Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Chosen

Liau burst into my room around mid-morning yesterday and announced, 'We've been chosen!'

I stared at him wondering, 'Hah? Chosen? Chosen for what?'

'It's in the e-mail, we've been chosen to sit for an English test!'

'Wha'??!' English test? You must be jokin, I thought. I thought I had won some mystery prize or something........I silently hoped that Liau had somehow gotten this information wrong or that he mistakenly thought he saw my name in the list....

So with Liau standing over my shoulder, I opened my webmail and indeed found a freshly sent e-mail that explained how UM is now conducting an English proficiency survey among uni lecturers and tadaaa! My name was on the freakin list! Hurrayyyy Hurrrahhhh ...NOT!

The thing will take place next Monday, there will be a 2 hour written test and then an oral test that spans over 2 days. Great...really great...I have much better things to do, thank you very much...and darn it, I don't have any excuses to pull out....Liau at least, has a class that morning....dang!

Here's where it gets fishy...80 candidates were chosen to take the test...The selection was supposedly done 'randomly' but once we looked through the list of people chosen to 'represent' our uni....they included the likes of Siva, Jamal, Kenneth, Dr Patricia...all of whom are very good English speakers...hmmm....random? Yeah right....

Geez..I actually haven't sat for any tests in a long time....

Monday, February 26, 2007

Quote of the Week

From last week's season premiere of The Amazing Race All Stars:

Drew (looking out at the scenery): It's so beautiful here in Peru...
Kevin: I'm sure it's beautiful in Peru, but we're in Ecuador!

Hahahahaha! Gotta hand it to these Fat Baldies...I'm sure they were picked for entertainment value alone!

By the way, Ozzie and Danny - still my faves! And Rob and Amber...as much as I want to not like them...they still have it, man! And oh..the best thing of all...having Phil back :-), sure Allen Wu is a hottie with those sweet dimples of his...but the Amazing Race just must have a Phil!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Sambal


Condiments. They make your meal all the more delicious - penambah selera la katakan. Of all the condiments you can have...from tomato or chilli sauce, mustard, relish, salsa, chutneys...we Malaysians...well, myself personally..I love to have the side condiments of sambal or chilli in soy sauce.

During my pregnancy I had to refrain myself from eating too much sambal. Even now, I shouldn't really eat lots of it since I'm still breastfeeding...tapi...sadap bah!

I like the sambal to be on the sweeter side.

Here's my simple recipe for Sambal Belacan yang Sedap:

A little bit of belacan - toast it by placing over fire for a while - it gets the aroma out and gives it a rustic taste
A little bit of chilli, sliced- more if you like it hot
2 spoons full of sugar - less if you don't like it sweet
Thick tamarind juice - this gives the sambal a soury taste, which balances the spicy-ness of the chillies and the sweetness of the sugar. Alternatively, you can use the juice of a lime
Mix all ingredients together to form a uniform paste.
You can add some crunch by putting in diced shallots.

Another favourite condiment is chilli in sweet soy sauce. This is delicious especially with ikan bakar or ikan goreng and even with fried rice or mee.

Chillies - sliced
Sweet soy sauce
Diced shallots
Diced tomatoes - the tomatoes give the soury taste to balance the sweet. Alternatively, you can also use the juice of a lime.
You can also add the zest or peelings of a limau kasturi in.

Yummy!!!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Cinta


Sering kita lalai mengejar apa yang belum pasti
hingga kita terlupa meraikan satu-satunya perkara
yang menjanjikan kebahagiaan...
Cinta.

I managed to watch this movie, at last..after two weeks sitting in its plastic casing.

My initial thoughts.... Sepet really paved the way for a move in the typical Malay movies we used to have. Cinta is certainly of a different breed... It is simple, meaningful, thoughtful and celebrates love of all kinds. I love the way the 5 love stories are told and how the characters, although not related to each other..they cross paths through circumstances and coincidences.

