Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Last day of 2009

I was reading Hayley's 2009 recap and I decided to join the fun! So here's my recap (link your blog to my comment box if you would like to have your recap to share) -

January - I moved my blog from Friendster to Blogger.
February - We (hubby and I) shifted to our home on February 14 2009 at 9pm - right after dinner (^_~)
March - Attended a friend's wedding and had a little detour to Segari, Perak.
April - Movie Month! This is one of those rare moments where I get to watch movies at the cinema almost every weekend. And one of them was free!
May - Spring clean my home - From forcing the sparrow out of my home, making pillow cases and getting scared by insects!
June - Preparing for my pre-wedding photo shoot. So there wasn't much blogging activities.
July - MIA from blogsphere - for the same reason as above.
August - photo shoot time!

September - Our second pre-honeymoon to Phuket, Thailand. But I didn't blog about it until in October.
October - Our second photo shoot - out door. Having spend quite some time with those folks at the bridal company, it was fun!
November -Going MIA for the second time this year. Also for the same reasons, but slightly different. I was given the task to create our pre-wedding photo book!
December - We were invited to 6 weddings that month but only attended 4 weddings, 2 had to be "rejected" because of time clash. My 10 minutes tour to Thailand. My family came to visit and they bought me presents! When you share birthday with Michael Shumaker, it's a good excuse for people to merge Christmas and Birthday presents as one! Hahahaha...

Anyway, tonight I'll be spending my count down in mi casa with my dear hubby. Rumor is Penang is not safe tonight - no, not terrorist, but the hooligans and party animals are out. So for our safety, I'll keep the bed warm - good way to usher in the new year, huh? (^_~)

Happy New Year Everybody!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Reading The Last Eunuch of China

As a child I have been greatly interested in Imperial China, all thanks to Hong Kong’s TVB television soap-opera. The colors and grandeur of the Forbidden City (now know as Palace Museum) and the lavish lifestyle of the royal family within the high walls has created a form of curiosity within me to want to know more. Alas, I’m only good in speaking Chinese but my literacy in Chinese text are no far off different from the illiterate eunuchs that once served in the Palace. So my source of information was very much restricted to English translations (which are directly translated and often confusing). It would be much better if I just got someone to read the entire Chinese text!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas - another working day for me.

Yup. The title says it all. I was working on Christmas day and on Saturday (the day after). Even though my family came to visit and spend the weekend over at my house, everything felt like some fast forwarded movie. By Sunday afternoon they were on their way back to KL while I lazily lay on bed wishing Sunday had 48 hours instead of 24.
I know this sounds selfish of me but I do sometimes envy that monitor lizard whom I've nicknamed "Ciciak" meaning household lizard in Malay. Eating only when hungry and spend the rest of the day basking under the hot sun!

Happy Holidays Everyone.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009 – as Easy as 1,2,3

Do you remember the Self-Service Petrol Station Campaign advertisement first aired 10 years ago? No?? Okay, let me rephrase that – do you remember “Angkat, Tolak, Masuk, Picit??” or in English “Lift, Push, Enter, Squeeze”? Now you do? Subsequently the advertisement dropped the “Push” or “Tolak” because petrol pumps no longer require us to push the lever to activate the pumps. So it was left with “Angkat, Masuk, Picit” or “Lift, Enter Squeeze”. With one step less, it is faster and easier to learn, right?

But what has the self-service petrol has to do with Malaysia Airlines (MAS) mobile website? It’s easy and fast to learn. How so? In 3 simple steps -
1 Angkat - Lift your mobile phone
2 Masuk Enter the MAS mobile website from your mobile browser –
3 Picit Click Enter


The good news is MAS have taken off one MAJOR step from their web services – removing graphics exclusively for mobile webs users. So there are ZERO pictures - only words. You won’t waste bandwidth in loading graphics especially if you are sharing Internet connection with many people AND with such simple layout it’s like checking my credit balance on my pre-paid mobile phone!

Anyway, you begin the page with 8 links on the main menu – Book Flights, My Bookings, Check In, Flight Status, Timetable, Contacts, Baggage Tracer and Details & Offers. Its mobile functions are exactly the same as browsing from your PC or laptops – but at greater speed because you’ll only be loading text! If your mobile phone does not have access to the Internet, try clicking the link - via your browser and see it load in a blink! Cool Eh?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Winter Solstice Festival - 冬至 (Dōng zhì)

Glutinous rice balls in sugar water or 汤圆 (tang yuan) in Chinese is a desert must served during Winter Solstice Festival. The glutinous rice balls are usually dyed in various colors using either food dye (like the red colored rice ball) or natural flowers or fruits like green from pandan leaves, blue from bunga telang and the pinkish hue is from dragon fruit. In modern times however there are many other variations like making rice balls with peanut paste or red bean paste fillings.

Happy Winter Solstice! And to all mothers in Indonesia (especially my dear friend Rosidah) Happy Mother Day!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

All I want for Christmas WAS you!

I don't really know what's becoming of me lately. Anything that I wish to get my hands on are just too far to reach for the most pathetic reasons. Last weekend, I had a bad brush with Secret Recipe for Chocolate Banana cake. This week, it's over a board game.
Math Magic - Math Board GameImage sourced from

It's called Math Magic. A Malaysian made board game with a format similar to domino. The Malaysian company who owns the game is Magic Game Werks. I actually played this game way back in secondary school and it was a fun method for the teacher to make us good at maths and also a nice opportunity for us interact with our friends.

