December 08, 2009

Leaving On An Air Asia Plane

I leave for KL today, and will be leaving for the airport in just over two hours. It's simply pouring outside though. What wretched weather it is to be flying today.

Which begs the question - Air Asia X planes will fly all right in this awful weather, right? Right?

*swallow big lump in throat*

December 01, 2009

Shake That Tin, I'll Donate

When it comes to requesting for donations in a cup, I've never seen it done in such a way as I have here. Folks from Salvos would actually wait at the traffic lights at intersections and request for donations from stationary vehicles waiting for the lights to go green. Drivers and/or passengers would wind their car windows down, and pop in some coins. An ingenious idea, if you ask me. Better than placing one fellow at the top of the escalator, and another one at the bottom of the same escalator shaking their money tins.

I've always felt compelled to pop in a coin or two in situations like this. Proper charity organisations only, of course, such as the Salvation Army, Red Cross, etc. As a former member of the Red Crescent Society back in secondary school, it's an annual ritual for all members to embark upon a shaking-the-money-tin-and-request-for-donations day, which is formally known as the Flag Day.

To be honest, I've always hated this practice. I never saw the need to have to flood shopping centres with hundreds of Red Crescent Society members from the whole state simply to request for donations on a weekend. People who honestly wanted to donate money to such charitable organisations would find a way to do so. Instead, the public felt harassed by us young 'uns, running after them, asking for a donation.

There were times when I was called a beggar to my face when I politely requested for a donation. It was humiliating. Just to escape this, I prepared some coins of my own, dropped them in, and hung out at McDonald's at Komtar with some friends until it was time to return the money tins.

It wasn't easy asking for money like that, and one had to develop a thick skin for it. As such, even after I left school, come Flag Days or anytime a person from such organisations requested for a donation, I always found a way to drop in some money.

It's not just for charity. It's also for those who have to brave cruel words just to get a few coins in their tins.

November 25, 2009

The Inevitable Questions

As the date of my trip to Malaysia draws near, the apprehension of being bombarded with questions that I dread also looms over me. I don't think all of the people whom I would be meeting read this blog, but if they do, well, here are your questions and my answers.

Q: So how? Any baby in the making? When are you popping babies?
A: No bun in the oven just yet, and when we decide to start a family, well, that's respectfully our business.
(I don't understand why people even ask this question in the first place. It's such a personal question and decision. And even if we do want to start a family, how does it affect them, other than to satisfy their nosy curiosity? I'm sure there are better topics for small talk.)

Q: Goodness me, have you put on weight?!
A: Why hello, how are YOU doing? Yes, thanks very much for noticing *with the widest grin I can muster*
(Another personal question which has no effect on the other party whatsover. It's just like me asking a man with receding hairline, "goodness me, are you losing your hair?")

Q: So, have you found a job yet? Are you working yet?
A: Yes I have, and yes I am. Here's my card *whip one out*
(Any way to spread the word about my store is good. Even if I have to be completely shameless about it)

It's inevitable that I'll be asked these questions quite often. I'll just try my hardest not to be sarky about my answers.

*fingers crossed*

November 20, 2009

Three Weeks To Go

Kuala Lumpur

Time is a-ticking, and I'm counting down the days to my trip back to Malaysia. I'll be back for a month, and I'm super excited. Looking at my diary of events, boy oh boy, it's going to be a busy month.

- Spending precious time with my family and friends.
- Attending a dear friend's wedding
- A pampering session of spa, manis, pedis and lots of girl talk with my girlfriends
- Going to Bangkok with Bee (I'm really excited about this one; we've been talking about this trip for ages!)
- Celebrating Christmas with my family
- Celebrating the New Year with Tim's family

In that list, you can bet there's going to be a LOT of eating.

Man, that's more life and activities I have in a month than I do for six months here!

November 19, 2009

Loving Some Things

I'm the kind of person who can read the same books and watch the same movies over and over. If I really like the book, I'd read it countless of times. The same goes with movies.

For example, I'm a huge fan of Sophie Kinsella. It's not everyone's cup of tea, but I could never get bored of her books. I've read her Shopaholic series over ten times PER book. I've listened to the audio books over three times per book. Obsessed much? Yes I am.

I love the movie "You've Got Mail", and watch it very often (it's even on my iPod). Sex and the City series? I love it so much; I've watched all seasons at least five times.

It's just the way I am, I guess. When I like a particular type of food, I love and stick with it for ages. I could have chicken rice or scrambled eggs with rice every single day for two weeks and not get tired of it.

Some people call me obsessive-compulsive. Me, I just call it love.

November 11, 2009

Summer Is Here, and I Hate It

The summer has finally hit us. And it has hit me bad. The heat (this week, the temperatures have been around 35C) and very low humidity have turned me into an extremely unpleasant person to be with. I'm cranky most of the time, and unfortunately, the husband bore the brunt of it. If I was living in my own home, I'd be walking around in my shortest pair of shorts (that has a torn hole on the bum) with the bedroom door wide open. No thanks to having a housemate, I'm bloody stuck in the room if I want to be cooling down in my birthday suit. Well, not that I do, but you know what you mean.

This summer is going to be really bad. I can feel it in my bones. This time last year, when my in-laws came to Melbourne for a visit, we were still in our jackets enjoying the crisp, cool air. Now, I need a standing fan and an evaporative cooler just to keep me comfortable. Sunscreens are being used like water.

I can only imagine what January and, worse, February would be like. Time to see what else we can do to keep the place cool.

That, and my sanity intact.

October 27, 2009

Sleeping Habits

20091027 Sleeping Habits

I fall asleep under unusual circumstances. Unless I'm terribly exhausted, in which case I would doze off the minute my head touches my pillow, I need sounds to fall asleep. My husband thinks it's very weird of me to wait up for our night street sweeper to clean the street before I could sleep. The whirring sound of the sweeping was oddly soothing, and while listening to it, I dozed off.

That was when we slept by the window. Months ago, in order to create more space in our room, we rearranged the furniture and the bed is now away from the window. The sweeper man does not come by on schedule anymore. With that, I have to either listen to podcasts on my iPod Touch to fall asleep, or one of the many sounds of nature albums I have in there. Apparently I need to be either in a "jungle" or at the "beach" to be able to sleep.

Suffice to say, living in the 'burbs in future where it's so quiet you would be able to hear your own thoughts would really not work for me. Tim prefers the silence; I enjoy listening to the noise coming from the Greek restaurant nearby. He wants our future home to be away from the train tracks whereas I would not mind at all (sure, there's that thing about property value decreasing near the train tracks, but that's another story).

What different sleeping habits we have. Or how utterly strange mine is.

October 18, 2009

Vandals Be Gone!

20091015 Vandalism

A week or two ago, Channel 7's Today Tonight featured a story on vandalism, in which teenagers were vandalising school buses, public buses, trains, walls, etc. They were caught on CCTV scraping at the back of bus seats, carving out goodness-knows-what with a screwdriver. Windows were not spared as well. Nonsensical words would be scratched and carved on the glass. Teenagers smashing bus windows with baseball bats. Spraying graffitti on trains, residential walls, etc. The government spends millions a year just to clean that shit up.

I have zero tolerance when it comes to vandalism. The act (or even the thought of it) really gets on my nerves. I don't understand the fun in it. Oi, it's not your property. Keep your filthy mitts off it. How about if I were to carve my name on the cover of your laptop? So what's if it's not just a wall or the back of a seat? It's still your stuff, isn't it?

A few days ago, I saw something which really angered me. I saw what could be passed for a penis, sprayed in red, on a tree. I saw red (no pun intended). You can, as much as one can hope for, remove grafitti off walls. If not, then the walls can at least be painted over. That tree took at least 20 years for it to grow to that size, and it was ruined with a bloody spray can in just a minute.

