About Me

I have done a lot of things in my life and have also worked in many different jobs to make a living and to experience life. This blog is just some of my musings, sometimes funny, sometimes inspirational, sometimes sad, sometimes angry, sometimes simple but all the time, it's just me.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Remember in Gawai, the Love weighs more than gold

I have not celebrated the traditional Gawai festival this year with my friends who celebrate Gawai but I am with them in spirit and in love.

I have celebrated harvest festival in Sabah and tomorrow, on harvest festival, I am visiting with my good indigenous friend in Peninsular Malaysia.

Gawai in Sarawak, as I have learned, is celebrated among the Iban Dayak community but not he Orang Ulu community which have other celebrations. I have friends of both side of the spectrum, and irrespective of the differences in cultures, people in Sarawak have hearts of gold.

I know I am writing about hearts of gold for the umpteenth time, but in Sarawak, love and friendship and family and camaraderie's does weigh more than gold.

Mack took butterfly and buddy on a close to 14 hour road trip back for the Gawai and we have had many jokes about how butterfly is going to be the favorite among the grannies (an inside joke which I will not explain here).

Others go back to their villages, open up their hearts, take any friends and have a great nice time.

People just open up, things just change, some rules are just relaxed. On Friday, when I was leaving the place of my work, I saw this Gawai decoration in the lobby. The usually decorate up the lobby for every celebration. And in the decoration, the had a few bottles of Tuak which is traditional rice wine.

I wished the security folks a happy Gawai and noted that even Tuak nowadays comes in Johnny Walker Red Label bottles. To my surprise, the ask me if I wanted to try some. I thought it was for decoration plus my company is very strict of all this health, safety and security issues and would never permit drinking alcohol on company premises.

Then I said, yeah, I would like to try some. The poured me a nice warm temperature cup of Tuak right in the lobby of my company and there it was, the start of a nice holidays.

I have requested for my friends to bring back some Tuak and hopefully they will, and we will have this nice Tuak party on my home by the beach, have fun and have a post Gawai celebration.

I really look forward to that, and I really look forward to go to some friends longhouses which I am planning in June as well as another one in July.

Until then, this Gawai, like all celebrating, I am celebrating my Gawai with my family, my loved one and hopefully meet up some of my friends on this part of the country.

Confucius said, "To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right."

Happy Gawai to all my friends, those celebrating it and those not celebrating it, as in spirit, I hope for all of my friends to have hearts set right, and to have hearts of gold.

Take care and be well.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Tear out my Heart, feed it to Lions

What is courage,
Is it Brave?
What are Lions?
I've only seen them on parades.
How is love supposed to read
in a footnote of history?
What's a tap on your shoulder
that you're afraid to look over?
A soldier's down in a fire fight.
No one can look me in the eye.

This is what it means to be alone.

Tear out my Heart,
Feed it to Lions,
For this one wish I beg you this tonight,
Show me no mercy,
But spare me my pride,
I am going for a drive.

And if you find out he's coming home,
When I come around the corner,
I'll know that it's alright,
Leave me two lights.

Silent Angels
Light the road up ahead
As the sentries guard the way
On the avenue of borrowed time.

Two Lights sung by John Ondrasik or Five for Fighting.

I sure felt like that for a while. After a drive and some tears rolling down my cheeks, I started the album again from the beginning.

Two Lights above is song number 5 in the Two Lights album. John is among one of my favorite singers lately. I really like all the songs but there are a few among my favorites which includes The Riddle which is song number 4. All his songs are soulful and they touch my soul.

Then I heard his album from the beginning and after the first song Freedom Never Cries and the second song World, my sad episode was over, I did not feel so sad anymore.

In the World, it asks, What kind of world do you want? Think anything, let's start at the start, Build a masterpiece, Be careful what you wish for, History starts now.

I have to start taking my own advice and generally have been. It is just that I was down a little and sometimes I get a little lost and just need to be shown back the direction or right path.

Many of my wishes and hopes have come true and another one is coming true tomorrow.

So, it is pretty much what kind of world do I want but I have to be careful what I wish for. Sometimes we think a little negative, a little doubt and fear creeps in and there goes the perfect wish and hope.

Many things I have wished for have come true, now I just need to build my world as I want it.

To all my friends and people with hearts of gold in both Sabah and Sarawak, Happy Harvest festival. Have a great time, my sincere wishes for you and your family and hope that all your dreams come true and you build your world as you want it.

History starts now.

Take care and be well.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom

I use Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi's (Mahatma Gandhi) quote as the title of my posting today, "It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err."

I mainly use this quote because it is fitting to the occasion and I happened to be wearing a hand painted t-shirt with his face just before my shower a few minutes ago.

Today, I was conquered by a hill, Canada Hill in Miri. I did not expect it to be tough. But it was tougher than I expected. I do not know what happened. I do not think I am extremely fit but I am not unfit either.

The easy part

I have been up hills and mountains before as well as jungle trekking. In my younger days growing up in Penang, hiking up Penang Hill was rather common, sometimes a weekly activity.

I have been up to Akinabalu or Mount Kinabalu. Also hiked the Badlands National Park and the Black Hills in South Dakota.

I have been up to the Blue Mountains of Australia as well as some hills in Wisconsin.

So, I was surprised and a little shocked at what happened while I climbed up Canada Hill.

