Monday, 25 November 2013

Crushing Candies

I never enjoy eating candies in my life, no matter how pretty or handsome it is.  I prefer chocolate a thousand times more than candies.  I love the rich, creamy and bittersweet taste of chocolate.  I feel less guilty when eating chocolate because international researches have proven that chocolate has high anti-oxidant and aphrodisiac agents. I can debate about why chocolate is better than candies for hours but this is not the reason why I write this post.

Today's post is about my confession of flirting with something not chocolatey.... I confess that I am now addicted to candy.... But not just a simple sweet candy. it is a special one called Candy Crush. If you don't know what Candy Crush is..... hmmmmm it's time to give uncle google a call.

Yes, it is very unlike me to play computer games, more so anything involving candies.  But regretfully I have to admit that I am hooked now. I am a bit embarrassed of acquiring a new addiction knowing that I already have a long list of addictions.  But this candy is insanely addictive.

I don't really play computer games other than the old-fashioned "serious" games like  Freecell and Minesweeper.  My kids used to tell me that I was such a boring person, spending my free time reading, cooking and writing instead of having something really fun, like playing games.

When my husband bought an ipad for us, I was not interested in it.  Yes, it is very high-tech and looks pretty sleek but other than that, I don't really find it useful. (..well... I am not the type who judge something from its looks).  I can't do my accounting work using ipad, I can't watch anything that has Adobe Flash and I have to be delicate while touching the screen.   The fact that I don't have any chemistry with touch screen makes it even more unattractive to me.

But one day, my daughter managed to influence me to play Candy Crush.  I declined the offer but she insisted that I might like it.  Not wanting to disappoint her, I let her teach me how to play.  I was a bit slow in the beginning.  I couldn't understand how the points work, how to get high scores.  I overly analyzed the game.  When I asked my kids about the point system, they looked at me with a blank face.

"Mommy, it's just a game.  Don't be too serious with it, just play laaaa....," she told me.

That's when it hit me...

Have I lost the fun in me?  Am I really too serious now? Have I grown "old" that fast? Am I a boring middle-age-almost-menopause lady now?

NO NO NO..... I have to show my kids that I am not that person.  I am still a fun person who can enjoy games that most "fun people" play. I have my reputation at stake now.... I have to play..!!

Then I started playing.. Every time I completed one level, I felt the a sense of achievement.  I couldn't believe that I could complete all 33 levels within 3 days. Every time I completed 1 level, I shouted and showed off to my kids.  When I reached level 35, I got stuck.  I needed friends to help me.  I panicked.  I send requests to my Facebook friends to help me.... Only to realize that all those while I played using my daughter's account. None of her friends helped me.  I couldn't advance to the next level.  After a few days not crashing candies, I became restless... I needed my fix... That's when I knew my addiction was real.

I needed to beg my husband to let me buy the ticket to advance to the next level (because the ipad is using his account).  It's only 99 cents but my pride was too high to ask him.  I didn't want him to know that I acquired a new addiction.  He is still upset that I had a rebound with my coffee addiction after being clean for a few months.  But after a week without Candy Crush, I had to ignore my pride and told him what happened.  Contrary to my initial fear, he said OK and didn't ask anything at all. So I bought the ticket, felt happy and started playing again.

When I hit level 90, my kids started to complain.  They hated me for ignoring them.  I spent a lot of time on the ipad that they had to settle for Mi Sedap Soto for a few lunches. I felt so guilty....

Similar to what normal people will do, my guilt made me defensive...... I tried to justify my addiction.  "You know girls, you can learn a lot of things from playing Candy Crush," I told my children.  "Do you learn anything?"

My daughters gave me blank looks.

"When you play a game, you learn about perseverance, about not giving up and keep on trying until you succeed.  While playing this game, you are actually trained to be patient, to think strategically, to concentrate and at the same time, to be caring.  You learn to help others by giving tickets and lives to your friends."

I was surprised when I uttered those words.  Wow... I am good...!! Now I started to feel less guilty.  I am training my brain, man...!!

But actually it is true... Don't you think so? The game really taught us all those....

And I also learn a lot about life from Candy Crush Saga : you get helps from the least expected Facebook friends.  I get tickets and lives from FB friends who don't really keep in touch with me.  I even got lives from acquaintances too..!! It restores my belief in humanity... :)

However, the most important thing that I learned from Candy Crush is :  when a man says "sweet, wonderful, fantastic", don't flatter yourself....  You can die just seconds after the Candy Man says you did FANTASTIC...!!

Have a great week ahead friends....



























Sunday, 6 October 2013

Welcome to Bandung

Bandung has always been home to me.  I was born and raised in Bandung...

I used to talk in Sundanese dialect everyday...



and having Baso Tahu (which for some reason, people from Jakarta change the name to Siomay), Rujak Cuka, Pisang Bolen, Lotek, Jengkol, Genjer and Lalapan as my snacks.




I carry Bandung everywhere I go.  When I was in US, my Indonesian friends could automatically tell that I was from Bandung from my "kampung Sunda" accent when I spoke English (at that time I found it very embarrassing and tried to eliminate that kampong accent by speaking English with Indonesian accent instead, which Americans found it equally difficult to understand). 