There were many moments in the movie that did make me smile. And many scenes too that got me fighting back tears especially Rahim Razali and Rashidi Ishak's stories. So, don't forget your hankies, dim the lights or say that you suddenly got dust in your eyes - when you're watching!

There were bits of the movie which I thought was a bit corny and reminded me of something I had seen before. I actually laughed during the scene where Eizlan Yusof proposes in the train! Then...Rahim Razali and Fatimah Abu Bakar's story reminded me of The Notebook and 50 First Dates. Then there's Rashidi Ishak love declaration ala the scene where the guy (I forget his name) professes his love to Keira Knightley in Love Actually. Despite these...I still think the movie's a gem!

The movie boasts a stellar cast and even a more spectacular soundtrack - VE Ikhlas tapi Jauh, Innuendo's Belaian Jiwa, Ferhad's Kasih Berubah, Glenn's January, Same same featuring Jaclyn Victor Without You (very nice song!) and many more.

I also love the opening and closing sequences of the movie which shows a collage of everyday people and their loves - a shot of a blind couple walking hand in hand, a pregnant mom caressing her belly, etc. Very natural and nice.

Check out the website - Cinta

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Hands and Feet Only?


The toilet at our office block. The sign says 'For Staff Only'.

This is one of the things that make me go 'hmmmmm.....'

If I were a visitor or a student and I had to go really bad, I wouldn't really bother with this sign... After all, isn't everyone's pee and poo just the same anyway??

The Ever Changing Face of KK

If you came to KK, 10 or 5 or even 2 years back...you will be really surprised with the changes you will see today. There are flyovers and new buildings everywhere. 20 years ago, everyone thought Sutera Harbour was a big change and indeed it was! But today, KK is really blossoming as a city. There are even pedestrian walkways in and around Gaya Street, near the City Council building where most of the city's functions are held. There are a number of arches. There's Jesselton Point, formerly known as 'jeti untuk pegi Labuan'.

Perhaps the most exciting new additions to KK are the new shopping complexes. Yes, before this...weekend shopping was limited to Centre Point, Wisma Mer, Wawasan or Karamunsing. But now there's Warisan Square, Kompleks Asia City (although there's nothing much there at the moment) and soon...KK Times Square, One Borneo, City Mall, etc, etc.

I quite like Warisan Square. It's lively and bustling especially during the weekends. And the selection of shops there are pleasing too...especially the food outlets - Secret Recipe, Kopitiam, San Fran Coffee, Starbucks, Vedablu icecream...and soon Delifrance + many more I pressume.... We went there last weekend and for a moment, it didn't even feel like we were in KK.

I've heard many a KL folks saying that there's 'nothing' in KK. I beg to differ. Look at what KK has to offer now. On top of that, we have a view of the sea and of a mountain as well! KL where got!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Love is in the Air

Happy Valentine's Day!

In accordance with V Day, I started thinking about my favourite love stories and how it's been quite some time since I saw a reaaaally good love story. Here's my top 5 list of favourite love story movies:

5. Say Anything
Starring John Cusack and Ione Skye. I first saw this fairly recently. It's simple movie about young, pure love. Memorable Scene: Lloyd (John Cusack) appears outside Diane's (Ione Skye) bedroom window at night while she sleeps, holding a boombox over his head playing the song " In Your Eyes" by Peter Gabriel.

4. Sleepless in Seattle
Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan fall in love despite being at opposite ends of the country. One for true romantics... wondering and searching for their own special someone out there. He/She's there! And one day your paths will cross...

3. Love Actually
The Brits excel at making great love stories. This one is a must see. Simple, delightful, charming, witty. A combination of a few love stories. And Hugh Grant as Prime Minister - I'd vote for him for that hairstyle and his wit alone! My favourite scenes are the ones with Jamie and Aurelia (Collin Firth and Lucia Moniz). Makes me smile everytime.

