Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Selamat Hari Raya
It is Hari Mulia
Celebrate with sanak saudara
Who is ogling for duit raya

Let's forgive and forget
So that we can beget
Peace in the heart
And Paradise I bet

On raya day we eat and eat
Until we finish all the rendang meat
This goes on day and night
Till our bajus become very tight

After raya it's another story
That we all love to hear surely
Boring stories become bestseller
That's the way it would be until next puasa

Saturday, September 27, 2008


From the book BEING HAPPY by Andrew Matthews

"Here I am at last...happy!" Hence their life story is one of "I'll be happy when...."
Each one of us has a decision to make. Are we prepared to daily remind ourselves that we have only limited time to make the most of what we've got, or will we while away the present, hoping for the better future?
The following piece was written by an 85 year old man who learned that he was dying.
"If I had to live my life over again, I'd try to make more mistakes next time. I wouldn't be so perfect. I would relax more. I'd limber up. I'd rather be sillier than I've been on this trip. In fact, I know very few things that I would take so seriously. I'd be crazier. I'd be less hygienic.
I'd take more chances, I'd take more trips, I'd climb more mountains, I'd swim more rivers, I'd go more places that I've never been to. I'd eat more ice cream and fewer beans.
I'd have more actual troubles than imaginary ones!
You see, I was one of those people who lived prophylactically and sensibly and sanely hour after hour and day after day. Oh, I've had my moments, and if I had to do it all over again, I'd have more of those moments - moment by moment by moment.
I've been one of those people who never went anywhere without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a gargle, a raincoat and a parachute. If I had to do all over again, I'd travel lighter the next time.
If I had it to do all over again, I'd start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay way later in the fall. I'd ride more merry go-rounds, I'd watch more sunrises, and I'd play with more children, if I had my life to live over again.
But you see, I don't."
Isn't this a beautiful reminder? We only have so long to live on this planet. Let's make the most of it. The old man realised that, in order to be happier, in order to get more out of life, he didn't have to go and change the world. The world is already beautiful. He had to change himself.
The world is not perfect. The degree of unhappiness is the distance between the way things are and the way they "ought" to be. If we cease to demand that things be perfect, the business of being happy becomes easier. We then choose to have preferences for the way things might be, and decide that if our preferences are not met, we will be happy anyway.
As the Indian guru once told a pupil who was in desperate search of contentment, "I will give you a secret. If you want to be happy, BE HAPPY!"

Friday, September 26, 2008


William and I had been on skype for the last month, negotiating my package to rejoin the establishment that I left less than a year ago. We finally came to a settlement a few hours ago.
My husband congratulated me. He seemed to be more excited than I am.
Why am I not feeling elated about going back to the corporate world, about being the only lady in the man's game, about leading a team of players from every corner of the mother earth, about getting an increment without even having to fight for it or justify it.
A year ago, this prospect would give me a high for days and days but now, it just doesn't give me anything. In fact, it might have given me a low! What is wrong with me?
The answer came when I spoke to Tasha. She bawled almost as soon as I uttered the 4 letter word and in between sobs, asked, "Who is going to surprise me at the door when I come home from school?"
I felt my tears welling, but I fought it so that I could reason things with her, without making a big scene. I finally managed to convince her of all the good things that would come out of it. By the time we were finished she was all smiles again, kissed me good night and jumped into bed. I managed to muster a smile back at her while thinking, the one person that really needs to be convinced is yet to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It all seems to be rather dim at the moment...


