Wednesday, December 23, 2015


Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wa barakatuh..

It was almost 2 weeks ago, the security forces started their strike. They had problems with the allowance that was paid to them, and not happy with how things turns up, they decided to stop doing their work. What that means to us is that, without security, there will be no movement. Hence, we were asked to work from home.

Last week, Corporate Security issued an email saying that they have managed to secure a trip to the IA, the bus will leave together with the airport transport. On normal day, we would have 3 buses leaving IA every day, not full though, but tentatively close to 50 expats that commutes using these buses. For this special arrangement, they were only managed to secure 1 bus. Occupancy is on first come first serve basis.

I was doing something that needs me to be in the office, hence I decided to go to the office. In the end, only 7 expats turns up. The rest decided to continue working from home.

During that week's fun run, we saw each other again after being coup up in the house for almost a week. The normal conversation revolves around our survival in the camp, this definitely the hot topic of the week. From this and few other occasions, here is what I gather on the whole 1 bus ride thing (I would not call it an issue though, maybe more of an opportunity). So let's call it 1 bus ride opportunity.

Person 1 (me) : Since its on first come first serve basis, I figured if I go there early enough, I will get a seat. The bus was said to be there at 7AM, but I showed up 10 minutes before,and I got a seat. Simple.

Person 2 (Anton) : When he saw the email, he roughly counted how many peoples are left in the camp. It was second week of December and no doubt some has started their leaves. Anton came into conclusion that if everyone that is in the camp shows up, we will still have ample seats for everybody. Calculative, and practical.

Person 3 (Yvonne): He simply chose to work from home, as he does not want to be fighting for seats in the bus, since it is only one bus vs the normal trip of 3 buses. Simple as well.

From this simple opportunity window, we get to see how people react to a simple situation, what influences their judgement and how different each and everyone of us thinks. Subhanallah...

Lesson learnt? Human minds are diverse, things get misinterpreted all the time. So before making any decision or jumping to any conclusion, see how other people think about it. You'll definitely gets a new perspective. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Single and Married : Not a Competition

Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wa barakatuh...

I am now onsite. In Bonny Terminal to be exact. I came in yesterday and primary scope is to conduct a training. My colleague is here as well. She is here to attend familiarization session (induction sort of) for a week. She has not conducted the training that I am doing, and we were taking this opportunity for me to do some coaching for her and for her to pick up and do the rest of the training for all other facilities next year.

I shared with her that I traveled 1 week ++ to the Swamp locations in December last year, just to carry out this training. She was so gung-ho to do the same. The reason I did not include her in my plan, is she has a toddler, a 1-year old boy, and I know that it's going to limit her movement. She was adamant that she can do it for this year.

Today, she has to go back home, she was supposed to be here till Friday. Her son is sick, and I don't blame her. I know what a mother can and cannot do. And never once I expected her to do what I did, and I am no better than her for being able to travel 1-week straight. That's not the point. She was so adamant initially because I think she does not want to loose to me. I have that reputation now, when it comes to flexibility to travel on site, you ask me to jump, I'll ask back how high. Simply because I don't have commitment here. My families are all back home. If I have a small child, I would not be doing as much travel as I am doing now. Trust me, I won't do that. Even if I have a husband with no kids, I would still go easy on the travelling bit as my priority has shifted.

This is not a competition, if it is a married me, I would not want to compete with a single me as well. Its not a competition. There is so many other ways to perform at work, and for the time being, I do what I do best, which is willingness to travel to all these locations. When I am married (which I don't know when) things may change. Oh how much I hope I can get married soon. Doakanlah..

Till next time, wassalam...

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Travel back in style. Haha

Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Yesterday adds on the the interesting working event in Nigeria. We had to be evacuated from the office by helicopter! So here's the story. There is this one group of people that call themselves Biafran.

Biafra was a loose territory of ethnic groups in pre-colonial Africa prior to the coming of the colonialists.Pre-colonial maps of Africa show the location of Biafra and the Bight of Biafra was renamed to Bight of Bonny by the Nigerian Government.[2] An attempt was made in 1967 to restore the old Biafran territory as an Independent state from Nigeria which caused the civil war. Biafra, officially the Republic of Biafra, was a secessionist state in south eastern Nigeria that existed from 30 May 1967 to 15 January 1970, taking its name from the Bight of Biafra (the Atlantic bay to its south).[2] The inhabitants were mostly the Igbo people who led the secession due to economic, ethnic, cultural and religious tensions among the various peoples of Nigeria. The creation of the new state that was pushing for recognition was among the causes of the Nigerian Civil War, also known as the Nigerian-Biafran War. - Wikipedia

So for the past years, we've heard of movement  by these Biafran to claim their independence. They have many things going on, they even have their own radio, which is now banned and recently the director was detained by the Nigerian government. Then there was a court order for him to be release, but apparently it did not happened. So his supporters took it to the streets. They hold protest in few places, and yesterday it was done in Port Harcourt. So happened that the location of the protest is near RA. People in the RA can actually heard gunshots that was fired by the police to disperse the protesters. They even smelled the teargas that was released. The road heading to RA was closed.

We received series of text messages keeping us updated and one that came quater to 4PM says that bus from IA to RA has been canceled. We are asked to wait for the next update. By 5PM we were notified to make way to helipad, we are going home in style bebeh! In chopper :)

They have to make the decision very quickly, because by 6.15 PM it gets dark, and risk levels are elevated for night operations. We were loaded to 3 choppers on 1 trip and I cant remember how many trips they made, but everybody is back in camp by 8PM. Not even 2 years, yet I've experienced many interesting things, and most importantly, I can laugh about it. Yes, security is a big issue here, but so far it has been managed well, and I am fine. Alhamdulillah.

Till next time, wassalam.


Sunday, November 8, 2015

Wordless Sunday.. apakah?

This was 2 Sundays ago. This Sunday (today) am housebound sebab semalam dah attend a housewarming party. Last night at the party somebody complimented my dress saying I look nice. Hakak tido dengan senyum... :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Baking Bucketlist

Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wa barakatuh...

The other day I talked about travel bucket list. I now realized that I have more than one bucket list. That is baking bucket list :) So here goes:

  1. Chocolate Souffle - done
  2. Cheese souffle
  3. Victoria Sandwich Cake - done
  4. Hummingbird cake
  5. Mille fuille
    pic from google :)
  6. Macaroon
    pic courtesy of google
  7. Macaron? Haha
  8. Pandan cupcake with gula melaka frosting - halfway done, pandan cupcake yes, but gula melaka frosting, I failed..haha
  9. Checkered cake
  10. Devils chocolate cake
  11. Sandwich loaf - done
  12. Sourdough bread
  13. Braided bread
  14. Make my own pizza
Have slowly been buying the tools for baking and slowly trying out new recipe. Baking is my therapy :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Cinnamon rolls recipe by Sally

Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wa barakatuh..

My journey with yeast has been good so far. It didn't start quite well though, as I ALWAYS kill the yeast. I failed miserably. That is until I came here. I started to learn more from youtube, other people's blog and started experimenting on few things.

This one has been on my mind for quite some time. So last night I tried making it and it was a success! :)

Sharing the recipe. Link here.

Easy Cinnamon Rolls (from scratch) by Sally

Easiest cinnamon rolls I've ever made, only 1 rise. Perfect for yeast beginners!


