Thursday, December 23, 2010


Green Tea Kit Kat

Police on Wheels

We all have heard of the warm toilet seat. Now, you also have the options to deodorise the toilet and have a waterfall background sound while you are doing business.

Simple but elegant lock for the shoe cabinet at the entrance of the restaurant.

Portable bicycle. Can be folded and carried in the bus or train for the long leg of the journey.

In Japan, you never have to learn how to do a three point turn!

Travel while exercise in comfort.

Travellator for the bicycles

3 in 1 tap - soap, wash and dry

Impressed that all cab drivers wear a tie and a suit, but more impressed by the fact that the taxi doors close by themselves!

You will always be able to look in the mirror despite how steamy the toilet is!

Double decker parking

No need for enforcement. You don't pay parking, you can't get your vehicle out!

And of course the Japanese pride, the shinkansen (also known as the bullet train!)


A few days before our Japan trip, I purposely planned to play golf with Emi (a newly found Japanese) so that I can take the opportunity to learn a few Japanese words and get some travel tips from her. She warned me that most Japanese will shy away when asked either for directions or information. Since it came from a Japanese, I took that quiet seriously and did a lot more research on transportation, places to go to etc. than I would normally have done before any other trip. Despite that, we still needed a lot of help when we got there.

Upon arrival from Narita airport, with minimal Japanese (non-existent actually), we managed to get to Tokyo all by ourselves until we got to the metro stations. Tokyo metro stations are more complex than what I am used to - London, New York, even Moscow subway was easier to understand!
While trying to figure out how it all worked, a Japanese gentleman approached us and asked whether he could help us. We jumped at the opportunity but didn't expect him to spend more than 30 minutes helping us. But he did.
He managed to get us the refund for the tickets that we wrongly bought, showed us the office where we can get a day pass and even brought us to the platform where we were supposed to catch the train to our hotel in Hanzomon. What a guy! I couldn't help but request to take a photo with him for I could never repay his kindness, but I hope the photo will remind me of his hospitality so that I can offer him a prayer of good health and wealth.


It was so big that we couldn't even figure out how best to get out of the station. I left Franco and Tasha with the luggage and started scouting for someone to assist us. Armed with just a smile and the name of the hotel, I spotted this young Japanese guy. He had no idea where the hotel was but he was with us good 15 minutes to help us figure out the direction to the hotel. When we parted ways, we wished him the best of luck in his boxing career.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


If you are planning to visit Japan, don't bother packing yout PJs. Most hotels provide either pyjamas or yukata (cotton summer version of kimono).
So there we were, in our matching pjs, ready to sleep off our sore legs after a full day of sight seeing!
Oyasumi nasai (おやすみなさい.........


After following Yus' instruction to the tee, we arrived at the subway station a few minutes before 6.30 p.m. and waited for Marc there. Tasha asked me whether I have met Marc before, and when she heard the negative word, she questioned how I was going to identify him.

I had no idea how but as soon as Marc walked into the station, I knew right away that he was the guy. We did the usual introduction and then followed him on a little tour en route to their abode, where we were told Yus was busy cooking a feast. Just as well as we were starving!

The meal was delicious - nice home cooked miso soup to make us feel warm and fuzzy inside, followed by a vegetable pie and a pasta dish with salad on the side and finished with the eclair, which of course I didn't get to taste as my portion (and I think Yus' as well) was gobbled down by yours truly. In moments like that I felt like I had raised a monster with no eating manners, but Yus is an old time friend, so, Tasha's table manners, or the lack thereof, in her moments of weakness, was brushed off as cute and adorable!
The time we spent with Yus and Marc was too short (or at least it felt that way since time always flew right by you when you were having fun) but next time (we hope), we would plan it a bit better so that we can take on Marc's offer to take us climb Mount Fiji, go skiing or just hang out....