When my husband married me 14 years ago, most of his relatives had no idea where Bandung was.  There was no Airasia to promote and connect Indonesian small towns to Malaysia.  Going to Bandung meant taking a 2-hour-flight to Jakarta followed by a 5-hour-drive from Jakarta to Bandung. A trip to Bandung would take at least 9 hours without traffic jam.  With Jakarta's maddening traffic jam, it could easily take 12-14 hours.  So yes, I would like to thank Tan Sri Tony Fernandez for connecting my Bandung to Kuala Lumpur with a direct 2-hour flight. 

Because of Airasia, Bandung grows to be one of the favourite holiday destinations for Malaysians.  The flights increased from once a day to 5 times a day.  Hotels, factory outlets and restaurants have been mushrooming at a very fast speed, providing job opportunities and improving the town economy.  Pasar Baru store operators have been adjusting their products to cater to the busloads of Malaysian customers for years that some of them even accept Ringgit Malaysia as a mode of payment. 

When my husband's friends found out that he married a girl from Bandung, most of them asked him to tell them where to go and what to do in Bandung.  Initially my husband would recommend places that we normally go whenever we visit Bandung.  But after a few months telling the same thing over and over again, he asked me to help him making a list of places to visit in Bandung using Microsoft Words so he could just email it to his friends. 

Well, of course.... as a very kind and understanding wife.. (wink..wink..) I obligingly wrote a simple travel guide for his friends.  Little did I know that my "travel guide" was circulated among his colleagues in the office.  Now my husband claims the title of "Bandung Expert"..!!!  (thanks to his supportive wife... (another wink...))

Since Malaysia and Singapore school holidays are coming soon, I think about sharing this little Bandung Travel Guide with my readers.  While it is not really a Lonely Planet, the places in the guide are places that are close to my heart..... the places I go when I visit my kampong.  You are free to circulate the guide to your friends (and claim the title of "Bandung Ambassador")

I share this guide to welcome you to my home.  I hope you will enjoy Bandung as much as I do..

Wilujeng Sumping ka Bandung (Welcome to Bandung)

PS: Let me know if you need PDF file for this. Just tell me your email address on "comment" below and I will email the file to you.

 
BANDUNG TRAVEL GUIDE



TOURIST SPOTS:

 
Gunung Tangkuban Perahu – Active volcano at Lembang  
 
Opens daily until 4pm

Located 30 km from Bandung, about 45 minutes drive.

At the volcano site, go to the kawah and shop traditional souvenir (but please bargain hard 70% off). You can also try the traditional delicacy such as pisang bakar with cheese and chocolate, bajigur drink (hot mixture of gula melaka and santan) or bandrek drink (shredded coconut in hot mixture of ginger and gula melaka).  


Sari Ater Hot Spring Resort

Opens all day but the best time to visit is after 5pm

Located near Gunung Tangkuban Perahu.  It’s a hot spring restort for a dip in sulfuric hot pool. You should bring your swinsuit for this. It’s better if you can spend one night at the resort, relaxing and enjoying the chill.  The weather is cold, so please bring some long sleeves, the temperature at night can drop to 10 degrees when it rains.

On the way there (in the morning) you can stop by at Pasar Lembang.  You can sample fresh n cheap local fruits like raspberry, strawberries, blackberries, avocado, and salak pondoh.  You can also sample traditional delicacies like ketan bakar oncom (charcoal grilled pulut with spicy soy bean paste) or jagung bakar 3 rasa (sweet, salty and spicy).

If you happen to be in Lembang area on weekend, go to The Ranch or Rumah Sosis where children can go horse riding, rowing boat at the lake, go carting, flying fox, etc.

 
Trans Studio Theme Park

The largest indoor theme park in Indonesia. Located next to Bandung Super Mall, the theme park is a hit for both adults and children.




SHOPPING SPOTS:

 
 
Factory outlets:

1. Rumah Mode (Jalan Setia Budi), the most popular factory outlets combining shopping, dining and massage in one place.   The Food outlets offer traditional Bandung street food such as Batagor, Satay, Lotek, Siomay, etc.



2. The Happenning – next to Rumah Mode


3. The whole stretch of Jalan Dago you will find more than 10 outlets

4. The Summit, Heritage, Cascade (the stretch of Jalan Riau)

 
5. Jalan Soka : Moi (for kids, a lot of branded stuffs) and Carvieno(for party gowns).  These two outlets are close to the famous Prima Rasa Bakery selling Bandung snacks.
 
Shops:

1. Jalan Cihampelas (jeans shops the whole stretch of jalan cihampelas,
interesting to see and cheap clothes). If you want to buy cheap bags, go to Toko Elizabeth.

2. Toko Yogya: Has few branches at Jalan Sunda, Jalan Diponegoro (near Jalan Riau), CiWalk and in The Bandung Indah Plaza (Jalan Merdeka). Cheap and nice children clothing but not branded.

