Friday, December 19, 2008

SPEND YOUR HOLIDAYS WISELY…….



The holidays for our school-going kids began a month ago. Now that December is here and Christmas is just round the corner and the end of the year is approaching, many families are taking holidays together.

The month of November came and went, my own two kids have been spending time in front of the TV and the computer, going out with friends and playing badminton in the evenings. Looking at the four pastimes, I can’t help but pick out playing badminton as the best activity thus far. My husband had bought my son a new Yonex racquet and it has been used well. I have told them to watch ‘good programs’ like Discovery Science, National Geography, Sports, Travel and even the Asian Food Channel. I think they enjoy these programs and the past week, my kids have been experimenting with cooking, I don’t mind, they are allowed to explore new recipes and come up with their own lunch, tea or dinner!

They have since made chocolate brownies, spaghetti and today, baked mashed potatoes and bacon strips. I think everyone enjoyed their tea. Well, its December and I have also told my kids they have had enough rest from their studies and now they have to hit their books again. Yes, they will have to prepare for the new school term which is just a few weeks away…
Most holidays come and go, whether we spend them wisely or not depends on the individual. I have taken a couple of holidays here and there but have yet to really go off for a long break, at least not yet. I am looking forward to the long 6 day break for Christmas and also a few days at the New Year in Penang. Most weekends I would spend going out with the family, exercising at Bukit Jalil, eating together and shopping together.

One of those weekends we went to Pulau Ketam. Always heard about the place but never been there. So, we decided to take the trip there and try the seafood there as well. Turned out, the speedboat ride was fast though the boat itself was quite old and one could hardly see anything out the windows cos’ the panes were too old and misted to view anything. I made sure that everyone knew which life jacket to take in the event it was needed. They had plenty of life jackets above the passenger seats. On arrival after a half an hour ride, we hopped ashore and proceeded to visit the island. Of course one is at once greeted by the rows of seafood restaurants and stalls selling foodstuff. After that we walked past houses on both sides of the road (one can also rent bicycles at RM5 per day).


To my pleasant surprise I found a stall selling fried ice-cream or “ice-cream goreng”. I thought it was only a speciality of Terengganu. There were, however, too many dogs running around freely, much to my dislike. Nothing against them if they are kept indoors and not fight in public places! One can see the exposed wounds festing on the dogs concerned..urghssssssss. My daughter and I were utterly disgusted.


Another horrible encounter was the enormous amount of rubbish that was just strewn everywhere, beside the houses as if that was their common rubbish bins! I found it very disgusting that people could just live next to so much rubbish. No matter how beautiful the houses looked (some really looked nice), the rubbish put me off. I wonder how we could promote Pulau Ketam as a seafood eating paradise (I saw groups of tourists), when the primary hygiene of the area leaves much to be desired. We quickly walked past the houses, made an about turn and went back to the front where the seafood restaurants beckon.


We settled on one, and proceeded to order. The food was good, we had crabs, prawns, fishball soup, vegetables and fish. All in all, it was a good meal. I must confess I didn’t want to check out the kitchen or the toilet just in case …The trip back was made more exciting because it rained and it was troublesome getting back to the car which we had parked nearby the terminal. We drove back to town and was I glad to be back in one of my favourite shopping places, Sunway Pyramid. With its wonderful Xmas décor and numerous shops, that made my weekend quite perfect. So as you can see, folks, my holidays often include shopping and eating.


Another place we visited on another weekend was the Sepang Goldcoast. Yes, folks, its ‘cuti-cuti Malaysia” for us. That weekend trip was a pleasant surprise. My husband decided we should drive around and look for a beach near the Sepang area. We have heard about it but nevertheless, we won’t know till we get there right? The drive was quite scenic, we stopped at a local restaurant for some tea (fried mee and stuff), then passed rows of dragon fruit orchards, which was a wonderful surprise. My girl took lots of photos.
The fruits plus the plants are rather unusual if you haven’t seen them before. There were also stalls selling the fruits. Then as we drove further, we chanced upon the Sepang GoldCoast, which was quite a wonderful sight. I grew up near the seaside (lived in Stulang Laut for ten years.), worked in Kuantan for thirteen years, so the beach and the sea have always fascinated me.
Having been to Kuantan dan Terengganu recently and visited the beaches there, I was extremely excited to see again long stretches of white, silky and soft sand. Perfect to the touch. My kids loved the beach and we took lots of pictures and my girl, Jo, of course loved all the posing. We ended up taking a long walk and also visited the Sepang Goldcoast resort area. It is in the process of being built and I am sure with the number of people there, it will be a successful venture. There was also horse riding on the side, kite-flying and other activities. I haven’t seen that many people on beaches for a long time and everyone was enjoying themselves. There were also numerous shops selling souvenirs and a number of interesting seafood restaurants. So another interesting outing for us. You know, holidaying in Malaysia isn’t too bad after all. Let us spend more time “dengan menjana ekonomi tempatan”.


Other than that, most weekends are also spent parent-sitting and mall-walking! I love holidays and spending quality time with the family. Most nights though, I love to just ‘lepak’ at home with the family, cooking their favourite food, having some karaoke sessions and also internet surfing. Just relaxing and having fun, away from all the tensions and politics at work… I am sure you all have your own holiday experiences to share. Holidays are for us to take time off to relax, reflect, re-energise, re-synergise and re-charge ourselves for the new year ahead.

So to everyone,

Happy Holidays,
Merry Christmas.
Happy New Year.





Saturday, December 6, 2008

It's the Christmas Season....



To all of you out there, who still wonder what Christmas is...here's some extra info:
Christmas (IPA: /krɪsməs/), also referred to as Christmas Day or Christmastide, is an annual holiday celebrated on December 25 that marks and honors the birth of Jesus of Nazareth.[2][3][4] His birth, which is the basis for the anno Domini system of dating, has been determined by modern historians as having occurred between 7 and 2 BC. The date of celebration is not thought to be Jesus' actual date of birth. It may have been chosen to coincide with the winter solstice,[5] which the ancient Romans celebrated on December 25.[6]



Modern customs of the holiday include gift-giving, church celebrations, and the display of various decorations—including the Christmas tree, lights, mistletoe, nativity scenes and holly. Santa Claus (also referred to as Father Christmas, although the two figures have different origins) is a popular mythological figure often associated with bringing gifts at Christmas. Santa is generally believed to be the result of a syncretization between St. Nicholas of Myra and elements from pagan Nordic and Christian mythology, and his modern appearance is believed to have originated in 19th century media.

Christmas is celebrated throughout the Christian population, but is also celebrated by many non-Christians as a secular, cultural festival. The holiday is widely celebrated around the world, including in the United States, where it is celebrated by 96% of the population.[7] Some Orthodox groups celebrate Christmas on or near January 7, as January 7 corresponds to December 25 using the Julian calendar.[8] Because gift-giving and several other aspects of the holiday involve heightened economic activity among both Christians and non-Christians, Christmas has become a major event for many retailers.
















I was in a couple of shopping centers last weekend... As usual the Curve was a wonderful sight with all its Christmas decorations and was a fantastic photo opportunity place.













So was Mid Valley City...I really wished I had much longer time to take in all the wonderful sights of retail Christmas. I couldn't resist the numerous sales and of course all the bustling and rapid purchase of certain items on sale.

Somehow Christmas this year will be at a slower pace, being on a Thursday and my husband not able to take leave whether on the eve or on Boxing Day! At any rate, we will be with my parents and family members urshering in the Chrismtas season and then start planning for Chinese New Year which happens to be exactly in a month from Christmas.
So to everyone out there celebrating the Yuletide, here's wishing one and all Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Change or be Changed!

