Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Pankgor is a lovely island on the west coast of Malaysia. We spent three magical days with an exciting daily program:

  • Beach
  • Breakfast
  • Beach, building sandcastle, sunbathing with a good book
  • Swimming pool
  • Lunch
  • Digestive walk along the beach
  • Beach, building sandcastle, sunbathing with a good book some more
  • Swimming pool
  • Beach, waiting for the tide to come in and flood the sandcastle, while pepie prepares the 'aperitives' for the workers
  • Jacques and Nicolas destroy sand castle under the adorative stares of Papa, Mama, Memie, Pepie and Tata Helene, who are busy drinking their aperitives.
  • Shower
  • Dinner
  • Digestive walk along the beach
  • Starring at the stary sky


A lizzard, its tail is up, that means war, I was invading his space, so it was trying to scare me away. I felt a but guilty startling the lovely creature.

The catch of the day, a baby monitor lizzard. Big ones can eat small dogs in one bite.
I was really excited to spot that cute little one.

A bit scarier is the eel, there were hundreds tucked along rocks

A stranded jellyfish, about 60cm wide. I did not go into the sea the next day. I'm a bit scared of jellyfish since I got stung very badly all over my body (legs, forearms, hands, waist and hips) many years in Penang, I was scared for a month and did not sleep for three days the pain was so unbearable.

There were dozen of Eagles roaming above the hills, I am pleased that one picture turned out decently.
And finally, the Hornbill. This bird is specific to Pangkor Island, they are quite large birds and make a lovely sound.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Good Food

I am finally back from my holiday in Malaysia. I loved every moment of the 11 days spent there, minus the Friday evening when I was feeling blue saying goodbye to everyone and worrying about getting back to work. The following posts relate my last few days, enjoying the good exotic food, building sand castles, enjoying the paradise of Earth that is Pangkor and spotting wild animals for fun.
The Famous Malay breakfast Nasi Lemak

My personal favourite - the Curry Mee

Malaysia's favourite food - the Penang Char Koay Teow

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Gong Xi Fa Cai

Happy New Year of the Boar!
A good way to celebrate is obviously to pig out, which is not much of a problem for me at the moment. It will be hard work at the gym when I come back home.
Wish you all lots of good fortune and happiness in the New Year.

Girls Day Out

On Thursday morning Mom and Anna picked me up and we were off to One-Utama a large shopping complex that keeps on growing and causes major traffic jams on weekends.

Anna had booked facial treatment for each of us, a fantastic pampering for an hour and a half. My skin is much better now and I should really budget to treat myself with a facial once in a while.

The spa was followed by a lovely lunch catching up with our work (or holiday for mama), our families and our plans for the upcoming holiday in Pangkor (beach, breakfast, beach, lunch, swimming pool, dinner)
Outside One-Utama, there was this signboard...

The profecy reads "There is no such thing as having enough shoes"

We took it quite literally, stopping in every single shoe shop we walked past and purchasing a total of 6 new pair of shoes. Three of them are mine, two are Anna's and one for mom, the gold ones.

(Note that all of these shoes cost me no more than one pair in England!)

Catching up with family & friends

I only managed to see my nephews again on the Tuesday evening but just for a short while, I could hardly believe that they were watching Akira on video, I watched that show when I was 16 only - they like violence, Nicolas' favorite film is Alien Vs Predator.
That night, we had the family reunion at Alex' parents, Cheryl was back for just one night, so we celebrated the Chinese New Year with her.
(From left to right, Auntie, Uncle, me, Alex, Cheryl, Adrian and Rachel)
Later Alex drove me to Joe's house, so that I could finally meet Chloe (who sleeps at 11.30pm only) and catch up with Olivia. I had brought a lovely little blue dress for Chloe, which she will wear for the Chinese New Year (it's important to wear new clothes on New Year's day). Olivia has lost all her pregnancy weight and is back on her high flying career. She and Joe live at Joe's parents on week days to help with Chloe. The 6 months old baby is already quite big for her age and is developing a pleasant personality.
On Wednesday, I met with Anna in the morning and we went shopping for most of the morning until we got a phone call from Nicolas school saying that no one has picked up Nicolas yet! lol - no one panicked. What happened is that usually Anna's parents pick him up, but that day my parents were driving back from Penang and Anna told her parents that they would pick him up 'from their house', and her parents understood 'from the school'. The little one did not forgive any of us, going on for the rest of the afternoon how 'no one fetch me at school'.

(Nicolas playing musketeers 'mousquetaires' with his memie)

Catching up with old colleagues

Wow, a week has already gone by.
It was brilliant catching up with Sudesh and Yen Ping on Monday, we had dinner at a Northern Indian restaurant in Uptown, PJ. Yen Ping is as beautiful as ever, Sudesh is much happier now that Extol business is better and that he has a boss he can actually talk to.

