Wednesday, October 29, 2008


One of the qualities that attracted me to Franco (apart from him being very neat and funny!) was his analytical prowess. He is always very logical and practical in his decisions (well...the few that he arrived at without the DIVINE intervention!).
He creates spreadsheets for everything and carries a TO DO LIST wherever he goes. All risks are calculated and if it tips on the risky side, the project is abandoned long before it commences.
In the "brain" world, he is your ultimate LEFT hemisphere.

While I on the other hand loves spreadsheets and schedules (LEFT) too but sometimes wonder why I bother with percentages and bottom lines when 9 out of 10 times, I would just go with the flow, let my gut feeling and instinct (RIGHT) lead the way. I tend to see the bigger picture (RIGHT) as opposed to seeing parts in detail (LEFT) and believe that when it feels right, it should be and would always be right (SO RIGHT)! (Of course that was not always the case - but when it is, it's a euphoria!)

I love forming strategies (LEFT), (in fact that's what I do for a living) but most of them are in flow charts (RIGHT) instead of words, and I draw maps (RIGHT) when giving directions rather than use words (LEFT).
But don't get me wrong...I use words a lot and so does Franco. In fact I am sure my friends would be ever so willing to testify that we are never without words, kind or otherwise, especially to each other.

I am a challenge to the "brain" world as my left and right sides are probably wired to each other and it is just a total BIG mess up there.

And then we have our sweet but impetuous daughter. We couldn't handle her 11 imaginary friends when she was 4, and get annoyed with her lack of eye for details. She perceives things spatially, beyond the place where our imagination dares go. I don't even have to make a list of her trait...she is just RIGHT in every way.

In a lot of ways it is frustrating but fun that we don't think, do things or act the same way .
Franco will always be our ROCK while I play a hand of black jack and Tasha dreams and dances her night away.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Earrings from Tasha beloved
Days before the 23rd
She was too excited
Or so she stated
Breakfast at La Bodega
With fancy friends and their Prada
Thank you for the lovely present
Which makes me trendy but decent
Hit the gym in the evening
With a trainer that keeps beaming
While pushing till I'm in pain
Otherwise he will go insane
Had my favourite dish
One that's called Rojak Buah
Simple, cheap but ooish
It gathered lots of wahhhh
Played the best tennis ever
With a mate met just months before
Although sore the next day
What an exhilarating experience, I must say
The ritual dinner at Toh Yuen
With the Peking Duck ordered in advance
Always fun to be with family and friends
Right till the very end

Thank you all for the wishes, thoughts, gifts, meals and presence.
They are most appreciated.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Sometimes you go through life wishing that special someone was there to share the blissful moment, or be there when you need a shoulder to cry on.
Admittedly, I only have a handful of those special ones. It could be because by nature, I am an introvert, or maybe, I am simply just difficult.
Friends for me would have to be like the perfect pair of shoes that fits in so snugly and effortlessly and becomes an extension of you. They are difficult to come by but MY GOD when they do...they will be cherished and treasured till the day I die.


Last year, I had the displeasure of having to recruit some fresh graduates for a post with a consulting company. After going through 20 CVs and shortlisted 10, I experienced the most painful time of my life when I interviewed the candidates.
2 out of 10 candidates arrived late. I have no tolerance for tardiness, regardless what the excuse is, so, they were sent home without a chance to be interviewed.
Out of the 8 who arrived in a timely manner, the first one was eloquent but lack enthusiasm. He was quickly dismissed as I would rather have a non-graduate with passion than a Masters graduate without one. It's a shame as he was the most qualified on paper but the slouch and the slur during the interview were something I just could not handle.
The second had an acceptable command of language but was so black or white. I was like that too, but when I was 15, not 25! Wish life is as simple as that.
The third was presentable, but a tuxedo for an interview? I asked him whether he was going to a wedding after the interview but he didn't get the joke. Oh...never mind.
The fourth didn't even last for two seconds. He just stomped in, took a sit without being offered and what got him thrown out was that he didn't even have the courtesy to wish me good morning. So, I wished him good bye instead.
The fifth one was a sweet girl who nearly cried when I challenged her to a debate about how much she was worth. She eventually recoiled and told me it was up to me. Hmm....not exactly a procurer's material.
The sixth insisted that the interview be conducted in BM because her English was not that great. I insisted that she should know not to apply for a job with a foreign company if she was not able to communicate in English, and I further insisted that she left without further ado.
I won't bore you with the rest but you got the drift?


The sunshine of my day

The shooting star in the night

An oasis in the desert

A Noah's ark when it floods

The BCD when I'm drowning

The safety net when I'm falling

The voice of guidance

The cane in the darkness

My solace

My bliss

Thursday, October 16, 2008


We landed on the morning of Hari Raya in Kota Bharu. My sister and her kids were already there waiting for us. The street was almost empty.

As we drove away from the airport, the sound of takbir from the nearby mosque filled the air. Funny how you associated a sound with a certain feeling or a face or a place. For me, the takbir brought back the memories of my maternal grandparents, and the place is Pasir Puteh.

