Friday, December 31, 2010


Overall, 2010 has been a good year for us.

I returned to the rat race but left on my own accord after 1 month and 1 week due to an unforeseeable situation and a difficult personal choice.

We completed the process in April 2010 but got into another project in August 2010. This new project will keep us busy for the whole of 2011.

We did not venture out of Malaysia for the whole of 2010 and were contented just to rest and relax at home.

I completed the process to release the hold back to someone who has come of age 5 years ago.

Goodbye 2010! Hello 2011! Happy New Year everyone!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas time

It's time to sing Christmas carols again.

1. Silent Night

2. Joy to the World

3. Good King Wenceslas

4. Deck the Halls

5. Jingle Bells

6. We Three Kings Of Orient Are

7. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

8. God rest you merry, gentlemen

9. Silver Bells

10. We Wish You A Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Happy Winter Solstice Festival! To Chinese people all over the world celebrating this festival, here's wishing all of you a happy time getting together with your families and eating Tang Yuan (glutinous rice balls).

Glutinous rice balls made by my sister: Small ones without fillings. Big ones with black sesame fillings.

We eat the glutinous rice balls with red bean broth (sweet).

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Goodbye sofa set

"Pertubuhan Amal Seri Sinar" ( came to pick up my sofa set (2+3 seater with a coffee table) at noon yesterday.

As the year is coming to an end, for the 1st time in 11 years, I suddenly realised that I seldom sit on my sofa so I do not need a sofa set. Therefore I decided to call the recycle-for-charity-organisation to come and collect them.

If you have wearable clothes, shoes, bags, toys, newspapers, magazines, plastic, glass, aluminium, electrical items and usable furniture that you do not want anymore, you can give the items to this organisation. They provide pick up service for bulky items like furniture and electrical goods (free of charge). The number to call is 03-9021 1888 or you can email them at serisinar at .Currently they are also raising funds for Study Aid 2011.

Above: My sofa set which will not be replaced because the living area (foyer) is easier to clean when it looks like the photo below. \\(^v^)//

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Cornwall 2002

Time to reminisce - during the long 4-day holiday weekend (1-4 June 2002) to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, my spouse and I drove down to Cornwall for a holiday. Many people have the same idea too so we spent many hours stuck in an almost non-moving traffic. There were many caravans/motorhomes on the road, something that we do not see at all in Malaysia.

Since we seemed like not moving at all, we turned off the road at the Jamaica Inn hotel to have our breakfast.

When I was young, I love reading the novel, "Jamaica Inn" written by Daphne du Maurier, the dark romantic tale of smuggling and love in Cornwall so I had to take a picture of myself standing in front of the inn.

Then we stopped by Bodmin town. This is the Shire Hall in Bodmin which houses the Tourist Information Centre.

It was nearly evening when we finally reached Penzance, Cornwall and checked into the Tarbert Hotel.

The next day, very early in the morning, we took a boat to the island of St Michael’s Mount.

St Michael’s Mount Castle high up looming in the background of this photo.

Guns at the castle wall. We did not enter the castle, only enjoyed the view from the castle wall.

View from the castle wall.

Having lunch at the Island Cafe looking at the cause way.

In the afternoon, during low tide we were able to walk from the island back to the mainland via the cause way. It was a very nice walk and we had to avoid stepping on seaweeds lying in our path.

In the evening, we walked from Penzance to Mousehole, a small picturesque village and harbour. Little did we know that the distance is 4km and we had to walk uphill part of the way so we were really glad when we finally reached Mousehole.

The harbour at Mousehole. If you click on the photo above, you can see the words "1952 ER 2002" - marking the Golden Jubilee celebration.

We saw many wild seagulls there that were quite tame and even fed one seagull, an ice-cream cone. Only after that we noticed a sign that says "Do not feed the seagulls" ooops! Tired with walking, we took a bus back to Penzance

We then drove to Land's End and checked into the Land's End hotel in the photo above.

The clear blue sea at Land's End, Cornwall.

A windy day and a lovely view.

I love walking on hanging bridges, especially one with a great view.

Evening dinner at the Longships Restaurant at the hotel.

The famous Land's End signpost. We had to take this picture during the night as during the day, tourists queue and pay a fee to have their photographs taken professionally at this signpost.

