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Thursday, December 10, 2009

ARSENAL versus CHELSEA

Shit Club No history....

Guess which team was shouting this to their opponent?

RETIREMENT


Upon arrival in London Heathrow, we picked up our rented car at Hertz and drove to Stratford upon Avon. Franco was enchanted by the rolling hills, drivers’ good manners, the many public golf courses we passed by and talked about moving to UK for retirement.
The plan was for Franco to retire at 50. That gives us 8 more years to decide on the country of retirement. When he suggested England, my heart missed a beat. I entertained the idea since I lived there for 7 years and still feel like coming home every time I land in Heathrow.
The next day, the appeal of retiring in England was being washed away with every raindrop, at least for Franco anyway.

HARI RAYA HAJI 2009

THE LONDON FLIGHT

Normally, we would all sleep for the most part of the journey. But not this trip – not for Tasha and me anyway.

So, while Franco slept, Tasha played hangman and I resorted to the movie channel. 13 hours of flight and I managed to watch a record breaking of 5 movies in a row:

a) Julie and Julia
b) Adam
c) The Weather Girl
d) The taking of Pelham 123
e) 500 days of Summer

On the other side of the world, mom was tasked to perform Qurban on my behalf. My sister sent me an MMS of the photo with the caption “Lembu Kak” (translation: sis, your cow) just before I boarded! I figured by the time I reached London, the meat would have been distributed to the poor and I would feel a hell lot better to roam the streets of London in search of worldly bliss.
Or is that an oxymoron?

FACEBOOK


Venue: In front of Buckingham Palace, London

Date: 1st December 2009



Mom: It must be so boring to be the Queen. She cannot go out and choose her own Haagen Daaz ice cream, can’t go anywhere without the paparazzi following her, she probably doesn’t even know that you now can do eye lash extensions since she doesn’t go out to the spa to get her beauty stuff done! Hmm…I wonder what the Queen does everyday to fill her time?

Tasha: Well, if she doesn’t have to do any of those things, she will have a lot of time for Facebook! And that must be fun!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

THE LAST WORKING DAYS 2009

My 5 week holiday was fast approaching and my trip to Singapore for the Global Procurement Forum with the Client, that was scheduled 2 days before I left for my vacation, was approaching even faster.
Whilst I was excited about my long awaited vacation, I knew I had a huge hurdle before I could even think about packing my woolies. I had to convince the Client of 2010 Work Plan and without their sign off, all vacation deals with my boss would be called off.
So, off we flew to Singapore for the video conference as the Client was everywhere but in KL. The plan was to spend 8 hours sharing my Work Plan with the Clients and to facilitate global participation, the call had to be scheduled from 4 pm to midnight for the East. Alas...they are the Client.
As we entered the Halo Room, my heart sank when I saw all the top dogs from around the world sitting around the virtual table. Judging from the e-mails and teleconference preceeding this event, I knew everybody had full loaded guns under the table. So, I rehearsed my presentation a million times and played Devil's Advocate with colleagues a billion times more.
I started the Forum with a smile especially directed to the 2 GMs sitting in The Hague and London and told them this story, "A few weeks back I sent my 2010 Work Plan to London for a preliminary discussion, a Plan I was proud to share as it would bring values to all of you in more ways than thinkable. I was confident that I was going to be receiving comments like a job well done, let's cancel the Forum and let you focus on delivering the fabulous Work Plan. Instead, I was accused of starting a guerilla warfare for reasons known only to all of you. To set the record straight, I am a lover, not a fighter, but I am also known for not taking NO as an answer". So, let this Forum begins and let us all speak or forever we shall keep the piece."i

