Saturday, October 23, 2010

have foundation will travel

watched a little of a documentary about bridge-building in greece. one thing that caught my attention was how much they emphasized on the building of the foundation of the bridge.
it is the foundation that will hold the bridge and make sure it is safe.
the most meticulous planning and work is done in the design of the foundation.
when the foundation is not ready and mistakes occur, it is back to the design board and ways to improvise or to rectify the weakness are taken.
once when the foundation is settled and it is deemed strong enough to support the bridge structure, only then the rest of the work to complete the bridge can start.

and what makes me babble so much about making the foundation of the bridge???

i just can't help from applying this to our quality of life ... if we care to build strong foundation in everything.

take learning a language for example. if a child gets proper guidance from his parents and nursery and primary school in learning the correct use of a language, it will help a lot when the kid grows up and learn to master other subjects. you can't read other subjects without the knowledge of a language right? and i won't call language a subject to learn. a language is something which is best learnt via immersion.

my english is not good enough for what i am doing i think. do i have strong foundation in the language?? well, my parents do not speak to me in english. i learn all my basic english from tv programmes and cartoons! thank god for all those cartoons in english. sesame street, electric company, he-man, thundercats, mighty mouse, captain planet, etc.

come primary school, i transferred to a national school from a vernacular chinese school at 8 because my uncle who is residing in australia thought the school would provide a better learning opportunity for me to learn english.

well, i started having friends of different races and strict teachers who spoke to us in english and i found plenty of books in bm and english to my delight. all my chinese characters started being swept away to be replaced by these 2 languages. oh all the happy stories penned by enid blyton filled my primary years. i love the faraway tree tales and i always imagined that the big tree in the playground in front of my house was one. hehehe....didn't all who read the book? and i love the investigative stories of gemuk and inspektor goon. yup, i read my famous five series in bm.

in secondary school, i was introduced to 'modern bible' aka mills and boons. friend and i even rented the books and exchange them from one of the bookshops in our small town. 'modern bible' was coined by our english teacher who caught us reading the books in our drawer during his lesson. maybe these tales had influenced my 'idea' of an ideal man.

however, my english skills are only used a lot in reading and writing. there was minimal speaking and listening as i conversed with my classmates then in chinese and malay and with teachers too.

come college time, well, it was the time i really learned my english. it was so intimidating to hear those who could speak fluently coming out with a string of english words so confidently and using those big words. gulp! i could not even make a proper sentence without a grammar mistake if i did not run the sentence through my head first. and it was in the college when i was pushed to do my first debate. i think i only got through the debate because i had facts and figures to support my arguments and not because of my language proficiency. it was bad. but those years in college had sort of made me change my thinking language into english. i would think in english and sometimes in cantonese. i dunno why it is easier and faster to think in cantonese than in mandarin. blame the influence of tvb dramas?

well, then there was the one year in england. the spoken english got a little better but not the confidence level. and i worked in a chinese restaurant mind you and my boss was a cantonese. more cantonese than english sometimes in a day.

going to america during easter while in england loosen the tongue a bit. those who have spoken with americans would know how words can fly out so easily from the americans and they are less reserved compared to the british. so it was yadda yadda yadda for 2 weeks in america.

back on the home soil after 1 year abroad, the confidence level was ok. being sent to a good training ground for 3 months in pj forced me to act like i know the language well. those kids could eat you up if you lose your rein just for a second. one of the girls was already reading 'war and peace' by leo tolstoy at 16 (i still haven't read the book till now!!)!!!

now coming to the present situation, i think it is the kids who cannot understand my babbling in the english language in front. i speak faster when the ideas come because i don't want to break my train of thoughts. but i hope it would give them a practice of how people would speak in real-life. i can sort of place some grammar rules in the head while uttering my sentences and keep the sentence grammatically correct. when speaking with peers, i will not falter nor will i stand out. those who work in the city speak the language more and their choices of words are more bombastic now that i even have to guess what they mean sometimes (some words you only see in books before and never really have the chance to use them). i do pronounce words wrongly because i was never taught how to pronounce them at school. i can only imitate the pronunciation when i hear the word spoken either by a person or on tv. and gosh, some words are are pronounced differently in england and in america. so which should i follow?? headache.