We rented and drove this small and cute red Renault Clio car all the way from Newbury to Land's End (around 425km).

On our way back to Newbury, we passed by many wind turbine generators in a field and stopped for a photo.

We wanted to visit the Minack Theatre but sadly our schedule did not allow us to do so. Hopefully one day we will visit Cornwall again.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

An anxious week

Last week was a very busy and emotional week for me. Someone close to me discovered a small lump in her breast and I accompanied her to the hospital to have a mammogram done.

She went into the mammography room by herself - I did not go into the room with her. While doing the mammogram, the person-in-charge of handling the machine sort of mentioned that the lump couldn't be seen clearly and that the doctor may ask for an ultrasound to be done. We then waited. Before the doctor could see us to explain about the results of the mammogram, one of the nurse asked us to go and have the breast ultrasound done. At that time, we were kind of in a daze so we went to queue up to have the breast ultrasound done.

After waiting for some time, we were called into the ultrasound room. This time I stayed with her. The radiologist could see the lump which was about 1.2cm by 0.7cm clearly through the ultrasound image. She then mentioned that a biopsy need to be done to test whether it is cancerous or not and it could be done immediately by her.

As we were still in a daze, we agreed and signed the necessary forms in the ultrasound room. I sat there watching the whole core needle biopsy procedure. It was not a pretty sight. First the radiologist disinfect and numb the area to be cut. Then she made a small cut on the breast near the lump and then poke the core needle inside. With one hand on the ultrasound scanner scanning the breast to provide her with the image of the position of the lump to guide her needle and one hand on the core needle, the radiologist dug around inside the breast and tried her best to get 4 samples from the lump.

At last it was done. A small plaster was placed on the small wound and a huge plaster was wrapped around half the upper torso to prevent bleeding. We were advised to remove the huge plaster after 9 hours and the small plaster after 2 days. If there were signs of bleeding we would need to go to the ER.

The biopsy result would be out in about 2 days. I thought a breast surgeon would talk to us about the result of the mammogram but no, we were not seen by a breast surgeon and at that time, we did not ask to see one as we were tired and would just want to go home. As it was a Thursday, we were told that we could leave and were asked to call the hospital next Tuesday for the result and to collect all the images and result reports if they were ready by then.

For a digital mammogram, ultrasound, core needle biopsy procedure, biopsy lab test, and misc medication and about 4 hours spent in the private hospital, the total cost was RM1388. A small price to pay to get the result.

On Saturday, the hospital called me and told me that the result was out. The lump was not cancerous. On Monday, we went to collect the reports and images and were advised to consult a breast surgeon on follow-up actions for the lump.

We were glad to hear the result but there are some questions remaining such as since the lump was small, it was quite difficult to collect tissue samples from it via core needle procedure so were the 4 tissue samples collected for the biopsy came totally from the lump or some were from the tissues around the lump?

Everything happened so fast on that day that we did not have time to think much before doing the core needle biopsy. Somehow I felt that everything was rushed and to me, the core needle biopsy was an invasive procedure which we need more time to think and to decide on whether to have it done or not and where to have it done. There could have been another biopsy procedure which we could have opted to do.

On hindsight, there were risks on what was done. First, something could have gone wrong during the core needle biopsy as the general health of the person was not known - her blood pressure was not taken to check her health situation before the biopsy was done. Second, there is always a risk of infection for the small cut that was done for the biopsy.

A better way of handling this situation would have been:

1. Perform the mammogram.
2. Wait for the result of the mammogram and consult with a breast surgeon about the result.
3. Go home, read up on mammograms and breast lumps and think.
4. Go back to do an ultrasound.
5. Consult a breast surgeon on the result of the ultrasound.
6. Go home, read up on core needle biopsy and other procedures of doing biopsy.
7. Talk to people to find a doctor who is very skillful in doing biopsy.
8. Consult with that doctor and perform a full check up to ascertain the general health/well being of the person.
9. Find out which biopsy procedure is recommended to be done.
10. Decide on whether to do the biopsy or not based on information gathered.
11. Schedule for the biopsy.
12. Then only have the biopsy done.

So now we are monitoring the lump in the breast and will not act so hastily as before.