As a child I used to celebrate every first morning of Hari Raya with them. We would get dressed up to the ninth and walked to the mosque and every year, people would comment on how I had grown, since most of them would only see me once a year on this auspicious day.

After the prayers, the adults would stop by at my grandparents for breakfast and the children, hundreds of them would line up to get their RM1 duit raya and Teh Bunga (Chrysanthemum Tea). Nothing gave us more pleasure than seeing a smile on their faces! I remembered how sneaky some of the children were. They would get in the queue over and over again. Not to be beaten by those cunning boys and girls, we implemented the stamp system the very next year!

For 17 years, that was the routine on the morning of the Hari Raya. It was like the groundhog day, with me being a year older each year.

I wonder what Hari Raya means to Tasha? Is it as meaningful as it was for me?


Let's face it....
There is no magic cream, no slimming treatment, nor a gallopping machine that would shed those extra pounds permanently. If there is, we would not have obesity as the number 1 killer in most developed / developing countries.
Seriously, if you are determined to lose weight, there is only one way and that is the old fashion way. Exercise, exercise and more exercise.
However, for some, exercising tend to backfire. I know this for a fact when I was trying to help a friend lose weight. She would go to the gym religiously, spend hours doing a combination of cardio and weight training, only to return home to an enormous dinner! She called it carbo loading as an athlete would do before a competition, but seriously, her work out was not even close to half the intensity of the athletes, but I didn't tell her that!
I was determined to help her lose weight but I couldn't tell a food lover to stop eating, so, I went surfing in a hope that I would be able to give her a list of food and drinks that she can have in abundance instead of giving her a list of Don'ts.
What I found in a nutshell are as follows:
A) Potassium-rich foods are great for helping you to lose weight as they are low in calories and will keep you going for longer. So, try eating more beans, spinach, yogurt and baked potatoes with the skins on.
B) Instead of drinking water, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, beans and wholemeal foods, all of which are packed with H20. It will do your weight loss plan more favours in the long run as you’ll feel fuller for longer.
C) Get enough sleep. Studies have shown that people who get more than seven hours’ sleep a night are less likely to put weight on than those who don’t. Scientific research has also shown that a lack of sleep can reduce levels of the appetite-regulating hormones.
So, now you can "snack and sleep" and still lose weight. Isn't that wonderful?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


In such a fast-moving ever-changing world that we live in today - where jobs are exposed to digitization, automation and outsourcing, one of the abilities that should be developed is the ability to "learn how to learn" - to constantly absorb, and teach yourself, new ways of doing old things or new ways of doing new things.

It is not only what you know but how you learn that will set the person apart. Because what you know today will be out of date sooner than you think.

An excerpt from: The World is Flat

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


This scene took place as soon as Franco returned from Tasha's ballet class a few weeks ago, where he, the one and only ballet dad, caught up with all the gossips (from politics to the Malaysian education sytem) with the ballet moms.
You may think that I am cruel to subject him to this. The truth is, he enjoys the session more than I do, plus, with his "inquisitive" mind, he's normally able to extract info beyond your imagination. So, the session gets very out of hand and very juicy indeed with his presence!
OK....back on track
"We have to find Tasha a new school. They are changing the language medium in her school yet AGAIN!" Franco yelled from the door.
"I don't know why they can't just decide whether the children should be taught in English or BM and be done with the decision. I don't know what inspires the change, after all, it's not like their (the Malaysian politicians) kids are affected. They are all in International Schools anyway," continued my ALMOST Malaysian husband.
I said almost because he has been here 12 years and he is still not able to quite digest that in Malaysia, every issue needs to be politicised.
When we were choosing school for Tasha, I fought for her to be in a Malaysian education system whilst Franco wanted her to be in an International School. Among other reasons, I wanted Tasha to learn Bahasa Malaysia and be proficient at it by exposing her to a more Malaysian-oriented school as opposed to diverse foreign cultures and languages in an International School as she is already experiencing such diversification at home!
I am also very aware that English is a prerequisite in the world that we live in today and possibly for the next few decades.
Putting the 2 together, we eventually compromised on Sri Cempaka as the school offers Bahasa Malaysia as a subject and use English language as a medium for other schooling matters.
ell...not to mention that it is a mere 10 minutes drive from home.
3 years came and went, and what we realised is that the knowledge of the Malaysian language that she possesses barely even scratch the surface of the deeply rooted language. Whilst her ejaan (spelling) and rencana (dictation) are perfect, she has very little pemahaman (comprehension) and struggled to find the correct words to write a karangan (composition). This is frustrating for me because I know what she is capable of doing with the English language (which is not even her mother tongue!)
That was indeed an eye opener for me. I started observing friends and acquaintances around me. My french friends especially, would speak their mother tongue to their kids at all times, regardless of company present. So do my chinese, my german and italian buddies. But when it comes to my Malay compeer, especially the ones in KL, most admit speaking to their children mainly in English. Some even told me that they are far too superior for the humble language!
I am not saying that this is wrong as I am guilty as charged too. But what I have come to realise is that, if we truly want our kids to speak, breathe and think the language, we should start by exposing them to the language where it matters the most, at HOME.