2 and 3/4 cups (345g) all-purpose flour (measured correctly)
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 package Red Star Platinum Yeast or any instant yeast (1 packet = 2 and 1/4 teaspoons)
1/2 cup (120ml) water
1/4 cup (60ml) milk (I usually use skim)
2 and 1/2 Tablespoons (40g) unsalted butter
1 large egg

3 Tablespoons (45g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar

1 cup (120g) confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 Tablespoons (30-45ml) strong coffee (or use milk/cream instead)


  1. Make the dough: Set aside 1/2 cup of flour. In a large bowl, toss the 2 and 1/4 cups flour, the sugar, salt, and yeast together until evenly dispersed. Set aside.
  2. Heat the water, milk, and butter together in the microwave until the butter is melted and the mixture is hot to touch. About 115°F (46°C). Stir the butter mixture into the flour mixture. Add the egg and only enough of the reserved flour to make a soft dough. I only needed 1/3 cup, but you may need the full 1/2 cup. Dough will be ready when it gently pulls away from the side of the bowl and has an elastic consistency.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for about 3-4 minutes. Place in a lightly greased bowl (I used non-stick spray) and let rest for about 10 minutes.
  4. Make the filling: After 10 minutes, roll the dough out in a 14x8 inch rectangle. Spread the softened butter on top. Mix together the cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle it all over the dough. Add more cinnamon/sugar if desired. Roll up the dough tightly. Cut into 11-12 even pieces and place in a lightly greased 9-inch round pan. I used a pie dish, lightly sprayed with nonstick spray.
  5. Loosely cover the rolls with aluminum foil and allow to rise in a warm, draft-free place for 60-90 minutes. Here is what I do: heat the oven to 200°F (93°C). Turn oven off. Place rolls inside oven and allow to rise.
  6. After the rolls have doubled in size, preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Bake for 25-30 minutes until lightly browned. I covered the rolls with aluminum foil after 15 minutes to avoid heavy browning.
  7. Make the glaze: Right before serving, top your cinnamon rolls with glaze. Mix the confectioners' sugar, vanilla and 2 Tablespoons coffee together until smooth and drizzle over rolls. If it seems too thick, add 1 more Tablespoon coffee. You can replace the coffee with milk or cream instead, if you do not want a coffee flavored glaze. If you prefer a thicker glaze, add more confectioners' sugar and then add a pinch of salt to cut the sweetness, if desired.
  8. Rolls are best enjoyed the same day, but stay fresh and soft in a covered container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 5 days. Glaze the rolls immediately before serving. Rolls (with or without glaze) freeze well, up to about 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator and heat up however you prefer.
  9. Make ahead/overnight: This dough can be made the night before through step 4. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning, remove from the refrigerator and allow to rise at room temperature, about 1 hour.

Additional Notes:

*Overnight: The dough may be made the night before through step 4. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning, remove from the refrigerator and let rise, about 1 hour.

I made my rolls smaller, so I managed to get around 16 pcs. It was heavenly as this is the first time ever that I manage to knead the dough until it is elastic. I let the stand mixer do its job for maybe close to 10 mins and when I pull it out to knead by hand, it was still pretty much very sticky.
I keep on kneading (with both hands!!) until I noticed some of the dough has started to detach easily from my work surface, so that's how it feels like. I know now :)

Next time, I will repeat this recipe, and take really good food pictures with my SLR, insyaAllah. Pinky promise :)

Till next time, wassalam. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Its been a while..

Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wa barakatuh..

Last weekend I spent a full 2 days finishing up a piece of doily. It was so big that it can be a tablecloth.

I will be losing few friends within these two months. In fact, one family has left and I did not managed to make anything for them. I started this project about one month back and only managed to complete it yesterday.
The whole piece. In comparison to iPad2.

I referred to patterns downloaded from the internet. There are loads of patterns to be chosen from. Its just a matter of picking it and starting a project. This maybe my biggest piece that I have worked on. The biggest challenge is making mistakes, and you only realized when the next round could not be completed because some chain and stitches are not there. I spent nearly 3 hours to undo and re-do some of the mistakes that I made. 

Mistakes happen when I was too engrossed and at time when I was sleepy. This one has definitely pushed my limit for crotchet. For knitting, don't even ask. I am stuck. I'll do something about it later.  I still have 3 doilies to start and finish though. So wish me luck! :)

p/s: The picture quality is very bad, I know, its from my phone. Haha. For now I am slowly getting back my mojo to write, one step at a time. Photography will be next,as we improve on writing and updating the blog ok. :D


Thursday, October 8, 2015

Bucketlist Item

Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wa barakatuh..

My mind is wandering all over the world. Due to work schedule that is pretty unpredictable, unlike when I was in PD, I have not been able to fully maximize my travel plan. And slowly I am forgetting my travel bucketlist. Before I forgot everything, let me share it here.

  1. Watch Northern Lights 
  2. Provence in Summer (Lush Lavender field)
  3. New Year in New York
  4. Go to Interlaken - summer/autumn
  5. Morrocon summer - Marrakech, the dessert
  6. Sakura/ Cherry Blossom in Japan
  7. Round Turkey - Istanbul, Cappadocia
  8. Alhambra, Granada, Spain,
  9. Christmas market in German
These are the new list as I surf through the web, gosh.. banyak ni.. 
  1. Ride the Trans-Siberian railway
  2. Bamboo Forest, Kyoto? (Japan)
  3. Canopy Tour Costa Rica
  4. Grand Canyon - US
  5. Visit Manchu Pichu - Iguazu Falls - South American nature wonders
  6. See the Salmon swimming upwards
  7. Truffle Hunting in Croatia
  8. Climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania
Definitely I wont be able to cross all these in the next 2 years, but I think I can make it in this lifetime, insyaAllah :)

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Her part 1

He opened his eyes, the spot next to him was empty. He reached across the bed, his phone says its 2.36 AM. He peeked around, no lights coming from the bathroom. Where is she? He made his way to the kitchen, partly thirsty and partly curious to find out her whereabouts. He passed by the living room, not a sign that anybody was there. He gets to the kitchen, it was so quiet, everything was so still, you can even hear if a pin drops. The dishes are neatly arranged, as how they left it after supper. Now he became more curious, where could she be?

With a glass of water in his hand, he wandered around the house, skimming through every inches, to find any sign of her. Still, nothing. He is now at the last room. He can't remember the last time he went into the room. The door was ajar, but there were no lights. He recalled that she asked for that room to be her private room, not that everybody is not allowed to enter, but she wants the whole room to herself. He agreed, thinking that maybe she wanted the room to be her project space. Since then, he forgot about it.

He pushed the door slowly. The room is partly furnished. Its hot in here, the air condition unit was not turned on. There is a few shelf at the end of the room, with few baskets with balls of yarns. There is a working table with a small sewing machine set up on it. His gaze fell in the middle of the room. A figure curled into a 'C' shape. Her knees was up to her chest, hands in between her stomach. She was lying on an Afghan carpet. As soon as he stepped on it, he can feel his feet sunk. Well, this is comfortable, he thought to himself. She was on her side, facing towards the window. There is a bottle of traditional ointment, with the cap on the side. He can smell the ointment when he gets closer to here. Also, there is a bottle of water, half full, with a pack of pills that is unfamiliar to him. Mefenamic acid 500mg, that's what was said on the label.

She looks as if she is in deep sleep, few drops of sweats trickle down her forehead. He is on his knees now, looking over to her. Why is she sleeping here? What's wrong with her? She moans slowly, she changes side, facing him now. Her eyes are still closed, but she looks as if she's battling with some thing. She cringed and slowly she opened her eyes. 'What are you doing here?' She asked, her voice sounds week.