3. Pasar Baru : 5-storey traditional market (fully air-cond) selling vast variety of cheap clothes, tudong, sulam, kebaya etc.  Make sure to bargain.  Favorite place for Malaysians.

4. Jalan Braga : heaven for art lovers with street vendors selling paintings at very reasonable prices.  Be sure to bargain.

 
Malls:

 
  • Ciwalk Mall (Cihampelas Walk) for access to their website. Outdoor mall with good mixtures of interesting small shops and restaurants. Strategically located on the stretch of Jalan Cihampelas, famous for jeans.   

  • Bandung Trade Center (BTC) – selling very reasonable clothing, local brands.  It’s also good for wholeseller.
 
  • Bandung Super Mall (BSM) at Jalan Gatot Subroto.  The perfect mall for kids because it has indoor amusement park with merry go round, mini roller coaster and ferry wheel. 

 
DINING SPOTS:
 

For muslims:  Be aware that not all Malay Indonesian are muslims, so a restaurant owned and served by Malay may not be necessarily halal.  The list below is for halal restaurants


1. D'Palm Sundanese Restaurant at Jalan Lombok.  Order Gurame goreng bumbu acar kuning, Gepuk (fried marinated beef), Tahu goreng, ayam kampung goreng, karedok (local salad with peanut sauce).


2. Atmosphere Restaurant at Jalan Lengkong.  Serves local and international cuisine.  Very nice place and relaxing ambiance for dinner.  Sit outside for balinese style hut.  Weekend nights are usually fully booked.


3. Kedai Nyonya Rumah at Jalan Naripan.  Serves local and Javanese food
and snacks.  Try lemper (pulut filled with chicken floss), kue bika ambon and baso tahu (fish dumplings, tofu filled with fish paste, sort of like yong tau foo but the sauce is peanut base).  The front part is just snack shop but go to the back of the shop for an outdoor dining.


4. Sushi Tei at Jalan Sumatera.  If you get bored with Sundanese food, try this Japanese rest.  Very nice, Californian style sushi.  Try their Dragon Roll.


5. Hawkers : Martabak San Francisco at Jalan Karapitan (after 6pm).  Try their special martabak asin (chicken or beef) or Special martabak manis (Big apam balik with cheese, peanuts, milk and chocolate sprinkle).
 

6. Kartika Sari at Jalan Dago.  Sells the famous Bandung Pisang Bolen and all kind of kerepek.

 
7. Ikan Bakar Sulawesi at jalan setiabudi.  Serves varieties of fresh grilled seafood from Sulawesi island (Celebes).  Located just before Rumah Mode outlet.  Try the Sup Konro Goreng (Makasar’s sup tulang)


8. The stalls at Heritage factory outlets: the pisang goreng is very good.
 
9.  Sederhana Padang Restaurant at Jalan Pasteur and Jalan Riau.  Extensive spread of Padang dishes.  Very popular with Malaysian tourists, good food and reasonable prices.


10. Kingsley at Jalan Bungsu.  Serves the famous Bandung delicacy Batagor (fried tofu stuffed with fish cake), meehoon soup with beefball (baso) and varieties of kerepek.


11. Dago Pakar and Lembang area:  You can only go to these restaurants when you have a personal local driver.  It’s a very different experience.  Only the locals and tourists from Jakarta know these places, as no public transports go to those areas.  But it’s really worth the trip… highly recommended.
 

  •  Kampung Daun  Traditional outdoor Indonesian restaurant.  A must visit at night. Serve both western and local food.

  •  The Valley beautiful restaurant at night, up on the hill overlooking Bandung, western food.

  • Sapu Lidi Restaurant at Jalan Sersan Baiduri (in front of Ledeng Station).  Very nice restaurant where you eat in a hut on top of padi field.  Lunch only. Served authentic Sundanese food.

  • Sindang Reret Restaurant at Lembang (on the way to the volcano). Food to order : Ikan gurame bumbu rujak, ayam kampung bakar, karedok, sayur asem.  

  • Congo : A hilltop restaurant cum furniture shop with a nice ambiance and fresh air. Food is a mixture of Indonesian and western.  Nice for traditional afternoon tea.  Located near the Mountain View Golf resort.

  • Bumi Joglo : Dago Pakar near Congo.  Serve traditional Javanese food like Nasi Liwet, Sizzling Satay.

 

JEWELERY SHOPS (DIAMONDS AND GOLD) :

 

Gold jewelries are reasonably cheaper than KL with different and simpler designs.

1.  Toko Mahkota, Jalan Ahmad Yani 164 (Kosambi) in front of Pasar Kosambi.

2.  Toko Bagus, inside Pasar Kosambi, Ground floor

3.  Toko Putera Mahkota, Jalan Ahmad Yani (Kosambi)

4. Toko Nan Hoa, near Pasar Baru

 

Spas:
 
1.   Roger's Salon at Jalan Dago. Located within walking distance to Factory Outlets so you can drop by to relax your tired feet after some shopping free.
 
2.  San Gria Resort & Spa in Lembang, just before Pasar Lembang.  Try the boreh or coffee scrub.  Interesting and nice experience.

