Friday, August 29, 2008

And the award goes to...


Has it been so long since I posted an entry here? I thought it had only been two or three days. But when I logged in, I saw that my last post was the beginning of the week. Now, it's the beginning of the long weekend!

I have my reason(s) of course! I'll give the popular excuse - busyness. Busy with this, busy with that, busy here, busy there...which basically means being busy. But, if you asked me what I was busy with, I'd be hard put to actually tell you what it was.

Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised today. I got an award! The award was given to me by Nick. Well, I say, it's about time! I was wondering when I'd get an award for the brilliant writing I've been doing. Muahahaha!

But, seriously, I'm truly grateful for such an honour. Feels like I'm receiving the Oscar or something! Thanks a million, Nick. You just made my day!

On a different note, tomorrow's going to be a busy day for me. A good friend of mine is getting married tomorrow, and I've sort of volunteered myself to be his photographer. Not the official wedding photographer, mind you, but HIS, the groom's photographer. That means, while the official photographer will be at the bride's place taking pics of her getting all dolled up, I'll be at his place taking snapshots of him and his bestman tomorrow playing dress-up. But, I've also taken it upon myself to take pics of the wedding ceremony, but I plan to give the whole thing a more creative slant...I hope.

So, right now, I'm psyching myself up. Wife says to just keep on snapping - and that's what I'm going to do - snap till I'm dry. Hoping tomorrow will bring new perspectives and angles to me. Wish me luck!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Emergency Aids

Life can be pretty challenging sometimes. It's already tough enough without having to endure the many trivial physical discomforts below. How many of these have you experienced before?
  • Difficulty in hearing a conversation
  • A painful injection
  • Sinus problems
  • Acid reflux
  • Toothache
  • Dizziness
  • Nervous attacks
  • Pins and needles
  • Difficulty in remembering a speech
Not very serious problems, but when they do come, it can still be quite uncomfortable. But I recently read that there are simple things we could do ourselves to make dealing with these discomforts that bit more easier. And where should I find these tips? A health magazine? Some fashion magazine? No. From a magazine for owners of a certain brand of car for all things! You'd think that all you'd read from such magazines would be articles on cars, their accessories, tyres, motor oils and what nots. But, it was interesting reading. I have not tried any of the supposed 'cures' yet, so I can't verify if they really work or not. Anyway, here's what I found out:

  • Hear better - Lean in using you right ear to listen to the conversation as it's better at following rapid speech patterns. However, when it comes to identifying a particular piece of music, your left ear does it better.
  • No more pain - Try coughing the next time you have to be pricked with a needle. It's supposed to lessen the pain as the cough causes an abrupt, momentary rise in pressure in the chest and spinal canal, and so reduces the pain-signalling structures of the spinal cord.
  • Easier breathing - Alternate thrusting your tongue against the roof of your mouth and pressing between your eyebrows with one finger. It is supposed to loosen congestion and your sinuses will usually clear after about 20 seconds. Apparently this will rock the bone that runs through the nasal passages to the mouth, called the vomer bone, and so frees all the clogged pipes there.
  • Stomach acid - Sleep on your left and you're less likely to suffer from acid reflux. Reason? When you sleep on your left, your stomach is lower than your esophagus, and with gravity's help, prevents your food and stomach acid from sliding up your throat.
  • Pain in the tooth - Rub some ice on the back of your hand, on the V-shaped webbed area between your thumb and fore finger. This stimulates an area of the brain that blocks pain signals from the face and hands.
  • Light headed - Too much drinking can make you feel all woozy. To regain your balance, put you hands on something stable. This provides tactile input to the cupula (that part of the ear that's responsible for keeping you in balance) and makes you feel more in balance.
  • Stay to the rhythm - Getting anxiety attacks is not a nice feeling. Remember to blow on your thumb the next you get all nervous. Breathing can control the vagus nerve which is in charge of heart rate. Work your thumb, baby!
  • Sleeping hands and feet - When those prickling sensations come, rock your head from side to side and those pins and needles will go away in less than a minute. The action loosens the neck muscles and which in turn releases all the compression of the nerves in your neck, the usual cause of those tingling sensations.
  • Memory technique - Finding it hard to memorise that speech you're supposed to deliver in front of a huge crowd? Try sleeping on it. Review your speech just before you sleep and it's more likely that it will be encoded into long-trem memory, as most memory consolidation happens during sleep.

Let me know how it goes. Carol, you can use some of these preparing for that emcee job that's coming can't you?


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Date with nature

Creepy crawlies and flying stingers have been the order these past two days. Yesterday, all three of us were out in front of the house: my wife was trimming the grass, Adelle was busy 'helping' and I was keeping watch over her. I was going to clean up my car, but my wife got me distracted by something else. She asked to look at one of her potted plants. So, I checked it out and I saw a strange green creature. The first time I saw it, I couldn't make up my mind what it was, but it did look like a caterpillar - albeit a very strange one. Have a look for yourself at the photos below and see if you don't agree with me.

