Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year 2008 to all

It's still too early to get ready for new year countdown so I thought of writing my last post for 2007.

In 8 hours 11 minutes I'm going to say good bye to 2007 and welcome 2008 with hope of a better things in life.
On this great opportunity, I'm going to do the flashback to highlight some great things that happened in 2007.

2007 has been a great year for me. Things are definitely getting a lot better towards the end of the year. In fact, this year's Christmas is the best Christmas I have had since I moved to Malaysia. It was a simple Christmas as I told you before in my previous post, but what made it the best is that I celebrated Christmas with people that mean the most to me with all the love and affection and joy that I never had before. I felt very happy because I did not have to go to places where my heart refused to go. So I didn't have to pretend to be happy and this has really made me happy. Sounds confusing, huh? :D

In November 2007, my very best friend came to visit me from the faraway land. Her visit cheered me up and brightened up my days. That was a visit I had been waiting for 3 years. Her visit meant a lot to me and to my mental health... :)

Before her visit, I went back home with my husband and son for Idul Fitri holiday and got a chance to meet up with my cousins whom I hadn't met for years. In June-July, my folks visited me and they brought along my beloved uncle and aunt. I never had so many companies and so many people cooked for me before. Their visit also meant a lot to me and I would love them to visit me again in 2008.

And then, the biggest, the greatest moment happened in May 2007 because one of my dream has been fulfilled. I finally managed to visit Vatican, and not only that. I also managed to kneel down and pray in front of the tomb of the great Pope John Paul II. Who am I for I am so blessed? I am only a teacher's daughter with great traveling experiences.
Thanks to my great friend who tried to keep his promise though it took him 10 years to fulfill it. Thank you, my friend! I am very blessed to have you back as my best friend. Yeah...I 'lost' 1 friend but I 'found' my long-lost best friend back in 2007.

Continue on...
In April 2007, I got a chance to visit Malacca. Though it was only 2 day-trip, it has left great impression on me. I hope someday I could visit Malacca again.
In March 2007, I visited Singapore and met a number of old friends whom I miss a lot. That 5 day- trip was great. I took my son to Sentosa Island for the first time.
In late February early March 2007, I went back home and stayed there for nearly a month. It was quite the longest stay for the past 4 years. I attended the important meeting with WRM (We R mommies) in conjunction with its 3rd birthday. I met many new great friends in there.
Then finally, since end of December 2006 until early February 2007, I was very busy with my husband's family to prepare the Chinese New Year, the year of Pig.

As you can read above, I did not have a quiet year in 2007. It is a traveling year for me.
But in 2008, I won't be traveling too much because my son will start his kindy in January and I have promised my husband to learn Mandarin together with him...;)
Let's see...hopefully, by end of this year, I will be able to speak Mandarin so that I can start planning to visit China in 2009..upppsss..then I'll miss the Beijing Olympic 2008... :(
But it's ok. I want to visit China to see the Great Wall and to visit my friend.
Yeah...I think 2008 is going to be a 'quiet' year for me. It's going to be a year of learning and collecting new skills.
I hope 2008 will bring more joy, luck, wealth, health, and happiness for every one because according to the Chinese, 2008 is a good year. Though I am not Chinese, I'm married to one so it makes me half Chinese already... :)
Oh by the way, I almost forget. 2008 is a leap year! Yay! Another leap year is coming! Yay! I'm jumping for joy. You know why? because I will be able to celebrate my 2nd wedding anniversary! I pray so that 2008 will also be a great year for me and my marriage life.

I still have many dreams to fulfill and I am a person with strong determination. When I want something, I will try to get it no matter how long it takes.

So, to every one who visits The Coffeeliqueur way, Happy New Year 2008! May this 2008 will bring all great things in your life so that 2008 will be a great year for you all.
Come back often just to see if I can speak Mandarin already... :)

Friday, December 28, 2007

Flood and landslide in Indonesia

I have just talked to my dad on the phone and he asked me to go read the latest news about Indonesia. It's news about flood and landslide which claimed many lives in Java island caused by very heavy rain that can last for hours.

My dad who is in Yogyakarta and is supposed to drive to Surabaya tomorrow is thinking of canceling the trip to Surabaya because of heavy flood around the Bengawan Solo area.
My dad told me that it rains heavily everyday in Yogyakarta and the hilly area such as Tawangmangu has been hardest hit by the landslide. Oh my God! Tawangmangu that I know is a very beautiful place. I used to visit this place for vacation to see the waterfall.

As I'm writing this post, I'm reading the online news about my country at Metro TV online.
The bad news keeps popping up as the headlines. The flood also happens in Jakarta (not surprise about this), in West Sumatera, and other parts of Indonesia.
Indonesia is very prone to natural disaster, especially during the end of the year. I don't deny the fact that Indonesia geographical position is not actually in a good position either. Being in the pacific ring of fire makes Indonesia very prone to earthquake and any volcanic related disasters. Years of deforestation has left many areas in Indonesia, especially in Java island, with very little vegetation to hold the soil and this has caused the flood and landslide during tropical downpours. Don't forget about forest conversions and chaotic spatial planning that happens in every part of Indonesia. On top of that, many Indonesians still adopt the attitude of I-don't-care-about-other-people-and-my-next-generation-as-long-as-I-get-what-I-want-now towards the environment and the government is also not pushing any 'love the environment' policies hard enough. They only act when the disasters strike. It's a bit too late, isn't it?

As 2008 is approaching, I hope to hear better news about Indonesia and in the mean time I can only pray hard so that my country always survives any tragedies and natural disasters, the number of victims reduces and every one can get back to normal life as soon as possible.

Click here if you want to read the complete news.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

All I want for Christmas is Doraemon

Anyone knows Doraemon? If you like Japanese cartoon character, I'm sure you'll know Doraemon, the blue cat-like robot that has a magic pocket full of anything you want (I should rather say, Nobita wants). Nobita is Doraemon's friend who likes to cry and when he cries his tears pouring out heavily every where...:D

When I was small, I loved to see Doraemon in the TV together with my brother. After I woke up from a nap and took shower, I would be ready to watch the show while waiting for dinner to be ready. Even when I was in college, my flatmate called me Nobita because I used to cry a lot and when I cried, my tears poured out every where just like Nobita...:D

So, when I knew Doraemon was coming to town, I didn't want to miss the opportunity to relive my childhood memory. I took my son to get up close and personal with Doraemon after the Sunday mass just before Christmas.
Actually, my son doesn't really know who Doraemon is and he didn't seem so interested at all...:( It was me who tried my best to get as close as possible to this blue cat-robot. My son was more interested in the fake snow falling down from the snow-making machine...:)


This was the stage for Christmas with Doraemon.





Before Doraemon came out, there was a choir caroled to cheer up every one that visited the mall.




Doraemon!! This was as close as I could get...:)






This is Nobita. My son who was with my maid actually bumped to him so close but I was somewhere up in the 2nd floor to get this photo.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2008

Looks like Christmas this year is going to be the simplest Christmas I have so far.

I only received 1 card so far and I don't put up any Christmas decorations at all in my house; no Christmas tree, no presents, and not even a 'Merry Christmas' sign. My house is so plain as if I did not celebrate Christmas at all.

Up to present, I still cannot decide where to go for my special Christmas diner. I have been to almost all restaurants in Ipoh that supposedly serve good food... :)
Unfortunately in Ipoh there are very limited choices of fine dining restaurant to go to for a special occasion like Christmas. Unlike Penang, Selangor, and Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh only has a few fine dining restaurants such as Indulgence and Brewster for western food, Oversea and Tai Thong for chinese food. So, I really have no idea where to go for my Christmas feast because I am not in the mood to travel for 2 hours (sans traffic jam) to Penang or KL just to eat.

Anyway, that's not important. The most important thing for me during Christmas is that I get a chance to spend more time with my husband and my son.
Merry Christmas and in case I don't have a chance to go online, Happy New year 2008 to you all.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Telefon bimbit, had, and telor mata kerbau

My Indonesian friend came over to visit me from a far away land and this was her 1st visit to Malaysia.

When I took her for a drive around the city, she admitted to me that she got confused with Bahasa Melayu (Malay language) spoken here in Malaysia. I was very surprised when she told me this because I thought she would not have difficulties understanding Bahasa Melayu at all since she comes from Sumatera island. I thought the melayu people in Sumatera speaks the same Bahasa melayu like the Malaysians. So, when she told me that the language is completely different, my eyes were round and my mouth was gagged in disbelieving her explanation.

Her confusion in Malay language started when she was on board of the aircraft on the way to Kuala Lumpur. She said she could not understand what it means when the flight attendant mentioned about telefon bimbit in the airplane. The word sounded so strange to her ears.