3.    Anata Salon at Jalan Windu no 3, good for Creambath (Scalp & Back Massage), Menicure and Pedicure.

4.    Bersih Sehat Massage.  Basic good quality massage with basic ambiance.  Most locals go to this place once a week for basic massage.

 
 
HOTELS:

Click on the hotel names to direct you to their websites @ Agoda. You will be able to see the rooms, facilities, etc from the picture galleries there.

Please book early as hotels are mostly fully booked on weekends. 
 

Recommended hotels


1.  Sensa Hotel - Jalan Cihampelas no 160.  Phone: +62 22 206 1111
 
A zen-style new hotel with a perfect location. Located in the heart of Jalan Cihampelas, a shopping paradise for jeans, bags and T-shirt.  Walking distance to malls, restaurants and shops.  Scrumptious breakfast buffet.


2. Geulis Hotel at Jalan Dago.  A cute all-suite boutique hotel located within walking distance to some of the Factory Outlets.

The perfect place to stay if you plan on hopping from one factory outlet to another as it’s located in front of the Factory Outlet stretch.


3Sheraton Resort A resort-style hotel located at a quieter area of Jalan Dago.   


A beautiful and relaxing traditional villa located north of Bandung. The only villa that provides real Sundanese ambiance.

 

A quiet and relaxing 5-star resort up on the hill. About 20 minutes from town but perfect for couples without children. Beautiful, romantic ambiance with hill backdrop.


6. Hyatt Regency Bandung located conveniently next to Bandung Indah Plaza Mall.
 

7.  The Valley Resort at Dago Pakar. A quiet 3-star resort on a hill of Dago, around 25 minutes from town.

 
8.    San Gria Resort & Spa at Lembang.  A very quiet boutique resort perch on a hill with idyllic backdrop against padi field. Located in Lembang, the air can be chilly at night.



Located on the mainstreet of Jalan Dago, it’s walking distance to Bandung Indah Plaza mall.  The road in-front is very busy especially on weekends.
 


Nice 4 star, location is OK but not walking distance to any shopping area.

 

11.  Aston Hotel and service apt. 

 It has 3 branches :

  • Aston Hotel Braga
  • Located at the Braga Citiwalk, the historic street full famous for its art galleries.

Located on Jalan Cihampelas, right in the center of shopping activities, across Sensa Hotel.

 

 
12. For a budget accommodation, can try the chain of Royal Dago hotels (few locations).  Small hotels with good locations.


13. Guest houses : bungalow houses converted into hotels.  Provide clean and basic accommodation with homely environment. Recommended : de’ Tropis (pin bb 23BE7E5D) with the option of arranging full transportation with personal driver.
 
CAR RENTALS:


1. Cipaganti Car Rental. Ph. 62-21-720 4766 or 62-21-7204616 (cover Jakarta and Bandung). Check the time on its website www.cipaganti.co.id


2. Tiara Travel. ph 62-22-601 1118 or 62-22-603 7737
 
The rate is around Rp650,000 to 700,000 per day (usually 8 hrs), depending on what car you want, in Bandung only, inclusive driver.  Give Rp.20,000 to the driver for lunch.

 
 

** The best way to enjoy Bandung is by renting a car with a driver which will serve as guide as well.  Taxi service in Bandung is better than KL in terms of service and honesty but inconvenience because of the quantity.  Taxis mostly available in downtown area but not in factory outlets or restaurants.

** Tipping is customary in Indonesia.  For dining, tip around Rp10,000. Tips for massage is Rp20,000.

 

** Avoid travelling to Bandung on weekends, the traffic jam is horrendous due to the influx of local tourists from Jakarta.






Monday, 23 September 2013

If I die...

My guilt is building....
My shame is increasing.....
My craving is maddening...

I neglected this blog for too long.  It's the longest time ever... I can't believe I didn't write anything for 2 months..!!!  I wonder if anyone misses my blog..?

Last month I heard a very sad story about one of my neighbours.  I don't know her personally and I have never met her but she taught me a very important lesson about life.

This is the story:

Not too long ago, there was a lady who lived in our community.  She was married and had a mentally-retarded son.  They lived in our neighbourhood for more than 30 years.  Their immediate neighbours knew them but never really interacted or talked to them.  Three years ago their son died. Their immediate neighbours didn't know that the son had died until several weeks later.

Last year her husband also died and none of the neighbours knew about it until the people from the mosque came to the house to do some prayer.

Last month the lady died and nobody knew about it until 2 weeks later.  She died alone in her bedroom.  Nobody knows whether she was ill before she died.  Nobody knows if she was suffering before she died. Nobody knows anything about her condition prior to her death.

When the police came to the house, the body was such in a decomposing state that they couldn't lift it without crumbling. 

The immediate neighbours felt very guilty for not being "busy body".  Some of them said that the family was very reserved.  Some of them tried to make small talks and conversations but met with cold stares. Because of them, they just minded their own businesses.  The neighbours tried to be helpful by giving them the privacy they wanted.