Friday, November 27, 2009

FRIENDLY CHAT WITH THE BOSS

2009 focus at work was to provide strategies to take advantage of the market. The target was to deliver savings amounting to USD 7.5m. With a capex of USD 150m to spend, that translated to a price reduction of 5% which was quite a challenge considering I have to deliver the same across the board - Pakistan included! The fancy term used for the cost savings in Shell's world is VI which stands for Value Improvement!
The incentive for the Consultant was a fee of 10% for every dollar spent if we hit the USD 7.5m mark. It was not just about strategies, operationalising the plan, it was a race against time since, by year end, if we hit below the mark, even by a penny, we will get nothing.
We achieved the magic number in the month of November.
That was just a prelude to what was to follow:
Barry, our Client's rep needed to provide a short article of our key achievement for 2009. His e-mail to Sheldon, our Programme Director, read:
"If you have ready articles I can just copy - that will be great. Clear issues I will include are (1) cost reduction (2) VI achievement (3) time reduction (4) HSSE (5) Innovations? More?"
Sheldon in turn forwarded to us Barry's e-mail:
What do you think? Are we able to help out? I think I have all the HSSE material. I have the latest VI as well. Not sure if there are further cost reduction information.
Since he had the latest VI update,
Lini: I haven’t really done anything else apart from VI this year! So, nothing from me.

Sheldon: Slack ass! Playing golf all year have we?
Lini
:
Yeah...tough to juggle VI in between my golf and tennis. Imagine how much more VI we can get if I had done it on a full time basis!


Saturday, November 14, 2009

RAINY DAYS

It has been raining oh so much these last few weeks. Enough for me to pour out my frustration on this blog!
Since we had to cancel so many games due to nocturnal rains, I shifted some of my tennis sessions to the mornings. With that strategy, I managed to play a fair amount of tennis (Yeeha!) but the setback is that I didn't get into the office until 9.30 a.m.
My boss had never really imposed working hours on us - he just expected all of us to behave professionally! I took advantage of that fact sometimes but I also traded a lot of times with graveyard shift to accommodate our European or American counterparts. So, all is square, or at least that's what I thought. So, when my boss called me into his office on one of my 9.30 start day, my heart missed a bit!
"Shit!" I uttered loud enough to get a few faces peeking from the cubicle to see what was going on. I walked solemnly to my boss' room in anticipation of a long lecture on work ethics etc etc. I formulated a speech in my head to counter every argument I could think off during that short walk.
"The Client has agreed to pay an additional USD 750k in fee for the result of your strategic effort this year!" he announced. With news like that I expected him to be jumping with joy, give me a hug and tell me I am a hero....but he just remained seated and serious.
I looked at his frown and enquired "What's the catch?"
"The catch is that.....whoever gave you a hard time about marching in at whatever time you desire, tell them to sod off!" and with that he finally broke into a smile and offered me a handshake.
"You got me there, you really got me" I shouted as I sprinted out of his office to break the news to my team. A big bonus is coming despite the rainy days, guys....

Monday, November 9, 2009

TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE

“Why did we bother with all the distractions we did? Back home, the O.J. Simpson trial was in full swing, and there were people who surrendered their entire lunch hours watching it, then taped the rest so they could watch more at night. They didn’t know O.J. Simpson. They didn’t know anyone in the case. Yet they gave up days and weeks of their lives, addicted to someone else’s drama.”

I shared the above excerpt from Tuesdays with Morrie with Tasha this morning and the first thing she said was “…. but I love watching Kimora Lee Simmons” to which I replied, “I know but the question is, “why do you bother with her life – she doesn’t even know you and worse, you don’t mean anything to her, and yet you spend so much time on her!”

I left her to ponder the “meaning of life question” for my morning tennis session with Coach Din and hurried to work for 9.30 a.m. meeting.

After the meeting, I went through my Things To Do list and asked Sree to send an invite to all interested to join the Mount Kinabalu climb, the date of which has been set in May next year. Within seconds, Sree came to my room to inform me that Franco has accepted the invitation with a message saying “I will come as long as I can still watch E!News.”

Sree looked puzzled but with that message I know Tasha has also been posing some hard questions to her dad this very morning.

Friday, October 30, 2009

IN MODERATION

Location: Chilli's One Utama
Time: After bowling and before Ice Age 3 on last Friday

"Mom, I love Chilli's. We should come here for dinner everyday, especially, I get to eat for free." Tasha begged.
"No sweety. I know you love the food here but we should always do things in moderation," I reasoned.
"If we have to do things in moderation, why do I have to work so hard for my exam? Shouldn't that (meaning - doing things in moderation) apply to everything?" !?!?!??!?!?
I gave up....