I told her that usually telefon bimbit is mentioned together with cakera padat and komputer riba by the flight attendant making the safety announcement on board. "Yes..Yes..that's right!" she said. I informed her that telefon bimbit means cellular phone, cakera padat means compact disk, and komputer riba means laptop. "Whua...ha...ha..." I heard her laughing so loudly and continued "I always thought komputer riba means something bad because 'riba' in Indonesian language means lintah darat (usury - english)." "Whe..he..he.." It's my turn to laugh now... :D
Then I continued, "Yeah...the same one as the word 'budak'. Budak in Malay language means kanak-kanak (children - english) but in Indonesian language means slave."

"Oh gosh! It's better to speak English then and just understand the English version because even though I do understand bahasa melayu, some of the words means completely different from words I understand." my friend concluded.
"Yes, that's right. But when you stay in Malaysia long enough, you'll learn to speak like the Malaysians and you'll grow to understand the differences of the 2 languages." I told her.

Then when I was about to turn into a one way road, my friend read a sign board that says, "Jalan sehala". She started her inquest about the difference in Bahasa Indonesia and Bahasa Melayu again. "What's that 'Jalan sehala'? I don't remember bahasa Indonesia has that word." She said. I smiled at her. While continued driving I explained to her that 'jalan sehala' means 'one way road' or 'jalan satu arah' in bahasa Indonesia.
Then I heard her saying, "Kalau gitu, jalan dua arah bahasa melayunya jalan 2 hala?" (That means, 2-way road in malay language is jalan 2 hala?)
"Yeap. That's right.", I nodded.

Then I drove into a tunnel. In front of a tunnel there is a sign board that mentioned about the height limit of vehicles that can pass through the tunnel. My friend asked me again, "What is 'had'?"
"It means 'limit' or 'batas' in bahasa Indonesia.", I answered. "Oh...I see..", she said.

"Geez!! I never expected that Malay language is a lot different compared to Indonesian language.", my friend told me.
"Well, I thought at first you would easily understand the Malay language because you come from Sumatera where all the malay-Indonesian live.", I said.
"Yah...but we have our own malay-Indonesian language which is different. Each area has its own local dialect, such as the people in Medan speak different dialect compared to people in Padang and Palembang or Riau.", she explained to me.
"Yes. I agree.", I understand her explanation.
"Luckily, I have you to help me translating the Malaysian language to me. Otherwise, I would misunderstand everything and get more confused with these strange words that sound funny to my ears. By the way, you already have that Malay accent! You don't speak like a Javanese anymore!", my friend told me.
"Wha...ha..ha..Thanks mate!", I blushed... :D

I was glad that another person has proved it that Malay language is not the same as Indonesian language and admitted that it's better to use English to avoid misunderstanding since most Malaysians understand English while at the same time trying to understand the Malay language in Malaysian way, not the Indonesian way... :)

Just yesterday, I found another Malay words that sound so strange and funny to my Indonesian ears. The word is 'telor mata kerbau'. If I translate these words one by one:
telor (egg - english) - telur (Indonesia)
mata (eye - english) - mata (Indonesia)
kerbau (buffalo - english) - kerbau (Indonesia)
But the whole words actually mean sunny side-up egg. In bahasa Indonesia, we also have nearly similar expression, but we use 'cow' instead of 'buffalo', so sunny side-up in bahasa Indonesia is telur mata sapi...;)
I wonder what my friend would say about this...he..he..he..

Thursday, December 06, 2007

When you come and go and say nothing at all

When you come to visit me from the far away land, it is for the first time I have a genuine smile on my face. The smile that is so warm and so encouraging to tell people that I can face the world.

Even a week before you come, for the first time, I have completely lost my anger to the world and got back my sanity. Nothing could seem to ignite my anger and disappointment. Suddenly everything seemed so bright and beautiful. This continues on for 3 days you are with me.

Then you go away...
Your departure brings back all the anger and the disappointment in me.
I am back to the insane me trying to face the world on my own.

You and I know exactly that 3 days are not enough to redeem the time we have lost for being apart. The moment we are together, we realize that things have changed. Things are not the way we had when we were together. We know we have to move on and try our best to maintain the bond despite all the changes. So, we let things flow and say no word to avoid confrontation because we treasure this rare reunion so much more than anything else in the world.

You often stressed to me that everything happens for a reason and to me, God has a very good reason to let me have you as my best friend, my angel without wings and I thank God for this.

Thank you for taking good care of me when I am in dire need of a company. You are there for me any time any way. I'm sorry for not being able to repay this. I was incapacitated myself when you needed me but my dear friend, my prayers are with you always where ever you are and what ever you do.

Thank you for the best 3 years and 3 days in my life.


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Let's get busy

It's 6:08pm when I started to write this post and I have been up and have been working for 12 hours straight. No lunch break and no shower yet for the whole day...wha..ha..ha.. :D

Excuse the smell but I really need to finish my work for today. Once I finish writing this post, I'll fly to take a shower and have my 1st meal for the day. Fuih!! I'm starving now that I realize I haven't eaten the whole day. I only had a cup of decaf with creamer in the morning to wake me up a bit.

After being absent for more than a month, today, I'm trying to revive my items sold on eBay Malaysia. This is my 2nd online store actually. My 1st online store is at http://artatyourleisure.multiply.com.

I have been selling stuffs online for 1.5 years now. I've received 100% positive feedbacks from my customers who were happy to deal with me.
Lately, ebay Malaysia has upgraded its website and service. It started to apply charges on some services which were free. But I still have to use it until I can have my own domain name.

Unlike my 1st online store, Art at your leisure, which concentrate mostly on art and craft projects, my 2nd online store on eBay Malaysia sells many different things which are good bargain, unique, and beautiful. Since the items are located in Malaysia, I use Ringgit Malaysia for the price. The price is very reasonable (some are very cheap) especially if you earn Pound sterling/Euro for a living... ;P
You can check it out. My items are great for gifts for people you love and care about. I use Pos Malaysia to ship my item.

This is the least I can do to help my husband to pay the bill. I know this is nothing at all compared to the amount stated on the bills...whe..he..he.. :D
At least this will keep me really really busy (honestly! Working at home is a lot busier than working in the office) and this will also exercise my multitasking skill to the maximum to compete with the Intel Processor... ;) so that I learn to manage my time well and prioritize my duty as a mother, a house-queen, a home-based businesswomen while still trying to stay fit by going to the gym and exercise regularly. Geez, 24 hours is never enough!






Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Another alternative for MS Office - free

Who doesn't love free stuffs? My eyes and ears are always on the look up for anything that is free or gratis.. :D, especially if that free stuff is a great item which will cost me a fortune to have the same/similar thing somewhere else.

So, this morning, when I was browsing the newspaper, I came across an article about IBM Lotus Symphony.
IBM Lotus Symphony is an office productivity suite that consists of Lotus Symphony Documents, Lotus Symphony Spreadsheets, and Lotus Symphony Presentations and is available for free-download.

Great! There is another alternative office productivity suite for MS Office and it is FREE!!
This is great! So, this Lotus Symphony is joining OpenOffice.org for this free-to-download office productivity suite market.
Another alternative product(especially the free one) for this suite pack is very good for us so that we don't depend on MS Office all the time. Office users should try to look into these alternatives and learn to use them.

I met many people (who are pure office pack users and are not internet savvy) who do not know that there are other similar software to MS Office that are available for free. They only know MS Word and friends. They are only familiar with this MS Office suite and do not dare to try alternative softwares which are similar to MS Office pack. The problem is...MS Office is very expensive, especially the one for business!

So, yeah...this news from IBM is great. We will have more options to learn and get familiar with.

You can read more information about IBM Lotus Symphony and download the software for free here:
http://symphony.lotus.com/software/lotus/symphony
or here:
http://www.softpedia.com/get/Office-tools/Office-suites/IBM-Lotus-Symphony.shtml

Read about OpenOffice.org and download it for free here:
http://www.softpedia.com/get/Office-tools/Office-suites/OpenOfficeorg-for-Windows.shtml

Monday, November 05, 2007

Thomas and friends birthday treat

There was no crafted scary looking pumpkin sitting in front of my door for the Halloween but instead, there was a cute innocent looking of Thomas the train face carefully drawn as part of the decorations for my son's birthday cake.

Yes, that's right. My son celebrated his 3rd birthday last month and I had to creatively come up with my own trick to have Thomas and friends birthday treat for him.
It was a last minute change of plan from Kipper the dog theme to Thomas the train theme because my son suddenly felt tired of seeing Kipper all the time.
For the past 2 weeks before the D-day, I had been digging out any information from anyone and of course from the internet, courtesy the lovely mr. know-it-all-Google.com, so that I could print my son's favorite cartoon character on his birthday cake. I really wanted to see his big big smile when he saw the cake for the first time. I racked my brain to mix and match any edible materials to get Thomas' face pasted on the cake. It's frustrating but it was fun to do. I baked the chocolate cake on the night before the big day.
The next day, I woke up at 5am to get Thomas' face ready before I decorated the cake.
Since my family is anti-butter sugar icing, so I decided to use cream cheese instead to frost the cake.