You know what I'd love to do? Rather than just making these vandals clean up after their own mess? I'd love to have them stand in a row, in only their undies, while I spray them with spray cans. Y'know, the kinds that DON'T come off. Let's see how they like it. What, you can dish it out but you can't take it?

Bloody morons.

October 16, 2009

My New Project

I love jewellery. Who doesn't? Shiny baubles hanging from the ears, neck, wrist and even feet - they never fail to give that instant pick-me-up to an otherwise drab outfit. A year ago I started playing around with making my own jewellery. I started off with the simplest of tools, findings and beads. As time went by, those skills improved, and I thought to myself, hey, why not try to sell them?

My first sale was actually to Geekchic. She saw some beautiful knitting row counters disguised as bracelets, and asked me if I could make her one. I did, and I'm glad she liked it. With her encouragement, I approached a few haberdasheries to see if they were interested in looking at my handmade knitting accessories. I was completely over the moon when one of them purchased all of my stitch markers. It was a sign.

I wasn't contented on selling my pieces on a blog. Please don't get me wrong, there's absolutely nothing wrong with having a blog shop. But I was very keen on learning more about e-commerce and how to actually set up a shopping cart system on the website, so I decided that there wasn't a better time to pick it up. It wasn't easy, that much I can tell you. Doing everything from scratch was a great experience, exhausting, but exhilarating all the same.

Alrighty then, I've talked far too much now. Without further ado, please let me welcome you to my new baby, Sweet Contemplation Accessories!

SCA Screenshot

All pieces are handmade, especially the chainmaille ones. I am a HUGE fan of chainmaille jewellery, and I think the complexity of the designs (and how rare it is found in retail shops out there) give them such an appeal.

I'm running a giveaway on my beauty blog if you would like to check it out and participate.

It's such a change, and I love every challenging bit. I'm praying hard that it will go well.

October 15, 2009

The Trouble With Money

You know when they refute it is not money that is the root of all evil, but the LOVE of money is? I believe both are statements are true. Sure you can love money too much to the point of destruction. But money on its own, the subject matter of it, can bring about catastrophic consequences. No, I don't mean literally mean we can start wars because of money alone (or can we?), but let's look at it in a micro level, shall we?

When money comes between two people, whether it's your partner, a family member, a friend, things are sure to go nasty if things are to go awry. It doesn't mean I love money so much that I must have all of it, hence breaking all ties if the need arises. I meant that money alone, even if it was just a few dollars, can make or break relationships.

I rememebered getting angry at a very dear friend of mine over money. I was frazzled with wedding preparations, and so was she. Our stress levels were so high that I finally snapped at her over something which shouldn't have even come up. She apologised, gave her reasons and all was good again. In hindsight, I was so relieved that things did not turn out ugly for us, and that she still remained a very close mate. If she had turned nasty and I hit back (you know how it goes), goodness knows what would result. All over money.

Sometimes I wonder if it's better to lose some money than to lose a friend. I don't mean heaps of money (that's another story), but perhaps a couple of hundred dollars. Sure there's that thing called principles. It's not the money, it's my principles that count. I was right. He/she was wrong. So there. A relationship that takes years to build and nurture can be destructed in just a day.

Is it worth it? Couldn't we just say "Okay let's put this behind us. It's just money. It's not worth jeopardising a friendship"?

If only the words could so easily come.

October 09, 2009

Something New Coming Soon

I haven't been updating for a while now. I've been very busy the past few months as I, believe it or not, am starting a small business on the Internet, selling my very own handmade jewellery. Not contented with putting my pieces up for sale on a blog front, I did up a website from scratch. It was a real challenge indeed, from making the jewellery, learning about e-commerce, photographing the pieces, adding them in one by one, to studying small business laws and legislation in Australia. It may be small, but I'm more than determined to make it work.

And to make it "official", so to speak, I've actually registered the business name with Business Victoria of Consumer Affairs Victoria and will be applying for an ABN (Australian Business Number). If all goes well, and I pray hard that it does, I'll actually be *gulp* paying taxes too. Talk about a catch-22.

I'll be announcing the website very soon, so do stay tuned. And yeah, I reckon I can actually call myself a small business owner soon. Really excited about it!

October 01, 2009

Getting The Husband on Twitter

I remembered when I first applied for a Twitter account, I wasn't at all keen on the idea. In fact, I placed it here, completely forgot about updating the darn thing, removed it, and put it back again when I finally got the hang of it. And now I'm addicted to the darn thing.

I kept bugging Tim to get on board but he wouldn't be bothered. Even though he kept saying that he should tweet (or at least write) about the stupid things he see on the telly. In the end, I signed up for an account for him.

And his first tweet? It was somewhere along the lines of "my wife forced me to get on Twitter".

Gee thanks.

September 10, 2009

Things You Learn From Movies

I received this hilarious email from my dad in the morning, and I just had to share it with you. If you nodded vigorously and laughed at each point about Chinese and Indian movies, then you've definitely watched a lot of them. Well, I certainly did.


Things You Need to Know About Chinese Swordsman Movies

20090910 Chinese Movie

1. Being the hero's parents will always be unlucky and will usually be killed by enemies when the hero is young, and the hero will become an orphan.

2. When a man is wounded and dying, he always manage to catch his breath and speak a few sentences to reveal the killer before dropping his head and declared dead.

3. Skilled people are able to fly over roof tops, up trees and across distances without any sweat. But when travelling to towns and villages, they still have to walk or ride horses.

4. The heroes need not have to work for money, but will always have gold and silvers with them to pay for their dishes.

5. The heroes and villains will meet each other very often no matter how big the country is and no matter where they are.

6. Healing internal wounds in the body is as easy as sitting down cross-legged, palms on the knees and smoke coming out from the head.

7. They can keep a lot of stuff in their sleeves and waistband and never drop them (carrying especially lots of those gold and silver ingots)

Things You Would Never Know Without Indian Movies

20090910 Indian Movie

1. A man will show no pain while taking the most ferocious beating but will wince when a woman tries to cleanse his wounds.

2. The hero cannot fall in love with the heroine (vice versa) unless they first perform a dance number in the rain.

3. Once applied, make-up is permanent, in rain or in any other situation.

4. Two lovers can be dancing in the field and out of nowhere, 100 people will appear from god-knows-where and join them in the dance.

5. In the final scene, the hero will discover that the bad guy who he is up against is actually his brother and the maid who looked after him is his mother and the chief inspector is his father and the Judge is his uncle and so forth.

6. Key English words used in the movie (usually said out loud between sentences) are No Problem!, My God!, Get Out!, Shut-up!, Impossible!, Please forgive me!

7. They drop down on the ground and roll and roll while singing and come out with different clothing.

8. They can run around the coconut trees, singing, batting eyes-lid, throwing glances at each other and change clothes all at the same time without being out of breath.

September 09, 2009

Gifts From Past Loves

What do you do with gifts past loves gave you? Do you keep them? Chuck them if the relationship went so sour that you can't even bear the thought of keeping any remnants of that relationship in your life? What do you do when you see gifts that your partner's past loves gave him/her? Do you ask him/her to keep these items away, or do you throw them away yourself?

I pondered these questions for a long time. Even though I'm now married, and happily so, I admit that I still keep a box or two of items given by past boyfriends. I don't have them with me in Australia, but they're still in the cupboard tucked away in my room at my parents' house. I've had relationships that ended amicably, and also one that ended badly, but I still keep the items they gave me regardless. Should I have thrown them out? I didn't bring any into my marital home, of course. They belong to the life I left behind.

With the first boyfriend I had, believe it or not, I kept everything he gave me. Even though I do not display the framed photographs anymore, some of the items in the room are still there. That person was my first love, and was part of my life for over 5 years. I didn't see the need to have to remove them.

The next relationship bit the big one. After it was over, even though I didn't throw the items he gave me away, I stored them in a paper bag, and shoved it deep into my cupboard, so that I may never see them again. And for a long time I didn't even want to take them out.

