Monday, December 26, 2005

Melaka Take 2: Panic wei!

We, as in Jeunn, Rick, Alicia and myself, went to Melaka yesterday. Rick wanted to go to the Orang Utan house to get some T-shirts and he needed someone to navigate (and drive) him there. This is where I come in. I was the map, Jeunn was the chauffeur and Alicia was there to pak tor with Rick. It was a fine and fruitful day until we were on our journey back to KL.

Info: We drove Jeunn's car. It's a really old but reliable car. The battery lights came on and we weren't sure if it was anything serious. Jeunn checked and it seemed fine. That is until he played with the high lights and they wouldn't come on! Shite! We turned the radio and air-conditioner off. Luckily, there was a Petronas up ahead and we took refuge there. Jeunn bought a bottle of battery water to refill the battery with. One cap fell into the engine and we spent some time looking for it. Jeunn tried to start the car but to no avail. Then, an old man appeared from nowhere to kepoh. He told us that it was a simple thing, just push the car, turn the engine on and it will run. And it did.

We lasted till the Kajang toll. The lights had to be totally off. The car was literally dying off. Gear 1, gear, 2, gear 3, gear 2, gear 3 and so on. Jeunn tried to drag the car back to Taman U. We drove in sheer darkness and without wipers to clear the rain that was harassing the car. Jeunn was driving leaning forward and I was praying my hearts out. Right in font of the Pasar Borong, we nearly hit a guy walking at the side of the road because we couldn't see him at all. We had to run red lights, as we couldn't afford to stop running the engine.

The last test came: the steep hill going up to my house. The car couldn't go on anymore. Rick and I ran back home in the rain to find my dad's spare keys to the Merc. Thankfully, it was in the house.

In the end, I sent them back to Desa, where we had dinner. Yeow joined us for a while to take his mind off his programming, which was also a bit of a bad spell. His comp failed to work and he had 3 projects in it, which he needed.

We headed our own ways and I made my way to pick Voon Khong up from a bus-stop along Old Kuchai Road. We headed back to his house where I gave him his shirt and he gave me a Christmas present. I then brought him to Bangsar where he was to countdown to Christmas with his gang of friends. I declined his offer to join him. I didn't really feel like joining a party made-up of people I don't really know. He was shouting over the phone at one of his ex-girlfriends. Haha.. made me kinda 'scared'. Have never seen that side of him but the caring him is always there. He was so worried that I would not be able to find my way home.

To quote Jeunn and Yeow, "What a Christmas!"

Mamak gathering #1

Date: December 19, 2005
Time: 9:oopm
Venue: Sri Neela mamak, Taman Desa

It was a mini gathering, with a sizeable number of us present. Dor and I were the first to arrive. Guess who we saw walking up the road to the same place? Kenny and a girl. Didn't talk to him. Haha.. so bad eh? All I did was glance at him every now and then when we sat at the table. We grinned at each other. Sort of like sending signals to each other. Signals such as: who are you looking at? why are you here? When he left, he came up to us to shake hands with Weng and Dor. He looked at me, smiled and shook my hand, too. He grabbed me really hard. Reminded me of the old him.

Since we were early, we headed over to Edwin's place. So darn pai seh man! Dor and I walked all the way up the stairs just to find that it was the wrong flight of stairs. Man!!!!

Alright, so Lim Yoke and Adeline arrived after us but their drinks arrived before ours. When I saw Lim Yoke, I stood up right away to hug her! It has been such a long time since I've seen her and Adeline! Was so happy to see them! And I so love her hair!

Slowly, everyone else trickled in. Ken Luam and Yin Lee, Weng Lok, Edwin, and even later on, Jeunn Fuh who had to leave early due to stomache upset. Hui Wei also showed up really late as she was at a friend's birthday party. Yuen Chai was there, too with Kong to meet up with his gang of friends. They sat with Tai Wai and Shin Yuen and some other guys who looked really familiar. Kien Loon and Chun Yau were there, too! So long since I've seen them. I couldn't even recall their names! Ai Ling ffk: she forgotten that we were meeting up. '-_-

Alright, here are some of the pics we took that night. See if you can recognise most of us.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Thoughts

Recently, I've been faced with complications in other people's lives. I admit I have been a bit of a kepoh la. But I seem to be reviving my role of a 'kaunselor sekolah'. Problems, problems and more problems. Perhaps, it's not exactly a problem but to me, they are.

I don't know if it is because my principles have changed or if it is due to the various 'peer and media influences' young adults like us are so prone to be influenced by. This visit back to KL reintroduced me to my old mates. I say reintroduce because of the big gap in opinions, which used to be very similar. I felt that gap even more on Tuesday night. I felt disappointed and sad. Oh, and not to mention shocked. Maybe I shouldn't bother feeling so. But I'm sure friends like Pet would know that I can't help myself.