It started of well but soon it took a turn for the worse. It was not even too difficult a climb and not one of the worse climbs that I have done But I started seating profusely, started being breathless, my heart started beating very fast and I started feeling dizzy. For a while, I thought I was having a heart attack at 39.

Can see how exhausted I am

I am glad for the friends that were there cause they stayed back, did not push, encouraged me to rest, waited patiently for me, did not make fun after, did not say anything discouraging. I doubt that I could have gone as far if not for them (and trust me, I did not get that far today).

One of them said, you'll either do it again and again or this may be the last time. When I was up there and facing all the problems with my breathing, I thought this may be the last time. Mainly because I felt a little guilty for the friends who had to wait for me, also because I felt at that time I am not cut out for this.

The end

Then I started thinking of all the places I have hiked, and all the places I have been to in the world and all the places I have pushed myself and achieved....... and all these times, there were always friends who would encourage and be there. Sometimes, I was the friend encouraging and waiting my other friends.

Canada Hill conquered me today, but one day, I will conquer it and I will not do it alone, my friends will be there.

I may get the bruises and cuts and dust and grass, I may get aches and pains and mosquito bites and bugs, but I will hike Canada Hill with my buddies and hopefully an angel and butterfly will watch over me ;-)

"I seldom think of my limitations, and they never make me sad. Perhaps there is just a touch of yearning at times; but it is vague, like a breeze among flowers." - Helen Keller.

Take care and be well.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Life is fine, fine as wine

I have been wanting to write an entry in my blog for the last two days, there are so many things in my mind and so many things I would like to write about. However, for whatever reasons and stress, I have not been too well and I have not written anything. No words are moving from my mind to my fingers to the keyboard and to the blog.

Instead, today, I copy some poems from some favorite poets of mine. Both my wife and I have been going through the same stress from the same sources .... family .... sigh!! It is so hard to keep calm in some of the situations we face but I have no mood to write about this right now.

So, instead, enjoy some of poems.

The Poison Tree by William Blake

I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe;
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I water'd it in fears,
Night & morning with my tears;
And I sunned it with my smiles
And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright;
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew that it was mine,

And into my garden stole
When the night had veil'd the pole:
In the morning glad I see
My foe outstretch'd beneath the tree.

The Divine Image by William Blake

Cruelty has a human heart,
And Jealousy a human face;
Terror the human form divine,
And secrecy the human dress.

The human dress is forged iron,
The human form a fiery forge,
The human face a furnace seal'd,
The human heart its hungry gorge.

I carry your heart with me by E.E. Cummings

I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart)
I am never without it (anywhere I go you go,my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling)

I fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet)

I want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart)

Life is fine by Langston Hughes

I went down to the river,
I set down on the bank.
I tried to think but couldn't,
So I jumped in and sank.

I came up once and hollered!
I came up twice and cried!
If that water hadn't a-been so cold
I might've sunk and died.

But it was Cold in that water! It was cold!

I took the elevator
Sixteen floors above the ground.
I thought about my baby
And thought I would jump down.

I stood there and I hollered!
I stood there and I cried!
If it hadn't a-been so high
I might've jumped and died.

But it was High up there! It was high!

So since I'm still here livin',
I guess I will live on.
I could've died for love--
But for livin' I was born

Though you may hear me holler,
And you may see me cry--
I'll be dogged, sweet baby,
If you gonna see me die.

Life is fine! Fine as wine! Life is fine!

That's all for my blog today. A few poems from a few great poets whom one day I wish to emulate.

And until then,

Life is fine, fine as wine.
It gets better as it matures
sometimes it may be sweet,
sometimes it may be sour,
sometimes it may be red,
sometimes it may be white,
at times it will be fruity,
at times it will be dry,
sometimes it will get you drunk,
sometimes it will get you cheerful,
at times it will be strong,
at times it will be mild,
but always, always,
life will be fine, fine as wine.

Take care and be well.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Appreciation can make a day, even change a life.

I am not feeling extremely well the past few days, I have been saying it is mind over matter, and even joking that if I don't mind then it doesn't matter.

My migraines are back and having it for the past 48 hours. I have learned to live with the migraines but this time it has lasted longer than I expected.

My backaches are also back, lower back, upper back and my spinal spondolysis is acting up. I developed back problems when I was a coolie, unloading containers filled with carpets and putting them in the warehouse.

My eyes are burning and aching and it is more than just the chlorine in the swimming pool.

My knees are clicking and aching and my heels are hurting like a building on fire and the people inside cannot get out.

My kidney problems have been acting up as well.... I will not get in details of how I know this but it has got to do with my pee.

I am unable to fall asleep. I do not have appetite to eat.

With all this "MY" and "I" it is not surprising that I have a migraine.

Is it due to stress, maybe partially, maybe fully, maybe none. I do not know anymore.

In this times of pain, I am still happy.
In this times of uncertainties, I am still happy.
In this time of loneliness, I am still happy.
In this time of need, I am still happy.
In this time of stress, I am still happy.

Love the moment.
Flowers grow out of dark moments.
Each moment is vital.
It affects the whole.
Life is a succession of such moments
and to live each,
is to succeed.

Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Our willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary.

Thank you.

Take care and be well.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Happiness is not so much in having as sharing.