In general, for women above 20, it is recommended that breast self examination to be done every month. For women above 40, it is recommended that they undergo mammography once a year.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Oct 2001

Time to reminisce - 6 October 2001 (Saturday), a day trip to London. First, we went to the branch of "Royal China" restaurant at Canary Wharf to eat dim sum. Then we just wandered around London sight seeing before eating the much-talked-about lobster noodles at Mandarin Kitchen (Queensway) for dinner. Lastly it was to London Paddington to catch a train back to Thatcham (the journey takes around 45 mins).

Canary Wharf Tube Station

London Eye and the Great Clock of Westminster. I have yet to take a flight on the London Eye.

The delicious lobster noodles at Mandarin Kitchen.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Happy Deepavali!

Deepavali/Divali/Diwali will be celebrated tomorrow. Happy Deepavali! Happy Holiday!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cleaning craze

These few days I have been on a cleaning spree. I usually clean my place once in a while and sometimes my sister comes over to help me. Truth be told, I don't like to do house chores that consist mainly of sweeping the floors and wiping the dust off every object in sight. Of course, I could hire professional cleaners but since I lead a sedentary life, I figure doing the cleaning myself would give me that much needed exercise. I also remind myself constantly to maintain a proper and good posture when doing the cleaning, e.g., keep the back straight while mopping the floor.

So why the craze for cleaning now? I think I have been cleaning my place furiously in order to distract myself from the drilling, hammering, knocking and thumping sounds coming from the renovation being carried out next door. As I forsee the renovation to go on for another 6 months, I guess I will have to continue to clean daily for that period of time. Below are some of the tools that I use to help me clean my place.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Just us siblings

September 30th, 2010 is a day to be remembered by me. It was a day when all four of us siblings went shopping together in one car. It was just the four of us - without our beloved spouses (for two of us). A very rare occasion indeed as we seldom get together to go shopping now that all four of us are grown up and earning our own keeps. I'm not sure whether we can call it a shopping trip as it was just a quick one hour stop at Low Yat Plaza to grab some gadgets. Adding up all our ages resulted in the number 140 (average = 35 years old). Gosh, we are getting old but good to know that we are still close to each other. I wonder when will we do this again. Honestly, I don't think we will ever be able to do this again - just the four of us siblings shopping together.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


One good thing about living near to my mother is that we get to spend more time together and also to celebrate more festivals together. Driving from my place to my mother's house which is also my childhood home takes only about 10 minutes (8km).

As today is the Mid-Autumn Festival a.k.a. Mooncake Festival, we had dinner with my mother and siblings. Since we are all grown-ups, we did not light any lanterns nor did we play with candles. We just ate a simple meal and sat around talking into the night.

This year I bought only 9 moon cakes - some new flavours such as red yeast, ginkgo and others but found that I still prefer the traditional flavour of pure lotus paste and salted egg yolk. I wanted to buy those with double egg yolks but left it too late - they were all sold out when I tried to purchase some yesterday. So next year, I will make sure that I buy them earlier.

Although it drizzled for a while at around 11.30pm, the bright round moon was smiling at us before that and we had a good look at the rabbit in it. It was truly an evening well spent with family.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Happy 1st Birthday...

... to my blog. Time flies when we are not paying attention to it but it crawls when we are looking forward to something. So one year is up and I am counting my blessings that I have some good blog buddies who leave comments on my blog now and then. You know who you are so thank you!

Meanwhile age is catching up fast. I find myself having difficulty reading fine prints and I tend to forget things that happened a few weeks ago. Thus I remind myself to live happily everyday and not to sweat over small stuff. And to treasure each moment as if it is the last. As always, easier said than done but at least, I'll try my best!

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Here's wishing all my friends who are celebrating Hari Raya tomorrow:

Selamat Hari Raya
Maaf Zahir dan Batin

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Leaves messages

Zig zag scribbles on a leaf.
Is it a message for me?
Alas, I know not what it means.
Much less who left it for me.

Friday, August 20, 2010

A 7pm appointment

There is a new item in my schedule now. Normally I don't watch long-winded drama involving family squabbles so I didn't watch Moonlight Resonance (溏心風暴之家好月圓) when it was first shown on Astro. But upon hearing that it won numerous awards, I have decided to watch every episode of it this time round on 8TV to see what the fuss is all about. So now on every weekday at 7pm since last week, I can be found glued to the TV watching Moonlight Resonance.