By 8 o'clock the Thomas birthday cake was ready. My husband was very surprised to see the cake. He never knew I could make such a cool cake before. I had to keep the cake in the fridge first before starting to decorate the whole house with all things Thomas and his friends. I made all the decorations by myself including the birthday boy hat.

At 10 o'clock, the birthday boy woke up and got out of the room. He had a very big smile on his face though his eyes were still half opened. He walked towards the dining table. His smile was even bigger now and his eyes were widely open for he was so amazed to see all his beloved cartoon characters, lead by Thomas the train, were displayed on the dining table. He gasped and said, "It's my birthday...today!". He sounded exactly like Jake (when Jake celebrates his birthday), one of his favorite characters in Kipper the dog show. I kissed him and said, "Happy birthday, sweetheart. Yes, it is. Today is your birthday and you turn 3 today."

After he drank his milk, I shoved him to the bathroom to get ready for his birthday party. Not too long, he came out again from the room wearing Thomas and friends T-shirt and pants. I put on his birthday boy hat right away. He looked extremely cute. He looked even cuter when he saw the birthday cake I brought out from the kitchen. He giggled to see his Thomas birthday cake complete with the train miniature and 3 lighted candles.

Once every one was ready, we started the birthday party. Since my son hasn't gone to school yet, he only had his mommy, daddy, his nanny, Kipper the dog and friends, Little Einstein, and of course Thomas and friends to come to his birthday party.
We all sang Happy birthday to him and my son, he just could not wait to blow the candles. He kept on blowing the candles even when we haven't finished singing the birthday song. After blowing his candles for 3 times, he insisted to cut the cake by himself. So, I let him cut the cake.
"Oh no! I cut Thomas, mommy!I cut Thomas!" he screamed. I laughed so loud I could not hide it. I knew he was going to say that. I helped him cutting the cake and gave it to every one. The chocolate cake was sooo delicious. I made the chocolate cake to suit my son's taste. Every one loved the cake.

On that day, my son was not the only one who was over the moon. I was very happy to know that this simple birthday party was a success, especially the Thomas birthday cake.
On that day, my son was not the only one celebrating. Me too, I was celebrating my 3 years of motherhood.
My son is 3 now and he is going to kindergarten soon. Oh how time flies! I still remembered clearly from the first day I conceived him, delivered him, breast-fed him, changed his nappies, carried, rocked, and sang lullaby for him for hours until he slept. He is a little man now who is very talkative, active, and smart. No matter how fast he grows up, to me, he will still be my cute little boy, the magic that God has created in me.

Happy birthday, baby! I love you very much. My prayers are with you always.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

For a moment...


It is a lot easier to say "Face your fear and deal with it" to someone else than to yourself. I fully realize this today when the lump I found on my right chest next to my armpit two days ago still did not go away. It really scared daylight out of me every time I told my self that I had to see a specialist. I would never be ready to hear the result if this is really a breast cancer or not. It's every woman's nightmare to be diagnosed with a breast cancer. I kept on thinking about my son and his future, about my parents, my husband, my brother and his family, my friends, and all other people that have touched my life. For a moment I saw my life flashing before my eyes and I broke down in tears because I was so afraid and so worried. But then again, I really need to know if this lump is a breast cancer or not.

When I woke up early morning to get ready to accompany my husband checking out the best kindy for my son, I saw there was something different about my upper body shape when I put on my bra. I thought my bra was too tight, so I changed to a bigger one. But that 'extra meat' still sticked out of my bra. I could not believe my eyes! I suddenly remembered clearly what I should do to check for any signs of a breast cancer. No matter how I tried to hide that extra meat, I still could see it. I called my husband to help me to check as well. He did feel and see the swollen on my right chest next to my armpit but he told me that it would most likely be my muscle. I felt a little bit better because I remembered I did my yoga exercise in the gym the night before and at that time, I had to do many push-ups.

But I was not completely relieved because I kept on questioning my self what if this is more than just a muscle. I texted my parents and they told me the lump might just be my body fat because I am overweight and they kept on telling me to reduce my intake and loose weight.
I felt even worse because I have been on diet (and I got gastric and stomachache) and I have been diligently going to the gym to shed some pounds.

I browsed the internet for any information about breast cancer. Overweight and poor diet can also be the factors that can cause a breast cancer. Oh please God! Give me a chance to take care of my son longer. This has been my short prayer since 2 days ago. I also spent more time with my son. I hugged him and kissed him more. I realize how life is so precious with my son in it. I realize how thin the line that separate life and death. One moment you are so much alive, the next moment you could be gone taking only your sinful soul.

I could not bear to think about all these alone. I really felt so lonely as always, and even lonelier when I had to face my worst fear. I knew I had to go and get my lump checked by a specialist before it was too late. So, before I could pluck up my courage to listen to any words that would come out of the specialist's mouth, I needed to give a call to my beloved friend, one of my many angels in my life. She told me to face my fear and deal with it. Whether I liked it or not, I had to get a proper check on my lump. Yeah...she's right. I cried for a while because I was so terrified.
After I hung up the phone, I dragged my self to go to the hospital. Along the way I could not stop praying so hard asking God for a second chance. I was like a zombie walking towards the customer service in the hospital. I could not even remember the clinic number where the specialist is. I just walked away like a lost child, asking many people whom I should see for my case. I went to many different clinics before I finally went to right one. I visited a general surgeon. There I realized that I forgot to bring my ID. Luckily, the hospital already has my detail in the database. The fear got into me again when the door was open for me.

The surgeon asked me to sit down and told him what happened with me then he asked me to lay down so that he could check my lump. "Where is the lump?", he asked me. I pointed the lump to him. He checked it thoroughly both sides and said, "This is nothing. This thing is part of your breast and the hard part is your muscle. There is nothing to worry about."
Oh God gracious!! Thank you very much for the second chance! I felt so relieved! I covered my face and could not stop saying Thank you God. I heard the surgeon said, "I know you were very worried, but if in 3 months you see that lump develops, you have to see me again. I may have missed something else." Oh God, please...I don't want to return to him. I want my second chance. I know I sound so selfish but honestly, I still want to see my son for as long as possible.
I really hope the surgeon is right that this lump is just part of my breast and my muscle that get bigger because I exercise a lot.

For a moment I saw my life flashing before my eyes. For a moment I did a bargaining with God. I begged God for a second chance and He granted me that second chance.
Now I have to learn to appreciate life more, learn to forgive and forget, and learn to be a better person as if I will die tomorrow because life is never mine forever. It's on loan. It can be taken away from me any time any way.

Thank you God for the second chance! Thank you for listening to my prayer! I baked the Thank you cake especially for you today together with my son, to show you how grateful I am for everything you have given me.



Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Idul Fitri in Jakarta




After a few hiccups on the way to Jakarta, my family and I finally made it to arrive at Soekarno-Hatta international airport in Cengkareng, Jakarta, Indonesia. Nothing could make me feel so relieved to be able to see the familiar faces I had been missing so much. My dad took the whole family including my uncle and my aunt to pick us up. Our (Air Asia) plane landed 15 minutes earlier and things proceeded smoothly. I had prayed hard for this because I had experienced so many terrible things, such as loosing my husband's hand phone, just before we departed. Thank God everything went great the moment our plane took off from Sepang LCCT airport.

So, for 8 days, I spent wonderful times with the whole family. It's hard to describe how happy my parents were to be able to gather their children and their family during this festive season. Many times my mom expressed her happiness by saying that she's so blessed for being able to run around preparing food for her beloved children and grandchildren. My aunt and my uncle joined too. Unfortunately, they had to go back home on the 3rd day. But they were very nice to lend us their car. Thank you, Auntie, Uncle!
We don't celebrate Idul Fitri but we wanted to use this opportunity to be with the family and to enjoy Jakarta sans traffic jam (which only happens once a year)... :)

Although my family don't celebrate Idul Fitri, we still prepared some snack for our guesses because on the 1st day of Hari Raya, my neighbors would come to visit us bringing their family wearing new cloths and happy smile. Many neighbors delivered some Idul Fitri traditional food such as ketupat (sticky rice cubes) complete with opor ayam (javanese curry chicken) and rendang (spicy curry beef), uli (sticky glutinous rice cake - something like lemang) complete with its tape ketan (black glutinous rice fermented). Oh the food was soooo yummy!! I don't get a chance to eat this kind of food every year, so, while they were on the table, I've got to taste them all... :D :D

Early morning of the 1st day of hari raya Idul Fitri, many children had gathered in front of my gate waiting for Pak Raden to come out (my Dad is called pak Raden by the kids in my neighborhood because he is just like Pak Raden, a character in Unyil show who is super stingy).
These children were waiting for some 'green packet (contains some money)' (red packet is for chinese new year) to be given out. Yeap! That's the tradition. We ought to share with the needy ones. My mom and I distributed the green packets to all children in the neighborhood. They were very happy. They would go around the kampung to collect as many green packets as possible.