Above are pictures taken from a belated birthday party we had for my wife at home. They are not in a chronological order but you can figure out that it was a blast.

A small party at home with a small group of friends and home cooked food.

We have had 5 or 6 parties in my current home in Miri, some small parties like this one and some larger parties where we catered food. However, all of the previous parties were at night for dinner and after.

This was the first day party we had where we started slightly after 3pm. What we did not expect was that it lasted until just past midnight and it was a blast.

After 4 bottles of champagne, 3 bottles of wine, 3 boxes of fruit juices, half a dozen of soft drinks, lots of water, a pot of Gujerati cha and lots of home cooked food, snacks and chips, the party went on and on.

We started by everyone sitting around the dining table, chatting, snacking, drinking and just chillin’.

We then went to play Ultimate Frisbee on the beach in front of my house. Then we came back and had cake. Then we played Cashflow 101, we boxed on my boxing ball, we had spoons on our noses, the pictures say it all. We had a blast.

My wife and I enjoy cooking and enjoy having friends over. We believe that to be truly happy, we have to share, share our lives, share our bread, share our happiness.

As such, I use Norman MacEvan quote today as the title of today’s blog.

“Happiness is not so much in having as sharing. We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

Pictures say a thousand words and as such, I will not in today’s blog. Just a few more.

These are my friends,
You there, my friend,
Come, let me hold you.
Now, with a sigh,
You grow warm
In my hand...
My friend,
My clever friend...
Soon you'll know splendors
You never have dreamed
All your days,
My lucky friends.
You'll soon drip precious
From Sweeney Todd

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”

I want to thank you friends for making the day memorable. You all have truly made my soul blossom.
Take care and be well.

Friday, May 16, 2008

A mighty wind does not matter when you're next to me

13 May 2008, the day the storm and strong winds struck Miri causing some havoc and damage with quite a number of large trees toppling over.

It was also my wife's birthday, and I had planned a nice romantic candle light dinner by the sea watching the sunset and having Pink Champagne with a customised 3 course dinner.

Our lovely pictures on our balcony.

The evening started off well enough although there was not much of a sunset, as there was too much cloud cover. Irrespectively, it started well, the table arrangement was fantastic, the ambiance was very nice, we started sipping our pink champagne to start of a lovely evening. We had a private butler and total attention from the staff, it was truly going to be a lovely evening.

More lovely pictures at our table for a romantic sunset and candlelight dinner

We had a first course of smoked salmon salad for my wife and a grilled vegetable salad for myself, and then a main course of baked red snapper for my wife and a vegetable strudel for myself.

The evening was turning out to be a perfect evening and we were really enjoying ourselves.... and then, the strong wind started, really really strong wind. And we were advised to go inside the restaurant. The howling wind and then heavy rain.

We had more champagne in the restaurant and had to finish of the birthday dinner with the dessert in the restaurant.

The final course - dessert of course.

We knew the wind was really strong because it was howling away and there was rain water even seeping in to the covered areas and into the restaurant blown by the wind. The coconut and palm trees were so bent over by the wind.

As rains in Malaysia go, this was all over in a few hours but the mayhem caused by it was surprising and a little shocking to see so many old trees fallen over. The next day when I went to work, I noticed quite a number of large trees had toppled all over Miri.

However, my wife had a nice birthday dinner, it was romantic, the food was great, the champagne even better, the service was superb and a little wind and storm could not spoil it for us, it toppled some old trees all over Miri but we still had a great time out and I look forward to spending many more birthdays with my lovely wife, my other half until we reach our ripe old ages.

When I hold your hand in mine
Different world wakes
A new morning breaks with the sun
When I hold your hand in mine
Children's dreams take flight
Through a star lit night
That’s what I see
When you’re next to me
This love for you I’m feeling
Has a power that is healing
It can mend the darkest hour
With glorious light

Take care and be well.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Your life is a treasure and you are so much than you know

The title for the blog is taken from Robin Sharma's book Discover Your Destiny.

To my wife, wishing you a happy birthday, I hope for all happiness and love in our lives. Know this, "Your life is a treasure and you are so much than you know."

There are many books that I have read in my life, all types of books, any genre, any thickness, any author, anything. Lately, I read a lot of positive thinking, life improvement books as well as biographies. Biographies are quite inspiring. I have even read the Bible, both old and new testament and the Quran in English of course. And even these books have a positive message.

For example, Mark 11:24 in the Bible states, "What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them."

A simple message, whatever you want in your life, believe that you already have it, pray and thank whoever you pray for already having it, and you shall have it.

Does it work? Sure it does, and I have done it myself. The key word in the Bible verse is believe. Many of us doubt, and doubt means not believing, and when doubt creeps in, there is where we loose it.

I believe there is an old Chinese saying that states that a journey of a 1000 miles starts with the 1st step. Many of us have great goals, greats dreams, great wishes for ourselves, for our loved ones, for the world and we tend to give up to soon sometimes in the journey, we tend to lose focus, I tend to sometimes lose focus.

Robin Sharma also wrote "The Monk Who Sold his Ferrari." Another nice book to read. The mind is truly a fascinating thing, what we think daily is truly fascinating.

We fear, we have doubts.

We must remember on your other side of our fears and doubt, we will discover our fortune.