Creature from the potted plant!

Another view of the caterpillar

The bulge just behind the head with a bright red circle on either side makes it look strangely like the head of a snake. The black and white marking around that area further helps create this illusion. In my entire life, I've never seen a caterpillar like this. So what do I do? I take my camera and shoot it for posterity's sake. The caterpillar looked quite healthy. Well, what wouldn't since it's been devouring the leaves of my wife's plant. The leaf on which you see it in the photo was more than half gone. That's not counting at least two other leaves which have already been eaten. So, my wife gave me the duty of disposing it after I was done photographing it. I didn't kill it. I just picked it up and threw it into some bushes in front where it could eat to its heart's content (do caterpillars even have a heart?).

Then, this morning, the three of us were again outside the house - this time at the back. My wife and I decided to clear up our backyard a bit as it was getting a bit untidy. So, we sheared unwanted plants and hacked a few of the more stubborn ones. I was clearing the back fence when all of a sudden I felt this stinging pain on my left arm, then another, then on my right arm and I looked around and saw a small wasp nest. I quickly ran down shouting to my wife that there were bees at the same time. By the time I reached safety, I had been stung 5 times - 3 on my left arm, and 2 on my right. I washed my arms with water and that was the only treatment I had for the stings. The pain didn't stay for long and the swelling from the sting subsided not long after, and it was fine throughout most of the day, not bothering me one bit. But, right now, it itches. And I have half the mind to just scratch and scratch and scratch. Maybe I should have put some antiseptic cream to it or something. But, at least I've not experienced any other effects from the sting. Thank goodness Adelle wasn't there then. She had gone to the neighbour's house.

These things stung me - ouch!

Well, that's my date with nature yesterday and today. Not bad for someone who didn't even step out of the compound of the house, don't you think? Just to end on a positive note, the light that fell to the ground yesterday caught my attention. They reminded me of disco lights - not that I've been to many discos - but I thought the bright and dark patches of light made for an interesting pattern on the grass.

Nature's disco lights

Living to eat?

It seems I've been eating out a lot recently and this is another one about food (sorry, Nick). All of us went for lunch with some friends yesterday at Krishna's Curry House, and it's always a joy to eat there. The food is quite good, even better when you're being treated!

Food lovers

We had banana leaf rice so we had the usual yummy condiments that came with it. But, instead of white rice, we had briyani. Of course, a visit to the place wouldn't be complete without the fish head curry - the house speciality and very, very appetising. We also had mutton curry another dish I like, deep fried quail (which I didn't eat), and prawns in sambal (which were quite nice). To wash it all down, we had teh tarik (that's milked tea, but 'pulled' - can't think of any other way of saying it without going into a lengthy description - to bring out the froth) which is part of the meal and it can be replenished without any extra charges!

Yummy food!

Adelle enjoyed the food as well as the company though she seemed a bit shocked when we first arrived as I think she didn't expect to see so many people at the lunch. We had been telling her about it, but only saying that we'd be meeting a few people. So, Adelle wasn't very friendly and stuck to my wife. But she warmed up soon enough.

So, planning where to eat? Try Krishna's Curry House. Yum, yum!

p.s. Btw, in case you're wondering, I'm not getting paid for this post. Just sharing the joy of eating delicious food!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Full day

What's the best toy store in Kota Kinabalu? We don't have Toys 'R Us here, but we have something which I think is infinitely better! We have KK Toys! Why better? Well, for one part, they have quite a selection of toys. If you're into action figures and models, they have a pretty impressive collection as well: Gundam Mobile Suits; action figures from Final Fantasy to movie tie-ins; and models of cars, aircraft, and battleships. They also have games consoles, boardgames, baby products, dolls, teddy, we don't miss Toys 'R Us at all here.

The second, if you're a member, you get a year-long discount of at least 15%! And the best reason, they have a sale - twice a year! One's middle of the year (today...err, yesterday!) and the other one is before Christmas, in December. It's not your usual 10-15% discount. Everything is 30% off minimum while some can go to as high as 70%. But, the biennial sales are for members only - which I am. So, that's where my wife and I headed today. We brought Adelle along as well!

But, before the hard work of selecting the toys that we wanted to buy, we went for breakfast first at a nearby Indian Restaurant. The name is Devi's Restaurant. It's quite a popular place (it's even featured in the Lonely Planet guidebook) and it's a good place to have your fix of mouth-watering Indian cooking. Both my wife and I ordered a thosai each, and we shared a chapati. What can I say, they were both very yummy and this was enhanced more by the delightfully delicious curry, dhall, and that thosai sauce which I don't know the name to. The teh tarik that I had was excellent as well, so was the teh halia that my wife had (according to her): creamy enough with just the right amount of tea. Mmmmm...

I was also intrigued by colourful decorations hung on the ceiling of the eatery which I took a shot of.