THE Z GEN

MOM: "Girl, what does the DC in Washington DC stand for?"
TASHA: without hesitation, "dot com"....
MOM: @#$%^&^*()

STATES IN MALAYSIA

Franco: Tasha, name me all the states in Malaysia.
Tasha: Start counting Papa..
1. Penang
2. Johor
3. Sabah
4. Sarawak
5. Kota Bharu (Papa: Kelantan lah girl...)
6. Tioman
7. Temerloh
8. Ampang
Franco: OK, Stop...Why do you think Tioman is another state?
Tasha: Because we have to take a plane to get there. Like Sabah and Sarawak.
Franco: Tioman is part of Pahang. How you get there is irrelevant. Mom and I had driven to Phuket, it does not make it part of Malaysia. Understand?
Tasha: Yes, dad.
Franco: Temerloh?
Tasha: Because Auntie Sue is from there?!?!?<@

FIRST DAY OF RAMADHAN

Sahur time @ the dining table of our humble abode:
MOM: Tasha, are you sure you have had enough?
TASHA: Yes mom, I think I will be all right. I just have to make sure I get a lot of sleep today!
And off she went to bed after Subuh while I got ready to go for my Saturday am tennis session with the ladies. At 9.30 a.m. as soon as I got home from tennis:
MOM: Tasha, wake up. You have to go for ballet soon.
TASHA: Thanks mom, I plan to sleep till 10.00 so that I only have to be awake for fasting for 9.5 hours. You have officially prolonged my fasting time by 30 minutes!

FRANCO RENDE

Guys, Just in case you missed last night's news.....

http://www.themessagegroup.com.au/last-nights-news.php?title=20090914-Franco-Rende_create.html

ENGLISH

Mom: What did you get for your English exam, girl?
Tasha: 70 out of 80 for comprehension and grammar.
Mom thought that was quite good considering Tasha didn't put any effort at all, but dad thought otherwise.
Papa: Tasha, that's 87.5%. I expect your English to be in the 90s. You speak English all the time - at home, at school and you speak it EXCEPTIONALLY well.
Tasha: Ya lor....

Monday, July 13, 2009

"TAK NAK" CAMPAIGN

I love this campaign and apply the phrase in almost every aspect of my life.
My colleagues don't even bother asking me for a favour when they know what the answer would be. My Aussies boss cringes when he hears this phrase which also means the end of the discussion for him. My wonderful PA gets a head shake and she knows it carries the same weightage as the phrase.
"TAK NAK" - so short and so not negotiable!

THE UNDERDOG - SEQUEL


Hole No. 2, Par 3, Alam Shah, KGSAAS

Date: 12th July 2009


Tasha made history yesterday when she managed to boogey a 125m Par 3.
The score for this hole:


Lini - Par (3)


Tasha - Boogey (4)


Franco - Double Boogey (5)



Has Papa once again emerged as an underdog, and this time not just against mom but also against his 9 year old daughter?


Double Ouch!!!




Thursday, July 9, 2009

WHEN HARRY MET SALLY

10 years ago, when watching Harry Met Sally, the crowd burst into laughter when Sally placed her order. I was amongst the crowd and I was one of those who thought, how can a person be so fussy. That behaviour is just so intolerable, customer right or not. That was then.
Today at Marmalade, the conversation went:
"Good afternoon mam," the waitress greeted me sweetly.
"Good afternoon," I replied. "Stay and take my order, I am ready now."
Although I have not opened the menu I know the salad menu by heart.
"Sound of Havana salad with dressing on the side, banana boat shake with no honey and low fat yoghurt. And, oh...can you please serve the shake in a take away cup?" I whispered, while looking around me to make sure nobody had heard my tall order.

Monday, June 29, 2009

THE UNDERDOG

"Papa, what does an underdog mean?"enquired the little one.
"Tasha, in the story of the Hare and the Tortoise, who do you expect to win the race?" Franco asked.
"The hare, of course." Tasha replied.
"The tortoise therefore is the underdog. The one who is least likely to win any competition is the underdog." Franco answered.
So, you will always be an underdog when you play against Mom, right? Tasha confirmed.