'I was looking for you. Why are you here?' He whispered softly, not wanting to appear disturbing to her.

'I'm having my menstrual, stomach cramps.' She didn't really answer his question. He seems puzzled. It was all boys camp in his house, he has never seen this, neither did he sees his mom in similar situation.

'What can I do?' Clueless. Yes he is.

She grabs something from the sofa bed nearby and passed it to him. 'Please fill this with boiled water. I didn't managed to get to the kitchen.'

He takes the water bag. Without much question, he made his way to the kitchen, fill the kettle halfway with water and put it on the electric stove. While waiting for the water to boil, he turned to his phone. Few taps away, he has some general idea what to do. The kettle whistles. He lifted it, fill up the bag and screw the top tightly. He made a detour to the main bedroom before he gets back to her. He grabs a spare comforter and two pillows from the cupboard.



Friday, October 2, 2015

Itik Kegilaan Ramai

Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh...

Lama betul tak menulis (speak my mind), and today I did just that but via IG..hahaha. It all started when I saw a post by duckscarves. Looked on further to see what was it all about, and I was not really comfortable with what I saw.

On one of the post I read most of the comments and it just hits me, people are getting out of control. They were talking about grabbing a certain design/colour and how some of the duckies struggle to get what they want. Duck scarves has became a household name, their fans are all over the world and since their marketing strategy really hits all the right note, their business is booming, even with the current economic state. Imagine a satin scarf can cost minimum RM 100 and people still queue both online and offline to get it. I understand about liking certain things despite the price, like my obsession with World Cup, the game tickets are expensive and majority would not even spend that money. Its ok, I get it, people loves the products.

But my main issue is that some of the duckies are obsessed, majorly obsessed. Some even said that they sacrifice their sleep to wait for the online release, some complain when they can't buy the limited edition ducks, some even go as far as buying a LE duck from seller that jack up the price double! Can you imagine? I mean, is it all really worth it? Not to mentioned, from what I read, there are some battle online to get the latest/rarest (or whatever it is) ducks.    

Come on! We have become so obsessed with the worldly things. Sangat obsessed ok, and it's not good.. .Benda yang patut jadi a means for us to fulfill syariat (tutup aurat) has caused more rift than anything else, kenapa materialistic sangat? What's with style and fashion? Why are we so hard up on spending our effort on this dunia?. .This brings back the issue of Malaysian complaining of ringgit value drop, and yet you still have money to buy RM 100+ scarf? . Samalah macam peminat Fareeda semua tu, sama ja, beratur panjang2 semata-mata nak dapat yang latest, doesn't matter how much it cost.

Of course when I re-posted the pictures with my comments, some came to defence. Suit yourself, but just reflect within outselves, why do we buy the scarf in the first place? Nak tutup aurat kan? Tapi kalau beli tudung pon sampai gaduh2, then what's the point?

And oh, there is one comment on the original post about the online release timing yang clash dengan waktu Subuh, the buyer may miss Subuh sebab nak catch that online sale. I mean, what the ?? Mana lagi penting, solat ka beli duck?

Our society is dying, materials seems to matter more, on the surface there is nothing wrong with the product, its scarf for god sake, but how people reacted to it that defines our society. I thought only Americans are crazy enough to camp 2 days ahead of any Apple product release, apparently Malaysians are catching up as well.
The image I re-posted from duckscarves IG

That's all I've got to say. Till next time. Wassalam.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Emirates vs Qatar vs Etihad

Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

I am now at Abu Dhabi airport. Killing time till my next flight to KL. Another 3.5 hours to go. This is my first time taking Etihad. I've always been a loyal customer of Qatar Airways. But due to some constraint that I will describe later, I am trying Etihad for the very first time, on this trip.

When I started travelling more than one flight, I started with Emirates, as they were among the first airlines that has superb network connection. In 2010, my experience with Emirates was good, or maybe because it was my first time, everything looks fine. :)

Somehow when I started working in Nigeria, I started using Qatar instead. When I travelled with Emirates again, I began to compare, and now Emirates irks me on many front. So after almost 2 years of jetsetting, I am going to lay down my comparison of these 3.

1. Ticket price: Hands down, Qatar wins. Even the business class ticket is 30% cheaper than Emirates. Etihad loose on prices, they are higher than Emirates.
Qatar < Emirates < Etihad.

2. Flight schedule: This one is a bit tricky. I stayed in Port Harcourt, and therefore, in order to fly all these middle eastern airlines, I need to travel to Lagos. We are entitled to it and by right it's not a big deal, its written, once you have a flight from Lagos, the company will bore the cost of flight from PHC to Lagos, with one night hotel stay before and after the trip. However... I have a GM and supervisor that has very deep pocket. Emirates and Qatar depart on 2pm daily from Lagos. Therefore I can take the morning flight from PHC and reached Lagos just in time to check in for my international flight. Etihad on the other hand, now departs at 8.55 am every other day, which then makes me have go travel to Lagos a day earlier and incur the hotel stay cost (Which company pays for it).
For the leg travelling back to Nigeria, Emirates reached Lagos around 12.30 pm, and I will have to rush for the last flight of the day back to PHC. While Qatar only reached at 1.30, which leaves no room for me to travel and get back to PHC on the same day, hence I will incur the one night hotel stay. (Which is still paid by the company anyway). Etihad on the other hand, arrived at 8am, therefore I can comfortably travel back on the same day.
With the current situation of budget crunch, my supervisor keeps on imposing on me to take the cheapest option for the company. Forget the fact that I am entitled to it, that is not the case anymore.
On this part, Emirates win. In terms of flight time, transit time, I prefer Qatar compared to Etihad. Too long transit time (Etihad 6 hours) bores me. I want to get to my destination ASAP.

3. The airport: On this part, I have to breakdown based on my preferred criteria:
a. Internet access: WiFi. For this I'm considering Etihad as the winner. Smooth wifi access and unlimited time. (like now..hehehe). Qatar falls second due to the 3 hours limit, but I got connected instantly when I arrived at the transfer area. Emirates does not get my vote at all, twice, I was there, and I could not even connect to the WiFi. It keep on saying my subscription has expired, whereas I just got there, what the..?
b. Toilet and musolla (surau). Qatar wins, hands down. The toilet is clean, musolla is huge and very comfortable. I barely remember Emirates's toilet and musolla, must be average, as I can't recall anything special. As for Etihad, the toilet is average, the floor is wet, and musolla is nice.
c. Distance between gates. It's a tie for all of the airport. As usual, all the transit hub has huge airport, and somehow just my luck, my terminals are all towards end of the world.

4. In flight service. For this one, I am biased. Just because I am a gold member for Qatar, they will greet me by name every time I went on board. The cabin crew all mostly friendly, and the food is OK. For Emirates, the service is not bad, I remembered the food being superb! Etihad's food is average, but the cabin crew not friendly. The took the headset 30 minutes before landing! Qatar allow me to hang on to it till touch down :)

5. In flight entertainment and others: All are good compared to Europe airlines..(Air France, Lufthansa)  hehehe... Emirates and Etihad fly Airbus, all seats comes with USB port, therefore I get to charge my phone in flight, Qatar fly Boeing, sometimes I get Airbus, but it's not often..