Nice and colourful, don't you think?

After having our tummies filled, it was off to the battlefield that is KK Toys. When we entered the shop (it was only about 9.20 am), there was already a long queue at the cashiers and more people were milling about the place, searching for that perfect toy. We wanted to get Adelle some Mega Bloks, so we went upstairs where they are on display.

More people were upstairs. We didn't go straight for what we came for, we looked around first while Adelle busied herself getting on those tricycles with a long handle behind which parents can use the steer them. She was contented just sitting in them and mock cycling them, so that kept her occupied for quite some time. We decided to get her Mega Bloks because they were bigger than the Lego bricks, so easier for her to hold. Duplo would have been good, but it's hard to find them here. Not to mention, they also more expensive. After getting the biggest bag we could find (wife says it's more economical that way), we proceeded downstairs for more browsing. In the end, we ended up with a children's the Mega Bloks, a children's badminton set, two children's cooking sets (different ones), and a couple of bubble blowers (for the neighbours daughter). I had to queue for more than 20 minutes before it was my turn to pay. So, you can imagine the number of people that were there.

Adelle immersing herself fully in the whole shopping thang

Having accomplished our mission, we went window-shopping at nearby Centre Point (another shopping complex). We finally went home just before 1 pm. Adelle was especially tired by then, so she had a quick lunch before getting her nap.

Late in the evening, a neighbour came over to our place, and all of us (she and her two daughters, my wife, Adelle and me) went for a walk around the neighbourhood. I had been taking pictures of my wife's plants before she came so I brought my camera along on the walk. I managed to snap a few pictures of some small flowers which some would regard as weed. I thought they were until my wife pointed out that they are not - they are just wild flowers, she says. Well, whatever they are, I thought they looked quite beautiful standing against an all-green background, though I struggled a bit in getting them sharp as the sun was already low and light levels were not exactly helpful for handheld photography. Anyway, I was quite pleased with the results, one picture of which I'll share here.

Wildflower by the side of the road

So, that's our day. Hope you had a good one.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The back breaker

I've been tagged by Nick with this - to write about household chores I hate. This is an interesting topic for discussion - especially since a guy tagged me with it. I've been reading other people's blogs about this whole household chores things and I must say that I've been quite pleasantly surprised! Everyone enjoys doing one chore or another, but there's always that pet peeve of a household chore.

For me, I'd be in seventh heaven if I had a maid who would cater to all my whims and fancies and I didn't have to do any kind of household chore. But since I don't have one, I help my wife with the housechores now and then. I usually clean the dishes and I must say I'm a pro at it. I've been doing it for over 20 years and I foresee that I'll be at it for many more years to come (at least until Adelle is old enough to for me to pass the torch to!). Sometimes, I'll do the vacuuming, or clean the bathroom, or the electrical appliances, or put clothes into the washing machine and hang them out to dry.

I'm also the designated ironing person (yes, I usually iron both mine and my wife's clothes) and Adelle's porridge cook. I'm also the official cockroach killer. Every time my wife spots a coackroach scurrying around in the kitchen, she'll call me and I'll come rushing with my weapon of choice: the slipper. Then, the cockroach and I dance around a little: me trying to get it into a position which would offer me a good, clean kill; the cockroach trying its best to run behind some cover. It's an ego-boosting job (my wife always calls me 'hero' after a succesful battle with one) but it's one job I'm not very fond of, especially since I'm actually terrified of those pesky pests.

But, if I had to choose one chore that I'd rather not do, it's mopping. Small, three-letter word but oh, so bothersome. You see, I'm rather tall, you see. And the thing with anything that has a stick attached to it is that they're designed for the 'average' person, and like I said, in terms of height, I'm not exactly average. So, it's a back-breaking to mop, plunge the mop into the bucket, squeeze the mop, and then repeat the whole process countless of times. Living in a double-storey house doesn't help things very much, and neither does mopping the whole place twice - absolutely necessary to make the floor have that nice, clean feeling (just goes to show how dirty the floor can become, eh?). So, if I'm required to the mop the house, I'd usually drag my feet and put on my mopey face.

But here's the thing: household chores - if you don't do them, who will? It's your house.