Norman Vincent Peale in his book Positive Imaging uses a lot of the Christian religion and the Bible, but the message is clear, if you can positively image what you desire, if you image it to the extent that in your mind you already have what you desire, the law of attraction will just make things fall into its place and you will get what you desire.

Steven Covey says be proactive, yet it is not as easy as it sounds as we have been brought up to react to situations and therefore we are naturally reactive.

Fear Knocked on the door
Doubt was right next to him
Opportunity knocked on the door softly
My Desires and Dreams was right next to Opportunity
But Fear and Doubt kept knocking harder and harder on the door
Until I could barely hear Opportunity and
My Desire and Dreams seemed to be slipping away
Until Faith came by my side
Faith answered the door
There was no Fear nor Doubt
Only Opportunity remained
And he brought along My Desires and My Dreams in a well.

Have blind faith and unconditionally believe that you will achieve your desires and your dreams, just believe, no questions asked, no fear, no doubt, no NO.

Be positive. It is literally in my blood to be positive (as my my blood type is B + ;-)), so I choose from now on to take a positive outlook in everything that I do. Every now and then I am sure fear and doubt will try to creep in, every now and then I may be a little down, but I will rely on my faith and my innate desire for happiness and success and I will be positive and chase away doubts and fear from my life.

Many may say this is all talk, no action. I have started small and here are some examples of my success.

I am nearly 40 years old and could not swim, however, when I came to Miri, I had a strong desire that I will learn how to swim here and I would find the right person to teach me how to swim. I have had instructors before who were unable to teach me how to swim and I also had a slight fear of drowning. I can now swim, mostly it was mind over matter. Positive imaging and desire.

When I first came to Miri, I imagined to stay near the sea, by the beach. However, the first few days of house searching were futile but somehow my desire remained. My wife too had the same desire. We nearly closed in on a deal in a house in the city then we saw the house we are living in right now. It is what we imagined and we are living in it. People say it is far from work, but it is only 25 to 30 minutes and to me this is not far. We achieved what we seeked.

My desire to own a house in a up market area in KL with a land and garden behind were also achieved, I now own a nice home in Bangsar which has a nice 40 feet by 22 feet garden behind, this is something that is virtually impossible to get.

My desire to work in an oil and gas company on the production and exploration side also materialised.

My desire to have a permanent residency in another country is well on schedule.

More than 1 year ago, when I was 1st called for an interview in Miri, after going back to KL, I wrote down that I will get the job, I will get an X amount of salary, I will buy a 4 wheel drive car which I will take to Miri and I will stay near the beach, all of which has come true.

I am now wishing, desiring and dreaming for more things, and I am keeping a positive image of it and I have faith that I will achieve all my desires and my dreams in my lifetime.

I always wish good things for all my family members and my friends as well and hope that all their dreams and desires will be achieved as well. I would like to fulfil some of their dreams and that is part of my desire and dream to do so.

Robin Sharma talks about 5 daily devotions which I will write briefly about here.

- Devote yourself to rising at 5am each and every morning.
- Devote yourself to set aside the 1st 60 minutes of your day to holy hour.
- Devote yourself to displaying a standard of care, compassion and character well beyond what others can imagine of you.
- Devote yourself to displaying a standard of excellence in what you do far higher than what others expect from you.
- Devote yourself to being the most loving person and think, feel and act like you are one of the greatest people on earth because you are.

To everyone of my friends and everyone who reads this blog, remember this, "Your life is a treasure and you are so much than you know. "

Take care and be well.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Miri Resort City or is it Miri City, the last resort?

Working in Miri is quite a change in pace of life, a proper work life balance. You are not spending most of your time at work or in traffic jams as you would working in cities like Kuala Lumpur. Miri has hardly any traffic congestion, many people go back home for lunch especially the family people.

Miri became a city about 2 or 3 years ago, I do not have actual facts on this but that is what someone told me or something I read somewhere when I joined the oil and gas industry in Miri.

Miri also changed its moniker from Miri Oil Town to Miri Resort City. All of these have changed in many sign boards.

However, for me Miri is far from a proper city more so a resort city. It has one international resort which is Miri Marriot Resort and Spa which has a sea front but no beach.

Other top hotels in Miri are Park Everly, Grand Palace, Imperial, Mega and Dynasty (not the chain) - never heard of these hotels? Well, you're not alone, neither did I before I came here.

In terms of things that people from KL or other cities may recognize, Miri has 1 McDonald's (not that I go there), 2 KFC's, 2 Coffee Bean (one in Shell premises), 1 San Francisco coffee, 1 Parkson, 1 Giant, 1 Dave's deli, 1 Guardian pharmacy, 1 Popular bookstore and 1 Pizza Hut. I may have missed out some things but there are many other places in Miri which are totally unknown to the outside world like Boulevard, Rex Box karaoke, Belle's bookstore and many many others.

The city has at least 20 dangdut pubs if not more of which I have been to 4 before. Dangdut karaoke pubs are filled with scantily clad women from our wonderful neighbours. These girls will dance, sit with you and be GRO's at most, they are not prostitutes (although there are many of those here as well and some quite openly trading on street corners and such). It has at least 20 "health spas" which will offer you a whole range of massages (especially catering for men) and a few "hair saloons" also mainly for male clientele.

The city has 1 bowling alley, 1 cineplex which is crawling with creepy crawlies and 1 archery place.