There it is my comparison of all these 3 airlines and airport. My preference would still be Qatar Airways. If Mr Boss insist on tightening the budget, I'll see how I can manage... :)

Till next time,  Wassalam.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

KBB followed me on IG!

Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wa barakatuh... (part ni ja sopan..hehehe)

I've been using IG as a means to update my daily life happenings. Kat situ la share gambaq resepi, pokok, quotes repost from sapa-sapa entah, and also repost mostly Real Madrid's picture. Selfie maybe ada 1-2 dalam seribu lebih gambaq kat situ..

Since I moved here, my posting in IG has increased exponentially. Ye la, dah tak da kawan nak sembang, blog pon dah suam2 kuku, post sendiri, baca sendiri...hahaha.. no two ways interaction with other homo sapiens :P. Bbbuuuutttttt.......... That may change, may or may  not, we'll see how. Here's why. On Sunday, I saw a notification, I had a new follower, its not unusual, since my profile is public, and normally entah sapa2 yang follow. Some I follow back some I don't.

The new follower has a very small profile picture, so I checked out the profile. Its KBB!!! Aduh, pahal pulak dia follow aku ni. And the odd part is dia makin rajin share la plak.. minggu ni ja dah more than 2 posts, kalau tengok rekod dia yang dulu-dulu, 3 bulan sekali kot baru nak letak satu gambaq. Macam tak best la plak kan..dia follow kita, dah tentu dia tgk kita aktif dok update gambaq, tapi kita tak follow dia, padahal tiap2 hari bertembung (almost!). So nak tak nak...kena la follow gak, nak stalk memang tak logik. Orang jauh boleh la stalk, orang dekat apa kes? Dah la dia jumpa profile kita dulu....huhuhu...

So now the question is, should I continue gila-gila kat IG, or should I start to behave? Macam tak best pulak nak behave kan...hipokrit la plak. Minggu ni lepas dia follow, belum lagi letak post yang mengarut. Tapi rasanya nga kuat deh! But hold on, yang nak behave sangat pasai apa? Hehehehe.. Jaga saham maaa..... You know what...? I don't think I want to behave.  My saham should be based on my true colours. So kalau sikit, sikitlah, kalau tinggi, tinggilah...

Caiyok! Till next update, wassalam.... :)

Monday, July 6, 2015

Counting days, and of endless complaints!

Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

Its 19 Ramadhan 1436H, 6th July 2015. I am now counting days. Am heading back home for Eid insyaAllah. International flight departing from Lagos on  Friday 10th July at 2PM. Intially I booked the ticket from PHC to Lagos on the morning of 10th itself. I will reach there around 11AM and just ample time to check in for my international flight.

However...... here, being Nigeria, things are not always going on as planned. I have been lucky so far, such that I've never encountered major delay, but this time, I don't want to risk it. Already requested for my flight to be changed to Thursday. So insyaAllah, by Thursday morning, I'll be leaving PHC, spend a night in Lagos and head off as planned on Friday.

My mind is really not here anymore. Seriously..hahaha.. hati dah separuh kat Malaysia. What more seeing people postings pictures of kuih raya, lagi la melonjak-lonjak nak balik la ni jugak. Ingat nak buat jugak sejenis kat sini... tapi malas la pulak. Dah berapa kali thaw butter..masuk freeze balik, esoknya thaw lagi...malamnya masuk freeze balik. Kalau butter tu boleh cakap, memang dia dah bahasa habih-habih..hahaha..

On a more serious note. At the point of writing this, Greece has voted 'No' for the payout step by IMF. That decisions drive down many currencies, in particular Euro, and MYR is not left out as well. The currency drop, petrol price increase, in Malaysia people talk about GST more than they talk about Allah SWT (nauzubillahi min zalik). People are complaining left, right and centre. And honestly, my only complain is about all of these complainers. How people are being so negative nowadays. I sometimes feels like screaming to these people asking them to just shut up. The complains does not do anything, be it justified or not.

I found this online. Will share this with my fellow complainers friend. InsyaAllah.
Perfecting the Art of (not) complaining

He is Allah, the One. Allah, whom all creatures need. He begets not, nor was He begotten. And there is none comparable unto Him (Surah Ikhlas).
Perfecting the Art of (not) complaining

By: Adam Mohomed Sait
Have you ever found yourself falling into the habit of complaining, whether the complaint was valid or not? Bint Abdelhamid shares thirteen ways to perfect the art of (not) complaining.

They say that “misery loves company,” and it’s true. I spent some time in an educational institute overseas, where the teaching lay somewhere between mediocre and bad, and the institute policies were even worse. It helped, in a manner of speaking, to sit down with other sisters in the institute and outline all our misery and woes. It made us feel like we weren’t alone.

One of the sisters with us was several years younger than most, and rarely engaged in our “miserable company” sessions. It was obvious she understood all the institute’s shortcomings, but between finding other things to say and knowing it would all be over in a few months’ time, when we could move up to a different, betterrun part of the institute, she managed to always stay positive.

We talked to this young sister once, about her life and family. She was around fifteen years old at the time, and the eldest of three siblings. Their mother was mentally ill, incapable of caring for herself, let alone her family or children; and their father spent most of his time taking care of his ill wife. So caring for the younger siblings, seeing that they were well-fed and getting along in school, among other things, all fell largely on this fifteen-year-old’s shoulders.

It was clear that this sister had a lot to deal with, but she never complained. Even when she described her life, her mother, her responsibilities, she described them matter-of-factly, as simply a part of her existence. If anyone had the right to complain about something, among our gathering, it was this sister; but she never complained.

Unfortunately, we live in a culture of complaining, where it’s easy to strike up a conversation on how ridiculously high the prices are or how bitter cold the weather is. Sometimes, we complain about petty things, and sometimes about larger ones – but whatever it is, we find it easier to pick out the faults of our everyday lives and situations, even when we have so much to be thankful for.

In an effort to train myself to complain less (and hopefully squash the habit of complaining altogether), here is list for thirteen ways to complain less:

1. Make your complaint to Allah
When Yusuf (AS) was separated from his father, and Ya’qoob (AS) lost his eyesight due to sorrow, Ya’qoob (AS) said, “I only complain of my suffering and my grief to Allah…” [12:86].
Allah is the All-Capable, and the One Who can ease your affairs, so if there is something troubling you, make your complaint to Him, (SWT).

2. Only complain to the people if complaining is beneficial
This may be to get one of your rights, or the right of someone else you know – sometimes, complaining is necessary. Be as kind and polite about it as possible, and don’t overdo it.

3. Talk about practical solutions
Rather than making your complaint a constant, endless whine, talk about practical solutions to the problem you’re facing. Is it a problem without a visible, practical solution? Then make your complaint to Allah!

4. Let the small things pass
Anas ibn Malik said, “I served the Prophet (SAW) for twenty years. He never said ‘uff’ to me, and he never said about anything I had not done, ‘Why didn’t you do it?’ or about something I had done, ‘Why did you do that?’” [Muslim]. Most things are small enough that we can just let them go.

5. Speak about Allah’s favours
Rather than picking out everything that’s wrong in your life, try picking out some of the things that are right, and speaking about them. Allah (SWT) says, “But as for the favor of your Lord, report [it].” Doing this should not only help you avoid complaining, but you’ll also be fulfilling a command from Allah!

6. Remember those less fortunate
One way to jolt yourself back to reality and appreciate Allah’s blessings over you is to remember those less fortunate than you. Read about others suffering in Asia, Africa, and all over the world. Read about orphans in Palestine. Read about the homeless in your own country, your own city – interact with them if possible. Don’t drown yourself in despair, but use these stories as a means to be grateful and to thank Allah for what you have.