i will not drown nor will i climb to the highest mountain with my level now. but i do hope i won't tumble down on my walk up like jack and jill.

so if you want to give your kids a stronger stepping stone, do invest in early education and be a good role model. don't turn into a half-filled bucket like me. i can't stand parents who teach their kids wrong english just so they can show off to their friends the english they know. i shudder having to correct the kids when they grow up. so is this the moral value of my sharing???

wakakaka....i think i have digressed far and wide from what i started with...have i or have i not??? cutting corners when it come to setting up a strong foundation. only then the ideas and plans can go smoothly and with minimized glitches. ;P

Friday, October 22, 2010

live a happy life

am feeling rather melancholic now because i have just heard news of the death of a 16-year-old (form 3) and the injury of another. i am not familiar with this kid but do remember seeing him. dunno what exactly happened but it sure is tragic.
why can't there be a year where we can go by without any death?? it is already nearing the end of the year!
it is a road accident...but not sure if it involves another vehicle besides the motorcycle the deceased was on. will know more tomorrow when i go back. have to go back to check stock.

life is too short for this kid and i feel that i have lived for so long compared to him.
so those who are enjoying life now.....remember to enjoy your life. don't waste it.

live it happily. happiness is the key to a great life.

live a life with no worries.
no debt.
no regrets
no secrets (the secrets weigh like tonnes of boulders)
take care of your health.
indulge when you can afford to and pamper yourself.
have great friends.
have great hobbies
love your family and friends and have no enemy
don't complain
be strong

gosh...not that easy huh? be at peace with yourself.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

lekor-ing on a freaking hot day

am i looking for trouble here?? i feel uneasy because i can detect a certain congestion in the nose. there is no phlegm in the throat nor do i have a runny nose. but i do sneeze hard occasionally few times these few days. signs of illness to come definitely. it is just under control at the moment. once i lose control of it, i am sure i will be down with a bad bout of cold.

and looking at my lunch time snack here- it really spells trouble kan??
crispy keropok lekor bought from a mobile van outside a primary school. rm2. my lunch.
the weather is freaking hot outside as well and my whole body feel so hot. need some herbal tea but dunno how to boil it myself. so have to rely on 3 freshly squeezed oranges for my vitamin c. later will make myself glasses of honey.

here are my dishes for dinner and 1 soup.

i have never been so relieved to see vege. but the sight of the curry hot hot. maybe get myself a beer later.

and i can't sleep these few days. woke up in the middle of the night covered in sweat. want to be an eco-warrior and sleep with only the fan switched on, but it is really impossible. still end up waking in the middle of the night to switch on the air-cond. the heat is unbearable! the loss of sleep is also due to some hormones playing games with me. hate it. have the pimples on the face to prove.

to another thing. how do you feel when you are reading a good book?? i feel the world is so small and i am in my own small enclosed cave. no matter how big the room or the bed is, i will only squeeze in that one small corner and be engrossed in the story i am reading. everything seems to have vanished the moment i start reading the lines on the pages. do you feel that way??

this is the book i am reading now. have only reached chapter 3 but it is really good. my brother bought it and i think the book won man asian prize few years back. i feel totally transferred to the mongolian plain and crouching there in the snow cave with the characters watching the wolves attacking a herd of gazelles. totally mesmerising and beautiful.

keeping my fingers crossed that i don't get sick.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

pressies from shanghai

well, it is such a boring night and it is such a good night to finish blogging about shanghai trip once and for all. i am sure many will breathe a sigh of relief that this 'trip' is finally over. the travel bag weighed 25kg on the flight back to kl from shanghai pudong airport...and i was threatened with a fine of about 500rmb. so at the airport, i unpacked and stuff some heavier items into my backpack and sent the bag to be weighed again. it became less than 22kg and they let me off the hook. i only had 20kg baggage allowance on my ticket. so did i buy a lot??? a big NO!! see whether you agree.
souvenirs from the expo. a cork coaster from portugal pavilion, a fan from hk pavilion and a glass block from saudi arabia pavilion.

coca-cola for kee hon. special editions released for shanghai expo and another can from japan which i found from one of the malls in nanjing street.

dad's green tea leaves and local snacks. next time don't buy all these pre-packed ones. most of those packed are already past their expiry dates. cheats!!!! but they are still edible and no one suffer any stomachache from eating them. phew!