The activities that a person who is decent and nice like me would do in Miri is mostly physical activities like hiking, biking, playing Ultimate Frisbee with friends, swimming, volleyball, soccer, dancing ... well you get the gist, mainly physical sports activities.

Although the city has a sea front, it has very few beaches for public access, maybe 3 small ones at the most and this includes the beach front in front of my temporary accommodation.

Recently, a Mr Ho's fine food restaurant (a chain from KL) opened here and there was a big buzz and the place was crowded for days.

Also, recently the Marina Bay opened it's doors with it's new UluMulu restaurant and a big buzz was created by that. It is ridiculously expensive and service is horrendous, at least the time that I went there with few other people.

There are 2 golf courses in Miri, one is Miri Golf club started by Shell and now a public course. The other one is situated away from town area on the bypass road called Eastwood Valley.

I like some things in Miri and life here is easygoing, but calling Miri a resort city just is ridiculously funny, as such, my new moniker for Miri city, The last resort.

Miri can still maintain its small town charms and become a resort city, it does not have to follow KL or Singapore examples. It can instead follow example of Kota Kinabalu, Melaka, Kuching even or going international, how about Vienna, Sorrento, Monaco, Provence, Dunedin, Christchurch.

For those who read this post and are discouraged to come to Miri, please do not be. Miri is a gateway to Mulu caves, Niah caves, Lambir Hills, Loagan Bunut, Bario and even just minutes away from Brunei. But please don't come here if you are hoping to find a resort city, remember, it's the last resort.

I love Miri for what it is but I hope for it to become more. It is capable to be a lot more. I personally would not be able to make Miri my home, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching I would have considered.

Take care and be well.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A dream or a future reality - An angel's wedding

Most of us have dreams, sometimes we remember the dreams, sometimes we do not remember our dreams, sometimes they are in color and sometimes they are in black and white, sometimes we have scary dreams which are nightmares, sometimes we have pleasant dreams and yes, every now and then it may even be a wet dream :-)

I have been having this recurring dream - well I had it twice anyways, so somewhat recurring. I will try to lay out this dream without using any names because I have committed not to.

An angel's wedding, I was dreaming that an angel was getting married, I happen to know this angel, and the angel happens to know me, we are friends, maybe even close or good friends. Is it a living angel, a fallen angel, I do not know and cannot say, all I know is that it is an angel.

The wedding is taking place in St. Peter's cathedral in Rome, the biggest Catholic church and of course the headquarters of Catholic Christian religion. It is rather clear it is in St. Peter's because I have been there with my wife before and I remember the layout of the church and Michelangelo Buonarroti's Pietà. The Pietà is one of the most astonishing sculptures I have seen in my life and can never forget it.

The wedding is conducted by a cardinal of the church, I am not too familiar with the cardinal but I believe it is Cardinal Arinze from Nigeria, but I cannot be certain, there are very few cardinals from Africa and it is not a Bishop, like Bishop Tutu that I am more familiar with.

It is a rather huge wedding but everyone is inside the church and no people are on the outside. I seem to know the groom, he is oriental and about 5 feet 10 inches tall, I say that because he is slightly shorter than me and I am 6 feet tall. I seem to know him well but in the current reality, I do not know who he is. He is very friendly in my dreams.

I am his best man but I am also close to the bride. My wife is also there in the church as are many of our other friends and many familiar faces. There are also many unfamiliar faces, there are thousands of faces, not all that I would know anyways.

I have seen to the bride, the angel, before the ceremony, in her dressing room, she is a sight to behold, he wedding gown is magnificent and the train of the dress must be at least 20 feet in length. We see each other and each of us just smiles, there is not time for words, just a smile, a knowing smile, a happy smile.

I go on into the grooms dressing room, he is ready, and we joke and I tell him that his angel looks magnificent. He smiles and I smile. He is relaxed yet a little nervous, he is happy. We go on into the church.

Cardinal Arinze is already at his pulpit. The wedding march song begins, two beautiful flower girls walk in and throw rose petals. Behind the flower girls, three bridesmaids walk in, three gorgeous ladies, all of whom I know, all single ladies that are girlfriends to my friends at the workplace.

Then comes in the bride, a petite angel, she walks in hand in hand with her father, I am assuming this as I have personally never seen the man before this. Behind her, four girls are holding on to the train of her dress. She walks graciously to the front and the ceremony begins.

It is mostly in Latin and I do not know why because none of us speak or understand Latin. The ceremony takes about 52 minutes and ends with "Potete baciare il bride" which I think means "You may kiss the bride."

They walk off together, and before they do, the bride comes over to me and whispers something which even I do not recall but I do recall what I whisper back, I say, "I don't think so. You look gorgeous, I am happy for you and it is always my pleasure, you take care, be well."

I give her a peck on her cheek, my lovely wife gives her a peck on her cheek as well as gives the groom a peck on his cheek. I hug the groom, congratulate him and tell him to also take care and be well.

All friends are congratulating them and then they drive off. My dream nearly ends here but before it does, it just gives me a preview of the reception in the night in some big hotel in Rome and poof, I get up.