Fast forward 10 years later, I thought of wanting to play this game again. But after a long search in most of the shopping malls in Malaysia, I couldn't even find one box. My search actually began two years ago when I saw a friend's child showing great interest in maths. I thought it would be a great present for her. Alas, most of the toy store staffs I've asked have NEVER even heard of the game! I really began to wonder if I was educated in the Twilight Zone area with alien teachers, make-belief-friends and played with only-available-in-your-dream games. (O.o)

Then I began my search online to see if there's a seller but all the stores are US based and the price is like USD30 a set! I don't know which is more disappointing - the price tag OR a little red sign next to the picture saying "OUT OF STOCK". So I decided to contact the company directly instead. I called the number on the website and the person in charge (a Jimmy Yeoh) picked up my call. He said he was busy and will call me back the next day. But he never called. Mind you, that was LAST WEEK (the Secret Recipe week)!

During the week of "silence" I wondered to myself if I should give the guy another call. But then, why should I be bugging him when I'm the customer?? I have to admit that this game is an interesting and educational game. But how am I going to support a Malaysian made product when it looks like it's only available OUTSIDE MALAYSIA. Is this person not keen in making money from Malaysians because he's already loaded with foreign customers (and their currencies being bigger)? Honestly speaking compared to Monoploy, this game is about the same price (USD30 is about MYR120). Perhaps if this game gets as popular as Monopoly, there'll be some local "entrepreneur" would automatically create a similar game at a cheaper price. In the case of Monopoly it was Saidina - a Malaysian clone of Monopoly at only 1/3 of the price.

Anyway, yesterday I was shopping for some Christmas deco when I saw Monopoly was sold at discount - MYR99.00 (normal price about MYR120). Yup, so instead of getting that math game board, I've gotten myself Monopoly for Christmas! Now who wants to join me for a game of Monopoly? (^_^)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Baked Chicken and Mashed Potato Casserole

Baked chicken mashed potato casserole
A few weeks ago when I was channel surfing on Astro at my in-law's home when I bumped into Asian Food Channel and they were showing "Cook like a Chef". The chef on that episode was Georges Laurie and he was fusing fruits into his cooking which was very interesting. The dish that caught my attention was Baked Chicken Casserole/Apple Potato Crust which I later found this recipe from Food Network.

Anyway, I made my own variation because apples are not a native fruit of Malaysia. And I'm not too sure which imported apple should I be using. So here's the recipe for my version fit for 2.
  • 500 grams Chicken fillet cut into cubes
  • 500 grams Potato cut into chunks or wedges for fast cooking (use more potato if you are a potato lover) or you can substitute real potato with instant mashed potato instead.
  • 1 and 1/2 cup of mixed vegetables (corn, carrot and peas)
  • 1 packet of instant brown sauce (I used IKEA's instant meatball sauce because that's what I have left in my kitchen)
  • 25 grams of butter
  • some oil to saute the chicken or you can use butter
  • dried basil, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper (to season the chicken and some to be added into the mashed potato)
  • Milk or cream for the mashed potato (optional)

Season the chicken cubes with dried basil, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper. Keep it in the fridge for an hour OR you can have this done the night before to allow the chicken to absorb the herbs. I did it the night before and the chicken turned out beautifully.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

Boil the potato in slightly salted water. You can use the same pot of water to cook the mix vegetables, no harm done. Then drain the potato and mash it with a potato masher or anything to your convenience. Add butter and the herbs into the mashed potato. For a creamer taste, add milk or cream. If you are using instant mashed potato, just cook according to the instructions and add the herbs, butter and cream/milk.

Heat some oil on a frying pan and saute the chicken until cooked.

For the sauce, just cook according to the instructions on the packet.

Now, take a casserole and line it with a little butter. Lay a layer of mashed potato at the base. Then add the cooked chicken, mixed vegetables and gravy. And finally cover the top with another layer of mashed potato.

Place the casserole into the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the top is slightly golden brown.


I know the picture may not look tempting. But I got a thumbs up from my dear hubby which means he likes the dish and wouldn't mind me cooking this again in future~! (^_^)

Bon Appetite! Itadakimasu!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Secret Recipe Juru & Bandar Perda branch Sucks~!

This morning when I was reading the weekend paper, I came across an advertisement from Secret Recipe. Honestly I'm not keen at their Gold Rush thingy or what-ever contest that they were promoting. I was interested in the lower section of the advertisement - MYR12.00 (that's about 3.50 USD) discount for a whole cake.

Now, the only cake I love eating is their chocolate banana. Quite a few years ago, I had their chocolate banana cake as my birthday cake and loved it since. Anyway, since my birthday is only a month away (and the last time I had an entire Chocolate Banana cake to myself was more than 3 years ago. So, might as well take advantage of the promotion and get myself one, right?

My hubby then drove me all the way to Juru Auto City just to look for the cake. Now before this incident I was well informed by friends that the Juru branch has one of the worst services ever. But for the sake of a chocolate cake I had to put on a thick face and plenty of patience. Upon arrival, there were 4 staffs behind the counter but none of them greeted me. They were walking up and down pretending to be busy. Hey, I work in a customer service department, so I also know how to LOOK BUSY~! After waiting for 5 minutes and there's this FAT ARSE bitch who tried to cut queue, I decided to speak up and butt that bitch aside. The staff that responded to my call gave me a blunt cold answer - "TAKDA" meaning "no more" or in better terms finished / no stock / they don't have it. I wasn't surprised at her answer actually - infact I expected her to give me such cold nonchalant reply because I already knew they were notorious for their services.

Not wanting to give up hope so fast, I asked my hubby if he can drive me to Bandar Perda, about 7.6km or 15 minutes drive from Auto City. On Google Map it's from point A to point B. Unfortunately, when we arrive there I only receive 5 minutes of joy. When I asked the waitress if she said they DO HAVE the flavor that I wanted. But right before I paid the bill, the cashier told me it's all sold out. At this point I do not want to seek any explanation from them and just walked away.