Since I have cousins who celebrate Idul Fitri, we went around to visit them and to have a family gathering too. It was great because for my husband and my son, this was their first time to see some of my cousins and family. I personally seldom see them. The last time I saw some of them was 4-5 years ago. So, this was great opportunity for a family reunion.

To me, every time I have a chance to go back home, it is the opportunity to meet up with my schoolmates and to catch up with their life stories.
All in all, the experience was marvelous. The only thing that refrains me from going back home is....the MOSQUITOES. Damn! I don't understand how the people in Jakarta can survive the stubborn-and-very-determine-to-suck-your-blood-mosquitoes. My dad has 3 electric rackets to kill the mosquitoes but I don't see that help. My son and I still have to 'bring home' many red spots all over our bodies as the souvenir. The only way to reduce the number of mosquitoes is to let the 'longkang' (drain) flow. The longkang in my neighborhood is still stuck and gets dirtier and smellier. This is the 'home' of the very happy mosquitoes. Plus, Jakarta is a very dirty city. The view like in the pictures below is found every where as if Jakarta is a giant rubbish bin.






Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Selamat Hari Raya Idul Fitri

Selamat menyambut hari raya Idul Fitri kepada semua yang merayakan.

Mohon maaf lahir dan batin. Enjoy the best ketupat and lemang with the whole family.
Btw, I've tasted an instant Malaysian lemang for the first time last night and it was good..hmm..yummy. I believe the real one cooked in the hallowed bamboo stick is so much more delicious and tasty.

I'm off to join the exodus of balik kampung and will be back soon.
If you drive, drive safely and remember your loved ones waiting at home.
If you fly, don't carry anything dangerous for you and for the whole passengers.
If you take train/bus, watch out for your belonging and your kids.
Watch your children closely during this festive season.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Best wishes for Malaysian Angkasawan!

Tomorrow will be a very historical day for Malaysians because one of 2 Malaysian Angkasawan (Cosmonaut) will go into space with Soyuz TMA-11 spacecraft to carry out scientific researches aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

Dr. Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor (35) is the primary crew while Kapt. Dr. Faiz Khaleed (27) is the secondary crew.

Catch a live telecast of the launch at 9.21pm (GMT + 8) tomorrow, 10 October 2007, on Angkasawan Programme website at www.angkasawan.gov.my and Astro channel 588 but RTM1 will start the coverage earlier at 8.45pm.
Watch this live telecast with the whole family because this can inspire your children to become an Angkasawan. I definitely will watch it with my son because he is crazy about space, rocket, and astronaut/cosmonaut. I'm sure he will count down and say 'Blast Off' together. This is his favorite moment.

To be an Angkasawan was my childhood dream and I hope my son will have the same dream and make it come true. All the best for you, Dr. Sheikh Shukor and Dr. Faiz Khaleed! 'Till we'll see you on Earth again. Make your country proud! Our prayers are with you always.

This is for men

It's already October. I have not been very active in the virtual world for the past 2 weeks because I have lost my motivation and my mood completely. I thought I would never post any more stories in my blog until yesterday when I read The Star newspaper.

There is a small article written by M.Krishnamoorthy which is titled "Listening to wives more curbs nagging, says expert".
Wow! Just by reading the title, I felt so motivated right away to bring up this subject to my blog.
Wow! I said it again because I am so amazed by the article...:) Thank God finally someone understand us (women). I feel so empowered..:D
Print it out, frame it, and hang it in the room where you and your wife spend time the most so that every time your wife nags, you'll remember what to do.

Based on the story in that article, to have happy marriages, men need to listen more to the wives to restraint nagging.
According to Dr. Leonard Yong, an educational psychologist, Malaysian men do not spend enough time with the family, listening to the wives and children.

I think this does not only happen to Malaysian men but it happens to almost all men with big ego in their heads.
The most common reason thrown by men is men need to work to lay bread on the table. Men have to work hard 24/7 to meet the minimum standard of life.
Ok, I agree. No one denies that. But men have to remember that they work hard to make some money for the whole family; wife and children are part of the family. But if you work hard for your own satisfaction or you are just a pure workaholic, don't get married then if you are still so selfish thinking about yourself all the time.

Just like what Dr. Leonard Yong said, "Paying attention to the wife can reduce the level of nagging and result in good marital relationship. Good focused listening to the wife when she is troubled is the best way to resolve any misunderstanding in the family."
In my own word: your wife is NOT part of your house decoration. When she makes noise, she wants you to remember that she is your partner in life. You ought to listen to her.

Most men walk away or talk back when their wives throw so many words per second just like a machine gun because they say they can't stand it.
This action won't solve the problem but escalates it instead and this is not a creative solution to relationship. According to Dr. Yong, creative solutions to relationships come from being able to challenge yourself. So, if you choose to just walk away or argue back, you don't challenge yourself. Oh well, I thought men like to challenge themselves so men should be able to stand still and listen to the nagging.

I believe many men think that standing still and listening to wives nagging are signs of surrendering their pride (and ego). In fact, it's the total opposite. If you, as a man, stand still and listen even if your wife asks you to go away, she will realize how important it is to have you in her life and she will stop nagging eventually. Even better if you come closer to her and embrace her when she starts to cry. Oh...man...you are actually winning the battle together. Your wife will love you more and more and you are the most precious thing in her life and you will realize that this is what men should do; stand by her and protect her because she was created out of your ribs to be protected and to be on your side for better for worse. So, listen to her woes...she will appreciate you more and you will have a happy marriage.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Hairspray - the movie musical

Link Larkin (Zac Efron) singing Ladies' choice

I have been a fanatic of musical movies since The Sound of Music, the first musical movie I watched. To me, musical movies are full of energy and bring so much joy when I watch them. So, when I had a chance to watch Hairspray - the musical movie, I quickly ran to the cinema and bought a ticket to watch this movie alone.

The cinema was only half full because it was a matinée show, and mostly are ladies who watch this movie. Accompanied by small cup of 100 plus and popcorn, I sat right in the middle of the cinema that gave me a very good angle view to the big screen. This movie is great and is so fun. I think it has so much more fun compared to Chicago. I love Chicago-the movie musical too, by the way.

Hairspray is full of high-spirited songs and dance moves. It's so colorful. The story is touchy. It's about how you can accept differences among you; the issue between black and white people, between the skinny, popular, and the fat, not so popular, people.

Nikki Blonsky as Tracy Turnbald, opened the show singing Good morning Baltimore (I love this song so much. Another song I like from this movie is also sang by Nikki, I can hear the bells.). Although the over sized-Nikki Blonsky is a newcomer in the movie industry, she has done a fantastic job as Tracy Turnbald. She and her character, Tracy, have proven to the world that you don't have to be skinny to be a great dancer. I love Nikki Blonsky. Her face is very pleasant and very pretty. She really can act, sing, and dance.

John Travolta as Edna Turnbald, Tracy's super sized-mom, is hilarious. He is a diva alright...:D John is a terrific actor. He can dance even as a fat woman on heeled shoes. His dance is marvelous. I love to watch him singing and dancing in this movie especially when Edna sang (You're) Timeless to me together with Christopher Walken as her comical husband. That scene is so romantic.

Michelle Pfeiffer is brilliant as the villain-Velma Von Tussle. I could never imagine that she could act as a 'pretty' villain perfectly. Her face is too soft to be a bitch...:) But in this movie, she delivered it brilliantly.

Amanda Bynes, as Penny Pingleton, is very cute. I have just watched her in She's the man, at first I couldn't recognize her. The ugly hairstyle of Penny Pingleton made Amanda looked so cute and innocent...:D It's pretty much the opposite of her characters in She's the man.

Other actors and actresses also delivered each character perfectly. And of course, the handsome blue eyes-Zac Efron, is so great to be Link Larkin. I love to see him singing and dancing and I want to see him more. I wonder if he will ever be casted together with my other lovely blue-eyes favorite actor, Daniel Radcliffe. Oh my God! Just the thought has made me go crazy... :D (BTW, I did watch them being in the same show, the Rove live show. If I were there sitting in the audience seat, I'd probably be fainted.. :D Luckily I only watched it on youtube..he..he..he).