gifts for others. pouches, burberry edt for brother, handphone accessories, magnets for aunt and expo teeshirts.
finally.....for myself. a 3d keychain of myself (!!! nice hor?? only rmb20 from the science and technology museum), hello kitty love shanghai phone strap from japan industrial pavilion, postcard from zhu jia jiao and legging from uniqlo (rmb79). wonder how much it will cost in malaysia. uniqlo will open on nov 4 at the latest mall in bukit bintang area, fahrenheit 88. dunno when i will wear that pair of legging but i just gotta have one. i love grey!!!!

and mulberry has so many grey bags this season. okokokok....i only checked it out once. won't check again. i know, save money.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

the good and the bad

have you seen the latest mcdonalds burger advertisement??? it is sooo yummylicious right???
go to the website and see how succulent the burger is. the advertisement is also on tv and everytime you pass by a mcdonalds outlet, i am sure it is the burger screaming at you.

however, when you go to order the real thing, this is what you get:

on the left is spicy chicken mcdeluxe and on the right is black pepper spicy chicken mcdeluxe. hmmh....actually the photo effect is more flattering to the burgers. but to hold the thin burger in your own hads and to see that miserly piece of fried chicken thigh, wish to throw a tantrum there and then. oh yeah, i can be very temperamental when what i expect does not materialise. so please do not inject any expectation in me if you do not want me to be disappointed.
so yes, i am disappointed with the black pepper chicken mcdeluxe because the piece of chicken thigh fried in black pepper batter is so thin and the meat is not succulent at all (because of its thinness??) and at the price they are charging, almost rm10 for the burger, it makes it so exorbitant.

luckily, i find another cheaper way to satisfy my craving for something high in calorie. it is non other than our office boy- hairy wife's chocolate moist cake.
it is so rich in chocolate and everyone at home has nothing but praises for it....even grandma exclaims how good it is! it is almost 2/3 gone now from that container. i only pay rm14 for that. i think it is going to last one more day in the fridge.
so if you want to have your share of the cake, fork out that rm14. oh, you can tell me and i will help you to order the cake.

random ramblings

  • oh no..i won't be able to accumulate all my credit card points and exchange for a sony vaio netbook! sob sob sob! my american express credit card points will no longer be included in maybank treatpoints since amex card will not be under maybank anymore. i hope amex members get good rewards too. does that mean i need to have another fund for my notebook?? and do i need a notebook??
  • that notebook will be used to access my cafe world game on fb hahahaha. our cafe world game has reached another level. right now, i have 2 other players' login names and passwords so i can help them collect their dishes at the designated time. how is that for crazy? i have also given my login name and password to someone for the same purpose. and i am not the oldest in my group of cf friends. one is almost reaching middle-age.
  • going to singapore during the deepavali weekend for sammi's concert. another fanatic thing to do. and i am lamenting at the high exchange rate. definitely no shopping. money will only be spent on transport, lodging and food. haven't even paid for my concert ticket. haven't bought my flight tickets nor booked my hotel. now u know where my next pay is going to.
  • sob...only rm500 so called special assistance to civil servant in december. my heart aches and bleeds hearing that. on the other hand, the big amount of allocation given for education sounds good but...let's hope that the implementation is equally good. instead of spending so much to raise the standard of the languages in malaysia, can they spend the same amount of energy to only select the most qualified to join the teaching profession? if you only enrol those who pass their subjects in spm and want them to teach your kids in secondary schools, what kind of quality are you going to get? when you have a strong and qualified human capital, you won't need to spend so much of tax payers' money to buy softwares and teaching aids to help in the teaching because the person conducting the lesson itself already embodies everything good that you need in the lesson. i getting what i typed?
  • an increase of 1% in sales tax from 5 to 6. don't feel like eating at these places anymore. save $$$.
  • import tax for 300 types of goods to be abolished. good news for shopaholics? i have never bought any branded bag in malaysia xcept for my first mulberry which had a 50% discount tag on it. perfume and cosmetics yes. so cheaper facial goods?
  • time to get my ass off this chair for some marking. finished watching this week's episodes of glee, greys anatomy and gossip girl.