DOMESTICATED DIVAS: Living the Healthy Life / Stripe&Yellow / Vanity Kit / Mind Bubbles / Something Purple / Em's Detour / Deviously Creative / Doll Me Up / Me,Myself+2 / Kidd Designs / FunFierceFabulous / Ozzy's Mom / Insights from the Grocery Cart / Living A' La Mode / God's Best Gift / MommyAllehs Up-Close And Personal / My Precious Niche / Just Me.. Eds / Eds Mommy Life / Aggie Shoots Aggie Scraps / All Kinds of Me Stuff / The Salad Caper / Winding Creek Circle / InkBabyStudios / Joys in Life / Me and Mine / Little Peanut / Creative in Me/ Pea in a Pod / Sugarmagnolias / Notable Bistro / Around the World / I am Mommy / All About The Memories / Enchanted Play / In Depth / A Housewife's Journal / Life Together Starts / As We Face Forever / My Happy Place /Iam Dzoi / Suburban Sass / To the Moon and Back / Raising Sandy / Walk on Red / All Things Me / Because Life Is Fun / Feels Like Home / Growing up with Bea / My life... my own piece of heaven / Around the World / Hobbies and Such / My life in this Wonderful World /My Online World / / My Virtual Closet / My Views On My So Called Life / The Real Deal The Real Me / Changing Lanes/ Pit Stop/ Around the World / The Fountain Of Happiness / The Joy Of Life Forever / Love Is / Phtographic Memories / My Colorful World / Strawberry Gurl / Quicker8 / Mommy's Little Corner / The Dawn That Shines / Journey to Prosperity / Homelife / Sheng's Simple Thoughts / Coriander Dreams / Gorgeous Traveller / A Traveller's Domain / Lemon Iced Tea / It's My Party / My Wonderful Life / Simple Life, Simply Me / Sassy Finds / All things Yummy / Shangrila Journey / My Charmed Life / Mommyhood and Me / Crissy's Zone / Crissy's Library / Vis Vires /Crissy's Haven / My Daily Thoughts / Abby's Way of Life / Princess Bela / Women Xplore / Our Journey to Life / My Planet Purple / And so I am / Arlene's Random Ramblings / Life's All About / Lourdes' Mia / Faery Dancing / Me, the islands and the world / Pinay heart wanderings and musings / Juls Random Thots / In The Spirit of Dance / Princess Vien / Quicker8 / Anything and Everything in Between / Designs By Vhiel / Vhiel's Corner / Can of Thoughts / A Mother's Stuff / housewifeatwork / Kuting’s Place / My Daily Thoughts / Pinay heart wanderings and musings / Watchamacallit! / Nellypie's Chatterbox/ Purpled Sky / Almanac Queen / Caramel Corn / Sunny Side Up Foodie / Mamakshop / Alamakoioi / JoZe's Crap / My Sweet Escape / Our Little Princess Gwen / Chen Xi and Mama's Blog / A Kiss Of An Angel / Modern Life Today / Anything Goes! / Her Name is N.O.Y. / Mariuca's Perfume Gallery/All About Kawaii / One Hundred and Eighty Degrees / Me, Myself and I / Mixed Cultures Mama's Blog / Apples of The Eyes/ A Kiss Of An Angel / Perfect Gift From Above / Her Name is N.O.Y. / Mariuca's Perfume Gallery/ Irresistible Fascinations / The Treasure Chest / Complex Life / A Muse Man /

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Rendezvous at Mango

As I'm writing this, the rest of Malaysia is tuned in on the Olympic finals of the badminton game between Lin Dan of China, and our very own Lee Chong Wei. Why am I not watching? I'm a badminton fan. I play badminton twice a week. So, I should be watching the game, no? But, the thing is, my tv is not connected to the antennae. Neither is it connected to Astro. And Adelle is asleep. So, being the responsible, sacrificial dad that I am (do I hear a groan somewhere?) I'm home manning the fort while my wife has gone to a friend's house to watch the game. So, I write.

Last night, my little family and I decided to take my parents out for dinner at a new-ish place called Mango Cafe. I got to know about it on Jacq's blog and they have their very own blog as well here. It's a Thai restaurant, located in Kompleks Asia City (another one of Kota Kinabalu's shopping complexes, but it seems like it's not doing very well. A lot of empty lots either for sale or rent). The restaurant has a simple and attractive enough deco with shades of yellow and green on the walls. I've heard good things about the food so that's why I wanted to try out the place.

Since they were five of us (Adelle included), so we could try out a bigger variety of dishes. For starters we had Ta Koo. I presume it's some kind of soft coconut pudding on top with water chestnuts underneath, wrapped with around with pandan leaves. Very good just to whet your appetite. Mom was keen on trying out the Phad Thai so that was the next dish that came out. Slightly different from your usual plate of char koay teow, this noodle dish has a slightly sourish taste to it, but it's really refreshing, not to mention delicious! Next, came the prawn on lemongrass stick which was deep fried prawn balls skewered with lemon grass. This wasn't too bad.

Ta Koo

Phad Thai

Kung Ho Takrai

After that, the main dishes arrived along with our rice: green curry with chicken, mixed vegetables with garlic, and pandan chicken. We all agreed that the green curry was very good (I had the honour to finish it up!) and very appetising. Just the curry sauce is enough to make you go for a second helping of rice. The curry is pretty mild, and apart from the chicken pieces, there's brinjal and also, this small roundish thing (a mini eggplant we're told by the owner). The mixed vegetables was the usual fare. Tasted very Chinese but that was to be expected, so not much to comment there. As for the pandan chicken, I thought it was alright. But my mom thought it tasted a bit bitter. And my wife was quite surprised to find only chicken skin when she unwrapped one. We reported this to the owner and he generously offered to give us another whole set. This time there were no problems.