A few days after the incident, there were numerous stories about the couple, some are true and some are totally based on thin air.  Then there were theories and statements made by people (some had never met the couple) on why they died alone.

This incident has been a wake up call for me and my neighbours. 

When I die, how will people remember me? 
What kind of stories will be "aired" about me after I die? 
Will I die alone?
Will people miss me when I die?
Will I have a chance to repent?
Will I have a fulfilling life before I die?
Will I have the chance to ask for forgiveness and pay my debts?
Will I have the chance to fulfil all my religious obligations?
Will my children be OK?
Will I die in an embarrassing state? (God forbid...)




Because of this incident, I made some planning to prepare for my death.

Yes, it's a bit freaky.... planning for death... but I don't know when my "Big Boss" up there cut my lease on earth.  It can be today, tomorrow, next year or 40 years from now....

Whenever it is I want to be prepared.

For a start, I will try my best to be a busy body... who wants to volunteer..??













Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Cry cry baby...

I started my teary moments last night when I watch the "Attractions" audition for Britain Got Talent 2013 on You Tube.  It was the most beautiful dance performance I have ever since.  I had never cried watching any dance before but this dance had actually dug deep into my emotion and made me want to be a politician..!!  I want to be a real politician who fight for the people, who will stop wars and who will ban skinny models making people like me feel super duper fat. But of course, with my loud mouth and blunt remarks, I would not last more than a day... (siiigghhh... my celebrity-wanna-be dream is crushed...)



This morning while waiting for my husband getting ready to go to office, I finished my reading on Habibie & Ainun, a book written by Indonesia's 3rd President about Love.  I never knew he could write, more so in such a poetic Bahasa Indonesia language.   I remember how he struggled speaking in Bahasa Indonesia without uttering some English words on TV.   I used to know him only as the most techie guy in Indonesian government.

Reading the book about his life and love story, I couldn't help shedding tears of happiness, knowing that behind such a tough techie guy, who made the first Indonesian aeroplane, lies a man who shares the same visions and aspirations with me. All he wanted to have was just a simple peaceful life in a countryside surrounded by his family.  He wanted to spend his retirement travelling the world with his late wife, Ibu Ainun.  But his dream was forced to go to different directions when he was asked to come back from Germany to serve for the people of Indonesia.  His willingness to serve the country was bigger than his simple country life dream.  Behind his boyish face lies a very kind, religious, soft and romantic lover who was so misunderstood by millions of Indonesian people. 

I am such a hopeless romantic that his book gave the same effect like addictive sad Korean dramas.  I cried when he wrote about his sadness, I cried when he wrote about his prayer and I cried when he mentioned about his promise to Ibu Ainun. 



Every woman will wish to have a husband like him....  This is the real love story...  Although the book has been made into movie, I still prefer the book.  I always prefer books more than movies because of the deeper emotional impact of (written) words compared to actions (in movies).

After finished reading the book, I saw someone's Facebook page posting a youtube video of "Inside Malaysia's Shadow States".  I didn't know what to expect at all so when I clicked the video, I was surprised to find that the video is about revealing the corruption case in Sarawak.  Initially I thought the video is about Sarawak tourism (I was thinking about going to Kuching for next holiday trip).



This brave guy from Global Witness has actually gone undercover and videotaped his conversations with the corrupts.  I cried again.... This time not about love story... but cried to see how "cleverer people" easily take advantage of those who don't have access to knowledge.  I cried when I saw how the Sarawakians who live deep in the jungle have been taken advantage of.  I was so angry listening to the insulting remarks made by the self-confessed "cleverer (but super corrupted) leader" about his own people.  And to make it worse, they are so proud of being able to "con" the people and the constitution...!!

After three rounds of crying, I thought I had done enough damage to my eye bags but noooo.... I cried again... this time because of the haze outside.  After a week of not-so-bad air quality, today the sky is grey and hazy again.  This means that I had to close all the doors and windows at all time.  This means that I have to switch on the A/C 24 hours again... It means that my electricity bill for this month will keep on increasing... It also means that I have to wash my car again.... It also means I can't go out buying nasi lemak from the roadside stall again... (who would want to have nasi lemak sprinkled with Sumatera's ashes?)



Now.. tell me.... how not to cry...???










Friday, 21 June 2013

Some Love Affairs to Remember...

Social Media like Facebook and Twitter have done excellent jobs in bringing people together, reuniting long lost friends and meeting new friends.  While I am still struggling to "understand" Twitter, I am very comfortable with using Facebook as my medium of interactions with friends and relatives.

Throughout the several years of using Facebook, I saw so many things Facebook can do to relationships.  Facebook is like a double-edged sword : you can use it to your benefit or you can allow it to ruin your mood/reputation/life. 

Currently my Facebook is not as "intimate" as it used to be where only REAL friends and relatives know what's going on in my life.  Afraid of being labelled a snob or "sombong" and not wanting to hurt or belittle others, a lot of time I have to accept acquaintances "adding friends" to my FB friends list although we don't really interact.  A lot of "friends" in my Facebook list are actually acquaintances that will probably sit next to me in a restaurant but don't recognise me at all because we only met once or twice long time ago.