“Change we need….” - Barrack Obama.
“Change or be left behind.”
“To change the world, we must change ourselves first”.
“Change is the only thing that is constant”.
“Change is inevitable…”
Common quotes we hear all the time.

Yes, who has not talked about the US President –Elect, Barrack Obama? His election speeches all talk about change and how America needs to change with the demands of today’s generation. “ This victory alone is not the change we seek. It is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It can't happen without you, without a new spirit of service, a new spirit of sacrifice. So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility, where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves but each other”.


If we listen to him, we cannot help but agree with what he has to say. We, ourselves, talk about change endlessly. But sometimes, when you look at it, when people refuse to change themselves, then they should be changed. That’s what is wrong with most of our projects that seem to lag, that never seem to get pass the planning stage, (we are well-known for planning but hopeless at implementing that sits in the laps of some bosses because they feel it’s their baby and only then can do the job. Has it occurred to our higher ups that these same bosses need to be changed. Some have sat here for years and have become their own little dictators or “little Napoleons”. Decisions are made to benefit a few and a lot of time is wasted delaying projects and decisions because only that one boss can make the final decision. Why you say, do we take all these lying down or sitting down? Basically it’s like this, what choice have we got? For most of us, we just accept what is happening and take a ‘wait and see’ attitude because we believe in “what goes round comes round”, we believe that “justice will be served” and we ‘do not’ want to ‘cause trouble’. It’s a pity though because while all this is going on the ‘heirs’ of our projects suffer, we see everything but our lack of courage does not help to alleviate the situation while their lack of conscience continue to control our lives.

Barrack Obama, the 44th President Elect of the United States of America. What an orator! What a fantastic speaker! How did a half-Afican-American man, a lawyer by profession with his roots in Kenya, win the election in America? They say if it can happen in America it can happen anywhere. Our dear Prime Minister said a day after “anyone from the minority races can be Prime Minister if the people want it”. But let’s not discuss that, the country is already embracing change as we speak, after the March elections. The Barisan National has been given another chance to lead even after losing five states to the Opposition. Without the PM’s transparency and democratization of various media eg the internet and allowing “blogging’ to enter the market so to speak, the election might have seen different results. But that is in the past. The way forward is for those in power to change or have change forced onto them. I hope the powers that be have the courage to see beyond race, beyond religion, beyond gender and set the paths right for our future generations.

From Bill Cole and Rick Seaman-The Star, Saturday 5 December 2008.

“The key to change management is to ignore both the supportive 15% (they don’t need convincing) and resistant 15% (they can’t be convinced) and concentrate on the neutral 70%. If the broad middle of the population moves to the right on the attitude bell curve, change happens”.
Here are some tips for the CEO who wants to successfully manage a company-wide change initiative:
- Be mentally tough. Show determined leadership and persevere under the most stressful resistance. Demonstrate that in your world, the change initiative is a done deal.
- Don’t create more resistance than is naturally present by attempting to fight or control every aspect of your change initiative.
- Don’t take the resistance personally. Realize that the laws of the corporate jungle are operating and you can’t fight human nature.
- Handle the stress of the change process in admirable fashion, setting the standards for others to emulate.

There are so many good people out there, multi-racial Malaysians who only want to do their best, whose only wish is to see that the job gets done, projects implemented and money, the tax-payers’ contribution is well-spent. I am an educationist, somewhat disappointed with what is happening around me, but as I have always professed in my blog, “live and let live”. I will continue to do my job to the best of my abilities, I will continue to complete tasks given to me, while supporting my staff and maintaining some sort of order into our lives. I will be the leader in tasks I know are mine, I will make sure my staff become leaders in the making and not just mere followers. I will make sure they can carry out work independently while drawing on their responsibilities and accountability. Yes, I will change to accommodate the situation for as they say, for the world to change, we must change first, but I still hope that those that need to change have themselves need to be changed first. I remain positive as I still have faith in the common good of man, in a country that has seen change take place albeit shockingly in March 2008, in a place we all fellow Malaysians: Malay, Indian, Chinese, Iban, Kadazan, Sikh, Muslim, Buddhist, Kristian, Sikh, Hindu.., call home.


Monday, December 1, 2008

I am my parent’s daughter…

Some months ago, I think in June, I did a piece on filial piety. That was when mum was undergoing her by-pass operation. Back then, I asked myself what was filial piety and what were our responsibilities as children. Now five months down the line, I am reviewing the contributions I have made towards making my parents lives more meaningful and fruitful. Now, I ask myself whether I could have done more and whether my weekend outings and being with them has had any impact on their lives. I am particularly sad and affected when my eldest sister has consistently called me a “guest child”. This, she defines, as a child who only goes back to visit her parents during festive seasons, birthdays and particular occasions. I agree that I have not been to visit my parents as regular as I should (weekends or monthly trips) and in a year, perhaps I go back to my hometown maybe four to five times a year. But I object and disagree to being called a “guest child’ because I am on the phone almost every day, checking on my parents and she calls me almost every day as well. My parents also visit us (my brother and I ) in Kuala Lumpur quite often (4-5 times a year), so I feel that I see her almost every month. The only thing is I am not around daily to see to their needs, but I am all ears for them and believe me, my mum calls and tells me everything and also asks my opinion on most things. I have never felt far away from their lives and in fact, they are a part of our lives though we live apart. I believe I am my parents’ child and will remain so till the end and no one should doubt that. We cannot choose our parents and neither can they choose their children, and that is a fact!

Let us reflect on what our parents have sacrificed over the years. Their support to us since we were kids have been endless, financially and materially when we were young, then emotional and physical as we got older, babysitting, driving our kids to and from school and caring for them when we had to do our own things. I will always remember my parents for taking care of my daughter Jenny, for the first year of her life, to this day, the special bond between them is unbreakable. How easy it is to forget their contributions to our families, how easy it is to forget the times we have relied on them to take care of the children, send and pick them from school, how easy it is to forget the times we needed them to do some marketing, buy lunch for the kids, bring in the clothes, the list is long………of course we look at ourselves and we cannot deny that being so near, children who live nearby will have to take them to the doctors’ when they fall ill and bring them shopping occasionally. Mind you, my parents were very happy living independent lives and doing their own thing, my dad was still driving till June this year when he had to leave it all behind to move to KL because of my mum’s operation and that was when, his Parkinsons disease got worse and slowly now dementia has crept into is life and that of ours.

People do grow old, it’s just that now it’s our parents turn. We have to accept the situation and the sooner we do so the better. My brother put it nicely when he said that we should not push them into forgetting their own old house, there is too much memorabilia left behind. We all have to play our part and make their remaining years worthwhile and happy. They need to be around us, and since most of us are working, we have to work our schedules around them , so far it’s been challenging but I think it has worked so far. I only hope we continue to be happy as a family and that our bonds will remain strong till eternity.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The week that was…

I thought the previous week was hectic, having gone to IAB for an interview,(senior lecturer’s post-DG 52) that included three hours of waiting in line (8.00am-11.30am) just to register for an interview, and finally finishing with an oral interview at 3.30pm. Then to a meeting in Kuantan-Beserah amidst the pouring rain and cool weather. As I said in my blog, the meeting went well, and of course I enjoyed my fill of “ikan patin buah masak tempoyak”. Back home for the weekend, I visited my parents at my brother’s house as usual and tried to ‘make’ their day enjoyable and fulfilling.