Monday, August 9, 2010

A new hobby

My spouse and I started this hobby together. Now he is the one diligently tending to it while I just provide emotional support.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Are you a good neighbour?

Today I saw and talked to my new neighbour for the first time. She has just received her keys to her place. Although it was just a short talk, I think she is a nice lady. She hopes to move in before Chinese New Year next year.

Speaking of neighbours, I found an interesting article on how to be a good neighbour. It states that:
"...taking the time to establish good terms with your neighbours has numerous benefits. The community will be friendlier, the neighbourhood safer, and the area a nicer and more comfortable place to live."
So are your neighbours your friends?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

10 years ago...

...we celebrated your 29th birthday with a simple meal.

Now it's that time of year again.
Here's wishing you a very happy 39th birthday!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A workaholic nation?

The sentence below is a requirement that often appears in local job advertisements:

"Applicants must be willing to work extended hours and under tight deadlines"

What about Work-Life Balance?

Is it possible to have a well balanced life when local employers expect employees to work extended hours?

An article entitled "Spotlight on working time" published by The International Labour Organization (ILO) and issued in 2007 states that:
"Attempts to reduce hours in developing countries have been unsuccessful for various reasons, including the need of workers to work long hours simply to make ends meet, and the widespread use of overtime by employers in an effort to increase their enterprises’ output under conditions of low productivity."
It further states that:
"Among those countries with the highest incidence of long working hours for 2004–05 (defined as more than 48 hours per week), Peru topped the list at 50.9 per cent of workers, the Republic of Korea at 49.5 per cent, Thailand at 46.7 per cent (in the year 2000), and Pakistan at 44.4 per cent. At the other end of the spectrum, developed countries such as Norway, the Netherlands and France, as well as transition economies such as Hungary and Estonia, reported the lowest incidence of long hours."
It also mentions the proposal that decent working time arrangements need to fulfill five inter-connected criteria:

1. they should preserve health and safety;
2. be “family friendly”;
3. promote gender equality;
4. enhance productivity; and
5. facilitate worker choice and influence over working hours.

Well, Malaysia has its own Labour Law but how many of us are well versed with the Employment Act 1955 and what the regulation states about hours of work, overtime and work on rest day? Even if we are familiar with the Act, we will still obediently work long hours when our employers expect us to do so because .... well, I honestly do not know why ....

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Pro-choice & Pro-life

I was watching an episode of Boston Legal the other day where a young girl seeks a judicial bypass so that she can get an abortion without parental approval since her mother refused to give her consent. I then looked up the terms pro-choice and pro-life on the web.

From the online merriam-webster dictionary, pro-choice (1975) just means "favoring the legalization of abortion" whereas pro-life (1971) means "opposed to abortion".

Then wikipedia on pro-choice and pro-life states that:
"Both "pro-choice" and "pro-life" are examples of political framing: they are terms which purposely try to define their philosophies in the best possible light, while by definition attempting to describe their opposition in the worst possible light ("Pro-choice" implies the alternative viewpoint is "anti-choice", while "pro-life" implies the alternative viewpoint is "pro-death" or "anti-life")".
The neutral terms to use are the terms “in favor of abortion rights” and “opposed to abortion rights”.

I also came across this informative webpage that summarises the abortion laws of most countries in the world. It has charts that show for what reasons and under what conditions abortion is legal in each country. The reasons it lists are:

Life: to save the life of the mother
Health: to preserve the physical health of the mother
Mental: to preserve the mental health of the mother
Rape: in cases of rape and incest
Defect: when the unborn child has medical problems or birth defects
Social: for social and/or economic reasons, (cannot afford to support a child)
Demand: available on demand, no reason need be given

From its tables, I am surprised to see that China and Singapore (1974 Termination of Pregnancy Act) have very liberal abortion law. For Malaysia, its penal code was amended in 1989 (Act A727 of 1989) to allow abortion in the first trimester if the woman's life or physical or mental health is endangered by the pregnancy.

For reference, I copied the following tables (please click on the charts for a larger image) from the webpage above as follows:

After my reading, I would not want to use the terms pro-choice and pro-life because while I am all for life, I am also very much in favour of women being given the choice to choose what they want to do with their lives and bodies. How about you?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Our very own tepui?