Prior to this incident, I knew that Secret Recipe has lousy services. My cousin sister used to complain about the Centre Point Bandar Utama branch, but back then I just thought she was being picky. But all I wanted was A FREAKING CHOCOLATE BANANA CAKE. Is that too hard to ask for?? Come to think of it, way back in 2008, right after the March general election, there was a news article in the local paper regarding a cake factory in Taman Mayang SS25, Petaling Jaya got raided by Immigrations Department. The owner was summoned for hiring illegal immigrants to work at the factory. At first I pity the owner (knowing that it's difficult to hire loyal locals) but after such an experience with two branches in one day, I would say "SERVE YOU RIGHT!"

Monday, December 7, 2009

Toying with Greed

Since my creative brain reservoir is suffering from drought at the moment, I might as well share something I just did a moment ago - an hour ago to be exact. This morning at exactly 8.22am, I was rudely awaken by an sms. Upon checking this sms, it wasn't your regular spam sms by the mobile company or their advertisers. It was a message from another mobile phone saying that I've "won" some amount of money and I have to call their office which is another mobile number. Please forgive the blurry image. My beloved Lumix TZ-1's censors are beginning to fail. Old age perhaps. But she's been a loyal camera and trying very hard to give her best shot.
The message was sent by +60178623195 reads as follows "TAHNIAH" Simcard anda b'jaya menagi RM30.000.00-No.PIN:DT2547, Dri"COCA-COLA" Sila hub. Office: +60178982779. Terima Kasih" or the English translation "CONGRATULATIONS" Your sim card has won RM30.000.00 - Pin Number: DT2547 From "COCA-COLA" Please call office :+60178982779. Thank you"

At first I wanted to delete the sms and just carry on with my life. It's SO OBVIOUS that it's a scam for the greedy. BUT THEN, my naughty side of the brain kept nudging me a cheeky idea to blog about it (plus contact Fraser & Neave Holdings (Malaysia) - the company who owns distribution rights to Coke just to inform them that their brand has been misused for malicious intent) and see where this thing might lead to. At least I can make use of my "experience as a sleuth" from playing Nancy Drew games in trying to find contacts - which is never difficult, thanks to Google.

So after taking picture of the sms on my mobile phone, I wrapped it up in a nice little email to a contact person from F&N and we'll see what happens. Come to think of it, 30K is a huge amount of money for any average Malaysian - that's like ten thousand worth of 1.5 liters of Coke (assuming each bottle cost MRY3.00). I could use the money to subsidize my wedding next year OR if I get 30K in coke supplies I still can use it to serve all my guest (^_^). But obviously it's never going to happen because I will NOT reply to such hoax.

Anyway, will update you when I get a reply from F&N... or if there is any at all

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Loosing Inspiration

Technically next week would be my self imposed deadline to finish up our photo book. But I’m only 50% done and my brain is already drier than the Sahara desert. Okay, that’s just an exaggeration to the extreme end yet an honest interpretation of how I’m feeling right now.

I really envy people who are creative and can magically whip up beautiful designs and artwork instantly meanwhile drawing twig people with two dimensional backgrounds are my only expertise. I know this post may sound like I’m doing all the work while my hubby does nothing. But truth is, he is doing so much to bring the bacon home I can’t afford to pressure him to do more. I know he is busy with all the major work that needs to be done while I whine about minion's work that I can barely accomplish.

Oh well, I guess this would be another month of little or no postings at all. In the mean time, I’ll figure out some ways to create an oasis in my dried up brain…

Thursday, December 3, 2009

See Perlis in 1 day, Thailand for 10 minutes

Last weekend was the Hari Raya Qurban so we were closed and decided to have a day trip to Perlis and see the morning market at the Thai Boarder. This is my first road trip with my in-laws. Most of the time they go on trips during the weekdays when we are both busy working. Instead of taking the highway and following the signboard, we drove on whatever route was provided by the GPS. We just selected our destination and have the GPS calculate the shortest route for us. Here we made a stop in the middle of nowhere with the road condition being much better than the highway! The only thing I can tell you about this picture is that this is taken not too far from a sugar cane plantation. Where exactly? I don't even know if this is in the Kedah or Perlis state - we were so awed by the scenery I totally forgotten to write down the GPS coordinates. (^_^)

Anyway, we arrived around 9.00am at the remote northern village of Wang Kelian which boarders with Wang Prachan, in the Satun Province of south Thailand. The picture below is "NO MAN'S LAND" The signboard says "PERLIS" and in the background is the Malaysian Customs checkpoint. Behind me (not in picture) is the Thai Boarder.

The Malaysia-Thailand border regulations states that if we travel within 1 kilometer from the boarder for less than 24 hours, we do not need to use our passports. The national identity card is suffice. So we "checked out" of the country using our MyCard and "checked in" some 10 minutes later. The reason? Well firstly, it was a Muslim public holiday. Secondly, we totally forgotten that the southern Thailand is a Muslim majority area. Therefore, the market was closed on BOTH sides! We totally had a good laugh at ourselves for not doing our homework properly. But I must add that it was relaxing going to a border market with tall limestone hills surrounding the area with virgin jungle (to what I know, the Malaysian side is classified as forest reserve therefore there is zero development)

I took the picture above from the landscape garden on the Malaysian side. Alas, this was the only beauty out of the entire unkept garden which has already seemed to blend into the jungles.