7. Reduce the stress in your life
You may be complaining because you have a sizeable amount of stress in your life. You need an outlet, and that’s understandable. Stop multitasking for a bit; take some quiet time out to relax: sit in a darkened room, breathing deeply for a few minutes; go for a walk outdoors; listen to some soothing anasheed, or read some Qur’an.

8. Read stories from the seerah
Take note from the words and ways of the Messenger (SAW), the sahabah, and the righteous generations after them. Learn from their manners and etiquettes in speech.

9. Talk about other useful matters
You don’t have to talk about the mundane things in your life that drive you crazy. Instead, talk about larger things that excite you: new knowledge you’ve learned; projects you’d like to work on; a wonderful nature trip that made you contemplate the beauty of Allah’s creation.

10. Tell funny stories (without lying)
There will still be time for chit-chat with friends and family. Instead of worrying them with complaints they can’t help with, tell them funny stories from work and life, cute things your kids said. Humour is a wonderful way to make everyone feel better!

11. Recognise complaining as a habit
Monitor your speech from time to time. Do you find that complaining is more of a habit than a useful endeavor? Recognising it as a habit is an important first step in learning to squash it.

12. Find better company
Do you find yourself complaining more when you’re around certain people? Maybe it’s because you have little in common with these people, or because they’re uninterested in being positive and thankful. If that’s the case, then it’s time to find better company, company which is a lot less “miserable.”

13. Talk less
In general. If you’ve tried everything you can think of, and still find yourself complaining too much, maybe it’s because you’re talking long after you’ve run out of things to say. Don’t let the shaytaan lead you into useless or harmful talk. Instead, keep your tongue moist with the remembrance of Allah. Repent to Him often. Thank Him often. Praise Him often. Send salutations upon the Messenger (SAW) often.

When I think back to my time at that institute, I realise it’s too late to “undo” the complaining I once did. What I can do now is use that experience as a stepping stone towards complaining less and being more thankful. And instead of concentrating on all the faults of this institute (enumerating them won’t help anyone here), I can tell, instead, about that wonderful fifteen year old sister I met there, about how her more-difficult-life but complaint-free-tongue put me to shame, and about how her patience inspired me to seek the art of not complaining.

Original source click HERE

Till next time, wassalam.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Salam Ramadhan 1436H

Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wa barakatuh...

Rata-rata orang sibuk post menu berbuka. This is my first lonely Ramadhan ever. Last year I welcomed the holy month in Brazil, together with geng Cik Kiah, in the midst of World Cup hype. It was fun, but this is the first time I am all alone. Its the sixth day today, and lets do some re-cap of what was my iftar menu looks like :)

Day 1: I was onsite, lived in a house boat, so makan ja la apa depa bagi, I had rice, fried fish, kari telur (gaya depala), boleh tahan, and raw cabbage with raw carrots, onions and cucumber. I asked for vegetable, but they don't have it, so I asked for salad, to them, that is salad.. hahaha...

Day 2: Got back from site, reached home around 6.30, whereby the Maghrib is at 6.45. I knew I would be late, so I called my nanny asked her to cook me some rice, chicken and some vegetable. I called her at 5pm. When I got back, the chicken was still thawing...aiyo... nasib..nasib.. Last-last pukul 8.30 baru makan nasi.

Day 3: This was the most fun day. We had the progressive dinner planned and I nominated my house for dessert. Starter at one house, main course at another and last stop was my house. The house placement was done by the organizer. We were given direction at each step of the way, basically you don't know what you are getting, until you reached the house. It was kind of interesting. We can afford to do that since we are all living in the same area. My main course was at Madam Sandra's house and she teamed up with Icy, a Pinoy ladies, both of them cooked up a storm! Ada kari ayam, daging masak hitam, buttered prawn, mixed vege (yes, our kind of mix vege..hehehe). I really enjoyed it. Masa nak balik Madam Sandra siap bagi tapau lagi . The daging and udang is still in my fridge.

Last stop was my house, I hosted another group, I served pulut mangga (mango with glutinous rice) with basil and lime sorbet. I included the sorbet on the pre-text that the pulut mangga would be too sweet and rich. Konon pandai la sangat nak balance the flavour. Sekali, mangga tu masam daa... Tak berapa nak manis. So jadila dessert yang masam, apa kes? The pulut mangga was not a hit, cos I definitely miss the mark with the sour mango, but surprisingly, the sorbet stole the show. The guests loved it! Recipe from Jamie Oliver taken from Food Network page. Here is the link.

Day 4: Had some nasi impit with kuah sup and bakso. Hasil tapau from Bu Evi's party the previous weekend. Since its a Sunday, I was a bit rajin, I made some kuih cara berlauk and gave out to other Muslims in the camp. Bu Evi juga dapat, suka bangat deh rasanya :)

Day 5 : Again, had another leftover from Bu Evi's party. A rice dish made by maybe one of the Lebanese ladies. I taught my nanny how to stir fry pucuk manis, the way I like, and I finished up 2 pieces of baked chicken that has been sitting in the fridge for quite some time. I can't remember when I made that.

Day 6: This morning saw an email from Madam Latha. She offered some food for my iftar today and she's even sending some for sahur tomorrow morning. Alhamdulillah! Rezeki murah betul...

Almost a week into Ramadhan, and I have not slaved in the kitchen for even a day to prepare a complete meal. Syukur sangat-sangat. Well, even if I am cooking, at most I will cook some rice, stir fry pucuk manis (paling senang in the world!) and lauk mostly whatever I have frozen in the freezer or the fridge. I still have few servings of frozen pajeri nenas, serunding toksah cakap la..ada ja lagi..

So yes, I am alone, sedih tu ada jugak, but the blessing is, my iftar dish is not complicated at all. Masa kat PD, pusing bazar ja dah setengah jam, yet, every day kena decide nak beli apa..hahaha... I actually have more time for other things. So this year, kena habis khatam Quran okeh? banyak sangat Allah dah mudahkan, kenapa nak kufur nikmat? Ok, InsyaAllah I will.

Salam Ramadhan semua, wassalam. Till next time :)

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Politik Parti Sosial

Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wa barakatuh...

I've been wanting to write about this for the past few weeks, but somehow my laziness gets over me (alasan!).

Here, in the camp, we have limited people that we interact with. You will see the same people on weekdays and weekend. You will also see the same set of people in the bus ride to work. If you are involved in the normal routine activity like fun run, you will see the same group of people, maybe occasionally we have visitors joining the run, but normally its just us.

Last few weeks, a Dutch guy threw a farewell party for himself. His party is all about booze, dancing, free-mixing, so its a clear cut no for me. At these parties, music are always very loud, you can barely hear each other and I am not really a party person. Somehow, Kim decided to throw a get together at the same time as well, but his invite is only to selected few people, whereas the Dutch guy invited the whole camp. I knew from earlier on, some of the Brits were not keen on attending the Dutch guy's party, not sure whats the reason. Most of Kim's guests are the Brits, and I was actually the only Asian invited. He later then revised the invite and extended it to Pak Anton, which I was pretty much sure that Anton would go to the Dutch guy's party.

True enough, I ended up being the only Asian at Kim's house, with the rest of mat and minah saleh (mix of English, Canadian and Australian). I left his house around 11.30 PM while the rest were majority still there. The following day, I had a lunch date with the Asian gang, one last Nasi Lemak session before Kak Rosiah left us for good. And from Anton, I found out that some of them at Kim's house, including him later attended the Dutch guy's party. It must be at midnight then. Crazy white people..hahaha...