Geng Gwio Waan Gai

Phad Phak Luem

Gai Hor Bai Dtoei

For dessert, we tried out Red Rubies. The dessert consisted of several pieces of red jelly-like balls (just like the ones topping the ta koo) complemented with thinly-sliced jackfruit all submerged in some pink water which reminded me of air bandung. Not too bad, I say.

Thap Tim Krab

And that was dinner. When we arrived the place was rather quiet (it was already about 8 pm then), but about half an hour later it got rather busy. So, it did take some time for our food to arrive on our table. But, we didn't really mind since we weren't on empty stomachs and we were'nt in a hurry. Just something to consider, if you do plan to visit.

All in all, we're quite satisfied with the food there, and it's reasonably priced. For all the food that we had, we paid slightly over RM50. We'll definitely go back again.

Oh, and on the way out from the place, who should I see but people whom I met at the Sabahan Bloggers Gathering. Julian, Fara, Dinoza...and I'm quite sure there was another person but I can't recall who. didn't occur to me until later that I should have taken a photo with them. For remembrance, and also to help jog this brain to remember.

p.s. Just got word that Chong Wei has lost in straight sets: 12-21, 8-21. Well, the elusive gold medal for Malaysia still remains that: elusive.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Something happened on the way to work...

Is there something about today? This morning on the way to work, I almost met with an accident. The traffic light was green, and I was happily driving along in my lane going towards the traffic light when all of a sudden, this grey Proton Saga attempted to cut into my lane. The driver had the courtesy to turn on her (yes, the driver was a woman) blinker but she might as well didn't do it as it only started blinking for like for 2 seconds before she made the maneuver to come into my lane. It wouldn't have been a big deal if I was some distance behind her, but she did this stunt when I was just there beside her!

I know, I know. I'm probably being harsh. she probably didn't see me in her side view mirror because of I was probably in her blind spot. And she probably got the shock of her life as well when I blared my car horn for all it's worth when she started her move. But, that's just it, isn't it? Failing to check properly if the roads are really clear before you change lanes can be hazardous - to yourself and other people. Not only that, how are you side view mirrors positioned? Do you see the sides of your car?

I read some years ago how that is the wrong way to position your side view mirrors. You can google how your side view mirrors should be adjusted for a more detailed description but here's the gist of it: your side view mirrors shouldn't duplicate what your rear view mirror shows you. They should show you what's on the lanes on either side of you. So, if you haven't done it already, push your side view mirrors out so that you can see the next lane. While this does not completely clear all the blindspots while you're driving, it gives a much greater coverage of what you'll be able to see around you without having to turn your head. Of course, the other way is to buy those small rounded mirrors and stick them to your side view mirror. But I find them quite distracting, so I don't use them.

That's my story of my near-miss. But at work, I got news of a colleague of mine who was not so lucky. He was riding his motorbike on the way work, and he met with an accident. I'm not too sure about the exact details of how the accident happened, but apparently whoever hit him didn't stop to help him and send him to the hospital (sad thing to hear isn't it? Aren't Malaysians supposed to be warm and friendly? Helpful even?). It took another person to help and send him to Queen Elizabeth Hospital (that's our main hospital here in Kota Kinabalu). And from what I hear, my colleagues hurt pretty badly. One of his legs is broken in three places (ouch!). He's got other injuries as well, I'm sure.

So, there was just something about today...but, whatever it is. Be safe on the road people. Drive responsibly and carefully!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I was going to do something else but I suddenly remembered about a funny incident. This actually happened last Sunday but I was contemplating whether to post it. Then I thought, why not. It's kinda funny (I think). Remember my post about us buying mooncake? Well, Adelle had her first taste of it last Sunday. We were all in the kitchen and my wife suddenly decided to let Adelle try the mooncake we had bought. She asked me to get my camera ready to capture Adelle's expression of her first taste of mooncake.

We gave here just a bit to try and did she love it! When my wife asked Adelle to share the mooncake, she turned her back on her! And Adelle actually stood up and went further away! So funny! So, anyway here are the pics!

Ve hav vays of making you tok

I don't know if you've read this before, but my colleague recently showed this article to me which I thought was absolutely hilarious. Thought I'd share it with all of you here. You'd have to read it aloud for the best effect. Enjoy!

The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the European Union rather than German, which was the other possibility.

As part of the negotiations, the British Government conceded that the English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a 5-year phase-in plan that would become known as 'Euro-English'.

In the first year, 's' will replace the soft 'c'. Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump for joy. The hard 'c' will be dropped in favour of 'k'. This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter. There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome 'ph' will be replaced with 'f'. This will make words like 'fotograf' 20% shorter.

