the f word? Because it came without a lamp, and without a plug point. Apparently, those are items sold separately. Hahaha!!! But still, it was free. Joy.

So, this time around, me and Tuty were discussing about our luck and wondering what we'll get, wish list and all. Dream is nice :)

Fast-forward to the night of the event - Food was nice, venue was cool, people were great. And then came the lucky draw. First several prizes up for grabs were One Way Business Class Odyssey Bus Ticket from KL to Singapore for Two Persons. So the first name was called - not me, then the second - also not me, then the third - guess what? *drumroll* Muhamad Safuan!!! The crowd cheered!!! and I went "damn......I was supposed to get the TV or Wii or something." Oh well............I can't say I was truly surprised, given the history of my winnings. LOL!!

So, I laughed, Tuty laughed, everybody laughed.

The draw continued - more Odyssey bus tickets to be won, and after a few names, another name was called, one which brought me utter delight. Hehehe...Teuku Tutyliana!!!! LOL!!!! I laughed myself to tears!!! Hahah!!!! She won the very same prize I won!!! How's that for luck!!! Hahahah!!!! So, the same ritual ensued - Tuty laughed, I laughed (and way louder this time!), everybody laughed. Sufficed to say that Tuty was stalking me!! LOL!!

But we got good news the day after the event. The One-Way tickets turned out to be Returned tickets, so all-in-all, it's not too bad.

Better than a lamp-less, socket-less study lamp I must say!

Hmm........maybe next year I'll win a house, or a car, who knows! :P

Friday, January 1, 2010

Of truth, acceptance and holding on

On most weekends, when I wake up in the morning (or afternoon :P) and leave the bedroom, I normally go to the couch and put on a dvd. It's almost like a ritual snooze moment before I get to starting my day. Only I'm awake and not still in bed.

Today, I put on Shrink starring Kevin Spacey. One of the quotes on the cover states "Spacey's best performance since Swimming with Sharks". Normally, all these quotes wouldn't account for much, we all know that, especially when I didn't even see Swimming with Sharks, but since it is, after all, Kevin Spacey, I expected the movie to be quite good. And it was.

Spoilers alert!

The story touches on the darker aspects of life - death of a loved one, the struggle of those left behind, drug addiction and an uninspired writer to name a few. The story unravels at a slow pace but it had some really good scenes and moments.

It highlights that when faced with so much grief, we often do not want to acknowledge the truth. or to even know the truth. Cos you feel it in your heart that it is ugly and sad. And so what good will it do to you? So you stall. You tell yourself "When I'm good and ready, when it's time, I'll open it. I'll find out." Only you have no idea when that will be. Heck, you don't even wanna know when you'll know.

So you focus on things that make you feel good. Things that calm you down. Things that could have you so focused that you stop thinking of everything else. Things that make the world go silent. And as long as you can keep doing this, everything else is off less importance.

And if, you stumble upon anyone whom you feel you could trust and confide in, and feel safe with, then you just might give in a little. Especially when you feel that they've gone through something similar and therefore could relate to how you're feeling. At the very least, you're not alone.

So.....when you finally find the spot where you start to feel safe, loved and worthy of it again, you'll find acceptance. You'll find the courage to face the truth, even if it breaks your heart all over again. Because deep down in your heart, you know, that you can't keep holding on to the past. And yes, it'll never go away. It'll only be easier, in time.

Well that's what you hope for anyway.