Ouch...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

TEAMBUILDING AT FRIM













SKM Shell team is big on team buidling. We have this session almost every other month at varying degree. The one in Bangkok in March only involved PMO and the Country Program Managers as it coincided with our Leadership conference. The activities were more extensive and it blew our budget for the whole year. So, last month, we organised one for the PMO and Malaysia Shell team closer to home - at FRIM.
Well done team for being the CHAMPION and thank you FRIM for being so organised and making the activities fun.





BADMINTON MATCH

SKM has been beaten up by Shell in futsal game a few times in a row - not becasue we have a weaker team but we normally do not have enough player turning up for the game!
So, we asked around for a popular choice of game and decided on badminton to ensure we have the number to play against Shell team. They took on our challenge.
The place was Ara Courts and the date was 24th June 2009. We had more than 15 players from SKM and almost the same number from Shell. Indeed it was a good turnout. The question remained whether we were able to prove that we are the KING of the Court.
After we bagged the ladies' doubles, men's doubles and mixed doubles, we knew that dinner that night would be on the Client!

Monday, June 22, 2009

VI

Tasha came up with a game.

She would be hosting a talk show and that I would be her guest.

I asked her, what I should talk about.

And her answer was "VI"!

BOWLING


Saturday is a full day for mom and daughter. Tasha has ballet in the morning, abacus in the afternoon and tennis in the evening, while mom plays tennis in the morning and spend the whole afternoon at the gym. So, come Saturday night, our routine usually involves light activities - such as dinner with some friends, followed by home entertainment, be it WII against the kids, karaoke or chats around the dinner table about everything under the sun.




Tatee called me up a few days ago and invited the whole family for bowling. Since I have not bowled for years, I thought it would be fun for all of us to join her and a few other ex-TKC friends whom I have not seen for years. Plus, it would be a nice diversion from our usual Saturday evening routine.


Turned out, firstly, it was actually a bowling tournament, secondly, I was the only one who didn't know it was going to be a tournament! Thirdly, most of them are hard core bowlers with their own balls and hand guards and eveybody is so serious about reading the grains and strategising their game!


I braved on and played my game - not exactly my best performance but what mattered was that I had so much fun surrounded by people who shaped me into who I am today.
Thank you friends for a wonderful time.










QUOTE OF THE MONTH

A pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity;
An optimist sees an opportunity in any difficulty.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

FINNA GOLF & COUNTRY RESORT



The reception perched on top of the hill

Suci....the only person you need to know in the whole complex.
She arranged for everything to our satisfaction.




My favourite par 3.

If you are a golf addict,
If you are a nature lover,
If you love good food,
If you have kids and need great baby sitting service,
If you love spacious villa with jacuzzi and outdoor shower,
If you love massages that do not cost you an arm and a leg,
If you would like to experience playing at Wimbledon,
(well...this would probably be the closest we would ever get to)
If you love friendly staff who attends to you ever so politely,
If you are looking to relax in a serene environment,
Look no further.

Our Cottage
The Safari



















































MAJAPAHIT HOTEL SURABAYA





The immaculate lawn


The one of a kind room service





Even after 99 years, the hotel still maintains its charm.
Thank you the Sarkies borthers for the magical moments.














Tuesday, May 26, 2009

ANOTHER CANCELLED TRIP

Franco pulled his stunt again, this time two days before the trip.
"Babe, I can't go to Surabaya this week as the deadline for the proposal I am working on has been postponed!"
My initial thought was just to pack my bag, take Tasha with me and just go anyway. I so badly needed the holiday, especially after the gruelling week last week with the Client. But we were going to play golf there and it would not be fun for me to play on my own.
So, here I am...in my office writing my blog when I am supposed to be teeing off in Finna. Life sucks!

BONDING OR REBONDING

Tasha finally agreed to the idea of having short hair (well, not as short as mom's but it would be short enough so that we do not have to tie her hair for school).
On the way to A CUT ABOVE in Bangsar this weekend, Tasha dropped the bomb and told me that she wanted to do rebonding for her hair!
I turned to her and said "At your age, Natasha, the only bonding you will ever experience will be bonding with your mom and dad!"
She was not happy with my reply and I could hear her mutter "I thought you are a cool mom!" but I just let that comment slide.