Half way to the hotel from Kyoto train station, Tasha realised that the laundry bag was not with any of us. True enough, Franco did his thing again and left the bag on the train. Silently, I said goodbye to my newly procured Heattech thermal which was in the laundry bag while cursing Franco, under my breath, for being so careless.
The next day, before taking the train to Himeji we decided to check at the Lost and Found at Kyoto station. After describing our laundry bag for less than a minute, the guy typed into his computer for a second and told us that our bag is in Okayama. The procedure is that for us to leave our hotel address and they will mail to us, to be received in 2 days. Since we were moving from one place to another almost daily, we decided to go to Okayama to pick the bag up ourselves. Afterall, it was only one stop away from Himeji, our destination for that day.
An hour later, we found Lost and Found Centre at Okayama Station and true as we were told, found our laundry bag....with everything in tact.
We were so amazed by the honesty of the Japanese people and the efficiency of their system. We later were told that even when a wallet is left on the train or in restaurant, most if not, all the time, the owner will get it back with not even a penny less from the wallet.
"Exclusively in Japan" is all I can say.


View from Shinkansen Hikari from Kyoto to Tokyo.
The Japanese believes that if you are able to sight Mount Fiji, you will be blessed with good luck (apparently, even on normal clear day, there will always be mists that mystify the mountain and make it difficult to be seen from a distance).
I guess I am one lucky girl.....


Is it as good as people say it is? YES, absolutely!


Monday, December 20, 2010


After booking our flight to Japan, the first priority was for me to arrange to at least have a lunch with a friend whom I have not seen since 1989. Instead of accepting our lunch invitation, she invited us to spend the weekend with her at her cottage in Karuizawa - 1.5 hour bullet train ride from Tokyo. So, our Japanese exerience began when we met Akira and Reiri for lunch at Tokyo Station.

After lunch we headed to Karuizawa, which reminded me so much of a little English town. Being a 'kampung' girl, I felt at ease right away with the environ until we hit the factory outlets selling Pradas and Hugo Boss. The prices surprisingly are comparable to the factory outlets in the States, but since we didn't plan for shopping, we did a lot of window shopping and very little buying.

Monday, November 29, 2010


via BB Messenger:

F: Last week everyone at the office here in KL bugged me about all the holidays that I take. This morning Soraya from the Jakarta office gave me a hard time. Screw them all. Let's get the Merc and go on even more holidays - life is too short!
Within seconds I responded to the message:
L: Yeay! See you at Cycle and Carriage after work today, 5 pm sharp. And yes, I will book for our trip to London in summer.
F: Wow...that was fast.
L: Life is too short! You said it yourself! Let's not waste anymore time....

Friday, November 26, 2010


2010 has been a year full of travels for business as well as for leisure.

February - South Africa (leisure: beautiful)
March - Phuket (work: fun in the sun)
March - Singapore (work: unproductive)

June - Jakarta (work: audit)

July - Manila (work: typhoon)

August - Bandung (leisure: Billabong)

September - Kota Bharu (leisure: live to eat)

October - Port Dickson (work: swim)
October - Singapore (leisure: peeling)
October - Bandung (leisure: volcanic)

November - Oman (work: bakhlava)
November - Penang (leisure: wet)

December - Singapore (leisure: I pad?)
December - Japan (leisure: expecting maximum awesomeness)


Date: 25th November 2010
Flight mates: Arnold, Michael and Frank (Franco's friends)

Franco's sms at 12.08: How are my kaki kaki doing?
Franco's sms at 13.05: Sorry, thought you were done. Just wanted to see how you played
Lini's sms at 14.20: 98
Franco's sms at 14:22: Good - I guess you beat the others, correct?
Lini's sms at 14.25: No time for losing, cause I am the champion, of the world
Franco's sms at 14.26: Quoting "Queen" - tres cool!

Friday, September 17, 2010


Thanks to Air Asia. Our flight on the return journey from Kota Bharu was delayed (again).
As a result, we got home past midnight. We all took a shower and went straight to bed.

The next morning:

MOM: Tasha, Can you please go and take a shower?

TASHA: I already showered this morning.

MOM: Don't lie, girl. You just woke up.

TASHA: Mom, I showered at 12.42 this morning when we came back from KB, so, technically, I already have my morning shower.