Anyway, back to Hairspray..:)
This movie is a must watch if you want to feel happy. I found myself smiling all the way until the end of the movie. I just felt so good after watching this movie. Why would I want to watch movies with so many brutal murder and killing scenes. To me, life is already harsh enough with many people killing the innocent people brutally. When I watch movie, I want to be entertained. I want to feel good about life so yeah...Watch Hairspray - the movie musical, you'll feel great and happy after you get out of cinema. I found myself humming Good morning Baltimore as I walked out of cinema...:D

Friday, September 14, 2007

How to prepare yourself for an earthquake

Visit this website to find out (in bahasa Indonesia):
http://www.bmg.go.id/antisipasi.asp

Stay alert and be safe always!

What a nightmare! - Sumatera earthquake

This morning, I received an email from my best friend whose family lives in Padang closed to the sea. Her family has evacuated to a safer place because the ground in Padang just keeps on shaking. There were 30 aftershocks following the 8.4 Richter scale-earthquake that struck Bengkulu and Padang in Sumatera, Indonesia, last Wednesday, 12 September 2007.

Talking about earthquake, I can imagine how bad it feels to live in Padang when every now and then the ground shakes and the walls crack here and there. You pray hard that your house will be spared from collapsing while you are on guard 24/7 for the tsunami that may come like a thief in the middle of the night rampaging through your beautiful coastal area along its way. You feel intense every minute of your life. The intensity is higher if you live close to the sea. While trying to stand still on the shaking ground, you've got to prepare for evacuation of your whole family to a higher ground or to somewhere you think is safer. An earthquake which is tagged along with a tsunami warning does bring trauma and sad memories to everyone who has survived the 2004 incident in Aceh.

In Malaysia, we are also on guard of any movement of the ground. In Ipoh, there are 3 reported incidents of huge sinkholes that swallowed part of houses and trees. It's not certain yet if this has a connection with the earthquake that struck Sumatera but the incidents happened before and even at the same time with the earthquake.

As I live in a high building, I am on guard all the time to make sure that I am prepared to evacuate the building a.s.a.p. I feel so intense all the time until I get headache and bit of chest pain. My concern is always my son. I don't dare to leave him alone at home only with my maid. I can't sleep at night and keep on waking up just to check and recheck the situation again and again and I don't even live in Padang or live near the coastal area.

I'm telling you...it's a nightmare living in this kind of situation. So, I can understand how the people in Padang and Bengkulu must be feeling at the moment. All I can do is just to pray for everyone. Be strong! God never leaves you. Have a strong faith in Him.

You know what I really wish at the moment, my dear friend? I wish I was there with you in NZ though I know NZ is also an earthquake prone area. I think Borneo island is quite safe from earthquake but I'm not sure either because the adjacent island, Sulawesi, is prone to an earthquake. So, just be alert all the time.

Check this website to find out where the ground has shook in Indonesia: http://www.bmg.go.id/gempaterkini.asp

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

My IQ test result

While waiting for my son to get ready for grocery shopping, I took this Classic IQ test by Tickle just to tease my brain a little bit because I think it's a bit rotten... :D
So, after completing a 14 pages questionaires, here is the result:

Your IQ score is 120

This number is based on a scientific formula that compares how many questions you answered correctly on the Classic IQ Test relative to others.

Your Intellectual Type is Word Warrior. This means you have exceptional verbal skills. You can easily make sense of complex issues and take an unusually creative approach to solving problems. Your strengths also make you a visionary. Even without trying you're able to come up with lots of new and creative ideas. And that's just a small part of what we know about you from your test results.

I don't know whether this result is good or not but at least now I know why I always have loads of crazy ideas inside my head..:D..:D

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

High School Musical 2


I had marked my calendar long time ago to make sure that I wouldn't miss High School Musical 2 (click this link and you'll get addicted :P) shown on Disney Channel (Astro Ch. 61). So last Sunday at 7.30pm local time, I was glued to my couch to watch this great Disney original movie.

I think this show is marvelous. I love this show very much because this show has successfully brought me back to the time when I was in my high school. This is what teenagers' life is about; bright, colorful, energetic, full of great memories of friendship and puppy love affairs.

HSM2 has high quality casts that really can dance, sing, and act beautifully. They sang and danced with high energy. The love story is so sweet and so cute. The friendship story very much represents what a teen friendship all about. HSM2 also has great songs and dance moves it made me speechless and breathless watching that show (because if I sang and danced together with them, I would shake the whole building and my neighbors would send a police patrol to catch me for creating a local earthquake..he..he..he..The fat woman danced!!..wha..ha..ha..).

Oh how I miss those times when I was so young, so innocent, so full of energy, so skinny, so busy, and had so many friends tailing me in what ever I did. I love to sing and dance since I was very small. During my teen time, I was a member of my school dance team. I always performed during every school celebration and I even performed outside my school events. I performed traditional and hip hop dances. I was also a member of my school choir.
As a teenager, my day would start at 5am and I would return home at around 7pm. Even during my 1 day weekend (which was only Sunday because my high school day was from Monday to Saturday), I would leave the house so early in the morning because by 6am, I had to be in my school for Paskibra training. Honestly, I have no idea how to translate Paskibra in English. What I know is that Paskibra stands for Pasukan pengibar bendera. I usually had my dance training in the afternoon.
In between my busy schedule at school, I still had to go for French language course twice a week and to go for my modeling show to earn some pocket money to help my parents.
As a teenager, I also followed the trend of going to the party (usually my friends' sweet 17 birthday parties) and going to a dance club and would return home at 3 o'clock in the morning! Oh well, to think about it now, as a mother, I am not sure if I will be able to let my son go to the dance club 'till 3am... :-|
But the good thing is that I have never ever touched, gone near or had anything to do with drugs and such. I didn't even smoke. So, my parents trusted me. I just wanted to dance and to have fun with my friends. Sometimes, my dad would follow me to the dance club. My dad would be my dance partner and my bodyguard. I really didn't mind this at all. I felt safe because I knew no one would dare to touch me... :D

Now things have been so different to me. I am not as energetic as before. My body is out of shape. I am not as good looking as before and my schedule is focused on raising my beloved son.
I still love to dance though and I am a member of Jazzercise.com Malaysia. Now I dance to keep fit and to loose some weight. At home I sing and dance with my beloved son. So, while watching HSM2, I kept on telling my son that teenage time is the best period of your life time.


Friday, September 07, 2007

Matta Fair in Kuala Lumpur

The great travel exhibition, Matta (Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents) fair, is back for 3 days starting today, 7th September 2007. It is held in Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC), Kuala Lumpur.

This is great opportunity for you to plan your next vacation to all domestic destinations or international destinations. There will be many great travel packages for you to choose and each travel agents will be delighted to help you to make your traveling time as smooth and enjoyable as possible.

Go visit Matta fair now. Make sure you don't miss this great exhibition.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Selamat Hari Merdeka, Malaysia!

Today, Malaysia is celebrating its 50th anniversary of the independence day. There are many events are held throughout the nation to celebrate the day and semua dijemput hadir (everyone is invited).

The Star newspaper today's edition is super thick. It contains the story of merdeka day and how this country has come along way to build the nation to be what it is today.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Singapore - Hongkong - Malaysia

Just my 2 cents worth to help you planning your travel in December, my dear friend.

At this moment, it's better for you to go to Hongkong directly from Singapore rather than from Malaysia because the plane ticket is cheaper (SQ VS MAS). If you book a tour package, check it out here http://www.singaporeair.com/saa/en_UK/content/local/SG/before/travelinfo/travelagent/ptot.jsp
Reliance is ok. You can plan your own trip to HKG at http://www.reliance.com.sg/. From Singapore, then you can take Aeroline (www.aeroline.com.my/www.aeroline.com.sg) bus/train to Kuala Lumpur. But then it's up to you.

From Kuala Lumpur, you take a taxi to Ipoh. Just let me know when you want to go to Ipoh so that I can book the taxi for you. This is my appointed taxi so you don't have to worry. From KL (city) - Ipoh, the taxi fee is RM180 (not RM180 anymore. See update below).

Update: Taxi fee from KL (city) to Ipoh is RM200, while from KL airports (LCCT/KLIA) to Ipoh is RM220.

From Ipoh, you can go to Thailand easily. Here are the options for you:
  1. Take train (Kereta Api tanah melayu) from Ipoh Central Station to Hatyai (south Thailand). Just buy a one way ticket unless you want to visit Ipoh again on the way back..;) In Hatyai, you can shop and eat till you drop because things are cheap and yummy. If you visit Hatyai then you want to go back to Malaysia, you can take train again directly to Kuala Lumpur Sentral station.
  2. Take a plane (MAS or Air Asia) from Penang airport to either Bangkok or Phuket. My appointed taxi driver can take you to Penang airport. It's 2 hour-driving the most from Ipoh so it's nearer compared to if you fly from KL ( 2.5 - 3 hours). If you want to join a tour, you can find out from http://www.malaysiaairlines.com/getdoc/eed61208-3978-48ea-8f33-e4a9a7c69ec9/Golden_Holidays.aspx, http://www.airasia.com/site/en/goholiday/home.jsp or http://www.reliancetravel.com
You can buy a return plane ticket. Then from Penang, buy a 1-way ticket to fly to Kuala Lumpur.