After our 10 minute cross-boarder walk, we got into the car and drove south for about 8km to Gua Kelam. Unfortunately, it was closed to public and therefore no pictures were taken. I really wonder HOW serious is the government in promoting Malaysia as a tourist destination? Are the figures provided to news papers an imaginative figure to "wow" us? It's not the first time when I went to a particular tourist spot during a public holiday only to find it closed. If it keeps going on this way, I don't think I'm keen in touring the country anymore. I might as well save a little extra and enjoy myself overseas!

Anyway, since we were in the state, might as well have lunch at the state capital - Kangar before heading home. Like any towns in Malaysia, it's a vast difference between any town and country side. There were hardly any trees in town! Buildings were everywhere - new and old, but without trees it was like in a concrete oven! We quickly had our lunch and head back home, the temperatures were soaring high and it just makes me feel like I want to go home soonest possible. But I guess this is one of the reasons why I won't miss city life so much - living next to the jungle is very cooling...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Blogspot Updates - notifying through email

Rosidah my dear, this post is specially for you. (^_^)

From your blogger dashboard, click the Settings to your blog. In my case it's "My Life Is Not a Text Book". Under the Settings tab, click the Email & Mobile tab. The first half of the tab, is the Email Notifications settings where you send email notifications to close friends and regular readers your update. In the box, type your friend's email address. For the purpose of this little tutorial, I've typed the words "" in the box. If you have more than one friend, separate the emails with a comma (,) and click Save Settings when you are done.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Temporarity Offline

Dear all,

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I'll be "offline" for one month (hopefully) . Nothing in particular, it's just that I'm busy with my full focus on producing our beloved photo book with all our pre-wedding shots. 50 pages and over 200 pictures to choose. It's not easy when you like ALL of them (^_^)

Anyway, hopefully when I'm done with the book I will have more time to blog once again.

Until then, take care. And here's the first page I've created - enjoy! (^_^)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Mammoth Addiction

Mammoth Book of Sudoku
Yesterday when we were out buying groceries, my hubby took a detour to a computer shop nearby to buy a new hard disk. I wasn't so keen on looking for the latest IT stuffs, so I told my hubby I'll wait for him at the bookstore (next door) and browse for some new reading materials.

About 15 minutes later, he walked in to the book store and was surprise to see me cradling another "dictionary". Upon closer look, he burst out laughing because the "dictionary" he just saw was actually a mammoth book of sudoku! I know I'm getting really really crazy over sudoku. At least it's mind stimulating! If you are really curious how thick this book is, here's a comparison with my cellphone!

Mammoth Book of Sudoku

Friday, October 30, 2009

Kill yourself if you must - don't smoke others

Ever since I've started working for my dear hubby, I've made it a clear point to everyone NOT to smoke inside the office. Everyone who is health conscious would know the dangers of smoking (and second hand smoke). But there are just some idiots who doesn't know how to read the no smoking signs. What annoys me are some people who are so blind that they can't see the sign pasted at the door and give stupid excuses like - "I can't read" or "What's wrong smoking - it's my right". One got me so furious there just wasn't any foul words suitable for me to use on him. The standard B word, F word or even S word seems so insignificant to his arrogant reply.

Honestly, I have no objections to people smoking as I have many friends who smokes. But don't they understand that they are not only putting their heath in danger but also the people around them?? Oh, wait! If they actually care about their health in the first place they wouldn't smoke right? Neither would they smoke inside an office, right? And if they have a brain (which I doubt that arrogant idiot has any), they would know how to read the no smoking signs right? So I guess there's 2 classes of smokers - smart smokers and dumb smokers. Smart smokers are those who know where and when to smoke, while dumb smokers are those who don't.

So to those dumb smokers out there (including you arrogant SOB) go kill yourself with all the smoke, tar and nicotine. If you ever step into MY office with a lit bud in your hand, I'll smoke you out with this -

Thursday, October 29, 2009

2nd cup of coffee: Random Dozen #9

I copied this from my dear friend Rosidah who copied from her friend Linda.

1. Tell me something about your favorite teacher.
My favorite teacher was the discipline teacher who later became the school principal. She loves to wear school uniforms instead of standard teacher's dress code. That way when students see her from behind, they will think she's just another regular student. Only to get "shocked" when she turns around - I mean students aren't allowed to wear makeup but this particular "student" IS wearing makeup! Though I was already in 6th form (18 years old then) she still treats my classmates and I like little children. Rewarding us with Vitagen if we do well in exams! It's funny how it motivates us even though we know we were deemed "too old" for all this. And she is so powerful with words she made the school's most notorious student cry by just talking to him. I really have to respect her for that!

2. Tell me about one pivotal moment in your life.
So far I think it's getting married to my hubby. I only learned to appreciate my parents when I'm "out of the house". Probably staying in the "nest" for too long made me took things for granted. And now that I'm on my own, I really learnt to appreciate my old folks. I guess if they knew (which I think they already did) they would probably say "I told you so" with a smile! (^_^)

3. About favorite colors--a lot of people will ask you what it is, but I want to know why it is. What feeling or memory does it evoke?
Blue. It reminds me of water because I love swimming - it's relaxing.

4. What's a sure sign that you're getting older?
My wrist - it hurts when it's raining.

5. Please don't sermonize, but Halloween--is it a yes or no for you?
No. I don't like scary stuffs. I have a very small heart with no guts!

6. What's your favorite musical?
SOUND OF MUSIC~! My all time favorite.
The hills are alive with the sound of music...
How do you solve a problem like Maria? How do you catch a cloud and pin it down....

7. Are you more of a city mouse or country mouse?
I'm a city mouse living in the country. Yet I freak out when I see another mouse or other creations of mother nature.