MOM: !@#$^&*())

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


As usual, I contracted Tasha's baju raya to my dearest sister, Roza so that all the cousins will have matching clothes. I allow this little indugence because they look so adorable all together and i can't say no to this priceless experience!
However, for Franco et moi, for the 5th or 6th years running (or porbably longer than that), I haven't made myself new baju raya, preferring to wear whatever I have from my existing wardrobe.
Afterall, Ramadhan is the training ground for resisting pleasure and indulgence in life.
With that in mind, why then should raya be a celebration of extravagance and excessiveness?

Monday, September 6, 2010


Swave is the new craze....

After Tasha's Grade 4 music theory exam this morning, I decided to buy her her own swave board since all the while she has been borrowing Tia's.

So, we headed to One Utama and found one at the first store we went in - Studio R.
She couldn't control her excitement and started swaving in the mall.

19th MAY 2010

Probably the worst day of my professional life. The event was too stupid to be repeated here but one of the outcomes served as a revelation for me.
While I was being bashed by the Clients (I won't get into details here cause I don't want you to think that our Clients are a bunch of insecured jokers!), he stood by in my defence while the rest of my team scrambled to sell their soul (and mine) to save their skin.

SHELDON KRAHE - You are the best boss ever.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


For two years in a row, we have been delinquent with the renewal of our road tax.
Last year we drove all the way to Singapore only to be refused entry by car and escorted out of Singapore.
This year, we did the same thing again, only the repercussion is not so serious (not yet....since I have not received the renewal). I am trying to stay out of the radar and it is just so hard to drive 80km/h on the road I am used to at least double the speed!
Had Sharma still be around, I would NEVER be in this predicament. We miss you Sharma.

n.b: Sharma was Franco's driver for more than 10 years. His official title was actually "Asset Manager". He passed away in his sleep 2 years ago and his replacement was not even half as good as he was.


We finished playing squash with some neighbours and our special guest, Carrie Yeoh (who used to be on the National team) and his adorable son of 8 years old, when the son turned to Franco while pointing at me and asked,
"Is that your daughter?"
Franco didn't find it amusing and resolved to dye his white hair while I gloated the whole night!

Monday, August 30, 2010


In My Hand I Hold A Ball,
White And Dimpled, And Rather Small.
Oh How Bland It Does Appear,
This Harmless Looking Little Sphere.

By Its Size I Could Not Guess,
The Awesome Strength It Does Possess.
But Since I Fell Beneath Its Spell,
I've Wandered Through The Fires Of Hell.

My Life Has Not Been Quite The Same,
Since I Chose To Play This Stupid Game.
It Rules My Mind For Hours On End,
A Fortune It Has Made Me Spend.

It Has Made Me Curse And Made Me Cry,
And Hate Myself And Want To Die.
It Promises Me A Thing Called Par,
If I Hit It Straight And Far.

To Master Such A Tiny Ball,
Should Not Be Very Hard At All.
But My Desires The Ball Refuses,
And Does Exactly As It Chooses.

It Hooks And Slices, Dribbles And Dies,
And Disappears Before My Eyes.
Often It Will Have A Whim,
To Hit A Tree Or Take A Swim.

With Miles Of Grass On Which To Land,
It Finds A Tiny Patch Of Sand.
Then Has Me Offering Up My Soul,
If Only It Would Find The Hole.

It's Made Me Whimper Like A Pup,
And Swear That I Will Give It Up.
And Take To Drink To Ease My Sorrow,
But The Ball Knows... I'll Be Back Tomorrow.

Stand proud you noble swingers of clubs and losers of balls....


Maalox and nose drops and needles for knitting,
Walkers and handrails and new dental fittings,
Bundles of magazines tied up in string,
These are a few of my favourite things.

Cadillac's and cataracts, and hearing aids and glasses,
Polident and Fixodent and false teeth in glasses,
Pacemakers, golf carts and porches with swings,
These are a few of my favourite things..

When the pipes leak, When the bones creak,
When the knees go bad,
I simply remember my favourite things,
And then I don't feel so bad.

Hot tea and crumpets and corn pads for bunions,
No spicy hot food or food cooked with onions,
Bathrobes and heating pads and hot meals they bring,
These are a few of my favourite things.

Back pains, confused brains, and no need for sinnin',
Thin bones and fractures and hair that is thinnin',
And we won't mention our short, shrunken frames,
When we remember our favourite things.