Yesterday, I took out a photo frame that my husband once bought to keep a picture of himself with an ex-girlfriend. Back when I first asked him about the frame (a couple of years ago, methinks), why it was kept away and not used, he told me what it was used for. I felt a twinge inside, and it wasn't good. I was actually jealous of something which happened a long time ago, and that it was still there in the wardrobe. I felt as though its presence was mocking me. Tim would have chucked it if I wanted him to, but I simply told him to leave it alone. After all, it belonged to him, not me.

Back to yesterday. I finally took the photo frame out, and I felt nothing. In fact, all I saw was, simply, an unused frame. There was no twinge, no mocking. It was all in my head. Rather than putting it to waste, I printed out a photo of us, taken at Brighton Beach, put it in the frame, and placed it on my side table.

That was when I've made the decision, that when I return to Malaysia next, I shall finally take that paper bag out, and donate the items to charity. I don't need them taking up space in the cupboard anymore.

It felt really good.

August 31, 2009

Tiny Ice Pebbles

Last week's crazy winds and rainstorm brought this to our balcony carpet.

20090831 Sleet

Sleet! I haven't seen sleet since I left the UK. I remembered how painful it was to be outdoors without an umbrella when sleet was hailing down like they were high on steroids. It was definitely NOT fun to have tiny pieces of ice whacking your face.

August 27, 2009

The Book List

20090827 Books

"Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers."
- Charles W. Eliot in The Happy Life (1896)

I saw this at May's, and thought I'd nick it and see if I've read any of the books on BBC's must-read book list. Apparently, the average person would have read 6 out of the 100 books listed below.

The crossed out ones are the books I've read.

1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien (I only managed the first ten pages. Sigh)
2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
4. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling
6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne (finished this at the bookstore. It's counted, right?)
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
19. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
22. Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone, JK Rowling
23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling
24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling
25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien (couldn't even do #1, never mind this)
26. Tess Of The D’Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
27. Middlemarch, George Eliot
28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
30. Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez
33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
38. Persuasion, Jane Austen
39. Dune, Frank Herbert
40. Emma, Jane Austen
41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
42. Watership Down, Richard Adams
43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
46. Animal Farm, George Orwell
47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher

51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
53. The Stand, Stephen King
54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
56. The BFG, Roald Dahl
57. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
61. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
62. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
65. Mort, Terry Pratchett
66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
67. The Magus, John Fowles
68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
71. Perfume, Patrick Süskind
72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
74. Matilda, Roald Dahl
75. Bridget Jones’s Diary, Helen Fielding
76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
78. Ulysses, James Joyce
79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens
80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
81. The Twits, Roald Dahl
82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
83. Holes, Louis Sachar
84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
89. Magician, Raymond E Feist
90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac
91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
95. Katherine, Anya Seton
96. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
97. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez
98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
100. Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie

Only 27 out of 100. I haven't read as many classics as I'd have liked. These days I don't seem to have the capacity to sit through heavy fictions.

In fact, I hardly read fiction these days. Most of the items on my reading list in the past months have been non-fiction (mostly finance). Either those or glossy mags.

How I miss the days when I was so engrossed in a good book, I'd stay up till the wee hours of the morning just to get to the last page. I know of people who'd skip the middle pages and go directly to the last chapter (or even just the last couple of pages) to see what the ending's like. I never understood that. What's the point in reading a book then, if all you wanted to know is the ending? It's not just the destination that matters, it's also the journey, is it not?

Anyway, I should get back to that reading list above. There are plenty of books in that list I'd love to read. Thank goodness for the inexpensive Penguin classics available at Target (also available at Borders, but the same books are cheaper at Target). I'm going to get me some of those. Hopefully I'd be able to cross off more books on that list.

August 14, 2009

Shoop Shoop

Update: The ski trip was canceled. Hubs was too tired. Oh well, next year then.

Guess where I'm heading to this Saturday?

20090813 Mt Buller
Image credit:

I haven't done this in years, but I reckon it's time to face my fears and head the skis full on once more. To cut the story short, some kids laughed at me when I tried skiing for the first time, fell down, and couldn't get up. Not only did they not help me up, they pointed at me, laughed, shouted to their parents what I was doing wrong, and then ran away. Nasty lil' tykes they were. I was traumatised, I tell you.

Anyway, let's do this baby one more time, eh? Mt Buller, here I come!

August 13, 2009

Enough Is Quite Enough

I'm sorry to have to say this, and you know I never, ever swear out loud on my blog, but this is it. I've had enough, and am putting an end to this. Those who keep calling me a tai tai or lady of leisure, can quite frankly, fuck off. Oh yeah, I actually said it. I have the courtesy of not calling you a bloody workaholic or a mindless drone for getting stuck in the office at least 10 hours a day, so you can leave me the hell alone. You don't understand the frustrations I have to go through, so zip your mouth.

I do NOT ask for a handout from the husband. I earn my keep, even in the house. I do not "lunch" with other ladies. I do not go shopping everyday (in fact, I only do it once a week, like most of you do). I do not take anything from the government (well okay, except for the pittance of reimbursements from Medicare, and even then, I very hardly see the GP) so you taxpayers can stop whinging.

I'm currently working on launching something of my own. I know it's taking a lot longer than originally intended, but at least I'm doing something. I hated what I was doing before all those years, and yet, I have the balls to take a different path. I don't know where that road will take me, but I just have to give it a try. I have the support of my husband, my closest friends and even my family (who took quite a bit of convincing at first, but I know they're on board), so who are you to judge?

So if you ask me if I'm working yet, yes I am. I just don't do it in an sterile environment with cubicles.

PS: Yep, for once I'm actually disallowing comments, something that I very rarely do. So there.

August 10, 2009

Lawrence Leung's Why Can't I Be More Chinese?

I don't normally post Youtube videos here, and I know this is probably very late and that it's already widely circulated, but I just have to share this with those who's not seen the video.

Here's Lawrence Leung, trying to be more Chinese. It's hilarious!

As much as a banana that I am (y'know, yellow on the outside, white on the inside. Hey I've been called that all my life, so I don't find it offensive. Apologies if you do), I'm glad I've got a leg up over him ;)

August 04, 2009

Guilty Pleasures

Ahh guilty pleasures. Those little things you do in secret that give you an immense high. I don't mean sex and drugs, of course. I've got lots of little guilty pleasures that I enjoy. Like reading trashy mags while I'm in the loo. Sneaking a cheese slice and ham from the fridge without forming a sandwich. And many more.

What's your guilty pleasure?

July 22, 2009

Comfort Food

With the cold winter winds and rain beating on our windows, hot comfort food for dinner is the key to keeping warm. And what better dish to serve in the winter than a hearty meat pie (also a great way to use up the beer my parents left behind). I served the pie with some roasted winter vegies.

20090722 Beef and Beer Pie 1

20090722 Beef and Beer Pie 2

20090722 Beef and Beer Pie 3
I didn't have a smaller casserole dish, hence the small amount of filling compared to the pastry.


1/4 cup plain flour
400g beef chuck steak, trimmed and cut into approximately 3cm pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large brown onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
Champignons (button mushrooms) - I used half a can
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 cups beef stock
345ml bottle lager beer (I used VB)
1 sheet ready-rolled frozen puff pastry, partially thawed
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons sesame seeds

1. Place flour in a large bowl. Add beef, and toss to coat.
2. Heat half the oil in a large saucepan over high heat.
3. Cook beef in batches, for 4 to 5 minutes or until browned. Transfer to a plate.
4. Heat remaining oil in pan over medium-high heat. Cook onion and carrot, stirring for 5 minutes or until onion has softened.
5. Return beef to pan. Add tomato paste. Stir to coat.
6. Add worcestershire sauce, stock and beer. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low.
7. Simmer, partially covered, for 1 1/2 hours or until beef is tender. Set aside to cool.
8. Preheat oven to 200C/180C fan-forced.
9. Spoon mixture into a 6 cup-capacity overproof dish. Top with pastry, trimming excess.
10. Brush pastry with egg. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
11. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden.
12. Let the pie rest for a couple of minutes after it's baked, and then serve.

