Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Maktab Duli Alumni Dinner


About a month ago, an old buddy and I decided we should organize a dinner with some of our old friends from sixth form some of whom we havent seen for nearly 20 years! So we began to put the plan into action. During the course of the next few weeks, what started out as a small informal dinner among old friends, became twice that and from a range of batches from 1986 to 1989.


It was pouring with rain when I arrived and on top of that there was a wedding happening in the hotel. Naturally the parking spaces in the basement filled up pretty fast and I was worried about people not being able to find parking spaces. Mental note, next time choose a venue with much larger basement parking. The venue was VIP1 on Level 1 of Orchid Garden Hotel. It was very well laid out and the buffet spread was excellent. It wasn't much later before people started trickling in as the crowd built up, screams of joy and laughter erupted whenever an old classmate we hadn't seen in ages walked in.

Throughout the night, it was amazing to see how we had changed and how much we hadn't changed! Although some of us had changed physically, the camaraderie that we had almost 20 years ago had not changed at all, and came flowing back as if we had not seen each other only for a day! The room was filled with chatter and laughter throughout the night and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves as they did in the old sixth form dining room of nearly 20 years ago!


The night ended predictably with a group photo and everyone signing the banner. For me, it was a memorable night filled with reminiscing and laughter, which made for a welcome change from the stress of our daily grind. It was great to catch up with old friends and even get re-aquainted with others from our batch whom we did not get a chance to befriend all those years ago. Contact info were shared and promises were made that another gathering be held much sooner than 20 years from now... and as I bade every one good night, I was elated by that feeling... you know... the kind that only comes with human contact...

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Why blog?

Following on from my previous post, I had a few discussions with others regarding the blogging phenomenon. Some of the questions raised were what constitutes a responsible blogger, the answer to which I put in a response to my previous post. But another interesting question that came up was, "Why do people blog?"

Below are some possible answers:

Ego gratification. Some people need to be the center of attention. It makes them feel good about themselves to tell the world what important things they've been doing and what profound thoughts they've been having. Curiously, while this looks like the most obvious reason for a Web log, I think it's probably the least likely reason, since it's too trite and shallow.

Antidepersonalization. When people begin to think that they are nothing more than a cog in the wheel of society, they look for any way to differentiate themselves. The Web log proves they are different. Just read it. You'll see.

Elimination of frustration. Day-to-day life is wrought with frustration, and the Web log gives people the ability to complain to the world. You get to read a lot of complaining in these logs. If you think I'm a complainer, oh boy!

Societal need to share. As a cynic, I have a hard time with this explanation. But it seems some people genuinely like to "share," and this is one way.

Wanna-be writers. A lot of people want to be published writers. Blogs make it happen without the hassle of getting someone else to do it or having to write well—although there is good writing to be found. Some is shockingly good. Most of it is miserable. I expect to see those Open Learning classes around the country offering courses in Blog writing.

Any other possible reasons?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

You've got to be over 30...

Mum used to cut chicken, slice eggs and spread mayo on the same cutting board with the same knife and no bleach, but we didn't get food poisoning.

My Mum used to defrost mince-meat on the kitchen sink AND I used to eat a bite raw sometimes, too. Our school sandwiches were wrapped in wax paper, in a brown paper bag, not in icepack coolers, but I can't remember anybody getting e.coli.

Almost all of us would have rather gone swimming in the lake or the fast flowing river instead of a pristine pool (talk about boring). We could have all been drowned in such dangerous places.

The term mobile phone would have meant an extra phone plug in the house so you could actually move the phone and a pager was the school PA system.

We all played sport, and also did PE... and risked permanent injury with a pair of Dunlop runners (only worn in the gym or the sports ground) instead of having cross-training athletic shoes with air cushion soles and built-in light reflectors.. I can't recall any injuries but they must have happened, because they tell us how much safer we are now....

Flunking sport was not an option.. even for stupid kids! There were not many fat kids.

Speaking of school, we all said prayers and sang the National Anthem and got free school milk for strong bones and teeth, and staying in detention after school caught all sorts of negative attention. We must have had horribly damaged psyches.

What an archaic health system we had then. Remember school nurses? Ours wore a hat and everything, and she could even give you an aspirin for a headache or fever.

I thought that I was supposed to accomplish something before I was allowed to be proud of myself. I just can't recall how bored we were without computers, Play Station, Nintendo, X-box or 270 digital TV cable stations.

We climbed trees and played 'king of the castle' on piles of gravel left on vacant construction sites, and when we got hurt, Mum pulled out the 48-cent bottle of Mercurochrome (kids liked it better because it didn't sting like iodine did) and then we got our hair ruffled and got told to get back out there! Now it's a trip to the emergency room, followed by a 10-day dose of a $49 bottle of antibiotics, and then Mum calls the solicitor to sue the contractor for leaving a horribly vicious pile of gravel where it was such a threat.