The things is, its normal in a community, you tend to have few cliques. Suddenly its all back to high school. Though we are not really different in terms of social status, but we do have some group of people that we tend to be more comfortable with. I know some people that is totally out of my path. There is this two couples, only the husband acknowledge me, i.e smiles when we passed by each other, the wife, simple cast that empty look whenever I'm around. One of the couple frequently attended the fun run, and in that juncture, somehow the wife realized that I existed! Once I was 'established' to her social circle, she no longer gave the cold treatment. The other couple which are still here, no change, I bet they don't even know my name. Well, suit them, I am here to be friends with those that are willing. Pinggan tak retak, nasi tak dingin, orang tak hendak, kita pun tak ingin. :)

I guess it happens everywhere, but the fact that we are confined to one place, makes all these even more apparent to us, well, at least to me. Last year, during my raya open house, I invited quite a handful of people, Some just ignored the invite (maybe they did not read their email). I stopped sending invite to those kind of people. Social gatherings are being held almost on constant basis and one time during the fun run, I overheard them (the mat saleh) talking about a dinner plan at the restaurant, and guess what, one of them forwarded the invite to me later. Its a nice gesture, but declined it. This is not the first time Kim had a get together at his place, only this is the first time I was invited and attended. So does that means, I am now in another circle of social network? Maybe. Its political actually, with no clear mileage, maybe for the sake of future job and acquaintances..

Whatever it is, I need to stay true to myself. I won't go to events that made me uncomfortable. But my fear is, for this year's raya open house, I will have to invite more people. Well, maybe not, it will be during the summer holiday, so maybe not many people will be here .. hahaha.. (kedekut!)

Till next time, wassalam..   

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Midlife Crisis

Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wa barakatuh...

What is midlife? When is midlife? I guess it depends on the life expectancy. I never really gave much thought of this....Until yesterday.

I was in this meeting, scheduled for a whole day. Its an Onshore Asset Process Safety Health Review. Saja tulis nama penuh, bukan uolls paham pon..hahahaha... And I am pretty damn sure I no longer have people from my company reading this blog. This meeting is meant to be held annually, the experts of each Safety Critical Element (SCE) are supposed to report out the status of their barrier. They would take inputs from various day-to-day activities and determine the health of the elements, rated as Red, Yellow (they call Amber here) and Green. My team was responsible to one SCE that is not part of our day-to-day activities, regardless, we still have to report as well. My teammate was the one doing the presentation. My boss requires all of us to sit in the meeting throughout, as we are the Process Safety Team.

I still consider myself a rookie in the whole of Upstream business and its in my best interest to sit in, listen, and take in as much as I can. So there I was, attentively sitting in, listening, processing what I heard and computing the logic, challenging (in my mind) on some of the findings. At one point, I was so engrossed that I think my head hurts a bit (maybe). Then it hits me, is this what I really want to do?  I was cracking my head to understand all of these things, whereas, I could easily cracked my head thinking of a business plan. Lately, I have been toying with the idea of opening up a cafe. Not now, but when I am back in Malaysia. I even thought of the concept, the menus, and random thoughts pops up here and there in my mind since I have been thinking about this.
pic credit to Google
It then bags the question again, do I really want to do this? For now, sadly, its not about what I want, its more of what I need. I have come to an age where I start to question my decisions, exploring whether am I satisfied enough on what I have today. I would be a much happier person if I can start my cafe business now, but then again, I don't have the means. Not yet. I still love my job though, the challenges that comes with it, the vast experience here, which to me is priceless! I don't want to leave this place, not yet. I am not ready to walk out (or is it I don't dare to walk out?). The audacity to venture into the real world out there, taking personal risk, is not there yet.

I am turning 34 this year. One more month to my birthday. What have I accomplished at this age? Not much actually, I am yet to settle down. Or am I destined to live like this? With no place to feel fully grounded. I'll be a constant wanderer. Back to midlife, Malaysian's life expectancy is estimated to be at 73-74 year of age. Which then makes the midlife at 36-37 years of age. So, theoretically I am not there yet, but spiritual and mentally, I am there.

A friend shared an article on her FB page. Its about what we 'childless' women are appealing to the moms out there. I can connect well with the article, very well. Can read more here.

Just yesterday, I was thinking of midlife and today I see this article. Sigh.......  Nothing much I can do for now. There are 'makcik' type of people here in the camp, making all these remarks. I have developed a skin thick enough to just brush off all of these, both on marriage and kids. Period.

There it is, I am having my first ever midlife crisis..hahaha... If you want to know more of the health statistics with regards to Malaysia, you can go here.

Until next time, wassalam.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Kehendak Perkhidmatan

Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

The phrase above always comes up when I was serving as cadet back during ROTU days. We sometimes need to do things that we don't really want to do, but because the it comes with the job, we just have to do it.  I guess it happens everywhere, regardless what position we are being put in. Yesterday, I started another lesson. After much deliberation, talking to people, giving so much thoughts and going against my initial stand, I finally did it.

I am taking up Golf! Seriously. I have thought about it before, but that was just me trying to get my hands to anything, nothing serious. The game itself requires a lot of investment. You can't simply play golf anywhere, you need to belong to a club, and those membership a simply preposterous. The golf set will burn a hole in your pocket and not to mentioned, you need a pro to teach you. Its not something that you can pick up by watching YouTube.

So why did I decided to go against my stand? Well...... Its for my future actually.Golf is a universal networking tool. Golf enthusiast would really play for the game itself, but for most of the people (me included) its mainly a platform to expand your network. I realized right from the very beginning networking is not my forte. I can easily clicked with colleagues, but when it comes to people outside of the department, most of the time I failed miserably. At this day and age, jobs availability is so scarce, you need to have connections in order to secure one. Being a female in a male dominated industry can works both ways, depending on how I play my card. So I really need to draw this one card now, the golf card. I would rather keep the football card to myself, as I really don't like the way some guys discussed football and that is one of the things that I am passionate in, so I will address it my way.

As for golf, I'll go with the flow. To be honest, I am not that ambitious, I am not aiming for those high level jobs. I am just trying to survive my day to day job. I need this for my own survival. I can't loose this career, as I have no fallback. I don't have a husband to take care of me, so I need to take care of myself. This is a strategic move. I wish I have a simpler life, but then again, its not my choice. I've been put in this position, and I have to deal with it.

I know this is the right move, but I just hope I can follow through. InsyaAllah. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Si tú lo sabes, dime cómo?

Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wa barakatuh...

Lately I fall into trap of telenovela. Its actually the 'best' way to kill time. You get stuck on certain series, and as useless as it may seems, you just get sucked into it. I've watched some and got hooked on a few.

Somehow this one haunts me. Not because of the story, neither for the actor/actresses. As usual, my Achilles heels is the soundtrack. Sangat weh...berhantu betul, first it was just the chorus, now, the obsession grows to listening it on loop at work, at home...gosh!!

The only plus point for this is I took the advantage to improve the almost non-existent Spanish vocab that I have..

Now where is that A Puro Dolor mp3....? Hahhahaha....

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Dah Terlanjur...

Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wa barakatuh....