WII SPORT REVISITED

It's Tasha's birthday week and guess what she asked for....WII Game! I was quite adamant about not having this game in our household, preferring Tasha to indulge in actual outdoor activities rather than virtual ones.
Unfortunately I was not strong enough to keep to my stand. Listening to her plea and reasons, I gave way and as of 24th May 2009, Tasha is a proud owner of a WII game.
Franco spent Sunday "boxing" with Tasha and yesterday I rushed home from work just so that I can play tennis with Tasha virtually. Never would I thought that it would dictate my office hours! This game has indeed brought a new dimension into our lives.....

Thursday, April 9, 2009

DR YEE DENTAL SURGERY

The guilt started seeping in the minute I entered the clinic door. Nevertheless, I brave myself to face the harping! Afterall it has been over a year since I last saw her. The routine check up should be at least every 6 months for one who has a molar that is waiting to crack. But I am no different from any other "Jo"anne. Nobody is diligent enough to go for a routine check up when everything is fine. Yours truly is no exception.
While I was in the dentist chair, with my mouth wide open but not being able to respond to Dr. Yee's comment, she said something which really explained the way I am feeling right now at this stage of my life.
"When you hit 40, you are so confident of yourself because of the years that you have experienced and you really know what you want in your life and you just focus on those things!" It took a second to hit me and it took a few more seconds for her to respond to my request to stop cleaning my teeth and let me talk!
And talk I did - I am exactly at that phase of my life that I pretty much know what I want and how to get it. No more difficult decisions to make - do we live in a house or a condo, which condo to buy, how many kids should we have, which school should we send the kids to, which job do I take, will I like the job and the list of worries continued.
I love the age that I am now but I am also looking forward to the years ahead and see what would be in stall for me in the next 10, 20, 30 years or more. As my dentist puts it, you are probably going to be needing your teeth for the next 45 years, so, let's make sure I see you a bit more often than once a year!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

ROLEX WATCH

One of the things on MY WISH LIST. In fact just yesterday, I sent Franco the specification for the watch I am looking for. It was supposed to be a subtle hint for him to start scoping for the watch and have an idea of the "damage". It has been two days and still no news....I bet you, he is avoiding KLCC lunch so that he doesn't have to face the hefty price tag!

On the same topic, I had an interesting conversation with Hugo last Saturday as he thought I was trying to be posh by buying a Rolex watch, until he heard what I had to say.
I really only have one watch all my life. It was an Ebel and it was a gift from my grandfather for my SPM result. Yep...that was over 20 years ago. It was the only watch I knew and felt comfortable with and I never had to remove it for anything. It just became an extension of my wrist. The watch was so durable that I never had a scratch on it or even when I had one, a good nice servicing at Watches of Switzerland will remove all blemishes. The watch was timeless and it looked perfect most of the time. It died on me 2 years ago and after that I have been struggling with finding a watch that would fit me.

Two years later

Imagine my joy and happiness when I found one that would fit me nicely. The challenge now is to get Franco to sign on the dotted line....

Sunday, April 5, 2009

AEROBIC VERSUS ANAEROBIC

We so often hear people going to the gym to do aerobic exercise but unless you have reached certain level of fitness, anaerobic exercise is probably never heard of.
The term "anaerobic" means "without air" or "without oxygen."
Anaerobic exercise uses muscles at high intensity and a high rate of work for a short period of time. Anaerobic exercise helps us increase our muscle strength and stay ready for quick bursts of speed. Think of short and fast when you think of anaerobic exercise. Examples of anaerobic exercise include heavy weight lifting, sprinting, or any rapid burst of hard exercise. These anaerobic exercises cannot last long because oxygen is not used for energy and a by-product, called lactic acid, is produced.
Lactic Acid contributes to muscle fatigue and must be burned up by the body during a recovery period before another anaerobic bout of exercise can be attempted. The recovery period also allows the muscles to use oxygen to replenish the energy used during the high intensity exercise.
Aerobic exercise, on the other hand, includes lower intensity activities performed for longer periods of time. Activities like walking, jogging, swimming, and cycling require a great deal of oxygen to break down glucose to make the energy needed for prolonged exercise.
Anaerobic exercise is not nearly as effective for directly burning fat as aerobic exercise is. However, anaerobic exercise helps burn fat indirectly by increasing the metabolic rate after the exercise session. Because anaerobic exercise builds muscle and muscle requires energy in the form of calories, more calories are being burned even when the body is at rest.
The efficiency of anaerobic exercise in burning fat compared to aerobic exercise is therefore 5 to 1 and sometimes go up to 7 to 1.