We are 22 this year. Young adults or so called. Yet, we make the silliest, irresponsible decisions, which we call 'fun'. "We are still very young, why not have some fun first?"

What is fun? What is not fun? When are we still young? When are we not young anymore? These are all questions that are very subjected to personal opinions shaped by personal experience and upbringing. Hence, no matter how hard I think and how much I think it is 'right' or 'wrong', it doesn't make any difference. What I think does not matter to anyone else but myself. If you disagree, you are welcome to call me and I will explain the whole situation to you. It would make me feel much better.

A short conversation with Kenny was my redemption. Kenny, just to let you know, what ever happened and will happen, I will still be here for you coz hopefully, the Kenny I knew back then is still alive in you somewhere. Big hug to you.

P/S: Big hug to Jeunn Fuh and VK. Love you guys to death!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Sadness

We went back to Temerloh again yesterday. Yes, to visit grandpa. I was hoping that he would be better than last week.

We were welcomed by grandma. Aunt Ying was already having lunch with Aunt Yeen and Eunice, my youngest cousin (dad's side). Samantha was sick. She claimed that she had food poisoning as she has been purging and throwing up. Grandpa was sleeping. He slept for most of the time that we were there.

Uncle Fatt came back late in the arvo. It was his birthday so we all wished him. Samuel (his son, my cousin, Samantha's bro), didn't even know! Haha.. we had a good laugh. We had an even better laugh when Aunt Ying told us the story of how she and Aunty Mercy (her maid) were taken down by a rat they found. We all laughed till we cried. Coincidentally, I heard a noise coming from the back of my right ear. They heard it, too. We guessed that it was a baby bird or something. We looked, we stopped, and we looked. Dad found that it was a rat hiding in between the front tyre of the motorcycle and the mudguard. Aunt Ying quickly moved away.

After dinner, I went into grandpa's room. I held his hand and I called him. He looked at me hard but he didn't seem to have the strength to maintain his gaze. He tried to say something but he couldn't. I'm guessing that he was trying to say my name. At that moment, I felt really sad. Aunt Ying said he hasn't spoken for 3 days. He couldn't feed himself anymore. He doesn't even have enough strength to keep his eyes open.

My grandpa loved me dearly, as I was his first grandchild. I enjoyed my time with him. To see him in such a helpless state is painful. Dad thinks that his time is near. It would be any day now. I don't know how grandma is taking it but I am certainly not holding up as well as I did when greatgrandma passed away (and that was also the day Josh broke up with me).

I will be hanging out with Yin Lee and the rest of the volleyball gang tomorrow. Hopefully, that will take my mind off grandpa for a while. In the mean time, I can only pray for his well-being and happiness.

Penang in a day

Woke up at 5:15am. Arrived KLIA at 6:10am. Flight was at 7:05am. A gloomy Penang at 8:00am. "What did you do in Penang for only a day?" I hear you ask. Now, we did a lot of driving really slowly (because duh, it's not like we are Penangites) and walking.

First stop, the Kek Lok Si Temple in Ayer Hitam. The marketplace leading up to the temple is in a deplorable state. Terrible, just terribly shameful. It was dirty, old and run-down. By the time we got up to the temple itself, it was much better. There were a lot of new additions to the temple, like the new statue of the Goddess of Mercy. Dad was taken in by the amount of real granite they used to build the whole structure. They used real wood with real carvings. Imagine the amount of money they needed for all that. Renovations seem to be going kind of slow, though.

Then we tried to look for the Khoo Kongsi. When we finally found it (after a lot of walking), I was particularly happy to see them upgrading the place. Perhaps it is because I am older now, I seem to appreciate the building more than before. They now have a museum explaining how the Khoo clan worked, such as how each generation will have a name to follow (e.g.; Khoo Aik Cheong, Khoo Aik Bee etc.). And the detailed craftsmanship of the building, just amazing.

After that, we drove around looking for another interesting building - the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion. This building is remarkable and I take my hat off to the architect in charge of the restoration. Dad thinks that it is someone he knows. The history behind the building is so rich, you can't help but think that we are so lucky to have had the British colonize us. They even have a website! Google Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion and I'm sure you'd be able to find something.

I spent 2 hours in the car sleeping! =P Haha.. I was really tired. We managed to indulge in some good food - ais kacang, laksa, fried kuay teow, lontong, rojak, lor mee. Unfortunately, the famous asam laksa stall near Kek Lok Si was not open.

Of course, we did not leave Penang empty-handed. We bought plenty of nutmeg and tau sar pneah. =) Oh, and the wait for the delayed flight later in the night was a killer. Why is it that Air Asia still has so many customers? We were only delayed for an hour. Uncle Shiang was delayed for 9!