  • I actually forgot about the beef stock when I made this. But I reckon it made the dish more flavoursome, as the beer was reduced to a thick gravy, which complemented the beef very well.
  • I was quite liberal with the worcestershire sauce. I just poured until it reached the flavour I wanted, which was a bit more bite than what the original recipe would have produced.
  • The funny-looking square thing on top of the pastry puff was leftover pastry which I cut off to fit the roasting tin. Let's not waste what can be eaten.

20090722 Beef and Beer Pie 4


A few dashes of olive oil
2 carrots
1/2 butternut pumpkin
1 large potato
Dried sea salt
Dried oregano leaves
Dried rosemary leaves
Fresh sprigs of thyme

1. Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan-forced.
2. Chop vegies and season generously with a combination of the salt and herbs.
3. Roast vegetables in a roasting tin for 50 minutes
4. Take the dish out of the oven every 15 minutes to toss the vegies.

These two dishes are easy to make, and cheap too. All in all, I spent about ten bucks for the dinner. Talk about savings.

July 21, 2009


20090721 Swearing

It's double standards for me when it comes to swearing. I do it (not that often, but enough), but I can't stand it when other people swear. It's terrible (me, that is). My parents hate it when my brother and I swear in the house, so the worst we say are "shit" and "bitch". Up to now, I've never heard my parents drop the F-bomb, not even when they're really angry, or in the presence of friends. To be honest, I don't think I'd be comfortable in hearing them using the word, so I'm thankful they're reserved enough to keep it to themselves.

I remembered chastising an ex-boyfriend when we started dating because he was very loose with the tongue when it came to Hokkien cuss words. Now as much as I don't like hearing people swear, English cuss words are, oddly, tolerable. It's the Hokkien ones which repulse me to no end. I don't know why. I was very glad that towards the end of that relationship, the frequency of hearing those words decreased significantly. Nope, it wasn't my doing :)

Oddly though, when I was in the US last year for about 10 days, I've only heard swearing once. ONCE! In Melbourne, I hear it every day. On the streets, on the train, on the bus, etc. Does that mean that Australians swear more? I really have no idea.

I have to admit that ever since I moved to Melbourne, I've been swearing a lot more than I have in the past 20-odd years. I too, lace my words with the F-bomb ever so often. I completely draw the line at using words with genitals in them, but other than that, I'm afraid I too, am guilty. Sigh.

Feel free to wash my mouth with soap.

July 14, 2009

Of Masterchef and Eating in Australia

Masterchef LogoMasterchef Australia will be ending this week, and I'm actually sad to see it go. I've been following the reality TV show very closely ever since it started a few months ago. I even saw George Calombaris at The Press Club during my birthday dinner with the hubs (oh yeah, I was starstruck. Even more than when Gordon Ramsay walked into the restaurant an hour later).

Some thoughts about the show - I'm torn between Justine and Poh to win. If they were to run an audience voting system, you bet I'll be wasting money on text messages. That's how hooked I can be to reality TV. Tsk tsk.

The thing about watching Masterchef, and living in Australia, has somewhat turned me into a food snob. I'm now pretty particular about what I eat. I love fresh produce, and the fact that it's so readily available to me. Good food doesn't have to be expensive. In fact, I've had some swell meals in obscure, cheapo restaurants, and crappy ones at expensive restaurants.

Have all these turned me into a fantastic cook? Definitely not, but at least I'm now better than I was before. At least, I hope I am.

June 22, 2009

St Ali Coffee

The housemate and I went out for lunch last Friday, and then headed for coffee at this place which he recommended, St Ali, at South Melbourne. I don't believe I've drank that much coffee in my life before I came to Australia. This country is like Mecca for coffee or something.

Anyway, the cappuccino I had was a lot smoother than most caps I've drunk, which was good. Oh, and it came like this:

20090622 Coffee from St Ali South Melbourne

The artwork I normally see on other coffee tops were never that clear and precise. Thanks to the massive amount of chocolate they placed on the foam, they managed to come up with a very beautiful leaf. I was very impressed.

I've seen how the "drawing" of the leaf was done, and it didn't look very difficult. Very gently pour the milk in, swish left to right and back several times, and then pour a straight line from the top to the bottom to form the 'stem'. And all this while, I thought these baristas used a template or something. St Ali's blog has some lovely photos of how it's done.

Of course, if I were to attempt this, I'd end up with an awful mess. Methinks I'll just stick to my usual 3-in-1 coffee for now.

June 15, 2009

Another Scarf Done

Thanks to Geekchic, I've been bitten by the knitting bug once more. Have been knitting on and off for a bit (mostly off), but when you have a knitting buddy, it's very easy to get on the wagon once more.

I bought this beautiful wool-alpaca yarn from Morris and Sons, and with just one ball, I finished this, using the stockinette stitch, in probably a total of 3 hours. Slow by the knitting people's standards, I'm sure, but for a rookie like me, it's my fastest record thus far.

20090614 Wool Alpaca Scarf

It's really soft, and the yarn's just gorgeous. Unfortunately, I cannot wear this with my black coat as it sheds like crazy. Oh well, can't win 'em all. It's also the most expensive piece of yarn I've bought so far. Thank goodness at 37 bucks per ball, I only need one to make a scarf.

'Tis a pity I didn't leave enough yarn to make pom poms at the end. That would complete the look.

*hugging the soft scarf*

June 11, 2009

Turning Twenty Nine

Note: Thanks for all the warm birthday wishes on my birthday via phone calls, text messages, Twitter and Facebook. You guys really made my day :)

I turned 29 six days ago. After my rants on how incredibly low I felt when I turned 27 and that one should shoot me when I hit the big 3-0, this year's birthday actually turned out to be the best I've had in years. To risk sounding like a complete sap, it was all thanks to the husband. Awww.

It all started when my parents were in Melbourne for a visit. On the day they were going to leave Australia, Tim came home from work with a cake. I thought we were going to celebrate a belated Mother's Day with my mum, but it was actually a birthday cake. He thought it would be nice to have the family celebrate my birthday together, albeit a little early, before my parents left. It was a very sweet gesture as I hadn't celebrated my birthday with the parents in a long time.

Birthday Gifts 2009 1

June 1 - Tim and I decided to head out to dinner. As he was on call on Saturday, I thought we could do date night on Monday instead after he was back from work. He told me he'd think of a place. Evening came, and he told me we'd be trying out this new Italian place that we've never been to before. I love Italian food, so yeah, I was definitely up for it. When we entered the restaurant, for some reason, I never thought it weird that we were heading to a bigger table instead of a table for two. Come to think about it, I wasn't even looking where I was going!

Lo and behold, over at the bigger table, were all my close friends. May, Geekchic Jen, Dom and Flo. To say I was surprised was an understatement. For someone who's never had a surprise party before, I was utterly dumbstruck. Tim had planned all that behind my back, and I didn't know how to react. After the initial confusion, I was really excited and happy (and super flushed during the evening. My cheeks were hot!). Nothing like the company of dear friends to celebrate your big day together.

Birthday Gifts 2009 2
Flowers (my fave!) from my brother-in-law and sister-in-law in Sydney, and a cute towel 'cake' from May

Birthday Gifts 2009 3
She made this for me. Gorgeous cowl scarf. Me heart!

Birthday Gifts 2009 4
Lovely L'occitane goodies from my girlfriends in Malaysia, MC and Hester, yummy Koko Black choccies from Dom and Flo, and a beautiful birthday card and facial mask from Hui Xin.

June 6 - Tim and I headed out on a day trip to Baw Baw Country, which was a two-hour drive from Melbourne. The scenery we encountered during the drive was absolutely gorgeous. Even though the day was slightly marred by the fact that I was experiencing really bad cramps, I had a wonderful time.