In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible.

Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling.

Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent 'e' in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away.

By the 4th yea people wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing 'th' with 'z' and 'w' with 'v'.

During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary 'o' kan be dropd from vords kontaining 'ou' and after ze fifz yer, ve vil hav a reil sensibl riten styl.

Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find ti ezi tu understand ech oza. Ze drem of a united urop vil finali kum tru.

Und efter ze fifz yer, ve vil al be speking German like zey vunted in ze forst plas.


Sunday, August 10, 2008


Wife said to wake up early today, so went to bed at 10 pm last night (that's quite early for me). This morning, we went to the weekly Gaya Street Sunday Market. Wife said she wanted to take Adelle to look at animals there. So, we all woke up at just before seven, starting with my wife, then me (woken up by my wife), and lastly, Adelle who woke up by herself. We all got cleaned up and dressed and had a leisurely drive to the Sunday fair.

Adelle has a thing about water, especially water falls and water fountains, so we spent a bit of time at the water fountain. Initially, my wife asked me to take a photo of her and Adelle with the water fountain in the background but Adelle refused. She was contented just standing there looking at the water spouting out from the fountain. After that, we went on our way round the fair.

For those who don't know, the Gaya Sunday Market (or Gaya Fair as the locals know it) is a weekly event, held only on Sundays. Stalls start setting up as early as 5 am and there are hundreds of them. The fair is held at the Kota Kinabalu's oldest, and also most important stretch of road. This is where all the main banks are situated. The two parallel roads leading up and down the stretch of the street are closed to traffic for the fair. So, you have two sides to the fair to explore. Walk down one way, and then turn back and head up the other side. There are lots of things to see, and eat, and buy, from antiques to foodstuff,to flowers, herbs, and yes, animals - all sorts of them. You can get chicken (and their chicks), rabbits, hamsters, white mice, fish, puppies, cats, tortoises, terapins - the lot. So, it's a great place to just bring the family and walk around even if you have no intention of buying anything.

So that's what we did this morning. We stopped at each stall that sold some kind of animal and mummy would point out the animal to Adelle, who'd show great interest in whatever animal was pointed out to her. We stopped by my grandma's and uncle's stall on the way just to say hi before heading back home. So, it was a pleasant morning. But surprising enough, there were not a lot of people at the fair. It's not like there was no one, just not the usual numbers that we see whenever we visit. By the time we got there, it would be considered peak (that's about 7.30am) and the place would usually be crawling with people. But, not today. Wonder why...

Adelle getting the best view of the water fountain.

Let's count how many tortoises there are...

Chicks galore!

See you again next time!

p.s. Oh, went to the PC Fair just now and my computer's performance just got boosted by another 2 gigs of RAM. That should help a bit in the photo-editing department. Yay!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Eating Gold

While the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival is still some time away, you can already find the one thing that is always associated with it in plenty of shops: mooncakes. My wife and I absolutely love mooncakes! There’s just something about the whole blend of flavours that make the mooncake so appealing to us. And there’s a lot to choose from as well. Gone are the exclusivity of just the traditional fillings of the mooncake like lotus paste, red bean,mixed nuts and the ubiquitous orange egg yolk. Nowadays, there’s pandan, white lotus, green tea, the less sugar variety, and others which I can’t really recall. There’s also the jelly kind of mooncake, which I’ve tried but I don’t really like.

But, call us traditional because my wife and I prefer the originals. Nothing like a good mooncake filled with soft lotus seed paste, or one filled with all sorts of nuts. Just yummy! But don’t you like the ones with the yolk, you may ask? We like the ones with yolk as well, but we don’t really get them as they are so much more pricier than the others. My father in law once said that we might as well buy the mooncake and get a couple of salted eggs and take out the yolk. It’s basically the same thing, and you even get more lotus paste as an added bonus!

But, mooncakes are so expensive nowadays. Averaging RM13 ringgit for the plain lotus paste ones (cheaper for just the red bean), you might as well be eating gold! I mean here’s something that weighs less that 500g and you’re paying well above RM10 for it. There’s even the imported ones from Hong Kong which we can get at Tong Hing supermarket (a very old local supermarket chain) that costs over RM30. EACH! Brand name, Kee Wah. Now, I have never tried them, but are they so good as to warrant paying so much?

My wife and I just bought two at a supermarket just now. No, not the RM30 ones, but the more affordable ones, courtesy of my sister in law. We prefer the mooncakes from the peninsular as the local Sabah ones are not up to par, we think. We’ve tried Multi Bake, and Southern Bakery, the local bakeries here but we find the ‘skin’ of the mooncake either too thick or the filling is just not very nice. And they aren’t exactly cheaper than the ones we get from the peninsular. So, since they are priced similarly, we might as well get the ones from the peninsular, since they taste so much better. But even then, not all mooncakes from the peninsular are as good. We usually go for the more famous brands like Six Happiness, Kam Lun Tai, or Tai Thong (though among the three, we like Tai Thong ones the least – a bit too sweet for our liking). My wife tells me that the Hilton mooncakes are really good as well, though I’ve yet to try them.