Note: Shaun has already crossed the border. He doesn't know where he is but he knows that they will be spending the night in a beach resort.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Cameron Highlands

It was another tiring day sitting in my mum's Unser (which is a vehicle I do not recommend to any of you when going on a long distance trip). To make things even worse, I barely had enough sleep to help recuperate from the long journey back to my hometown the day before and also the oh-so-tiring concert. Oh, and not to mention the high altitude of Cameron Highlands and the windy roads.

It was a rainy day up in Cameron. It did not pour heavily but was a comfortable drizzle. The view after the rain was breathtaking. The tea plantation was just charming and having scones and tea overlooking the Cameron Bharat plantation was something that we had to do before leaving for home. Unfortunately, the BOH plantation was closed.

Mum did her marketing up in Cameron and she definitely did not leave empty-handed, or should I say 'empty-vehicled'. The Unser was filled with flowers, mostly petunias. We also visited Cactus Valley and dad 'borrowed' some ideas from the various the garden designer implemented. Cactus Valley was better than what we expected. Very well-planned and well-maintained. Definitely worth visiting, as it not only houses flowers of various kinds, it also grows apple and grape plants. Interesting place, indeed.

The windy trip down the mountain affected me badly. I had to throw up at the Tapah R&R. I have to say, that R&R is the best one I've ever been to. Clean, beautiful and friendly place, that is. If all R&Rs are like that, it would be great.

Second stroke

I've been saying how 'unlucky' I've been throughout my second semester in uni. My grandma had an accident, my bro had acute appendicitis and my cousin was also involved in a near-fatal accident. My concentration deteriorated and I was expecting myself to not do well this semester but I managed to pull through fine. I'm just thankful that I managed to maintain my GPA, as this means that I am able to continue with my Honours.

Now that I'm home, something else happened a week ago. My grandpa had a second stroke. I think it was in the same side of the brain as again, the left side of his body is affected. This time, it is worse. He is now hemiplegic. He can still talk and could recall who I am after staring at me for some time. The right side of his body is still functional, as evident on the day we visited him - he was feeding himself using his right hand. Of course, his sense of time is totally gone.

We will be returning to Temerloh to visit him again tomorrow. Hopefully, he'd have improved a little more.

Shaun is up in Sungai Petani, on his first day of his Thailand roadtrip. Just checked into Sri Malaysia not too long ago. They would be meeting with the rest of the expedition members at noon tomorrow at the Thailand-Malaysia border, somewhere near Sungai Hitam or a place sounding something like that.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Concert & Graduation 2005

What is wrong with my dad's comp?? Why can't I upload my photos?? Oh well, another pictureless entry I guess.

It was the night every teacher, parent and child was waiting for. It will be the night that they would be able to sleep peacefully and soundly again. That night was the Concert and Graduation night for the year 2005. The theme was 'Wonders of Nature'.

This year, we did things differently. We had a go at placing the graduation before, instead of after the concert and if you ask me, I thought it worked out pretty well. We had 10 boys from the 3rd KL Boys' Brigade Company there to help. They are friends of me li'l bro's. Er, I do know Yee Khai, though. We had 3 buglers to start of the grand procession, which was led by 2 flag-bearers. Grand opening, indeed.

I thought this year's seating arrangement and how we used the desks to form a barrier around the sound system and the projector screen was very helpful. It prevented unruly parents from bombarding the staircase to the stage and also kept them away from the sound system. Many parents were considerate and were seated for most of the concert. Some, however, were not so. I had to make announcements to ask them to be seated. Once, I had to go on stage to tell them that other parents seating behind the middle row were unable to watch the performance and were coming up to me to complain. That helped keep almost all of them seated. Those who were standing chose to stand at the sides of the hall. More interestingly, this year, we had groups of parents taking turns to come up to the front of the stage to snap shots of their little ones. This turn-taking amused dad a little, as it was the first time we've seen the parents behave in such an orderly manner.

My dance had a mistake! Sob, sob. I was terribly excited and nervous. I've never felt like that before! As expected, they did not remember the ending part where they had to form two lines to go in opposite directions. But, I am still very proud of them. I mean, they are only 7, 8 and 9 years old. They put together the entire dance in one week. And most importantly, they had loads of fun.

The finale was spectacular, as usual. They did not need a mic as everyone could hear the kids singing clearly. The night ended with everyone feeling tired but happy and satisfied. Mum is rewarding them with a seafood dinner in Kuala Selangor, inclusive of a firefly-sighting boat ride next Saturday.