20090606 Noojee 1

20090606 Noojee 2

20090606 Noojee 3

June 8 - Queen's Birthday. After watching Masterchef for a month now (very addicted to the show; will write a post just on that soon), I've been really keen on trying out The Press Club, which belonged to one of the judges in the show, George Calombaris. Little did I know that a week before, Tim had already made reservations for dinner on the Queen's Birthday. Wheee!!

Dinner was absolutely scrumptious. I was actually, and I'm a little embarrassed to say, starstruck when I saw George Calombaris working in the kitchen. An hour into our dinner, Gordon Ramsay walked into the restaurant. At that time, I didn't know about his sexist remarks about Tracy Grimshaw (If I did, I would have probably thrown an egg to his face, that arrogant bastard). All I can say is that he's a head taller than George, and that he has a very crinkly face. Kinda like a Shar Pei :P

It had been an awesome week. And although I didn't actually get anything tangible from the husband for my birthday (hee hee), all his efforts throughout the week were more than enough. I felt really touched. And loved :)

At the end of the day, turning 29 is just another day, another number. The way I see it, it's just closer to the big 3-0 than anything else. Now that, THAT is going to be something.

But I'm pretty sure it wouldn't involved me wanting to jump off a bridge.

June 01, 2009

My Herb Bucket

Living in an apartment does not grant me the privilege of a garden.

Before you start thinking that I've completely done a 180 degrees change in personality, no, I do not enjoy gardening or have a green thumb for that matter.

In my cooking, many a time I'd require a selection of herbs. Even though I have bottles of dried herbs, using fresh herbs in my dishes really gives them a better punch of flavour compared to the dried ones. Unfortunately, buying packets of fresh herbs from the supermarket is expensive, especially since I do not use them in every meal. Yes, I can freeze them, but it dries them up, which makes it hardly any difference from using dried herbs from a bottle. After a while, the herbs rot, and I have to chuck them. It's a waste of money.

In the end, I've decided to buy pots of herbs and keep it on my balcony instead. During a visit to a friend's home, I saw how she potted the herbs into a large bucket, which gave me the idea to do the same as well. A trip to The Reject Shop to get the bucket, and to Bunnings to get pots of herbs and potting mix, I was on my way to have my own little herb "garden".

20090530 Herb Bucket

I originally wanted to grow coriander, as that's the herb I use the most in my cooking (on fish, curry, etc). However, after doing plenty of research on the Internet, I found out that coriander is pretty difficult to maintain. It is best that I stick to the easier herbs for now, before I venture into the less hardy plants.

20090530 Basil

Basil (not looking good, I'm afraid)

20090530 Italian Parsley

Italian parsley

20090530 Pink Rosemary

Pink rosemary

I potted these two months ago. Of the three herbs, the Italian parsley thrived the best. They taste great too!

Next up, I'm going to try my hand at growing chilli and capsicum. They're incredibly pretty in their pots, with the vibrant red and yellow against the green.

May 30, 2009

Dear 16-Year Old Tine

20090530 Poppies at Tessalar

If I were to meet you face to face, I'd see a fresh-faced young girl, in her blue pinafore, bad hair, braces in her teeth, and a wide and engaging smile. I'd see someone happy, eager and ready to face whatever the world has to offer (world being Form 4).

I'd see me.

At sixteen, you weren't sure what the year would bring you. You've read enough teenage love stories to know about what it's like for a girl when she turns sweet sixteen, but you didn't have that feeling. You didn't have boyfriends or go to parties. You just lived the way you did.

At sixteen, you experienced, for the first time, what failing in your studies was like. Three times, in fact, in getting an F in Physics and Chemistry. These were never your strong points to begin with, but oddly enough, you ended up being an engineer. That's irony for you.

At sixteen, you became best of friends with two girls who ended up being your bridesmaids at your wedding. It was wonderful, by the way, the wedding. You married someone you met in the UK, whom you never thought would end up spending the rest of your life with. And he loves you dearly. Well, not 16-year old you, obviously. And you're still keeping in touch with the girls, who have both grown up to be fine ladies.

At sixteen, you hadn't a care in the world, and why would you? It was simply those carefree days in which you grew up with books and telephones, not computers and mobile phones. And you lived it well without those.

At sixteen, you were painfully shy around boys. Till now, I cannot tell you why it was so that you couldn't speak to boys without getting red and tongue-tied then. Not to worry though, as you grow older, you'll find that many of your close friends will be boys.

At sixteen, you hardly went out. You had (still have, by the way) overprotective parents who would not allow you to parties and overnight stays with friends. They would call you every 15 minutes past 10.30pm if you weren't back home by then. And all these happened when you didn't even have a mobile phone (they'd call your friends). You were embarrassed, humiliated and angry at them for the restrictions. You rebelled every chance you could by sneaking away to places they wouldn't allow you to. It would only be much later in life that you finally understood why they did what they did.

You have changed, you know. Not immensely, but enough for you to recognise that change if you were to meet your 29-year old self today. For someone who barely understood sarcasm, you're now cynical. Not to the point where you're incredibly jaded to the world, but enough to know that life is not a bed of roses. Believe it or not, it is a good change.

I'm not going to tell you what life for you is going to be after sixteen. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and for that, everything you are about to experience will make you the person you are today. It's not going to be an easy road to travel on, but walk it you must.

A few hints of what life will be for you as you enter your twenties: you'll fall in love at a tender age. You'll live in the UK for a few years, and those will be some of the best years of your life. You'll make some very bad decisions in your twenties; those bad decisions and consequences will be etched in your memory as long as you live. You'll finally understand how painful it can be when your heart breaks. You'll also realise that during that time, your family is the rock in which you will cling to, for they love you with all their hearts no matter what. You'll find happiness once more, and know what it means to really love.

Don't be too hasty to grow up. Enjoy those years of school, where you'd have nothing to worry about except getting good grades and sailing through SPM. You'll have plenty of time to experience what life overseas would be like. What the working world like like. What falling in love is like. What intense heartbreak is like. What life really is like.

Have fun. Laugh, cry, study hard and build friendships. There's plenty of time to conquer the world later.

~29 Year Old Tine~
30 May 2009

May 29, 2009

The Weekend Beckons

The weekend approaches. I've got nothing planned. The idea of chilling out with a book sounds just about the ticket. Tim's on call tomorrow, so I'll be on my own. I've thought of heading to the city, but the thought of cramming in a train full of people, especially during the swine flu season, freaked me out a little.

Speaking of which, Victoria now has 98 confirmed cases at the time of writing, whereas the rest of the states are not that badly affected. It's scary, is what it is. When I first heard on the news to stock up on food and necessities, I went out and bought quite a bit of canned food and loo paper. Oh yeah, the latter is a necessity. Imagine stuck in a loo without loo paper. Gulp.


What's up for the weekend with you?

May 28, 2009

016 No More

Dad emailed me yesterday, and told me that my Malaysian mobile phone number has finally bitten the dust. I've been maintaining that number ever since I came to Australia with Dad's help in sending RM2 to my phone every 3 months just to keep the number activated. I completely forgot about it when I left Malaysia after Chinese New Year this year, thus forgetting to remind him to send that RM2 to the phone. Calls of plea to DiGi did not help. Apparently, when it's dead, it's dead.

Can't believe I don't have that phone number anymore. I've had it for six years, and now that it's gone, I'm pretty sad about it. Sigh.

So people, if you have my Malaysian 016-xxx number, you can feel free to delete that from your address book as it's no longer valid. When I'm back in Malaysia, I'll have to get a new one.


May 27, 2009

Spam Makes Me Laugh Sometimes

I hate spam. Not the luncheon meat, mind you (now that's something else), but the junk emails I get. Thank goodness for Gmail, whom I think does the best job in filtering out spam from regular emails. Although once in a while, I do get a kick out of checking out the spam I get.