From Kuala Lumpur airport ( LCCT if you take Air Asia. KLIA if you take MAS) or from Kuala Lumpur Sentral station (if you take train from Hatyai), you can take taxi directly to Melaka. It's not too far. It will be about 2 hour the most (1 hour or less if you depart from KL airport). Check out the route here: http://www.melaka.net/location.htm

There is no flight from Ipoh to Melaka.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia part 2

Since I have many examples on how misunderstanding can be created because how different the 2 languages are, it's better to create a new post so that you can read them easily and learn together from my experiences.

Story 1:
This incident happened when I just got married for a week.
My Malaysian husband asked my help, "Dear, tutup lampu, please." - Dear, switch off the light, please.
I automatically answered him, "Tutup pakai apa?" - Close with what?
He realized that I have misunderstood him and said, "I mean, just switch off the light."
I misunderstood him because in bahasa Indonesia, tutup means 'close' and in bahasa Melayu tutup here means 'switch off'.
In bahasa Indonesia, we usually use the word 'matikan' for switch off and we say, "Tolong matikan lampu." for "Please switch off the light."
In both languages, matikan = kill, but Malay language doesn't use 'matikan' for switch off.


Story 2:
My husband was having a hair cut in one of Indonesian hair salon. He saw there was a heavy traffic jam on the road. He talked to the Indonesian hair dresser, "Ada banyak kereta di luar. Macet sangat. (There are so many cars (kereta in Malay language = car) out there. It's heavy traffic jam.)"
The lady hair dresser was shocked and quickly looked over her window and said, "Mana ada kereta?Itu semua mobil yang kena macet. Kereta tidak jalan di jalan raya. (Where's a train? (kereta in bahasa Indonesia = train) I see only cars that stuck in the traffic jam. A train doesn't run on the road.)"
I was sitting there listening to the conversation, burst into laughter! :D
I just had to explain to them to avoid the confusion.

Story 3:
My parents were in Malaysia for the first time and my husband was driving them around the city.
My mom asked my husband, "Kita mau dibawa ke mana ini?" - Where are you taking us?
My husband answered her, "Pusing-pusing saja." - Just driving around.
My mom was shocked and said, "Walah...datang jauh-jauh buat liburan kok malah mau dibuat sakit." - Walah (to express her disappointment)...we come to have a holiday not to get sick.
She has completely misinterpreted what my husband said because 'pusing' in bahasa Indonesia means headache.
I couldn't hide my laughter. When I settled down, I explained to my mom what my husband meant by saying "pusing-pusing".

Another confusion caused by the differences in our languages:
imagine this situation: an Indonesian in Kuala Lumpur was in panic to call a police and she screams around "Polisi...polisi...mana polisi? Panggil polisi! (Police...Police...where's the police? Call the police!)" and the nice Malaysians trying to help get confuse, "Polisi? Polisi untuk apa? insurans polisi kah?Insurans polisi awak hilang kah? (Policy? Policy for what?Is it your insurance policy? Are you loosing your insurance policy?)"

Wha lo! Aren't you confused? Bingung kan?

So far, these are all I could remember. If I remember more incidents I will add them in here. Keep on checking this post.

Additional stories:
Story 4:
This incident happened when my husband drove my parents to show them the headquarters of his office.
My husband said,"Ini ibu pejabat tempat saya bekerja." - This is the headquarters where I work.
In Malay language: ibu pejabat means headquarter
My mum looked puzzled and asked my husband, "Ibu pejabat di tempat kamu kerja sanggulan juga gak kayak di Indonesia?" - Do the officers' wives in your office have a bun on their head too just like in Indonesia?
In Bahasa Indonesia: ibu pejabat means wives of high rank government officers, and usually, these ladies have a bun on their head.

Story 5:
I experienced this incident during my 1st visit to a hospital in Malaysia. I had to wait for my turn to pick up and pay the prescribed medicines. While waiting, I saw a big note on the door of the dispensary unit. It said "Dilarang masuk selain kaki tangan"- only employees are allowed to enter.
In Malay language: kaki tangan here refers to the employees of the dispensary unit.
In bahasa Indonesia we will say, "Dilarang masuk selain yang berkepentingan" or "Dilarang masuk selain pekerja farmasi"
While in bahasa Indonesia, kaki tangan means foot and hand.
I got confused for a while. I thought I really had to make sure that my head and my body did not enter the room when I collected and paid the medicines because only my foot and my hand were allowed to be in.
Luckily, my husband came to the rescue and cleared up my confusion.. :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Loan $25 to change lives through Kiva.org

I came across this story when I was browsing People of the web news and I want to let you all know about a cool non-profit organization that is doing great things: Kiva.org

Kiva.org allows individuals to make $25 loans to low-income entrepreneurs in the developing world (microfinance). By doing so, individuals like you provide affordable working capital for the poor (money to buy a sewing machine, livestock, etc.), empowering them to earn their way out of poverty.

It's a new, direct and sustainable way to fight global poverty, and the way I see it, I get a higher return on $25 helping someone build a future than the interest my checking account pays.

Anyways, if you have a minute, please check out the site: http://kiva.org. If you need more "reputable" validation than my recommendation :), know that they have received great press in publications ranging from The Wall Street Journal to NPR to BusinessWeek.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia part 1

Many people think that Bahasa Melayu (Malay language) spoken in Singapore and Malaysia is the same with Bahasa Melayu in Indonesia. This is actually not right. The 2 languages are similar but not the same. Most Indonesians can understand the Malay language spoken in Singapore/Malaysia but on the other hand, the people who speak and understand Malay don't necessarily understand Bahasa Indonesia especially when Bahasa Indonesia is spoken very fast. This is because some Indonesians (those who live in Sumatra Island) do speak the same kind of Malay language like in Malaysia and Singapore. To them, the Malay language is their dialect so they still have to know Bahasa Indonesia as their national language. But in Malaysia and Singapore, the Malay language is their national language.

Because of the similarity in the 2 languages, we often go ahead talking to each other with our own languages thinking that the other party will understand what we talk about forgetting the fact that many words have a completely different meaning and some words are not used in the same way. But we just don't care. The Indonesians go ahead talking to the Malaysians/Singaporeans using Bahasa Indonesia, and the Malaysians/Singaporeans talk to the Indonesians using their Malay language. Sometimes, this thing poses no problem at all; but some other times, this can create a misunderstanding and miscommunication problem.

Just to give example on how different the languages are:
  1. In Bahasa Melayu: budak means 'children'
    In Bahasa Indonesia: budak means 'slave'
    So, the Indonesians can get offended if someone calls their children 'budak'.
  2. In Bahasa Melayu: boleh means 'you are allowed to/you can'. In Bahasa Indonesia: boleh means the same thing but we don't usually use 'boleh'. We use 'bisa'. 'Bisa' means 'poison (usually referring to snake poison)' in both languages, and in Bahasa Melayu, bisa is only used when someone is referring to poison, not to say 'you can/you are allowed to'.
  3. In Bahasa Melayu: polisi means 'policy' - like insurance policy for example. In Bahasa Indonesia: polisi means 'the police', while the police in Bahasa Melayu is polis. But polis in Bahasa Indonesia means 'policy', for example: the insurance policy - polis asuransi in Bahasa Indonesia.
Before I got a chance to live in Singapore and Malaysia, I always thought that I would not find any difficulties talking in bahasa Melayu. But I was wrong because when every time I try to speak bahasa Melayu, many Malaysians still don't understand me. Apparently, I speak in Bahasa Indonesia but trying to use Melayu accent and it turns out to be so weird and I get people staring at me trying to understand what I say... :)

For example when I wanted to order a bowl of cold Leng chee kang dessert, I said, "Kak, boleh kasih satu leng chee kang, dingin." - (May I have a bowl of cold leng chee kang, mam?)
I heard the lady asked me again, "sejuk kah atau panas?" - (cold or hot?)
Hmmm... I wondered why she still asked me again when I have clearly said "dingin" which means "cold".
So, I repeated "Dingin". I made mistake here by forgetting that in bahasa Melayu, cold is translated into 'sejuk' not 'dingin'. While I do understand the word 'sejuk' refer to 'cold', I am not accustomed to use the word 'sejuk', so I kept on repeating the word 'dingin' instead.
Then the lady changed the word to "ice or no ice". I replied to the lady "Ice". Both of us understood this one so I finally got my cold leng chee kang... :)

Another time when I wanted to buy an oil splatter screen but I did not know what is the name for it so I said, "I nak beli tutup minyak yang bolong-bolong." - (I want to buy oil cover that has holes on it) trying to explain what I wanted to buy. Bolong-bolong is a slank in Bahasa Indonesia for 'holes'.
The shop keeper stared at me and asked me back, "Apa itu bolong-bolong?"
I stared back at her trying to remember the malay word for bolong-bolong and I could not remembered it at all so I kept on saying "bolong-bolong is holes". Then I heard the lady said "Oh, lobang-lobang. Kita tak cakap bolong-bolong lah. Kita cakap lobang-lobang." - (Oh, the holes. We don't say bolong-bolong for holes. We say lobang-lobang).
I was so relieved she finally got what I meant. I said to her, "Yah. Tutup minyak yang berlobang-lobang."
The same reason as the above example, I do understand the word 'lobang' for 'hole' but I don't remember to use it because I am so used to say bolong for 'hole'.
At the end, I found my oil splatter and bought it.

