Thursday, August 30, 2012

Happy 55th Merdeka Day, Malaysia!

Where am I this year for Merdeka Day? Sydney, yet again. However, compared to how I felt last year, my feelings this year are less emotional, perhaps due to my recent long stay back home. In addition, this trip allowed me to meet people who shared much of their knowledge and experiences.

We could say that our nation is another year older. Are we a year wiser, though? I suppose, we all have our own definitions of 'wiser', do we not? Here is my personal take on it.

Unlike last year, I did not take part in Bersih 3.0 this year. I am unable to recall the reason for my non-participation but deep down, I was proud of everyone I know who did partake. To me, the Bersih rallies are linked to Merdeka and more importantly, linked to how proud we are as Malaysians. Regardless of whether the effects of Bersih will take place tomorrow, next year, or next generation, it is more significant that I was here to be a part of and experience the change.

It is funny that we are all afraid of change because nothing endures but change. We hear that pretty often, do we not? Change is the only constant, there is nothing permanent except change - sound familiar? More and more now, I think that this notion of change should be incorporated into our education system to allow for progressive change to take place in a nation.

Of course, where there is good change, there will be bad change, too. I suppose, it depends on which end of the tunnel we are positioned. For what is the point of making bold statements and finger-pointing while remaining in the same spot? We would have to step away from one place to view any one thing from different angles, the same as how we take photographs of the same person from different positions to get the best shot. Everything flows, nothing stands still, so why should we?

Okay, for some of us, even after numerous attempts at affecting positive change, the change remains negative. Does that mean that we and the rest of the nation should hoist the white flag and maintain the 'tidak apa' mentality? Well, we would have to remind ourselves that we could not step twice into the same river; for other waters are ever flowing on to us. There are so many other influencing factors, which make change difficult. Some of these factors also make us fear change, as we often equate change to less power. But in the words of the famous French military and political leader, Napoleon Bonaparte, "He who fears being conquered is sure of defeat." I think we have to conquer our own perceptions of change before anything else.

It is always the perception, ey? It is like how I saw the glass is half empty but you say the glass is half full. I wonder if it matters if we see the glass as either empty of full. I suppose not, because even sleepers are workers and collaborators on what goes on in the universe. We need everyone to be part of a cause, not just the goodies but the baddies, too, for opposition brings concord. Out of discord comes the fairest harmony.


So, where do we start? We start from young. We start from building a child's character for character is destiny and good character is not formed in a week or a month. It is created little by little, day by day. Protracted and patient effort is needed to develop good character.

I guess, instead of asking what Malaysia is able to do for me, it means even more this time around to ask, "What am I able to do for Malaysia?" instead. As an early childhood educator, as a daughter to my family and country, and as an accidental but vital influence in another human being's life.

Happy 55th Merdeka Day, Malaysia. May you age with grace and grandeur.

This post was inspired by my parents and besties, my past and current students, my fellow PhD friends, my wise supervisors and also the work of Heraclitus of Ephesus (Ancient Greek: Ἡράκλειτος ὁ Ἐφέσιος—Hērákleitos ho Ephésios; c. 535 – c. 475 BCE), a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher. Quotes in italics are by Heraclitus.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Masterchef Billy's Pre-launch

After work, I went to the city for a special event - the pre-launch of a cookbook by fellow Malaysian Billy Law of MasterChef fame.

I quite like the title of the book: Have you eaten? For us gastronomically inclined Malaysians, we would be very familiar with this phrase, as we normally greet people asking, "Have you eaten?", "Sudah makan belum?", "吃了吗?"

We had a little giggle when we read how it said that it contains his favourite recipes ranging from lamb roast to laksa. "Yes, that gives away the 'Asianness' of the recipes, does it not?" "Hm... why not char kuey teow? Maybe laksa is more associated to Malaysia?"

Each purchase of the book comes with a free tea towel.

Thank you, Billy, and wishing you every success with the book!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Hi! Distinction

Who we are?