This would be what I'd call a WTF subject.

Spam clowns and cops

May 05, 2009

Lo and Behold

Yep, I finally passed my driving test.

Full Victoria Drivers License

I was a nervous wreck on test day. When I met up with my driving instructor (I used her car during the test, and she came along as well), Gayle, I had to run back home twice because I've forgotten to bring extra cash for the test, and also forgotten my passport and proof of address. By the time I got back to the car, I was already sweating, even though it was a cold and crisp day.

In retrospect, I was really glad to have Gayle with me the whole time, even though she couldn't help or talk to me during the test. Thank God for a gentle lady examiner too, who gave me very clear instructions without having to bark them out. The only critical error I made was when I completed the test and headed back to Vicroads. By then, the examiner decided to let me off the hook.

So yep, I'm now a holder of a full Victorian driver's license. No more L-lesen for me. Whee!

Now, more importantly, what car shall I get?

May 04, 2009

Linguine Bolognese

I've always loved pasta bolognese. Spaghetti bolognese was the first Italian dish I've ever eaten, thanks to mum's recommendation many, many years ago.

For years I've been cooking bolognese sauce from jars (Dolmio seemed to be quite a favourite). When I came to Australia, I decided to learn how to make the sauce from scratch once and for all. This has been tried and tested for quite some time now, and I'm glad to say that I no longer make pasta dishes from jars. The husband and I thoroughly enjoy this dish, and I hope you do too.

200g pork mince
200g beef mince
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
1 onion, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
1 celery stalk, finely diced
1 can of chopped tomatoes
1/2 can of button mushrooms (you can use fresh mushrooms if you like)
1 cup of beef stock (or 1 cube of beef bullion mixed in 1 cup of hot water)
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp basil (or 1/2 tsp of dried basil)
1 tsp rosemary (or 1/2 tsp of dried rosemary)
1 tsp thyme (or 1/2 tsp of dried thyme)
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 bay leaf
1 cup white wine
Linguine (I used linguine just for fun; you can always stick to classic spaghetti)
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Parsley and shaved parmesan to serve

Bolognese Sauce in Pan

1. Heat oil in a large sauce pan.
2. Saute onions and garlic until soft.
3. Add beef and pork mince and brown over high heat, stirring constantly to break lumps.
4. Add diced carrot, celery and mushrooms. Stir and fry for about 5 minutes.
5. Add the can of chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, beef stock, herbs, and seasoning. Bring to boil.
6. Turn heat down to LOW and simmer for 30 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated and sauce is thick.
7. Remove bay leaf from sauce before serving.
8. Boil and drain pasta as per packet directions. Toss with a dash of olive oil and ground black pepper.
9. Pour sauce over pasta. Sprinkle with cheese.

Mixing the pork mince with the beef mince gives the sauce more flavour. Mushrooms are not part of a classic bolognese recipe, but I love them, so I just threw them in for added chunks.

I didn't add any cheese to this dish as I ran out and forgot to buy any. To be honest, I'm not too keen on having cheese on my sauce, but that's just me.

Linguine Bolognese


May 02, 2009

The Little Things In Life

That bring me joy.

Sharing a 50-cent Macca's soft serve scoop ice-cream with the hubs.
Breathing in the scent of new books at a bookstore, and old musty smells in an secondhand bookstore.
Receiving handmade gifts from family or friends. No matter how simple the gift it.
Surprises in the mail. Not red letters, mind you, but parcels from family and friends, which I weren't expecting.
Flowers from the hubs.
Freshly baked bread.
A good movie that puts a smile on my face when it's over.
A personally handwritten card or letter.
And many more.

What's yours?

April 27, 2009

Upcoming Driving Test

After 11 years of driving in Malaysia, it feels a tad funny to have to take a driving test again to be able to drive here.

L Plates

I have never driven anywhere outside Malaysia. I didn't have the opportunity to drive when I was in the UK, and I wasn't allowed to drive when in Japan. It's about time that I get a full driver's license instead of just sticking to a learner's permit, so I arranged for a driving test, which is this Wednesday.

To make sure I learn the test routes properly, I decided to engage a few driving lessons with RACV. I thought perhaps a couple of lessons would suffice, as hey, it can't be that different from driving in Malaysia, eh?

Two lessons soon became five. My driving instructor, Gayle, bless her, was incredibly patient with me even though I couldn't do a good reverse parallel park, forget to do exaggerated mirror checks and often drive over the speed limit. Driving at 50-60 kph (and making sure I never go further than that on roads that have that speed limit) is torture, when other cars seemed to be zooming past me like there's no tomorrow. I'm not a reckless driver in Malaysia, but I don't think I've ever been that cautious about my speed limits than I am over here. Exceeding the speed limit over here is an immediate FAIL. Many a time, Gayle would comment that I'm too cautious when on the road, and that makes me a hazard. Over-cautious, imagine that!

So many bad driving habits to overturn, so little time and practice. I can't practise driving Tim's car as it's on a manual transmission (I'm getting the auto license), and it's turbo-charged. Today, I rented a car to practise on. Five hours of non-stop driving was simply exhausting.

So wish me luck this Wednesday, for I sure am nervous. 'Tis pity there's no such thing as 'kopi lesen' here.

I might, for the first time in my life, actually need it.

April 10, 2009

Happy Easter

Easter 2009

Heading out for a day trip with the hubs tomorrow. Hoping to catch a ferry from Queenscliff to Sorrento. We did that when I came to Melbourne to visit him a couple of years back, and it was lovely catching the sunset on the ferry. Oooh I can't wait!

The long Easter weekend reminds me of the usual Hari Raya or Chinese New Year seasons in Malaysia. Massive traffic from people doing the balik kampung, and the place turns into a ghost town. Most, if not all, of the shops are closed. Everyone's at home eating (chocolates, that is).

Have a lovely Easter, people. Watch that intake of chocolate eggs, and drive safe. I'll be getting my share after the season's over, when shops slash prices to clear the chocs :P

March 31, 2009

If You Don't Know Me

Sometimes I wish I held absolute anonymity on my blog, and that no one, not even my family, knew who I was on the Internet. There's so much I want to say, like in a diary, but can't. I can't go about bitching about a relative without serious repercussions, I can't vent my frustrations regarding a certain company without the fear of getting sued for libel, etc.

I used to have an anonymous blog. Nobody knew about the existence of that blog, and I remembered dishing out a lot of angst when I was going through a bad relationship. After it crashed and burned, I recovered from it, and had closure by deleting it.

Not that I want to bring that up again, but I can't help but wonder if no one knew who I was at all, under another nom de plume, would I still be able to write what I really wanted to write?

Do you feel this way too? That if no one knew who you were, would you pour out your heart to the world?

March 30, 2009

Just Because

The doorbell buzzed.

Him: Baby, go answer the door.

Me: You go answer the door lah.

Him: Aiyah, you go answer the door lah.

I left the apartment, muttering under my breath on how difficult was it for him to answer the door and all that, and went to the main door.

Lady: Hi, are you Tine?

Me: Yep that's me.

Lady: (handing me a big and long box with a green ribbon tied around it, and the words Roses Only printed at the top) Here you go, you lucky girl.

Roses Only March 09

Roses Only Logo

Roses Only Yellow Roses

Roses Only with Lindt Chocolates

The hubs surprised me with 18 long-stemmed yellow roses! It also came with a box of Lindt choccies. It was such a lovely surprise. The yellow roses were just about to bloom its best, and the colour was simply vibrant. I asked him what the occasion was, and he uttered one word.

"Saja" (just because).

Oooops. I take back all that I muttered under my breath :P

March 25, 2009

On Having Children

I'm torn when it comes to having kids. There are times when I'm broody. That would come when I see a cute baby in a stroller, a mother bouncing a little girl on her knee, or reading mummy blogs. Those are the times where my broody, maternal instincts would come so strong, that I would immediately feel a surge of longing for one of my own. My insides turn to mush when I see cute baby clothes on sale. Show me a tiny bootie, and my voice turns incoherent.