Why I have had this dream twice I do not know, will I have this dream again, I do not know, all I know was that it was a happy dream, everyone in the dream, each of the people I know, whom I do not know yet and who I may never know, were happy, there was genuine love and happiness in the church and the sadness of the Pietà just lifted away and there was the happiness of being witness to an angel's wedding. It was truly a joyous occasion.

This was just a dream.... or is it a future reality. Well, I hope it is a future reality.

Take care and be well.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Over scrambled eggs, rye bread and cha

I made late breakfast today and my love and I sat down and had scrambled eggs, rye bread and cha or chai or Indian masala tea. Simple food, simple life and breakfast overlooking the calm morning sea and the cool sea breeze.

My wife said that I should write the recipe for the eggs and cha I made, so, I decided to write it down here instead. Recipe for eggs below will make enough eggs for 2 people or 1 hungry person.

Scrambled Eggs Ala Nils

3-4 spring onions
0.5 red onion
1 large garlic clove
1 medium chilli padi
3 inches of carrot
0.25 yellow capsicum
3 inches of leek (only green part)

Finely chop all of the above ingredients

6-8 egg whites
2 tablespoons milk
A pinch of salt
A pinch of parsley
A pinch of chili flakes

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon grape seed oil

Heat oil in pan and put in the spring onions, red onions, garlic and chilli padi and let it fry until the aroma comes out and browned a little.

Add the carrots, capsicum and leek and fry for about 30 seconds to a minute.

Add the eggs whites, the milk and use a spatula to mix the mixture and scramble the eggs with the mixture.

Top off the eggs with salt, chili flakes and parsley and mix in pan again.

And serve.

As for the tea, some trades passed down form my mom to me and some from my observations. More spices can be added but below is what I would drink on a daily basis. I will make suggestions of other spices that can be added to make the masala more flavourful. Below recipe will make 2 cups of tea.

Gujerati Cha

6-7 medium sized cardamoms crushed using a mortar and pestle.
2-3 pieces of saffron

Boil the above in 1.5 cups of water.

Add 2-3 teaspoons of sugar (more or less depending on your sweet needs)

Let the water boil.

Add 2 tablespoons of black tea leaves (preferable would be Hi Top tea. If not available, Boh or any strong black tea is acceptable.)

Let it simmer for a while.

Add 1 cup of milk.

Let the mixture boil up for 3-4 times or longer.

Sieve into a cup and serve.

For added spices, add a small piece of cinnamon; add 1 clove; add nutmeg; add 1-2 black pepper; add some dried ginger. All of the ingredients above can be added together with the main ingredient above in the 1st step. For best result, use a mortar and pestle to powder or grind the ingredients to get the fresh flavour out.

Over breakfast we shared our joy, we laughed, we talked about news, we talked about various activities that we have to do over the Gawai break, we talked about personal finances, we talked about my wife's birthday that is coming up, we talked about my dad, we talked about my in-laws, we talked about the sea, the breeze, the birds chirping and we had spring scrambled eggs with rye bread and Gujerati cha.

A simple morning, a nice morning, a quiet morning, a lovely morning, a serene morning.

Next stop, Miri Jazz Festival tonight.

Take care and be well.

Friday, May 9, 2008

People are people

This blog is just snippets of some lyrics and words from various songs that have been in my mind and a tune that keeps playing in my head for some time, over time, time and again.

People are People
People are people,
So why should it be?,
You and I should get along so awfully,
So we're different colors,
And we're different creeds,
And different people,
Have different needs,

I can't understand,
What makes a man,
Hate another man,
Help me understand.

This song above and below were both sung by Perfect Circle, a LA based band some time ago.

Peace, Love and Understanding
As I walk through this wicked world,
Searching for light in the darkness of insanity,
I ask myself,
Is all hope lost?
Is there only pain,
and hatred, and misery?
And each time I feel like this inside,
There's one thing I wanna know,
What's so funny 'bout peace, love, and understanding?,
What's so funny 'bout peace, love, and understanding?
And as I walked on through troubled times,
My spirit gets so downhearted sometimes,
So where are the strong?,
And who are the trusted?,
And where is the harmony?,
Sweet harmony.

Among my favorite song from Muse has also been running circles in my head. Maybe part of it has to be with the current political situation in Malaysia, maybe yes, maybe not.

Knights of Cydonia
Come ride with me
Through the veins of history
I'll show you how god
Falls asleep on the job

And how can we win
When fools can be kings
Don't waste your time

Or time will waste you

No one's gonna take me alive
The time has come to make things right
You and I must fight for our rights
You and I must fight to survive.

This song from Muse just reminds me of my relationship with my love, my friends, my life.

Hopelessly I'll love you endlessly
Hopelessly I'll give you everything
But I won't give you up
I won't let you down
And I won't leave you falling

If the moment ever comes
It's plain to see it's trying to speak
Cherished dreams forever asleep
Hopelessly I'll love you endlessly
Hopelessly I'll give you everything
But I won't give you up
I won't let you down
And I won't leave you falling
If the moment ever comes

When I came back to Malaysia after my bachelors degree in United States of America in 1992, I was an idealist and energetic to do what I could do, make changes, get things done, change the world, change Malaysia, change myself. Maybe it was not realistic to be idealistic but nevertheless, nothing wrong either. So this song from Muse reminds me of those days and these days.