We are a group of Australian universities' alumni with clear understanding of the needs of students from diverse backgrounds and cultures in Australian universities. This platform functions as our initiative to provide support and assistance to students who aspire.

What we want to achieve?

We strive to be a part of the Australian education system, able to contribute in the form of providing knowledge and assistance to talents who are inquisitive and willing to learn. Our presence is to ensure that students have an effective learning process with more focus on how to develop their individual skill set.

What we provide?

We offer a variety of products designed to encourage effective learning and complement the existing university education system:

1. We provide exam-relevant sample Q&A sets. We believe that knowing HOW to answer exam-style questions is as important as knowing the subject material, if not more!

2. We provide Quick Learning Tools (“QLT”), which are designed to do just that – help you learn quicker and study smarter. 

3. We provide an intreractive online discussion platform known as Virtual Peer, for knowledge exchange and discussion on ‘hot topics’.

4. We provide assignment proofreading services to help students understand their assignment tasks better.

Like our facebook page at and visit our website at for more information!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

From the bottom of my heart

By the time you get to read this, I would be sitting comfortably in my seat on an MH flight enroute to Sydney. Maybe even enjoying the MAS nasi lemak, which I enthusiastically recommended to a friend recently.

Yes, I am southbound once again, like the many times before this. Many of you wonder if I refer to both locations as home. Well, yes, I do, but according to different terms. And some of you ask if it gets easier each time I take off. In all honesty, it should because I would be conditioned to accept the fact that I have to get my sorry ass back to uni but unfortunately, it has not. This is especially true for this particular trip back to KL.

This trip, unlike my previous ones, was a long one. Six months to be exact. Instead of a play-my-heart-out holiday, it was also a working holiday. Many things could happen in six months. Much more than say two or three weeks.

Relationships made and broken; establishing new connections, both professional and personal; reconnecting with people who have been out of my life for a long time; disconnecting with people who are not worth my time and effort; money earned and spent; places visited and distances travelled.

There were ups and downs during the six months, in particular with my research. However, I have to admit that there were more highs than lows and there are several people I would like send a shout out to here (in no particular order and if I do not mention you here, that does not mean that you are not important, okay?).

Jian Jun, at least I got to see you in the flesh. Enjoy college life to the max (without causing and getting into too much trouble, that is)! Thank you for still being willing to meet up with me - students like you make it all worth it.

Su Ee (and family), Chee Kin, Chin Dy and Velvin, Singapore was heaps fun because of all of you - thank you so much!

Jenny, thank you for that really long (and healthy) lunch. Am always happy to make another trip to your side of town.

My research participants, my six months would have been meaningless without you. All of you. Thank you.

Miss Chia, you went all out of your way to bring me around the Klang Valley and passed to me phone numbers of possible participant centres. I cannot thank you enough for that.

Rhyann, you are my new friend, my new makan and main kaki! I will miss Aeris and Kingston heaps! You have to keep sharing photos of them with me, okay?

Rainey, you have no idea what you have gotten yourself into. But I am grateful that you are part of the Honey Bee team. I hope you learn lots with us and that you enjoy your stay with us. Thank you for choosing to be with us.

Miss Lew, your presence at Honey Bee is much missed. Why? Because you are not around to replace absent teachers, to help with sending off, and to help during bath. Sigh.... haha, you are missed because of your cheerful, happy-go-lucky demeanour more than anything else! Thank you for being part of the Honey Bee family and hope everything at your new workplace will get better!

Miss Teoh, what can I say? Your 38ness, your food cravings, your karaoke craze, your loud voice, your sudden addiction to Herbalife - they all make you a special person. Thank you for being not just my colleague, but also my friend. I will always remember our makan and main trips, especially the cycling trip to Putrajaya Wetlands and our two-day trip to Melaka.

Boey, thank you for giving me the honour to bring you to the airport. I really enjoyed the catch up and just like you, am thrilled with all the hard-earned awesomeness that is happening.