8. Did you know that it is possible, for a small fee, to name a real star after someone? (It's true! Google it!) If someone were to name a star for you, would you appreciate it for its whimsy and romance, or would you say, "Are you kidding me? For $19.95 we could have gone to the movie and actually bought popcorn."
No thanks. I rather have people remembering me at their own free will then "forcefully" remember me through some history's text books or star map.

9. What's the craziest thing you've ever been doing and texted during it? I only thought of this b/c I was about to try to text during my walking video but I didn't.
Getting my hair cut I guess. I always have long hair (down to my waist) and when I had it cut a few years back, I requested for a short bob. I didn't regret the hair cut cos it grew back quickly within a few months. But it sure shocked my friends who were on the receiving end of my sms!

10. "It's not a party unless _______."
my hubby is with me.

11. When you're stuck in traffic or a waiting room, what do you do to pass the time? PS: There are no magazines available.
Play sudoku from my cellphone! And since my hubby got me a pocket size sudoku book, I don't have to worry if the cellphone battery runs out! Just that I need to remember to keep a pen or pencil with me.

12. If you weren't yourself, would you be friends with you?
If I'm someone else, I meet someone like the now-me? Yup!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pre-wedding album - Prop Ideas

If you have stumble upon my blog via search engines, you might want to read the rest of my Wedding Thoughts for more insights on my experience trying to make the most memorable wedding album and some hints when engaging a bridal company.
Props are objects you use (either holding, wearing or just placed at the background) to enhance the beauty of an image. If you think Victorian gowns, the common props are lace umbrella, hand fan and probably pistol for the man - you get the idea right? In my post - Adding a Personal Touch, I mentioned how props are important in making the entire album special. So here's the bottom line, bring your own props so others will not have what you have to make it special. If you depend the bridal company to prepare everything, then be prepared to be disappointed.
Here's a list of common items as a general idea -
  • Pets (dog, cat, hamsters, iguana, lizard, snakes)
  • Computer or Laptops (if the both of you are IT geeks)
  • Kid's Chalkboard (if one of you might want to play the role of teacher / student)
  • Sport shoes worn under the wedding gown (runaway bride?)
  • Or pointe shoes (if you are/was a ballerina)
  • Soap bubbles (do ask if you are allowed to blow bubbles in the studio)
  • A deck of cards (if both of you enjoy playing poker -you might want to include a poker face)
  • Zodiac - it can be in a form of stuff animals or key chains or just a symbol drawn in the sand.
  • Collections - bring out your collection of soft toys and fill the entire studio!
If you are still clueless, here's an image for inspiration. The spectacle frame in the picture below is owned by Kuang Yee Bridal.

Image courtesy of Kuang Yee Digital Photo and Bridal Studio

Saturday, October 17, 2009

One Bride's Beauty is another Bride's Eyesore

Author's note: the link provided on this post links to pictures that may be deemed obscene by certain individuals. Please exercise cautions.

During my months of collecting ideas for our photo book, I've been surfing many sites in search of poses and ideas on creating an art that reflects the both of us. There were certain months where I've even exceeded the bandwidth limit allocated. Most ideas were out of the ordinary and good for us to copy cat use. Others were lets say - not for the faint hearted.

In between, I shared my many ideas with my hubby only to be disappointed when he shook his head in disagreement. It sure didn't feel nice being rejected over and over again. Frustrated, I let him do all the work while I went on "strike" - giving no comments even though it was something really nice. But barely a few seconds of going on "strike" he starts to lecture reason with me. A good picture isn't about how good you look with your flawless complexion, straight white teeth and silky long black hair. It's how you turn your feelings into a picture for the world to see at the same time not being awkward or ridiculous. Some ideas may look lovely on it's own, but when you place it in a book with other pictures you might find it a little(or totally) out of place. Or some pictures are just plain outrageous!

Soon I began to see the logic in his explanation. It probably also explained why some of my pictures didn't quite turn out as expected. At the same time I realized how important it was to understand the principles and concepts of photography in order to achieve what we wanted. But anyway, I'm glad to say that most of the pictures turned out beautifully. At least we did not waste an entire day's effort in creating the "happiness" we were looking for...
Image courtesy of Kuang Yee Digital Photo and Bridal Studio

Thursday, October 15, 2009

X-Men Origins - Wolverine DVD

Image Source:

A few months back I blogged about my “free” movie ticket to watch Wolverine. Back then, I mentioned my disappointment in the movie’s quality where the CGI graphics were poor. Recently my hubby got the DVD and we watched it for the second time. To my surprise, the DVD movie looked ultra cool on our 32” LCD TV! The quality wasn’t as bad as what we saw at the cinema.

Now I can’t do much debate or comparison between the cinema movie and the DVD movie we have at home. It’s not like those guys at the cinema will allow us to take pictures or screen shots of the film and compare it with our home theater. But based on my experience, watching Wolverine both in the cinema and at home, I can say that watching THIS show at home is far better than going to the cinema!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Bride Stories – the Staff’s Version

In my previous posting, I mentioned about how important it is to communicate with the staffs at the bridal studio. The fastest and funniest way to break the ice is to ask them about their experience. In can be anything from tales of funny and weird customers, their addiction to Facebook’s Farmville (and who’s got the most successful farm) to a more intimate questions like “does this dress make my boob look big?” So during my many trips to the bridal studio, I’ve gathered some bridal stories to share.