Fasting month is a great time for reflection and applying the same concept in tennis, this morning, Coach Din and I reflected and focused on the prowess instead of the power of the game.
"Sports don't lie, because in a game, both Jekyll and Hyde come out to play," he chuckled.
I gave him a puzzled look, demanding an explanation.
He then shared with me his frustration with my one habit (of the many) that is so faux pas in tennis (I won't go into the technicalities of it).
Suffice to say, for as long as he has been coaching me, we have tried and tested a lot of different techniques to counter this unwanted action but we have yet to find a permanent solution.
Sometimes when he thinks that he has succeeded, when Jekyll did what he has to do, the Hyde in me rebelled, took charge and came flashing in his face.
So, should I do something about Hyde, perhaps go for hypnosis to tame or be rid of him? Hmmm....I could do that but do I really want to? Afterall, this is the same guy whose persistence and endurance had brought me to a greater mile....who will I then be without him?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Hatha (Physical) yoga was introduced in India in the 15th century. It follows a program of postures (asana) and breath-controlled exercises aimed at achieving physical strength and stamina, as well as building mental concentration, freeing the mind from distraction. The asanas are designed to tone and strengthen all the muscles and joints, improve metabolism, agility and flexibility.
Approximately 85 per cent of the people who practice yoga practice hatha yoga. While hatha yoga styles vary greatly, all hatha yoga has evolved from one origin or discipline. How the asanas are done and where the attention is focused may change dramatically between teachers and style. Some of the approaches are rigorous or more physically demanding (Ashtanga, Power) while others have a meditative or therapeutic quality about them (Ananda). A few schools crank up the heat to rid the body of impurities (Bikram), while other schools use props for the asana (Iyengar) or chant to create an invigorating and calming experience (Kundalini).


“Hot Yoga” or Bikram Yoga which is the IN thing nowadays is a derivation of Hatha yoga. It is a physical yoga that is practised in a heated room. Each session can burn anywhere from 300 to 1,000 calories, so it’s not for the picky and malnourished!

Why the heat?
Firstly, muscles work at their most efficient at 36C. Keeping the muscles warm enables you to stretch more deeply without injury.
Secondly, the heat helps open the pores and rid the body of toxins through sweat. Optimal humidity improves the immune system and rejuvenates the skin as sweating promotes detoxification.
Finally, it helps to thin the blood which in turn would increase the heart rate for a better cardiovascular workout.

Many of us treat Yoga as an opportunity to "work" the body, without integrating the sense of spirituality in the yoga practice.

The way I look at it is that yoga is simply a tool for developing connection to the Inner Self. Many people are capable of attaining this connection without the need to perform traditional yogic exercises and meditation. So, who is to say that it is wrong to solely practice Yoga on the physical level?

Many have also raised concerns about Yoga causing lower-back pain, injuries to hamstrings, knee sprains, damaged cartilage, heat related illness and dehydration (especiallly in Hot Yoga).

My view is that heat related illnesses and dehydration can occur in any kind of sports if the participants do not replenish enough fluids into the system.

The best way to prevent injuries from Yoga, is the same as with any other activities, if it feels good, go for it and if it doesn’t, either stop or go get it checked out.

Secondly, anything done excessively can never be good for you, so, moderation is always the key.


Due to a wide range of yoga available, yoga may mean different thing to different people. If you were to ask a yoga master what yoga is, he would probably talk about spiritual integrity and effective healing powers. The individual who suffers from chronic pain might express yoga as a getaway to a great joy while Andy Murray, the tennis ace would reveal that the hot and sweaty yoga sessions helped him beat world no. 1 Roger Federer.

Personally, I have gotten rid not just the toxins in my body, but also my massseur whom I used to frequent regularly due to my back ache, my orthopaedic surgeon who made so much money from me, now I am not giving him a penny and my aesthetician who kept telling me that the breakouts were caused by the imbalance hormones but still insisted that I saw her every biweekly.

While every school of yoga has its own approach, while people perform yoga for different reasons, the results are the same. It nourishes the body, mind and spirit, intimately connecting the triad to wellness.

So, what are you waiting for?

Friday, September 19, 2008



As we drove from San Jose to San Francisco, the clear blue sky quickly transformed into thick grey clouds. The thermometer reading suddenly dropped from 38C to 23C. My eyes were fixed on the reading which just kept dropping and finally stabilised at 18C. After being in California for almost three weeks, and being in 40C most days, this was the first time that we didn't have to blast the air conditioning in the car. The temperature drop was surreal, to think that San Jose and San Francisco was just half an hour drive away.