My wife has just opened one of the mooncake packs. So I guess I’d better end this post here so that I can get my ‘fix’. Attack!

Friday, August 8, 2008

It's the weekend! And I'm free!!!

NOT! Actually working tomorrow, and it'll be quite a full day actually. Early morning till noon, school. After that, take care of Adelle (more like sleeping with Adelle...I'm her afternoon sleeping partner. Heee!). Then, at 4.30, music practice at church till about 6. Then evening it's evening already. Then feed Adelle, then get Adelle ready for sleep. Only then, my wife and I will have some free time to ourselves.

But, at least tomorrow will be the last time I work on a Saturday (for they year, I hope!). And I'm hoping to visit the Pikom PC Fair sometime this weekend. Just to take a sniff of new hardware and maybe buy myself a few gigs of RAM. I've already got 2 gigs on my desktop but it can be quite slow when I'm editing photos. It's only a 5 minute drive away from my place, so I'll probably go either tomorrow evening or Sunday evening. Will see if wife and Adelle will come along. If not, then lone ranger...

Happy weekend everyone.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I'm too sexy for my blog...

Read through any newspaper and you're bound to be come across several full page spreads of slim women, several before-and-after photos, a celebrity or two endorsing the effectiveness of the product, some testimonials by highly-satisfied clients, not forgetting the promise of a more beautiful you. You know what I'm talking about: slimming centres.

While I have nothing against slim women (they are rather pleasant to look at...), but I sometimes wonder why there is such a pre-occupation with slimness. Sure, being slim is supposed to be synonymous with being healthy. But I suspect that's not the whole or even the main draw of being slim for the many who opt to undergo the slimming sessions to reveal the 'true, new, you'. There seems to be a strong undercurrent of negative culture that says if you're not slim, even if you're slightly on the bigger side, you're not beautiful. Anything more than a certain size, then that's not what you're meant to be, and you need to do something about it. Need I say that such an obsessive outlook of body size has spawned cases upon cases of people with eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia?

The mass media doesn't help as well. How many of the so-called reality shows, showing supposedly you average person, have a bigger person as one of the participants? From the little that I've seen, I don't remember any. How about in magazines? Any advertisements showing off the beautiful curves of a person other than that of slim one? Can't recall any as well.

I know this topic is rather passe, but I think it's still relevant because we're still being fed the same images, the same ideas, day in and day out, and because of that, there'll always be the danger of the whole idea of being slim becoming an obsession - even to the point of death.

My take - no one size fits all. Health is prime, not beauty.

Here's something I wrote some time back about the topic that I'd like to share.

Ode to a Supermodel

Shall I compare thee to a supermod'l?
Thou art in truth more skinny and more vain.
How strange the manner they stride down the aisle,
And those stilettos; are they not in pain?
Sometime but a morsel is on their plate,
And often is their dress size less than eight;
And tho' fair from fair naturally decline
Thank heavens for Botox - spare not a dime;
But thy utter sticklikeness shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that gait thou hav'st;
Nor shall Health brag thy fine physical shape;
When quite plainly, thou look'st sorely listless,
So long as men will see that waif's lovely,
So long lives this - this skewed philosophy.

Monday, August 4, 2008

It's gonna be a bright, bright, sun-shiny day

Scorching. That’s how the sun’s been feeling lately. Just two weeks ago, people here in Sabah were facing torrential rain and strong winds almost every day. Flash floods occurred and I even saw a billboard torn down by the winds one morning during my drive to work. That was no thanks to Sabah getting the tail-end of some typhoon.

But these past few days, it’s been almost unbearably hot. Just to prove how hot it is, yesterday, my wife and I had some clothes washing done in the afternoon. By the time the washing cycle was finished, it was already 1.30 pm. I took out the clothes from the washing machine and proceeded to dry them on the line under the sun. By 5.20 pm, the time I went back out to take the clothes in, half-expecting them to still be damp, I was absolutely surprised that there were all dry! And they were not thin articles of laundry even! I had some thick towels on the line, and they were dry, too! In 4 hours! How’s that for hot?

Today was equally sizzling. My car air-conditioning felt like it wasn’t working at all – all I felt was warm air blowing at my face and that was at the highest fan speed at the coolest temperature. And my car is tinted so it’s supposed to reject a lot of the heat. I can’t even imagine how drivers whose cars are not tinted feel when driving under these blistering conditions. Thank goodness for such technology as air-conditioning and window tints.

But at least in the evening it gets cooler. But I just had lamb chop for dinner and I don't think that's going to help any in getting a cool night's sleep...

Oh well.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

SBG in da house

Just a warning: This post is photo heavy!