Case 1: The one week marriage.
There is an old Chinese phrase 夫妻相 (fu qi xiang) literally meaning “spousal look”. It is said that couples that were destined to be together have this yin yang image like the Malay proverb “seperti pinang dibelah dua”. Though the inexperienced usually mistook this spousal look as sibling look-a-like. So this story was told by a staff that is related to the bride. The father of the bride objected their matrimony but the bride was stubborn and insisted on the wedding. As much as it sounded like a romantic movie with the bride having to face such huge obstacle, the story teller cautioned the bride and groom does not have the “spousal look”. So on their banquet night, the father of the bride didn’t attend the dinner as a sign of objection. Sadly, a week later the couple filed for divorce. The story teller wasn’t so sure on the details but it all ended within a week. So much so for “happy ending”
Moral of the story: As much as people like to try to defy all odds, not many can survive it.

Case 2: I don’t know what I’m doing
Now this happened during MY photo shoot. I was with this couple and it sure felt weird. The bride kept giving me this envious look – as if she was wishing to be me or at least it felt that way. Though we never spoke but every time I smiled at her, she would respond with a weak smile – almost like a sad smile. What more intriguing was my ultra short one-line conversation with her husband-to-be! I so happened to be standing near him with some sample dresses. He was supposed to help a staff pick out a dress for his bride, and he said “I don’t know if my girl friend likes it”. I tort back, “hey, you’re getting married… shouldn’t you be addressing her as your wife already?”
His emotionless reply was “I don’t know if she wants me”. Both the staff and I were shocked by his response I quickly walked away leaving him and the staff to go through the dresses. In my heart I was thinking “then what the hell are you doing here?? This ain’t some restaurant! It’s a bridal studio for Pete’s sake!”
So during my photo shoot, I spotted the couple peeking at us enjoying every second in the spotlight. Both with the same solemn face wishing they were us…
Moral of the story: If you are not planning to get married so soon, then why torture yourself with all this? If it’s because of the bun in the oven then you should have consulted Durex before hand! Fate is in your hands.

Case 3: The ultimate bridezilla - the future evil queen
This was another case where I got to witness first hand. The groom was another reluctant bloke. But this one was quite obvious at who’s at fault. The bride was in fact a bridezilla. How she insisted things done her way, which specific staff to serve her and MUST do exactly as she wishes – it sure got onto everyone’s nerves. When I met her, it was their banquet night and the bride required her hair and makeup done. The groom was there to accompany her, but he spent most of his time sleeping on the couch. It may sound rude, but for a guy to sit at a bridal studio for over an hour doing nothing, it’s as much torture as putting a lady in a mechanic garage for the same amount of time! Was she pissed off at his attitude? Obviously yes! So she started nagging him. Nag so much so he locked himself in their Mini Coupe which was parked outside the studio and continued sleeping. She then got SO enraged she called him on the phone and started scolding him mercilessly. I must say those guys and girls at the bridal are one bunch of people with a whole lot of patience. How they kept their cool with such hot headed witch! Oh, one thing noticeable about bridezillas is that she must not see another happy bride or her tempers will flair. (*evil grin*) Yup, that was what exactly I did. Be real lovely-dovely with my hunny-bunny and show it her in her fat-green-face I’m the happiest bride on EARTH! (^_^)
Moral of the story: All men HAVE egos. If you want to throw tantrums, do that at home. If you do that in public, you’ll be the only one embarrassed – not him! And beware of naughty brides who feeds on the anger and jealous auras of bridezillas (mu-a-ha-ha-ha-ha)

Case 4: You killed my family
Now this is one story that really made me laugh so hard, I ended up forgetting how the story came about. This was told to us by our photographer – affectionately called Ah Hui. He had his own fare share of bridezillas and groomonster (groom monster). One particular couple he remembered is how this groom was so reluctant in taking photos, they ended up having a sad-faced groom for their entire album. I don’t remember how or why the groom was upset, but according to Ah Hui, the groom gave him an angry face the whole DAY as if he had killed the entire groom’s family or something close to that.
Moral of the story: Whatever the problem, for goodness sake this is an album you’ll carry for LIFE! A wedding album is supposed to remind you of the happy moments when you get an “upgrade” in life. Not some check point to remind you of your misery and grunge!

Picture courtesy of Kuang Yee Digital Photo and Bridal Studio

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Phuket: My McCafe Experience

In my previous post, I mentioned about my Fast Food Craze to the extent we had 3 meals of pork burger. One other thing we saw not available in Malaysia (at the moment) is a McCafe. To my knowledge there's McCafe in Singapore (as told by my close friend who is also a blogger Victoria), now we see one in Phuket BUT no McCafe in Malaysia. Below is a close up of the menu, just incase if anyone's interested to know the pricing (^_^)

Well, we heard that this McCafe in Jungceylon was opened about a month ago. So they had a little promotion - spend 200Baht (about MYR20) and above on food and/or beverages and get a McCafe-Phuket mug worth 250Baht (about MYR25) free! So like I mentioned about the final prices includes VAT tax, all I had to do is add two items to total the figure! Dan ordered a large Cappuccino for 105Baht and I ordered a small cup of hot chocolate for 95Baht - total exactly 200Baht - Simple eh? Just so unlike here in Malaysia where you have those stupid 9 cents nominations.

SO, before I made the purchase, I confirmed if they still have the mug promotion with the staff there, she said "yes, yes". Imagine her horror when she was supposed to pack the mug only to find there was NONE LEFT?! She ran into the store to check (TWICE) and again under the counter just to be sure. Her colleague who was making the drinks coyly pointed to her the display cup instead!