We didn't misbehave at the mate's house either, because if we did, we got our bum smacked there, and then we got belted again when we got home. I recall the kid from next door coming over and doing his tricks on the front veranda, just before he fell off. Little did his Mum know that she could have owned our house. Instead, she picked him up and swatted him for being such a yobbo.

It was a neighbourhood run amuck.

To top it off, not a single person I knew had ever been told that they were from a "dysfunctional family". How could we possibly have known that we needed to get into group therapy and anger management classes? We were obviously so duped by so many societal ills, that we didn't even notice that the entire country wasn't taking Prozac! How did we ever survive?

LOVE TO ALL OF US WHO SHARED THIS ERA, AND TO ALL WHO DIDN'T---- SORRY FOR WHAT YOU MISSED. I WOULDN'T TRADE IT FOR ANYTHING

Pass this to someone (over age 30, of course), and brighten their day by helping them to remember that life's most simple pleasures are very often the best!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Brunei Times

Interesting article in The Brunei Times today regarding the Blogging phenomenon. Apparently there are over 500 Bruneian bloggers so far in Blogdom. It sure feels more than that. Anyway, here's to blogging and may "big brother" never see the need to censor or worse still prosecute us "responsible" bloggers.

PDS Sportsfest 2006

These shots were taken during the PDS Sportsfest 2006 which took place at Berakas Sports Complex this morning. It was a fun morning which was marred slightly by the heavy rains which fell towards the end of the festival. More pics at my other site.

Everyone had an enjoyable time despite the rain and the parents were so sporting (I had the excuse of being behind a camera hahaha) to join in the fun by participating in the "ride my log" (I know, it sounds kinky eh) for the daddies, and the obstacle race for the mommies. Many in the crowd felt it should have been the other way around. The mommies should have been riding the logs, and I couldn't agree more!




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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Good Friends, Good Food... Ahhh cant ask for more...

These pics were taken when I had a few really old friends over for dinner and I thought I'd make something special for them... I made black ink pasta with garlic tiger prawns (Gamberetti con pasta nera) in a creamy basil sauce, baked seabass with olive and parsley sauce (Pesci con salsa verde oliva), and steamed garden veg. It was a fantastic night filled with laughter and reminiscence. The food was good, the company was good.. doesnt get any better heheh! Looking forward to the next one!



Sunday, August 13, 2006

The future of air travel


The current terror alert on civil aviation in UK and US brings a chill to my bones... Its really scary to think that whenever we travel by air, there is that risk of some deranged individual - who thinks blowing up a planeload of innocent civilians will bring him closer to heaven - is gonna perform his final act of martyrdom and be on his way to the pearly gates...

Came across an interesting rant about this at SPG's site. While I don't necessarily agree with her views on religion, I certainly agree that indoctrinating religion into working the wrong way is not healthy.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Baby show at Manggis Mall...

This event took place this morning at Manggis Mall... There was a huge turnout and the organizers seem overwhelmed with the numbers. It was chaotic but in the midst of it all, I calmed myself by taking these shots heheh.. phototherapy always helps... More pics at my other site.




Please help stop the bloodshed...

Dear friends,

Right now a tragedy is unfolding in the Middle East. Thousands of innocent civilians have been killed or wounded in the bombings in Lebanon, Palestine and Israel and the death toll is rising every day. If the US, Syria or Iran get involved, there is a chance of a catastrophic larger war. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has called for an immediate ceasefire and the deployment of international troops to the Israel-Lebanon border, and been strongly supported by almost every world leader.

This is the best proposal yet to stop the violence, but the US, the UK, and Israel have refused to accept it. I have just signed a petition calling on US President Bush, UK Prime Minister Blair, and Israeli Prime Minister Olmert to support Kofi Annan's proposal. If millions of people join this call, and we advertise our views in newspapers in the US, UK, and Israel, we can help pressure these leaders to stop the fighting.

Click here and sign up now!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Small reminders as we go through life...


RIGHT SPEECH

There is a Chinese saying which carries the meaning that "A speech will either prosper or ruin a nation." Many relationships break off because of wrong speech. When a couple is too close with each other, we always forget mutual respect and courtesy. We may say anything without considering if it would hurt the other party.

A friend and her millionaire husband visited their construction site. A worker who wore a helmet saw her and shouted,"Hi, Emily! Remember me? We used to date in the secondary school." On the way home, her millionaire husband teased her, "Luckily you married me. Otherwise you will be the wife of a construction worker." She answered,"You should appreciate that you married me. Otherwise, he will be the millionaire and not you."

Frequently exchanging these remarks plants the seed for a bad relationship. It's like a broken egg - cannot be reversed.

NO OVERPOWERING

Many relationships fail because one party tries to overpower another, or demands too much. People in love tend to think that love will conquer all and their spouses will change the bad habits after marriage.

Actually, this is not the case. There is a Chinese saying which carries the meaning that "It is easier to reshape a mountain or a river than a person's character."