When we were walking to the hotel lobby from the car park, we could feel the gush of wind on our face. It felt so fresh and crisp - a nice jolt to the system after being lulled by Franco's driving. Within seconds though, the air became painfully cold when the wind started gnawing on our bones! It was the afternoon of a summer day, and we were freezing! During check in, we were told that day, 20th July 2008, was one of the best summer days they had this year. Oooooo....time to get some hats and gloves!


Our first stop was the Union Square, the city centre which resembled a European city. Still fighting the cold, we decided to heat our body up with loads of sugar at the Cable Car Cafe, famous for their generous servings of pancakes and toppings. I ordered a pancake with bananas, walnuts and nutella and my god! I have never tasted such sweetness in my life. The pancake was deliriously delicious but seriously....If I had to finish everything on my plate, I probably would have to spend the rest of the year at the gym just to burn off those millions calories.


After the pancake fest, we proceeded to Chinatown where we managed to get gloves, scarves and extra cardigan for Tasha in time for another drastic temperature drop as soon as the sun disappeared.

We decided to tough it out and walked through the Financial District to enjoy the architecture in the area. We ended up doing very little walking but a lot of hopping, skipping and jogging just to keep us warm. So, yeah...we covered the Financial District in less than half an hour!


We decided to have dinner at Fisherman's Wharf which reminded me so much of Sydney sans the Opera House. (They have the view of the Alcatraz instead!) It was a nice stroll along the water and the seafood chowder did the trick to warm me up but it was so "deja vu".


I didn't like San Francisco that much. I find that it is a bit too small and crowded for me but, if I had to stay there, it would have to be at the Presidio. Indeed...this is the Beverey Hills of San Francisco. The houses were grand and the lawns beautifully manicured. We spent the morning of our second day walking around the estate and the nearby park. Even the air smelled different here! We got a fantastic view of the Golden Gate Bridge from here but Tasha insisted that we walk across the bridge and that's what we did after each of us had chosen our dream house.


When we were in LA, the toughest part of driving was not finding the destination as we had a Mapquest that took us everywhere but to find parking without costing us our arms and legs, unless of course you have USD 40 to burn daily just to park the car.

In San Francisco, it was not just bad, it was a nightmare. When we did eventually find one that did not cost us an arm and leg, we were only allowed to park in the spot for half an hour.

Poor Franco had to watch out for the time and run out to put more coins in the slot every half hourly while we had our lunch in Chinatown.


Of couse we did the Lombard Street, the Giardelli Square, the Golden Gate Park and the cable car ride but when the sun went down on the second day, we headed to the hotel and thought, let's have a treat.


So, off we went to a cinema - What better way to spend the evening than watching Mamma Mia. The movie was very entertaining, we loved it and it was a nice ending to our stay in San Francisco.....


The audition in Singapore was flawless and getting a BIG YES from Deborah Gibson was a huge victory. We left the Arts School smugged and contented. With our permission and without Tasha's knowledge, Tasha's agents started wheeling and dealing to secure sponsorship for her to attend the Electric Youth Camp in Los Angeles.
Corporate decisions in matters like this, in the current economic climate could take months and the agents were not naive. We all knew that they needed a lot of miracles to wring an answer in two weeks. Nevertheless, I prayed hard for them to succeed - although I could feel it in my bones that their efforts would not bear any fruits at this juncture - for my daughter's sake and simply because we didn't have any Plan B .
Tasha knew she had done well at the audition but she also knew that perfection alone doesn't land you a job. It could be that her nose was too big, or the eyes were too intense or the hair was too curly. She has gone through enough to know, to accept and to move on. Life was as usual for her while we tried hard not to mention anything related to the Camp in front of her.