Because of this I have stopped posting private status that gives hints about my life.  I become like a celebrity who has to take care of her reputation.  I even put a nice picture of myself (with make up on) in my profile which doesn't look like me at all.  Some "friends" were shocked when they see me in real life.

I may look like this on my Facebook picture:




But in real life, I look very much like this:



(....hahahahaha... I wish....;)


Thanks to Facebook.... millions of ordinary people get chances to feel like celebrities, show off picture perfect photos for people to see and being "checked out" regularly like Hollywood actors. 

In this post, I am not going to tell you how to handle paparazzi or how to pose perfectly on your Profile Picture or what to post on your status (to make your friends envious).

One of the reasons I write this post is because I had friends whose lives had been altered tremendously because of Facebook.

Friend # 1:
Single beautiful woman who needed a friend ended up being poorer $3,000 from helping out her "Facebook boyfriend" who "lost" his wallet while dating her.  He needed to go back to "his home country" immediately because his mother was sick when someone "stole" his purse in one of their romantic diners.  Being a good person, she "lent" her money to buy airplane ticket and pay for the hotel bill.  The only thing is : she never saw the airplane ticket nor heard from him ever again.

She couldn't do anything else other than doing this:




Friend #2:
A woman met her old friend from high school.  Both have been married for more than 10 years and have kids.  One day the woman had a fight with her husband and at the same time the husband was tired of his nagging wife.  Both confided in each other thru the Facebook inbox.  After months of exchanging messages in the inbox, they became "very close friends".  The cupid was very naughty and shot his arrows. They fell in love and had an "online and telephone affair".  Some say it's not really an affair because they don't really meet and "do" it. 

I looked up at some dictionaries and found out that an affair means a romantic relationship, sometimes one of brief duration, between two people who are not married to each other.

Although they never met, they had behaved differently towards their spouses. Their changes of behaviours created some suspicions from their spouses.  After awhile their spouses found out about their relationship. 



Needless to say, things became chaotic and stressful. While neither of them leaves their marriages, the relationship between husbands and wives has been negatively effected and the children, as always, became the victims.

Friend #3:
A single young woman looking for a rich husband.  She was approached by a "perfect" gentleman who swept her feet by his charming look, lifestyle and sweet words.  After a few months exchanging hundreds of love messages, sms's and phone calls, they decided to "get married".  They never met in real life.  Her parents were "informed" about her decision to go to his country and marry him over there.  Her parents felt suspicious and reminded her it could be dangerous. She was offended and mad for not being allowed to get married with the man she loved. She thought she was old enough to make her own decision.  She was adamant about her wedding plan.  She would go and get married even without her parents's consent. Her parents were so upset that they disowned her.

She withdrew her saving to make a passport, buy an airplane ticket and a wedding gown.  A few days before departure, a lady from custom department called her that she had a package addressed for her.  The custom could not release the goods because they found out that the goods worth more than U$40,000.  The package contained gold and diamond jewelleries from a man from Canada.  Her boyfriend name was listed as the sender.  When she called her boyfriend, he said he wanted to give her a surprise gift as a token of love. He wanted her to wear those jewelleries when she meets him later.  She was elated and touched on how "perfect" he was.  The custom department called her again telling her that she needed to pay tax of RM10,000 to release the goods. 

She withdrew some money and transferred it to the "custom department's personnel bank account".

Right after she made the transfer, she never heard anything from her perfect boyfriend anymore. His phone number was not active and his Facebook account was closed down.  She was left with RM10,000 poorer, a useless wedding gown, a non-refundable airplane ticket and guilt/shame towards her parents.



Most of the victims I know are women... But I do wonder if there are male victims as well..

If you ever encounter any man who is too perfect to be true.. please beware.... (it  may be your husband testing you..!!)

Happy Facebooking and have a great weekend..!!




PS  :  My husband doesn't have and refuse to have any Facebook account.  Initially I thought he was a bit "technologically challenged" but now I think he just can't handle paparazzi as well as his wife...;)


all images are courtesy of http://freeditigalphotos.net









Monday, 13 May 2013

Pitch Black

I was shocked and couldn't believe what I heard on the phone. My boss told me to ask everyone to leave the office immediately and seal the office. When I asked him why, he asked me to go to the rooftop and look around.

I ran to the rooftop of my office building and stunned... I saw smokes everywhere and thousands of people were on the street chanting something I couldn't hear properly.  The mob looked angry and they were marching towards my office.

I ran quickly and asked the HR department to make a loud announcement, asking everyone to leave the office as soon as possible. My handphone rang and I could hear my boss's voice, "Please bring all our Chinese staffs with you and hide.  I heard they are attacking Chinese and non-muslims.  I am stuck near Tanah Abang and my car couldn't even move.  Please be safe."

I walked out quickly from the building with my colleagues. We couldn't drive our cars out of the office garage as the street was jammed badly.  We didn't know where to go but we just walked to avoid the incoming mob. A colleague from the IT department suggested us to walk towards a hotel.  I didn't know his reason but nobody had any idea where to go, so we just followed him.