A BITCH IN THE HOUSE

5.30 a.m. and I was wide awake. It is a Sunday and it is supposed to be a sleep in day. But thanks (or no thanks to my insomnia) I have not slept in for the last 20 years...or maybe more.
Saturday 4th April, just yesterday was my 11th wedding anniversary and it was also the day I spent the wee morning cleaning the house, arranging towels and place mats, doing laundry and cooking anniversary dinner for 7.
The logical thing this morning following a hard day's at home on my anniversary day would be to spend the quiet quality time to myself - doing things I enjoy without making too much noise in the process. So, I grabbed the book Sylvia lent me which consisted of 26 short essays. By the time the rest of the occupants of C301 woke up, I finished reading 4 and pretty much had a good idea where the book was heading.
The book got me thinking, especially a day after celebrating 11th year together with Franco what is it that made a marriage last? Especially nowadays when according to Hugo, my buddy who thrives on statistics, 75% of marriages is doomed for failure.
Our marriage is not made in heaven but we are happy together. Not claiming to be an expert, I came up with a couple of theories as to what probably makes our marriage works:
a) Never try to change the spouse - accept him or her as he or she is
(Except when he is self destructing by gorging on kilos of pastas on a daily basis!)
b) Make a list of who does what
(This seems to be the point of contention through out the book! I have no problem in this regard and looking at my list, even you would pick out right away that it was not prepared by my spouse!)
c) Appreciate every little thing one does
(I get way too many kisses I find! So, perhaps, try not to over appreciate!)
d) Laugh at each other's blunder
(We do this a lot! Life is too short to take everything too seriously)
e) Have rules
(We have rules down to who watches TV at what time and for how long)
f) Set financial goals and work towards the same goal
(This is where our mismatch seems to be, but the key is always to make sure your spouse is inching towards yours!)
g) Find out what you are made of, don't ever lose yourself or your identity
(Don't let the surrounding or the people define you! Define yourself)
h) Share everything THAT MATTERS
(Just days ago, Franco sent me text message to share with me the colour of his poo! - that's why the key text is capitalised)
i) Don't ever cheat on each other
(Even before we got married, I have already warned Franco that I would cut his balls if I find that he ever cheats on me - and I think after being together 11 years, I will not hesitate to execute my "light hearted" warning!)
So, do you need A BITCH IN THE HOUSE to make a marriage work? Absolutely.....

Sunday, March 29, 2009

SPORTS MARATHON

After some weight lifting and rpm sessions at the gym, the rain started to pour that changed the plan for the rest of the evening.
I picked the kids up from tennis, and battled the rain to KL. Tasha, Joel and Eloise were having a sleep over at Alain & Michelle's penthouse downtown. It was Alexia's birthday weekend and Michelle was bringing the kids to a kids' spa in Solaris for some massages, manicure, pedicure and hair do! Can you believe it, at that age! I warned Tasha that this is a TREAT and not the lifestyle I expect her to get accustomed to. I think she got the message loud and clear.
The highlight of the evening (or so I thought, then) was the squash game with Alain and Franco at Mandarin Oriental. It was so refreshing to play in an air-conditioning court. Something I can get very accustomed to very quickly. The wall was without any ball marks as if nobody had ever played there. I was told that they had a guy who cleans the wall everytime after you finish a game! No wonder they charge what they charge for the membership there.
In the midst of our game, Modesto dropped by to share his concern about the new technology Brawn had discovered that made them win the F1 race. Suffice to say, this Italian was not happy that Ferrari was not ahead in this new discovery!

The shower at Mandarin Fitness Club reminded me of the shower at Westin Hotel in LA - oh so heavenly! After three hours of workout, it was so nice to just stand under the shower which massaged your back and hit some pressure points. I made a note to get one for the home for the next renovation.