Butterflies and Hurricanes
everything you are
and everything you were
your number has been called
fights and battles have begun
revenge will surely come
your hard times are ahead

you've got to be the best
you've got to change the world
and you use this chance to be heard
your time is now

let yourself down
don't let yourself go
your last chance has arrived

you've got to be the best
you've got to change the world
and you use this chance to be heard
your time is now

Among my favorite songs from Snow Patrol from one of their earlier albums in 1999 and a little sad ending which I am leaving out. As my life is approaching middle ages and my mind is approaching youth, I realise that I have many friends who are my favorite at one time or another.

Favorite Friend
You're my favourite friend
And I adore you
Love you to the end
No one heard a word you say
You're my favourite friend
We rule the world together
With out secret codes
And plans we can't remember
From now on, must be strong
My favourite friend
You're my favourite friend
When I need you
And when I don't as well

Last but among one of the songs that is endless in my mind, one of Human League's top songs and top hits, a blast from the past. Oh, well, folks, I am only human.

I wouldn't ever try to hurt you
I just needed someone to hold me
To fill the void while you were gone
To fill this space of emptiness

I'm only human
Of flesh and blood I'm made
Born to make mistakes

So many nights I longed to hold you
So many times I looked and saw your face
Nothing could change the way I feel
No-one else could ever take your place

So to all my friends and my love of my life, I am human, I love you all, I do make mistakes, I have high aspirations and I have songs running around in my head.

Take care and be well.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Burning both ends of my candle

I need to stop burning both ends of my candle.

A friend of mine recently told me that it seems like I am burning both ends of my candle and that would only mean that my candle will burn out faster and before it is due to burn out. My boss recently told me that he expects me to be at least 120% utilised at all times, as such, I have become a little overwhelmed at work and need to quickly find that work life balance that has been missing from my generation. I do not really know whether it is X Generation, Lost Generation or whatever. I find that many of us, especially those living in larger cities do not seem to have a good work life balance and spend many hours on the road in traffic.

I really liked this posting on Facebook that was forwarded by one of my Facebook friends and which I have forwarded to all of my friends in Facebook, as such, some of you may have already heard it or seen this. But I am reproducing it because it is a really nice message.

I am part of the Lost Generation
And I refuse to believe that
I can change the world
I realize this is may be a shock
But “Happiness Comes from Within”
Is a lie,
“Money will make me happy”
So in 30 years I will tell my children
They are not the most important thing in my life
My employer will know that
I have my priorities straight because
Is more important than
I tell you this
Once upon a time
Families stayed together
But this will not be true in my era
This is a quick fix society
Experts tell me
30 years from now I will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of my divorce
I do not concede that
I will live in a country of my own making
In the future
Environmental destruction will be the norm
No longer can it be said that
My peers and I care about this earth
It will be evident that
My generation is apathetic and lethargic
It is foolish to presume that
There is hope

And all of these will come true unless we choose to reverse it

There is hope
It is foolish to presume that
My generation is apathetic and lethargic
It will be evident that
My peers and I care about this earth
No longer can it be said that
Environmental destruction will be the norm
In the future
I will live in a country of my own making
I do not concede that
30 years from now I will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of my divorce
Experts tell me
This is a quick fix society
But this will not be true in my era
Families stayed together
Once upon a time
I tell you this
Is more important than
I have my priorities straight because
My employer will know that
They are not the most important thing in my life
So in 30 years I will tell my children
“Money will make me happy”
Is a lie,
But “Happiness Comes from Within”
I realize this is may be a shock
I can change the world
And I refuse to believe that
I am part of the Lost Generation

I need to stop burning both ends of my candle and set my priorities right and find that happiness in me that came from within.

Take care and be well.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Long live RPK

It is a sad day for blogging community and a sad day for Malaysian politics.

I do not write a political blog.

Nevertheless, I am sad because of the unwarranted persecution of fellow blogger and among the most senior and respected bloggers, Raja Petra Kamaruddin or Pete or RPK.

My career in Malaysia started as a journalist for the two main English language print media newspapers in Malaysia and lasted barely 3 years in total due to the lack of press freedom.

Today and in the last few days when it became evident that Pete would be charged and brought to court, it brought great sadness in my heart.

I too wish that all the murderers and persons involved in the murder of Altantuya rot in hell. I wish that all murderers rot in hell.

My personal opinion is that politics of Malaysia has been crap, the judiciary has been crap, the print media has been crap - we have no shortage of food in Malaysia, it is full of crap.

My prayers and best wishes go out to RPK and his family, you have stood firm, you stand tall amongst us.

That's all.

Take care and be well.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Hearts of gold and Big Apple Donuts

Over the Labour Day weekend, my wife, a few friends and I went to Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah, Malaysia. I have been to Sabah numerous times for work since 1992 and have become quite familiar with it's development and politics.

(Before I go on to talk more about Sabah, I just want to be thankful to Mr V David, who has made Labour Day possible for all Malaysians and someone who I had the privilege to meet on numerous occasions in 1992 and 1993. For those not familiar about this great Malaysian leader, read Raja Petra's blog through this link :-

My first few trips to Sabah in 1992 were to cover the state elections that year, post elections and the huh ha the ensued after the elections. UMNO had just been formed in Sabah and put up a strong challenge to PBS who was then the state ruling party but opposition to the Barisan Nasional. Due to the politics of that time and the hoppers, the election saw PBS winning the seats only to see them loose by some hoppers who hopped over the Barisan Nasional.