We managed to seek refuge at the nearby Pan Pacific Hotel at Jalan Thamrin.  Somehow we felt that hotel was safe.  The hotel had more than 20 security guards manning the lobby and the entrances.  We saw so many foreign reporters and a lot of people like us, sitting on the floor with blank faces, trying to believe that they were dreaming.

For a few days after that I lived in fear. 
For a few weeks after that I lived to listen to horror stories of assaults, rapes and murders.
For a few months after that I lived trying to understand what has happened to my country.

It's been 15 years since that tragedy took place but I can still remember everything vividly. 

Today marks the 15 year anniversary of the dark day in Indonesian history that many tried to ignore and forget.  But Chinese Indonesians who lived in Jakarta, Bandung and Solo on 13-15 May 1998 will never forget their experiences.  Hundreds of churches were burnt, hundreds of banks were robbed, thousands of shops were looted, thousands of Chinese were assaulted, hundreds of Chinese women were raped and murdered.

Fifteen years on.... nobody has been charged, nobody has been punished and nobody has bothered to investigate who is the person behind the "movement".  It stays like an open wound that was left untreated until it heals by itself, leaving a huge scary scar.  While the wound is healed, the scar will always be there to remind us of that tragic 3 days.

So many theories sprouted.  Some said it's the works of Suharto's son-in-law, General Prabowo, to topple him.  Some said it's the works of CIA to destabilize Southeast Asia.  Some said it's the student movements to end Suharto's presidency.  Some said that the Muslims want to wipe out all the Christians from Indonesia. Some even said it's the works of George Soros to gain profit from the stumbling stock market.

Nobody knows which theory is true but I can attest that the tragedy happens because our people were easily divided and provoked to fight each other.  The best war strategy is to "divide and conquer" or de-vide-et-impera. The strategy worked well when the Dutch colonized Indonesia for 350 years in the 1700's and I believe it still works well now too.

The strategy of "divide and conquer" is used not only to break a country apart but also to break friendship, family relationship and business relationship. 

I saw this strategy being used far too often... I saw it during the last General Election of Malaysia.  Certain politicians made some provocations to make the Malays hate the Chinese, make the Chinese hate the Indians and make the Indians hate the Malays. 

I saw "de-vide-et-impera" at work and I hated it.  It reminded me of the 1998 tragedy.

Fortunately there are a lot of Malaysians who can think with their head instead of their crazy irrational emotions.  They choose to unite instead of divided.

The last Malaysian GE reminded me again on the importance of Unity. 

Indonesia will have its election next year.  I wish the people will be strong and not easily provoked to hate each other.  This sad anniversary of 13 May 1998 should remind all of us not to believe everything we read and hear easily, not to be influenced and provoked to hate certain races blindly...

I wish for a society who can think before believing, who will think before speaking, and who will think before writing anything on FB wall..

I would like to take a moment of silence to remember the thousands of daughters and sons of Indonesia who suffered, traumatized, handicapped and died without justice....

My prayer is with them... may God bless their souls...


"When there is no enemy within....
......the enemies outside cannot hurt you.”   Winston Churchill














Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Don't STOP...!!!

My eldest daughter is in a stage where she HATES (yes... hates with capital letters) School...  She is in Primary 4 where the teachers started bombarding her with tons of homework and exams.  Her sweet teacher turned out to be a super duper mean woman (she said), her bag is waaaay heavier than my grocery bags and her hours in school are longer than my working hours.  This year she started her required co-curriculum activities at school.  She participated in Puteri Islam, Chess Club, Theatre and English Club. 

Just looking at her made me feel tired....

I remember when I was in Primary School, I didn't have all those extra curriculum at school but my mother put me in Mandarin tuition which I hated very much... I hated the fact that I had to struggle to stay awake listening to Laoshe for one full hour in the afternoon instead of spending my precious time climbing guava tree with my friends.  Now I hate the fact that I hated the Mandarin tuition because after all the years spent struggling in Mandarin tuition, I still can't speak Mandarin..!! What a waste of time... Imagine how many guavas I could pluck if I didn't attend that useless tuition..!!

My high school was even worse... I remember I used to stay awake until past midnight to study for exams and to finish my homework.  My school started at 6.45am so when I left home at 6.15 in the morning I usually continued my sleep in the car until the driver woke me up infront of the school.  I was an A-student during my high school years... but now... if you asked me something about whatever I learned at that time, I totally don't remember anything.  I studied for the exams... after that.... everything was erased from my memory.  Sooo... another waste of time, right?  Why should I suffer staying late to study if I would forget everything when the bell rang?

At that time I studied because I had to...

In College, I studied hard because I wanted to graduate as soon as possible and I had a big responsibility to make my parents proud of me.  I studied to score high GPAs so I could enter the job market easily.  I studied because I had to... I never enjoyed it.

When I met my husband I was totally surprised.... He LOVES (yes, loves with capital letters) studying...!! He really enjoys reading "serious books".  He has been thinking about going back to schools but he has not had the time yet....