For the past 2.5 years living in Malaysia, I have learned a lot about the differences in our languages and now I am very careful if I want to speak in Malay language. I will make sure to use the words that can be understood by both parties. If I get stuck, then English is the common language.
So far, I notice that more and more people who speak Malay language are willing to adapt the words and accent of Bahasa Indonesia. I can see that they have no difficulties in doing so. As a result, the Indonesians feel more comfortable and a lot more confidence when talking to them.
The Indonesians also on the other hand, are trying do the same towards Malay language.

Understanding and willingness to adapt to each other language are the best way to bridge the differences of the 2 languages so at the end we will not have miscommunication and misunderstanding toward each other.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

My choice of Kuala Lumpur hotels

As for the hotel, my favorite hotel in KL is Prescott Inn ( http://www.kl-hotels.com/prescottinnkl ). You can book online from that website. It's a 3-star hotel so it is cheaper compared to the rests but the location is very convenient. It's near Medan Tuanku monorail station so it's easy for you to go around KL. It is also near SOGO shopping center, Pertama Kompleks shopping center, and Maju Junction Mall. There is Nasi Kandar stall that opens 24 hours in which you can find your typical Padang food there (of course it's not exactly the same like in Padang but it is close enough). My parents love to go to this Nasi Kandar stall. They said the food suits their taste.

My next choice hotel in KL will be Corus hotel (http://www.kl-hotels.com/corus/rates.htm ). This is 4-star hotel and link to KLCC (Petronas towers) and Putra LRT station. If you take Aeroline bus, Corus hotel is the start and final destination in KL to Singapore vice versa. So, when you arrive in KL from Singapore by Aeroline, you can check in immediately into Corus hotel and start everything else from there.

If you are into shopping, you can check out many hotels around Bukit Bintang area ( http://www.kl-hotels.com/accommodation/accommodation4.htm). My choice will be Berjaya times square hotel ( http://www.berjayaresorts.com/timesquarekl/rates.html). This hotel shares the same building as Berjaya times square mall. Berjaya times square mall is my favorite mall. It's big (but not the biggest. the biggest is Midvalley mall) like that mall in BSD tangerang in which you can find roller coaster inside the mall. There is 3D imax cinema in there too. I would love to watch Harry Potter there... :D

Adjacent to Midvalley mega mall there is Cititel and Boulevard hotels. Both are 3-star hotels but Cititel is cheaper than Boulevard. Midvalley has a link to KTM komuter that will bring you to KL Central station. From Central station, you can go anywhere in KL/Malaysia and even check in your luggages if you fly with Malaysia Airlines then take the KLIA express to KLIA airport in 27 minutes only (as compared to 1 hour by taxi/bus). To go around KL is very convenient using its train system(http://www.kiat.net/malaysia/KL/transit.html ). If possible, don't take Taxi in KL because if you don't know the exact price to your destination, the taxi drivers will be happy to give you their price which will be a lot higher than the original price. But in places where you must buy coupon first before you take a taxi, such as KL Central station and Berjaya times square mall taxi stand, you are safe to take taxi from there.

Depending on where you want to go and which places you love to visit, you can decide which one is more convenient for you, book local tour or tour on your own. You can visit this website for reference: http://malaysia.travel/consumer/vmy/default.asp

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The haze is back...

and it brings all kinds of sicknesses to test your body resistant.

My whole family are down with running nose, sore throat, and sticky red-eyes! My husband got it first, then passed them to my son. Since I am taking care of my son, I get it too now. My runny nose really gets into my nerve. My throat is so painful I'm struggling to talk, and to make it worse, my son keeps on asking me to sing for him. What a great way to celebrate my coming birthday... :(

Take care yourself and drink plenty of water. I'm going to see my GP now.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Indonesia National Anthem

I just received a link to a video of the first and the original version of Indonesia Raya, my country National Anthem.

When I watched it, honestly, I got goosebumps. I have never heard this version before. During my school years, I had to sing the shorter version every Monday during Merah-Putih raising flag ceremony. To be able to watch and listen to the original version of Indonesia Raya today, it made me realize that I have been away from my country too long. The last time I sang or heard the shorter version was around 11 years ago. Oh my God! It's been ages! And for 11 years, I have learned to sing other countries' National Anthem: Majulah Singapura, The Star-Spangled Banner, God Defend New Zealand, and Negaraku.

To all my Indo friends where ever you are,
Do watch and listen to this song. I hope you'll never forget it even if you hold a different passport and sing a different national anthem now. It's a reminder where you came from.
Just click this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkxehrXU3tM
kudos and terima kasih to krawul258 for sharing this precious video. I don't know where you got it but it sure brought back all my memories about my Indonesia.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

REVIEW: Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows

Finally, after 3 days of intense marathon reading of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, I have about 2 hours to write the review of the book before I go to sleep. It's quite a great accomplishment for me to be able to finish reading a 607-page book in 3 days because I have my duties as a mother to be fulfilled before I could have my time to read the book.

As an avid Potter fan, I know how bad it feels to read a review full of spoilers about that book, so in this review, I will avoid mentioning anything that can be considered spoilers.

Let me start my review by giving a standing ovation to J.K. Rowling for her greatest accomplishment in writing this fantastic magical world of Harry Potter. In the 1st 24 hours, this final book of Harry Potter has been sold for 8.3 millions copies in United States alone. Making it to be the fastest-selling book ever in the history. Congratulation, Jo! I tip my hat to you. She is the most genius writer I have ever known. By reading all Harry Potter books, I realize how broad her knowledge is because she does not just any how conjure things to make the story more interesting. Her choice of words, her writing style and the way she develops the suspense really mesmerize me. I think the Harry Potter series should be included in must-read books for your literature references.

Just like the previous books, this final book of Harry Potter series is really engaging. The moment I started reading it, it is extremely hard to pause it. I literally had to scream to myself that my duties as a mother should be my priority. The story is so intense making it so difficult to put down even when my son was running around naked waiting for me to shower him. My son has been very cooperating. He understands how I really wanted to finish reading the book a.s.a.p... ;)

The closure of Harry Potter series is just like what I always wish it would end. It's quite ordinary and I'm sure many of the readers have predicted that way but the way Jo Rowling brought the series to an end is exceptional, definitely beyond what every one could every imagine and think of. The way she convey the message of LOVE AND DEATH is remarkable! It makes a new reference on how you should love and how you should deal with death. It's about who the true master of death is. Deathly hallows versus horcruxes. There is an interesting twist about Severus Snape and Dumbledore in their relationships to Harry Potter. This book is very emotional. I did cry alot reading this book. It is not scary though it's quite bloody. The description of each place or situation is so detail you can even imagine yourself there next to Harry on his adventure to meet Voldemort. It's absolutely fantastic!

On the downside, I think this book is like a summary of all previous books. It's not good though because once you have finished reading this one, you don't feel like you need to read the previous books.

But overall, this is an outstanding book. It's a must-read book for those who still learn to love and still don't know how to deal with death. It's very encouraging and very inspiring. The story and the characters are so rich considering it is a kid-teen story book. The Harry Potter series are my favorite series of all time. I surely will let my son read them and I hope he will love them. If you still want to know who dies at the end, Harry or Voldemort? Get the book and read it! If you can't afford to buy it, try to borrow from your city libraries and be patient. I'm sure the paperback version will be cheaper.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Happy Belated Birthday, Dan!

I know you don't know me and you won't even notice that I exist, I still want to say:
Happy belated birthday, Daniel Radcliffe! You are 18 years old now. I hope you won't change your wonderful personality and will always keep your feet on the ground no matter how famous and how rich you are.
I'm sorry to miss your birthday but Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is so engaging it is very hard to put it down.