Open our eyes
and we shall see
the beauty that surrounds us

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


The dumpling festival is celebrated today. Last week, my mother made around 40 dumplings (zòngzi 粽子). The fillings she used were chestnuts, Chinese black mushrooms, salted duck egg yolks, deep fried chicken breast meat, dried oysters and black-eyed beans instead of mung beans. All the above fillings except for the salted duck egg yolks have to be precooked so it really took a lot of time and effort to make the dumplings. She learned how to make these dumplings on her own from recipe books. I didn't help to wrap the dumplings because I do not have the skill to do it. So thanks to my mother, I get to eat delicious home-made dumplings for the whole of this week.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Jumping for Joy?

Last month, I bought a rebounder (mini trampoline) after reading on jo's blog about how easy it is to exercise using it. For someone who leads a sedentary lifestyle, I seriously need some form of exercise and since I prefer easy exercises which can be performed at home, I thought this would be the thing for me if it is as simple as mentioned.

With some helpful information from jo, I went shopping for it. After looking at 3 different rebounders, I bought one that costs MYR288 because it looks more sturdy than the other two which costs around MYR 167 and MYR 238 and it comes with a one-year warranty for the various parts. The rebounder that I bought uses springs instead of the sophisticated high elastic bungee bands which is said to be better and of course it is much much more expensive.

For 30 minutes each day, I have been doing the basic bounce as mentioned in this online article entitled "How To Do Mini Trampoline Exercises". There are many other exercises that can be done on the rebounder but I think I will stick to the basics for the time being.

According to this website, the first rebounder was patented in the US in 1975 and by 1981 it became a fad which soon faded. I hope I can keep this up because to me, a little exercise is better than none at all - actually is this true?

*paragraph below added on 8 June 2010*

Below are two photos of the rebounder I bought. Those feet belong to my spouse. The diameter is 36 inches and the height is 8 inches. The springs can be seen in the 2nd photo when the feet landed on the rebounder.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

What's your answer to this?

I was forwarded an email from Susie and Otto Collins (Relationship Coaches) mailing list by a friend and found the question very interesting so I thought I would post the question here for comments. What would your advice be for this lady?

***QUESTION FROM A READER (of relationship articles by Susie and Otto Collins):

"Hi Susie / Otto, Please could you advise me on the issue
of partners meeting friends of the opposite sex one to one.

My rather Asian and conservative belief is that husbands
should never go out for a movie/late dinner with a female
friend. The reason for my belief is that regular one to one
contact with a female friend could (potentially) lead to
(at worst case) an affair. And that men (and women) should avoid putting themselves in that situation, ie temptation.

My boyfriend sees where I am coming from but disagrees
and thinks that it stems from me just point blankly not
trusting him, given that he has never done anything to
not be trusted. He is insulted that I am unable to trust
him to resist temptation even if it did come along.

Not only does he think differently on this, he is a very
reserved person - and therefore, in any situation, he
genuinely finds 3-somes very difficult and pointless : one
can have a better quality catch up when it's one on one

To be fair to him, because of his reservedness, he meets
these individual friends 3-4 times a year(each) - which in
the grand scheme things isn't a lot.

I would very much like to get the stage where I am laissez
faire with whoever he sees ..... how can I ?? And what is a
fair compromise given that neither does he want me to
intrude in his time with his female friends?

Thank you in advance for your help.

I find your articles very helpful by the way."


Source: email from Susie and Otto Collins (Relationship Coaches) mailing list

Friday, May 21, 2010

Balls, balls, balls everywhere

For the past one week, my spouse and I have been kicking a football, virtually that is. We have just finished playing one round of 2010 FIFA World Cup tournament on PS3. For the group stage, with 4 teams in 8 groups, we played 48 matches to get to the Round of 16 where we played 8 matches to get to the Quarter-finals where we played 4 matches to get to the Semi-finals where we played 2 matches to get to the World Cup Final. So we played a total of 62 matches over one week which means I played around 7 to 8 football matches every night with my spouse until I was kicking balls in my dreams. For completeness, we even played the 3rd place match. At last, we reached the Final - which was between Brazil and Spain. My spouse was Brazil while I was Spain and Brazil won just because I kicked an own goal :( but anyway I am hoping that Brazil will win this 2010 World Cup for real!

So with HD on Astro, we are all ready to stay up at 2.30am to watch all the matches in June 2010. Just can't wait!