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.

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 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.

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 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...