Then came Monday, when I received a call around lunchtime from my mum that dad had fallen and hit his face around midnight. So after work, I rushed over and saw that he was none the worse, visibly he spotted a cut above his left eye and had some swelling on his left side of his face. He seemed lost in his world as usual but he could respond to my queries. But I was to know later that actually, he lost quite an amount of blood due to the fall, and by the weekend, he had acquired a black eye and bruises on the left side of his face, plus bruises to his knees as well. Luckily for us, my brother and his wife were home at that time. This story actually needs a blog page on its own. My brother David, wrote a very informative and heartfelt piece on my dad’s condition in his blog: myhealthmatters. I pray my mum and dad will weather this ‘hiccup’ well. The next two days went by quickly as I had to attend a few meetings and prepare for my next interview, this time for the post of “pegawai cemerlang DG52”.


Tenacious Thursday! The d-day for yet another interview to promote senior staff to yet another higher grade. This time the interview was to be handled personally by the Director-general himself plus two senior officers.what was needed we were told, was our CV. Just bring that, cukup! The interview was to be held after office hours and my session was fixed at 8.00pm. So that evening, I braved the rain (and flash flood in Puchong)to pick up my girl who had come back from church camp in Genting. Finally, we reached home at 6.30pm and after a quick wash, was out of the house to go to Putrajaya for the interview. I arrived earlier than expected. We were to be interviewed in groups of 6 people and the earlier groups were each delayed by half an hour so mine was re-fixed at 8.30pm. Soon our turn came, the interviewers included Deputy-General (DG), Deputy Director General (DDG) and a Division Secretary. Our interview was forum-like. We were given a topic to discuss openly. The DG opened with a topic on the General elections held in March and after we had our say, the DDG gave a topic on Integrity. I think I did ok, I mean, with open topics such as the above, there is much to say. I only hope what I said
left a positive impact on the bosses. Oh well, as the DG said, “Doakan sahaja” which means ‘pray’. May the best man win, but as they say, “Man plans but GOD decides”.

Friday saw me attending the last day of the Extraordinary English for Protocol course I was taking…in the words of our dear friend, Sam, before he departed for the Holy Land to fulfil his Haj.
“The course may have ended on Friday, two days ago, nonetheless the poignant
memories remained. The few final scenes during the video presentation,
which was finely put together by Azemi and his team, were etched in my
memory. Mrs J. was at a loss for words for a few moments and you could almost
hear a pin drop when the whole class went quiet in absorbing the poignant
moments”. Yes, what an end to a perfectly hectic week. I myself was lost for words except to give Mrs J. three hugs and wish her well. I thanked her for the friendship and her infective enthusiasm for life and all things healthy and wise. Thank you Mrs J. for effectively facilitating our extraordinary course and to all my equally enthusiastic course mates, continue with the good habits learnt and acquired throughout the course.
Life is for us to live our best, be happy and live each day as if it were our last.
Cheers.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Fond memories- Kuantan 26 years on...


Yes, folks, am in Kuantan now...official duty.
It's been a long time coming... brings back t the time I first came to Kuantan in January 1982, as a fresh-faced graduate and my first job in Politechnic Kuantan, Semambu.
Would you believe, that was my first encounter with Kuantan or as near as I could get with my venture to the East Coast which till then, was the other part of the world, as I was born and bred in Johor Bahru, then did my varsity education in K.L. My first time to Kuantan was a bus trip with my youngest brother Henry for company. He was really good company for I was filled with anxiety, tension, expectations, fear of what the future would bring.

But the days turned to months, then years...and I finally left in 1995, after 13 years at the Polytechnic. It was in Kuantan that I made some really good friends, colleagues who remain my friends till this day, I had a pow-wow with them just yesterday at the local Kemaman Kopitiam, Jey, Noraini. It was in Kuantan that we bought our first house in Air Putih, it was also here that I was to have my two younger children, Jonathan and Joanne. My eldest girl, Jenny, was born in Johor Bahru..that is another story..perhaps I will talk about that another day. Yes, Kuantan holds fond memories for me, Telok Chempedak and Kompleks Teruntum, the local bus station where I made weekly trips home to JB etc, (my baby was being cared for by my parents for the first year of her life as my husband was working elsewhere at that time),the salt fish emporium where I used to buy all my family's needs for ikan bilis, dried prawns, keropok, dried sotong, rojak sause, salted fish...the durains and fresh seasonal fruits...that in a nutshell was Kuantan for me. I love Kuantan., my home for thirteen years!

This week, I am 'home' and am thrilled to be back. Managed to squeeze in an hour with old friends at the Kopitiam yesterday and today meeting another group at 6pm. Kuantan has changed so much over the years. Would you believe I have lost track of where my former house stood, even the name of the road has changed! And the rubber estate next to my house then is now a new housing estate...new malls , the Berjaya mall and the East Coast (EC ) mall have sprung up, though I have no time to visit as yet. Our meetings, I'll have you know, are very tightly scheduled and we meet and do our work from 8am till 10.30 pm at night (sometimes even past midnight). We only have our breaks for tea, lunch, tea and dinner. That is how government servants work when we are outstation, no time waster..really...! So shopping and mall viewing will have to take a backseat on this trip.








I loved Telok Chempedak (TC) for that was a place I hung out with my roomate, Cheam, developed a taste for road jogging and hill climbing up Bukit Pelindung. TC as it is fondly called has changed its facade, there are now walkways and pedestrain walks, and stalls selling handicraft. The shops along the road to TC remain the same...wow, time has stood still for them. As for Bukit Pelindung, numerous large homes have grown on the hill slopes taking the rural, rustic charm from the hill I spent most evenings while out with my boyfriend then husband. Yes, Kuantan holds special memories for me.
Infact, the journey by car, along the new Karak highway was a new adventure for me. I am glad it's mostly two-way now, I remember my fears each time we drove those days as it was mainly one-way for both lanes of traffic. It was quite horrendous really as we had to drive past a lot of timber lorries. It was scary as well. I haven't used that road since we left in 1995. I have always wanted to try this highway ever since it was completed but somehow that idea never took off. This time I had company. I never would have driven to Kuantan alone. Somehow, my driving skills and confidence level of driving on my own takes a backseat against the road bullies and traffic. I missed the East coast way back to JB, where we passed through Rompin, Mersing, Kota Tinggi then to JB. I am sure it will be an adventure as well. I dont know, in future I am sure if ever I come this way alone, I'd probably take the plane. It's only half an hour from KLIA.


I enjoyed the drive, the scenery on both sides still beckon fond memories but most of all, traffic was minimal (maybe it wasn't the weekend) and the roads relatively safe . The rainy weather didn't damper our spirits but it did slow us down. All in all, it was an enjoyable drive and we even managed to savor the delicious "ikan patin (silver catfish) buah masak dalam tempoyak" in Temerloh. It was simply delicious albeit pricey but hey, we got to live a little, right?
Well, Kuantan still holds a special place in my heart and really, my husband and I should find time to show our children where they were born and tell them about the place they called home for the first few years of their lives. Honey, are you reading this? Yes, I leave tomorrow but Kuantan should not just be a stopover, there is much to enjoy and discover. One should take a short holiday here and enjoy the Kuantan that we all know and love.

Cheers!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Don't Sweat the Small stuff

Hello folks,
Thought I'd put here what I shared with my colleagues last Thursday during a "share a Book' session at our BTP resource center. This in a nutshell is a summary of part of the book's contents. Hope you enjoy it.

Title: Don’t sweat the small stuff
Author: Richard Carlson
Publisher: Hodder & Stoghton
Year of Pub: 1997

This book was given to me by my youngest brother Henry, in 2003 when I was promoted to School Principal. He probably thought I would be overwhelmed and being me...I might just be "sweating" over little things. How true! This book has been referred to throughout the last five years and continue to remind me of the 'small things' in life that I should not waste time over and also the 'small people' who try to make my life 'miserable'. He he. thanks, Henry. I do hope some of the ways will remind us to live our lives to the fullest and not let the 'small stuff' get in our way of happiness and our daily living.


Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff And It’s All Small Stuff
Simple Ways To Keep The Little Things From Overtaking Your Life…

The Greatest Discovery Of My Generation Is That A Human Being Can Alter His Life By Altering His Attitude.- William James

Theme: How to live a more fulfilled and peaceful life, by making our actions more peaceful and caring and encourages us to trust our intuitions so that we can live each day as if it might be your last.

Messages:
1. Ask ourselves this question: Will this matter a year from now?
2. Do something nice for someone else –and don’t tell anyone about it.
3. Surrender to the fact that life isn’t fair
4. Listen to your feelings (they are trying to tell you something)
5. Remember that when you die, your ‘in’ box won’t be empty.

Book Content: The book actually has 100 ways to "not sweat the small stuff" but I have picked only about 30 of them to share with you...

1. Don’t sweat the small stuff

E.g. a stranger cutting into our lane when driving…rather than let it go, we rant about it the whole day when in fact, we should just have compassion for the driver, allow the driver to have his accident somewhere else.
Whether we had to wait in line, listen to unfair criticism, or do the lion’s share of the work, it pays if we learn not to worry about little things. We may lose touch with the magic and beauty of life. When you commit yourself to this goal, you will find that you have more energy to be kinder and gentler.

2.Make peace with imperfection

The need for imperfection – creates conflict within us.
A disorganised cupboard
Overweight
Our looks, behaviour
Catch yourself and do not insist that things should be better than what they are.
Remind yourself that it is ok the way it is…
Eliminate the need for perfection and you will discover the perfection of life itself.

3. Let Go Of The Idea That Gentle, Relaxed People Can’t Be Superachievers

Fear that if we stop being superachievers, we might become lazy and apathetic.
The opposite is actually true.
When you have what you want (inner peace) you are less distracted by your wants, needs, desires and concerns.
It is easier to concentrate, focus, achieve your goals and to give back to others.

4. Be Aware Of The Snowball Effect Of Your Thinking

This means- one thought leading to the next-thinking and planning work mentally - snowballing- sleepless nights
Catch yourself, stop the train
Keep a pen and paper by your bedside, write down something you suddenly remember, then go back to sleep instead of letting it worry you and snowballing…

5. Develop your compassion

· Compassion is a sympathetic feeling.
· In involves putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, feel his predicament, recognise their problems, their pain and frustrations
· Offer assistance-open our own hearts-and feel the sense of gratitude
· Compassion can be developed with practice-it involves 2 things: intention and action
· Intention- you remember to open your heart to others, you expand from yourself to others
· Action – what you do about it- donate sone money, time, offer a smile
· Reflect the miracle of life – that you can see, read, hear, talk, walk, love …
· When there are those who can’t.

6. Remind yourself that when you die, your ‘in basket’ won’t be empty.

So many of us live our lives to get everything done. We stay up late, get up early, avoid fun, keep our loved ones waiting…
The ‘in basket’ is always full, phone calls to make and promises to keep, projects to complete and work to be done.
In reality everything can be done, in its own time…
Why don’t we enjoy each step as we go along, live a life full of love…
Remember when we die, there will still be unfinished business in our basket …
And you know what? Someone else will be doing it for you.


7. Don’t interrupt others or finish their sentences.

It makes people nervous, irritable and annoyed. It causes arguments and nobody listen to what they are saying.
How can you listen to what they are saying when you are speaking for others.
Remind yourself, be patient, wait for the person to finish talking first, before you take your turn
You yourself will also be listened to, you will be more relaxed and everyone will be happier.

8. Do something nice for someone else - and don’t tell anyone about it

· When we do something for someone, we are happy that we are thoughtful people and we want others to know about it.
· However, if you keep it to yourself, you will feel good, you will retain all the positive feelings. Feel good about giving to others.
· One should give for the sake of giving, not to expect anything in return.
· The next time you do something nice for someone, keep it to yourself and revel in the joy you are giving.

9. Let others have the glory.

· Let others do the talking
· Refrain from talking about yourself and your experiences (there will be time for that)
· Let others feel they are important, they have done something wonderful
· Do not have the compulsive need to grab attention from others
· In the end, you will have the quiet inner confidence that is derived from letting others have it.

10. Learn to live in the present moment

· Irrespective of what happened yesterday or last year and what may happen tomorrow, the present moment is where you are - always.
· When we are busy making plans, our children are growing up, the people we love are moving away and dying, our bodies are getting out of shape, our dreams are slipping by…
· No one has a guarantee they will be here tomorrow…
· Now is the only time we have control over…
· We fear we do not have enough money, our children will get into trouble, our old age …
· Get over the fear, live in the present moment.

11. Imagine that everyone is enlightened except you

· Try to imagine that everyone you know are going to meet is perfectly enlightened. They are all here to teach you something.
· Your job is to try to determine what the people in your life are trying to teach you.
· You will be less annoyed, unhappy, bothered, frustrated….learn patience and compassion…
· Ask “ Why are they doing this? What are they trying to teach me?”


12. Let others be “right” most of the time.

Ask yourself “Do I want to right or do I want to be happy?”
Being right, defending our positions- alienate others from our lives.
Stop correcting people. Praise people when they are right. They will become less defensive and more loving.
Start today, let others be “right” most of the time.

13. Become more patient.

The more patient you are, the more accepting you will be of what is, rather than insisting that life be exactly what you would like it to be.
Being patient involves opening your heart to the present moment.
Stuck in traffic jams, late for an appointment-being late is “small stuff”
When people interrupt, look at it as it is and accept it-keep your perspective- lower high blood pressure…

14. Be the first one to reach out …

· When there is an argument or misunderstanding, we always wait for the other person to apologise…
· Why not, we should be the first to reach out.
· When we hold on to our anger, we turn “small stuff” to “big stuff”
· When you reach out, others will reach back…

15. Ask yourself “will this matter a year from now?”

Is the situation really as important as I’m making it out to be, once in a while maybe, but most of the time it is not.
Whether it is an argument, a lost wallet, a work-related rejection, a sprained ankle---one year from now, you aren’t going to care.
Use this energy with your family- for more creative thinking.

16. Once a week, write a heartfelt letter

It has changed many lives, assisted more people in becoming more peaceful and loving
Make a list of people you want to thank and are grateful to…
Write your letter expressing love and gratitude
Spend a moment everyday thinking of someone to thank.
Feel good about it… focus on what’s right in your life.


17. Set aside quiet time, every day

· Whether its ten minutes of meditation, taking a ten-minute bath, ten minute walk – quiet time is a vital part of life.
· It would make life more bearable- we would be more relaxed…

18. Seek first to understand

· You become more interested in understanding others,
· You can communicate more effectively
· People will listen to you and understand you
· You will have better, more loving relationships

19. Practice humility

· Humility and peace go hand in hand
· Stop bragging, boasting, gloating
· If not people will talk about you, behind your back, even avoid you
· Practice being modest- humble and kind and
· You will receive more positive feedback and attention

20. Every day, tell at least one person you like, admire, love or appreciate them

· It takes no effort- but pays dividends
· When people are acknowledged and complimented, they will feel good and positive
· Thank someone, pay someone a compliment,
· Tell someone close you love them
· It takes only a couple of seconds but leaves an endless trail of good feeling …

21. Be grateful when you’re feeling good, and graceful when you’re feeling

· Understand that both positive and negative feelings come and go
· Accept the inevitability of passing feelings
· When you’re feeling good, be grateful, be happy, enjoy the feeling…
· When you’re feeling bad, don’t fight it, try to relax, accept it gracefully

22. Do one thing at a time

· How often do we try to do more than one thing at a time?
· Eg. Shave, drink coffee and read newspapers all at once.
· When we do that, it is impossible to be present-moment oriented.
· You become less focussed and effective
· Be present in what you are doing.
· Concentrate- you will be more interested
· You will be amazed at how quickly and efficiently you’ll get things done.