It was an interesting trip for me as it allowed me to follow the politicians all over Sabah, into the cities, towns, villages and jungles. I have been to some remote areas of Sabah where even Sabahans have not been too. I have driven a four wheel drive over half collapsed bridge, I have gone off the road only to have someone wince me out.

Sabah was not a very developed state at that time but the heart of people was made of gold.

Kota Kinabalu was already quite large at the time but I am not sure if it was considered a city yet. I met with all the politicians and I correctly predicted the 1st UMNO chief minister although he was an underdog at that time. I also met with the great Kadazan leaders and drank with many village chiefs. I was presented with a old antique "parang" by a remote village chief in the jungles of the basin which I cherish until today. This was when I had my 1st Sabahan girlfriend (of course this was before I had met my wonderful wife and she is well aware of it), this was when I broke my ribs, this was when I first had pork ribs and frogs legs (vegetarian of course), this was when I first truly felt love from a non-family member, this was when I felt my heartbroken and many things. This was a trip where a young man turned to become a matured man.

My second few trips to Sabah was in 2001, this was when I was doing a IT project for Sabah Land and Survey department. This time, nearly 9 years after UMNO had taken over the state, I was surprised to see the level of development especially in and around Kota Kinabalu.

The state or at least the city had transformed significantly and I was loving it. One thing that did not change was that the people, they still had a heart of gold.

This time too my colleagues and I travelled as extensively as our rented Iswara would take us, this of course did not include deep jungles and dirt roads but nevertheless, we travelled quite extensively as well.

Sutera Harbour was already built, Karambunai resort was developed and things were looking up. This was when Long Island Iced Tea was our drink of choice in Shenanigans or KK's. This was the time when the waterfront was being developed.

My most recent trip to KK, just a 2 night trip over the long weekend, was again interesting because again I was surprised to see how much more Kota Kinabalu has evolved into a resort city, more hotels, more restaurants including Big Apple Donuts and all types of international cuisine, more use of the waterfront, more shopping areas and upcoming shopping areas like One Borneo and Sutera KK, clearing up of the old boat dock area where you would take trips to the islands and re-development of the old Jesselton Quay and many other areas of development.

Again one thing that did not change was the people, whose hearts are still made of gold.

Now, why can't Miri "Resort" city be more like Kota Kinabalu, a true resort city. I think it is a shame to pride oneself as a resort city when the state of the city is quite an embarrassment. I would not be picking on Miri if it just stuck to the old name and called itself Oil city, because that's all it is.

The only resort in Miri, the Marriot does not even have a beach. The long waterfront is so under utilised. Miri to me is just a small oil town, a little bit of a cowboy town, with prostitution openly everywhere (it exist everywhere but I have never seen it so prevalent in other Malaysian cities), nightlife that is filled with dangdut bars with scantily clad Indonesian girls and other nightlife that is filled with smoke and ruffians, shopping malls that look like a blast from the past, the only cinema infected with rats, luxury apartments that do not come with a gym or swimming pool, haphazard construction.

There are some good things about Miri but for it to truly become great, it needs some vision and goals and someone to take action.

I would gladly offer myself to become a Miri planner or even mayor, but alas, as a Peninsula Malaysian, I require a work permit to work in Sarawak and do not qualify to be the mayor or town planner.

Nevertheless, I have met many people here whose hearts are also made of gold. I do hope that these people will stand up and hopefully, be the future leaders and do something about Miri so that we all can proudly call Miri a resort city and not snicker at the moniker.

Maybe Miri will even have a Big Apple donut shop here one day. But for now, a big thank you to my dear friend Blossom for getting me a dozen Big Apple donuts since I did not manage to bring some back. I am truly grateful.

Take care and be well.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Irresponsible imbeciles .... Now everyone can fly, truly.

A few of us just came back from Kota Kinabalu today. We took advantage of a long weekend to go experience a real city like KK and unlike Miri resort city that I live in (this is a topic for a blog to come, why can't Miri be more like a real city).

Anyway, trying to keep this posting short.

I sat on the middle of the second row and on the parallel row sat a heavily pregnant woman and 2 of her young children who surprisingly for children their age were very well behaved.

I unfortunately sat behind nobody. The seat in front of me was empty, I was sitting on the second row. On the first row, there were a relatively young couple who had obviously taken Air Asia's express boarding. They duly kept the middle seat empty by booking it with a water bottle.
As soon as the flight was on its way, they took no time to push their seats as far back as they could, including the empty seat which I had sat behind. There was absolutely no one sitting there, but they still pushed the seat all the way back hitting my already hurting knees.

While they straightened the seats when the flight was about to land as per required by the airline regulations. However, as soon as the flight had landed and was driving to the gate, the seat were pushed back again. The nerve of these imbeciles.

Thank goodness the flight was only a 50 minute flight and my patience was enough to tolerate these irresponsible imbecile ruffians.

And after the plane had landed, everyone seemed to be rushing to get out, I had to create a block and could feel people pushing me. But I created a block between me and my wife so that the heavily pregnant woman and her 2 young children could get off board.

Oh, well, like they say, "Now everyone can fly!" I guess these includes irresponsible imbeciles.

Be patient, be calm, be grateful and do a good deed.

Take care and be well.