These past few days, I've been seeing desperate individuals reaching out to collect some cash. These are the people running few orphanage in KL area. I have no qualms in giving, but the questions is until when? We have a cyclic problem in our society. Come Ramadhan, people showered all these orphanage with all kinds of stuffs, and they are left forgotten for the rest of the year.

And the people in these orphanage, they meant well, but they don't have the survival sense sometimes. Many NGOs in Malaysia are banking on people's donation, which is definitely not sustainable by any means. And when it comes to times like this, they will be having overdue payments for many things, house rent, petrol, etc... One lady was on the verge of being evicted because of these over due.

I came from a poor family, but no matter how little money that we had, Mak made sure that we will have no overdue on rent, and other utilities. We would go on for some days without proper food. I still remember one day, I wandered around the back road towards Flat Sri Sabah, hoping to find any tapioca, or any plant that I can take home and cook. We were that poor, but I always remembered Mak paying the bills on time, no late payment whatsoever.

I've had this dream of building a self sustainable orphanage. And my ex-boss always say, if you want to do a charity, pick a high CEP charity. CEP stands for Current Estimated Potential, to cut the story short, get into a charity that is sustainable. As the saying goes, "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.". Right now I have so many ideas for these houses. The kids are all physically well, surely there must be something that they can do.

How I wish I am in Malaysia right now. No doubt, here I earned big bucks, and I do give some to them, tapi sampai bila? I will not earn like this forever. Once I am no longer an expat, I will have limited resources to share with them. Therefore I am thinking of kicking off a self sustained project with these people. But the problem is, I need to be physically there to at least pull something together.

Sometimes, I just want to pack and leave, there is not much that I can do here, apart from transferring money, which to me is only temporary help. I am in too deep with my commitments to just walk away now, from my work. Countless times that I have thought of leaving and set up my own business, be independent, countless times!. I love my job, don't get me wrong, it pays good money, I have no complaint. But in the end, is it all money that I want? Surely there is more to that.

I am now slowly settling my debt. By the time I am done with my 4 years assignment here, hopefully all the home loans are settled, and maybe if I am careful enough, I might save some capital to start my own business. I hope I have the strength to venture into the independent world outside. InsyaAllah.

Till next time, wassalam...

Thursday, April 9, 2015

I am tired...

Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wa barakatuh...

At the point I am writing this, I just got back from a quick trip back home again. When I was in PD, I used to go back once a month, and yes, it was tiring. Last year, I only went back once, and somehow I felt guilty. So this year, I made a commitment to travel back more often. This long distance relationship with my family is not well managed yet.

I don't know which one that is more tiring, physically or emotionally. Have yet to find out.

That's it, nothing more to say. Sekadar nak luah perasaan. Tak leh nak luah kat mak, nanti mak risau, nak luah kat sini, takda sapa la pulak...nasib badan :)


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Hang Tuah 2 Reunion

Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wa barakatuh...

February will be a crazy month for me. All because my boss did not allowed me to work from KL..hehehe. I have planned to take leave during the CNY and did planned a family holiday. My batch from primary school has been contemplating to organize a reunion for quite some time, and finally we agreed to a date, 8th Feb 2015.

To cut long story short, I wanted to attend the reunion, but I also have limited leave days left, so I could not extend (or bring forward) my leave. Hence, I took the crazy decision to fly back for the weekend solely for the reunion. It was crazy, tiring but truly satisfactory. Last time we had a reunion was 2003, 10 years after we left primary school and now its 2015. Some could not join then, and not many can join this year as well, but we proceeded anyway.

I was elected as the chairperson (me, located all the way here, :), but not to let down my friends, I agreed anyway. They are a bunch of dedicated people, they just need somebody to lead and give direction, even if it means remotely. And boy was I glad when all went well and the event was a success! Alhamdulillah.

Cikgu Sehah bagi ucapan sebelum acara potong kek.
Penyambut tetamu yang manis-manis :)
With my English teacher, Miss Indra
With Cikgu Ariffin
Cikgu Ariffin is my class teacher when we were in standard 6. He was mentioning about the shirt that I gave him, he wore it until it can no longer be worn. Even I don't remember that....gosh! Then again, I don't remember most of the things that I gave to people, but I remembers what people gave to me. It goes both ways I guess :)
Buddies since standard 1, stuck in the same class till standard 6. 
The whole lot - 30+ out of maybe ~100 students in our batch
I didn't get to eat this cake, but I tapau-ed it :)
The loot : souvenir clock, name tag, key chain I AM and we made it compulsory for everybody to come with a gift so that we can exchange it :)
Meenachi, Premila, Alvin and me : 1Malaysia ek? :)
Something happen during the brief picture session here. I was holding the cup, and typical me being clumsy turned the cup over without realizing there were still water inside the cup, yes, I am a klutz. Of course my hand was wet. None of us the girls had anything to wipe it, and here comes Alvin handed me out his tissue (so sweet!!). Seeing that Premila teases him, saying how gentleman he was and why he is still not married. Premila then asked me where my family are. I say, what family? Then she got the idea that I am not married as well. She teased me, and I asked her to find a good man for me, she then turn the attention to Alvin, ni ada..? 

Alvin was taken aback, he quickly went back to claim the gift. I have never seen him backed down from a provocation like that. Alvin that I used to know quickly snap and lash back at any attack/ advances that he gets. This is Alvin is now a matured man, my oh my, this childhood friend of mine is all grown up, and I am all grown up as well, it gave a weird kinda feeling at that time, such ease to see him that way. 

I didn't get to talk much to Alvin, not as much as when we catch up last time in Singapore, I was busy running around, to make sure the event went smooth, we changed the flow as we go along, taking timing and people's reaction into consideration. I need more Alvin time. Maybe I will contact him once I am back in KL, that is if he's not running away from me. He has that reputation though...hehehe..

Ok then, till next time. Need to pack again, going back to Malaysia twice a month is probably the craziest thing I have ever done.Who would have thought? hehehe....


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Shell RA Triathlon 2015

Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wa barakatuh..

Last weekend we had a triathlon held here in the camp, I volunteered to be one of the water giver. I was stationed at a junction where participants are supposed to turn to a cycling loop.
Participant's registration
The whole circuit was:

Swimming : 10 laps : ~49.5m
Cycling : 3 laps: ~21 km
Running : 1 lap : ~3km

R-rated photo..hahahaha...!!

The organizer cum champion of the day explaining the rules and regulation

On your mark, get set, go!!

While I was there, as the participants passed by, I cheered them up, just to give some moral support and to keep them going. Here's what I found, out of some 30+ participants, there are few types:

  1. Those that smile at me as I cheered them along.
  2. Those that smile and say 'thank you' as I cheered them.
  3. Those that are too tired to response, but later when the event finishes, came to me personally to thank me for cheering on them.
  4. Those that has their game face on, no response as I cheered and of course nothing said afterwards.

Only yesterday I was able to reflect, what I can take away in all of these.

Be consistent in good things that you do. People reacted to it differently, don't be bothered by it. People's recognition should not dictates how we treat other people. (Easier said than done...I know).

Regardless how the participants reacted, I was satisfied that I all of them made it to the finish line, and I find joy in cheering for them smile emoticon

It's about me, it's not about them, yeah.. I am selfish that way.. Hehehe...

Group pics credit to Pak Anton Sutheja.

Now I am aspired to train, at least to try improve my swimming..hahaha.. I could only do breast stroke and I didn't even dare to go to the deep end of the pool, I always hang about the kiddies area, malu kan... hahaha.. I should spend my time here well to pick up all these things, things that I can find thousands of excuses back home to not do it. Chaiyok!!