23. Count to ten.

· When you’re angry, take a long deep inhalation, count number one to ten, if really angry, count to twenty.
· The combination of counting and breathing is relaxing, it helps big stuff become small stuff.
· Incorporate into your daily life- even when not angry, try the breathing exercises, relax and enjoy it.

24. Be willing to learn from friends and family

PEOPLE CLOSEST TO US KNOW US THE BEST
They can help us solve problems, offer simple solutions.
Ask your friends “ What are my weak spots?”
Ask your family for advice- it may prevent you from having bad experiences

25. Be happy where you are.

Many of us postpone our happiness- someday when I have money, when I get a promotion, I’ll be happy.
We keep waiting for something to happen..
But life keeps moving forward, we can be happy right now, If not now, when?
There is no way to happiness,
Happiness is the way.

26. Make service a vital part of your life

· To become kinder, more loving requires action.
· Ask yourself “ How can I be of service?”
· Help others, your chances to be of service are endless.
· Giving is its own reward.
· When you give, you will receive.
· Everybody wins.

27. Do a favour and don’t ask for, or expect one in return.

When you do something nice for someone, you’ll have a sense of ease and peace.
Your reward is knowing you have done something good, even if no one says thank you or acknowledge it.
The more you practice, you will experience the good feelings which are rewards in themselves.

28. Become an early riser

So many people wake up, rush off to work, grab a quick cup of coffee…
After work, you rush home and feel so tired…
Before your day begins, get an early start … wake up at 3 or 4 am in the morning.
Use the quite time to read, do yoga, just relax…when the rest of the family wakes up, you already had your quiet time

29. Mind your own business (MYOB)

It’s about knowing when to help and when to leave something alone.
MYOB – goes beyond avoiding temptation, gossiping, eavesdropping, talking behind people’s back.
Have the wisdom to back off- focus your attention to where it’s truly relevant and needed.

30. LIVE THIS DAY AS IF IT WERE YOUR LAST, IT MIGHT BE!

None of us know how long we have to live, sadly we act as if we are going to live forever…
We postpone things we want to do, go fishing, bake a cake, visit old friends, writing a letter…
Live each day as if it is your last day on earth.
Realise how precious life is, don’t sweat the small stuff… treasure yourself.

So folks...enjoy today and everyday and don't let anyone bug you...life is too short for us to get overworked and miserable...be happy. Here's wishing you happy days and plenty of sunshine to match your day, everyday.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Kuala Terengganu – 25 years on…

Thursday, 30 October 2008.




My first encounter with KT was way back in 1983 when I went there with some friends to watch the giant leatherback turtles lay eggs on Pantai Batu Buruk. Gosh, that was some 25 years ago. Wow, somehow, I feel as though I’ve just been in a time warp. My experience then wasn’t that memorable, I remember walking the narrow streets back then that were lined by old shops and very few vehicles. My experience with the turtle watching wasn’t that exciting cos’ I remember everyone sitting along the beaches waiting for the turtle to show up. This went on for the better part of the night. Then at 2am, we were woken up by shouts of cheers and delight that a couple of turtles had come to shore and were laying their eggs. I remember running with the other hordes of tourists, to the other part of the beach, an experience I told myself I would not want repeated. It was a long and tiring run and on reaching the site, there were lines of people in front, the crowd was huge. When my friends and I finally jostled our way to the site, it was quite pathetic really, this giant turtle was trying to lay its eggs and you could see the tears rolling from its eyes (a common belief that it happens every time it lays eggs), but to me it was probably crying due to the invasion of its privacy, and tourists poking at it, trying to pose and take pictures at it and with it. Ladies, imagine giving birth in full view of hordes of gawking tourists. I felt so tired and nauseated and told myself once was enough and you know, I never went back. Though I had opportunities over the years, I never did go and see another turtle lay eggs. Watching National Geograpic on ASTRO was enough for me. So, that in a nutshell was Kuala Terengganu for me.


It was only in 2006, 23 years later, when I joined BTP that I had the opportunity to visit KT again. This was a short visit, to attend the farewell dinner of the KPP of BTPN Terengganu who was retiring and attending a Convention the next day. I did not have the pleasure of touring any part of Terengganu let alone KT cos’ after the event, I hopped on the next plane home. In 2007, I managed a couple of more visits, stayed at Primula Hotel and also at BTPN Terengganu in Marang. Visted the usual market place in Pasar Payang which we BTPians fondly named PKG Payang.


Now 25 years later, I have been to KT twice in a space of two weeks. So what’s the difference you might ask. Plenty of course. Everyone visiting KT or parts of Terengganu will testify that the physical appearance of KT has changed dramatically ober the years. Thanks to the former Menteri Besar, Dato Idris Jusoh, whom I would equate with bringing Terengganu to what it is today. I managed to catch interviews with him on TV and also read up on his contributions to the state. I was quite taken up with him after reading about his bold moves to modernize Terengganu and making it ICT savvy. I am not into politics or how he fell out of favour with the Terengganu royal family and his ‘ fall from grace’ as they say. Still, he did a lot for Terengganu and I am sure natives of KT will vouch for that. I know the controversy concerning the Islamic garden, the Crystal Mosque and replicas of famous mosques from worund the world. I have been there, pretty interesting and the visit to the infamous Crystal mosque was pleasantly unique. (view my pictures).
Terengganu also boasts of many beautiful beaches with soft, silky white sand. Believe me...its true!



Ok back to my two visits to KT. Actually, I am writing this at KLIA while waiting for transport to BTPN N9.
Last week I was there for two days, on a job assignment but managed a short visit to Pasar Payang during the long lunch break on Friday. The marketplace is still the same, shop owners have not agreed to move to the new bazaar down the road. Reason being that the rental is too high. Whatever, I cant really tell if prices of material etc have gone up but I was informed its cheaper than in KL, don’t know about it, cos I am sure some of the stuff are cheaper back home here. Still, you just can’t leave the pasar without buying something. Yes, I must confess my weakness for lovely silk batik and of course ended a few hundred ringgit poorer, but vanity has its price! As they say, vanity, thy name is woman!


This week I spent two days here as well, on a mission prepare reports on this year’s performance of my sector’s programs and to plan for next year’s. I must say my 5 officers and I did a good job. We even worked through lunch yesterday and only went for a break at the Marang beach in the evening for tea. We enjoyed fried fish, prawns, sotong, pisang goring and keropok lekur and of course a coconut drink. I guess we all wanted to forget the cholestral that came with the crisps and oily food just for one evening. We Malaysians are guilty of this, we always tell ourselves, just this once…unfortunately we have ‘this once’ multiplied hundreds of times, thus the overweight and obese problems in our society. Your truly has had her share of battling the fat problem. Somehow, the occasional ‘eat-out’ is happening much too often though my officers and friends will say, hey, let live, once in a while you should let yourself go and enjoy your food without thinking of diets etc. See the cliché ‘once in a while’ happening all over again, once too often. Anyway, I did enjoy the outing and the sea breeze.