I was shocked to know that there is actually a person who likes to be tortured by serious books and lectures and homeworks...

After many why's and how's, finally I understand why he loves learning.... He treats studying as learning new stuffs.   He finds a lof of interesting stuffs that enrich his life by learning something new. 

During his school years, he was never forced to study.... He had great teachers who made learning fun... He said he never really studied and he never felt tortured doing homework because everything was done in a fun way...  He remembers his days in boarding school as the most fun time of his life, playing the whole day... But yet, he can remember all the chemistry, physics, history, geography lessons he got from his high school days...!!

There I was.... studying hard, staying late, tortured by the homework.  Result : forget everything..!

His case : playing the whole day, having fun. Result : remember everything he learned at school.

He even knows that Burkina Faso is a name of a country in Africa..!! I thought it was a fancy name for a new branded handbag, I didn't remember I ever learned about Burkina Faso at school... (my high school Geography teacher would cry if he heard this)

IT'S NOT FAIR....!!!

Now that I grow wiser...(...ehhhmmmm...) I learn to love learning.... Since I don't need to have high scores or to pass any exam, I don't study because I have to anymore... I study because I want to learn new skills, I want to know new stuffs, I want to explore more interesting things...

I feel that I am living a richer life... all because of the new things I learn everyday...

Last year my friend asked me to go to this seminar on internet business. I was very reluctant at first because I had very little knowledge on IT.  Technology scared me.... Internet meant emails and google. But my husband urged me to go... he even accompanied me to the seminar.  I still remember him saying," Why are you so scared of learning new stuffs?  You have nothing to lose... Just go to the seminar.... If you like it, you can act on it and if you don't, we'll have some nice ikan bakar around that area."

I was glad I went to that seminar.... It started my journey in getting intimate with internet stuffs.  I even enrolled myself for a 9-month program to learn more... My life is indeed richer... I never thought that I would be able to build a website.  Now I have my own website.... and... I even publish an ebook...!!  It has been a very interesting and fun journey....

One of my obligations as a Muslim is to seek knowledge and spread it for the benefit of the humankind.

According to Al-Tharmidzi (Hadith 74), The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said :

The seeking of knowledge is an obligatory of every Muslim."


Confucious once said :

I hear and I forget.  I see and I remember. I do and I understand.

If you are interested to know more about internet life (and business), I list down a few upcoming seminars that may help you start the journey.


This one is conducted by the celebrities...!! The Seminar is in Bahasa Malaysia.


Click here to learn more:




or you can also try this one by Patric Chan.  This seminar is conducted in English...


Click here to learn more:











































Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Woman ooooh woman...

Women always cry out for discriminations...
Women want emancipation and gender equality...
Some women even want to be born as men....

I have seen women with muscular bodies.... trying to look more like men (and make "normal" hunks looked less macho)

I heard and read condemnations from foreigners on how women were badly discriminated in the "less developed countries" like those in Asia and Middle East.... forgetting that Asians have a lot of FEMALE leaders (Presidents and Prime Ministers) in their histories.... We have Corazon Aquino, Megawati Soekarnoputri, Benazir Bhutto, Pratibha Patil, Gloria Maccapagal-Arroyo, etc... (while until now, there has never been a Female US President).

Are we really discriminated?  Do we really want to be treated as a man?

If you ask me those questions....

My answers are... NO NO NO NO NO....

I don't want to have gender equality....
I don't want to be treated like a man....
I think women should be treated differently....

 
Don't shoot a nasty look at me..!!


I am fully aware that in some parts of the world women are still very oppressed...... but I am not talking about them now.... I am talking about us... about you and me...




I believe a woman should be treated with respect and care as a woman, not as a man.

C'mon.... God created Men AND Women...
I am sure my God is super duper smart so that He created two totally different humans, Men and Women...

If Man and Woman are to be treated equally... might as well, no need to create two different things..

Some of my friends complained that it's nice to be men... no need to give birth, no need to have period cramps... but when I asked them to work fulltime to fully support the family, go under the car to fix car tyres, lift the heavy bedframe to make room arrangement or simply change the light bulbs.. they said : Nooooo... that's a man's job... I don't want to do that...!! So, what do you want.. woman?

I used to say to my girlfriends... Jangan melanggar kodrat.. (Don't go against your fate).

God has created us to be women. Accept it.... We can not change it... (technically yes, with plastic surgery.. but only under a special case). 

Actually we have to embrace it....

We are lucky to have the previledge of feeling the most intense love as a mother...
We have the previledge of having fun with handbags and make ups...
We have the previledge of having long beautiful hair without someone staring at us...
We have the previledge of wearing blings blings and anything glamorous...




and of course, we have the previledge of saying," sorry darling.... I am soooo tired today... I am having my period... could you please do this, this, this, that, that, and this one too and... pleeeaase take that shopping bags from the car...? It's too heavy for a woman...."

Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of International Woman's Day on March 08 this year, let's embrace ourselves for being a woman.  Let's release all the feminine vibes in us...

Let's HAVE FUN..