Fong (and Queenie), I am forever indebted to both of you for bringing me home safely that night from The Beer Factory. Thank you.

Sab, your cheerful demeanour and endless topics of conversation amazes me. Your shutter-happy efficiency ensures that we have up-to-date photographs to admire on your FB constantly. Having you in the group just lights things up. Thank you.

Raymond Chong, thank you for being my new lunchtime buddy. Thank you for the Jap dinner, the super random movie and McD's brekkie. That ride from The Mines, honestly, was a great help. Thank you for coming along to Penang with us, too. And I cannot thank you enough for introducing your sis-in-law. And your really adorable Mum. But more importantly, thank you for being you.

Guek Ming (and Hwee Lee), for all the yumcha (and yumzau) and makan sessions, all the tongsui and chuisui sessions, all the car rides and all the long phone calls. For the cycling at Putrajaya and the roadtrip to Penang. And especially, for allowing me to be part of your wedding. Thank you.

Fuh Ming,I am sometimes amazed at how much you understand me and at how patient you are with me - all that make you a special person. Thank you.

Voon Khong, for all the meals and movies, all the long discussions on how I could view things differently and all your encouragement, thank you.

Raymond Loh, congratulations on the the upgrading of the kopitiam! I have been recommending your place to friends and I am so happy to see you do so well. And thank you for letting me be part of the celebrations!

Chee Kit, you are an amazing person and you have to keep telling yourself that. Your positive outlook in life and never say never attitude is commendable. And I thank you for letting me be a part of your life journey.

Sandra, I am so happy that we managed to meet again after 20 long years! I am even more amazed that we both still look the same (chewah, so perasan right?). Let us both be each others' pillar of support on this exciting journey, okay? We can do it and we will do it in style!

Edwin, AsiaWorks is amazing. You are amazing and with that, our friendship is amazing. Thank you.

Kenny, your encouragement and support, however random, are much appreciated. Your presence at my AW Basic Training graduation was just heartwarming. Thank you. I apologise for not making it for your wedding but you know I am genuinely happy for you and congratulate both of you.

Jon, you are and will always be a special friend. Your wedding was so touching, I had tears in my eyes (you know, that feeling of, "Aw, my best friend is getting married... sniff sniff..."). Congratulations. And thank you.

Yuen Chai, your tip on where to look for maps is a lifesaver. Thank you.

Max (and Cath), your presence in my life in itself is a blessing. You share both my joys and sorrows. You help me think straight (ironically, over a pint or two of beer). You talk to me until I think that everything will be okay. Thank you.

Jeunn, I am so glad I had the chance to celebrate your birthday with you this year. Your willingness to go out of your way to ferry me home from wherever I am is just unbelievable. And tailing me home to ensure I am safe - I do not know anyone else who does that. Thank you.

Xin Wen, your e-mails, WhatsApp conversations and Skype calls provided much consolation. I really miss you and Michael. Thank you for your friendship, that I hope will become stronger with each event we experience together.

Samuel and Samantha, I am so proud of both of you - all grown up and not the so little cousins of mine any longer. Meimei, I am so glad that I made it to your graduation. Korkor, I will make it to taste all your new recipes, okay? Love ya lots!

Little bro, we may not be like other sis-bro pairs that can hang out together and share jokes but I honestly have much respect for you. I will be a better sister the next time I am home.

Mum and Dad, no words can express how much I love you. For everything that you have done for me and to me for the past 29 years, I thank you.

From the bottom of my heart, I thank you all.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Happy 21st, Rainey!

The 'little one' at Kembangsari is turning 21! To mark the occasion, we went to stuff ourselves silly with a Japanese buffet at Shogun.

After lunch, we proceeded to sing out hearts out at Neway CEO, which is conveniently also located inside Fahrenheit88.

Happy birthday, Rainey! Big girl now - time to toughen up the 'tofuness' already!