A visit to KT would not be complete without a visit to this infamous Pasar Payang.Today, before leaving for the airport, I managed to squeeze in the lunch break for some ikan bilis, keropok and ikan masin for folks at home. Now the flight home was something else. Having been relegated to the back seats (something I dread every time I board the plane and have to sit at the back), I was pretty apprehensive and worried as I have had some bad experiences whilst sitting at the back. Today was no different. Weather throughout the country has not been exactly on our side, what with floods stretching from Kedah to Penang to Perak. Even KL is not spared, we have had rain throughout the day at times with evenings in particular. So having come to Terengganu, the weather too was not on our side. Last week, when I was here, it rained cats and dogs. The last two days were ok. I can’t say that much for the trip home to KLIA today. The plane was shaking most of the early part of the journey. How I dread it when this happens. So while I travel a lot by plane, it doesn’t allay any fears of the feelings of impending air disaster each time I board.
Well, in a fortnight’s time, I will be airborne again, to Kuantan this time and yes, that familiar feeling will be with me, but what to do, duty calls and I just have to face the ride, whether I like it or not. Well, weekend’s here. Enjoy it while it lasts.
Cheers.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Happy Birthday Dad.

Yes, October 25, 2008. That's the day we celebrated dad's 79th birthday.
Last saturday, we all managed to gather at my younger brother, Tom's house in Ayer Molek, Johor for the birthday celebrations. There were five of us children and our families plus my parents. My sister, Julia, couldnt make it back from London, she was here last June for a month taking care of mjy mum when she went for her by pass surgery. Yes, we missed her of course.
This blog will help update her.
Well, we had to cut the cake early, cos' there was no electricity for a few hours and the durian cake couldnt have lasted till the dinner so we opted to have the cake cutting done at 2.30pm.

It was delicious and I must tell you, the candle was special too. It was shaped like a lotus flower and when lighted, opened and held 8 small candles on its petals. Ingenious artistry! We videotaped the event so it will be available as video on demand.

Then of course, I get to see my daughter, Jenny, it has been a month since we last saw her as she joined us from Singapore where she is studying. So glad to have her with us on this joyful occasion. So the three of us, including my other girl Joanne, decided to have a photo taken. We look good together eh. Then, the five of us also took a family photo.












Well, the dinner was held at a well known restaurant and we had relatives from JB and Singapore joining us. My dad was happy with all the attention and also to meet with our near relations other than during CNY. Have a view of the photos taken so you can see for yourselves all the delicious food we ate that night. There goes my weight watching for the week!

Yummy! All great tasty food.

Delicious stuffed tofu with black mushrooms, broccoli and abalone.

Steamed white promfret.





Delicious, yummy 'birthday' pau presented to my father from a cousin. 100 pieces in all.
Roasted chicken with 'keropok'.






No dinner will be complete without the legendary sharks fin soup, only thing is, since my brothers have become environmentally conscious and championing the cause of ending the sharks fin extinction, this soup was made from crab and lobster meat. (See the 'lobster' there).Tasted even better. Believe me, you have to try it.
















No dinner would be complete without the warm and cold dish or 'four season' dish as they call it.


No birthday celebration would be complete without the 'birthday lifelong mee'. It was also good and tasty.











And so another birthday celebration has passed. We hope we will be celebrating his 80th year next year this time too.

This photo is of my sister, Anna, myself and my parents.

We stayed the night at my brother's place and reflecting on it, it was a nice gathering.

We made the timeto be there even though all of us had commitments cos' it isnt everyday that your dad is 79, right.


Well folks, it was a weekend well spent and I hope our parents were happy with the whole occasion. As children, it's about how much quality time you can spend with your parents now they are old, not about how much money we have or wat kind of material comforts to give them.

I am glad that we are all doing our part as best as we can.. May God Bless my dad on his birthday and throughout the years. May my parents be happy and be blessed by God always.

Special thanks to my brother Tom for organising the dinner and to all my brothers and sisters and their families for being there as well and support each other. Thanks guys. Cheers.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Lessons learnt

Thank you for your comments, Mrs. J.
I am inspired to write and update my blog.

Just wanted to share with you all, about putting into practice what you learn or have learnt.
After Friday’s class, I looked forward to the weekend. Saturday mornings are usually spent taking long walks (my husband and children jog- I can’t do that due to my knee problems) in Bukit Jalil. Do you know that at one stage early last year, my left knee was so swollen and painful, I could not walk and had to sit in a wheelchair. Then the doctor said I had to lose weight and exercise more. Of course I had to go for weekly physiotherapy and was introduced to glucosamine and chronditin. Well I decided to do something about that and since then, I have lost 7 kgs and with exercise become slimmer and stronger...yippee!

So, last Saturday, while walking with my children I took the opportunity to share what I had learnt the day before (Friday/yesterday).
I started by asking my daughter (she’s in Form Two and her exams are round the corner) whether she remembered her English grammar – the parts of speech and tenses. So I told her that I would be doing some revision with her there and then. Haven’t found the time nor opportunity to do this previously. It’s never too late I guess. So I started with nouns, concrete and abstract nouns by asking her to name a few of each. So we looked around us and the list just grew: trees, grass, people, buildings, garden, lake, fountain, fish, flowers, father, son, mother, daughter, grandmother, grandfather, pram, stroller, baby, wheelchair, walking stick, see-saw, slide, gym equipment, badminton racquet. Wasn’t that a long list? Abstract nouns we listed: happiness, joy, laughter, sadness, love, anger, playful.

Next, I asked her to describe the words which describe nouns and revised adjectives. So to the list we added: tall trees, green grass, old and young people, big lake, pretty baby, colorful fish, beautiful flowers. Then I asked her to use adjectives to describe her father and her brother and of course that created some argument between brother and sister especially when my girl described her brother as tall and obnoxious (horrible, intolerable, unbearable), as he is always disturbing her and I did tell her not to use such strong words unless we know the exact meaning. Anyway, my son in turn described her as “self-absorbed” (reason : my daughter loves posing and taking photos of herself). She went on to describe her father as youthful, healthy, handsome, smart and strict.
It was quite a fun experience. You all should try it.

Then I moved to verbs and adverbs: walk, run, jog, play, drive, (fishing and swimming are not allowed at the lake) etc. Adverbs used to describe the verbs included: walk quickly, slowly, run fast, run quickly,play happily, drive quickly, slowly, then I also revised adverbs of time, place, manner and also degree.

I also took the opportunity to revise pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions and interjections. All in all, a rewarding exercise. My daughter was quite happy about the whole “study experience”. I also did some revision on tenses and reminded her of all the time signals. It was really helpful. Taking the cue from Mrs J., I also stressed on the use of synonyms every time she or anyone used a word. For example from the word pretty, we used other words of similar (same) meanings and words in that category ‘like’ or ‘close to’ to describe males and females, such as beautiful, smart-looking, handsome, good-looking, attractive, sweet, glamorous and stylish. We also listed words to describe homes with words that are positive such as: big, large, grand, fantastic, spacious, roomy, comfortable and palatial (to describe homes that are large or mansions that look like palaces), beautiful and pretty. For words with negative connotations, homes can be described as small, tiny, over-crowded, old and dilapidated (run-down).
My daughter enjoyed the impromptu (unprepared, unplanned, spontaneous, off the cuff, spur of the moment) revision and I must say I am glad I did it.

Thus, the whole weekend slipped by with ‘occasional pockets’ of reference to what took place in Bukit Jalil and the involvement of father and son as well.
Thanks Mrs. J. I haven’t had the opportunity to ‘download’ to my children what I usually ‘study’ or learn during my courses unlike this one. It was good, quality, bonding time for me and my family. Next, I will be using the notes on the lesson learnt from the Friday afternoon class I missed to do revisions with the children. Thanks for all the notes, Siew Wai, Sam and Mrs. J.

This coming weekend we will be off to JB for another round of bonding time with the extended family.
Have a great weekend everyone.
I am sure Mrs. J. and her husband are already enjoying China.
Cheers!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Extraordinary English for Protocal Course -Part 2

For this i dedicate to members of our group...