Starving we picked Sylvia up from her place and headed to Chicco for some antipasti and pizza. Rudy, the owner wasn't even aware of the Earth Hour. As it turned out no restaurant on Changkat Raja Chulan observed it. Pretty sad, really.

Anyway, the highlight of the evening was seeing the Blues Gang perform at Havana. The last time I saw them live was probably 10 years ago (or maybe more) at Chilli's in PJ Hilton. They still have the same raspy voice (or raspier, probably from the incessant smoking) and man....they are darn good.

Franco and I were the first one to leave at 11.00 p.m. Blues Gang was great but our priority still remained - To be fresh and fit for a round of golf that awaited us at KGSAAS. You just don't compromise on your golf game! Nobody else could understand that, until we met our flight mate, Yon the next day who commended us for being a true golfer....

Thursday, March 26, 2009

QUALITY TIME


It was school holidays last week. Juggling between work and home was tough as it was a busy week for both Franco and I but we somehow managed to take some time off to be with Tasha.
Franco spent Monday and Tuesday with her while I sneaked out for half a day on Wednesday and took a day off on Thursday for a lot of fun in the sun!
We started the day with a round of golf at KGSAAS which was indeed a lot of sun. Lucky for us, the fun factor was also high as Tasha used her driver for the first time and lo and behold...she was hitting her ball like a true champion. Even Annika would have been proud of her!
Hot and hungry, we showered at the Club and headed to Chilli's in BSC for lunch.

We rushed through lunch so that Tasha can maximise her time roller blading. We only started this activity beginning of this year and she is already blading like a pro. Just as well as I am dying to take her skiing in December this year and I think she will be ready for it!

Tired, we went home and put the Slumdog Millionaire on. The movie was good but not great. Tasha didn't seem to enjoy it much. She would have preferred the more girly movie (chick flick) such as Confessions of a Shopaholic rather than the lives in the slum but we watched it till the end anyway!


All in all, we spent some quality time together, doing stuff both of us enjoyed but most of all, just being together. These are the moments to treasure.


video

Friday, March 20, 2009

DEDICATED TO PAUL MULGREW






To my Sifu

You would have been proud of me a couple of days ago.
The Clients were being anal and I decided to tell them as is!

They laughed thinking it was a joke, but they didn't hear me laughing.

The laugh stopped and there was a moment of silent.

Time for digestion and the moment of truth.

I didn't lose my job for I am your Pendekar who has learnt how to survive in the sea full of sharks.

Thank you for the invaluable experience.

Thank you for giving me the courage to tell the Client as is.

THE AMAZING BANGKOK RACE


FIRST DAY
After some head scratching sessions when Mohan gave his talk on HSSE, the first teambuilding exercise organised by our HR team was the Project Runaway. Given what we have to work with (and who) I think the result was pretty amazing!





The first day ended with dinner with the Client where Barry got a bit drunk and wouldn't let go of his potent cocktail.



SECOND DAY
After the the invigorating talks on Procurement Strategies, Cost Management and Value Improvements, Trails of Asia organised an event ala "The Amazing Race" to add some spice to the trip.




We were split into two groups and had to come up with a team dance. We chose to replicate the All Blacks, but instead with the catchy phrase Simply Red, Simply the Best. Our opponent on the other hand, came up with the sissy song " Yellow Submarine" No comparison......


The highlight of the event was when we had to choose 3 bravest team members to take up a challenge that we know would disgust most people. I stepped in only because there was no volunteer and LOSING WAS NOT AN OPTION. How did I do it? All I know was that when the cover of the tray was open, and I was just about to back off, my team leader John turned to me and said those very same words and with that I started digging into the tray.

After traversing Menam Chao Phraya in striking pink life jackets and hustling the Bangkok traffic in the tuk tuk, we arrived at Wat Po for our next challenge.



We were required to build a bridge using straws and transport a vehicle carrying an egg using remote control on the bridge. I was expecting the bunch of enginners I was with to find the task easy, but engineers will always be engineers. They were so focused on optimising the design that they lost sight of the very essence of the bridge being able to support the load i.e. the remote controlled vehicle. So, our bridge collapsed as soon as the vehicle hit the ramp!