It is not easy to change. Thus, having high expectation on changing the spouse character will cause disappointment and unpleasantness.

It would be less painful to change ourselves and lower our expectations...

NO POINTING FINGERS

A man asked his father-in-law, "Many people praised you for a successful marriage. Could you please share with me your secret?"

The father-in-law answered in a smile, "Never criticize your wife for her shortcomings or when she does something wrong. Always bear in mind that because of her shortcomings and weaknesses, she could not find a better husband than you."

We all look forward to being loved and respected. Many people are afraid of losing face. Generally, when a person makes a mistake, he would look around to find a scapegoat to point the finger at. This is the start of a war. We should always remember that when we point one finger at a person, the other four fingers are pointing at ourselves.

If we forgive the others, others will ignore our mistake too.

TRUST

Trust is a very important factor for all relationships. When trust is broken, it is the end of the relationship. Lack of trust leads to suspicion, suspicion generates anger, anger causes enmity and enmity may result in separation.

A telephone operator told me that one day she received a phone call.

She answered, "Jabatan Kerja Raya." There was silence. She repeated, "JKR." There was still no answer. When she was going to cut off the line, she heard a lady's voice, "Oh, so this is JKR. Sorry, I got the number from my Husband's pocket but I do not know whose number it is."

Without mutual trust, just imagine what will happen to the couple if the telephone operator answered with just "hello" instead of "JKR".

Friday, August 04, 2006

Tribute to the woman I love....

Exactly a month ago, G and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary... I thought today I'd put up a tribute to the woman I love... the mother of my four wonderful children:

By the time God made woman, He was into his sixth day of working overtime... An angel appeared and said, "Why are you spending so much time on this one?"

And God answered, "Have you seen my spec sheet on her? She has to be completely washable, but not plastic, have over 200 movable parts, all replaceable and able to run on diet coke and leftovers, have a lap that can hold four children at one time, have a kiss that can cure anything from a scraped knee to a broken heart and she will do everything- with only two hands.

Angel was astounded by the requirements. "Only two hands!? No way! And that's just on the standard model? That's too much work for one day. Wait until tomorrow to finish."

"But I won't," God protested. "I am so close to finishing this creation that is so close to my own heart."

"She already heals herself when she is sick AND can work 18 hour days." The angel moved closer and touched the woman. "But you have made her so soft."

"She is soft," God agreed. "But I have also made her tough. You have no idea what she can endure or accomplish."

"Will she be able to think?", asked the angel. God replied, "not only will she be able to think, she will be able to reason and negotiate."

The angel then noticed something, and reaching out, touched the woman's cheek. "Oops, it looks like you have a leak in this model. I told you that you were trying to put too much into this one."

"That's not a leak," God corrected, "that's a tear!"

"What's the tear for?" the angel asked. God said, "the tear is her way of expressing her joy, her sorrow, her pain, her disappointment, her love, her loneliness, her grief and her pride."

The angel was impressed.

"You are a genius, God. You thought of everything! Woman is truly amazing." And she is!

Women have strengths that amaze men.

  • They bear hardships and they carry burdens, but they hold happiness, love and joy.
  • They smile when they want to scream.
  • They sing when they want to cry.
  • They cry when they are happy and laugh when they are nervous.
  • They fight for what they believe in.
  • They stand up to injustice.
  • They don't take "no" for an answer when they believe there is a better solution.
  • They go without so their family can have.
  • They go to the doctor with a frightened friend.
  • They love unconditionally.
  • They cry when their children excel and cheer when their friends get awards.
  • They are happy when they hear about a birth or a wedding.
  • Their hearts break when a friend dies.
  • They grieve at the loss of a family member, yet they are strong when they think there is no strength left.
  • They know that a hug and a kiss can heal a broken heart.
Women come in all shapes, sizes and colors. They'll drive, fly, walk, run or e-mail you to show how much they care about you.

The heart of a woman is what makes the world keep turning. They bring joy, hope and love. They have compassion and ideals. They give moral support to their family and friends.

Women have vital things to say and everything to give.

However, if there is a flaw in women, it is that they forget their worth.

TheBeeHive: Sate Ala Jawa

When I read BobbyGoodegg's review of Sate Ala Jawa I had to try it out and true enough, it ROCKS! I love the sate kambing lah.. very generous pieces and it actually tastes like lamb. And the gravy tastes great with the added tang of lemongrass although it could have been a little more pekat... Overall 4 out of 5 from me.

On a second outing, I really enjoyed the Ayam Penyet and the Daging Penyet. Both were pretty good. The chicken was nice and smashed and very tender. The beef was marinated in kecap manis I think before deep fried. The sambal just nice, not eye-wateringly hot like in some other places. Oh, you're right, the service was rather curt but despite that, there were people waiting for seats! People must be still flush with cash from payday eh? ;-)