(clockwise: Yen Ping, Me, Sudesh and Boon Long)

On Tuesday, I went to Extol. I had spent five years at Extol as marketing exec but spent most of the time doing projects, like organising conference, training, obtaining the MSC status, setting up procedures for the ISO standard and application to the MASDAQ listing, and finished as project manager for a large security project at Maybank. Justin was always my boss, except in the last six months when Grace was promoted to COO. Grace unfortuntely could not join us for lunch but she looked great, she was tough and I did not always like her, but she inspires respect for her brilliant business skills.

(with Sanusi and Justin)

Sanusi is an engineer, he's been there for the last 8 years, his wife was our customer at Petronas, she is now expecting their second child. Justin, now CEO of the company, well, he looks as happy as ever, and how to say... very prosperous? He's doing great still dating Janet and keeping it stress free.

(with Eng Eng and Sudesh)

Eng Eng has not changed one bit, she is my age and is also in no rush to motherhood. I also caught up with Sally and Soo, Sally has had a second baby and Soo who was getting married when I left is now expecting her second child! Rahayu is as lovely as ever, no changes in her life, but she has earned most of my responsibilities when I left, so she's a busy girl now.

I also spent half an hour with Mrs. Tan, reminiscing about Toastmasters and how it still helps me today, as well as Mr. Tan (who was previously CEO of Extol, now retired).

I had a lovely time and was very moved by the very warm welcome back. I spent a whole 5 hours there. They all wanted me to come back, and I wish I could but I'm fully booked till I fly back. Nevermind, I'll be back in Malaysia.

Monday, February 12, 2007

A feast holiday

Malaysia is mostly about food. I've got a busy social schedule, but I must not forget to stock up on all the gorgeous tasty Malaysian food before I go back to London.

Yesterday was a good start, after the lovely home-cooked lunch (fish with pineapple, pork herbal soup, kai-lan and rice), I went for roti canai (indian bread with a variety of fish, chicken and vegetarian currys) and for dinner, the whole family met for my favorite - bah ku teh (pork herbal soup).

Uncle bought me prawn mee for breakfast. Other things I want to have for breakfast this week are wan tan mee (egg noodles in soya sauce served with honey cured pork and fried wan tan) and nasi lemak. Nasi Lemak is the breakfast food for Malays, it is just rice cooked in fat (literal translation is 'fat rice') with ikan bilis (dried salty fish), hard boiled eggs, peanuts and sambal belashan (crushed chili paste).

We're having a hard time arranging to meet Yanna, Thuan Aun, Joe and Olivia. It's because they're all parents now, Chloe (Joe and Olivia's) is still too little to go out, so we could meet at their place, but then it is not so convenient for Thuan Aun and Yanna with little Caden. And with all our family dinners and Chinese New Year this weekend. At least Joe and Olivia stay near my brother's so we can just drop by.


Sunday, February 11, 2007


I've arrived in Malaysia after the long 23-hour journey.

3 hours to get to Gatwick airport
6 hours to fly to Doha in Qatar
4 hours wait in Doha airport
8 hours to fly to KL
2 hours to get back my suitcase and drive to my in-laws

I managed to get three hours sleep on the plane, I watched a lovely South African movie called "Beat the Drum", about a child made made orphan from AIDS, child rape, HIV and fear and denial. And I bought myself a new digital camera Canon Ixus7i 7.1 Megapixels, very compact and that takes great shots, so I can show you Malaysia through my eyes, as a resident, not a tourist, not a local, not an expat - I was never either.

Arriving in KL, my first thoughts were how glad I was to have left. I drove through Petaling Jaya and could not believe the humble life I led in Malaysia. It seemed normal at the time... It feels strange, I feel so foreign to this country now.

Seeing Sudesh and Yen Ping tomorrow is going to be good and talking to Anna and my nephews tonight make it all worthwhile. Can't wait to see the little ones. Yay!!!

Friday, February 09, 2007


Oops! All of these are legitimate companies that didn't spend quite enough time considering how their online names might appear ... and be misread.

These are not made up. Check them out yourself!

1. Who Represents is where you can find the name of the agent that represents any celebrity. Their Web site is

2 . Experts Exchange is a knowledge base where programmers can exchange advice and views at

3. Looking for a pen? Look no further than Pen Island at

4. Need a therapist? Try Therapist Finder at

5. There's the Italian Power Generator company,

6. And don't forget the Mole Station Native Nursery in New South Wales,

7. If you're looking for IP computer software, there's always

8. The First Cumming Methodist Church Web site is

9. And the designers at Speed of Art await you at their wacky Web site,

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Not going after all... :(

My leave for South Africa was not approved. :(
Ron said it is too soon after my holiday in Malaysia and this period of the year is too busy and it causes too much inconvenience and disrupts the business. My lovely colleagues from SA just say it's a shame and that I must arrange another trip another time, but it won't be the same, because I was going to Nadine's wedding and Nades isn't getting married any other time...