Harry's birthday is coming and so is Jo Rowling's and mine. We are all Leos... :D
Unfortunately, that's the only thing I have in common with you... :)


Love,
your number one fan

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Harry Potter Book 7 Launching Party cancelled

I...CANNOT...BELIEVE...THIS!

Just when I was about to close my eyes and ready to sleep, my hubby asked me to read the news from The Star regarding the cancellation of launching party for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows at all MPH, Popular, Harris, and Times book stores across Malaysia. And to make the news sounds more devastating for Potter fans in Malaysia, these bookstore chains will not sell the last instalment of Harry Potter books at all. Apparently they do not like the move from Penguin Book Malaysia for letting Tesco and Carrefour selling the book at a very cheap price.

This is a big disappointment for Potter fans like me who has got so excited with the launching party because I thought this will be a way to have a big meeting with other Harry Potter fans.

Anyway, just read the news here:
http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2007/7/20/nation/20070720172429&sec=nation

Friday, July 20, 2007

Great family outing

I believe I am a very lucky person to be able to experience loads of good things in my life. The latest one was a one-day family outing at Gopeng Durian farm. Gopeng is about 30 minutes drive south of Ipoh in the direction to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

I am a durian fanatic and can go crazy over this spiky stinky fruit. To be able to spend the whole day eating durian as much as my stomach could take is one of the wackiest dreams I always have.
It is not a dream anymore when my hubby is nice enough to take me and my son to visit Gopeng Durian Farm. To me, this was one of very important things he can do to show how he loves and cares about me so much. He was invited by his friends to join this trip. So there were 3 families heading to the farm that afternoon. I was very excited and I just can't hide my excitement at all along the way. I got even more excited when we approached the farm. I could see the durian jungle is so thick full of durian trees with some rambutan and banana trees among them. My eyes were round to see so many durians hanging on the trees.

Led by the durian farm owner's car, we drove into the durian jungle. It was an off-road track which was great if we drove a 4X4 vehicle. It was quite funny though when we felt so worry that durians might just drop on top of us. We occasionally ducked our head inside the car when we drove passed under many durians hanging on the trees... :D

When we arrived at the 'end' of the jungle, we found an open space with a very beautiful view across the river which flowed quite heavily because of the morning rain. There is a hut complete with a traditional barbecue equipment and a kampong style restroom.
The farm owner and his family greeted us and explained to us that this place usually was rented by nature lovers to spend the nights while enjoying the fruits.
While waiting for the farm owner to go to collect the fallen durians and to pick up so many riped rambutans, we went to play in the river. For my son, this was his 1st time to be so near to river. I still didn't allow him to play in the river because I'm afraid he would be sweep away by the strong current. He just stayed behind the wall and threw some rocks to the river while watching other kids having fun with the water. He was ok. He understood that he was still to small to join the fun.

About 30 minutes later the farmer and his wife came back with 1 big bag full of durians and 1 big basket full of sweet rambutans. The farmer then chopped open all durians and gave them to us. Without any further delay, we attacked the durians and ate them until we could not breathe for eating so much. Once in a while we ate the rambutans as well to get a different taste for our taste buds.

There is no doubt that eating too much durian made me feel hotter and hotter. To cool down the heat from eating durian too much, I had to drink cold water using the durian skin bowl. This traditional method really gives a quick effect cooling down my body. I had to use the durian skin to contain some cold water and drank it from there. Pour some more cold water in there then wash your hand after you finish eating durian. By doing this, your hands will be free from the stink durian smell. I don't know why these work but they do work... :D

Finally we reached the maximum level of how much our stomach could take durians. We could not eat any more durian at all. So we returned to the river while the rest packed the left over durians and rambutans and put them inside the car trunk. On the way back we still collected many more fallen durians. Gosh! It's a lot of durians and rambutans to bring home.
Everyone said that they had enough durians for this season, but not for me...whe..he..he..
Even at home, I was the only one finishing off all the durians we brought from the farm... :D
Yay! More durian please... :D


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Jusco Ipoh Shopping day

Women love to shop, and today, all women in Ipoh, especially, are having all the time in their live shopping at Kinta City shopping mall because today is Jusco J-card member's day. All items have discounts up to 70% not only from Jusco but also from most of stores inside Kinta City mall. When you purchase more than RM50, you are entitled to loads of free gifts. Each merchant offers different kinds of gifts to attract more customers. Not only that; if you spend more than RM100 from Jusco you can redeem a RM10 voucher for pink-receipt (non-grocery items) or RM5 for green-receipt (grocery items). If you spend more than RM80 from other stores in Kinta City which participate on this programme, then you can get a free cuddly bear while stock last.

With loads of fantastic offers going on inside this Kinta City mall, everyone suddenly thinks that she needs to buy everything even if she doesn't need it and so do I.
At the moment I am having a break at The Coffee Bean and Tea leaf writing this post trying to cool down from my shopping anxiety... :D

I arrived at 11 am only to find out that I didn't get car park because these people have flocked the shopping mall since before the opening time. Crazy! This is mad! Every time I followed someone out of the mall to her car park, she actually didn't want to go out. She just wanted to put her items inside the car and returned to the mall to do more shopping. It took me quite sometime to finally get a car park. Once I parked my car, I quickly sprinted to join the crowd.

Before taking a break, I managed to buy 4 handbags, 2 lipsticks, 1 blush powder, and still spent less than RM200 and have got many free gifts! I really felt great and can't wait to go back for more shopping spree... :D

I need to go now. Run!! Run!!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

For the first time in my life, I have got my self so ready to watch a movie even a night before the movie started. I arrived in front of the cinema exactly an hour before, ready to watch Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. As a huge Potter fan (books and movies), I determined to concentrate fully on everything about this movie so that I can give a fair review on this fifth installment of Harry Potter movies.

As usual, I prefer to go watching Harry Potter movies by my self because to me, this is the time when I can see my imagination comes to life. It's my private moment where I could make connection with all my imaginary characters.
Thanks to my hubby, I got the worst seat in the cinema. He was the one that chose that seat for me the night before when he collected the ticket for me. I wonder if he did it deliberately because I refused to take him along... ;)
Luckily, I could move seat to get a better view though at the end, I encountered a much worst disturbance right next to me when the person sat next to me fell asleep and snored so loudly through out the 3/4 part of the movie... :(

Anyway, the movie started 5 minutes earlier than the scheduled time. For 2 hour and 18 minutes I was blown away by the spectacular visual effect and by the marvellous acting of all casts, old and new ones. I definitely see how Daniel Radcliffe's acting has improved tremendously. He really was successful to bring out the deepest emotion of Harry Potter in the most perfect way. Dan is brilliant! Dan embodies Harry Potter perfectly. He has made me even more difficult to separate him and Harry himself. This shows how he really is serious about taking his career as a great actor.
Emma Watson is superb and Rupert Grint are great too. Basically, all old casts really did their job marvelously. I can see how they have become 1 big family.
The new casts are comparably wonderful too. They are perfect for each role they portray.
There is one particular new cast that really drew my attention: Evanna Lynch as Luna Lovegood. She has done a great job as Luna Lovegood.
She is so successful in portraying Luna Lovegood just like what I imagined when I read the book. To me, she has acted far better than Katie Leung who plays Cho Chang.
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge and Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix Lestrange are successful in making me hate their characters so much. They both looked so evil and cruel.

The fighting scene at Ministry of Magic office was cool with all the visual effect but unfortunately it was too short and quite abruptly cut to quickly end the movie.
And for the script, this movie was not great either because it has removed too many important moments and scenes on the book and replacing them with a different version to build up and to connect the storyline which was quite disturbing for those Potter book fans. Understandable though because it is so impossible to fit every thing in a 2hour and 18 minute-movie.

But overall, David Yates has done a marvelous job. He has his own vision on book 5. It was a great movie to watch even if you never read any of Harry Potter books before. This movie sends a very good message about conquering the evil within and also about love and friendship. I laughed, I cried, I got mad together with all characters in the movie. I felt I was there with them until the movie ends and I reluctantly had to get back to the reality.
Oh I wish it never ends. I have to wait for another year at least to be able to jump in to my imagination. I hope next week when the last book is out, I am able to find Harry smile because he finally finds his true happiness in life. I literally held my breath and I was so intense when I saw him fighting to conquer the evil inside him. I wish I could just hug him and give him strength and tell him that everything is gonna be alright. Unfortunately, it's all only in the movie.

One advice before you decide to watch this movie, just like the book, every Potter movie gets darker and scarier than the previous ones. It is definitely not a children movie at all. It's good if you can watch it alone so that you can connect your feeling privately just like I did... :)