Friday, October 15, 2010

eating in shanghai

my mouth was watery as i was collaging and compiling all the photos. i think i managed to eat well despite travelling on my own in shanghai. it is better than those food prepared by tour groups actually. you can to choose on your whims and fancies and i do love trying all sorts of snacks. did i put on weight in shanghai????? not the first few days when i had hectic schedule at the expo. we only ate moderately in the expo ground as food was not cheap there. luckily dad and uncle pek are not big eaters either, so the diet was rather controlled.

this is the bakery where dad and uncle pek hang around every morning before we started our day. they always left the hotel earlier while i had my first round breakfast in the room- my 3-in-1 nescafe brought from malaysia and an apple. then it was toilet time. muahahaha without fail every day. that raisin bread was my breakfast on-the-go. i usually had that around mid morning. the apple could only last 2 to 3 hours. a really nice bakery, just 5 mins walk from the hotel. oh, and 24 hours too.

food at the expo..........expensive but there were a lot of varieties. most pavilions have their own restaurants hence you can try food from all the countries if you are willing to pay the price.
the glutton me of course could not resist....

finnish pancake...the texture is quite hard but it is not bad at all. yummy....

belgian dark chocolate. expensive right?? rmb62 for 3. it was made inside the expo during the first few days and are in limited quantities. my dad's choice of choc and he says to only buy dark chocolate the next time anyone comes back from overseas.

ice-cream, portuguese egg tart, banana and jackfruit roll and san miquel beer (the philippines pavilion), set lunch and tako yaki (squid ball) from japan industrial pavilion. those squid ball cost me rmb35 but they were and freshly made. salivating!!!

lunch of roast duck at duck king....a franchise restaurant. the duck was good. they cut it in front of you and it was hot fresh from the oven.

french loaf from the french pavilion.

now to the streets of shanghai....walk walk walk, visit visit visit, when hungry, stop at any place which serve food....
my lunch on the first day. a special type of vermicelli like those i had in guilin. the soup is kinda oily but it tasted not that bad. and i could not finish the big bowl of course. scary ah.

aah.....shanghai's famous steamed buns filled with crab roe. nan xiang steamed bun restaurant. we queued for about 20 mins to get into this restaurant near yu yuan garden. it is really a famous one and they have takeaway and the queue for the takeaway counter is always more than 10 meters long.

some assorted biscuits and dried meat. dad could not resist and bought some meat and we had them when we were hungry. but of course, we finished everything in one day. hahaha.....we just love our meat.

pork filled bun. we don't have this type in malaysia. it is quite filling. can i resist belgian dark choc magnum?? but my favourite is still dark choc with mint which i had in australia. that was really cooling. talking about cooling, we bought slices watermelon at rmb2 a slice at shanghai old street. it was cut in front of us so ok lah.....can pass the hygiene test. it was sold from a cart in a back lane.

stinky tofu which dad also could not finish. he gobbled them up because it would be a waste of money throwing them away. was his first time trying. i passed since i have tried in hk.

our meal in qibao (7 treasures) water town. don't like the dumplings because the skin is too thick but love the trotters. see.....meat lover.

steamed mantou....very very cheap. only rmb0.80 for one. haha....i had to double check when i heard the price. that lok-lok sticks were also good. they dip them in curry water and they have all sorts of meat balls and mushrooms. the mushrooms were good not to mention healthy as well.
i don't like their rice dumplings because the rice really sticks to the leave.

spring chicken....i did not try. too much food. but love my cooling drink. aaahh......

the chinese called these ling kok.....u know the dark horn like thing you usually find during mid-autumn festival? those are very ripe ones. these are raw and taste a bit like coconut.

our lunch at zhu jia jiao....paid by elaine's uncle. so many dishes just for the 5 of us!!!
from the first row left- bean curd, stuffed glutinous rice in lotus root and preserved beef.
second row from left- stir-fried ling kok, river shrimps, chicken and chicken soup.
last row from left-salted vege, beans, fish and trotter.

my best meal in shanghai- cantonese cuisine in one of the popular cantonese restaurant here situated on nanjing street. it is adjacent to majestic plaza hotel if i remember correctly. we had goose, salmon, brocolli and scalllop and claypot sichuan ma lat tofu. rmb265

my last dinner in shanghai at one of those fusion restaurants on the top floor of a mall in on nanjing street. the service was not good but the food was reasonable.