While we were laughing our heads off, the Clients were also there to witness the falling bridge and they were not amused.....






Sunday, March 1, 2009

TRIP TO BANGKOK

Everybody in the PMO Office in KL is getting all frenzied about our trip to Bangkok next week. 3 days, 27 participants from 9 countries. I have two slots of an hour each to talk about Strategic Procurement and Value Management. Trying to make the forum more interactive but with such dry topics, trying to keep them awake would be a challenge in itself.
The other half of the time, there will be a SKM Amazing Race challenge. The organisers are not opening their mouths about what tasks lay ahead of us. As long as there are no eating slimy food and no handling of reptiles, then I should be ok. I even asked my secretary to rig the team to make sure I am not in the same team as one particular person whose verbal capabilities can become a distraction! Yes...it gets very competitive I might add.
For the weekend, Franco and Tasha will be joining me there. We did the temples and the palaces the last two times we were there, so, we are quite culturally oriented with Thai's history. This trip, we'll probably visit a tailor to make a dozen of pants and shirts, do the chatuchak market, cruise the menam chao phraya, walk around Patpong and eat and eat and eat.
I am not looking forward to the conference cause that is a lot of work but I certainly can't wait for the holiday with the family that follows.

PRIORITIES

I know of more tennis players now
But the time to play remains the same
Thought about leaving work early
Colleagues will be furious but I will be happy
Hate to do it
But I did it any way
Boss wasn't too happy
Questioning me of my priority
Everything but work
Was all I said
That left him in daze
But that's the truth, I'm afraid.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

ADRENALIN

It rained all evening today. The tennis court was wet and I definitely didn't want to fight the traffic to go to the gym. While I was looking for some activities to do, my neighbour appeared with some ping pong bats! Wallah...suddenly the gloomy day seemed bright again.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

THE GERMAN MAID

A friend of ours was overseas when we needed a baby sitter on Valentine's Day. So, we decided to borrow her maid for the night.
We greeted her with a BIG welcome, looking at her as our saviour, not just to babysit, but perhaps to help with the ironing and some dishes. She wowed me by completing the task at hand in such a short time. I was impressed, but upon inspection of The Work, I secretly returned all the "ironed" clothes back in the laundry room for re-ironing and quietly stacked up my ever so reliable German maid with all the "clean" dishes and left for the gym.
One thing for sure, we are so glad to be done with a live in maid. Now we just have a few German maids specialising in different tasks nicely tucked in our extended kitchen. The unbeatable qualities of these German maids are that they are silent, undemanding, very reliable and do the job to extreme satisfaction. They may be costly, but they are worth every penny of it as there is no price for the remedy of a heart ache and a bad mouth.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

DAY OF LOVE


We were all dressed up to the 9th...big lapels, frilled collars, bell bottoms, afros, chunky accessories and yes, platform shoes. The place was Leonardo's and the theme was 70s.


Franco and I were never a big fan of Valentine's celebration. The last time we were out celebrating this Day of Love was in Eden Damansara way back in 1997! We were not even married then. I remembered succintly our heated discussion on maths versus languages - we were so loud that we probably spoilt the romantic evening for couples who were trying to "score" that night! For the Malays, the term to describe this is "potong stim!"

12 years later, we are still married, still bickering about useless things and still having fun doing it. 12 years later, it is no longer romantic loud dinner for 2, but for almost a dozen of us who all had to sit on the balcony of the restaurant in honour of the one smoker in our group! But hey, since Mr. Chan knows "people", we obviously did not want to mess around with Mr. Chan's daughter - the highly emotional, forever "have to look glamorous" Pamela.

While we were busy strategising how to make money through Mr. Chan's connection, our light footed friend hit the dance floor and danced the night away in her semi-platform shoes. She was having so much fun that I didn't have the heart to remind her of the morning after effect. In hindsight, I should have...


As with all great parties in Kuala Lumpur, the finale would always take place in a Mamak shop over a cup of teh tarik and a plate of roti canai. As this is one of those parties, we headed to one in Bangsar, to recap the evening's event, and yes...what an evening we had.