Yup, the mug in my paper bag is their display mug! The last of free McCafe Phuket Mug is MINE!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Phuket: My Fast Food Fair

Our trip to Phuket wasn’t as hectic as Bali so we had plenty of time shopping, walking around and checking out the difference between all the fast food restaurants (Burger King, KFC, Pizza Hut and McDonalds) in Malaysia and Thailand. Now I know some people might think "WHAT?! Go all the way to Phuket to eat fast food??" Like most tourist restaurants in Malaysia, you can't find the price list. When we were in Cameron Highlands (in the state of Pahang, Malaysia) there were no price list OR menu in some of those restaurants. So just to avoid being blood-sucked-dry by those unscrupulous ones - fast food is safest. One thing for sure, it isn’t difficult to spot a fast-food joint!

One significant difference is the SIZE per serving and the food option. During our week stay in Phuket, we had 3 meals of McDonalds Samurai Pork Burger! It was something you can NEVER find in Malaysia. Or the fact that Burger King Phuket actually HAVE triple Whooper? The serving size for a regular set meal is equal to a large set meal in Malaysia. And when we ordered a large meal, we were in for a HUGE surprise!

Overall, Phuket was a good experience being independent from those “fixed” tours allowed us to have ample of time to observe our surroundings and the uniqueness of our neighbor country. I even picked up a few words in Thai like sawadeeka (Hello or Greetings) and kapkumka (Thank you). In my week stay there, I would have to say my personal favourite is the ATV tour. Challenging yet fun!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Phuket: My Shopping Craze

During our week in Phuket, there was an on going mega sale with many shopping malls offering big discounts. At the same time, we were informed by our tour guide that the US navy (notably one of the carriers included the famous USS Ronald Regan) has docked at Phuket with some 5000 crew members. The business community in Phuket must be smiling all the way to the bank! But with the “extra, rich tourist” in town, the price of goods sold by road side stalls weren’t getting any “extra cheap”. In fact during this period, it was far more practical to shop at departmental stores than buying things from those road side stalls where you MUST know how to bargain. But if you're not a Farang (Thai for Westerners), don't bother bargaining at this time. I don't mean to sound racist in any way, but the fact that the White Men can pay more, small store owners not only refuse to reduce their price but some boldly ignore our presence.

Most Malaysian women who shop when they travel would know clearly well that undergarment sold in Malaysia is more expensive than Thailand (same brand in comparison). So guess what happens when the already cheaper priced undergarments in Thailand go on sale with discounts up to 50%? You get people like me shamelessly diving into their piles of bras and undies in search for the perfect size to grab home! Honestly speaking, it was like “undergarment heaven” but only for those with the Alluring, Beautiful and Charming sizes. Those with Delightful or Enchanting sizes and beyond would find themselves with limited choices. Me? Well, lets’ just say I had to dig deep into those bins to get what I wanted (^_^)

The good thing about shopping in Phuket (and probably the entire Thailand) is that the price on display is after sales tax (also known as VAT). For individual items like garments, they have the breakdown of the price for the garment, VAT and total price on the price tag. While food joints (like McD) displays the total price (food price plus VAT) and the breakdown will be printed on the receipt. That way, when we need to pay for our purchases, we just have to add the total prices of our each purchase. Unlike taxable in food joints in Malaysia (especially fast food restaurants), food prices displayed are shown WITHOUT sales tax. What’s more, the price of food and goods are in round figure – so you won’t have those annoying 9 cents nominations (9, 19, 29, 39, 49, 59, 69, 79, 89 and 99)!

As much as I was enjoying the sales at Jungceylon, business along the Rat-u-thit 200 Pee Road was suffering. How we know? Well, those pretty ladies at the massage parlors were dressing skimpier by the day. My hubby even wondered if business continued to drop for them, by the end of the month, will they be promoting their business only dressed in bikinis?? As long as those ladies see "white superiority" I know my hubby is "safe". During our week long stay, I noticed those masseuse only tug white men without any female companion. Asian men, white men with a female companion are left alone...

Monday, October 5, 2009

Phuket: Journey from start till end (Part 3)

Thursday, 24th September 2009

We booked our ATV tour and elephant ride via Internet. David (a local Thai) was our driver where he drove us from our hotel to a little jungle clearing near the south tip of Phuket Island (about 15 minutes from Promthep Cape). Anyway, 2 hours of riding a quad bike was full of fun! The track was a WAY over my league – the earth was uneven, half muddy – half sandy AND I had no experience driving a quad bike or even a motorbike! But it’s worth it!

After an exhausting 2 hours of riding that 4 wheel vibrator, we took an hour’s elephant ride which ended up being 1.5 hours instead. We were sitting on the greediest, moodiest elephant known!

This 30 year old female sure has a mind of her own. Since the ride was supposed to be a relaxing ride for us, we didn’t mind her throwing tantrums (we knew she wasn’t angry at us but at her trainer…LOL). From the start of her walk, she was already sniffing around for food. Every step she took she will spend at least a minute or two uprooting vegetative and stuff them into her mouth. After 30 minutes or so, the trainer himself got agitated. Every time she sniffed for vegetative he would yell “ooi!” but his calls were more often than not – ignored. At some point, the elephant got onto the trainer’s nerves and he started to scold her in Thai – BAD MOVE. I couldn’t understand what he said but it sure upset the elephant. So Miss Jumbo started to MAKE her own path. She climbed the steepest slopes just to nibble on young banana trees. According to our tour guide (the one who took us for the city tour on our first day), the banana trees are decorative plants (because these plants bear colorful flowers instead of plain brown ones) planted by the local council to beautify Phuket. Now it’s Miss Jumbo’s snack! And since the slope was very steep, from where we sat felt like a 45 degree tilt! Was it scary? Actually no – it was more funny than scary cos the trainer actually went PALE! I can’t blame him for being scared since there was history of elephants going on rampage and tourists (and trainers) get hurt or worse - dead. He was visibly shaken but continued talking to the elephant while she continued to uproot every single banana tree within reach.