The Sabahan Bloggers Gathering was excellent! Tons of praise to Fara, Dino, Jacq, Wei Chuen, Emelda, Daniel, Papajoneh, and Julian for a splendid job. The venue was a great choice, the entertainment top-notch, no long, winding boring speeches (yes!), and the atmosphere was good. We had Starbucks coffee at the registration table, and inside the restaurant, take-as-many-times-as-you-want ice cream courtesy of Vedablu (yummy!). The food was okay, but I’m not sure if it disagreed with my tummy. A sharp pain in my stomach woke me up very early this morning and I had to go to the toilet. After that, I had to go twice more. Thankfully, everything’s clear now and I’m back to my gluttonous self (ha!).

I guess the highlight of the evening was the lucky draw. There were some great prizes, but having never been a lucky person when it comes to lucky draws, it was no surprised that I didn’t get any. At least I got a goodie bag, and I made some new friends. Also got to meet with some people in the flesh I got to know through the blogs and flickr.

Wont write much; I’ll let the photos do the talking, with a bit of explanation at the bottom. The pics I’m posting haven't gone through the usual processing because I’m quite tired. But I thought, I’d get them up as soon as possible…just to get everyone who couldn’t/didn’t come jealous! ;-)

As the song goes, it was indeed “Oh, what a night!”.

The registration table. To the left is the free Starbucks coffee!

Fara, Jacq and Wei Chuen - the welcoming committee!

Fara and Selina - our hosts for the evening.

Internationally renowned wedding photographer and blogger, Louis Pang giving all of us advice.

Makan time!

Performer from Sabah Institute of Arts. He was good!

More from SIA. Played a variety of songs. Very good!

Err...what's his name again? Good showmanship.

The lucky draw!

Paparazzis for the evening!

Shake yer booty!

Bring it on!

'Forfeits' for winners before they can claim their prize in the lucky draw. Insane!

Terry Peter bringing the house down. He was actually my ex-classmate!

This was shot by Louis Pang using my camera! I like!

Our deejay for the evening. Sorry, dunno his name.

Friends from Flickr: Dolly (left) and Doris dwarfed by me!

Massy and me.

Super brand

Is there a certain brand of clothing that you especially like? Just the top of my head, I know the brand Levi’s has got a certain standing among many. Abercrombie and Fitch is quite a popular clothing brand as well. So are MNG, Gap, Guess, Ralph Lauren, and Benetton. Let’s not even get into designer wear. The list is endless!

I ask because something has got me thinking. At school yesterday, one of my colleagues made a very interesting comment to another colleague of mine. They were both looking at a cartoon showing the evolution of man, and the picture of the man in the cartoon was naked. My colleague said that we use clothes because of our sins, to cover them; if we had not sins, we wouldn’t need any clothes. Now, such an observation from this colleague of mine was out of the ordinary and by him making such a statement made the whole thing even more intriguing. I took a mental note of it and promised myself to look it up.

My finding? Clothes were indeed first mentioned in the Bible after Adam and Eve sinned. In the last verse of the previous chapter, we read that Adam and Eve were both naked but were not ashamed. Yet, here after having eaten the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they were still in the same state of nakedness, but their eyes were ‘opened’ and they sewed fig leaves together to make loincloths for themselves. They seemed ashamed of their nakedness.

But I think there’s more to it than just plain nakedness. I think their eyes were opened not only to the state of nakedness, but also to the realization that they have done wrong. They had committed sin. And in wanting to hide their sin from God, Adam and Eve not only hid themselves among the trees in the Garden of Eden, but also covered their loins with the fig leaves. And when God calls out to them, here’s Adam’s reply:

"I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself."
Gen 3:10

Adam’s response to God shows that, although both he and Eve had already covered themselves, both still saw themselves as naked. What they had done to cover themselves was not enough. And so:

And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.
Gen 3:21

God did what Adam and Eve couldn’t do. He clothed them, and they were covered.

Perhaps, this incident explains why we are quite preoccupied with our image today. We want to look good, and so we dress up. We find the best brands we can afford, because by wearing them (so we are led to believe), we are special, of a certain class, successful. What drives this passionate want for clothing? Perhaps, deep down inside, our own eyes have been ‘opened’, and we see that there is something that is niggling at us, the inadequacy of our self, something that is telling us that we are not as good as what we think, and so we hide in our clothes.

But it seems no matter how famous or how expensive the clothes we wear, we still desire for more. Maybe our position is something like Adam and Eve’s: we try our best to cover ourselves with whatever we can get our hands on. But, it’s never sufficient, never good enough, never adequate.

But you know what? Like what God did with Adam and Eve, He has also already done for all. He has taken it upon Himself to do what we cannot do by our own power. He has made a covering in order to clothe us from the nakedness of our sins; to clothe us, so that there is no more shame in us. If only we accepted His offer to do so. It's THE best brand!

Nuggets of truth from such an unlikely source. God really does work in mysterious ways!