Hello everyone,

I trust everyone enjoyed their day off today. There's still another day left to relax and spend quality time with the family.I spent today with the usual hike up Bukit Jalil, marketing, shopping at the mall and sending my children for their music classes.I also found time to email some reminders to my officers this afternoon and checking on my mail.It's been a day well spent.
Thought I'd use the remainder of the evening to do a recap of what we learnt yesterday in our class. This is our third class and we are more relaxed and more comfortable with Mrs J and with one another as well.

Let's see. In the morning we started our class with some new dance steps to the tune of Eckey Dikey. (Did I get the spelling correct?)It was fun. we had the session recorded so I guess that did inhibit some of our friends from displaying their full abilities. Did it guys?
Ok, coming back to what we learnt yesterday.As usual, Mrs J with her usual active and enthusiastic personality made the grammar lesson most memorable. We learnt the correct use of grammar in one morning. What an achievement! I enjoyed this revision class very much.Let's see, we learnt about the different parts of speech, nouns, verbs, adjectives, verbs-to-be, tenses : Simple Present tense, Simple Past tense, Present Continuous tense, Present Perfect tense and Past Perfect tense, time signals.We were also exposed to lots of different vocabulary, synonyms, antonyms etc.

Some of the words learnt included:
peer teaching, peers, comrades,f riends, colleaques, associates
impeccable,flawless,very good,perfect
focussing, concentrating, reinforcing, repeating, using,enhancing, enriching, enjoying, enthusiastic, full of enthusiasm, ridiculous, ludicrous, absurd, repeat, repetitive, interactive, passion, competence, innovative, motivated, household chores, domestic chores, relaxing, marketing, browsing the internet, accompany their wives, running errands, helping out doing odds and ends, deliberately, intentionally, purposely, illness, sickness, ailment, disease.

Wow, the list is so long, I do hope everyone knows what each word means and how to use it in context. If you are not sure, refer to a dictionary or call me, maybe I can help though I am no expert.

For tenses, time signals are so important. Did the action happen: now, today, this morning, yesterday, last night, just now, two days ago.
Also words like usually, always, never, generally, frequently and sometimes should be used properly.
We also learnt some proverbs and idioms:
Great minds think alike
Fools seldom differ
Jump the gun
Till the cows come home
Put the cart before the horse
thirsty for information

We also reflected on the following phrases:
The six most important words: I admit that I was wrong.
The five most important words: You did a great job.
The four most important words: What do you think?
The three most important words: Could you please...?
The two most important words: WE
The least important word: I

The rest of the morning was spent practising our language skills in groups of three and four. We also divided up work on the bulletin among us. Interviews began that morning as well. I was interviewed by Azmi at the car park. TVP and engineering people are always so professional, they think of the props, the setting, the lighting and also the script. Thanks guys.

I hope I will be able to get snippets of all the interviews for our bulletin.
Well everyone, I guess some of us missed the afternoon session. Can someone please give us a short report on the afternoon session. We would appreciate it.

Well another two more classes to go, folks. The dates are as follows: 14 and 21 November. Both are Fridays. As we won't be seeing Mrs J or be in our group, please email your thoughts and keep us in the 'loop'.

I also take this opportunity to wish Mrs J, her husband and her friends, a safe trip to the base camp of Mt Everest and back.
Good luck and have a memorable and enjoyable holiday.

Siew Wai, can we have photos of everyone taken individually for our bulletin? Thanks.

I want to apologise first in case there are some spelling mistakes and wrong information given. Please correct me if I am wrong, ok. No one is perfect and definitely not me! The most important thing is we try our best and give it our best shot.

Take care and best regards to everyone.
Enjoy the remaining part of your weekend.

Bye, your friend, Lucia.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Some pics from the Karnival Pembestarian in Jempol, Negeri 9

Hello everyone,

Yes the program was held from 22-24 August and I have since got some photos. Thought I'd share them with you.

Interesting enough, it was hard work getting it all ready...opening ceremony, the works...then the actual activities then and the closing ceremony.

The journey there itself was an adventure, I drove there myself albeit a friend, Kamarul from BTPN NS met me at the Senawang Toll and led me to the Carnival site else...I never knew that Jempol in Bahau is in a hilly place, did you? What with the curves and hillslopes, probably could give Frasers Hill a run for her money. Yes, strange as it may seem, hollow town you think, not quite...near the ERA hotel we stayed in, there's the Golf resort, numerous bungalows (i tell u, really large ones) and on top of that, you have buses of foreign tourists shopping there. Imagine me at my age finding out about a town in N9 and starting to like it. Seems tourists liken the place to a town similar to one in our neighbouring country, Thailand and yes, you guessed it, the shops sell Thai products too! So yes, yours truly also did some shopping in Bahau. At night, my colleaques and I also managed to enjoy karaoke at the hotel.

Well here are some of the pics...










Taklimat before the big event...







Our director watching some of the students involved in internet activities...











...with the Director at a visit to PKG Bahau and a meeting with PKG officers from BTPN Negeri 9.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

It's a Beautiful Sunday.

Beautiful Sunday as the song goes...
Yes indeed, another week has begun...
Looking back, it had been an eventful week for us at BTP. The PKG Convention was successfully held from the 6-8 October 2008 in Seremban. A big thank you to the Director, Deputy Directors, Sector Heads and all committee members and participants for cooperating and contributing to its success.
This coming week, on Tuesday, we will be having our monthly Assembly and also have Quality Day and Raya or Aidil Fitri celebrations. It will be another busy day for us but with everyone cooperating as usual, the event will no doubt be a successful one.

Teamwork is so important, this has helped us through many such programs and will continue to do so in the future. We are so lucky, we in the Ministry of Education, to be able to hold functions and attend them too. We have never been short of resources be it material, money or manpower. Let us not take it all for granted. We should appreciate everything and everyone we meet cos' we never know when it will be our last.

I feel good about the coming weeks, there's plenty to do, as usual. We shouldn't complain. Some people are out of jobs as we speak, what with the economic turmoil and financial downturn all over the world. So friends, let's be grateful with what we have, our family, friends, our jobs and our lives.

Let's try to be civil to one another, smile whenever we have the chance and don't let a negative word pass our lips beginning tomorrow.

Have a wonderful week.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Extraordinary English for Protocal Course

You know folks, when I first received a letter asking me to attend the above named course I wondered...what's this course and why is it so named. I have so many activities lined up and didnt think I could make it...then I thought it myself....hmmm...lets go see what's it all about. So today was the second session and I'm so glad I followed my instincts...so here I am with my fellow colleaques enjoying the course...

Its not what you might call an English course per se...its everything in one...
First of all our lecturer and facilitator, Mrs Jagjeet Singh or Mrs J as she is fondly called.
she looks fantastic for her age, perfectly coiffered, healthy and so youthful, so adventurous, so positive and ever so 'gung-ho'. To me, the epitome of wellness and being...what I hope I will be like when I reach her age.

The course is about speaking well, listening, well-being, relationships and living life and enjoying life. Life is indeed too short for us to be petty. Let us all enjoy and learn at the same time about English grammar and living life to the fullest, and being alive to 'smell the flowers'.

yes its late... will talk about the rest later.
bye..............

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Here comes October....

A bout the month of October ...

October derives from octo meaning eight as it was the 8th month in the old Roman calendar.

Astrological Signs
Libra - Sept 23–Oct 23
Scorpio Sagittarius Oct 24–Nov 21

October Birthstones are Opal and Tourmaline

Opal is a very pretty gemstone that has a play of colours affected by the amount of light that it absorbs. It ranges from fiery blues to milky white, but always with a flashing core. The opal birthstone is a soft stone and is fragile because it has water within it that determines the gemstone’s appearance. It is a gem that is almost always set in yellow gold and this enhances the blue colouration.
The fire within an opal is variable dependant on the mines it came from.
Derivation - Latin opalus (precious stone)

Pink Tourmaline - Tourmalines come in countless colours, but the pink tourmaline, an almost orchid pink, is the version of the opal birthstone for October.