After getting a mouth full of vegetation and a truck load of banana trees, she got off the slopes and went back to her path. Barely 5 minutes later, she started looking for food AGAIN! This time, we were on higher grounds with fewer slopes, so she had to be content with tree barks – or what ever that’s left. Our jumbo adventure didn’t quite end there. Half way through the journey, the trainer got off the elephant to take a picture of us (with our camera of course). The moment he got off Miss Jumbo, she began walking AWAY from him! As my hubby and I burst out laughing at her cheekiness, the trainer however, wasn’t so pleased. He scolds her and called her to walk towards him. Reluctantly, she did. Once we got back, the trainer asked if we wanted to feed the elephant. Before we could answer Miss Jumbo was right beside me and her trunk was already tapping my shoulder! Dan and I burst out laughing at her greediness so we happily (though pricey) spent an extra 50Baht (MYR5) of fruits on her.
By the time we got back to the hotel it was already 3pm. So we took a shower, rest and went out to the beach. There weren’t many activities as the waves were still big and dangerous. After our walk at the beach, it was dinner at McD’s (Pork Burger).

Friday, 25th September 2009

Technically this is our last day in Phuket. Our flight out of Phuket is Saturday morning. We planned to hang out at the hotel’s swimming pool but were washed away by the heavy rain. So while we hid in our room and hoped the rain to stop, my hubby asked if I wanted to join him for a massage. I mean what is Thailand without ever trying their massage, right? So we walked to a decent massage spa further up our hotel. Unlike those road side cheap massage parlors with pretty but boney ladies, this massage parlor has staffs that are (at average) older than me and their skills are real good. Many years ago when I companied my parents for massage those ladies who massaged my parents were busier chatting than actually giving them massages. The 700Baht we paid for a full body massage with hot herbal bag press was well worth it. There was no chatting among staffs except for an occasional whisper. They really use their strength to press on the pressure points – it was so comfortable that I fell asleep half way through!

That night we had dinner and show at FantaSea arranged by our tour guide. When we arrived on Monday the tour guide supposed to take us for dinner. But since we weren’t hungry (we ate on the plane) so he replaced our Monday’s dinner with a dinner at FantaSea. We only have to pay for the show which is 1500Baht (including transportation). At the Kimaree Restaurant the food was nice – international buffet including local Thai food and even Japanese sushi (but the sushi was not so nice). The show was a fun to watch. They had included elephants, chickens, goats, pigeons and even a buffalo in their performance. The animals are funniest to watch because they are the most unpredictable characters. Before the show, a few elephants were outside the theater for us to take pictures with our own camera, get rides (had to pay… but forgotten how much) or feed the elephant for 40Baht (MYR4). Many tourists (especially the Europeans) were excited to feed the elephants and every one had to queue up to feel the lucky jumbo. So during the show, it was obvious to us that the melon sized droppings all over the stage came from WHICH elephant!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Phuket: Journey from start till end (Part 2)

Wednesday, 23rd September 2009

Visit to James Bond Island. The actual name of the island is actually Ko Tapu or Nail Island which is located in Phang Nga Bay (the bay area between (East) Phuket Island and the (West)Thai peninsular). Ko Tapu was made famous by the 1974 James Bond: The Man with the Golden Gun. For this excursion we were joined with 5 other couples also from Malaysia. We were driven from our hotel and headed north (out of Phuket Island) to Phang Nga Jetty to catch a 45 minutes long boat ride to James Bond Island. Now here’s a tip, take the front seat when on the long boat. Most of these boats are powered by Nisan diesel engine (probably 6000CC) without muffler – so it’s ear deafening. A long boat is long (hence the name) and narrow. Only two people can sit per row (3 if the third person is a child). So if you sit at the middle or back end, there is a huge chance you get wet – seriously wet. But if you are sitting in front, the only chance of getting wet is when it rains. Remember - SIT IN FRONT

Another thing is you’ll get your life jacket from a store located along the jetty (yes, for safety – it’s a must). Once you wear your life jacket and board the long boat, there will be a local (guy sometimes lady) who will ask you to look into her camera and she’ll take a picture of you. BE WARNED: after the trip, when you return the life jacket back to the store, the person who took a picture of you WILL grab hold of you and try to sell you the picture for a crazy price of 200Baht (MYR20)! So if you don’t want to buy them here’s what you do – take your time walking back to the store, drop your life jacket at the designated spot and RUN back into your transport ASAP! Honestly, it’s not worth buying such picture because it’s only a picture of you and your partner on a boat wearing a life jacket – it doesn’t show where you guys were SO it could be anywhere on EARTH! If you want memorable – this is the icon to look for.

The big stone in the middle of the water is the symbol of James Bond Island.

Even Coca-Cola has an advertisement inspired by that stone. But don’t worry, on this island there was no pesky Thai (or at least so when we were there) to take your pictures with their cameras. So either you ask your tour guide to help or if you don’t have any guide, just ask another tourist! For lunch, we had sea food at a Muslim fishing village in the middle of the bay area. Honestly, it’s tourist food – so there’s nothing nice except that the crab is fresh. In fact that’s the only nice thing to eat. For drinks, the 6 of us had to share a big glass bottle of coke and “battery water”.

After lunch, we were sent back to our respective hotels to rest. Dinner, the two of us were taken to Seeka Boutique Restaurant the group of couples were not with us for dinner. They served us Thai food – tourist style. So it wasn’t spicy at but the food is nice. After dinner we were back in our rooms for movie marathon from the laptop.