But other times (and this happens a lot more), where I don't want children. When they're screaming, crying, fretting and yelling for goodness-knows-what. See, for me, when someone actually hands me their baby to carry, I'm stumped. I just don't know what to do with them. Put me in a room with children, and I want to run to the nearest exit. My husband's great with kids; he knows what to do with them, how to make them laugh, keep them occupied. I just look at them and go "Errr ... what now?".

I also happen to be in a country where disciplining children the way my mother disciplined me is absolutely not accepted. No rotan, or else they'll call child services. Oh boy.

People tell me that when the time comes, I'll know. I'll know what to do, and I'll do it well. When I put the wee bootie back on the rack and my voice goes back to normal, I know one thing.

I know that the time isn't now.

March 16, 2009

Interesting Characters On The Train

A guy standing on the link between carriages, in the open. Very dangerous, methinks, but he preferred to stand there than stay in the carriage. I was scared for him, I really was.

Unibrow man with the most gorgeous long eyelashes I've ever seen. Too much hair growing in the wrong places, mate. Wax off the middle of your brows, and give me your eyelashes, dammit!

An old, unkempt man who, after losing his balance on the moving train, stumbled a bit, and started stamping his feet and shaking his fists, gesturing to no one in a train full of people. He got off his seat, stomped the train whilst uttering goodness-knows-what, shaking his fists, went to the door, kicked and lashed out, and got back in. Those sitting around him quickly got off their seats and sat somewhere else. This continued until we stopped at Caulfield Station. Two Connex fellas came in looking for him, and that was when he quickly got out and left. The look of relief on the passengers was a sight indeed.

All this on the Cranbourne/Pakenham line. Who needs an iPod when you've got these to keep you entertained?

Trouble In Paradise

It's been a rough couple of weeks. There is, indeed, trouble in paradise.

Not something I'd freely share here, but suffice to say, it really hadn't been easy. Not easy when you and your partner cannot come to a compromise without either party developing resentment towards the other and not when you cannot even agree to disagree. So what are you going to do when both sides can't even back down?

It's all hell break loose.

I'm putting this aside for now; I'm letting it go. It's not something that can be resolved immediately, but I definitely cannot go on like this. We cannot go on like this.

I need a good pick-me-up. Thank goodness I'm meeting up with the girls this evening, even if it's only going to be a short while. I need me a drink, and fast.

March 10, 2009

Moviefone Downgraded

Sometimes I wonder if I'm the only person who finds TV dramatisation really stupid. You know, the bits where the network/channel promotes the next episode of a following drama series with voice prompts such as these.

*in a dramatic, moviefone voice*

"The episode that shocked all of America. What did the doctor do to get such a reaction from the rest?" (referring to an episode on Grey's Anatomy where Dr Hunt stabs a pig in front of the doctors. Come on. Really? It shocked ALL of America?)

"In the most exciting episode ever on 'insert-drama-name'" (apparently, every single episode is exciting)

It's bloody annoying, I tell you. I get it if it's a movie in the cinema that they're promoting, but just for Neighbours?


March 03, 2009

To Migrate Or Not To Migrate?

I've been contemplating for a long time on whether to migrate this blog to Wordpress. In fact, I'm still on a limbo here. It would be good to finally move on to another platform which I know will be better, but I've had this template for years now, and I can't seem to let it go.

Decisions, decisions.

On a unrelated postscript, I have to stop reading mummy blogs. It's making me broody, which I shouldn't be at the moment. Gah.

March 02, 2009

Fire Weather Shocker Ahead

More crazy winds and unpredictable weather come Monday night to Tuesday. Gale-force winds of up to 150km/h is just madness.

Sigh. When will this end? I've never been more eager for rain to come than now.

March 01, 2009

Joy Comes In A Cone

'Tis so easy to put me in a good mood after a relatively PMS-y morning.

Maccas Soft Scoop

A 50-cent Maccas soft scoop from the drive through (the other's for hubs) just melts the blues away.

I Wish For Days When

I had something to look forward to come a new day.

I did not have to rely on the Internet for just about anything.

I was not judged on what I chose to do.

Things were less complicated when they were more.

It was just the two of us.

I had more things to blog about because I've run out of juice.

February 13, 2009

One Year Today

Today marks the first anniversary of my uprooting my life in Malaysia and moving to Australia. It's not a big deal to others, but it is to me.

It was difficult at first, that I'll tell you. With hardly any friends in tow, loneliness set in fairly quickly. But God is faithful. It wasn't long when I started to settle in properly and make new friends. Good friends.

I'm also in the process of switching careers. Goodbye engineering, hello ... well, something else. We don't have a place of our own yet, but we're getting there.

Slowly but surely, it's all coming together.

I'm home.

February 09, 2009

With Disasters, Come Idiots

The devastating fires are bad enough. The carnage is bad enough. People losing lives and homes and everything they own is bad enough.

We do not need lectures about climate change, global warming and why the authorities didn't see this coming. Not now. Bloody morons.

By now you've probably heard of the terrible bushfire the state of Victoria is having. If you'd like to do your part, do go to Australian Red Cross for more information. I've been calling but not getting through (line was busy). Guess this means that people are calling in to donate as well, which is a good thing.

February 02, 2009

Married A Year Today

Today's my first wedding anniversary with Tim. My my, how time flies. Just a year ago today, I was strapped up in a wedding gown so tight, my eyeballs could have popped out. And reciting wedding vows in that, no less.

How's married life, you ask?

It's wonderful having him to chat with, sleep with, be with. Believe it or not, I even enjoy cooking for the man. Which, in my books, is a feat because I can hardly cook. He swallows it down with a straight face, and tells me what wonderful dinners I make, and how he looks forward to more, despite giving him diarrhea. And that, is one of the reasons I love him.

So here's to many more years to come. Challenging years, no doubt, but I'm optimistic.

After all, someone's gotta eat my cooking.

January 30, 2009

Surviving A Long-Haul Air Asia X Flight

Air Asia X LogoI was really fortunate to be able to fly to Malaysia via business class with the Enrich air miles I've accrued over the years. However, a one-way ticket from KL to Melbourne on a normal-cost airline would cost me $1200 during the peak period, which is ridiculously expensive. The cheapest alternative was to fly via Air Asia X. An anti-climax to a wonderful trip back, I know, but it was a tremendous amount of savings. So flew via Air Asia X I did, and oh boy, what an experience it was.

To be honest, I was really apprehensive on traveling via Air Asia X. I expected leather seats which hardly reclines on the plane, just as they do on the Air Asia planes which fly domestically and to other countries as well. I expected no service. In fact, I expected the worst. What I expected didn't even come close to what I encountered.

If you think that flying cattle (economy) class is bad, my dears, you haven't tried Air Asia X.

First of all, the seats are incredibly small and narrow. They're even smaller than the seats you see on an Air Asia plane! Air Asia X has an option where you can book for larger, so-called "more comfortable seats", on their XL seats. Those seats, are probably an inch or so wider than the usual economy class seats you see on normal-cost flights (frankly, I couldn't tell the difference if it was any bigger than usual economy class seats). The price of that is equivalent to an economy-class ticket on Malaysia Airlines.

Worst of all, these tiny-ass seats do not recline. They have this thing where you can extend the seat about an inch or two in front, push the headboard down, and then you slide your body down. That's their way of letting you recline. Unfortunately, this means that it cuts off two inches of the very minimal space you already have. Good luck to those with long legs. Even more to those poor fellows who are stuck in between the window and aisle seats.

Large people will find the seats most uncomfortable. I have a large bum, and I get about an inch of space on each side of the seat. Sleeping in the tiny seat was simply awful.