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Bon Cafe

Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Last night we had a Bon Cafe session. When I first came here, I missed the first two Bon Cafe session. I keep asking myself where is this Bon Cafe? I've been around the camps both on foot and on my bike, but I have not seen any cafe that I have not been in. It turns out, Bon Cafe is a session meant to provide updates to us the expat community. Its being held at the activity centre.

The session last night was to update on the security condition and the plan during the upcoming presidential election. At certain level, depending on how the election goes, potentially there will be some civil and political unrest and we might have to be evacuated to a safe location, where is defined as safe? Depends on the situation here in Rivers State and the other neighbouring state as well. Nigeria is an interesting location. Last year, we had evacuation exercise in preparation if Ebola spreads more than anticipated.

Late last year, we were woken up by the divestment move, 25% manpower are being let go, this is even before the crude price drop. This year, with the crude oil price dropping and not recovering, some projects may take a back seat and we are still not sure whether there will be other wave of divestment happening or not. And now, the presidential election....fuuh.... and I am only 1 year old here.

More to come I guess, with the market not looking that good, one can only hope for the best. Euro drop, and ringgit drop as well, so we'll see. WK predicted our stay here may be cut short. I wish I can finish my 4 years tenure here, for the sake of my financial and my personal experience as well.

Anyhoo, Allah knows best, its all part of His plan. Wherever he puts me, I am going to be fine, insyaAllah.

Till next time, wassalam.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Weekend round up : Kerabu Daun Selom

Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wa barakatuh..

I have tonnes of things to settle over the weekend (over every weekend actually). But I keep on postponing and the list keeps piling up. The only thing that I am more than willing to do during weekend is cooking and trying out new recipe, and invite people over for lunch/dinner.

The other week, I had Annie and Geoffrey, Pak Anton and WK for dinner on Saturday and just yesterday I had Chiew and Theresa, with Lirang and her husband, Ignace for lunch. I've had successes with few recipes :) but too bad I was rushing it most of the times that I did not managed to take proper pictures.

For last weekend, here are some that I tried.
Sedihnya gambar blur... :(

I have been collecting chicken carcass in the freezer, there must be like 4 of them. So how best to use them, except to make chicken stock ! The recipe is super easy, taken from one of the earliest JO's book. I ended up with 3 containers of chicken stock, and quite a considerable amount of boiled chicken flesh mix with vege. It should taste good when I made into sandwich filling or pie filling or something. For now all goes into the freezer. Mental note: Beli rosemary, it was required in the recipe. but I did not have it then, to lazy to go to the shop, so less one ingredient there. 

Off late, I have been seeing a lot of kitchen hacks posting, mostly on FB, one of those is this, so instead of throwing the top of the carrot away, I want to try growing it... we'll see how it goes, this is day-1. 
Vanilla Ice Cream with crushed ground nuts
I have come to be accustomed of having something sweet after main meal. Salahkan mat saleh dan orang-orang di sini..hehehe.. mesti nak ada dessert. When I had my open house last year, one of the guest brought me a 4L tub of vanilla ice cream, freaking 4L!! How am I supposed to finish that? I did not touched it last year, until I hosted the fun run the other day. I made Eplekake and served with vanilla ice cream :)

I still have half of the tub, and somehow it feels not right just having the ice cream as it is... Childhood memory kicks in, I blended coarsely some ground nuts. You would not believe the things that I stocked up in my pantry. I have almost everything..hahaha... Sprinkle the nuts on top of my ice cream and voila!! Sedapnya....

Tekak mengada pulak...lama tak makan masakan pedas kekdahnya, and my daun kunyit in the garden has slowly turned yellowish, so might as well I made something out of it. I was very lazy to take out other protein and thaw it, so the easiest is to make Masak Lomak Tolo. No cili api, only cili afrika yang pedas nak mamps!! I underestimated the hotness level, and hamek kau, super podeh!! Should know how to estimate next time :)

For dessert yesterday, I made banana cake, the batter is fine, but I wanted to lined the bottom of the cake with sliced banana. I was not sure how it would turned up, so I made a testing batch using this ramekin :) It does not turned out good. Then I thought of lining the top with slice banana, but seeing that the cake rise quite a fair bit, I scraped the idea. So in the end I just bake the whole cake without any sliced banana anywhere, and since I halved the sugar content, the cake was not sweet. To add a bit of sweetness, I served it with my vanilla ice cream..hahaha.. selagi tak habis, selagi tu la any kind of dessert, will be served with ice cream :P

Ginger torch flower or Bunga Kantan
This is not from my garden, I had some planted, but no flowers yet. This was taken from the activity center. Its growing everywhere here and most of the time it just died there. So when I saw some good ones at the activity center, I took some and have it frozen. I took some out just to take photo..hehehe.. and used one to make kerabu daun kesum.

Lauk semalam, Lirang and Ignace love the kerabu, and of course all of them loved the Sambal Terung Pipit. I can live with these two dish every day and not a single complaint :)

Sharing the recipe so that I won't forget.

Kerabu Daun Selom :

3 red chillies (*)
2 tbsp dried shrimp (*)
Half of red onion (*)
Half cup of grated coconut
3 tbsp of kerisik (#)
Lime juice
Brown sugar
Daun selom (sliced coarsely) (~)
1 stalk ginger torch flower (bunga kantan) (sliced thinly)
  1. Pound all the (*) together. Saute without oil, add a little bit of water, to make sure that chili is well cooked.
  2. Add in the coconut and kerisik, stir well and use low heat.
  3. Add in lime juice and salt to taste, its ok if the taste is a bit strong as this will be added to the chopped daun selom and ginger torch flower
  4. The original kerisik would have a hint of sweetness to it, but the packed one that I bought was not sweet. I suspected they used the coconut that has already been extracted out the milk, that is why it was not sweet. So to balance the flavor, I added in some brown sugar.
  5. Cook until it is dry. Let it cool and mix with the chopped daun selom and ginger torch flower. Ready to serve with white rice and all other dishes. 

(#) Kerisik is another coconut derivatives. Its easy to make, but a bit labour intensive, Take grated coconut and saute without oil on low heat. Stir continuously to avoid the coconut from getting burned. When all the coconut has turned brownish, pound (using mortar and pastel) until it becomes oily (shiny). Pounding it while its hot helped to extract the oil better. Use it as additive in various types of Malay dishes. Instead of pounding it, you can also use the dry blender, or food processor, but the result would be a bit different, I guess.

(~) Daun selom is mainly found in South East Asia, but its not a common vegetable. In Malaysia, those that are familiar with Malay dish will be used to it, but I know some (many non-malay Malaysian) that don't even have a clue about the leaf. The taste is bland by itself. We used it as ulam (ulam is any raw vege that you eat with pounded chili concoction - sambal belacan). 

In the north (Kedah) where I came from, we used daun selom as one of the condiments in Laksa Kedah. 

Initially I don't know what is the English name for daun selom, but thanks to Google here it is water dropwort. But I bet, the mat saleh also would not be able to recognize this leaf. I brought it all the way from KL and planted it here. As I said, I can eat it everyday, so I do need the constant supply :) 

After quite sometime not posting pictures, I realised, I am losing my photography skill. (Not that I am super talented in photography to begin with). So, new year resolution (yeah right!!) I need to get back on with my DSLR and take better pictures. Sedih doh tengok gambaq tak semenggah tu... huhuhu..

Till next time, wassalam...