The deadline for registration was fast approaching and the agents still had no good news. Time was running out when suddenly an e-mail came from New York.
"Tasha.... Gibson Management has offered you a scholarship to attend the Camp!" I shouted in a high pitch voice which could only be heard when I am very excited.
"Mom, are you serious? Does that mean we are going? Will Papa come with us? Will you tell my teachers in school? Can I call my friends to let them know?" A million questions came rushing out of those tiny sweet lips.
"Yes, yes, yes and yes".
Her eyes glistened and with a smile she whispered in my ears,
"Thank you mom. This is my Hollywood Dream...."

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Talk? don't just talk, you tell stories, with
Amazing sense of dramatics, are a Drama Queen
Strong Desire to be the centre of attraction
Has always been your motivation
Animated, you are drawn to lights, camera and action

May you soon be off swinging on a star,
bringing moonbeams home in jar.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


"Ah...what is it that you are going to try your hands on now?"

That would be a common question in my family when they sense that I am restless and agitated. To which I would give a bashful smile and answered in my throat..."piano?"

I am a year shy of 40 but I have not lost the insatiable appetite to learn something new. So, I made a few phone calls and chose my teacher based on how the person reacted when he/she heard my age! So, Ricky made the cut and a week later, we started OUR musical journey.... Grade 0!

Although I hated all the kiddie songs that I have to play and all the scales which did not mean anything to me, I practised hard at each piece because I always believe that practice makes perfect. BUT IS IT REALLY ENOUGH TO MAKE IT PERFECT?

My arguments with Ricky are numerous because I am convinced that he is sadistic in nature and only derives pure pleasure when he finds fault in my recital. Being a person who does not take criticsm well, our bickering sometimes gets a bit out of hand! In fact, I have once brushed his comments off with something as childish as... "my house, my rule" to which he retorted "my class, my rule" to which I replied "my money, my rule" ....and the banter just goes on and on.

Failing to tackle the situation in a hard core manner, I switched strategy and started telling him my sad stories of how I spent my whole weekend locked in the house, practising the piano until my fingers were numb when I could have a better time on the golf course; or that I am a creative soul who likes to explore the different ways of playing the piece, to which he just nodded and said "practise again for next week!"

"Urgh....I can't do the Jingle Bells for another week. I will go jingled, if I do" I muttered.
Ricky then turned to me and said something that striked the chord....

....And the Jingle Bells filled the air in our humble abode again!

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Almost every divorce you hear of these days are on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. I thought of my similarities and differences with my husband and guess what....
While I have to think hard (very hard) of our similarities, all the differences just came oozing out I can't even type fast enough.
Since it is Sunday today, let me start with my idea of an ideal Sunday - I would love to wake up early in the morning, have a light breakfast, hit the tennis or squash court, followed by a swim. After three hours of workout, it justifies a big brunch or lunch after which we just chill out until it's time to go to our favourite Club and perform our ritual round of golf. Dinner will be at the Club followed by a leisurely drive home for some TV, book or blog.
My hubby on the other hand, loves to sleep in and when he finally wakes up, he expects a big buffet brunch on the table (breakfast will be long gone by then) , followed by TV time to help digest the food. After the digestion process is complete, we would go out for lunch and loiter around aimlessly until it's time to go to our favourite club and perform our ritual round of golf. Dinner will be at any other restaurant but at the Club because the food at the Club is ain't like Chicco or Rakuzen! After some fine dining, it's time to hit home for some TV.
We have been married for over 10 years now, which means we have gone through over 520 irreconcilable Sundays where all we could agree on is golf. (Even this requires a lot of coaxing on my part in the beginning of our marriage!)
Ah...and that is just Sundays. What about how he likes coffee and I like tea; I love Nasi Dagang and he Kopitiam; he talks to his mom long distance every weekend, and I talk to my mom who lives locally once a year; he watches every sports on TV while I play every game he watches; he walks so slowly you almost feel like he's walking backwards while I march through everything like there is no tomorrow; he is a party goer and I will make all sorts of excuses not to have to socialise; he enjoys calling even just the plumber and would talk to the electrician like they are the best of friends while I enjoy being in my study undisturbed; he dotes on our daughter and she worships him for that while I am labelled the wicked mother...and the list just goes on.
Am I therefore doomed for a divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable difference?