In order to accommodate more people on the plane, the arrangement is such that there are three rows, with three seats per row. About 60 people share two toilets. Whoop-de-freaking-doo. There's also no service with the flight, just as you'd expect on other Air Asia flights.

Honestly, I didn't think that the leather seats were at all necessary. Why not use the money on larger seats instead? By larger seats, I meant the seats used on regular Air Asia flights. That would have been a more feasible solution than cramping so many people in tiny seats in a plane.

If you are likely to suffer from deep vein thrombosis, I highly discourage you from traveling via Air Asia X. There's hardly any room for you to move about.

The food's all right. If you haven't pre-paid for your meals, I recommend the Malaysian meal, which is the nasi lemak. That was surprisingly good.

I hope the uncomfortable seats alone is enough to deter you from traveling via Air Asia X. The KL-MELB flight was the worst trip I've ever had, and I've had bad ones where I got sick and almost threw up. If not, then here are a few tips on surviving a long-haul flight on Air Asia X:
  • Check in early. For international flights, Air Asia recommends you to check in three hours before you fly. And a good thing too, because the queues are simply massive. And you know how chaotic the LCCT can be.
  • Bring in a bottle of water. Air Asia does not allow you to bring in outside food and drinks, but they do close an eye on bottled water. If you have pre-paid for your meals, then you'll get a main dish (e.g. nasi lemak), a bar of chocolate and a bottle of mineral water. However you should drink a lot of water on a long-haul flight, and a bottle for the 7 hours just wouldn't do. They will not supply you with free water.
  • Bring a blanket/shawl/pashmina to keep you warm throughout your flight. This isn't provided. You can purchase a Comfort Kit at RM35 where you'll get a blanket, inflatable neck pillow and an eyemask. I had to get one, but not for the blanket. The blanket, which comes wrapped in a drawstring bag, was used as a makeshift pillow for my back. The neck pillow made it a lot easier to sleep with. As the seats are incredibly narrow, the chances of you slipping to the other seat whilst asleep is very high. I saw a lot of disgruntled passengers who had other passengers' heads on their shoulders.
  • Pre-order your meals when you purchase your ticket. This makes it a lot easier rather than carrying a wad of small change with you when you want to get a meal. Each prepaid meal only gives you ONE meal. On a typical 7-hour flight, the flight attendants will come around twice to sell you food.
  • Speaking of pre-ordering, when you purchase your ticket online, I'd suggest you to pre-book your seat allocation too. Choose an aisle seat so that you'll at least have more space.
  • Eat up first before you fly. Save the pre-paid meal to two hours before landing. Or else you'll be pretty hungry when the flight attendants come again serving food. The food's overpriced on the plane, as you can tell. Oh, and don't chuck your boarding pass when you're on the plane. If you have pre-paid for your meal, there will be a sticker on your boarding pass as an indication to the flight attendants to serve you your meal.
  • Bring plenty of books and a media player/laptop (fully charged) on your flight. This should keep you entertained throughout the flight if you don't want to pay to watch in-flight movies.
There you go, that should be about it. I strongly discourage older folks to travel via Air Asia X, as this would be very uncomfortable for them. At least, keep the flights to less than 3 hours if possible. I don't think I'll be flying via Air Asia X again, unless it's absolutely necessary. When the plane touched down at Melbourne's Tullamarine airport, I heard a lot of passengers complaining "Never flying via Air Asia X again. Aiyo my poor back/neck/insert-body-part".

See, I wasn't the only one :p

January 29, 2009

I'm Back, and Damn It's Hot

Finally back in Melbourne. I'm glad to be back, but to tell you the truth, I can't help but wish I was back in Malaysia instead, for the sweltering heat here is simply unbearable.

It's bloody 45C outside.

It's the hottest temperature I've ever experienced, and it's very difficult to get used to. Makeup be damned; I only wear sunscreen and lipbalm (with sunscreen) now. And lots and lots of water, of course.

I had a great holiday, meeting up with my family and friends. 'Tis a pity Tim couldn't come back with me; I kinda stuck out like a sore thumb when visiting his extended family :p Lots of photographs to process, and funny videos from my trip to Genting.

For now, I'm just going to have to get used to this weather first. Sigh.

PS: I'm using the wifi from the public library. Free air-con FTW! :D

January 24, 2009

I Almost Deleted My Blog!

Asian Woman Panic ComputerLast week gave me quite a scare.

I was just tinkering about my blog last week and decided to move some files via FTP to my webhost. I no longer host my beauty blog on Blogger, and have moved to a separate webhost instead and migrated to Wordpress. With my own webhost, I could essentially host my other blogs on it too, without having to purchase a new one.

Anyway, so there I was, transferring some files on my FTP client, FileZilla, and I have absolutely no idea what happened next, or how it even happened, but I accidentally deleted my public_html folder. This folder had my beauty blog files in it, and the next thing you know, I could access my blog no longer.

I had, somehow, manage to delete my blog.

I felt as though my entire stomach and heart were ripped out of me. I had a panic attack. I did not just delete over a year's work, did I?!

I immediately shot an email to my blogging guru and saviour, Edrei, who then reassured me that as long as my mySQL database was intact, my posts and comments would still remain untouched. I heaved a huge sigh of relief, because I don't know what I would do if I were to lose over a year's worth of work. Hard work too, mind you.

Thank God, I had a backup of my blog files somewhere in my computer. I had the files stored away in my computer just before upgrading to Wordpress 2.7. Essentially, I only lost a month's worth of changes I made to the settings and plugins of the blog. As all my photographs were hosted on Photobucket, I didn't lose any of the pictures used in my posts.

After an hour of transferring the files back to the server via FTP, and adding the changes, my blog was finally back to normal. My heart and stomach slowly crawled their way back into my body.

Let this be a lesson to all of us. Back up your work, and back up often. Also, do not put all your eggs into one basket. Keep your files in separate servers if possible. If I were to put all of my photographs in the public_html folder, I would have lost ALL of them if I hadn't backed them up. Also, retrieving lost files from your webhost could be very expensive. I contacted Lunarpages (my webhost) if they could retrieve a backup of my files. They replied that files retrieval would cost me US$75. Oh boy.

So back up, back up, BACK UP. Whether it's your work, your blog, etc. Anything you put a lot of hard work and effort in deserves at least that bit of security measure.

January 15, 2009

Seasons of Change

Meeting up with my girlfriends proved to be even more cathartic than I thought. How I've missed all the bitching sessions we used to have together, shopping raves, and talking just about anything under the sun. Most of all, I've missed them.

It's interesting to note that as our status in life changed, so did our topics of conversation. What used to be conversations about work now became discussions about married life and the surrounding environment and people that came with it. It was an interesting change, which I embraced. It does not mean that this has become a gathering of "si lais", but something we all grew into as we moved into that chapter of our lives.

Seasons of change. It's a good thing.

On another note, I'll be seeing Hester's baby for the first time this Sunday. Ahh ... darlin' Nat. I remembered exclaiming to Tim, after getting that text message from her that baby Natalie has arrived, "She took my future daughter's name!!!" Oh yeah, I wanted Natalie too :p

January 07, 2009

Malaysia Mari

I'll be leaving for Malaysia tomorrow afternoon. Tim's not coming with me as he has to prepare for his exams in March. It's funny how I could stand being away from him for over a year before we got married, but now, it's difficult for me to leave him. Oh well, he needs his space to study, and I want to see my old friends once more. Guess it isn't so bad at the end of the day.

Three weeks back in Malaysia. I wonder how that's going to be like. I remembered the last few times I was back. Somehow I just couldn't adjust. I felt like an outsider being hit by culture shock. 'Tis odd, given that I wasn't even away that long.

Anyway I'm really looking forward to seeing my family and friends once more. My cousin is getting married this Saturday, which is really exciting. I'm going to be walking down memory lane on this one, for I got married at the same hotel a year ago.

I'm all packed and ready to go.

Oh and flying back via business class is going to be so sweet. Satay, here I come!