I even bought a travel guide and a lovely dress for Nades' big day... I know it was premature, but I don't have much time, after I come back from Malaysia, I travel to Germany, then it's my birthday and it would have been the 17th of March already, so since I had spotted a great dress I got it. Beth was fun, on my disappointment, she said that I'd have loads of opportunities to wear the dress, Windsor race, Glorious Goodwood and I could possibly wear it at the next Christmas party, and Alex added that Dan and Julie ought to get married soon, so I can wear it then. But it's not about the dress, it's about missing Nadine and Jaco's wedding in Durban!!!

I just realised something, learnt a good lesson: even when you have time and money, you still can't get what you want!!! Who would have guessed?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

I'm going...

Good News! I've spoken to Alison from South Africa and she is waiting for me, she invited me to stay over with her and for as long as I want.

Unfortunately, I've got enough work to fill up my agenda till June, so it is unreasonnable to be gone for too long. If Ron agrees I will take 3 days off, so I can spend 3 days, 3 nights with Alison in Johannesburg and 2 days in Durban for the wedding.

Needless to say, Nadine was delighted. For my part, I was extatic at Ali's friendship. Now, I cannot wait to get there. Alex is bringing home a guide book, I'll have three days to see as much of that gorgeous country as I possibly can!

PS: Thank you all for sharing your opinions, yeah I'm aware of the crime rate, I'll look after myself and make sure I don't make myself a target. I'll also ask Nadine to hook me up with her bride's maids while in Durban.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

To go or not to go

I've been starring at the Nadine and Jaco's wedding invitation for the last 45 minutes, wondering whether I should go or not. I feel bad that Alex cannot make it either way, because he's got exams coming up in March for his Legal Practice equivalent.

But I can go, I can afford it, and I've got plenty of leave to take. It would be a shame to fly to Durban via Johannesburg without stopping to say 'Hi' to the team there. Of course, a stop over would add to the cost, but it would make the flight cost worth it. Besides, Alex is more interested in discovering Cape Town than Jo'burg.

Flight to Joburg is 385, which is a very good rate, it's usually over 420 pounds, and the connecting flight to Durban is 140, hotels seem to start at 36 pounds a night. Of course, with that kind of money I could buy a European trip for Alex and I in a long weekend... and still discover Cape Town together. But how many wedding invitations will I get from South Africa???

What would you do if you were in my shoes???

Post dinner report

The dinner went well, I only spent two hours in the kitchen, most of which was preparing the fruit salad, although it was a very welcome dinner at the end of a heavy meal. The cheese was only eaten as a supper while playing board games. We could not find extra pillows, so Dan and I were on the floor, but it was cosy enough, all 8 of us were seating very comfortably.

The whole dinner was good fun. Jaya is such a wonderful little girl, at 8 o'clock, the parents set up the cot in my room, changed her to her pyjamas, she waved goodnight and we did not hear from her the entire evening.

Alex got a lovely lilac/aqua green tie with matching cufflings and a PSP game Fifa 07.

We also got the invitation for Nadine and Jaco's wedding in Durban, South Africa on March 17th. I would really love to be able to make it. I guess it will depend on how much bonus I get this year, or if I can convince Ron to send me down there for work, but the SA team is very self-sufficient and I would need to learn from them, more than I could help them.

Alex is having a bad day today because he found out that when he changed his one-way to Malaysia, his return was automatically cancelled, so now he is stranded in Malaysia with no return journey and he had paid a bomb to change his ticket to Malaysia (one-way), do you think the agency would have informed him!!!??? No, we found out because Dan old us to check, it happened to him before. Bloody useless agents.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Alex is 33!

It is my dear husband's birthday today.
We were planning on going to the Italian restaurant up the road tonight with our friends Dan, Julie, Jamie, Seema, Nadine and Jacob, when Jamie and Seema could not find a baby sitter for little Jaya. So I braced myself for what was coming and cancelled the restaurant to have dinner at home instead.

Why brace myself? because I do not have a dinning room, or a dinning table, or 8 chairs. I've got a sofa that can seat 3, a papasan chair that seats 1 and a cushions throw that seats 2, hmmm... that's gonna be interesting.

I decided to prepare some amuse-bouche for starters, as it does not require a plate on knees. Here is my menu:
Blinis of Guacamole and fresh water Prawns
Mushroom Risotto with Trout filets cooked in Papillote
Tray of cheese with fresh baguette (of course!)
Fresh Fruit salad

I've bought enough fish to feed 12, and Nadine is on a strict diet before her wedding, so she told me not to cook for her. That's gonna make huge portions. I'll let you know how the dinner went tomorrow. For now, I'd better start cleaning up and tidying up and finding 8 matching wine glasses and two more large cushions, and get my arse into that kitchen.