Now, I have to scoot off to my post-concert meeting with the teachers. What do you think next year's theme should be?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Trying to keep up

I know, I know. I haven't been updating very regularly for the past week or so. I have a valid reason. You see, the big day was on Saturday. Naturally, having only 5 days available to train a whole dance with the kids, I had to make use of ALL the freaking time I had to choreograph, teach and train the dance, design the costume, get it made, and also to think of other props such as whether to have them wear a headgear or not, what necklace to buy and where to buy from, and how to get anklets and bangles that would make enough noise when they do their movements. I even had to try doing the make-up: what colour eyeshadow to mix, how dark or how light and so on. Speaking of nervous, man, it's my 12th concert and it was a hell of a night!

So yea, by the time I arrive home, I have other things to do. Things such as arranging the songs for the whole concert into two CDs, preparing the slideshows, ensuring the certificates and spellings of names were correct etc. It really was work but it felt really good.

I promise to put the pictures of the concert night up here when I get them. This year we managed to get the help of a local photo studio to help us with the photography of the entire event, and also for the rehearsal. Will talk more about the concert in the next entry. A gist of forthcoming entries: Concert & Graduation 2005, Second Stroke and Cameron Highlands. Hopefully Concert & Graduation 2005 will be put in tomorrow evening. =P

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Congrats and best wishes to Mr. Lee!

Today is the day which marks the beginning of Mr. Lee's married life. Today is the day he got married. Although it was a wet morning, the atmosphere in Dewan Grace, Klang was otherwise. Everyone was happy for the couple. Alan, Mong, Joram, Ching Yiap and I felt the same, nonetheless. His wife is sweet and pretty, and on the outer appearance, seemed very soft-spoken. I'm sure Mr. Lee will be a great husband, just as he had been a great lecturer to many of us in Taylor's College.

To our beloved Mr. Lee, we wish you all the best and do remember us for we will always think of you!

Melaka, the living museum

Alrighty, another obvious post. What can I say about Melaka? It's been a long time since I've set foot in Melaka really. I think it has been er, 7 years or so. The drive was a tad boring as the highway was too straight and the sights were, well, not totally fantastic. Before that, we stopped in Seremban to pack some 'siew pau'. Yum!

Upon entering Melaka, I was impressed with the cleanliness of it's surroundings. Apparently, the Chief Minister has done a lot to turn Melaka into what it is today - well-planned and well-maintained. The river bank has been turned into a riverside walk, similar to what you would find in France, according to Hannah. Complete with courtyards built with the original Dutch bricks and laterite stone, it relives the charm of Melaka. I thought it was wise of the planners to include descriptions of the designs and materials used to build several structures, as it educates the public on Melaka's history.

Of course, we visited the Stadthuys Building - the big red church now turned into a museum upstairs and a bazaar downstairs. The tour guide was informative and I commend him for being patient and 'long-winded' with his 'lectures'. Very insightful indeed. I gives many tourists (especially those who are Dutch, Portuguese, British and Japanese) a compacted insight into what happened to Melaka and the significance of all that has happened.

Jonker Street is a place that cannot be missed when you are in Melaka. So many goodies! I bought a shirt from Charles Cham's shop. Hannah bought one, too, with this on the front: "To lah or not to lah". Haha, ingenious. For those of you wondering, Charles Cham, he's a worldwide acclaimed artist. Hint: the Orang Utan House. Still don't get it? Look him up in Google. I don't remember his website. But those of you who knows me, you all know that I'm a big supporter of everything and everyone local.

Oh, we spent a few minutes snapping shots in front of what's left of A'Famosa and then headed back into Jonker Street to have chicken rice ball for dinner.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Of fireflies and prawn crackers

I think the title is obvious enough. Yes, we went to Kuala Selangor to catch a glimpse colony of fireflies. As Hannah has never seen fireflies before, I thought it would be a memorable experience for her. Thus, Saturday evening was drafted as 'Firefly Night'.

Interestingly, Mum and Dad have never seen fireflies either! I'm the only one in the family who has. I felt so proud. Haha.. I still remember the time Dor, Weng, Lee Sih and I went on the same sampan to see the fireflies. Weng even had the guts to illegally capture one or two of those poor creatures to marvel at them. Needless to say, they didn't survive the bus trip back to our chalets, as they can only live on a specific type of mangrove tree. Unforgettable sight, I tell you! It was as if the riverbank had an endless supply of Christmas lights! We later found out from our boat rower that the fireflies live on those trees on a 20km stretch! Amazing!

And everyone must buy the prawn crakers sold in Kuala Selangor. Buy lots of them, keep them and fry them for Chinese New Year. You will absolutely get addicted to them. The crunchiness, the crispness, the aroma..... ah..... I will so miss all of that when I return to Sydney. I will leave Melaka to the next entry. And my not-so-fun outing with a few friends. =/ Oyasuminasai.

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