2. Before Sunset
The much anticipated sequel to Before Sunrise (see below). Jesse and Celine meet again nine years after their night together in Vienna. These two are great together. I love this remark written in Wikipedia:

Remarkable, is how genuinely happy these two characters are together. Most film characters bond through sexual attraction, furtive glances, arguments, a few enjoyable dates. But Celine and Jesse have a dialogic joy: a true love of each other's thoughts and words. It's a pleasure to watch two characters so enjoying themselves. At one point, Celine says to Jesse, "If we had been together longer, maybe we would have hated each other." Jesse replies, "Like we hate each other now?" Their happiness together is so pronounced and overt that no further argument is necessary.

Among the many other remarkable elements in the films is this: for those who enjoy it, it's considered one of the most "romantic" films in recent memory: a pure love story. Yet not once in Before Sunset do the characters kiss, nor do they say, "I love you."

1. Before Sunrise
Still my all time favourite movie. Jesse and Celine (Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy) meet on a train travelling in Europe and they spend one night together in Vienna, walking and talking and sharing intimate thoughts and ideas on love and life. Now doesn't that just sound like everyone's perfect fantasy? I travelled the trains a lot when I was in the UK, but I never met any interesting Jesses. :-] The storyline is simple and minimalist, there are no action scenes, no overly dramatizations and that's the beauty of it really.

I have so many favourites scenes from the movie. I bought the video for 5.99 (pounds sterling) and since I used to watch it so many times and rewind it a lot, the video started getting..err..windy? Anyway, my hubby bought me the DVD for my birthday a few years back, so hurrah!

So there's my pick of top 5 movies to cosy up to this Valentine's Day. I bought the VCD for Cinta a few weeks back but still haven't watched it. Will review it once I watch it and who knows it could be on the list for next year.

And..since I'm in this listing mood, here's my pick of top 9 favourite love songs (Couldn't decide on the 10th one):

1. Everyday I Love You - Boyzone -- there's one line where Ronan sings 'If I asked would you say yes?' and in those days that I had a mad mad crush on him and his voice, when I listened to the song alone I would yell out, 'Yes Ronan! Yes!' Heh..probably a bit too much of information there, huh...

2. Everything I Do (I Do It For You) - Bryan Adams
3. Truly, Madly, Deeply - Savage Garden
4. When You Say Nothing At All - Ronan Keating
5. You Sang To Me - Marc Anthony
6. Hero - Enrique Iglesias
7. Insensitive - Jann Arden
8. Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now - Starship
9. Belaian Jiwa - Innuendo

Si Cantik

Yasmin Anne at 1 yrs 2+ months.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

A Stroke of Inspiration


Last Saturday, I attended the Toastmasters Leadership Institute Training session, which is basically a training for Toastmasters Club Officers. Truth be told, it wasn't the ideal way I would have wanted to spend my Saturday morning. And I didn't expect the effect that it would have on me.

I've been with Toastmasters for about 5 years now. At times, I am tired of it. Especially due to the fact that our club is a small one and I have been on the committee for the past 4 years. And also, times when you call up people and ask them about their progress and they seem to give you the coldest shoulder for disturbing their day.

But then, there are those moments where I listen to a wonderful speech, when I listen to everyone encouraging and sharing with each other, that I think that it is a truly wonderful and amazing thing. The fellowship and friendship is incredible. I always leave a Toasties meeting feeling uplifted and energized. And I have met so many wonderful people from this organization.

On the Saturday, there were two speakers from KL who were just bursting with passion and conviction in sharing their ideas and thoughts. And then there were Toasties from all over Sabah. It was really inspiring. If only this kind of enthusiasm was present at the workplace...If even half the people at work shared and showed this kind of passion....that would truly be..wow!

During the tea break, I sat down next to a Toastie member from the University Club (UMS). I had taught her previously and she joined Toastmasters after asking me about a poster I stuck on my office door. She mentioned that joining the club really made her improve in a lot of aspects and she learned so many things from the club and from her fellow members. I could really see it in the way she talked. There was a sense of confidence, a sense of self that you don't see with many students at the uni. At the end of our conversation, she looked at me and said, 'I really should thank you...if not for you, I wouldn't have joined the club...So, thank you...' It surprised me. It was the last thing I expected...but it made my day even more!