When the joints ache, When the hips break,
When the eyes grow dim,
Then I remember the great life I've had,
And then I don't feel so bad.


On the third day in Bandung, Tasha grew tired of the Factory Outlets and decided not to follow us in our search for golf clothing. To accommodate her request, we decided to limit our outing to 2 hours, and during our absence, I arranged for her to have a manicure and pedicure at the hotel spa and she was to spend the rest of the time at the club lounge.
Upon our return, we went straight to the club lounge only to find that she was no where to be seen there. We checked the hotel room and she wasn't there either. I was getting angry by the minute and worried that she had gone into the pool even though there was clear instruction for her not to go anywhere near the water without us around.
We headed to the pool area nevertheless and there she the poolside with a bunch of cyber people, competing to build the tallest structure using a few pieces of cardboards.
According to unreliabe source, she had been "invited" (although I think she probably had volunteered herself will be a more likely story) to participate in the Microsoft team building activities!


For 5 years, we endured the double classes before the exam, daily practices prior to the concerts or performance, the sewing of sequins and endless purchases of make ups and hair pins....
For 5 years we fought who picked her when, who would do the video and took the photos of the performance, who would do up her hair and how....
For 5 years, we cried when we saw her on stage, gracefully moving on her tippy toes...

All that came to an end this July.
Tasha was sad to leave her friends and teachers behind but let me tell you...her decision was such a relief for us.
N/B: For parents who aspire their kids to be ballerinas, think before you commit!


The duo running the half marathon
The unexpected happened - I tossed and turned the night before the race and finally managed to get in just under 4 hours of sleep.
Not to be deterred by this setback, we woke up at 4 as planned and fuelled ourselves with bread, bananas, dates and juices.
When the race started, the expected happened. The pressure started to build up in my shin and it was so intense that I had to stop running and start walking.
The thought of quitting at that point ran through my mind a million times or maybe more but I pressed on, hoping that with every step that I took the pressure will be reduced and eventually withered away. It did after 4 km after which I started running and didn't stop (well, except for water and 100 Plus breaks) until the finishing line.
I overtook Franco on the 14th km, gave him some Power Gel and sped on to finish in 2:20.
Very happy indeed that I have achieved another milestone in my life. The next will be the Newton Run 30km in Singapore @ 10/10/10


The Factory Outlets are everywhere in Bandung.
We didn't have much time for shopping as most of our days were spent on the golf course. However, we did check out Jalan Setiabudi (Rumah Moda, Mode Plus, Donnatello), Jalan Riau (Oasis, Secret, Heritage) and Dago (Blossom; Jetset). Our favourites are probably Rumah Moda and Blossom since we spent the most time here.
The prices are good as compared to Factory Outlets in the States but the difference is that in the States each brand has its own outlet whereas in Bandung, each outlet carries so many different brands and sometimes you end up going through the same materials in different outlets.
So, be prepared to spend a lot of time shopping, even if you know what you are looking for.


Mountain View Golf Club
A swing of a champion

Tasha getting advice from her caddy
Papa enjoying the view from the back of the buggy

La famiglia enjoying their short golfing break in Bandung

Tasha's second round of 18 holes @ 27th August 2010
She played well here, partly because she had played 18 holes just the day before and felt more relaxed about finishing the game, her personal caddy was very chatty (to her liking) - they talked about Blackberry to America's Next Top Model while walking the course, the weather was so pleasant and best of all, she was in top form.
She nailed the speed of the green, her irons were just solid rock and the combination scored her 141 strokes - not bad for a budding golfer!

This was an expensive round of golf but well worth every penny for Tasha to have her first taste of how fun golf really is.


The paddy terrace

The narrow fairway

The undulating terrain

Dago Endah a par 70, (about 1 km shorter than an average golf course) may lack in distance but it makes up for it by having such a challenging layout. The fairways are very narrow and take the shape of paddy terraces. Once off the fairway, the borrowed fairway will be either below or above the hole you are playing. The contour of the fairway is undulating, there is no half way hut or rest room on the course, and with the latter especially, there never was a dull moment at Dago Endah.

Tasha played her first 18 holes, it makes the experience even more memorable.