hmm...did i miss anything?? different types of bread, starbucks coffee, kfc shrimp burger, curry puff, red tea (singapore pavilion), herbal jelly, ice lolly, apples, peach, grapes, bananas and sushi rolls. yup, basically these are without photos.

so do you envy my makan makan time in shanghai?? i think it is nothing to shout about lah but u know you won't starve if you are there. local shanghainese cuisine is normally oily and sweet. very very sweet. even the locals say so and they also like cantonese cuisine. but there are many types of restaurants and eateries and snack shops for you to sample the different kinds of food. hence you only have to make sure that your stomach can take it.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

day 9, shanghai

finally...the last day of my stay in shanghai. the weather had turned cloudy and wet and again it rained.
however, on this last day, i had special guides from of my girls' (elaine) aunt and uncle. i am so grateful to elaine for introducing her hospitable aunt to me. i had a good time that day going to another ancient water town called zhu jia jiao. don't ask me how to pronounce it properly in chinese, until now, i can still pronounce it wrongly. but ppl do know which town i talk about since it is one of the most famous ones around shanghai with more than 1700 years of history.

we left the hotel at 8.30 a.m. and drove about 1 hour to the town. elaine's uncle wanted to pay for our entrance fee (rmb60 for eight scenic spots) but we insisted on paying it ourselves. they paid for our lunch anyway. they have different prices for different packages.
this here is my favourite and i think best photo of my whole trip. it is so serene and quaint and calm right? and i think the picture manages to capture the essence of this water town. that tower in the background is a temple. this is the view from the restaurant's window where we had our lunch.

we did not buy the package which included a boat ride, so we walked all the way in and all the way out through the narrow streets. we had a map of course or we would definitely be lost as every street looks almost the same.
one of the scenic spots we entered- kezhi garden.

another attraction we visited was this qing dynasty post office.

we only left at around 4p.m.......and it was still raining when we left. reached the hotel as the sky was darkening and the traffic back to the city started to get heavier with city dwellers coming back from their weekend escapades.
elaine's aunt and uncle, dad and uncle pek and their toyota. we don't have this model in malaysia. me? i was the camera woman. the one which dad took for me was not clear. sigh.....the camera is not that user-friendly anymore.

and so, this last visit to zhu jia jiao ended my visit to shanghai. the next morning, we left the hotel at 8a.m. and i took the metro all the way to the airport. only rmb7 for that 1 hour ride. damn cheap.

i still haven't finished yet with my shanghai post. coming up next will be food and shopping posts. which one shall i post first?

Saturday, October 09, 2010


is anyone looking for an extra hand/ helper/ assisstant/ etc (??) this coming november and december??? escape 2 happens to have a lot of free time to spare and would like to earn some extra $$$. she ain't going for any holidays end of this year because she has just 'invested' her money in a ticket on MAS to london come may 2011 and another 'investment' is on airasia back to kl in june 2011. she still cannot accept the fact that she has actually booked those tickets. she is flying with a female colleague of hers.

so yeah, i am really interested to earn some money for the trip and to make use of my time also lah. i am quite flexible and i am a good multi-tasker. i also learn fast and am efficient. anyone wanna hire me???

Friday, October 08, 2010

day 8, shanghai is so noisy outside my house! a group of girls all who have just finished their std 6 upsr exam was screaming their heads off playing with water balloons and water. i wanted to get a nap but had to cancel that plan with all the deafening shrieks!!

so continue with my china post instead. urggh....another shriek!!!

on this day, we decided to go to the outskirt of shanghai. hated the rained, rained and rained till evening on that day.

we went to sheshan national forest park which is about 35 km on the outskirt of shanghai. we took the metro again but from sheshan station, we had to take a cab to the park. there is a theme park here and i saw the roller-coaster track....impressive. but i pitied the theme park many rides would be open in the rain??

the park is quite big but we went to the two attractions here which are the astronomical observatory and maria basilica....the first basilica in asia if i am not wrong. have to pay to enter. have forgotten how much we paid now.
a pagoda greets you as you finished walking up the steps from the entrance.