I love the fact that he loves to socialise, if it is not for him, we will live a life of a hermit as I would shun every person that walks through my door; I love the fact that he derives immense pleasure from fine foods because now, with his taste and appetite, I must say that we do eat well on the whole; I enjoy going shopping with him where I would normally just choose and pay while he would bargain for every penny; I love going on holidays with him because he is just so laid back and so relaxing to be with (unfortunately this is the only occassion that I enjoy his laid back attitude) while if left to my devices, the holiday would be just another day at work...
So, the way I look at it is that, I don't need him to be me, and I certainly do not want to be him. I accept him for being different and I don't want to change him or reconcile it (well, maybe after numerous efforts of trying, I have grown more mature and know by now that you just can't change a person. It's just not going to happen!).
I just need him to complete me - and that's exactly what he does and I love him for it.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


On Merdeka (yes...we did a lot of stuff on that day!) we walked to the Pavillion to watch the Zohan movie since it was the only movie that was showing on that day that has a U rating.

U rating, my foot!!! Although the swearing words and any explicit sex scenes have been snipped off, the content of the movie is far from suitable for our 6 and 8 year olds. Sexual jokes and references are made throughout - you can see the imprints of Zohan's genitals most of the time and the scene whereby Zohan would have sex with the ladies after each haircut is definitely NOT what I would like a 6 year old to witness!

I am more than aware that the movie is a slapstick and that it should be taken with a pinch of salt, but the mind of a 6 year old works very differently from ours. Even a bucket of salt is just not going to do it.

Anguished, I returned home and surfed for the movie's official rating. Funnily enough, I found out that The Motion Picture of America (MPAA) rated the movie as PG-13 for its crude and sexual content. So, what the **** is the Malaysian censor board thinking?

Monday, September 1, 2008


The last time we resolved to watch the parade LIVE, the Alam Flora (the cleaning contractor for KL) had already started sweeping the roads when we arrived at Dataran Merdeka.
This year, we set the alarm at 6.30 a.m. and actually woke up to it so that we would have time for a leisurely breakfast, courtesy of the Villeneuve @ City Garden. The plan was then to walk to Dataran Merdeka to enjoy the parade.
Since Franco had to suffer from the road closures due to the rehearsals prior, we thought we'll show him what the parade is all about so that he would have better appreciation of the extra minutes (more like hours actually) spent in the car over the last week!!!

Once there, my mind started to wonder....what is the purpose of it all, I mean the celebration, the parades, the fireworks?
Is it to thank our forefathers for their efforts in achieving this Independence? Well, if this is the case, after 50 years of celebration, I hope the message is loud and clear that we do appreciate THANK YOU.
Is it to instil patriotism in the citizens? I don't know how this can be achieved when half of the population was still probably sleeping when the parade ended or when most of the population was just pissed off to be woken up by the sound of endless fireworks at ungodly hour.
Is it for our children to appreciate the freedom that we have
achieved through independence? I am not sure the freedom is all that much considering the active censorship in this country.
Is it? Is it?Is it? My mind just kept wondering.....


Being a sports enthusiast, I just couldn't comprehend
(1) those who watch sports and not physically play any...(hmmm, I live with one and believe me, it is heart-wrenching to see the only muscles moved are in the thumb) and
(2) those who play the WII Sport. (How can a remote ever take place of the racket? I just could not get it....)
Until MERDEKA Day 2008 - after spending half a day at the parade, we crashed at Hugo's & Sylvia's and I was then challenged to a game of Tennis on WII. Being a true sportswoman, I put my skepticism aside and took up the challenge.
To my surprise, 10 minutes into the game and I started to break sweat. Although it was not so much from the physical movement but rather from the laughter of the humorous dive animation of the players, I actually thoroughly enjoyed myself.
The game will not be a platform for me to be the next Henin but it is fun all the same...
The question remains, will I ever get one for Tasha? Till hell freezes over, my dear....