Yes, friends, its October...the month started off well, welcoming the first day of Aidilfitri.
After a month of fasting for our muslim friends, its feasting time...all of us, its time to come together, to share and enjoy food and pleasant company of friends...forget the bickering, prejudices and negative thoughts...

What's in store for the rest of the month. I know the month will be filled with programs and activities at work and also with the family. My calendar is already full and already November is starting to fill up as well. I am going to make the most of it, come what may. I expect changes at the workplace, I anticipate new orders at work etc...but I am very positive about things...in life, we can't stay negative...we have to move on, no matter what, cos' if we spend our time procrastinating and pondering over things that should be or could be...time will pass us by and whatever chances we may have on happiness and fulfillment of needs, will only dissipate.

I know there are things I have to do, work schedules that have to be monitored, responsibilities to fulfill, both family and at work. I dont mind. I told my husband this morning, I do like to work and after a few days off, I am looking forward to going back to the office tomorrow and catching up on work. All I know is that, October will soon pass but before it does, I will make the most of the month and the remaining months of the year. A few of my friends are having their birthdays this month and my dad's birthday is coming up as well. That should keep my social life busy.

Well, guess I will spend October fulfilling my duties as wife, mother, daughter, KPP, colleaque, friend...and in the process buy myself an Opal or too...

Cheers all...

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri


This year, Hari Raya falls on the 1st October 2008.
Guess what my friend's birthday also falls on the same date. May she be doubly blessed.

To all my Muslim friends, Selamat Hari Raya and Maaf Zahir dan Batin.

I have fasted and broken fast with my muslim friends and it has been an interesting month... Today my family and I will also join some close family friends in celebrating Hari Raya. Let the Muhibbah spirit continue to live among us, let us continue to live in multi-racial harmony, in the true spirit of humanity, minus the bickering, the political brickbats and unhappiness, the economic unease, the unhealthy threats and uncertainties, the prejudices and bitterness we feel in our hearts and minds.

A wise man once said: Let us let live. We only live once and we have only one chance to do it right. We do not have the time nor the energy to waste in creating unhappiness and disharmony.

So my friends, let you and I start by really being nice to one another, not merely just tolerating each other but really, really accepting that in our differences (race and religions) and diversity, there may be unity. And I believe that is what Malaysia needs today...greater understanding and peaceful means and dialogue to move forward for time and chance once lost cannot be regained. You and I have only one chance...let's do it right for ourselves and for the generations to come. Cheers!

For those who still dont know what Aidilfitri means, here goes...

Hari Raya Puasa

Muslims celebrate the festival of Aidilfitri – popularly known as Hari Raya Puasa, or simply Hari Raya (Day of Celebration) in Malaysia – to mark the culmination of Ramadhan, the holy month of fasting. It is a joyous occasion for Muslims, as it signifies a personal triumph, a victory of self-restraint and abstinence, symbolising purification and renewal.

Fasting during the month of Ramadhan is compulsory or wajib, whereby Muslims are required to abstain from satisfying their most basic needs and urges, daily, between sunrise and sunset. It is one of the five tenets of Islam; as is the paying of zakat (alms tax for the poor), which must be tithed by the end of Ramadhan.

In Malaysia, the period of fasting ends when the new moon is sighted on the evening of the last day of Ramadhan. The actual sighting is conducted by state appointed religious officials at various vantage points (usually at hilltops) throughout the country.
If the crescent is sighted, the following day is then declared the first day of Aidilfitri, which is also the beginning of the 10th month of the Muslim calendar Syawal.

A time to forgive and forget
Aidilfitri is celebrated for the whole month of Syawal, but in Malaysia, only the first two days are observed as public holidays. It is widely common however, to see Muslims taking the first week off from work.
Urbanites make their annual pilgrimage to their hometowns (this is popularly referred to as balik kampung), to be with parents, relatives and old friends. Thus, cities like Kuala Lumpur get relatively quiet during the festive season of Aidilfitri.

The Muslim community ushers in the first day of Aidilfitri by congregating at mosques for morning prayers. Everyone is usually decked out in their traditional best to mark the special occasion. Men are usually dressed in Baju Melayu, while the Baju Kurung, the quintessential Malay attire for females, is the prefered choice for the fairer sex.
Then it's usually breakfast at home with the family, followed by a visit to the cemetery where deceased loved ones are remembered; graves are cleaned and cleared of overgrowth, and prayers are offered to Allah.
This is also a time to forgive and forget past quarrels. Asking for pardon is done in order of seniority. The younger members of a family approach their elders (parents, grandparents etc) to seek forgiveness, to salam (Muslim equivalent of a handshake), then kiss the hands of the older person as a sign of respect.
The usual greeting (that is uttered with the salam) during Aidilfitri is “Selamat Hari Raya”, which means “Wishing you a joyous Hari Raya”.

Children and old folks are given duit raya or gifts of money, in small envelopes. In recent years, many givers have opted for the Chinese practice of putting the money in ang pow packets; however instead of the usual red, the packets are green in colour.
Although the first three days are celebrated on a grander scale, many Muslims hold “open house” throughout the month, where friends and neighbours of other races are invited to join in the celebrations.
Before the big day
The joy of Hari Raya Puasa actually begins before the first day. A week or so before the big day, excitement mounts as the house is readied for the celebration with new furnishing and decorations.
Of particular interest are the last 10 days of Ramadan, where many keep vigil for Lailatul Qadr (The Night of Decree), the night when the Quran was sent down. It is believed that angels descend and shower blessings on that particular night, so homes are brightly decorated with oil lamps or pelita.
Mosques, as well as government and some commercial buildings, are also decorated and brightly lit to mark the auspicious day. The most predominant colour seen in decorations during this season is green which is commonly associated with Islamic items. It is often combined with yellow or gold.

As for motifs, by far the most frequently used symbol is that of the ketupat (rice cakes wrapped in coconut leaves); it is invariably used on Hari Raya greeting cards, hanging decorative items, and as a promotional image for the season.
The ketupat is traditional Hari Raya fare and is often served with beef rendang (beef cooked with spices and coconut milk) and/or satay (grilled meat on a skewer).
Other festive delicacies include lemang (glutinous rice cooked in bamboo tubes), serunding (dessicated coconut fried with chilli) and curry chicken.
(all.Malaysia.info)

To all Muslim friends, once again, Salam Aidilfitri.

Photo gallery...so far this year...

Hi, I think its about time I shared some photos with you all...
so many stories, so many memories....

...January 2008, waiting to board plane to KK then a bus ride to Kundasang for a BTN course .







...with fellow participants at the course...









....2008 March, on a visit to Sandakan,
photo taken with a lovable "orang utan" at the airport.










...June 2008...Mesyuarat JK Pasukan petugas Kualiti BTPN
di Heritage Hotel, Cameron Highlands.















...dengan Pn Fuziah dan Pn Fadzilah semasa Mesyuarat tersebut.









...Julai 2008, with Datin Normadiah during a visit to the famous

Crystal Mosque in Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu.









... August 2008...with the VIP, YB Tuan Shamsul Kahar, Exco Pendidikan Kerajaan Negeri Sembilan bersama KPP BTPN N9 dan pegawai-pegawai BTP, semasa Karnival Pembestarian Sekolah.




...dengan Pn Nornailah semasa Majlis Penutupan Karnival Pembestarian Sekolah KPM.