inside the observatory.....if i remember correctly, this is the first observatory in china and it has long history and remarkable records of all the astronomers who had done their research there. the museum has compiled thorough notes to inform the visitors of the development of astronomy study in china.

view from sheshan. some of the most expensive houses in shanghai are here. we saw bungalows dotted areas around the hills. such a misty day. this photo was taken at about 10-11am.
maria basilica. those stained glass is fake....the original one was burnt i think and they have pasted fake ones to make it attractive to tourists during this expo period. shanghai government is really leaving no stone unturn in providing the best image to tourists wherever they go. mass is still held here every sunday. and i think devotees make pilgrimage journey here once every year.

we checked the metro route after finished visiting the national park. still drizzling and the sky was really gloomy. dampened all the mood to go exploring.

so along the metro route, we found qibao (7 treasures), an ancient water town which is still preserved. there were quite some tourists there too. met a group from hk. you don't have to pay entrance fee to enter this place. it was really serene ambling along the river and the little streets here...but only if it was free of the crowd. we had to jostle here and there and everywhere with the crowd all holding umbrellas on the narrow street so it was not really comfortable.

we called it a day the earliest on this day. we reached the hotel at 7p.m. dad and uncle pek freshened up and took a cab to the railway station to get their tickets to the next destination. then they went back to fuzhou street to look for books while i alone went to check out the shops on nanjing road.
that was when i found that things in china was so expensive. zara shop was so crowded although there was no sale but mng was rather empty. why ah?? i thought mng had better collection this time around compared to zara's. i guess it is all in the branding. i did not come back empty handed....but i will leave all the shopping to another post.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

day 7 shanghai

gooodness....when am i going to finish all my shanghai posts????
sorry for my tardiness....well....blame cafe world and laziness.
whenever i switch on the computer now, it is straight to facebook and then to cafe world.
it is kinda childish but the game is getting more and more fun with so many die-hard fan friends. yes, i have got a group of my friends playing it and we are helping each other to finish the tasks. talk about teamwork. we even have a special chain e-mail circulating among us updating each other about the progress of our task. talk about organised. muahaha.....don't let the fun stop.

okok...but i have to get back to the real world too ah....but if there is a machine to suck me into my 'cafe'.....i would like to have it please. i think i will make a good restaurant manager.

ok day 7 in shanghai.....another leisure day. aaah......oh, it was hari raya that day, 10 sept. was thinking of all my colleagues who i did not sms with my greetings. usually i do sms them. well, it was too expensive to do that.

pearl tower.....i went up once many years ago so this time, we skipped this. you need to pay about rmb100 to go up and they have different tiers of prices for different levels of the tower.

this is the place we went to first on that day....shanghai ocean aquarium. it is right next to the pearl tower. i think we spent more than 2 hours here leisurely strolling along all the aquariums.

the world's longest underwater viewing tunnel. yup, quite long and u only have to stand on the travellator. the long standing time was quite tiring though. haha.

the big roundabout outside.....
the building with a hole is world financial centre. i think they have an observation level you can go up to but of course, with a price.

from the aquarium, we went to the science and technology museum which is situated on the same metro route.
again, the building is massive and impressive. what you see is only 2/3.

a replica of an ancient time measuring equipment i think. we saw the original one at the museum.

there were not many visitors and we got 10% discount as we had our expo cards with us. they have many halls and gosh, my legs were going numb walking from one hall to the next and from one level to the next. i wish they had more hands-on stuff for us to try instead of exhibits. it would be great if they do it like our petrosains.
we spent quite a few hours inside exploring all the halls....yes...all of them in that huge building. i think we spent almost 3 hours inside.

then dad suggested going to a cultural street called doulon road. it used to be a cultural gathering street. it was almost 6 when we were there so it was getting dark already.
the buildings are still retained in its original size but of course on the outside of the buildings, you can see air-conditioner units spoiling the sight.
bookshops and shops selling chinese brushes and things related to the academia are found here.
we found ourselves at a small street at the end of the road and there was a cart selling all sorts of pirated books. uncle pek bought 2.
dad found himself in a shop selling tea and he bought some green tea leaves.

yup....that was our day. a very slow one eh? but it was still interesting visiting places which packaged tours will not bring you too. we don't see any tour groups at the places we went to at all. definitely worth checking them out.