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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

flymas.mobi – 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 – http://flymas.mobi
3 Picit Click Enter

It’s THAT SIMPLE!

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 - http://flymas.mobi 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 EducationalLearningGames.com

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.

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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 "friends_name@email.com" in the box. If you have more than one friend, separate the emails with a comma (,) and click Save Settings when you are done.

Enjoy!